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8th Jan 2011
So Chloe & Georgia landed in NOLA (New Orleans, Louisiana) rather early. While Chloe collected the bags, I sprinted around trying to find a toilet (“The RESTROOM is over there.” – Lady who was clearly offended by my use of the word “toilet”).
We then boarded a shuttle bus to the French Quarter, where our hotel awaited us. (Yes, hotel, as we were meeting up with our friend Emma and between the three of us it was the same price as staying in a hostel.)
After dropping off our bags and sending a text message through to Emma, Chloe and I were told there was decent Italian place around the corner. So we headed that way – finding hilarious horse-shaped street posts along the way (yes amusing photos were taken)
Lunch was good – we had delicious spinach & artichoke dip as well as an amazing pizza, and to top it all off: the tablecloth was paper and crayons were supplied! HOORAY!
From there we did a bit of a tour – using my travel guide map as a base – to discover all of the best the French Quarter had to offer! It’s really beautiful, and much of the architecture was French-themed, as the name suggested. We realised that this area hadn’t been badly affected by Katrina, as it was all still in tact. What struck me most about the Quarter was the colours: everyone had fun coloured houses! Nothing boring! Pinks, blues, yellows, greens – soft, but still vibrant enough that it was unusual, not normal neighbourhood colours!
We then hit the edge of the Mississippi River, where there were some little museums to visit (we were saving the big ones for when Em arrived!). One of the museums had paper and instructions to make origami ducks… Both Chloe and I discovered we SUCKED at paper-folding!
We visited the markets later on, they were a bit dead – but we figured that was because the weather wasn’t very nice so there wasn’t much reason for people to be out!
That night we struggled to find a place that would serve us dinner, as Chloe was not 21 and all the restaurants had bars so they wouldn’t let us in! How rude! So we ended up eating kebabs in our hotel room. 😛

9th Jan 2011:
Emma’s flight was delayed coming in to NOLA, so Chloe and I headed for the two major museums close by. One focused on the history of New Orleans and Lousiana – from ancient times through to modern history, while the other had become a Hurricane Katrina museum (it had previously been a Mardi Gras museum! So sad we didn’t get to see the Mardi Gras one, as good as the Katrina one was, it would have been nice to see both!). Emma arrived while we were at the first museum, so we went around it again before venturing over to the second!
The weather was MISERABLE that day, and it poured with bitterly cold rain. So we decided to warm ourselves up with some beingets – deep fried dough with a mountain of icing sugar piled ontop. DELICIOUS!
We wandered along the river front, which was a bit miserable looking, but I wonder if that was cos there wasn’t a single scrap of sky that wasn’t forlorn grey… I’m sure the river is much nicer in summer!
We went to see where the ferries left from, and got caught waiting for the world’s longest (and emptiest) little train in the world! I reckon it took about 15mins (with a stop) for it to pass by us before we could get back into the French Quarter!
While we waited for the train, we discovered cool reflecting art and mucked around taking photographs of ourselves in it.
Lunch was $4 mexican food – so delicious! Cheesy quesadillas with roasted veggies and warm burritos kept us from starving.
Dinner was… somewhere? Obviously it wasn’t memorable!

10th Jan 2011
We started the morning by heading for the Mardi Gras museum – which is the LONGEST walk from the FQ and we should’ve just sucked it up and paid for a taxi!!! But the museum itself was worth it! There were endless floats to look at, all carved from styrofoam, in every shape, size, animal, human and colour of the rainbow! They even had Mardi Gras cake for us to try (it tasted much like a finger bun from the local bakeries here) and Mardi Gras costumes for us to try on! (Yes there are hilarious (“embarassing” – Emma) photos from this part of our tour!
We then ventured across the Mississippi on the ferry, only to turn right back around again cos there isn’t much on the other side of the river as it’s still all being rebuilt from Katrina.
Chloe INSISTED on visiting a Wal-Mart, and this was her last chance to do so – so we trekked and trekked until we came across one in a really shifty neighbourhood. Worth it? Yeah, she was THRILLED! It IS a pretty magical place though – it has EVERYTHING you could ever want or imagine wanting all under one gigantic roof!
We finally got out of the shifty neighbourhood (it was difficult, NOLA isn’t known for its public transport!) and found our way into a shopping centre, where we did a wee spot of retail therapy (also they had heating and it was still bitterly windy outside.)
For dinner that night we stopped into what claimed to be an authentic gumbo restaurant just outside of the tourist enclave. Chloe didn’t like hers – but Emma and I both enjoyed our warm southern stews, mine with beans and hers with seafood. We also all treated ourselves to ‘hurricanes’ – an INCREDIBLY potent drink that is the same colour as agrum but with long island iced tea affects! Delicious!
We didn’t go out after our dinner as it rained and rained and that’s gross.

