Monday, August 8, 2011

Grand Canyon!

So I've arrived in Georgia now, It's beautiful here! Really hot and muggy. Not quite as hot as phoenix which is nice but the humidity is pretty gnarly! the air is always really thick. Augusta is SUCH a beautiful town, its really green. The houses are epic too, they're all massive and super old! and all the people here talk with really southern accents. I almost feel like I'm living in a movie haha

Anyway.. The day before I flew out Cody's brother Butch and his wife Heidi, took me and they're daughter Addy up to the Grand Canyon! We left at 12, and it took us 4 hours to get there. Butch's car stereo was broken, so to keep ourselves entertained on the drive we played an alphabet game, where you start at A and have to get to Z, to progress to a new letter you have to spot a word somewhere outside the car on a road sign or another car, so you progress pretty fast until letters like Q or X or Z.. we were both stuck on Z, so basically the first one to see a Z word would win the game, butch got distracted just as we got to a 'no passing zone' and i took it out :) so stoked haha! we pretty much ate jerky and sun flower seeds and played the alphabet game til we got there.

Got to the canyon, and because we were so high up it wasn't too hot which was nice. Back in Phoenix there's never relief from the heat when you're outside, so it was so sick being outside in the sun and not dying from the heat. We basically just wandered around and had our minds blown! here's some photos we got from the day .....

This is Heidi, and Addy
 Butch and Addy
 Now you can kind of see the canyon..
 Just being a tourist ha

 Me and Butch got off the track and climbed out this part that didn't have railings on it, Heidi was freeeeeaking out ha! It was mean though, I got a few snaps out there on my disposable.. I'll scan em on when I develop it.

 There were all these animals there too, I tried to get close but they kept freaking out

 Addy is the coolest baby, she's so chilled out! I've never seen her cry, she just laughs all the time. She's epic! so cute

So we drove back after about an hour and a half of checking out the canyon, got back at like 12 so I packed my things and then we went to a little party at one of Cody's friends houses where I said goodbye to all the people I'd met, then we went straight to the airport at 3 30, flew out at 5 30 from Phoenix to Charlotte in North Carolina. I basically had to walk straight from one terminal to the next and got straight on the other plane, which was this tiny little thing. No toilet, an aisle with one seat on the left and another with two seats on the right. And that flight took like half an hour. Straight up and down again. Got to Augusta at 2pm where I was met by Sonny who is the head of the rotary club who's sponsoring me, Billy who is one of my host parents, and then Rafael who is one of my other host fathers.

I stayed with Rafael, his wife Avita and they're daughter the first night. They took me to a steak house for dinner, where I got the smallest meal on the menu and still couldn't finish it haha and then to target where I got a 20 dollar cell phone. The prepaid plan I'm on gives me 1500 txts and minutes for 30 dollars! So cheap! Then went back to their place where I slept on a bed for the first time in 2 weeks :) Had the best sleep ever, which was good considering I didn't sleep at all since before we went to the grand canyon!! woke up to a coffee and toad in the hole, that avita made. So sick. Then came here to the place I'm living. It's a student village about 5 min drive from the Uni. I'm in a 4 bedroom apartment with 3 other dudes who are on the same scholarship program as me. Phillip is from denmark, he's studying computer science. Ben is from Nigeria and he's doing Medicine, and Gustavo is from Brazil, he's also doing medicine. The dudes are real sweet, me and Phillip walked to this mexican place last night and got some food, he's the man. And since then I've just been going to orientation things and getting to know the place. I'm pretty certain I'm gonna like it here :)

Will post soon with some more stories and photos from Georgia. I start Uni next monday so I'm looking forward to that. Hope your all doing well back home!

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Just thought I'd keep everyone posted on where I'm up to, what I've been doing etc. We got to Phoenix last weekend, on Saturday avo. First thing you figure out when you get here is that your in the middle of the desert and its SO HOT! The car was getting stuffy so i rolled the windows down and just got this heat wave exploding in my face, and this was before we were even in Arizona, we were just coming to the end of california.. Every now and then for the rest of the journey I'd just roll down the window to check the temp and every time was SO much hotter! It was crazy. So its been over 40 degrees celsius here everyday, even at night, I find it too hot to be outside.

