Day 22: 4th of July Celebrations & our new Chicago friends

Our plans:

  • Fisherman’s Wharf to check it out. Success.
  • Get super drunk with Hostel for 4th of July Celebrations. Success with drunkness, unsuccessful with socialising with hostel people.
  • Watch 4th of July Fireworks. Success, though I don’t remember much of it.

Not particularly ambitious plans eh, but we did well, the goal was to have fun and it was a super fun day.

Fisherman’s Wharf was so packed when we got there, we ate at Pier 39 Market Restaurant or something, had oysters, clam chower, fish and chips and a strawberry lemonade, the Clam Chowder was in a sourdough bread bowl. The star was the COMPLIMENTARY sour dough bread rolls with butter, omg, divine, maybe I was just super hungry, but I could eat those all day long.

Taken with Instagram

Taken with Instagram

I love sourdough!!!! (Taken with Instagram)

We spotted a 2 Hour Tour Bus that takes you around San Francisco for $25, so we hopped onto that after lunch, 4 guys from Chicago hopped on too and started talking to us, we found out that they were all from the University of Illinois, are our age, and are here until Monday! We met Roy with the Shaggy Hair from UOI, Steven, Clarence and Kyle!

 We ended up talking to them throughout the entire ride. We went to Alamo Square, Union Square, around North Beach, and the Golden Gate Bridge. The bus ride is COLDDDDDDDDDDD, wear lots of long stuff, we went smack bang in the middle of summer and we were freezing like no tomorrow. The bus driver was super funny but I didn’t tip in the end, I felt so bad but I didn’t have ANY change on me, I know, what kind of person goes on holidays with no change? I don’t know.

Taken with Instagram

City Hall

Taken with Instagram

Hi mom! I’m in a postcard!

We ended up hanging out with our new friends for the rest of the night. First stop was O’Reilly’s Irish Pub (after unsuccessfully looking for a bar for about 1 hour around the area, FAILWHALE), I downed 2 long island iced teas while Anna refused to drink more of her drink, it was pretty foul, I have to admit. I don’t remember much of the rest of the night… aside from short flashes of memories of running into a Chinese restaurant to pee, going into a different chinese restaurant to eat (New Sun Hong Kong….), watching fireworks while a super annoying guy stood next to us and pretty much had commentary for the entire 30 minutes of the fireworks, all of us wanted to punch him. We walked back to our area and ditched our new friends, kind of regret not getting their contact details; they were SUPER nice and seemed like great guys! I do remember spending the entire night picking on two of them and insulting them. Nothing new there.

Taken with Instagram

Roy is the guy in the checkered red shirt

Taken with Instagram

Fireworks!

OH, I remember something else now, I was mocking the American accent but sounded like a total valley girl. I was trying to teach Roy how to say water, “no, say it like you would say WAR, and then WATER”… fail. We explained to them what “heaps” means… I’m sure there were tonnes of stupid stuff I missed.

Maybe if I’m lucky, Anna will bother to come and blog about the missing parts of my night, she was sober, I can’t remember half my night. Bwahah.

K.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Day 21: San Francisco + Yum Cha

Ahhh finally left the hole that is Orlando today, that place seriously has nothing, I like my cities like… well, cities! So it is with tremendous excitement that we have finally arrived to San Francisco! I have been told that I will love this place, and I really do, it’s such a chilled out city, reminds me of Melbourne.

We flew with AirTran, which isn’t too bad. I passed out before the plane even took off and woke up mid way through; I have a habit of sleeping through all my plane rides.

We are staying at the Green Tortoise Hostel here, SUPER CUTE HOSTEL, about $35 per person per night, it’s located in North Beach (near China Town, Little Italy, sort of near Union Square). Though the stares were a super bitch to get up, you need to walk up a flight of stairs to check in, I wanted to cry. Lucky the Hostel staff helped us when they saw two little asian girls struggling with their 22kg bags. Ahh, the life of a weak person, Anna did okay, she has guns. I will be first to admit I will let the men do the heavy lifting as soon as I can, so we checked in and got put up onto the floor above (HAHAH MORE FLIGHTS OF STAIRS), thank goodness the staff helped us out.

We had a super late lunch in some random Chinese restaurant in Chinatown, oh my, we did not realise how badly we missed Chinese food until that moment. We had yum cha and I swear to you I was THIS close to tears.

Next we headed to Union Square and had a stroll around, I’m kind of not allowed to shop until Los Angeles, my luggage is full as anything in the world and I want to buy a new Samsonite in LA to store new goodies. We also went to San Francisco Westfields.

The rest of our night was filled with eating more Chinese food (at New Sun Hong Kong Restaurant – they are so stupid, SUN in Cantonese means New, they are essentially saying NEW NEW HONG KONG RESTAURANT) and watching Zoolander on our TV  – Anna had wonton noodles and I had Thousand Year Old Egg Congee with those fried bread stick things, heaven! Some guy was super drunk and vomited and it stunk up the place.

K. 

Tagged , , , , , ,

Day 20: Universal Studios Island of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida

Day 2 of the Universal Studios Pass begins! It was $10 more than a 1 day pass, so it’s mighty worth it.

