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1st January 2011:
We all woke up late after a late night on New Years Eve and were slow that morning getting ready. Chloe headed for Central Park on her own, dad decided to wander around the Meatpacking District and mum and I headed for the Guggenhiem Museum on the Upper East Side. It truly is a spectacular building, both inside and out. Franky L (Frank Lloyd Wright) did a wonderful job, the outside looks like a pipe-cleaner you’ve twisted around your finger, standing proud in it’s gleaming whiteness amongst millionaire’s penthouses. The inside is a sight to be seen – and unfortunately I didn’t get any photos inside due to camera restrictions. It’s like standing inside a stretched slinky and as you wind your way up the slinky art work is to your right and to your left you can look over the ledges to admire that giant slinky in all it’s glory.
The only down side to the Guggenhiem is that the elevator was broken and the mysterious art gallery at the basement could only be accessed by the 4th floor. We didn’t realise this and headed the ENTIRE WAY BACK DOWN around the slinky only to be told we had to go right back up again if we wanted to see that gallery.
It’s a bit dangerous, if you ask me, only having elevator access to the basement… what if there is a fire? Earthquake? The possibilities for being trapped down there are endless!
Unfortunately, the hidden gallery wasn’t entirely worth all the walking effort, as it only have 3 paintings in there and they were good but not great. Luckily the rest of the Guggenhiem collection more than made up for the hidden gallery of not much.
On our way back we spotted the window displays of a department store we hadn’t yet visited (the name eludes me). This was the one we should’ve sought out! The theme was food and there were endless caricatures of all our favourite foodies (from Thomas Keller to Nigella Lawson and everyone in between) surrounded by Christmas feasts and festivities! Many photos were taken.
We spent our last night together in NYC at a small restaurant in the Meatpacking district that dad had found. We had amazing dinners, but the dessert was the highlight: petit pot au chocolat was intensely rich and chocolatey and it was a good idea to share, although I must admit I was a little sad when I reached the bottom of the little cup of delicious.
We headed home to pack, knowing that if we wanted to do anything tomorrow we had to get up and get out early before our transportation out at 2pm.

2nd Jan 2011:
Our last day in NYC!
We mostly spent this day wandering and exploring anything we hadn’t yet explored (except Queens, which I am definitely heading back to see). It wasn’t much time, although we did get to see the Meatpacking district during the day (its very trendy) and we made time for ONE last stop at Chelsea Market (our favourite!) before heading back to 18th Ave to collect our bags.
Mum and dad dropped me and Chloe (with the help of a taxi) in Chinatown for our bus before heading to the airport.
We walked up to the counter to get our Chinatown Bus tickets to Boston and were presented with little scraps of paper with stamps and scribbles on them. Apparently this would get us on the next bus to Boston! So why, then, did all the other passengers have nice, printed, professional looking tickets? Who knew? They worked though!
After standing on the side of the road in the rain (yes, the buses just pull up and yo jump on) we boarded successfully (Chinatown Bus: superior to SHITTY GREYHOUND) and headed off into the dark (it was about 4pm).
The bus made a “dinner stop” at Arbies – where Chloe and I picked up some curly fries – before pulling up in Boston at about 9pm. (We slept most of the ride.)
Chloe and I took the train to our hostel and collapsed on our beds. WE WERE GOING TO SEE BRITTNEY THE NEXT DAY! HOORAY!

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30th December 2010:
Up early, we left Chloe unwell at home to board the Statton Island Ferry to catch a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty for free.
IT WAS SO CROWDED! Let me say, honestly, it was probably worth it to pay a tour guided boat to see the lovely green lady rather than try and compete with the hoards of other stingey tourists on the ferry!
It was also freezing cold, but it was winter in NYC after all, and it was our choice at the end of the day…
From there we headed back to the centre of Manhatten to catch the elevator up to the top floor of the Rockefellar building for a spectacular view of the city skyline. It truly was magical up there, the city looks SO pretty from above, especially as the sun was setting (early remember, because it was winter).
We took the obligatory tourist photos with the Empire State behind us and then headed back down.
Chloe was absent for all of this, and again stayed in that night. Mum and Dad hit up some jazz bar for a drink or two and I headed back to BROADWAY!
This time I was off to see La Cage Aux Folles! I was alone, but I didn’t mind, I was SO excited about seeing this particular musical about love, folly and drag queens in the south of France!
Kelsey Grammar was FABULOUS as the drag queen club manager, and I wet myself laughing. It was SO camp! I especially loved it when Kelsey’s assistant told him he loved him to which he responded “if you loved me, you’d vacuum!” OH! And the queens! They just danced and bitched and danced and bitched! LOVED IT!

