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Published: December 1st 2007
I was quite sad to leave the old NZ really. It felt quite homely and I could I have quite happily spent a good while longer there really, especially as the summer was really starting to kick in during my last two weeks or so. Twas a shame I was hoiking bags of cement onto a building site for all those days. Nevermind something had to give with an eye on prolonging my trip.
For the last few days I stayed at Max and Ken’s house. It was a bit of a god send really, free food, free booze, free washing and to top it all off a free lift to Paihia. To think it all started off as a weekend job all those months ago! I would still describe there back garden as work in progress. The foundations/plans have been laid for Eden though. Might comeback sometime in the future and see if they have found some worthy backpackers to replace the aranga 2007 squad of navvy’s.
Spent the last couple of days in Paihia with a few friends. They had a house in the hills overlooking the bay of islands. Pretty spectacular really when accompanied with a
case or two Carlsberg. For any Arangarites I did feel bad not toasting my final night with that fine nectar that goes by the name of RANFURLY. Having lived at aranga though you will also know what a localized delicacy it is!
From Paihia I managed to in theory actually miss the bus for one reason or another. I was 15 mins late for it, but there it was still waiting for me or so id like to think
In the end I got to Auckland airport in ample time. This gave me time to sort out all my luggage and make sure I wasn’t carrying any offensive items. After all I was going to America and I didn’t fancy an air marshal unleashing a can of mace in my face just because he caught a glimpse of my lynx Africa can peeking out bag. This hadn’t been a problem on my internal flight in NZ where I inadvertently carried a knife, penknife and a screwdriver in my hand baggage. This is not big or clever, but shit happens.
It’s bizarre really all the protocol you have to go through to get on a sodding flight. No
under the bay bridge
i initally thought these were the golden gates, how wrong could i be
converging with groups of more than two people by the toilet bla bla …………… the list is endless, bit draconian really. Sounds like some Clapham common protocol for politicians come to think of it.
You have to laugh when you arrive in America. Even the pilot sounded like he was almost laughing when he announced that they take there national security pretty seriously over here so prepare yourselves. All these booming voices coming from all directions. A zoo comes to mind,
“come forward ladies and gentlemen you are now in America” Then you go through the process of having you bags searched about 20 million times before you leave the airport.
If this sounds bitter it’s because I am! I didn’t have an address for a place I would be staying in America mainly because I didn’t have one so I was sent to the back of the immigration queue whilst furiously trying to find an address of any hostel anywhere in San Francisco to scribble down. Its a wonder why people bother because it’s such a pain in the arse getting into the country.
After all that I arrived in San Francisco and it’s a pretty
cool place. Pretty cool in the sense that i haven’t been anywhere that resembles a big city for nigh on a year. The hills are big and it’s big in itself.
I haven’t really done a great deal in San Francisco. I have pretty much eaten what amounts to the American dream I guess, doubling up and super sizing wherever possible. Other than that I have been to a few Basketball games and just generally walked around getting lost. The only touristy thing of note I have done was getting the ferry across to Alcatraz. More than anything this offered spectacular views of San Francisco. I guess it was a case of so far yet so close for the prisoners.
Bearing in mind that I shall probably be eating BBQ guinea pigs for the next 4 months I thought I would have an all American breakfast on my final day. The combination of sweet and savory, still not entirely convinced. Here is where American English and the real English get a little confused. On the simple matter of a fried breakfast,
“How would you like your eggs sir?”
“Easy, over easy, sunny side up, sunny side
eggs,pancakes,sausages,bacon,myple syrup........... no other word for this other than wrong
down or medium?”
“What the F#$K is this cowboy on about?”
“You know, just runny”
“So that will be easy sir”
“Yep I guess”
After this little conversation it finally dawned on me why the American clientele often seemed a little non plussed by the whole little chef experience. The options just weren’t there, early starter end of story really.
In Retrospect it has definitely been a good idea stopping off in San Francisco. I am feeling pretty fresh and ready for the start of my real travels which kick off in Venezuela in about 17 hours to be precise. Don’t really know what to expect here really. I was going to try and stay out of Caracas for the 1st few days due to the shit that could well hit the fan on the 2nd December when there is a vote on the constitution. Hugo Chavez is widely expected to win it i think, doesn’t really matter how. Everyone seems to hate the man but then I guess you rarely hear much in the media from the poor majority of Venezuela who his reforms I guess help to a certain extent. Then i guess there
me at alcatraz
in the birdmans cell, famously played by burt lancaster in the motion picture that went by the name of the birdman
is the 160,000 that marched through the streets yesterday saying vote yes, vote yes is a vote for Hugo. Anyhow on the 2nd December regardless of the result large pockets of civil unrest are set to errr explode. The words of the ever re assuring British consulate.
Upon arriving in Venezuela I have 12 days to make it to Guyana. This would be relatively easy but and its quite a big but, Venezuela has cut off all border crossings with Guyana which is handy. Now I have to go south east down to Brazil then up to Guyana instead of been able to head straight over the border. I haven’t really formulated any plan as such on how to get to Georgetown, Guyana yet. I have put aside 4 days for what could be some pretty brutal overland traveling. The plan is to show up at a bus station somewhere in Venezuela on the 9th and see what the options are. After all you have to keep it interesting.
As of a few minutes ago I made a releaving breakthrough and managed to get hold of the one and only semi hostel in the whole of Caracas. I
say semi because it doubles up as a brothel. The first floor been a “love motel” and well hopefully the second floor been somewhere you pay by the night rather than the hour.
Anyhow better get back to my phrasebook and get studying. I remember laughing off suggestions by some people at Aranga backpackers that I should learn some Spanish before going to South America. Well with about 20 hours to go until touchdown I can order a beer in Spanish and say hello. There is a long road ahead of me and its time to start walking it. Thats all really
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