Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Disneyland - La La Town

I looked around the room a second time, rolled out of bed and did those post-drinking, post-long haul flight checks; breathing, dizziness, headache, fogged up feeling, aches and pains.  I felt pretty much ready to rock with a slight headache and a gentle listlessness.  I showered, dressed and went lookiong for food.  The Holiday Inn Feedlot wasn't for me, I wanted to sample a genuine greasyspoon Americcan breakfast.  Took me a couple of blocks of walking in the Anaheim sun but I found one.  I ordered eggs (over easy), bacon, grilled tomatoes, mushrroms and hash browns on the side.  The orange juice was served in a large glass (unlike the recession thimbles they used in England) and the coffee was very ordinary; no espresso or capiccino, just the pot they keep on the warmer.  The food was okay in quality but generous in quantity.  A plate full of bacon, another with the tomatoes and mushies and another with the hash browns.  So that was me sorted for at least another six hours.

I went back to the hotel after stopping at a minimart to stock up on basics - coke, juice, a loaf of bread, some cold cuts, cheese and a bag of pistachios. I snookered that in the fridge along withg a six pack of Miller and then caught the shuttle to Disneyland.

Disneyland is fucjing big.  I know that's like saying the universe is big but Disneyland is still fucking big.  Not only in size but in concept.  It was the first of its kind and a great example of the scope of American imagination.  I validated my day pass and walked straight up Main Street.  I don't have a lot of notes on this part of my trip so details are sketchy but here we go anyway.  I walked around a lot, getting my bearings and trying to score dope off goofy.  He just diodn't want to play along.  Minnie seemed to have her own set of goons whose sole purpose was to thwart my attempts to goose her.  The goons succeded.  In amongst the walking I queued up for some rides.  The first one was a gold miners mountain ride which was okay, but then I hit the jungle cruise and the Pirates of the Caribbean.  The robots were passable and the rides themselves quite enjoyable, especially the water ones.  I rode the paddle steamer, the submarine (we avoided the giant squid - phew!) and capped it all off at Space Mountain.  That was one hell of a roller coaster ride and worth the cost of the day ticket.

One thing about Disneyland is its wholesomeness.  I went round behind some buildings to see if there were any desperate types finagling joints or blow but there was nothing.  I guessed the cameras would soon pick up on anything barred by Unlce Walt, manned as they no doubt were by a battalion of Disney Goons.  The food on offer was pretty much the standard of what you get at a football match or a baseball game.  Very fucking ordinary.  After a soldi day of hassling goofy,  taking the rides and getting cold shouldered by Minnie it was time for me to head home, Holiday Inn home that is.  I was feeling hungry so after getting cleaned up in my room I did another look around and found a small hole in the wall eatery.  Got myself a four buck steak with fries, coleslaw and potato salad, all of which seemed surprisingly fresh.  What I next needed was a beer so it was back to the H.I. for a sharpie or two.  After a couple of draughts I suddenly felt all funny, like tired and washed out.  Ahh, sweet jet lag, carry me home.  I managed a quick shot of JD in my room before crashing out.  Next day I was off to L.A. proper to check out the real La La Land.

I woke up feeling very chipper and went and sampled the Holiday Inn feedbag's breakfast.  I went easy, settling on the short stack with maple syrup and butter plus a big ojay.  They woukdn't sell me an espresso either, something I'd have to get used to, so it was pot coffee again.  With the meal they threw in a couple of hash browns which were the size of the local A-K phone book.  I guess they thought mini mountain of pancakes wasn't enough.  It was surprisingly good food, surprising because I had this preconception that American food would be pretty much homogenous goop as exampled by McDonalds.  Not that I thought Maccas was a true representation of American cuisine (there was also the Colonel and Pizza Hut) its just that I reckoned it would be okay but not really noteworthy.  Their breakfasts were starting to win me over.

I packed up my gear and grabeed the shuttle into LA.  I had a two night pass for the Holiday Inn and spent most of that cowed over by the flu.  It struck as soon as I hit Lala Land.  On the second day I hit Venice Beach and was amused by it.  It was sort of like Bondi on steroids but brighter and funnier.  Lots of street stuff, beach posing and scam merchants all up and down the main strip.  I decded a swim was in order and it felty good, hitting the Pacifric from its other side.  Didn't help with my flu so I went back to my hotel and sought comfort from Uncle JD and some flu tabs.  Before these took effect I checked my guide book for cheap dives, circled a couple for future reference and then zoned out, dreaming of cockroach hotels and starlets.  Not really, I actually didn't dream a thing, I was just pissed off that I wasted my good hotel nights on being unwell. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

On The First Day I Dreamt Of Goosing Minnie

Well, here we go again.  Sorry about the neglect which  was down to a combination of me being a lazy prick, problems with access to electronic abacus machines and some other job related crap which isn't really all that interesting given that most people go through it.  Enough of the maudlin apologies, let's get cracking.