31st December 2010:
Hello New Years Eve!
This was the day we went to Brooklyn.
We wandered the streets a little, exploring all that this borough had to offer, before heading for the Brooklyn Museum of Art.
It had some pretty cool paintings in it. There was also a series of dinner plate ceramics, depiting various important historical women in an abstract way through flowers… It’s hard to explain excaatly what I mean without photos/gestures, but I can tell you they were very striking.
I think our favourite painting was the one of a family with all the men and boys dressed in black coats and white pants. Dad stood infront of this painting and announced “what kind of losers wear black coats and white pants?”
We replied: “You do!” as he hadn’t noticed he was wearing the EXACT same outfit the people in the photo did! Yeah that’s funny!
From there we WALKED (yes that’s right WALKED) back through Brooklyn, across the Manhatten Bridge, all the way to Chinatown. According to the taxi driver we hailed down in China Town, no one had ever walked that far across NYC before! We didn’t even REALISE we’d walked as far as we had!
We went back to the apartment to chill a bit before heading out to a funky little bar in the Meatpacking District for cocktails and dinner on NYE! We brought in the New Year there.

27th December 2010:
We awoke to find ourselves in a morning of firsts. First blizzard survived, first time “snowed-in” and first time dad has ever had to use a shovel to dig us out of snow. THAT was hilarious!
Chloe and I had a muck around in the white snow, which was thigh deep and incredbily cold. We’d never seen so much white in our lives!
From there we bundled up and headed out, following through paths others had already made across the streets of NYC.
We were off to meet Chloe’s best friend from primary school, Kristen and her dad. On the way we stopped in at a couple of department stores for a bit of shopping before catching up with our old friends outside the Plaza Hotel!
They took us to the CUTEST, QUIRKIEST little cafe that served delicious food. I can’t remember what I ate, only that I loved it.
Afterwards, Chloe, mum and I headed off to see Mary Poppins whilst dad went to Madison Square Gardens to see an ice hockey matched.
Mary Poppins was spectacular. Well, atleast the second half was. The first half was lacking in energy and we were on the verge of walking out. Thank god we stayed or we would’ve missed a really special second act! Very much worth seeing for that alone!

28th December 2010:
Chloe had long dreamed about standing outside Tiffany & Co on 5th Avenue, a la Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and sip at coffee whilst staring longingly at the beautiful jewelry inside. 5th Avenue had already been mostly cleared of snow, so we picked up some pastries and hot drinks before posing for our obligitory photos outside the store. Then Chloe popped inside for a few new trinkets for her charm bracelet.
After our Tiffany’s detour, we headed for Central Park, where children were enjoying the mountains of snow. Central Park is GORGEOUS covered in white frost.
This what where I saw a “shelf” of snow and thought I could sit on it… I didn’t realise quite how soft snow was, and fell right through it onto the ground. Chloe, acting just as intelligently as myself, copied my act and found the same fate as I had. HILARIOUS!
There were already snowmen everywhere, as well as a few sneaky “snow shapes” pressed into trees which were very impressive.
We continued on, headed to a very special place. We were off for a mini lunch at a very snazzy (name withheld) restaurant in a huge centre on the other side of Central Park.
The food was fantastic, we were treated to some spectacular showmanship in the form of edible treats and the waiters were flawless – if only all waiters were like these ones! They DESERVED every tip they got!
Later that evening, Chloe and Dad ran off home and I managed to drag mum into FAO Schwartz. Dream. Come. True. GIANT PIANO TO PLAY ON! BARBIE FASHION PARADE! LIFESIZE PLUSH ANIMALS! HOORAY!

29th December 2010:
This was the day we went to Harlem. We boarded the subway and went almost as far north as you can go on Manhattan Island.
We spent the morning exploring the area well known for it’s jazz culture. Mum waved to buskers on the subway, then we ended up in a creepy little cafe that was empty. Mum was so fascinated by the photos that it was almost IMPOSSIBLE to drag her out! She wondered why I was being so pushy until I informed here a CREEPY OLD MAN had been glaring at us from behind a curtain. Good, glad we left… After she photographed the bajeezus out of the place!
We had “breakfast” as IHOP (International House of Pancakes) – which consisted of the most calorific quesadillas in the world and unlimited pancakes. Hooray!
From there we headed off to find this mystical and magical suit shop dad had read about in the travel guide. It wasn’t enough for him to just buy a suit in NYC, no, it had to be from some quirky little store with an eccentric owner in Harlem. He got just that, and a few shirts too!
We then wandered down the main strip, found the Apollo Theatre and talked dad out of buying some truly hideous shoes.
From there we headed to the Upper East Side and into the Met (after taking some fun “Gossip Girl” shots on the steps outside). The Met is amazing. I wandered for hours on my own (having ditched the fam) taking in some really spectacular art works. They had some really obscure Picasso’s there (yes, even for Picasso) that I was totally dumbstruck by.
By then we were starving. We met out the front, found dad on the steps (he had gotten bored after 20mins and gone to get a snack) and headed for 42nd St where we were off to have dinner with some old friends of mum and dad.
Sharon and Carl took us to PongSri, a cosy little Zagat-rated Thai restaurant nestled just off Broadway. I had the BEST Pad Thai I’ve ever eaten in my whole life, as well as a spicy eggplant dish and a Thai-inspired chicken schnitzel which was pretty delicious. I ate too much.