11th Jan 2011
We started this morning (yet another cold one) with a trip to the old nunnery about 4 blocks from our hotel. The man who ran the nunnery museum was a bit of a nutter – and couldn’t see properly (so insisted on standing VERY close to you) – but thoroughly amusing.
The nunnery was totally worth visiting – the gardens were beautiful and the architecture was simple in the way many religious buildings are, but with hints of detail in the most unexpected places. The little church inside had a really southern feel about it – similar to that of the churches in Santa Fe – but with lots of old-world European decal (is decal even a word?). A little over the top in the religious figurines, but pretty nonetheless.
We then took a tram ride going north (past the cemetaries that many tourists like to visit, but that didn’t seem very appealing in 2 degree weather) to the art gallery of New Orleans.
The Art Museum was really random. I’ve been in art galleries all over western Europe and north America (not to mention Australia) and have never seen anything like the art gallery in NOLA! The art didn’t have much of an overriding theme to it and it wasn’t well organised. Much of the art was RANDOM as (like one Renaissance painting of a man in a chair with another man’s head peaking out from a hole in the ground below that chair!) and some… well I wouldn’t call it art! The top floor of the museum was dedicated to the kinds of trinkets you find at your grandma’s house – painted porcelain dancing ladies and animals, weird coloured glass shapes and those tacky glass animals you can buy at old lady shops. Art? Well… that’s questionable!
There was also one room that was playing Alice in Wonderland (the Disney version) with random dubbing over the top that made little sense – I think it was trying to be modern, but it didn’t make any sense and to me it looked like someone had taken Alice in Wonderland and then just decided to change the words! I didn’t like it, and I have a pretty broad appreciation for art… This was one weird ass art gallery!
Luckily, the sculpture garden outside didn’t disappoint and we spent a fair amount of time exploring the gardens before opting to return to central FQ.
On our way back, we met people from Taos (two hours north of ABQ, where Maja and I bonded over some weird chocolates) who were surprised to find I knew where, let alone had been to, their little town!
Freezing, we stopped into Maccas, where Chloe decided she wanted a Happy Meal. We all got one, and they came with hilarious little animals (I still have my unicorn toy that I specifically requested) that we took amusing photos of. The Maccas in NOLA also have signs on the walls that say things like “No loitering in McDonalds for more than 20mins” and other things like that… God, do they really have problems with people never wanting to leave? Well, I guess it’s Maccas and it’s a pretty sweet place to be!
That night, after dropping Chloe back at the hotel, Emma and I set out to see some jazz. We stepped in just intime to catch a really awesome band playing some sweet tunes. The only unfortunate thing was that the singer had no microphone/amplification so was difficult to hear.
From there, we wandered across the road to the Cat’s Meow – a karaoke bar that served GIANT hurricanes (I don’t know how Emma got through two, I was nearly passed out after one!) and was full of drunken antics and bad singing! I dragged Emma up on stage for two songs – an awesome rendition of Single Ladies, including dance moves and then a hilarious take on Down Under – after which the host asked what my downunder was like (to which I drunkenly replied: “HOT!”).
Sufficiently drunk and having publically humiliated ourselves enough, we wandered across the road for kebabs and some photo taking that I don’t quite remember… Kebabs so good drunk.
We then wandered back to our hotel, ready for some slumber after an awesome day.