After tooling around Europe I decided that a trip over to North America would be a good idea.  Sure, my thinking was vague,
"North America is thataway.  Duck me fed, another long haul flight but at least they'll speak English.  Kind of.  Better save up some cash and git on over there" but I had a few ideas.
The plan was to visit a couple of people I'd met in Europe, hang around them like a bad smell and annoy the bejaysus out of them and see a little bit of the good ol' USA and a fair bit of Canada.  I had contacts in Calgary and Toronto and decided to make the rest up as I went along.  I had some definites; July 4th in a vacation type setting, Vancouver Expo, Calgary Stampede and making a nuisance of myself in old mate Doug's home town of Toronto.  Sure, he was fine in Europe when he was free of employment and hometown duties but when a freeloader like me comes to town?  All I can say is good luck.  Oh, I also wanted to hit Disneyland.

The flight from Sydney to L.A. was through the dubious agencies of Air New Zealand.  They were the cheapest deal I could arrange and in my travel package they threw in a week's worth of Holiday Inn vouchers for ten bucks.  Trust me, I checked out all the offers and this one was straight.  Flying with Air Paewa Fritter meant a stop in Auckland at crap o'clock with no bar service, another in Honolulu with genuine friendly American "Welcome to America" sentiments and then
"L.A. International Airport
Where the big jet engines roar"  - thanks Susan Raye.

So what does a clueless Aussie do when landed in Lala Land with a transfer voucher to the Holiday Inn at Anaheim.  (Yes, I wanted Space Mountain real bad.)  What I did was get on the coach and have a look at the LA-Anaheim road trip.  Not that exciting, but I'd been told to expect not much  except for the amusement parks.  I was dropped off at Anaheim Holiday Inn, hitched my pack and checked in.  The room was pretty good and I had a feeling that my near future of hostels. Y's, cockroach dives and couches of friends would make this seem like the pinnacle of luxury.  I was right.  I knew it deep down so I immediately dialled up room service and ordered the test marker of any hotel, a club sandwich.  They did a fair job of the sandwich while I was using the shower and stashing the soap and shampoo reserves.  I also sampled my first Bud out of a can in the U.S.  Wasn't as crappy as I thought but it was like a Macdonald's beer.  Yeah, you can drink it but there's better stuff around.  So I decided that one way to fight jet lag would be to check out the hotel's bars.  I found a dodgy lounge affair, a piano bar and finally settled on a regular type bar with a lively bar guy.  I settled in and ordered a draught.  I held out cash as the barman brought my beer but he said to run a tab instead.  I then remembered I was meant to tip.  Did I tip the room service guy?  Yep, and it was at least ten per cent.  Okay, how does bar tipping work when you run a tab?  Fuck the confusion, just ask the man behind the bar.  The response was that you can tip small for each drink or just leave a nice note at the end.  If you're in a group just tip each time the waiter brings a round of drinks and make it ten per cent minimum.  If you tip more, you'll get more. If you do neither then don't come back and expect to be served anything halfway decent.  Thanks Mr Barkeep, I'll steer clear of the beer for now and give me a double Jack thanks.
"Whoa, Big Guy!!"
 I then found out why he said that.  His version of a double was basically to free pour a generous slurp, then another and then double that.  Ended up being almost the volume of a hip flask.  In a very large glass with ice and a splash of coke.  It looked magnificent so I tipped him four bits, keeping a couple of notes on the bar as obvious tip bait.  I had a beer chaser and then started feeling Mr Nod zoning in so I went and zoned out after he poured me a complimentary single shot straight up.  I swallowed it down sharpish, feeling the warmth begin to remind me of time differences, potential jet lag and limited budgets.  I did some quick bar maths and figured I'd been treated very fairly even after leaving a couple of bills on the deck.  The reason you need to know this is because bar etiquette is very important to a thirsty traveller and once you crack it, you can crack most anything when visiting foreign countries.  Food is always easy but bar smarts are essential, no matter how complex they may appear at first glance.  Remember, always, always have a towel, toothpaste and condoms. Stash bread and cheese in your day pack with a bottle of vino or a ocuple of beers and you'll make it through anything.  Oh yeah, a hip flask may sound pretentious but they are very fucking useful in a tight fix (like a no alcohol venue).  Oh shit, is this gonna be another series of ramblings about drinking?  Well here's a big fucking clue; the first anecdote was about learning how to tip in bars in the USA.  There's other crap to throw in so don't feel neglected if you're a non drinker, just feel like you're on the outer.

So the next morning I got up wonering where the fuck I was.  Then I saw an empty Bud can on top of the teev,  a few remnants of my club sandwich from the previous night and an opened bottle of JD on the kitchen bench.  Where the hell did that come from?  Oh yeah, sweet sweet Duty Free. I was some sort of genius.
So what was in store next?  Where was I?  AnafuckingMountDruittfuckingHeim. If you're lost, google Mt Druitt or Fountain Lake, then google Anaheim.  There's no fucking difference except Anaheim has more MacDonalds outlets and theme parks, the biggest and best being good ol' Uncle Walt's pioneering effort. Yep, I had a dream of going to Disneyland, smoking some jays with Goofy and chasing Minnie around those stupid fucking teacups.  A bloke has to have ambition.  So Disneyland here we come!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bin A Little While

Okay folks, I've been neglecting my blog and yours. You know who you are. Rest assured I'll be spooling up another entry pretty soon so that you can get another fix of crap writing. I'll even venture into your blogs and make stupid comments again.
In the meantime may I suggest you put mangoes in your underwear and invite your close friends to create fresh smoothies. Hmmmm, squishy delicious undergarments. Enjoy!