26th December 2010: Boxing Day
This was the day of the blizzard. The blizzard that my family didn’t realise was a blizzard. The blizzard that came up to our thighs and blanketed New York City in pure white frozen fluff. The blizzard that still hadn’t entirely melted away nearly two months later when I went back to NYC in late Feburary. Yup, THAT blizzard.
It started off fun, a smattering of white on the ground outside our apartment was exciting and the snow kept falling and we all thought it was so pretty!
We headed for the Natural History Museum that morning, which I was particularly excited about due to my love of natural history museums generally. It was fantastic, they had this amazing tree made entirely out of origami animals and dinosaurs and other things on display at the museum (such as astronauts, gems and trees) and there was a never ending maze of rooms with new things to discover! I was mostly interested in the animals, which we visited first. They had ALL my favourites, including a few VERY large mooses which were a little daunting.
We also made our obligitory visit to the cultures rooms (which my dad loved, especially all the native American stuff, he loves that) where there were some pretty neat headdresses from all over the world.
The dinosaur rooms were the best though! SO MANY BONES! SO MANY MYSTICAL CREATURES I NEVER GOT TO SEE WITH MY OWN TWO EYES!
Yes, I loves me some dino bones!
Of course, we were also distracted by the falling snow outside, it was coming down quite hard and fast and what we were unaware of at that time was that THIS WAS THE BLIZZARD! Lord and we thought that was an actual storm that would take place later! We figured the early snow was just snow, lol so dumb.
We went to pick up our Promises, Promises tickets following that and then grabbed some late lunch at this little cafe before wandering over to the MoMA. It seemed this was Carmel’s favourite art gallery, as she spent the longest in there of any of us. There was heaps of Matisse, whom Carmel loves. Mind you, it was a pretty cool gallery filled with some pretty sweet art stuff.
Afterwards, we went out and posed in the snow, still completely spell bound by this magical substance that none of us had seen in such mass quantities before!
We headed home, still completely unaware that we were trekking through the middle of a BLIZZARD! Starving, we realised there was nothing in the cupboards and HAD to find somewhere to eat… But where? AROUND THE CORNER TO THE LITTLE MEXICAN JOINT! Which was essentially the best meal I had in NYC (no jokes). We did like 4 courses of magical, fresh Mexican flavours including some seriously good moles and the freshest tortillas and the yummiest corn dish I ever had (too bad I can’t remember its name).
The people at the restaurant couldn’t believe we Australians had headed out into the weather! We had figured we didn’t want to look like tragic dumb tourists and so braved the weather regardless… Little did we know that we looked like dumb tourists anyways, out in a bloody blizzard!
Full to our bellies, we braved the blizzard (STILL unaware it was a blizzard) all the way back to the apartment TWO BLOCKS down and ONE across. It took like 20mins when it would normally take 5.
Bet the blizzard was laughing at us!