Right now its monsoon season, so it's quite humid as well (Arizona's normally real dry) but the epic thing about that is pretty much every night there's been these amazing thunder storms off in the distance. We'll be driving around and there will just be flashes every 5 or 10 seconds. Sometimes you'll even see these big lightning bolts, its so sick!

Phoenix is big and suburban.. there isn't really a downtown, just miles and miles of suburbs, and everything's painted the same colour.. There's 4 million people living here, so the size of NZ in this big suburb out in the desert. And right now its so hot that everyone just lives indoors, its so weird. Coming from NZ where you stay inside because its colder outside, right now we stay inside because its too hot outside.

It's been such a great week though, I'm LOVING phoenix. Cody's been amazing with introducing me to people, already I've met so many cool people. I watched Cody's band play a pool party the saturday night we got here, went to his MASSIVE church on Sunday night, we've spent a lot of time just hanging out with different people, on monday we went to this epic coffee shop, had to teach the guy how to make a flat white again.. I've gotten used to saying 'double latte but easy on the froth there bro' and then they go 'froth?' and then cody goes 'he means foam man'. then we checked out Tempe, which is a little bit out of Phoenix. Got some more Record shopping in.. Got some CHEAP as dylan, springsteen, doors, eagles etc. After Tempe we cruised over to this guy Robs house. Rob is a crazy music collector. He has the biggest record collection I've ever seen. He's got these framed records everywhere, some of which are mindblowing! In one of them, on the cover of the record is a photo with a big group of people sitting on some steps, Tim Buckley's in the photo, and Rob showed us his mum in the picture and then he showed us himself sitting on the corner picking his nose!! Incredible. He's a got a signed copy of Jeff Buckley's Grace album, he said when he met Jeff, he told him he'd met his father tim when he was 5 years old... To which jeff replied 'you and me both man' !!!!!!!! so sick! So we had an epic time looking at all his stuff, watched some Dylan and Led Zep videos and he cooked us a real tasty dinner.. burritos. Such a good night!

I swear every single meal I've had in Phoenix until last night (when we had in and out burger) has been mexican.. burritos, tacos, quesadillas.. I love mexican food right now. every time we drive past a del taco or a taco bell I have to stop and have a chicken burrito haha

Tuesday night I played a show at this little bar, was kind of unsure because I don't really know anyone here, but it was SO sick, all the dudes I'd met over the last few days came out to watch and were super stoked on my set.. It was really sweet. Cody played a few songs with me on the mando... Here's some photos:

Cody and Me playing Girl From The North Country
 That's Cody's store manager Mike on the left and his older brother Butch on the right
 That's brent on the right and Jordan on the left, epic dudes
 This is a table full of people I've met here, they'd all cheer really loud when I finished a song haha
This is me chewing my hair
 Good times
So that was sick.

Wednesday we went to a mall where they had a vans store, Cody's friend Jason is the manager. He gave us half off anything! So sick! I got a pair of brand new vans for 22 dollars american! Then we went to this mexican place called Chipotle. I could only eat half my 6 dollar chicken burrito. So mean, then Cody went to work so I went and helped his brother Butch do some prep work on a house he was painting. We had a sick day hanging out and getting it done.

Now it's Thursday, not too sure what today has in store.. But tomorrow, me and Butch and his wife Heidi are taking a little trip to THE GRAND CANYON! I'm soooooo fricken stoked! So hopefully I'll have some more interesting pictures for the blog by tomorrow. Can't wait to go check out the grand canyon! Then I fly out at 5 30 am on Saturday to settle down in Georgia. It's all happening very quick but I'm having such a good time. Missing home a little! Wouldn't mind a flat white and game of MD down at Alleluya haha

Hope your all doing well back home!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Trip to San Fransisco

