A Travellerspoint blog

Los Angeles and San Diego

sunny 10 °C
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We were both sad to leave Fiji especially jo knowing we had an 11 hour plane journey ahead of us! We left an hour late in the end at 11pm, and we managed to score 3 seats between the two of us which was better than nothing...in fairness to Jo the flight for a change WAS quite bumpy haha but we arrived safe in los angeles BEFORE we left Fiji. Theres a 19hr time difference!!
We couldn't believe the size of the place from the air and it took us half an hour to even drive out of the airport! we had to book in to a dorm in LA because its so expensive so bunk beds in a mixed 8 person dorm it was. We had the afternoon to kill so being based in the middle of Hollywood we walked up on to hollywood boulevard to see the stars 102_2122.jpg 102_2125.jpg and the kodak theatre 102_2124.jpg 102_2140.jpg and the hand prints outside the chinese cinema. 102_2136.jpg Our first impressions were of how scummy Hollywood was (except around the kodak where they have the oscars), junkies and beggars and pure weirdos line the street that is for some reason famed for glitz and glamour. Its the only place so far (except for a couple of times in china) that we felt a bit unsafe!
Being a bit jet lagged we went to bed fairly early and didn't really get much sleep thanks to the noisy guys in the room.
The next day we got up and went on the walking tour through the hostel to the Hollywood sign. We got the bus to the bottom of Hollywoodland housing estate...V posh! (the sign originally read hollywoodland as an advertisldement) we walked up the hill and got as close as we could to the sign without getting the $103 fine, 103??!!P3100147.jpg the sign was pretty cool but at the end of the day it is just a sign. In the afternoon we decided to take the bus to Santa monica102_2155.jpg to Venice beach with a couple of guys we met from Memphis. Santa Monica was a much nicer area of LA and the beaches were massive!!102_2154.jpg102_2153.jpg a shame that the weather was too cold for any beach shenannigans.
The next day we took the subway to Union station and jumped on a train as quick as we could out of LA 102_2156.jpg to San Diego. 102_2162.jpg. San Diego was a world away from LA, it was clean and laid back and the people were nice.102_2202.jpg We booked in to a really good hostel with our own room for less than the 8man dorm in LA!
The next day we took the bus out to balboa park 102_2165.jpg which is huge and has 15museums! we chose the natural history museum to see the Body worlds exhibition by that pathologist guy who did the autopsy on TV. The exhibition had real bodies minus the skin plastinated for display. it was amazing! Jo made a new friend too...102_2167.jpg. We met another couple in the hostel that night after another small world moment, and went out for a couple of drinks with them.
On the friday we got up early and took the bus to the famous san diego zoo! 102_2199.jpg which was really good! 102_2195.jpg and then in the afternoon we walked round the coastal track round san diego bay where they have some cool things like the aircraft carrier and plane used in TOPGUN, and some good shops and cafes.102_2213.jpg102_2221.jpg There was also a Grey Whale in the bay that had taken a wrong turn up the coast and got lost! i tried to get him on camera, can u spot it?? 102_2218.jpg.
Saturday was the day we left san diego after picking up the rental car at the airport!! 102_2263.jpg it was really good, brand new only 6000 miles on the clock and pretty good on petrol! Next stop Flagstaff, Arizona.

More soon!

Love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 17:29 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Fiji

sunny 32 °C
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Well its been a while since i got chance to write one of these so lets see how much i can remember...