25th December 2010, aka Christmas Day:
We had a wee lie in on Christmas morning before we got up and decided it was time for presents!
We all sat around the lounge room in not-our-house in Chelsea and exchanged gifts. Everyone was pretty thrilled with their presents, especially me and Chloe. We assumed we weren’t getting anything, as we thought NYC being covered by our parents’ wallets was more than enough, but were surprised with pearl rings from mum’s work. Hooray! So pretty!
We then got ready and headed out for lunch at the Plaza Hotel. THe day was bitterly cold, though not as cold as we expected. Mum was hoping desperately that it would snow, although it was not forcast to until Boxing Day. (And trust me, we got it: BLIZZARD STYLE!)
We took a taxi to the Plaza, considering the cold weather and it being Christmas Day and all, and ventured into what I’d have to say is the most glamourous, ridiculously over the top, yet still classy, beautiful hotels I’ve ever been into. The Plaza is exactly how you imagine it to be mixed with exactly how it is described in Eloise At The Plaza. (A brilliant book that the Plaza obviously loves too because it has an Eloise flag and Eloise dolls and paintings near the elevator.)
The lobby is very old fashioned, just big enough (see: small-ish) and is cozy and warm after entering from the cold via a red carpet and a swishly-dressed doorman.
We were quickly seated in the main restaurant which was directly behind the lobby, and given menus. Being Christmas, the hotel had a set menu of Christmas specialities: goose, lamb, turkey. Very American.
I asked specially for the vegetarian special, whilst Chloe ordered steak, dad chose lamb and mum ventured out in ordering goose for her Christmas lunch.
While we waited, Chloe and I gave ourselves a tour of the dessert trolleys in the middle of the table, oh we couldn’t wait to dig into the adorable little pastel-coloured macarons, intricately designed chocolates and about five different amazing looking cakes with my name marked ALL OVER THEM!
We were served our first course, which was a really delicious pumpkin soup with a hint of truffle and a vast array of different little rolls for us to use to mop the soup up. The soup was rather on the thin side, which normally I would complain about (I prefer thicker ones), but I think the intense flavours of the herbs and truffle demanded something a little lighter.
Whilst waiting for our mains, Chloe and I ventured to the toilets. Unfortunately (or rather fortunately, as I see it), we got terribly lost and stumbled into the grand ballroom. It was GORGEOUS, the absolute height of last-century interior design with delicately carved wall decorations and rich red carpet and beautiful chandeliers. We didn’t stay long and quickly snapped a few pictures before bailing as we didn’t want to get caught!
The vegetarian course I had ordered was char grilled vegetables rolled around goats cheese. It was well seasoned and surprisingly good, despite the goats cheese being a little toooooo melty for my liking.
The steak, Chloe said, was decent and dad was thrilled with his lamb chops, but the goose was an ABSOLUTE disaster. Mum said she has never eaten drier food in her life, which is characteristic of meat like goose if not properly basted. Oh well, we weren’t at the Plaza for the food, we were there for the ambience! (Which is unusual for a family of foodies, but hey, we had great food every other meal!)
Then it was FINALLY time for the desserts. HOORAY! Let me say: they did not disappoint!
Chloe ate her weight in macarons, following a game of “guess the flavour” and I came back to the table with 3 different kinds of chocolate cake plus a tiny baby chocolate tart. Lord do I love that sweet sweet brown stuff. Yes, we made sure we got our monies worth out of that dessert table.
Earlier mum had insisted that all she wanted for Christmas was a horse and carriage ride around Central Park. So we ventured back into the bitter cold and rugged up under a warm blanket inside a cute vintage carriage that took us for a short ride around the park, which was just across the road from the Plaza. It was loads of fun, and a nice way to see the park on a day where it wasn’t much fun to be walking long distances.
We then spotted the UN Secretary General’s car outside of the Plaza (yes, for realz, I have photos) before heading off down 5th Ave to check out more Christmas displays and hopefully spot the Rockefellar Christmas tree, which is legend. NYC goes ALL out for Christmas. Seriously, I thought Americans generally did Christmas decorations well (especially after what I saw in Chicago), but no one does it like 5th Ave, with displays that would climb right up the sides of sky-scrapers.
We spent the rest of our Christmas day exploring free and always open sights such as Grand Central Station (where I pulled a Serena from Gossip Girl) and admiring architecture, such as the Crysler building.
All in all it was a pretty great Christmas, although I don’t think I could ever get used to a cold Christmas and will definitely be spending this year’s (2011) on the beach in scorching Australian summer style. You definitely need to experience a cold Christmas once, but I’ll always prefer summer Christmas, it’s my Christmas.
x

22nd December 2011:
Chloe and Georgia arrive in the Big Apple at 11am. We then proceed to hail a cab with our thousand suitcases and speed off towards the apartment we will be staying in in Chelsea.
After dumping our suitcases and exploring the apartment, Chloe and I wandered outside to find a small bakery next door. Half pound (250g) cookies and rich, fluffy cupcakes became our lunch.
Dad arrived an hour or two later and in order to keep him awake, I announced that we should explore Chelsea! Chloe stayed in, exhausted from the long bus ride, whilst dad and I ventured out to find Chelsea Market. Turned out the “little” market we were expecting to find was the size of a department store and had everything from an Anthropologie to an amazing bakery, fishmonger and a little Aussie pie shop! We wandered around before settling on a little Italian deli for some more food (dad hadn’t had lunch and well… I’m always hungry!) before heading back to meet mum.
Still excited by our little culinary find, we dragged mum back to the markets later that evening, when it was all lit up for Christmas! We then hit a trendy hole in the wall called Pop Burgers for an amazing round of sliders (mini burgers) before hitting the hay early, as we’d all travelled long distances that day.

