Bye Bye San Francisco

September 30, 2011

Throughout our trip, I’ve proclaimed three times I could live in the following cities; New York, Chicago and Toronto. I took back Toronto because of the hardcore winters and because I never want to hear myself say ‘aboot’. So my third livable city is San Francisco. It’s such a cool place. I love the houses, the food culture and the fact that anything goes. I love that former crush John Stamos drove across the Golden Gate Bridge in the opening credits of Full House and that I got to go across it too, albeit sweating on a hire bike, but hey, it was almost like we got to hold hands.

Like the city, we were pretty laid back in our exploration of it. We slept in a lot. Ate a lot of good pies. We hired bikes and rode up some crazy hills. Let’s just say, spin class ain’t real life. When I asked Luke if his lungs were burning and ass sweating, he just shook his head like a schoolgirl without a care in the world. Now, if he really loved me, he would have told me his lungs were sweating INTO his ass. But I guess it’s good to know where I stand before the Big Day. We went on a great tour of the Mission District with a local artist talking about a few of the many murals in the area. The highlight though, was when she was describing how a group of young girls had got together to paint the story of struggling women in the neighborhood and a homeless dude standing a metre away just whipped his dick out and started taking a piss. Like I said, anything goes.

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If you’ve secretly always wanted to know how to go about public sexual humiliation or how to dress like a S&M horse and whinny while pulling some ugly dude around by your mouth, by golly, can I shed some light for you.

Throughout our trip around the US, we’ve unfortunately been a couple of days too early or a week too late for some awesome festivals. I don’t know what fate is trying to tell us, but luckily, we were bang on time for the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco. Now, we’ve seen a lot of weird shit in our time. I actively seek weird shit out, hell, that’s what I call a good workday, but it’s one thing watching Fat Feeders and another seeing a megatron fattie doing sexy laughing while being spanked til her dimpled ass is red raw. I can’t even begin to describe the crazy shit we saw and you know what, the pictures don’t even do it justice. Everywhere you looked, there’d be some guy trying to not pass out during a public rope fetish demo, a man with GIGANTIC BALLS (Dr Joe, please send an email to explain) or women dressed as S&M warlocks leading War of Warcraft junkies by chains attached to their dicks. It was seriously awesome and this, pretty much sums it up.

Best day. Ever.

September 24, 2011

Sometimes, everything just falls into place and today was one of those days. It started with being served coffee by a midget. I LOVE midgets! I mean, a primordial dwarf would have been amazing, but I was pretty happy with the midget. Except for when he made both of us try his ‘awesome’ coffee in front of him and then waited for a compliment. Next, we went into a shop on Valencia I’d read about a couple of months back. ‘Boo shops’ you’re thinking, but stay with me. As soon as we walked in, I saw a ring I had seen online and had wanted for my birthday. I had also been thinking it would be perfect for my temporary (or maybe permanent) engagement ring. AND IT WAS IN A BOX NEXT TO BIKE BELLS! Honestly, it was unreal. It doesn’t even need plasters to stay on my finger. So we bought it. Afterwards, we went across the road into 826 Valencia to which I almost did a waterfall of excitement pant weeing. God I love Dave Eggers. If he had been there I might have had to give Luke the ring back to swap for a vintage ping pong set. I didn’t think things could get any better until we went next door and saw a taxidermy unicorn and taxidermy mice that had been dressed up in ballet costumes!!!! We then stumbled across an exhibition a couple of doors down that showcased Mitsu Okubo’s work that totally tickled the funniest, darkest and dirtiest part of both of our brains. The environmentalists would have HATED it. So at this point we were about ready to die happy because the day had been that good. We then went to Fisherman’s Warf and went to an old arcade museum where they had the COOLEST collection of vintage arcade games. I got my fortune told by a mechanical granny and Luke watched some arcade porn from the 1920s. Finally, to top the day off, we went to a magic show where Luke got his time to wee in his pants. Not only did we get one on one pre show magic time but he also got to be the assistant in the main show. I couldn’t have been prouder. The best bit was due to our tiny bladders. Needing to wee for about the 5th time in two hours, we stayed back after the show for one final wee before hitting the road. As we were the only ones there, I came out of the toilet to find Luke talking to Peter Morrison the magician about our upcoming travels. Next thing, he’s asking us if we want to go to the mecca for all magic fans, The Magic Castle in Hollywood. You can only get in there if you’re a celebrity or if you’re invited by a magician in the Magic Circle. And we’re going! All we have to do is find Luke a dinner jacket. To top it off, after the show, we went to a blues bar with the most charismatic, doing it for the love of it, musician who was so great, the five people in the crowd (including us) were yelling in Spanish for an encore. Seriously, best day ever.

