Wednesday 12th December 2018

Archives for Monday 6th August 2018

Countries I Have Visited. 32/52, #LifeThisWeek. 2018.70.

Countries I Have Visited. 32/52, #LifeThisWeek. 2018.70.

This is a very short post.

I have visited the United States of America.

One country.

Oh, alright then, some details! But first some background.

My parents got to travel around the world a few times initially thanks to Dad’s work (seeing overseas plants and offices relating to the fertilizer company where he was Company Secretary. That same company sent him, a young Chief Accountant in 1966 on a round-world trip alone to visit cities where his company had affiliations and then to University of Hawaii where he attended a 6 week Summer School from the Harvard Business School. It changed his life, and broadened his interests from that time. He also fell in love with Hawaii and with Mum in latter years visited many 7 times, meeting old friends, playing golf and relaxing.

Why tell my readers this?

Well. I had heard his stories for 40 years when, with the blessing and financial support of my dear husband I got to plan a solo trip to the U.S.of A. and topping and tailing the 15 day trip with Hawaiian experiences.

The Day: 1.1.2006.

The hottest day ever (till then) of 44 degrees celsius both at home in Sydney’s west and at Mascot, that late afternoon. New Year’s Day. Melting at the airport because the electricity was so overloaded the air con stopped.

Our daughter (Happy Birthday TODAY, KT!)

drove a nervous but excited me to the airport early..because..that is ME. My flight with Hawaiian Airlines was due to leave at 10.p.m. She and her youngest got Maccas and went home.

I sweated it out with a brief thought to forget this and go home. I shooshed anxiety and when I got to priority board (I joined Hawaiian Air’s Premier Club & it was so worth it) I sighed with relief from the air-con on the plane, the attendants in Hawaiian garb and their friendly demeanour. I also had a window seat (as requested via the Premier Club and had that seat each time I flew with them. I could not fault Hawaiian Air. Ever!

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/AiIE/hawaiian-airlines-we-are-all-voyagers

Hawaii – Oahu and The Big Island.

For the girl who had never travelled OS before but was a hugely skilled planner the trip went well. Originally organised by the local Flight Centre with me adding more ($$) to this trip I fear would be the only one (looking like it 12 years later) so I got to experience as much as possible. The notion of being solo did not faze me at all. I have a presence that does not show fear and I am a confident walker and can talk to most people.

Dad asked me to have a Mai Tai under the Banyan Tree – next door to my hotel. I had a Pina Colada.

My itinerary: loosely!

I stayed at Waikiki Parc hotel, upgraded to an ocean view and loved it so much for its breakfasts (hello, guava juice), the staff who lent me a body board and stored some of my belongings when I went to the Mainland AND for being only one very small walkway from the sand and the water, and a lovely walk either by the road or along the sand to Waikiki Beach. I did a morning tour to the Arizona Memorial. Very sombre and very moving when you see the whole harbour.

Inside the Arizona Memorial

I was there for 3 nights and then flew to The Big Island for 2 nights and hired a car there. I had hoped to visit the now very active volcano after finding out how to get to Hilo early one morning by car. I got lost and ended up back at Kona instead. Loved meeting new people and having new experiences. Took a gazillion photos but only a few are on my computer now.

Loved driving the Mustang

After returning to Oahu, I got an Hawaiian air flight to Los Angeles where, as was organised back in Sydney I was to be met by a driver to take me to my hotel in Beverly Hills. He was a no-show and that saw me on the mobile to his company to find that they had no booking but would see me Sunday to bring me back to LAX. Fortunately, as I am pretty resourceful and unafraid to seek help, I got on a shuttle bus and heard some Aussie accents and didn’t mind the scenic trip via UCLA on the way (very late now) to my hotel. Sorry Ma’m kitchen is closed. It was a snacks dinner.

Made my way to a good breakfast pretty early and readied myself for LA in a Day. It took in all the sights: I went to Venice Beach (so different to my idea of a beach) I loved using the ladies at Beverly Hills Hotel that was in Pretty Woman, did a bit of Hollywood Shopping for young starstruck granddaughters, was disappointed by the Hollywood sign and surprised myself by liking Universal Studios tour. I had a photo with Princes Fiona as Shrek was the “in movie”

What “Hollywood Sign?” Oh there!

Flew out on Sunday to Las Vegas after the promised Chauffeur limo drive I should have also had on Friday night.

Las Vegas. I just laughed out loud when I saw the poker machines at the end of the plane bridge. From then on, after checking in at Excalibur I smiled, observed and just took it all in. Saw Mamamia performed live, went through the Titanic exhibition and had a night Las Vegas tour culminating in taking in the view at the top of a tower. Oh, and met Elvis. Of course. Spent a wonderful day on a small bus excursion out to Hoover Dam and crossed the border. Great experience and saw some of the native American ventures as well.

Thank you very much

San Francisco. Really did steal my heart. I loved it. I felt ‘at home’. I can see why my Aussie expat friend Katherine is calling it home. Here is her blog. I stayed near the water and walked to have a crab lunch as my father insisted I do. I booked a tour of Alcatraz back in Australia and really found that tour amazing and quite sobering. I spent time going on the trolleys and finally finding a decent coffee. Sigh. Loved the bookstores, the music stores. Was not so pleased with the poverty I saw in the streets. Vietnam vets in particular.

Yes that is me with a few cameras (and a tour listening thingy)…

Back to LA. Waiting, waiting, waiting…for Trip Back to Honolulu.

My last days overseas were spent swimming in that warm water, walking to the photo developer near the statue of the Duke getting all of my pics developed before I got home, going to the Hawaiian markets and buying an extra bag to bring STUFF home in, and having a day tour of the North Shore. I had been singing Ride The Wild Surf on the school bus for years as a teenager and could not wait to see this beach. Nothing. Gentle waves. Boo, no wild surf. Still, we had a great tour driver and asking him a few questions found out that his job as a school teacher cannot keep up the mortgage payments on the house (housing was/is very expensive in Oahu) so he supplemented as a tour driver. I also saw a lot of poverty on some of the back streets.

What Wild Surf?

Home on 15 January 2006. Laden with stuff…for the kids. My lesson about that? Buy nothing! Bring back memories!

Now, that is a long story.

However I am going to finish with a wish.

I would like to visit the UK; specifically the areas where my grandparents lived: England and Scotland. I would also like to do a war sites/grave tour of France. This is unlikely to happen: due to my age…and money. BUT, I have decided not to give it away but to consider it.

What countries have you visited?

Denyse.
Joining with Alicia for Open Slather Here.

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Next Week’s Optional Prompt: 33/52.  Famous People I Have Met 13/8/18.


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