23rd Dec 2010:
We set off relatively and successfully early (I believe it was the earliest we were ready the entire trip!) on our first FULL day in NYC. We headed south, hoping to explore Greenwich Village, Chinatown and Little Italy. Mother refused straight up to drink coffee from a little cart on the side of the road, so after the rest of us got our morning coffee and donut hit from a silver truck, we headed off to find some “real” coffee for the fusspot. We ended up at Jeffery’s, a quirky little greengrocer/cafe near Gay St, where mum got her “real coffee”.
Satisfied, we continued south.
On a busy street which I am thankful I don’t remember the name of, we came across a shop with some shoes in the window. Dad went in, deciding he wanted to look around. He found pimp shoes… We were in a pimp shop. Yes, my father the pimp. They were long, pointy leather shoes that were teal and pearl coloured. He wanted them so bad. Mum was feigning interest whilst Chloe and I were trying DESPERATELY to convince him that not even his friend Dapper would talk to him again if he bought them. They were foul.
Other items found in the shop: hooker boots with guns for heels, those dresses that have so many “trendy” torn rips on them you’re not sure if it’s really a dress anymore, pimp hats.
It took a good hour, but we talked him out of the hideous pimp shoes… although he did get SOMETHING from the shop: a very plain, basic pair of black leather gloves. He was very happy with his purchase.
And we kept walking, and walking, and walking…
And then we found a record store. It looked cool, so we went inside. We found a cat, and not just any cat but the WORLDS FATTEST CAT EVER! For realz, this cat was like four times the size of that fatty obese cat that lives down the road from you (you know the one, you all have one!). I would’ve broken my back trying to lift it. It was bigger than all three of my fatty pet cats combined. But he was a beautiful cat, and very friendly. Dad, Chloe and I spent a disturbingly long time with the fat cat, Carmel was highly offended.
So then we kept walking, and walking, and walking. We saw NYU and Chloe got this foul pretzel and we had lunch in Little Italy and we saw hoards of Chinese people hovered around a tiny little outdoor chess set – just like in the movies except instead of one or two spectators there was half of China there. Yeah.
More walking and we hit the financial district and we saw the courts and it was pretty cool AND THEN WE HIT WALL ST! We walked HALF of MANHATTEN in less than a day! By this stage it was getting dark (so early!) and we ventured down Wall St as it got dark and it was pretty cool I must admit. We saw the New York Stock Exchange and some other big buildings AND THEN WE SAW TIFFANYS! And of course Chloe disappeared inside… Eventually the rest of us followed, but not until we were finished being mesmerised by the Tiffany’s carolling men out the front, in their cute Tiffany-blue ties. Adorable.
Mum and dad were exhausted like the old people that they are by this stage and we headed back for Chelsea.
Chloe and I didn’t have much time to waste, we had to get ready to go to our first Broadway show: LION KING!
Let me just say one thing: if you never see the Lion King musical on stage then your life will be a complete waste. It was amazing. AMAZING!
Times Square is le disgust.

24th Dec 2010:
So we started our day with the hunt for the mystical bike shop my dad was so intend on visiting. Whilst Chloe and Mum went to get Chloe’s glasses repaired (she sat on them), Dad and I strolled a few blocks over to find the bike shop… What we found was an empty storefront that had closed down only mere weeks earlier… LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL! I was so pleased we didn’t have to visit the stupid bike shop… UNTIL WE FOUND ANOTHER STUPID BIKE SHOP! Karma: gets you every time!
We then embarked on a mini architecture self-guided tour. We visited the Flat Iron Building, the New York Public Library, the Empire State and many amazing skyscrapers before finding ourselves on 5th Avenue admiring the gorgeous Christmas windows. We also saw a man do a backflip over 4 standing people. It was pretty hilarious. It was also a pretty sweet deal kinda lazy exploring NYC day.
After a really late lunch at this amazing cafe, I ditched the rentals and sister to catch up with my friend Brad and do a little last minute Christmas shopping! I was after this particular bike book for my dad, and whilst I didn’t find it, I found something better: the sequel to his FAVOURITE bike book of all time! Hooray! I also picked up a few sneaky things at Sephora for mum and Chloe.
Then we all retired in for the night, eating dodgy late night pizza, before going to bed to await Santa!

After Vegas, I returned to Albuquerque for a few more days: one with mother, one alone and three with Chloe my sister whilst we packed up the last six months of my life. It cost me $50 to send everything home. Thanks, UPSP, for making me broke.

On the 19th of December we took the most retarded flights (via PHOENIX! which is in the complete opposite direction!) across the country to the capitol: Washington DC!

Due to the stupid flight path and the time difference, we left early in the morning only to arrive quite late in the afternoon.
Getting to the hostel wasn’t that easy, turned out the directions were a bit misleading and we ended up rather lost and had to hail a taxi.
The hostel is not one I’d recommend. Sure it’s well located, clean and everything else a hostel should be, but the old man who ran it was a creeper and very rude. The website said he organised drop-offs to the bus station and train station, and when we enquired he shouted: “I DON’T GET UP BEFORE ELEVEN AM” and we were like geez, we were just asking as it WAS on the website! He also told us about how he used to have sex in the hot springs in New Mexico (he noticed my UNM jumper) which was unwarrented and unwanted because he was old and creepy AND he commented on my boob size. Trust me, if I’d had the money we would’ve been out of there, in a cab, off to a hotel!
However, once we reached the room we were pleased to find that the door locked and that we were sharing with the sweetest girl from Korea named Julie who had also just arrived.
After dropping our bags, Chloe and I hit the streets to find some dinner and sort out the next few days. We hit up this small falafel joint which was serving some of the best and freshest falafel I have ever eaten in my entire life. Pure bliss before bed time.