Universal Studios Island of Adventure

We initially planned to head to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter again to go on the Forbidden Journey ride but did not anticipate that at 10:15am, the wait would be 70 minutes. Most of the rides we went on 2 days ago have turned from 10-15 minute waits for us to 40-70 minute waits today.

We did most of the rides that we wanted to on the first day of the pass with the exception of SPIDERMAN and JURASSIC PARK. We’ve been on both at Universal Studios Osaka, but thought we’d go on in Orlando anyway, I mean, we did pay for the pass!

Spiderman was a 45 minute wait, it brought back memories of Japan where we were in line and they take you through the Daily Bugle (as part of the line) and we thought it was the ride, because we’re dumb asses. I think this ride is a little different to the one in Osaka, or maybe I’m just getting older and my memory is failing me, but it was super duper fun, you get put onto a Daily Bugle car and taken around, it’s pretty much a 4D adventure ride (WITH REAL FIRE AT SOME POINT!).

Jurassic Park is pretty much just a nice water ride around… well… Jurassic Park…. and then you go indoors, up a ramp in darkness and you plunge 18m (I think) down into water, water splashes up and over onto you. This also brought back memories of Japan, when we all bought the night pass, did not heed to warnings that we would get wet and to buy a poncho… bravely soldiering onto the ride, getting drenched in Japan winter weather (mfucking cold).

Universal Studios Florida

We went on the following rides:

  • Mummy Returns – super fun, an indoor rollercoaster that we went on twice, because it was so fun!! I love indoor rollercoasters.
  • Twister – Eh, you can give it a miss, it’s just this … thing that shows you the effects of a twister, they simulate lightning and cows flying across the sky and thunder and rain.
  • Hollywood Rock n Roll – the bane of my life, it was the steepest roller coaster at the park, Anna was super excited to go on it, and I wanted to cry, I was pretty much dreading it the entire day, it’s a roller coaster where you get to select your own music and it blasts into your ears, you have 80 seconds to select it (it takes 80 seconds from when you get strapped in to when you get to the peak of the rollercoaster), it’s a vertical ascension upwards, so your back is lying flat and it’s a horrible horrible feeling… the rollercoaster wasn’t too bad though, so I freaked out over nothing – nothing new. Bwahaha.
  • Men in Black Alien Invasion – also fun, but you twist and turn a lot, resulting in bruised elbows and stuff, you shoot aliens while being twisted and turned!

Oh, if a whole day is going to be spent at Universal Studios, get an ALL DAY MEAL DEAL for $20.99 and an all you can drink for $8.99, totally worth it if you don’t mind junk food. If you eat during lunch, avoid Mel’s Diner (MASS CROWDS), go to Louie’s Italian Restaurant instead, they have pastas and pizzas and stuff, and you can actually sit! We managed to spend about $35 on food that day, Anna even snuck a salad out of the park for a late night snack – winning Asians for ya.

We also went to watch the Hollywood Horror Make-up show towards the end of the day only because it was showing in 10 minutes, it doesn’t really go into Horror Makeup that much but it’s SUPER entertaining. It’s SO GOOD. The two hosts are insanely funny and have such good timing, they should have their own show.

Taken with Instagram

OH. 3 tips:

  1. Buy an all you can eat pass.
  2. Go on single ride lines (as in you don’t ride with your friend) as often as you can, you cut the line by like… heaps, some rides were like 60 minute waits and we got in in 10 minutes, SINGLE RIDING all the way!
  3. Use your knuckles to poke at numbers and stuff on the touch screen lockers, so many people struggled when they used their fingertips.

K.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Day 19: Disney World

The plan was to go to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom today. We were meant to catch the 8:15am bus and come home at 10:30pm. We woke up at 7:00am and decided that we would much rather catch the 11:15am bus.

I will say this now; we managed to go to not 2, but 3 Disney theme parks in one day! I also have a shorts tan from walking in the sun so much.

Hollywood Studios

There aren’t many fun rides here for adults; we were only here for the TWILIGHT ZONE: TOWER OF TERROR ride, it is actually different to the one in Japan – this one is better, it’s so good that we went on it TWICE! It’s the summer holidays in the states, so there were heaps of little kids everywhere, which resulted in the wait time for the Tower of Terror being like 10-20min, since the kids would always go to kiddy rides. Luck was on our side. I highly highly highly recommend going on this ride, twice.

We also went into a Disney Animation show, which was really cool (to me at least), we got to watch how Mushu, the dragon from Mulan, was animated and concept art for the characters from the new Disney movie BRAVE. We also got to see a lot of concept art for the castles, forests and cities used in Disney movies – all were so amazing and make me wish I was better at drawing/painting/illustration, it’s really something magical!

We then watched Beauty and the Beast on stage, this lasted for about 25min, they sang a few songs and danced and it was pretty entertaining – Beauty and the Beast is my favourite Disney movie!

There wasn’t much left to do that interested us, so we took a ‘friendship boat’ to EPCOT, this took roughly 25min and we were sweating bullets, it was nice to be on a lake and see the different hotels though.