12th Jan 2011
I woke up about 8am to still find Chloe lying in bed next to me… WTF! She was supposed to leave hours ago!
After pulling out dad’s emergancy credit card, we managed to book her a flight to LA that meant we had to get her down to reception asap!
Following that drama, Emma and I headed downstairs for waffles (did I mention we had waffles every morning for breakfast?) before taking advantage of the small amount of sunshine NOLA was offering us. We went to the markets again, saw some public art and ate burgers at a little pub before heading over to the New Orleans Cooking School for some lessons in down home southern cooking!
Our hilarious Southern Belle host taught us how to make chowder, gumbo and pralines (“praaaaaaaaahh-leeeeeeeeeens”), while we munched on treats. The lesson was right up both our alley’s and we left with special spicey mix ideal for gumbos to take home. Yum!
I have no recollection (or photos) of dinner so I assume it was lame.

13th Jan 2011.
Emma left at like 5am, while I was still sound asleep.
My flight wasn’t until 1pm and I wasn’t being collected by the shuttle until 11:30, so I had lots of time to kill! I walked around, mostly aimlessly, and took photographs of pretty houses. I also bought my mother an awesome “Cooking with Jazz” poster for the kitchen. Then I went to the airport and killed serious time (as the shuttle driver didn’t have to pick anyone else up) eating Subway and being bored as nothing was open.
Sadly, our trip was over, but I still had another month and a half in Albuquerque to look forward to! Going “home” to my friends back in the ABQ was so exciting and I was looking forward to being back somewhere familiar.

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5th January 2011: ATLANTA!
Chloe and I arrive SUPERBLY late into Atlanta (so early it’s the next day!) and catch a cab out to our hostel. We get to bed ridiculously late, tired from our airplane flight. The room is freezing cold and we can’t work out why. We both freeze.
Next morning we are moved into a different, much warmer room.
We then head out to see Atlanta! We catch the MARTA (train) to downtown and head off to find the Magical World of Coca-Cola AND the biggest Aquarium in North America: Georgia Aquarium.
EVERYTHING has my name on it! It’s all very exciting!
The aquarium is spectacular, the floor-to-wall glass that we can watch all the different aquatic animals through. We spent quite a while in there, especially watching the otters and the beluga whales!
Afterwards, we headed for the Coca-Cola factory tour, which was convienently located RIGHT NEXT DOOR! Insane! The building is essentially a giant coke bottle, you know, just in the middle of Atlanta.
We went on a semi-guided tour, before exploring the centre on our own. The coke factory tour is essentially a LOOK AT HOW GREAT WE ARE show off kinda place, but it’s also pretty fun and hey it’s coke, it’s an icon.
In the final room, before you exit, there are over SIXTY different flavours of soft drink to taste. HOORAY! We had mouthfuls of each, and let me tell you, I was dry heaving at the taste of some of them. We both felt sufficiently sick at the end of it all, but didn’t forget to take our complimentary coke with us on our way out! Chloe loved that, she’s a bit of a soft-drink-aholic.
Afterwards, despite the drizzly weather, Chloe and I spent some time exploring downtown Atlanta, checking out all the shit with my name on it and buying souvenirs with my name on it.
We headed back to the hostel and asked where we should go for some good down-home Southern style cooking for dinner. We were told that there was a magical little place across the road called Mary Mac’s.
Indeed, it was magic! Chloe had the fried chicken with mac & cheese (ok they were magical BESIDES the foul mac & cheese), coleslaw and mash potato.
I had tomato pie, gross mac & cheese and coleslaw. Tomato pie is this magical Southern food that I’d never heard of before. DELISH!
The waiter also brought out lots of little tastings for us, as we were new to the South and that’s how they roll down there. Hence why it is called “Southern hospitality”.