20th December 2010:
Chloe, Julie and I hit the streets to see the sights and sounds of the US capitol. We saw the Washington Monument and White House on our way to the Smithsonian Museums, although made only brief stops as we planned to return to those later.
The museums were spectacular – the modern art collection and natural history museum were hands down my favourites, although the American history museum also desered a mention for housing both Kermit the Frog AND Dorothy’s ruby red slippers.
It was then lunch time and I had remembered reading the cookbook of a little burger place in DC, so it was decided quickly we would eat there and weren’t we glad we did! I had the most fabulous mushroom burger and Chloe and Julie were thrilled with their beef burgers.
It was outside the Science and Space museum, after lunch, that my phone rang, it was Emma! Chloe and I had NO idea we would be overlapping with Emma and her brother Luke in DC! I hadn’t expected to see Em until we hit New Orleans! It was incredibly exciting, and we visited the Space Museum together, catching up on nearly 6 months of very little communication! Chloe and Luke bonded over the fact that they were younger siblings having to travel with their older, bossy, sisters.
After that museum, Julie received a call from a friend of hers and left us to meet them. The rest of us decided we were starved and hit up a hole-in-the-wall boutique restaurant for pizza before parting ways.
Chloe and then headed for the bus stop to return to our hostel for the evening.
We had the most fabulous bus driver,, he was clearly a little crazy on the energy drink he was sculling and kept making humerous remarks and insisting that he should be the face of that energy drink. Chloe had her photo taken with him for our memory books.
We were pretty knackered after a big day and fell asleep pretty quickly that night.

21st December 2010:
Chloe and I had plans to meet Emma and Luke again, and headed off to the White House. It took FOREVER to find them as we were standing on one side of the White House and they were on the other. Whoops! But we admired the enormous white (well it is!) house that it was and the incredibly Christmas trees that were scattered adjacent to the Obama’s backyard.
We also ventured the rest of Capitol Hill visiting the archives where we saw the Declaration of Independence AND the Magna Carta (the latter I was incredibly impressed by), the Supreme Court and visited the giant, marble Mr Lincoln at sunset.
From there we did a little shopping (hooray!) before heading out to find dinner. Of course, we HAD to stumble across a Hooters which both Chloe and Luke insisted on eating at. It was fun, although loud, and the food was unexpectedly tasty.
We called it a night relatively early (although ended up being kept up by three drunken Koreans – not Julie – who were also staying in our room, one sat on my suitcase and snapped the wheel clean off!) as we had to get up at 5am to travel by bus to the Big Apple! Needless to say, we were excited!

Washington DC is an incredible city, although is it small. It really only does take 48 hours to see the major sites, as they are all located literally next door to one another, however if you wanted to venture further and visit the Pentagon, Georgetown and try and get a tour of the White House (which is really tricky), I’d suggest longer. All in all, Chloe and I had an absolute blast and couldn’t wait for the next stop in our little East Coast Adventure of America!

So the weekend before exams (yes, I’m soooooo rebellious :P) I left Albuquerque to fly to Las Vegas and spend the weekend with my mother. I hadn’t seen her since I left Australia in August and was incredibly excited.

Friday 10th December:
I jumped on an airplane to Vegas, transferring at Phoenix, in the afternoon with the intention of landing an hour before my mother at our destination. Upon landing, I turned on my mobile phone to find missed calls from mum, who had arrived only minuted earlier!
It wasn’t easy tracking mum down, she was standing at the wrong luggage carousel waiting for luggage from Seattle, not Los Angeles.
After collecting our luggage we stood in the worlds LONGEST line (seriously, it was one of those snaking lines that doubled over 3 times and each section was well over 100 metres long) for a taxi to the Aria Hotel – our destination for the weekend.
We arrived, mother a little tired from jetlag and me starving hungry as always. I had endless energy and insisted going for a stroll to find dinner. Mum was a little reluctant but after popping a bottle of champagne (drink 1 – explained further down) she agreed on Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the MGM Grand. After pizza, some crazy mad salad and a seriously delicious chocolate souffle dessert (plus drinks 2 & 3) we wandered back to our hotel where mum proceeded to pass out and snore hilariously.