EPCOT

EPCOT is a theme park centred on different countries from around the globe; they have certain areas that are modelled completely after a country. There is also a ‘futuristic’ area where they delve into technology/space/stuff but we were too lazy, so didn’t go. It doesn’t sound nearly as exciting as the other parks, but it is worth going to, every country area is made super realistic and they only employ people from that country to work there – e.g. in Japan, only Japanese people were working for it to be more authentic, it was amazing, I felt like I was in Japan again because there was a Mitsukoshi there and pretty Japanese buildings!

Anna and I finished EPCOT in 45 minutes because we only explored the countries that interested us (not many), it was also hot as hell and we wanted to get to Magic Kingdom; we took a monorail to the transportation area, and then another monorail to Magic Kingdom.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is where the beautiful Disney Sleeping Beauty Castle is, it’s gorgeous and I take photos with it in the background every single time I go to a Disneyland, I really had to resist the urge not to buy another set of Minnie Mouse ears, I already have 2, from my 2 separate trips to Japan. Le sigh. I am happy to report that I walked out of Disneyland with nothing 😀

We only went here for SPACE MOUNTAIN (we went on it twice too), the first wait was 50minutes, but before we went on it, we went and got a fast pass. Everyone needs to get their fast passes for their rides – saves you so much time.

Next we went to Haunted Mansion, which was a nice tour sort of ride through a haunted house; it’s really similar to the Nightmare before Christmas ride in Universal Studios Japan. We also wanted  to go to Splash Mountain, but the line was 70minutes and we had a bus to catch home in like 50min.

We decided to go to Pirates of the Caribbean, no, I decided to, because I always like to go to it. It’s a 5-10 minute boat ride around caves and pirate areas, it’s really quite cool, and you see a Johnny Depp/Jack Sparrow lookalike here and there. Oh, forgot to mention that the machine malfunctioned halfway through the ride, we bumped into the boat in front of us and both Anna and I were thinking “HMMMM SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT”, the boat stopped and then 5 minutes later,we were still sitting there… with about 5-6 boats behind us. Then the voice-over comes telling us that there has been a malfunction and that the ride will be re-booted and it should start shortly, we were stuck for about 15 minutes. Well, we did need a place that had seating and was air-conned, we got our wish I guess. We managed to learn the Pirate song from that little trip, it was playing over and over and over, if I hear that song again, my head will explode… Ho ho ho ho, the pirate song for me… *mumble mumble*

So there we have it, 3 theme parks in one day for $138! We also managed to slide in a little adventure at the Pirates of the Caribbean ride!

K.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Day 18: Off to Orlando & the most dangerous thing Anna and I will ever do in our lives

We so smartly booked a 6am bus ride to Orlando from Miami from Miami411, picked up directly from the hostel. It is a 4 hour ride after the bus has picked up every passenger, I didn’t know how long that took since Anna told me I passed out pretty early on, I woke up with about 40 minutes left to our destination. Anyone who has gone on holidays with me will know I am a winning sleeper, I sleep anywhere, so quickly too. We got dropped off at some Orlando Mall and were really concerned about how we were going to get to our hotel, it was about 20-25minutes away from where we got dropped off, and we decided not to rent a car, as it was too expensive and a hassle to drop it off where we wanted – they need you to drop the car off at 5pm, we’re at THEMEPARKS ALL DAY – HOW!! Shuttle buses and cabs it is!

The most dangerous thing Anna and I will ever do in our lives

Anyway, when we got there, all these people kept asking us if we needed a taxi, we were pretty desperate, or at least I was, Anna had her warning signs flashing (actually, so did I, but I chose to ignore them, not smart), but we went and did the most dangerous thing we’ve ever done on this trip – we hopped into a big black car with a random woman who offered to drive us to our hotel for $30 – we are fine, obviously, since I am blogging, but I highly recommend getting the numbers of all the Orlando Cab services before you arrive, or renting a car – that is probably the one and only dangerous thing we will do. The driver was a middle aged woman, and I demanded to see her licence after Anna expressed her concern (not that her licence even means anything), we avoided the African American guys offering to drive us??? (Yes, I am kind of racist when I am overseas, I generally like them, but not when you want to drive me in a black car in a country I am unfamiliar with)… turns out the lady didn’t have a visa and blah blah blah, I was tracking where we were driving the entire time she was driving us on my iPhone, ready to pull open the door and scream for dear life if she wasn’t driving where I expected her to. Lucky lucky, but don’t test your luck kiddies, don’t hop into big black cars with strangers.

Clarion Hotel Lake Buena Vista

Orlando is a gigantic hole. Think of it as the M4 or M5, but EVERYWHERE, there isn’t a city centre I don’t think and you really need a car to go everywhere unless you want to blow all your money on cabs. FYI, we spent about $90 on cabs today between the both of us.

