Return to Wendy’s Travel Diary

Post Script

Just to let you know we arrived home safely on Sunday morning (after a delayed start of about an hour). We were pleasantly surprised to be met by some family who drove us home. Spent the afternoon shopping and then had a  reasonably early night.

We spent Monday catching up on a few things – unpacking, washing, checking up on the house renovations and preparing to get back into our normal routine.

How quickly we move on! Once again we hope you enjoyed coming along on holiday – it was great to have you with us. Catch you soon. Norm and Wendy

Day 24 (Friday 4 June) Los Angeles

So now the end is fast approaching. We are sitting at the airport waiting for our return flight (it leaves in about 4 hours so we are a little early). It gives me time to write the blog and for Norm to do some reading.

We walked around Santa Monica again today and down to the pier. We had lunch on the Promenade and checked out the shops. No cameras today.

We were reflecting  – it seems such a long time since we arrived here (and then to Boston). We have seen and done a lot of things. On reflection we have not really stopped – I knew we would have been on the move but I didn’t  think we would have packed so much into the time.

We saw the sights and we talked to a range of different people (you all know Norm’s gift for asking questions and everyone wants to answer them – even some that I just cringed at when he asked them!) and everyone has an opinion and is happy to express it (and they don’t seem to take offence at the questioning).

I have been taking lessons and am getting better at asking questions of the taxi drivers when Norm has problems hearing. This proved rather interesting today with the trip to the airport. The taxi driver was Moroccan and had a few problems with English. This meant he spent a lot of time actually looking at us rather than the road ahead – which made for an interesting ride. We were on the highway with 5 lines each way and he seemed to want to occupy one the lanes going in the opposite direction. I tried unsuccessfully to get him to refocus on the road but once the line of questioning started he didn’t stop – I am obviously going to have to take a few more lessons from the Norm Lewis school of questioning! Our Moroccan friend has a dream to come to Australia – beware of a Moroccan driving a taxi!

Since we have been here the big issue has been the oil spill (we are now into day 46) and there are still problems with capping the pipe. Another issue is that the Government wants to halt drilling for at least 6 months but now the affected States do not want this as the oil companies are such large employers in these areas. The environmental impact is massive and the fishing industry will be greatly effected – it is said that this spill is 2 to 3 times the size of the Exxon spill which is still having an impact on the environment 20 years on.

We have found the people to be friendly, well-mannered, not loud, concerned about both the future generally and their own futures. A comment in the lift today (as we were leaving) by 3 middle-aged business men was that were going to leave the country as they felt there were opportunities for them – one guy said we are leaving as Rome burns.

Elections for State Governors and Primaries are in full swing and TV is full of advertisements for these (if you think the advertising for our elections are bad – these are constant and highly personalised which includes bagging the potential candidates).

Regardless of the negative issues – summer school holidays are approaching and retailers and restaurants are hopeful of a busy season. They are obviously a sporting nation with lots of live coverage of baseball and basketball at this time. The daily newspapers have even reported Sam Stosur’s success in getting to the final of the French Open.

This trip has provided us with lots to things to reflect on and has also given us the travel bug.

It is now time to sign off. Thank you all for being a part of the trip – we hope you have enjoyed it. I know a large number of people have been following us – on some days over 120 people have logged into the site and this includes some people we have never met but who sent notes to say that they were enjoying the blog which was  nice.

So that is all from us now – take care and we will be in touch when we return.

Lots of Love. Norm and Wendy

Day 23 (Thursday 3 June) Los Angeles

Well we made this far but today Norm finally put his foot in it. We took a tour of Hollywood, Rodeo Drive and surrounding areas and he managed to upset the tour guide. In fact the guide was very keen to give Norm extra time to visit different areas so that he could leave before we were back!

Seriously though the tour guide has great – asked lots of questions and wanted participation by the customers. It was very entertaining. Check out the photos below.

Photos from today's exploits

I forgot to share something from yesterday – this is for the staff at GGV (including Sheila – someone may need to show this to her – has she seen the blog?)  Anyway I have found something to install in the office to keep us cool.

This is a fine mist spray machine - what do you think?

 As I write this post the LA Lakers are playing the Boston Celtics (1st game in the NBA (Basketball) finals and the LA Lakers are winning 89 to 74 in the last quarter with 7 minutes to go).

One other thing to all of you following this blog – I have made a faux pas on this blog – I wonder how many of you noticed (but were too nice to comment)? When we arrived here on Tuesday I said we were 11 hours behind Melbourne – in actual fact we are 17 hours behind you – I am glad to see you are all on your toes!!

Anyway time to sign off – last day here tomorrow (nothing planned – but that will probably change!) Home is fast approaching – will post something tomorrow. N&W

Day 22 (Wednesday 2 June) Los Angeles

Today we spent the day at Universal Studios. I did wonder how we would  spend the whole day there but there were so many things to do (and there were a lot of people there too). 

We visited most of the activities and went on a few of the rides (especially the ones where you get wet!!! – I spent most of the day soggy). 

We left at 9:00am and got back at 7:30pm so it was a full day. We have another big day planned so will sign off now. I will leave you with some photos from today’s excursion. Bye for now. N&W 

Photos from Universal Studios

 

View from our Hotel room

Day 21 (Tuesday 1 June) Los Angeles

So now we are in LA. Arrived around midday (lost 3 hours coming across the country – so we are now only 11 hours behind Melbourne). While on the plane I jotted down a few things that came to mind that I have not included in the blog. 

