Woah. Well, I’m back – much lighter in the wallet but much, much richer nonetheless. Oh, too cheesy? Sorry, I’ll stop.
The last couple of days in America were a whirlwind of travel, crab, and copious amounts of alcohol. Rickhouse in San Francisco make a damn fine Old Fashioned. They come with complementary hangovers, too – so you get plenty of bang for your buck.
We ate and drank a lot.
And – a fact that I’m not proud of – my last day in America was spent extremely hungover, gorging on a Big Mac (the ultimate hangover cure), and incorrectly referring to Alcatraz as “Alakazam” and “Azkaban“. After the boozy night prior, I was unable to actually make it to the ferry out to Alcatraz. This makes me (and my $50 pre-paid ticket) mighty sad.
I’ve been home for a couple of days now and the last month (and limited sleep on the plane) is catching up with me. No run yet, but I’ve managed to go out for every meal and hang out with friends at the beach on a very sunny day here in Wellington.
That, I think, is the epitome of success. Or maybe tied for first place with a nap. Work tomorrow!
On the train from Seattle to Portland a little girl sitting at the back of the carriage sang the whole way. It was happy singing, the kind that makes you smile and get back to your book, rather than want to hurl a shoe in her general direction (note the use of want, if you ever actually acted on this you’d be a dick. She’s two. Jeez). Every now and then she turned to potty musings, breaking the lyrics about her mum and stuffed dog with the things she liked to do on the potty.
While I won’t share her actual lyrics, I will share the story it prompted from my neighbour.
My neighbour’s husband had always wondered what it was like for kids and using nappies (diapers), not remembering what it was like when he was it that situation. Afterall, who does?
So he and his mates wore adult nappies to a bar where they proceeded to drink beer until they couldn’t physically fit any more down. When the time came – and we all know what time that is – they all looked at each other, gave the eyebrow raise and a nod.
All used their nappies.
At the bar.
At same time.
Of course, the diapers couldn’t hold it all. There was a massive mess and the group had made half a dozen puddles on the floor.
With wet pants and heads hanging low, the group left the bar leaving a dripping trail behind them.
So, if you have ever considered trying something similar…you might want to rethink that. The experiment has been done!
And if you haven’t… Giggle away! We did.
After almost a month of staying in hostel dorms of varying quality, I was really looking forward to Portland and getting to stay in a pretty nice hotel. Gotta love those online early-bird sales.
After a last minute change of plans I upped my reservation at Hotel Vintage Plaza from just one night to two. Best decision I’ve made all trip. This place is great.
Sure, it’s got the basics that every hotel has – but it’s the little extras that had me grinning from ear to ear (and throwing myself onto the bed) within minutes of walking into the room.
They included a stuffed animal, suggestions for local jogging routes and robes that were so ugly that they’re actually gorgeous. The winning touch, though, was the note from Laura the housekeeper. See, it’s the little things.
Without a doubt, I would recommend Hotel Vintage Plaza, and by association the other Kimpton hotels, to anyone looking to relax in a new city. A++
When I initially arrived in Seattle I asked a friend for suggestions on what to check out. The response I received was (you can kick me later):
“Well my first suggestion would be to avoid Seattle… But in the absence of that… I have no idea.
I’ve been here less than 24 hours and I really like the city, and hate Starbucks (original or otherwise).
The highlight of the day was definitely the Underground Tour I took this afternoon.
The tour was fantastic. Hands down the best tour I’ve taken on this trip, and certainly in the top 5 I’ve ever been on.
Packed full of humour, the history of the city was presented in a captivating format – starting with a talk at the Pioneer Square base location, and further talks as we worked our way through several underground passageways. The tour covered off exploding toilets, the rebuild of Seattle after the big fire, the talented ‘seamstresses’ who earned much more than men of the city in an given hour, and the profitable mischief that only prohibition can inspire.
Intrigued? You should be.
They also do an adults only tour in the evening to cover off the other fun stuff not suitable for an all-ages daytime tour. More on the ‘seamstresses’ and all that. I was tempted, and still might this evening.
Self Portrait: Amy and the Bean
Millennium Park, Chicago IL
Thankfully, I’m in Chicago for a little longer than just an evening – but I got to spend my first evening up Willis Tower watching the evening drawer ever closer as the starlings of snow swirled under my feet on the glass balconies of the skydeck.
I rocked up to the building just after 4pm (today being a Wednesday) and there was absolutely no line. I was extremely lucky. And as such, I was able to watch as dark descended on the city. Lights popped up slowly but surely, and the face of the city changed completely.
Chicago, you are a very beautiful city.
Though it started out murky and grey, today has turned into the sunniest, warmest day of my trip so far – not at all what I expected in Boston. Nor was it what I expected when I dressed in my super-warm merino gear.
Not having long in the city (just today and tomorrow) I wanted to see as much of it as I could on foot. Convenient since the Freedom Trail was at the top of my ‘to-do’ list in Boston.
I followed the
yellow red brick road for the 2.5 miles that wind in and around the historic streets of Boston, highlighting key places in the city’s – and nation’s – history. Starting at the Boston Common, the trail lead me past the State House, Old City Hall, and the site of the Boston Massacre before heading out to Charlestown.
In Charlestown, the trail ends at the Bunker Hill Monument in remembrance of the Battle of Bunker Hill (first major battle of the Revolutionary War).
Standing under it, the monument feels as though it’s shooting up into the sky for miles. Almost endless. That’s when one of the rangers pointed out that I could climb it if I wanted. Yes, of course!
Bad day to have skipped breakfast.
I made it to the top, wobbly-legged but heart still beating (a little too-much for my liking). The view was great, though the windows were too small for photos. It’s okay though – I’ve to ‘em right in here [points to brain]. You’ll just have to climb it too!
Note to self: get more exercise on this trip.
I’ve been away from home for almost three weeks now, and though I haven’t battled any cases of explosive diarrhoea as the title of this post would suggest, my butt is growing at an alarming speed.
Sure, I expected a little weight gain – I’m on holiday! In America of all places.
And my jeans still fit. The pair one size down from these ones (my most-read post to date, apparently posting pictures on your butt on the Internet gets clicks).
I will not get a muffin top.
At least, no more than I had when I left.
This is a perfectly achievable mini-goal to set myself. Just watch me achieve, doubters!
1. Opt for fruit and vege wherever possible. Not all meals must be bread-based, regardless of what’s dished out at hostels and in restaurants.
2. Water, water, water.
3. Walk when it’s not raining. I did it in San Francisco, I can do it in Boston, too.
4. Continue to wear jeans that fit. None of that finishes-half-way-up-your-crack business. Ick.
During my time in New York I’ve been fortunate enough to see three shows – both on and off Broadway – each completely different:
1. Phantom of the Opera
3. Avenue Q
For anyone even remotely curious about them, I’ve jotted some of my thoughts behind the cut. If you’ve seen any of them, please share your thoughts, too!