We got to Clarion at 11am, and check-in wasn’t until 4pm, the hotel was filled to capacity so we couldn’t check in until about 3:30pm or so. So we sat in the lobby for 4.5 hours, whaddup? Who knew we were so patient – though we had free wi-fi, so that helped. We also ate a sad lunch there from the deli, I felt kind of homeless. We watched Casino Royale, Flight Plan, and some real life murder mystery that we didn’t get to finish, Anna and I discovered one more thing we have in common: we are suckers for that shit. I will google what that show was and find out what happened! Anyway, their luggage storage sucks, they have a room that you store your luggage but people walk in and out easy, and they claim to hold no responsibility for your items on the front door, so that’s it, if your things are stolen, your fault. We bought our theme park tickets today too! $138 for a 1 day Disney Park Hopper Ticket and $150 for a 2 day Universal Studios Park-to-Park ticket, we initially wanted the Universal ticket for 1 day, but it was $140 and the lady at the desk convinced us to go to Universal Studios today and make the most of it for $10 more – we missed the scheduled shuttle bus, so we ended up cabbing it for $30 to Universal. Wise woman she is, we enjoyed our 4 hour trip to Universal Studios Island of Adventure immensely. I recommend everyone get the 2 day pass.

Anyway, we checked in before all of this and our room is so very far away from the main lobby. The door is also a bit screwed, it just opens whenever it feels like it, and not when I put my card in, it took about 3-4 tries the first time we went into our room, and about 30-40 tries when we came back home from Universal – it seriously just opens whenever it wants, the door sucks. The rooms are pretty nice for what you pay though ($60pn), the Clarion cleaners are notorious for stealing your shit, so we’ve locked everything up – and I mean everything. We are about 2 minutes from the pool, but haven’t had the luxury of trying it yet. OUR BATHROOM DOOR LOCKS, FOR ONCE – BUT NOW WE’RE HAVING PROBLEMS WITH OUR FRONT DOOR, WHY!!! WHY!!! I would recommend this place if you’re looking to go to Disney World, it’s so so close.

www.clarionlbv.com
8442 Palm Parkway, Lake Buena Vista, Florida

Universal Studios

We have a solid plan. We did part of Universal Studios Island of Adventure today, which includes the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (WIN WIN WIN, we travelled across the Pacific Ocean to get to this small attraction). The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is amazing, VERY small, but any crazy fan would appreciate the lengths they went through to make it resemble the movies – they only have Hogwarts and Hogsmeade, but it’s so cool.  There are only 3 rides in the WWoHP, the Flight of the Hippogriff (a 5 min wait for us), the Dragons Challenge (a 10 min wait for us), and the Forbidden Journey (a 1hr+ wait for us). The Flight of the Hippogriff is a kiddy ride, Dragons Challenge was fun, there was only a small drop in the beginning and then loads of loops, the Forbidden Journey was INSANELY FUN, with LONG LONG lines, you walk through Hogwarts for a little bit and then go onto the ride, I won’t spoil it, but it’s tremendously fun, well worth the 1 hr wait. It was 7:15pm by the time the ride was over and we had missed the free shuttle bus (I hope we don’t frequently do this).

We took a nice stroll to the other areas of the Island of Adventure and Anna saw  big green roller coaster she was keen on (the Hulk!), anyone who knows me will know I am a chicken shit, though my fear of missing out overrides my actual fear – to paint you a pretty picture of just how chicken shit I am, a 15 year old had to console me on Doctor Doom’s Fearfall, yes, a 15 year old from Orlando had to console me, a 23 year old.  ANYWAY, the Hulk was super fun, and not at all as scary as I thought it would be, also loads of head banging because of the twists and turns and only one dip/butterfly feeling thing. Doctor Doom’s Fearfall pulls you up and then drop you down and does it 2 more times, it’s not very high but I don’t like those funny butterfly feelings – Anna does though. We left shortly after that because our feet were killinggggg. Taxi ride home was $30!

Tomorrow we’re going to Disney World – Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios, SO EXCITED – I get to buy yet another one of those Minnie Mouse ears (I think I have 2 already from Japan from 2 separate trips), and we get to go on the Twilight Zone: Tower of Terror again – one of my favourite rides ever, they built this huge old hotel looking thing and you walk through the lobby and through the hotel to the ride, it’s so fun, won’t spoil it though. More on that tomorrow.

3 days worth of blogging done in 1-2 hours, I really should do this daily so I don’t forget things. :X

It feels so good to be in a private hotel room with our own bathroom and 2 double beds with proper pillows – I HAS 4 PILLOWS TO MYSELF, I AM IN PILLOW HEAVEN 😀

K.

Tagged , , , , ,

Day 17: Sawgrass Mills

Supposedly the 6th largest outlet in America, we had high hopes coming here, there’s almost every big shop you can think of, but we left with our wallets intact! Thankfully so! I only bought a carry-on luggage with 4 wheels (so so much easier to travel with, and you can fit more in it than in those silly Sportsgirl bags, you know, the copy-cat Oroton ones). I also bought lunch from Tony Roma Express, ½ baby back ribs with a big fat sweet juicy corn cob for $8.99, my jaws dropped, I will go back to Australia as such a tight ass, unhealthy food is so cheap here! Anna ate some Taco Bell (HAHAH DODO, YES, SHE ATE TACO BELL!), it was less than $7 for a taco, nachos and a drink – whaddup, so cheap.

