LA, LA, LA, LA, LA

October 6, 2011

Apart from being able to go back in time and morph into Michael J Fox’s body while filming Back to the Future, going to The Magic Castle is probably going to be the highlight of Luke’s life. Like losers, we went to the first dinner sitting at 6 O’NANNA CLOCK. At first, I was highly embarrassed by this. Now, I’m not pretending we are cool in any way, after all, we were at the Magic Castle, but the people around us were weird. Like a pedophile on a ‘date’, Midwestern housewives flirting with the ‘I fantastise having sex with my mom waiter’ and a group of friends who were talking about calculators in between awkward silences. However, I got over my embarrassment when I realised Luke was right, by eating early, we could see all the magic we wanted. And I’m not being sarcastic. The magic at the Magic Castle was top notch. I’d like to say that Luke was running around the place like a kid in a candy store with me having to pretend not to know him, but he wasn’t, I was. I even got to go up on stage during one of the shows to draw something. Now, I know what you’re thinking. She drew a cock. In my head I was thinking; ‘go on, draw a cock. Draw a cock. Luke wants you to draw a cock, you want to draw a cock. Just draw a bloody cock. Sure these uptight Americans won’t know what to do, but it will by funny. GO ON AND DRAW A COCK.’ So I drew a walking rock instead. I know, what a pussy.

But onto the rest of LA.

LA is awesome. It’s massive. It’s full of traffic and it’s kind of overwhelming. We stayed in Venice Beach which was odd but great. We rode cruisers up and down the promenade, watched the groups of homeless people arrange their trolleys around their sleeping areas and the leathered ex bodybuilders stay in shape on Muscle Beach. Because LA is so big, you have to drive everywhere. Luckily, it’s only taken Luke and I two months of driving to actually work out a system that doesn’t involved screechy voices. Prior to ‘the system’, when Luke drove, and the GPS flipped out, Luke immediately assumed it was because I didn’t know how to read a map. So he’d grab it off me. This is because he has magical man skills that can interpret a GPS that’s telling us to drive into a field better than me. Our new, improved system is now him pulling a face, trying to fight nature and the magical man skills coming to the surface and mine is to point out less regularly how great my behaviour is when faced with GPS meltdown.

We’re now off to Hong Kong to start the Asian leg of our journey. We can’t quite believe that our time in the US has drawn to an end. It has been truly great experience. Sure, we’ve forgotten most of it already, but that’s what the blog is for.

Santa Cruz and The Big Sur

October 4, 2011

We’ve stayed in some great and not so great places throughout our 4 months on the road. One of the best was probably our place in Santa Cruz. We stayed in a wooden shed in the garden of someone’s home, complete with a record player, huge record collection and outdoor bath surrounded by twinkly lights. It would have been romantic if either one of us actually knew how to be romantic.

We decided to drive down the Big Sur and stop at Pfeiffer Beach where the sand was supposedly purple. It was, and I was way more impressed with it than I thought I’d be. So much so, I kept on saying ‘purple, it’s purple’ like a tard. Although, probably more impressive was the sea garbage that looked like a gang bang of penises. Seeing cocks in most objects is probably number one reason why I can’t be romantic.

We decided to drive further along the coast when we were hit with the Californian fog. This stuff rolls in and then blocks the view of everything you drove an hour and a half to see. So we took the view we’d seen so far, multiplied it in our brains and then went home and waited for it to get dark so we could have another bath.

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.

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.