Monday, June 30, 2008

The Seattle Stopoff

After the Southern USA stops, we had to go to Seattle to get our flight to Santiago, Chile. We bid farewell to old Deano at Seattle airport. He was about to make his way back to Toronto. Good old Toronto! He had work a few days later. Ah... paychecks...

Seattle was grand. We saw the Space Needle. Walked down cool streets. I could go on but it would just sound like every tourists description of a nice city. It was funny when we were in Seattle to think when you´re watching Frasier or Greys Anatomy that its all based in that city. Going by watching those shows I had a way different image of what the place would be like. That probably doesn´t make sense but I couldn´t be arsed deleting it!

Kurt Cobains old house is also here but we didnt bother. It's just a house. He has no grave because he got cremated. And Courtney Love says someone robbed his ashes earlier this month. She might be defined as 'The Ultimate Spa'.

So then we got the flight to Chile. On the flight there was a choice of 63 movies, loads of games, and loads of albums. Best flight ever. I watched ´Into The Wild´. Good show.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Tom Waits - Arizona and El Paso

Being in Phoenix or El Paso is like being in a sauna, unless you are relieved by air conditioning indoors. I´m fine with being roasting outside after a winter in Toronto where -10 was considered a lovely mild day. Being out in 35 degrees plus was deadly. Lovely and cosy.

Phoenix was quiet enough. Old Deano and I went to an Irish Bar before seeing Tom Waits at The Orpheum. No photos were allowed, ah well. It has been a dream of mine for many years to see Tom Waits live and I never thought I would see the day where it would happen. I thought it would be impossible to get tickets for these gigs.

The concert was class. Tom had a platform he sang from, and the other musicians surrounded him. As well as the vocalist, he is also the conductor of the band. It´s amazing how it is done. He has a drummer, double bass player, keyboard guy, guitarist, and a sax player, but they all alternate between other instruments.

It was a great show full of memorable mad moments like a glittery hat that acted as a disco ball. There was only one song I did not know which I think was a new one. I was worried I wouldn´t know a lot of the stuff... but I was wrong to doubt my disturbingly extreme fanaticism.

We flew down to El Paso next and we even crossed the border to Mexico for a few hours where we stood out completely. Lots of people were annoying us. e.g. offering us drugs and stuff, by whispering ´Pharmacy? Pharmacy?´ But it was fine.

We just headed back across the border to see old Tom once again, in the Plaza Theatre. Elaine and I were on the balcony for this one. The setlist was alternated and the gig was just as excellent as the last. It´s always great to see Tom Waits.

Another highlight of El Paso was that we stayed in the hotel where John Dillinger stayed when he was spying on the bank down the street, planning to rob it with his gang. If you haven´t heard of Dillinger, look him up, it´s a great story. I have a photo of myself outside his hotel room! I am going skiing tomorrow so I have to go sleepies now. I´m in Mendoza. I hope I can faithfully keep this old blogaloon up to date.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The B.C Buddies

Visiting the Browns was great because we got to see some of the island. Everyone around Victoria seems to be absolutely loaded. And it was all very expensive. When we went back to Vancouver we met old Mark and Deano. The following nights were locked affairs obviously. Then Cathy came along from old Dublin to Canada and we went on an epic roadtrip up through the Rockies and headed to National Glacier park, Banff, the Columbia Icefields, Jasper and Whistler.

It was a rainy and cold expedition, due to clouds, mountains and altitude. But it was without doubt the most spectacular scenery I've ever seen. The participants of the trip were Elaine and I as drivers, and Mark, Deano and Cathy. Not to mention old Big Don, our 8 seater who was a pleasure to drive. Sorry about the scrape, Big Don.

Almost every night we struggled to get the campfire going. We had wonderful burgers and stuff. I dig barbeques and beer as you know. No wild animals attacked our tent. Although a mouse crawled briefly on Deanos back during one of our locked campfire sessions (not while he was asleep in the tent!)

There were no raccoon encounters, I'm glad to report, because I no longer enjoy their company after the Ontario roadtrips. We saw many elk and deer. We also saw a black bear and her cub. The cub was sound. They were having a wander along the side of a highway! The bear didn't seem to give a shite that we were all standing there gawking at it, which you are not supposed to do!

For those worried about Elaines sanity, no snakes were seen at all during the trip. Wait til South America! haha.

All in all there were around 6 nights of camping, and an indoor sleeping area was a welcome sight when we got home after Whistler. The last day had 13 hours of driving, and I'd say the cabin fever was growing!

We're in Phoenix Arizona now. The Texas Three are Elaine, Deano and me. We are going to see Tom Waits. I have never been this far south in the American Continent. Elaine and Deano are hungry so we are all going for old breakfast! aft.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Vancouver Island - epic

After weeks of torturous organizing of flights and itineraries, selling furniture and getting vaccinations, we have landed in B.C. and we are staying with the Browns in Victoria, on Vancouver island. The air is fresher and the scenery is phenomenal!

We sadly left our friends behind in Toronto. It's easier to leave than to be left behind. Steve, Ash, Gabi, Elaine, Emma, Katie, Miranda, Richelle and Rhian, and of course the Bruces! I am sure we will see them all again in the coming years. They made our experience so much better.

We drank the remainder of our alcohol on the balcony before we went to the airport. Our baggage is ridiculous and we have decided to shed 50 to 60% of our stuff because we can't be hauling all that around. Lesson learned.

The ferry to the island was epic. Mountains an lakes all surrounded by trees. Now we are in Browns living room having a relax. Good buzz. They live on a lake and have a great view. Aftaw bruddaw. It's a bit like the scenery in the movie 'The Edge'!