Anna bought a bag from Kenneth Cole and some items from GAP, my gosh, Kenneth Cole at that outlet WINS, the bags are so so nice and are leather, it was discounted from $200 to $60 – I’m sure they retail for more than $200 in Australia!

We ended up leaving earlier than expected, so we made it for the free dinner from the Hostel. Chicken and rice, edible, but not the best, but it’s FREE, so whatever, they have free breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day.

http://www.simon.com/mall/?id=1262
12801 W Sunrise Blvd  Sunrise, FL 33323

You can book a spot on a bus directly from most of the places you’re staying at or just do a quick Google search, we paid $25 for a return ticket each – we also kept forgetting to tip the bus driver, oops.

Anyway, that’s all. We didn’t do much. :/

K.

Tagged , ,

Day 16: Holocaust Memorial, Ocean Drive, Lincoln Mall, 36oz drinks

The hostel we are staying at is really a PART-AYYYY hostel; they go to bars/clubs every single night! Anna and I woke up at around 10:30am and were the first to leave the hostel. 2 of the girls from Switzerland at party animals and we only ever see them for like 30 minutes, that’s how it should be I guess, you shouldn’t be couped up in a room all day if you’re on holidays. Anna and I left at around 11am and took a nice long walk to the Holocaust Memorial, the heat was typical Florida summer heat, I was sweating within 2 minutes of leaving the hostel and it was a 40 minute walk! We managed to find Lincoln Mall and strolled through to get some lunch at the Shake Shack (YES! I didn’t know they had one in Miami – I thought they were only in NYC), we ordered the exact same thing as we did the last time, I don’t know why we didn’t try something new.

Holocaust Memorial

So the walk ended up being over 1 hour since we took a detour through Lincoln Mall, though it was much more enjoyable this way, the walk from Lincoln Mall to the Holocaust Memorial had no shade, we were walking through BLAZING SWELTERING MIAMI HEAT, luckily we bought and wore sunscreen! I am now about 2 shades darker; I think after LA, I will go from a sun-kissed glow to a little black thing (5 shades darker!).

The Holocaust Memorial is a sculpture garden dedicated to the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, the place is so serene and peaceful while being kind of upsetting at the same time, maybe upsetting is not the right word, I can’t explain how the feeling is, guess you have to go to know. They have these big plaques explaining what happened, I have a general idea of what happened but it goes into more detail and there are graphic pictures of the people who perished, the bodies piled on the ground after the gassing, the emaciated after-shots of women who were so voluptuous prior to the Holocaust, children crying… the main sculpture is of a gigantic hand, with Jewish men/women/children adorned all around it, it takes you a while before you walk into the main area with the hand. It takes roughly 10minutes to get through it, maybe 20minutes if you read through everything. It’s FREE.

www.holocaustmmb.org
1933-1945 Meridian Avenue  Miami, FL 33139

Ocean Drive

It took us a while to find Ocean Drive, it is really quintessential Miami, and you don’t get more Miami than this. We went during the day, but supposedly it really is a sight to see at night, but there are lots of hustlers and they try to lure you into bars and stuff, Anna and I are also scared to walk out on the road at night, yea, call us chickens, but we try to be as safe as we can most of the time. We took a nice walk and had plans to go and enjoy South Beach; we only dipped out feet in the day before. We ended up at a bar instead to cool off, and each ordered 36 oz drinks, I ordered a Mango Madness (Pino Colada with Mango Puree) and Anna ordered a Strawberry Daiquiri, big mistake, BIG BIG BIG mistake. It seems to be a running theme that we do things like that, order excessively, I blame it on the fact that we were in Miami and the drinks were $15 each. The drink was really the size of my head. My belly doesn’t even fit that, I did about half and felt so so so so so so sick after, Anna puked when she got home, so we did not go to the beach as planned – I think we’ve abandoned so many plans, that we our official titles are now ‘Plan Abandoners’.

Fuji Japanese Buffet

We walked past this buffet while going to the Holocaust Memorial, we’re promised nigiri sushi, snow crab legs, and sashimi for a mere $16.95 for dinner – though they don’t tell you that they dump an 18% mandatory gratuity onto your bill, still cheap though! We went at around 8:40pm, and the restaurant was fairly empty – never a good sign eh? It’s usually kind of indicative of the quality of food. Anyway, we sat down and started piling the sashimi, I also grabbed a few snow crab legs, shrimp/prawns, tuna tataki and nigiri sushi (they only had tuna, salmon and albacore). The sashimi was surprisingly edible, I expected worse, we pretty much cleared the big plate at the buffet and the owners were staring at us. The snow crab legs were SO GOOD, so much meat and so sweet, we did not expect that, I grabbed like 3 for myself and Anna ate 2 – so so so good, I love snow crab legs now! They also have an assortment of desserts (6-8 flavours of ice-cream, jelly, pecan pie, brownies, some cheesecake thing). All in all, you get what you pay for but it is pretty decent value for money.

www.fuji-japanesebuffet.com
1415 Washington Ave, Miami Beach, FL 33139

We retreated back to the hostel and waited until everyone left for the clubs and then we went downstairs for the first time to play pool and ping-pong, I am really not as good as I think I am, so if I have ever claimed to be decent to you, forget about it, I am pretty horrible! It was fun though; I can see why the hostel was righted so high. You meet really friendly people (most of the time), some people are super creepy, we witnessed the front desk guy try to hit on a European girl, he was so much older and brushing putting her hair behind her ear with his fingers.