Saturday 11th December:
HOORAY! VEGAS! We were probably up before anyone else in Vegas, but hey we had places to be! We started the day with cake at a French patisserie (the breakfast of champions!) before a little shopping to prelude our plan to hit up as many of the strange, quirky and just plain weird hotels along the strip.
Our first stop outside the Aria was the Bellagio hotel, where we admired the amazing Christmas decorations consisted of artic animals made entirely of flowers. We then went outside to watch the water show the Bellagio puts on every half hour.
We then wandered across to Planet Hollywood where I knew I would find an Earl of Sandwich (a magical discovery from my trip to Disney World with Eloise & Eloise). Best. Sandwich. Ever.
As it began to get dark we realised we had only done 3 drinks since arriving in Vegas (a travesty if I ever heard one! and it had been a SHARED drink) and set about doing exactly what we had always planned to do when we finally got to Sin City.
Our aim? To down 21 drinks, or one at each hotel until we hit that magical number. The original plan was to do 21 drinks each, but after my third drink I was so giggly that mum announced maybe it was best to aim for 21 between us. I agreed, but only because drinks in Vegas are bigger than elsewhere and in many cases one could’ve easily counted as two.
So drinks number 4 and 5 took place inside the little restaurant half way up the tiny Eiffel Tower at the Paris hotel, from where we watched the Bellagio water show again (it was dark and is way more spectacular at night with lights added for effect). I was already tipsy by this point and there were a few drunk photos taken of the rather spectacular Eiffel bathroom…
Drinks number 6 & 7 were taken at a rather dodgy pokies bar inside the run down Flamingo hotel. More drunken antics followed when we stumbled across a sex shop with open legs for an entrance and proceeded to pose endlessly beneath them. Mum then spotted a naked male mannequin on a bed inside the shop and forced me up on the bed… More hilarious photos.
Caesar’s Palace was our next stop and by the time I was pretty far gone and was most excited when I stumbled across a giant wall of goldfish for me to make fishy-faces with. We also posed infront of the many recreated statues of David, Caesar, etc.
On our way to find dinner and drinks 8 & 9, we spotted CRIPPLE SANTA! (Santa Claus with a walking frame) at a restaurant and knew this was the place we were supposed to eat.
We were right too, the little restaurant we had chosen had spectacular pasta and we met an amazing couple who landed me the work experience I am currently completing here in ABQ!
After tossing a coin in the fake Trevi Fountain we wandered up the strip to see JERSEY BOYS at the Palazzo hotel. Drink number 10 occurred in the lobby.
Jersey Boys is the story of the Four Seasons and was an incredible show.
Afterwards, exhausted and ready for bed, we began the walk home only to find ourselves outside a champagne bar (the perfect place for drinks 11 & 12!) where mum drank champagne and I drank champagne cocktails.
We then journeyed back to the Aria and passed out, as we had to be up early for our helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon!

Sunday 12th December:
We awoke with enough time to get cake for breakfast again (hooray!), before boarding the little van that would take us allllllllll the way to the helicopter for our mini trip to the Grand Canyon. It was definitely the best way to see the spectacular desert attraction, as were were able to land directly inside one of the ‘rooms’ and explore an area that tourists who drive are not privy to. This was also the location of drinks 13 & 14. Hooray white wine! I wasn’t ready to leave the Grand Canyon when we did, although the flights there and back were just as astonishing, as we also hovered over the Hoover Dam and through the Nevada desert.
We headed for the Venetian, planning to stop for an afternoon snack at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon, only to find it CLOSED for renovations! Devastated and still hungry, we ventured into the Mirage hotel (after finding the Treasure Island siren show closed for renovations as well!) to have all-American style nachos and fried pickles alongside drinks 15 & 16.
A quick stop at the Mirage volcano show was in order before drinks 17 & 18 at the Mandarin Oriental (so classy) – our most expensive drinks of the trip at $16 each.
We still had a few hotels to hit: the New York New York, Excalibur (quick stop for a Maccas cheeseburger) and the Luxor. No drinks were drunk at these hotels.
We headed back to the Bellagio – realising we hadn’t had a drink there yet – and drank drinks 19 & 20 at a quirky little bar offerring 2 for 1 drinks. Definitely worth it, those drinks were delish.
Then we did some shopping at Caesar’s palace. Hooray!
I had decided drink number 21 (YAY! we made it!) had to be particularly memorable and insisted on dragging mum back up to the Paris hotel for one of those ridiculous daquiris in a hot airballoon shaped holder. She was reluctant, exhausted after another big day, although it ended up being a great night as we found a show called Duelling Pianos playing at a bar across the way from my drink stand. The show consisted of two grand pianos, placed opposite one another, with a man and a lady playing popular songs and ‘duelling’ for tips. They were incredibly entertaining and come highly recommended by one drunk little me.
Right before we called it quits for the night, we hit up the Blackjack table (21!) and mum sat me down, told them to go easy on me cos it was my first time and I had just turned 21… Well everyone started telling the dealer to give me 21, they were chanting it “21! 21! 21!” AND GUESS WHO GOT 21 ON HER FIRST ROUND? That’s right! MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!
We played one more round, I lost that one but didn’t lose all my money… Actually I ended up still walking away with $13 (I’d won about $30 initially) ontop of what I had put down so I was pretty pleased with myself! What a way to end our Vegas adventure!
Afterwards, we stumbled back to our hotel bed as we had an early flight to catch!