Some reflections on the trip so far. 

Yesterday we got up at 5:30am in preparation to go on our day tour – we planned to get the subway to Union Station where the tour was leaving from. We left the hotel at around 6:20 and went to the subway which was closed – so then we decided to walk to the station this took about 35 minutes. Our walk took us through Chinatown and as we walked along there was a television van parked in the street and I recognised the reporter in the van as the person who had earlier been on the TV reporting on some shootings on the news that morning (this was very comforting – I don’t think) so we walked a little faster to get to the Station. 

Have I mentioned our taxi drivers?  We have had 3 drivers from Pakistan and 1 from India who immediately pick us as either English or Australian (usually English), their nationality is determined and the first thing that is mentioned in cricket and the conversation takes off from there! 

The currency here is annoying – 1 cent coins!!! It is amazing how quickly you forget about them once they are abolished (and then how quickly they become an irritation when you are re-introduced to them). 

You can probably imagine Norm is certainly full of questions and “normisms”  (and some politically incorrect) – he will have plenty of things to recount when we get home. 

Have I mentioned that I have worn through 2 pairs of socks? One thing you can be assured I am not going to darn them! 

The following photos are recollections from yesterday. 

Our visit to Mount Vernon, Arlington Cemetery and the Lincoln and Washington Memorials

 

We are staying in Santa Monica (about 20 kms from LA) and are about 4 streets from the Pacific Ocean. The temperature is a lot cooler here than we have had in the past few days (we needed a jacket – lightweight) but the report is that it will be 100 degrees on Saturday (thank goodness we will be leaving Friday night – I am ready for cooler temperatures now). 

We have had a walk around the streets and have been out to the Santa Monica Pier. We have planned to visit Universal Studios and have a tour around LA while we are here so that should keep us on our toes! Here are some photos from around here. Enjoy. N&W 

Scenes from around Santa Monica

Day 20 (Monday 31 May) Washington

Last day in Washington. It was really hot today! We opted for a bus tour and went to Mount Vernon (George Washington’s home – what a lovely location), the town of Old Alexandria and visited Arlington cemetery (again). As today was a public holiday for Memorial Day there were a lot of people at Arlington. This time we saw the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier. The precision was impressive especially considering how hot it was.

We went back to Abraham Lincoln’s memorial and a few others as well. All in all a good day. We are now in the process of packing as we leave for LA in the morning – another packing exercise which should again prove an interesting challenge!!! More tomorrow from LA. N&W

Day 19 (Sunday 30 May) Washington

The big news over here is oil spill and BP’s inability to plug the flow. On the  news this morning is the fact that the latest attempt has failed and the next step is unknown.

Today we visited the Washington National Cathedral – caught the subway (we are really getting the hang of this!). It took 83 years to complete the cathedral and it is the second largest cathedral in the country.

We then caught the train back to the Capitol Building (couldn’t get too close as they had set up a stage in front of it to hold the Memorial Day concert which was being held tonight.

We then visited the Museum of Natural History and visited some of the relatives! Also saw the Hope Diamond.

Again – it was soooo hot – and tomorrow is going to be hotter!!!! Then out to dinner with Ceri and Allen again – we had a lovely time; it was sad to say goodbye but we promised keep in touch.

One more day in Washington and another action packed day planned. See you later. N&W

Day 18 (Saturday 29 May) Washington

Last night we had dinner with friends (Ceri and Allen) at a lovely restaurant called the Tabard Inn (very English). It was a lovely evening chatting and relaxing.

Ceri volunteered to be our Guide for today so we met up mid-morning and set off for the subway (we are getting good at this subway thing) with the first stop being Arlington Cemetery. Monday is a public holiday for Memorial Day (like our ANZAC Day) so many of the locals have gone away and a lot of tourists have moved in. One group that have moved in are former Vietnam Veterans (on their Harley Davidson motorcycles). In previous years around 16,000 motorcyclists have arrived to take part in a parade on the Sunday as a form of respect and acknowledgement for those who fought in the Vietnam war. They are expecting a similar turnout tomorrow (Sunday here). There were a large number of people at the cemetery and we saw John F Kennedy’s grave site. In addition we went through the house used by General Robert E Lee which overlooks Arlington.

We then went back to the subway and went out to Georgetown. Had lunch in a lovely little French restaurant and then wandered down to Washington Harbour on the Potomac River and viewed the Kennedy Centre and the Watergate building.

From there we went back into Georgetown and onto Georgetown University. The buildings in Georgetown are lovely and the University was impressive and expansive.

Another wonderful day. More walking and exploring planned for tomorrow. Stay tuned. N&W

Scenes from Arlington Cemetery, Washington Harbour and the Potomac River, Georgetown and Georgetown University

Day 17 (Friday 28 May) Washington

So today we have spent the day looking through some of the Smithsonian Museums – Aerospace, the Castle and the Archives (Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights and Constitution). We also walked around and took in the buildings.

I forgot to tell you what happened yesterday. We walked to the White House initially on our afternoon walk. After a while Norm had developed a blistered so we stopped to put a band-aid. Just as we were putting it on security started yelling at us to move and that we had 1 minute to do so. We moved obviously and then we were told to get of the mall – again we did so – a few minutes later the President’s car came through flanked by the Secret Service – that created some excitement for us!

Presidential entourage from Day 16

We are now getting ready to have dinner with a friend who has moved over here – so that should be a very pleasant evening. (Now we are back on track with the blog too!!) Signing off for today. N&W

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