We’ve learned a few things in our travels and perhaps the most glaringly obvious is that overly spiritually, environmental, intellectual and children of the Earth types don’t really like us. We can’t work out why. We listen intently to their fucking endless, boring, stories over and over again, ask loads of questions relating to these afore mentioned stories and then try to add a few things in return about e.g ghosts or recycling practices in France which they don’t even bother listening to. This happens every bloody time we meet these people. Some of the things we’ve heard from spiritual, environmental, intellectual and children of the Earth people are genuinely interesting and we’ve learnt a lot, but the thing that irks me is that they can’t even be bothered to feign interest in us. Surely attention received should be attention returned?

Now, don’t get me wrong, we had a great stay in the very beautiful Lake Tahoe. Luke learned how to skateboard from a former pro turned crazy inventor who had just had stem cell surgery on his messed up ankle (kids, don’t skateboard if you still want to walk when you’re 50). We were lent mountain bikes, a kayak, shown how to use the earth as a gym and were shown huge amounts of generosity, but still, I’m pretty sure we were judged and dismissed as soon as they asked what we did for a living. ‘Advertising? SHAKRS!!!’ was the reaction and the only question which was asked of us in three days and a lot of time spent together. It’s sad, because throughout this trip, we’ve met a lot of people, asked a lot of questions, been genuinely curious about their lives and got the equivalent of a limp handshake in return. Although, they may have been a little put off by Luke touching himself midway through our conversations.

Lake Tahoe

September 21, 2011

Just when you think you’ve seen beauty, you find yourself somewhere else that takes your breath away in a completely different way.

We spent the morning doing stick exercises (yes, that would be stretching and squatting while holding stick) with the lady we’re staying with who is crazy, earthly and interesting. We also spent time with another couple who are staying in the same place and learned about their ‘side project’ that involves potentially changing the lives of people in India through solar panels and some kind of cutting edge technology. And they’re our age, bloody over achievers. We then went kayaking and realised that we should never kayak together again. It was a valuable life lesson. Another life lesson is that brainy people who do good in the world make you feel like a career change is in order.

Yosemite National Park

September 21, 2011

Click to enlarge this amazing panoramic

I never knew I was scared of bears until I got to Yosemite. The thing is, they scare you with information. When we checked into our camp, we had to sign a bear information sheet saying we had read and were aware of all the dangers. There were bear warning signs outside, on the road, in the shower blocks, signs in our tent. We had to keep everything in a bear box outside our tent and were told under strict instruction not to bring any food or anything with a scent into our tent (even sun cream and toothpaste). So what does Luke do? Goes to bring the food bag into our tent as soon as we arrived. The boy clearly showed in our three day stay in Yosemite that he is NOT bear aware. Luckily, I’m very good at rules and we were spared from becoming snack food. If Luke had been in charge of bear awareness we would have:

– eaten chocolate INSIDE the tent
– had bags that had food INSIDE them in our tent
– sprayed all sorts of scented shit INSIDE the tent

Luke should never be allowed to be in the wilderness by himself. Come to think of it, neither should I unless it’s to boss people around and make sure they are sticking to the rules.

On our first day, we decided to hike a trail. You’d think with three maps and signposts, we’d be able to work out which way to go. Oh no, we managed to walk the last quarter of one trail that ended in a car park and then another half of another, after going completely the wrong direction for about half an hour. But then again, getting lost, fending off bears and freezing your ass off in a cold tent doesn’t matter so much when you’re in the most beautiful place on earth.