Times up for me!

K.

Tagged , , , , , ,

Day 15: Miami, bitches

The dreaded time has come, we have left NYC. NYC truly ranks as one of my favourite cities in the world, everyone is so nice there, and the shops are amazing, and everything is open so late. I almost shed a single manly tear as I boarded the plane. I tried to use our 3 hour flight to knock over 3 blog posts of what we did in the last 3 days, I can report that I fell asleep about 10 minutes after we boarded the plane, I had a window seat – thanks Anna! I woke up and probably had around 1.5 hours left to go and started the Day 13 blog. Dedication. Delta is not too bad to fly with, complimentary drinks and stuff, free snacks – the Delta cookies are delicious! The flight was so so so packed, they were offering to check in luggage for free, and to give people free upgrades or $400 Delta Credit if they moved to the next flight!

Miami is so ridiculously humid, we’ve been keeping an eye out on the weather reports and it’s supposedly thundering and stuff, and hurricanes may come in the next 10 days – we will be outtttaaa here by then. The water is amazingly blue here, though the sand sucks, feels like I’m stepping on uneven cement that has been bashed by Thor’s hammer, I was wincing as I walked to the beach and some guy laughed at me while I yelped. The water is so warm and nice; supposedly it’s 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night! There are so many guys body building by the beach, they are all super tanned and well oiled!

We’re staying at Miami Hostel International; this place is known as a party hotel. I am too old for this now man, not really, I’m not old, but I do not have much party in me at all, give me a nice apartment any day! As I type this, music is blasting from the lobby (thank goodness I can sleep through almost anything, Anna can attest to that!); everyone has gone to the clubs and bar hopped since it is Wednesday. We are staying in an apartment for 6 girls and everyone is super nice, 2 girls are from Sweden and 2 from Switzerland – what a mix! Wi-Fi is retarded here, it is only meant to work in the lobby (I’m guessing it has a very limited range of like 10m), so once you enter your room, it starts dropping off and stuff, Anna can use the internet on one end of her bed, I am directly above her on a bunk bed and I cannot, so I’m sitting on the floor near the door as I type this! I am a classy girl.

The rooms are very clean, and have free lockers. The bathrooms are also quite clean, but the door doesn’t close – WHAT IS WITH OUR LUCK WITH BATHROOM DOORS?!! Our last apartment’s bathroom door was dodgy as hell too!

We’re going Sawgrass Mills for an entire day the day after I think, and we’re going to the Holocaust Memorial and Ocean Drive tomorrow… and then going for a dip in the beach, we only put our feet in today. Crossing my fingers that it does not rain/thunderstorm.

I’m getting so tanned, we only walked out for like 1hr and I can see the difference between my leg colour and where my shorts were… WHY? WHYYYYY? I am going to return to Australia as BBQ-Karen!

Anyway, I’m going to try and book Yosemite and Grand Canyon now. Apparently Las Vegas will be hitting 40-42 degrees Celsius, WHY?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! You know what that means? We will be throwing money at Casinos!

Taken with Instagram at Miami Beach International Travelers Hostel

Taken with Instagram at Miami Beach International Travelers Hostel
Holy shit, look how tanned I am compared to Anna! DODO I TOLD YOU I TAN EASY! YOU DID NOT BELIEVE! ARE YOU A BELIEVER NOW? ARE YOU!?!?!?!?!?

Soooo nice (Taken with Instagram at South Beach | Miami Beach)

K.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Day 14: Washington Square Park, Century 21 (HAHA!), B&H Photo, Totto Ramen & Momofuku

I’m going to keep this short.

Totto Ramen

Totto Ramen is a pretty popular ramen restaurant in Midtown West Manhattan, it is 2 avenues and 2 streets away from us and Wendy had previously recommended it. I was very insistent that we had to go for lunch, we were meant to leave at 11:30am, but ended up leaving at 11:50am, the line was super long outside and we ended up having to wait 1 hour before we finally sat down and ate. 15-20minutes of it went by pretty quickly though, we were playing with this little 2 year old girl outside, her parents must have been so thankful, as she was a cheeky little monkey. Every single time her dad told her to stop walking down the stairs, she’d walk one step down and stare at him, he would tell her to come back very sternly and she would take one more step, she was pretty much just testing how far she could go before she would get into trouble. She ended up walking into the store and her dad quickly grabbed her and carried her back up the stairs. She ended up saying hello to us and amusing us for 20 minutes while she played with my finger nails, I could tell she was so baffled as to why my nails were RED and hers were not, she would touch my nails and examine them, and then stare at her own, so cute! She played ‘hide the map’ and ‘guess which hand Karen hid the coin’. Adorableeeee. Anyway, I digress from Totto Ramen, food was good, we both had the Spicy Ramen, I had chicken and Anna had pork – pick the pork, it is far superior, they glaze it and then caramelize it. Yummo.