So after a pretty full on Monday and Tuesday we took it nice and easy on Wednesday chilling at the apartment, we ended up getting on the road to head up to San Fran at like 4 in the avo. It's cool here because you could take the highway called the 5 and that would take you straight through the country from LA to SF and it might take only 6 hours. However you can also drive out to the coast and take a coastal highway called the 101, but even beyond that there's a road that actually follows the coastline, its pretty small and you can only drive 50 mph or something called highway 1. So we drove out to highway 1 and drove up the coast. Hit this little town called Ventura, stopped off at the beach and took some photos. Then carried on up.. around 8 though it got dark so instead of staying on the 1 we jumped back over to the 101 and carried on. We got to Santa Cruz at about 1 in the morning, drove around for a bit and decided to crash there for the night, couldn't find anywhere to park so we drove out of town a little bit, parked on the highway next to a whole lot of other people doing the same thing, had a few beers and fell asleep. Here we are in traffic..
 Me staying hydrated with my 2 litre bottle of water
 Us getting psyched because we made it to Ventura
 Ventura Beach
 Just outside of Santa Cruz, about to sleep in the car
We got up nice and early, and took the 1 all the way up to san fran. It's a really beautiful drive, it kind of reminded me of driving around the east cape in NZ at some points, and then other times it felt like you were driving around mission bay in auckland. Here's a snap of Cody first thing in the morning.
This is me throwing away the twizzlers that i bought. They're so yuck! I thought they'd be like wonka raspberry twisters but no dice..

We went straight to the Golden Gate Bridge.. it was suuuuuuper foggy! But so rad. We just walked over it singing that cold war kids song about the lady who tries to jump off the golden gate. There's these crazy loud horns on either end of it, for the most part you can only hear one or the other but somewhere in the middle you can hear them both really clearly, and the two horns are in harmony! a minor third haha, its really cool. There's also phones all up the side of it where you can call a counsellor if your up there to jump off. CRAAAAZY. here's us at Golden Gate..

I put some Quarters in the looking machine and could kind of see alcatraz but it was too foggy.. after that we hit the city!

We were trying to find a street we'd heard about called Haight St. So we put it in the GPS and left the golden gate. We parked a little while back from the street and thought we'd walk up, but at some point we took a wrong turn and ended up on another street called market street. Market street had those rainbow gay flags hanging up everywhere and every single person we saw on the street looked soooooo gay. I don't think I even saw any woman, but I saw a lot of places you could get checked for HIV etc. We hit up a sushi place down there and I had a pretty average donburi, nothing on Katsubi or Renkon, but still half the price!! We then went back to the car to figure out where we'd gone wrong and soon enough we found Haight St.

Haight St was like the center of the hippie movement in San Francisco back in the late 60s, and it still very much has that vibe. There was about 6 or 7 Record stores (not music stores, just records) just on the one street. There was heaps of cool street art, and so many crazy people. It was really the only place i bought souvenirs on the whole trip! We pretty much got stuck on Haight St for the rest of the day. Here's some Pics

So Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead all used to live on Haight St, or in the general area. There was a shot of Amoeba Music, like in LA, then a shot of the T-shirt i bought from this crazy hippy store. San Fran feels a lot like wellington, its kind of quirky and interesting, there's lots of old houses everywhere, there's lots of hills everywhere, its really cool.

Pretty soon after we took this photo I tripped and broke Cody's camera... which was really lame! So we have no photos of the rest of the day. I grabbed a disposable camera though but we won't be uploading them anytime soon.

Just so you know, we went down to the fishermans wharf where the streets were filled with people, and there was all this food and bands playing on every corner, it was so sick! All the food down at the wharf though was seafood, and I'm not the biggest fan. Cody got a fish chowder bread bowl which looked amazing, but the only thing at the place i went to that sounded good to me was a corn dog (which is kind of like a hotdog you get from a fish n chip shop in NZ... kind of) so i got two corn dogs and some chips and they were cold!! it was so gay. so I just made friends with the sea gulls, they appreciated the cold chips. Then we got back on the road, slept in the car again on the way home and made it back to LA!!

San Fran has definitely been one of the highlights so far!