Hot damn! Hot springs!

September 21, 2011

On our way from Death Valley to Yosemite, we stopped in a little place called Bishop to break up the drive. We kind of assumed it would be a nothing stopover, but we were wrong. Not only was it a beautiful town set in the Sierra Nevada mountains, it was also the place where our love for hot springs was born. I had read that there were hot springs in the area, so we asked the couple we were staying with to give us a few recommendations. Armed with a post-it note holding a pencil drawn map, we set off for our first hot spring experience. Nicknamed Hilltop Tub, the name didn’t do it justice. We had an unspoiled, 360 view of mountain ranges while sitting in a stone lined, naturally filled and heated spring in the middle of nowhere. We had the hot spring to ourselves for about 4 minutes when we saw another car in the distance. We joked about what would happen if the new people asked if we minded if they hopped in naked. Well, that happened, except the guy didn’t ask. When the couple arrived, the woman hopped in wearing her bather, so I assumed the guy would too. WRONG. I looked up to say hi to the man and instead said hi to his ass crack. And the thing was, he didn’t stay under the water, he kept on getting up. And when someone gets up, you automatically look up. IT’S NATURAL. So while we were having a banal conversation about hiking and California, he was getting up and down, all the while my brain is screaming, ‘DO NOT LOOK AT THIS REALLY UNATTRACTIVE MAN’S PENIS’. The really good thing about this whole experience (other than seeing Luke try and not look at another man’s cock) was that he told us about another hot spring to check out on our way to Lake Tahoe.

Let us fast forward to Travertine Hot Springs. Now, because this place was hard to find, we stopped at both an information centre and the Ranger’s office. Again armed with a hand drawn map, we found the hot springs and with the naked man’s insider advice, even knew to not stop at the first spring and look a bit hard for the other, better ones. So we did. Amazed, we found a cluster of rocks with water dripping into different pools. As I walked around to check out how many there were, I caught a couple mid way through having sex…in one of the springs. It was like some kind of weird German porn. After I had looked at them and laughed, I bobbed my head back down, still laughing while hand gesturing to Luke about what I’d seen. We tried going into the furthest away springs from the couple but realised they were hotter than hell. We then worked out that the springs went from boiling hot to bath hot, and the bath hot one was the one the couple had been in. Obviously this is the one Luke went into first.

After some quality time in the sperm infested waters, we saw there were more, perhaps cleaner springs about 50 metres away. Despite there being an old guy in there who was probably naked, we went ahead and jumped in, Luke perhaps too eagerly. We got to talking to the man and his wife and it was seriously delightful. And I say this without any form of sarcasm. It was truly great, chatting with them while watching a storm come over the valley in a hole of muddy water in the ground. It was seriously such a wonderful moment.

Death Valley

September 16, 2011

Click to enlarge

Today we drove through Death Valley en route to Yosemite via a night in Bishop. It was an arid, sweat dripping maze of the most beautiful and surprising landscapes we’ve ever seen. It was pretty inspiring.

Vegas, baby, Vegas

September 16, 2011

Vegas can be summed up quite easily: fatties, sluts, slots, shopping. Or, if you’d like an analogy, and stick with me here, Vegas is kind of like a hot chick you pick up in a club and take to McDonald’s/kebab shop for a last chance booze soak and double check of the goods. It’s here, in the light, you realise she looks a bit like your mum but you go home with her anyway because no one saw you leave together.

A definite Vegas highlight was on our first night when we saw a scrag fight in the Bellagio. Two chicks, maybe about 22, were making a huge scene, swinging around their plastic shopping bags, yelling each other; ‘you’re Bipolar’….’noooo you’re Bipolar’ (how about you’re both dumbasses?) One went in for a face slap and the other retaliated with some hair pulling, all the while still holding onto their shopping bags. Classy. Everyone was just watching, and I think I can speak for all involved when I say we all felt a little short changed when security pulled them apart. Speaking of other Vegas free shows, I didn’t realise how into water fountains I was until I made Luke watch the Bellagio water show three times. Wow, water choreographed to music really is something else. I might do something with a sprinkler and an ipod for our wedding. Oh, ok I can’t forget to mention the other free show highlight, the Sirens Pirate Show which I have renamed Booty Boat. It was hilarious – slutty chicks on a boat ‘capture’ a stray seaman (hee). His pirate ship mates come to ‘save him’ but the girls ‘heave ho’ and defeat the sailors by luring them into their ‘treasure cove(s)’, killing them with their really bad dancing, lip syncing and cheap visual effects. I mean, it was no water fountain show, but it was pure comedy.