Taken with Instagram

Century 21
HA! I asked to go Century 21 again! I am choking on my words as I type this, this time we went to the C21 at Lincoln Square, the C21 here is more organized and there are less people than the Downtown store, though the Downtown store has more stock, I recommend everyone go to Lincoln Square. New stock comes in every Wednesday for both stores, so if you want to avoid the flocks of people who are on the prowl for a good bargain, then go some other day. Anna bought a Kenneth Cole bag for like $70 off, what a win!

B&H Photo Video
Next stop was B&H Photo Video, my boss has insisted that I must visit the store just to see how ridiculously huge it is – it is huge, with every lens and camera you can imagine, though the way you purchase things there is so weird: you pick what you want in one area, go to a separate area to pay for it, and then pick it up again in another area. I didn’t get anything, I was too confused about the layout of the store and sort of overwhelmed by a billion gadgets. It was nice to see the actual store though because I bought my 24-70mm lens online from them many moons ago!

Washington Square Park
We went to Washington Square Park next and it was so nice, we had to walk a bit to get to it and we walked through NYU, saw some of the dorm housing, saw some people graduating and stuff too! I want to go to NYU and study!!!!!! The park is so nice, Americans definitely do parks better than us Aussies do, there was a nice big fountain in front of the arch, people were taking their dogs out on walks, families were out and about, sun was shining… we sat around for half an hour before walking to Momofuku Noodle Bar.

Taken with Instagram

Taken with Instagram

Momofuku Noodle Bar + Maccas
Anna and I always make the most stupid food choices while waiting to eat dinner. Yesterday we had 2 cupcakes, today we had a big box of spicy snack bites from McDonalds because we needed to use their toilets. SMAAAARTTTT… S-M-R-T. Anna finished most of the box, though the damage was already done for me, I was kind of full. HOW AWESOME IS THE SAUCE HOLDER THING???? Why don’t our McDonalds do that?

$4.99 (Taken with Instagram)

We got to Momofuku at 5:20pm, opening time is at 5:30pm, and were promptly seated! It got pretty busy after 6:00pm but I think you only wait around 15 minutes; it only gets bad during weekends. We only ordered 4 pork buns and a sangria slushie, the pork buns were just as I remembered, soft, tender and delicious! Anna agreed, but she was very very full by the 2nd one, she could not for the life of her understand how I had an eating competition with those pork buns. We were seated right in front of the kitchen, so it was pretty fun watching them plate stuff.

Packing/Cleaning
I spent 30 minutes watching youtube clips on how to pack my luggage efficiently, I decided on using the bundling method – it’s winning man, I like it, I like it until I need to pull clothes out, then it’s a bit annoying. Go google it, people fit so much shit in a carry on using this method! I managed to squish all my items (see distressed photo below) in without much effort at all!

What have I done?!? I have 4 weeks left!!!!!! (Taken with Instagram)
so distressssed

We decided to do a quick clean of the house even though the owners of the apartment never specified that we had to, they are just so nice, and it didn’t feel right to leave it in a huge mess. It was good as new by the time we were done, we cleaned the bathroom, the kitchen, vacuumed the floors – we are going to be winning housewives. We are all set to leave NYC L I don’t want to go. Don’t let me leave you NYC………………………………..there is still so much that I have not done, like the MET, Guggenheim Museum, Central Park Zoo, we haven’t even done Central Park properly!!! Oh well, it gives me an excuse to return one day.

Also, I lied, this wasn’t particularly short, it never is is it?

Oh oh, we stayed at an apartment that we booked on TripAdvisor: http://www.tripadvisor.com/VacationRentalReview-g60763-d1992371-Large_Sunny_Quiet_Studio_in_Midtown_Manhattan-New_York_City_New_York.html#review_120125300

I highly recommend it to anyone going to NYC, it’s in Midtown West Manhattan on 10th Avenue and it is within walking distance to Times Square, Central Park, Subways, laundromats, 24 hour pharmacies, an awesome fruit stall, D’Agostinos, and 9th Avenue (so many restaurants!).

K.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Day 13: Union Square, SoHo, Century 21 revisited, Serendipity

We managed to knock down most of the things we wanted to do today, and we didn’t get lazy about any of it either, with a forceful determination, Anna and I woke up and left the house at 12:30pm – not lazy? Yeaaaahhh right. We didn’t even set particularly ambitious plans, since we jammed packed every touristy sight to visit when Doodles was around! Doodles landed in Sydney at around 6pm today (8am Sydney Time), and was already up and strolling around Cabramatta, the lucky girl doesn’t have any jet lag and didn’t even take the sleeping pills that were readily available to her. I on the other hand will be taking advantage of whatever sleeping aids I get – noise cancelling headphones, sleeping pills, a sleeping mask, the works!