We arrived in Fiji at Nadi (pronounced Nandi) airport at about 3pm and got our free transfer to the hostel we had booked. The room was ok, nice and cheap though compared with the sister hostel next door charging double our rate. Plus we got free use of all their facilities!! it was pretty weird being in a room again after living in camper vans for 3months! We pretty much headed straight over to the sister hotel (smugglers cove) to use the highly rated travel information to try and get an idea of which of the many islands we wanted to go to. the lady there was really nice, like all Fijians they're so friendly and always smiling, and we decided that Robinson Crusoe island was the one for us. Since we only had a short 5day stop over there we booked to head out to the island the next morning. For the rest of the night we chilled out in smugglers. SDC11462.jpg
The next morning we checked out of the hostel and got a transfer through nadi town and mainland villages SDC11482.jpg to the river jetty where our boat was waiting to take us up the river to the sea and the island. SDC11489.jpg
The island is one of the biggest of the fijian islands we were told SDC11492.jpg so we asked if we walked round how long would it take? about 30mins we were told! haha it was tiny. We arrived to a typical fijian welcome of guitars and island songs and flowers in the hair.
After we checked in we sat down to our buffet lunch (all meals were included) and watched the polynesian dance show SDC11582.jpgSDC11581.jpg and some of the guys walking on the white hot rocks from the earth oven SDC11501.jpg.
The island has a 2 dorm rooms and a few private Bures (buraays) we splashed out and went for the bure haha. They also do day tours and evening toursSDC11546.jpg, the day tour was there when we arrived so when it left at 4 we could see who was staying on the island. We got talking to three lads from Northern Ireland of all places...where abouts i asked, Lisburn, i told them i knew a couple of lads from there (Phil my housemate for 3 years and his mate eddy who was originally supposed to move in to Jo's room in our house) well it turns out that these three lads were best mates from home with phil and eddy! Small world! SDC11531.jpg mark and ryan and then gary with sophie who arrived on the same boat as us SDC11532.jpg
The atmosphere on the island was so relaxed, the staff lived with you and organised activities doing things like making coconut jewelry, beach rugby, fishing, mangrove kayaking with a mangrove mud fight! and other things like topping up your tan which Jo and two girls from norwich, kim and rachael, were big fans of.SDC11530.jpgBola was our main activity guy and he loved showing off climbing the trees for the coconuts SDC11525.jpg we tried and bottled it about 6ft up! SDC11528.jpg nice to drink though. When you first arrive on the island or anywhere in Fiji you have to partake in a welcome ceremony where you drink the traditional drink- Kava. Kava is a dried root that is pounded in powder and then soaked in water. It contains some kind of drug that causes a numbness in your mouth on your first cup (half a coconut shell) then numbness of your head and full body numbness if you drink enough. Its quite a bitter taste, kind of like bitter mud, haha but i quite like it!! Jo wasn't a fan though along with most of the others. Its very traditional though so to refuse the cup or spit it out as one girl did is a huge insult! the Fijians drink the stuff ALL DAY long... on a daily basis its a very social thing just sat around the Kava bowl. we usually joined them after dark to chill out and have a laugh SDC11572.jpgSDC11570.jpg the only problem at night was the Mozzies and the sand flies!!!! any skin without insect repellent was demolished in record time....as Mark found out on his 1st night SDC11567.jpg. As the food was included we only had to pay for drinks which were CHEAP! because there was only about 25 of us on the island they wanted us to spend more on drinks so most of the time they turned Happy hour in to happy day! good times. SDC11558.jpg.
All in all we loved Fiji and we loved Robinson Crusoe!!! its a shame we didn't have a bit longer there but we'll have to save that for another trip. SDC11507.jpg102_2120.jpg

More to come soon!

Love Rob and Jo xxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 16:16 Archived in Fiji Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

Dunedin to Christchurch

sunny 21 °C

The Speights brewery was excellent! way better than cadburys and way better than the other brewery in greymouth! the guide was enthusiastic and we got half an hour to drink as much as we liked (or could hahaha).SDC11255.jpg We went out in to town after the tour and headed to the spots that had all the drink promotions on for the uni freshers! it was a really good night!
The day after we planned to spend the day over on the Otago peninsular but the weather set in again and we decided that another plan was needed. all being pretty hungover anyway we just headed to the other side of town to see the much famed Baldwin St - the steepest street in the world.SDC11278.jpg Well it was quite steep but not THAT steepSDC11279.jpg...but guiness book of records 1997 doesn't lie! yeah 1997 we found out after hahah!
The weather cleared thankfully and we headed out to the peninsular about 6.30pm to a spot that we found out about where you could see the rare yellow eyed penguins for free! everywhere tries to charge you for tours, about $40+ each! well we got there Just in time! the penguins had just started arriving on the beach when we got there.SDC11345.jpg we had to view them from a hide so not to disturb them so the pictures aren't great but with only about 100 of these penguins on the mainland it was still pretty cool! SDC11329.jpgSDC11316.jpgSDC11309.jpg
Also chilling out on the same beach were huge male sea lions! SDC11358.jpg i think we woke this big lad up SDC11289.jpg because we had to leg it when he started to chase us off!! SDC11294.jpg.
We left dunedin the next day and drove up to Mt cook. On the way we stopped that the famous Moeraki Boulders, they were pretty wierd things to see sitting in the middle of the beach with no other rocks around! SDC11362.jpg the scenery improved as we got nearer the mountains SDC11369.jpg but when we arrived at the mountains we couldnt see the peak for the cloud! and then the rain started again! we spent the afternoon in the Sir Edmond Hillary centre reading about all his achievements. The next morning we woke up super early and the sky was clear! we got a great view of the peak that even some Kiwi's have never seen.SDC11394.jpgSDC11414.jpgSDC11405.jpg We did a couple of short walks around the mountain and to the Tasman glacier lake. SDC11422.jpg.
We left mount cook and took two days to drive up to Christchurch, stopping in Timaru and Akaroa on the banks peninsular but the weather was too bad to leave the camper!
We arrived in Christchurch yesterday and walked around town. We are stayin with a family friend of Jo's parents called Elizabeth and her friend Basil. Jo can't stop saying how cute they are and they are trying to feed us at every available moment so i think they're great haha!
We leave NZ on wednesday morning aka Jo's birthday, bound for Fiji!