During our time in Vegas, we thought it would be great to see a Rat Pack tribute show. The whole thing was a bit backyard, but the Frank Sinatra guy was amazing, it could have been ole’ blue eyes himself, well, maybe if you shut your eyes. The thing which saved the show was the Joey Bishop impersonator, he just ripped into a guy from the audience who was from Canada and kept going all evening. Another must do in Vegas we figured was to have an all you can eat buffet. All you can eat was what we did, so much so, that was our only meal for the day. On the subject of gorging, at breakfast one day, we were sitting next to a table of large women. One in particular was gigantic. They were making plans to go across the road to the Venetian, when Gigantor said ‘hey y’all, I don’t know if I can walk that far’. Of course you can’t, you just ate a 4 stack of waffles bigger than your face.

The thing about Vegas is you can only do about three things; gamble, shop and eat. Gambling wise, Luke lost $60 in five minutes at the Blackjack table. Realising The Ring Budget was being handed to a scary looking Chinese woman (not me) at a machine gun pace, I had to use Specialised Diversion Techniques® and told him the Booty Boat Bitches were doing part two of the show. So, seeing as though that was 1 out of the 3 things to do in Vegas, and we weren’t hungry, the only other thing we could do was go shopping. Luke is still complaining about the amount of shopping we did, which in reality was a total of 8 minutes. I’ve had to explain numerous times that walking past shops does not count, especially when it’s the only way to get to your hotel. Plus, it also doesn’t count when it comes under category of tourist activities.

What can I say, Vegas was educational. And by the way, we didn’t elope. Elvis was too busy marrying fifty year old divorcees.

Austin

September 13, 2011

We had high hopes for Austin and rightly so, because it’s an absolutely awesome place. We had planned a couple of months ago to stay in an Airstream trailer. It was really, really cool, but having to walk from the garden, down the side of the house and through the front door to use the bathroom is not cool. Especially when you need to pee and the host, who is bathing her twin babies, just jumps out of the bathroom and tells you to ‘go tinkle’ with them in there. I FUCKING TINKLED IN FRONT OF A STRANGER’S BABIES! It was so awkward; I was peeing AND playing telephones with babies at the same time. THEN, after their mum came back in, I loitered in the bathroom just letting absolute bullshit flow from my mouth. ‘Oh, those chair baths are really great, I should really let my boyfriend’s brother know about them because he has twins who are a bit older and look, ha ha, this one loves playing telephone, hellllloooooo, ring ring, ring ring’. I’m a weird, creepy person who was forced to act weird and creepy by a woman who let a stranger pee in front of her children.

Moving on. South Congress Ave is the best street in Austin. Not only can you watch bats fly from under the bridge after the sun goes down, but you can shop, eat and listen to live music all in one place. All the locals say that the springs are Austin’s saving grace and they’re right because Austin is hot, like sweat from your eyeballs hot. In the city, there’s a place called Barton Springs where you can jump off the riverbank and cool off with the locals for $3. If you want to venture out further, Hamilton Springs is beautiful. Ok, so while we were swimming there was a snake in the water, but apart from that, it was gorgeous. The next thing that makes Austin so cool are their food tucks. They have a food truck for everything. The food trucks are usually grouped together and they create a little outdoor eating area surrounded by benches, music and fairy lights. The food is pretty good, I’d probably be raving about their pork buns had I not had the best pork buns of my life in Momofuku in New York. Finally, the best thing about Austin is that I finally got a temporary engagement ring. It cost $9, it’s too big and I’ve had to wrap plasters around one side to add some bulk, but still, I’ve got something on my finger and it kind of sparkles, albeit dully, but it’s a start.