Union Square
We first hit up Union Square, the park there is pretty I guess, I didn’t know what else was to see there, I saw a H&M store and got excited, I left this top I wanted 2 days prior because the lines are so so long on a weekend, shopping on a weekend should be avoided by tourists as all the locals flock there. Actually, it’s pretty insane on a normal day as well. While we were taking a romantic stroll at Union Square Park, it started to rain, yes, these are the tears of New York City from knowing that we will be leaving in 2 days, that’s what I tell myself. Anyway, we bolted down the subway and quickly abandoned our plans of visiting Washington Square (that’s where the big arch thing is, they have something that looks similar in France, it’s the setting of Suits episode 1, where Mike tells Trevor that he’s known his social security number since he was 9 and will f&^% him upppp – woo.. I am a Suits nerd.) EH, we will visit this tomorrow, and I know we will, since I am from the future and have already been there.

Taken with InstagramCentury 21

Oh gosh, I am going to eat my words here, I previously lamented about how incredibly shit it was and how crowded it was, I think my exact words were “HERE IS WHERE CLOTHES COME TO DIE!” Actually, those were Katie’s words. It is crowded all the time, but when you have time and are not in a particularly sort of rush, it’s not too bad. They have a ridiculous selection of sunglasses in the Downtown C21 store, I managed to get a pair of Michael Kors and Steve Madden sunnies, a Michael Kors black leather wallet that I kind of love, and a big fat red travel wallet (I put my phone, my money, my passport, my keycards, my receipts, my coins… my life, my mum and my dad inside). Anna also managed to get a Kenneth Cole bag, a nice Tommy Hilfiger wallet and a sunglasses case. FRUITFUL! IT WAS A FRUITFUL ADVENTURE!

SoHo
The fact that we have visited SoHo for the 4th time is evidence as to how incredibly awesome the shopping is. Best shopping in NYC, I say! I slipped into H&M to find my floral top and came out with 2 tops, a dress, and a bikini. WOO. I have an obsession with bikinis, sunglasses, and bras. I need to stop. Anna? Help me????

Serendipity + Magnolia Bakery
Next, we headed to Midtown East to try Serendipity again, the last time we went at 11pm and there was a 45min wait. This time, we went at 6pm, SURELY, we’d get in immediately right? WRONG. 1 hr wait again, I don’t think there is EVER a right time for Serendipity in NYC, so if you want to go, be prepared to wait. Anyway, we were determined and just put our names down and went for a browse in the Bloomingdales across the road, we also went into Magnolia Bakery because I wanted a mocha. I don’t even normally drink coffee, this is how it all starts, first it’s a mocha, then BAM, I’m a coffee fiend and it’s the end for me. No, I will not allow this to happen, I quit mochas! I will save myself! We ended up 2 cupcakes each, Anna with a caramel and red velvet, me with a vanilla and banana… I will never know what compelled us to think that it was a good idea eating 2 cupcakes before dinner. Some lady kept talking to me while I was eating my cupcake.

Taken with Instagram

45 minutes went by and we went back to Serendipity and got seated fairly quickly. The décor of the place is adorable, it feels like you’ve stepped into vintage fantasy land, there’s  was a huge huge clock next to us, and there are vintage paintings everywhere. They are most famous for their Frrrozen Hot Chocolate – how it can be Frozen and Hot, I will never know, but we ordered one of these. We also ordered spicy chicken wings and a Turkey sandwich – hello America, land of the excess, we are learning your ways. The table beside us were going crazy with their food, I think they ordered like 5 big items and like 4 drinks – TWO PEOPLE ONLY. Anyway, the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate came and it was HUGE, I’m talking the size of two of my fists together huge, nothing special though… it tastes like Gloria Jeans Iced Chocolate, in fact, I would have to say Gloria Jeans is nicer because we have better cream. EHHH. The spicy wings I would have done without too, it’s just sticky and tastes like someone has poured hot sauce all over it. The Turkey Sandwich, now this, EVERYONE SHOULD ORDER! So delicious, so big, served with Irish Soda bread that Anna did not like but I loved.

Anyway, while we were waiting for our meals to come, Anna and I were complaining about not having seen any celebrities, we put our names on the stand-by list to go to David Letterman, but never got a call back, we were devo, Vanessa saw Melissa George, and that makes me even more devo. While I was people watching, a man was blocking the pathway of a waiter because he was playing with his kid and the waiter asked him to move, he quickly got up and went back to his seat and then I froze, this man looked oddly familiar… I quickly turned to Anna and I really did look like this: O_O, I have the worst poker face in the entire world, do not ever take me to poker. I grabbed her arm and started mumbling “OH MY GOD ANNA, OH MY GOD!! IT’S THE LEAD FROM ROYAL PAINS!! YOU WATCH ROYAL PAINS DON’T YOU?!?!? I WATCH ROYAL PAINS!! IT’S HIM! I KNOW IT! IT’S HIM! WHAT DO I DO?!?!?! I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DOOOOOO?!?!”, she turns to him and calmly goes “Yeah, it’s him”, wow, she must regret going on holidays with this nut job. He was on the table diagonal to us, 2m away from us! He seemed nice, played with his kids a lot and was polite to waiters. Ahhhh, that made my day, that 45min wait was worth it! I can officially report that we had our first celebrity sighting.

Taken with Instagram

Taken with Instagram

Anna (Taken with Instagram)
gorgeous NYC sun set, omg, NYC I love you!

 

Woot. Signing off.

K.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,