6th January 2011
On our second day in Atlanta, we headed out for the capitol. This was a chance for us to learn ALL about Georgia’s history. Did you know Jimmy Carter was from Georgia? It was also an excuse for me to take HEAPS of photos of my name. 🙂 It was even on the elevators! BEST!
From there we took the train out into the sticks, where the Martin Luther King Jr. home and museum were located. It was a fantastic tour and I highly recommended it, but it’s in a pretty dodgy end of town so don’t go strolling through there on your own! The curators of the museum had put alot of thought and effort into the displays, and we got a guided tour plus a cool movie that taught us about African American rights.
Dinner was at this cool little Cuban cafe. Chloe loves jerk chicken!

7th Jan 2011
Up a little later than we needed to be, Chloe and I RACED down to the bus station to catch a bus out to Athens, Georgia where the UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA is located.
The university is HUGE and took us several hours to tour across. I was in heaven. Here was a SHRINE to me, full of stuff about me. I knew that if I was American, this would have been where I went to university! It was PERFECT! It was huge and full of American school spirit and the most awesome football stadium and A WHOLE STORE FULL OF AWESOME GEAR WITH MY NAME EMBLAZONED ACROSS THE FRONT! Not to mention the fact that EVERYONE around the uni and it’s town were sporting gear with my name on it! HOORAY EVERYONE LOVED ME HERE!
After our tour across campus (which was a nice work out), we headed into the merch store to select my new wardrobe. I now have a Georgia hoodie, Georgia tshirts and a pair of Georgia shorts. HELLA YEAH I am all about me!
We caught the bus back to Atlanta and had dinner once more at Mary Mac’s, where Chloe decided she HAD to have their cookbook as she knew she’d miss the Southern food when she got back to Perth. Early night, as we had a stupidly early flight out!

2nd Jan 2011:
Chloe and Georgia arrive quite late at night, after a four hour bus trip north of NYC. We were tired and hungry, so after checking in we headed out for a quick slice of pizza before bed.

3rd Jan 2011:
BOSTON WAS SO COLD! Much colder than NYC could’ve even tried to be. The wind was bitter, but we were meeting Brittney so we had to head out!
We met her at the park in the heart of Boston. I was so thrilled to be reunited with my best American friend and Chloe was excited to meet “Georgia’s American friend”. We braved the cold for a historical tour of Boston, which chronicled the story of America and how Boston fits into that. Many presidents lived and are buried in Boston, and there is so much history in such a small area! It was really worthwhile!
We then headed into Quincey Market for some delicious lunch to warm ourselves up before venturing into more history.
Afterwards, we wandered the city a little more before heading across the river where Harvard and MIT are. We wandered through the university setting, off to the science museum at MIT. That was cool and there was some Lady Gaga photos, which always make me happy. 🙂 They had all these fun interactive things that the students had made (like robots) and the only holographic exhibit in America or something like that.
After that closed for the evening, we went to the Prudential Tower and headed up the top for a tour. Part of it was closed for a private Harvard event, but it was nice to get a birdseye view of the city at night and generally be inside, away from the bitter chill.
We didn’t end up back in bed until quite late that night, unwilling to leave Brittney to head back to Maine.

4th Jan 2011:
Chloe and I headed for the Boston art museum, which was fantastic. They had an exibit on fashion photography, where we spent much of our time, as well as some cool modern Chinese art that hinted at ancient art forms while still remaining modern. We then went back to the park where we had been the previous day and visited the little ducks. We also saw a man walk across the frozen lake, which was surely a sight to be seen, especially by two girls who had never seen more than an inch of snow before in their lives! We weren’t tempted to try it ourselves, as we were still getting the hang of walking in the snow!
We left Boston late that afternoon, headed for Atlanta!

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.

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!

Just before midnight on the 26th of November 2009, my parents, my sister and I touched down IN INDIA!

Now, let me try to explain exactly how excited I was: SO EXCITED!!! See, India is a nation of beautiful silks, amazing architecture and most importantly, my favourite kind of food: Indian. All I could think about was all the curries, the dosas, the samosas, the bahji that was calling my name: “Eat me Georgia, we are delicious!” they exclaimed. I was truly ready to eat nothing but curry for the ten days I was in this amazing country of spectacular food… And I wanted to buy some nice silks and see some temples whilst I was at it.