Speak to you soon!

love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 15:01 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Rain, Adrenaline and Chocolate

rain 12 °C
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We spent the next day walking round both Glaciers, Franz Joseph and Fox. SDC11230.jpg and then drove further down the coast and stopped at a DOC (dept. of conservation) camp site which should cost $6 each but if you run away from the ranger collecting the fees like us rebels its FREE :) haha. They are all in pretty spectacular places but the facilities are a little lacking! so the lake here acted as a big but VERY cold bath! SDC11240.jpg we drove on from wanaka after legging it from the ranger and arrived in Queenstown, the adrenaline capital of NZ theres pretty much everything there to get your heart pumping. including the worlds highest bungy at 142m!! i didnt do it though! Queenstown might be full of cool stuff but its waaaay overpriced for most of it. So after the great weather of our 1st day, where we pretty much just sat around and drank beer and cocktails from Teapots SDC11241.jpg, it rained! and it rained and it rained. Infact 5 days on it has only just stopped raining! So with the rain me and ben thought we might as well get wet so we decided our Queenstown activity should be Rapid Surfing.SDC11245.jpgSDC11244.jpg None of this going down in a boat stupidness, thats just soft. We went down the rapids on a body board (a small surf board) haha. it was brilliant, going over rapids called things like Man Eater etc. then at the end we did some rock jumping and some rope swings...all over 10m of course! meanwhile the girls in true Jo and Becky spirit went to sample some of Queenstowns best public houses.
Unfortunately the weather forcast is rubbish for at least the next 5 days meaning the 10hr round trip to Milford Sound is off the cards!! apparently there is just nothing to see if the weather isn't perfect! pretty gutted about that but nevermind.
We drove on from Queenstown yesterday and arrived in Dunedin. We took a tour round the Cadbury factory here yesterday which was average at best, but the others loved the free chocy at least!SDC11246.jpgSDC11250.jpg Today we have been walking round the city (quite big in NZ terms) and tonight we are going to another brewery tour (it was a package with the cadbury tour) haha, this time its Speights beer. its freshers week here aswell at the biggest Uni in NZ so theres plenty going on!!

Done.

(CHECK OUT THE PICS!!!!!!! all the way back from Rotten-rua!!)

Speak to you soon. Love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 19:09 Archived in New Zealand Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

National Parks and the West Coast

rain 15 °C
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After a night in the sounds SDC11147.jpgSDC11141.jpgSDC11124.jpgand some pretty cool driving we came to Nelson, and it RAINED! all day and all night! So there really wasn't much we could do apart from go down to the second hand book shop and trade in for some new ones to read all day. we did meet another couple (Ben and Becky) on the camp site though who are doing exactly the same as us, so we have travelled round with them since!
We ditched the rain of Nelson and headed in to the Abel Tasmen national park to go salmon Fishing! we got all the gear free you just paid for your fish (if you got one!)SDC11152.jpg I landed a MONSTER haha only joking it was 1.6kgs SDC11155.jpg and the people we got the gear from cut it up and all that jazz and smoked it there and then! Luckily ben loves salmon so he ate most of it and a Canadian couple bought half off us so it worked out a really cheap afternoon!
The next day ben and becky went off on a 2 day Kayak and me and Jo took a water taxi up the Abel Tasmen coast and tackled a 14km walk back down the coastal track past brilliant coastal scenery and some of the best beaches in the world (according to the guardian?!)SDC11190.jpgSDC11178.jpgSDC11167.jpg The day after we decided on a shorter walk in the morning to stretch out our tight calves and afterwards met back up with the other two and we drove on to a free camping spot towards the west coast.
We bailed from the free spot sharpish in the morning after being over run with biting sand flies (SO itchy!!!) and drove on to Greymouth on the west coast, the home of Montieths beer! Me and ben did some body boarding in the surf just opposite our camp while the girls gossiped about jessica simpson being fat or something?! then obviously we went for a tour round the brewery, got lots of free samples and then went on to an all you can eat barbeque!! could it get much better??!!SDC11213.jpg
Today we drove down the west coast to Franz Joseph Glacier. We stopped half way for lunch and to pan for some gold in a tiny little village called Ross. They found a 2.5kg nugget here once so we all had dreams of striking it lucky. All we found were a few more mozzy bites to add to the collection! haha.SDC11218.jpgSDC11214.jpg So tomorrow we are planning some kind of glacier walk/tour or something along those lines on one of the two massive glaciers here!

More to come soon!
The map here should give you a good idea of where we are now...

Lots of Love Rob + Jo xxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 21:13 Archived in New Zealand Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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