Monday 13th December:
Up early, off to the airport, flying back to Albuquerque with mum! So excited to show her the little city that had become my new home. 🙂

So we’re into our third “snow day” here in Albuquerque and it is driving me insane… Seriously, I just want to go outside and DO SOMETHING instead of sitting inside, with the worlds worst television channels that just keep repeating the cheap version of Fashion Police SAG Awards (not even the E! one!) and making me want to punch a wall in!

For most of the past three days the temperature has sat well below -20C and the wind outside just makes that awful cold feel that much more bitter. We’ve basically just been stuck inside, cramped and living ontop of eachother with little to do and almost no where to go… Unless we want to be turned into icicles.

Don’t get me wrong though, there have certainly been efforts to cheer the mood that has been so dampened by the weather outside… Camille invited Maja, Nick and I (among others) to a crepes and tea afternoon at her house on Tuesday, which was fun although full of smoke as almost everyone was French and they all smoked inside which did nothing for my already awful respitory problems. I ignored it well enough, although when I went to bed that night it all crept up on me and I coughed violently for ages. It was worth it though, the crepes were delicious and the tea warmed our bones that had been frozen stiff in the two block walk (yes thats how bitter it was outside) to Camille’s apartment.

On Wednesday Chris, Tania and I drove up one of the smaller mountains that sit on the edge of Albuquerque to rescue the llama (Lupe) at Chris’ work. We were surprised to find it was actually WARMER ontop of the mountain and frolicked in the snow after forcing (yes forcing, that llama was not a happy llama and had to be dragged) Lupe into the barn to ensure he didn’t freeze to death. It was fun, albiet brief, and I was able to make my first ever snow angel!
Afterwards, we tried snuggling by the fire and watching films, which was successful… until the film decided it didn’t want to play for us anymore and cut out abruptedly, leaving us irritated and curious as to what happened to Julia Roberts’ character at the end of Eat Pray Love (a film I had no desire to see until the snow storm hit).

Today was fractionally warmer and due to a ride from Chris I was able to get to work without risking frostbite. It was so nice to get out of the house and into the office, if only for two hours… Afterwards I made mum’s curry puffs for lunch before we drove around a bit, hitting up the drive through ATM’s for money (a novelty for an Australian like myself) and discovering UNM would be closed on Friday as well!

Although due to the fact that there isn’t alot of walking, and I am relying too heavily on those who have cars, I have an immeasurable amount of pent up energy and am dying to go for a run to work it all off… It’s far too cold outside though (Tania and I walked to the post office and we are pretty sure we were going the way of the mammoth in the ice age) and the gym at UNM is closed along with the rest of the university! Furthermore, I am finding myself eating FAR too much out of sheer boredom (seriously, there is not alot to do when everything is closed and you’re all a bunch of exchange students who are living on the bare basics) and fear for my waist line… I wish there was a decent bookstore or something within walking distance.

Oh oh oh! And I forgot to even mention: did you know there actually isn’t any snow on the ground outside (barre the mountains)? There was the first day… about an inch… but it evaporated because ABQ has a weird climate so it does that. Yes, that’s right people… there has been three snow days and yet NO ACTUAL SNOW TO SPEAK OF! I can’t even go out and play in it!

I can’t wait for this city to get up and start moving again… Fingers crossed the weather jumps above +1C tomorrow so I can atleast go for a walk (probably not a run though, not until it hits +10C next week)…

I always dreamed of a snow day… and here I am, I’ve had three in a row… I don’t much like snow days it turns out.

Snow snow go away, bring the sun so I can play…

x

hello my adoring fans!

How is? I have been a busy been and have been back in Albuquerque no more than two weeks since I trekked across the great old USA! Since then I have been interning for a government department and have had little time to update.

Since we last spoke I have:

– Been to Las Vegas with mother and let hell run loose on the Strip.
– Done 2 university exams and become a college graduate
– Visited the Capitol: DC
– Spent a freezing, blizzard-filled Christmas in NYC
– Been frozen into an icypole in Boston
– Tasted 60 different flavours of soft drink at the Coca Cola factory in Atlanta
– Visited the shrine to education and myself: The University of Georgia
– Had a blast getting drunk and listening to jazz in New Orleans
– Interned for two weeks successfully at my little government internship

Yeah, I’ve been a busy little bee and unfortunately have not had time to update until now! However, fear not my little readers, I will be filling yo in on everything that has happened over the coming weeks as well as letting you all in on my fabulous return to Albuquerque which was quite warm and made me very happy until it started snowing less than half an hour ago!

So expect lots of love and updates in the coming days, everyone!
x