Sunday, March 20, 2011

Holiday hi jinks or how to navigate part 2 and it's freezing!

Well over in LA we got around mainly by shuttle buses and hired a car. New York was another thing altogether. We arrived at 5am and it was freezing! -3C I believe. I had a converter on my iPhone, which I looked at every day after the weather forecast. My husband left us on the footpath (sidewalk) while he wentbqck inside, in the warmth of the airport to find where we waited for the shuttle bus. After we did up all the buttons we could we went inside the doors. Fortunately we had thermal underwear, oh so attractive.
After we slept off the flight we all rugged up: thermals (double layers for miss 7, no thermals her size), a long sleeved top, woolen/fleecy top/jacket, two pairs of socks, scarf, gloves and hat. We went up to central park to see where the snow had fallen the day before. My Brisbane born and raised children wentbeserk. It didn't take long for the snow to start flying and for their shoes to start getting wet. Hmmm.
Miss 7 doesn't like wearing a jacket properly, the hood would keep coming down (mysteriously), along with the hooks at the front undoing themselves (mysteriously) and it would end up with the jacket hanging halfway down her arms in a city with an "ambient" temp of between -3 and 10C! It wasn't until and Italian man in little Italy scolded her that she started to wear her jacket properly. He was used subsequently as a threat: "if you don't put yr jacket on properly, I'll send you back to that man...." "if you keep complaining..." if you don't get straight As at school....", but I digress. I finally snapped over the snow a week later when the remnants of the snow were getting Grey/black and they were still flinging it about, withthheir gloves still on. "if you keep throwing snow around I'll...." just kidding.
On the day we went to the statue of liberty it was so cold and the breeze off the Hudson river was so "fresh" that while we were waiting to go through the airport style security, my toes were starting to feel painfully cold. I had to stamp them to keep the obviously reluctant circulation going and tell the kids too, of course.
Any who, hubby carried one of our maps of NYC about and we bought metro cards. Great idea, you can use them on a bus or train and just swipe them for your fare. They didn't always work at the subway booths though. Sometimes some of us would be looking at someone futilely swiping over and over through a wired wall. In the end one day, I handed my card to hubby. Love the subways. They whole system is very clean and surprisingly graffiti free compared to the 80s (or when I was young). My hubby was continually pulling out the map and checking and re checking it. Way to make us look like tourists! A few times before we got the metro cards however, we had to walk a LONG way. Think the record was 20 blocks. Now the blocks are numbers avenues and crossing those streets, also numbered. The space between the avenues is longer, so even though we walked 20 streets, it was still a long way. Also, you have to get used to the fact that subways have usually about 4 exits all on different streets etc, so while you may get out at a particular stop, you have to pick your exit to get as close as possible to where you want to go. Grrr.
Finally I lost it with hubby and the map when he started pulling it out in Harlem. While still ok, it was starting to get dodgy and we were starting to look a LOT like tourists. We hastily went to a diner and I let him pull out the map to his hearts content.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Holiday hi jinks part 2- or how to navigate strange cities

In LA we hired a car. This was so that we could drive up to San Francisco. That's no small drive. Roughly 5 hrs or more worth, depending on the route you use. We fortunately had a gps. Straight off I tried to get into the drivers door. It still feels wrong to be a passenger in the front right seat. From the very start, my husband (let's call him G) tried to veer into another lane. Not the left lane as you'd think, but the Right. Now we're back home I've noticed that he tends to try to veer to the left. Weird. Anywho, I was continually telling him off about which made any journey pleasant.
Second he kept speeding. Thought he could get away with it being in miles, but the cars speedo had kilometers on it too. I also noticed that we were not just "keeping up with the traffic" as G said, but in fact overtaking some. More fun discussions followed.
Third; the traffic. It's always busy!! No matter what the time, the highways are always busy and there's so many roads, crisscrossing etc. You don't just exit right to get off a freeway. No no no. You merge left, usually to get from one freeway to another and exit right to get onto a side (or main) road. Not all the time though. Gaaarh!! Peak hour is particularly vile. We got stuck for 3 hrs in the same small patch of road in Beverly hills. Very nice houses.
On a side note in Beverly hills, there is no overhead power, no medical centers, gas stations or shops, just lovely houses. Interesting don't you think?

Eventually we got out of there, but it wasn't fun.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Holiday hi jinks part 1 - or how to embaress yourself.

Me - accusing a total stranger of shoplifting in a foreign country because I misinterpreted her actions (in my defense my hubby agreed with me). Gaarh. Quick exit stage left. In the words of Forrest gump- "that's all I've got to say about that".
Hubby - going to theme park with only receipts from travel agent, not vouchers for said park. This resulted in frantic texts to family members to get them to ring said agent to fax over receipts to hotel. Fortunately theme park gave us a day pass anyway, thanks Disney. Of course when we got back to the hotel the vouchers were found with our final documents that we got from them. Doh!!!
At least we're not the only ones. We talked to a waiter who, apart from spreading his vegemite an inch thick on his toast when he visited relatives in Kalgoorlie borrowed a motorbike from his uncle, in order to ride across to cairns. Yes, you heard it right, or read it actually. Apparently he chose a direct(ish) route and stopped at a roadhouse/servo when he ran out of petrol. Unfortunately it was closed for winter and he was stuck there for 10 days. At some stage the cairns people rang up the kalgoorlie people to find out where he was. They sent along a semi driver when they realized he was MIA. Fortunately he had enough water in the interim. Apparently the local rag ran a story about a foolish American tourist on a motorbike. At least we didn't have that happen.
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Yes, this is a post about farting (after such a lengthy break that was the best I could come up with, in my defense I was on holidays). Isntit such a taboo topic! Most people (particularly women)like to pretend they never do it, mostly in public. Haven't we all walked into a cloud of foul miasma in the supermarket and then of course have blamed our spouse/partner? Let's face it, more often than not (particularly in the case of Mr silent but deadly) it actually is your partner. Let's just examine all the names we give to the fart.
Polite-pass wind/gas
Euphemism-fluff/let fluffy off the chain
Maternal-pop off
The list could go on. I'm open to further terms.
The interesting thing I noticed while we were away was the change in our wind production. Where did you go that caused that change? I hear you say. Nowhere exotic. No we didn't go to India,Tibet or Asia. We went to the USA. For 3 weeks, from one side of the country(la) to the other(ny). By the time we got to ny, the whole family was going at it, in turn. Miss 7 got a cold while there, so I sat with her in the hotel room one day while miss 10 and hubby went out for a while. When they returned miss 10 went for the cologne spray as soon as she walked in. That was me and it was foul, more so the next night after I ate a stew of sausages & sauerkraut at a Ukrainian restaurant on the lower east side. Not a good choice on reflection, but so nice at the time. Now we are back home and have all mysteriously settled down, wind wise. Odd that. The food, while big in serving size (but more about that in a later post)is not that different. Sure there was (particularly in LA) more Mexican food, but we didn't eat that much of it. I guess it's the water, the cooking oil and whatever gave some of the soft drinks(or sodas), fairy floss (cotton candy) and lollies (candy). Whatever it was, thankfully it's over. Now we have to keep reminding miss 7 that she doesn't need to shout out"have you farted?" to her sister in public