We arrived in Chennai, formerly Madras, on the south-east coast of the brilliant subcontinent, and despite it being so late at night, the city was ready and waiting to assault our senses the moment we stepped out of the airport.
Men and women in colourful saris lined the barricades outside the arrival terminals (see, in India you can’t even ENTER an airport without a ticket, so the crowds wait outside). Many of the men were holding up signs with names, we were supposed to find ours… amongst what seemed like half the population just outside the airport!

Immediately we were hit by a wall of smells: India smelt funny, but not half as bad as I was warned it would be. The faint smell of spices filled the air, mixed with sweat, dust and that disgusting summer-day humidity smell that didn’t seem to care that it was the middle of the night!

We were under the assumption that Chennai was small-ish. We were wrong. Chennai has like several MILLION people, it’s like the Melbourne of Australia… but with like a zillion times the population, and that’s not even counting all the “extras” in the slums. (Not that there appeared to really be many slums happening, which surprised me – although I was later informed that this was really only a problem in Mumbai, and most other cities had very little in the way of slums.) But Chennai was not only big, it was also busy: all day and all night. A city that never sleeps AND IT’S NOT EVEN A MAJOR INTERNATIONAL ONE!

I was so excited that when we finally arrived at our hotel, I had alot of trouble falling asleep (despite my severe jetlag due to the never-ending stop over in Bangkok airport), but awoke the next morning with so much energy and excitement, I was ready to go before my parents had even rolled out of bed!

Then it was time for breakfast: a good Indian breakfast was clearly the only way to start the day! (My family did not agree.) I couldn’t help myside, it was so tasty.

When we FINALLY went outside, it was hard not to be a little nervous, our hotel was on a major highway and there was like zero sidewalk (what sidewalk did exist was mostly crumbled or occupied by a cart or similar). The Indians on foot happily risked their lives walking up and down the side of the ACTUAL ROAD, going about their business like having a car driving at you 100kms an hour was nothing at all! So we followed suite, and headed down the road, trying not to become roadkill.

We headed down the first “side street” we came along. Apparently every Indian in the area was staring at me, Chennai isn’t exactly a big tourist city, white people are almost unheard of, and my particularly-pale complexion really stood out. (My family are luckily all quite tanned, and except for mum’s blue eyes, they all found it much easier to blend in than I did.) I was also apparently offending them with my almost-knee length shorts and a tshirt… I was told that would be fine (BY AN INDIAN!), clearly that advice was wrong.
So I made a future effort to cover up more… which was easier said than done in a country that has 35 degree days in the middle of winter, I couldn’t think of anything worse than covering up.
Of course, for India I’d do anything and it wasn’t an issue of modesty, but it was humid and that’s gross. (Next time I visit India, I will invest in many long, linen things… And not have to wear funny mismatched clothing in order to try and blend in.)

Interesting fact about lovely Chennai: The St Thomas Basilica is located in the city, and is one of the only three apostles world wide. (The other two are in Rome, Italy and Santiago, Spain.) That’s pretty cool.

We only had that morning in Chennai, but already I could tell that I was going to love every part of India. There were so many exciting things to photograph and for some reason we didn’t appear to have any culture shock… So it was off to the airport to go to Madurai and visit Mani and his family for his wedding.

To be continued…

This is a little bit different to my usual posts, but it was too funny NOT to share!

Last night two of our cats, Billy and Ringo (aka Butt*) were asleep on the couch next to eachother and Butt kept trying to lick Billy.

Let it be known that Billy and Butt usually don’t get along very well, and for Butt to get as close as he did, before the licking started, was unusual enough. And very cute. And very funny.

We FINALLY managed to get it on film, and the result was posted by my sister on YouTube (so I apologise for her bad spelling in the captions).

So, without further ado:

Kitty Lickin’ Good (with commentary by myself, my sister Chloe and my friend Yuki):
(Butt is the black one, Billy is the brown tabby.)

If that didn’t work, you can catch the clip on YouTube right here.

Until later!

*Ringo was nicknamed Butt shortly after we got him because he had no fur on his behind (and looked like a baboon) and it kinda stuck.