Sunday, February 22, 2009

California! Here we come!

So for the last 10ish days we’ve been the kids of America! We’ve swung through LA, Vegas (baby!) and San Francisco all in fine style and been granted some pretty decent weather – considering its winter!

First stop was Hollywood! In order to fight the jet-lag we battled on (despite 2 hours sleep on the flight), dropped our bags at the hostel and trekked out to Universal Studios for a fun-filled day of rides and all that great behind the scenes action. However, with empty belly’s our first stop was some lunch – where we bought our first American burger and fries and a coke the size of Spongebob, literally! Being winter, and NOT school holidays (something we are rarely granted when holidaying), the park was empty. We pretty much walked onto every attraction including the studio tour, Simpsons ride, Jurassic Park and Shrek 4D. We also managed to swindle us some free tickets to Jay Leno for the following day – Yay! Go us! We then returned to Hollywood Blvd for some Mexican and an early night.

Day two saw us jump aboard an open bus tour of the platinum triangle (Hollywood hills, Bel Air and Beverly Hills), Rodeo Drive, Hollywood sign and Sunset Blvd – among other things. A little jaded from not being engulfed by celebrities whilst already in Hollywood we thought stalking them at their mansions was the next best thing. On our tour we checked out many houses including; the house of a man who has opened his heart and his home to numerous defenceless young (blonde) women over the years (playboy mansion), the house of a man who has a story all about how his life got flipped turned upside down (fresh prince of Bel Air) and a girl from Laguna beach who now lives in the hills (Lauren Conray). Once finished we took a stroll down the Hollywood walk of fame where we were surprised to see Jarratt’s very own star – and no folks we weren’t California dreaming on such a winters day… he actually has one! I mean if Ryan Seacrest can have one, J’s isn’t that great a stretch of the imagination. We then took a quick bus up to Burbank in time for the filming of the tonight show with Jay Leno. We ended our day back on Hollywood Blvd at Lucky devils for some helpings of meat!

Our final day in LA was spent at the magical kingdom, Disneyland. We teamed up with some Melbourne girls and owned that park! We methodically worked our way through each one of the lands and managed just about every ride. Like universal studies the park was pretty much empty and queues were minimal. Highlights included Indiana Jones ride – where J was the designated drive, Bec being SOAKED on Splash Mountain, the zombie like bear on a rollercoaster whose name escapes us at the moment and Bec’s frivolous purchase of a cookie jar shaped like Mickey Mouse. We later returned to Hollywood blvd (yet again! It’s where our hostel was after all) and fell into bed to prepare for our early departure for Vegas (baby!)

We’d booked ourselves into the amazing Luxor hotel and casino in Vegas (baby!), after dropping the bags we then decided to walk the strip. The amazing thing about the strip is that you can be in Vegas one minute, eating in New York the next and a block later you’re slipping 20 into the pokies in Paris. Vegas sure is a crazy place!!! Exhausted and preparing for the night ahead we headed back to the hotel for had a disco nap in our fancy 26th floor pyramid room. Well rested we decided to hit the casino floor!!! Unfortunately we didn’t do as well in the takings as those Ocean 11 kids but we managed to have a wicked night! Those slurpee style cocktails are awesome!

The next day we were blessed with a sleep in before our 11am pick up for our helicopter ride to the south rim of the Grand Canyon and over Hoover Dam. What an amazing experience!!!! The scenery is nothing like we have ever seen… the Champagne picnic at the base of the canyon wasn’t bad either ;) That night we walked the neon blazed strip and slipped into Coyote Ugly’s to check out the babes – all on Bec’s suggestion! Needless to say it was an interesting end to Vegas, baby!

Sunday with an early wake up call from Gypsy John we headed out to the airport bound for San Francisco. After arriving into SFO and waiting for our bags we headed into our hostel and once again, in true Jarratt style dumped bags and hit the town. First stop was Chinatown where we managed to find our way into a pretty amazing yum cha style dumpling house. The food was a-ma-zing! We then spent the rest of our time chilling out at the hostel and planning the following days. That night we treated ourselves to a flash Italian dinner in North Beach (as Garcy’s suggestion), once our bread basket arrived, so did the flames! The hostess had carelessly placed the napkin edge on top of our candle-lit table – and up she went! With no amount of ‘help’ calling retrieving our server we resorted to waving the basket at them – at which point it was promptly snatched from us and stamped out. A new basket returned and it was smooth sailing from then.

Monday – Presidents Day & Mummy’s birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUM!) – saw us battle the elements out to Alcatraz, bright and early. Once on the island we heard the stories about the Indian occupation, escape attempts and all the craziness that was attached to the Rock in its heyday. With the weather clearing we then escaped from Alcatraz (hehe!) and headed to Pier 39 for lunch of clam chowder with the resident sea lions – not seals! Afterwards we caught the famed Hyde and Powell cable car to Lombard street – the crookedest street. Before riding it onward, and upward, and steeply downward to the fa├žade used in Full House and the beautiful Alamo district, home of the five ladies. Before a thunderstorm descended on downtown San Fransisco. For the next 24 hours it proceeded to pour rain. Not loosing focus we were able to check out union square, Market Street and the surrounding shopping areas before popping in for a movie.

Our final day, with the weather clearing we raced back down to fisherman’s wharf and hired 2 “blazing saddles” to bike the bridge. Once completed... with sore bums, but great pictures we tiredly headed out to San Francisco Airport to write this blog to you! We hope you’ve enjoyed it – next stop …. LONDON!

Had to be done...

California dreamin' ???


Luxor Hotel and Casino

J at the slots!

Us in the Grand Canyon

In Alcatraz

Locked up :(

Streets of San Fran.

Biking to the Bridge!

Made it!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Feelin' HOT! HOT! HOT!

Alright, so we’ve just come from the land down under and whilst we had a great time in Oz, most of you were there to experience it with us… so we’ll keep this one brief….

We were excited to head home to meet a new Wyatt-Tandek family addition and to see our brothers get married… not to each other, obviously ;) But after stepping off our flight into a sweltering 40 something degree heat, dressed in our 3-4 layers of clothes, J was soon wishing we were back in London. Within 20 minutes of setting foot on Australian soil we were promptly whisked apart by respective family members for differing duties. Several hours later we caught back up at our first of many Australian BBQ’s and then rang in the New Year with the Wyatt’s before promptly passing out at 12:01am.

4 Days later still feelin’ hot, hot, hot! We attended the first of the Weddings, Joel and Bec’s. Having never attended a Lebanese wedding before we were both impressed at the extravagance of it all. Her dress, the entertainment but mostly the dedication of one bridesmaid to retrieve the bouquet, we’d never seen any woman knock down fellow ladies in her pursuit for glory – well done Rima!

Next up young Jarratt rang in his 28th birthday with Adrian, they celebrated with a few beers and pizza at Oatley with friends and a family lunch at the Motor boat club.

The middle 4ish weeks flew by and were mainly spent catching up with friends and family. As well as roaming around the Hunter Valley Gardens with the olds and day tripping to Manly Wyatt style. We also managed to get some alone time with an elegant dinner in the Rocks followed by all the Shakespeare plays in 97 minutes at the Opera House – thanks Carly and Co. We also had many a nice dinner including a sad farewell to Keely and Mark and an intellectual discussion with a side of Chinese with JB squared, Tricky Ricky and George.

Our final days in Oz were wound up with the delight that was Caryn and Adrian’s wedding! Having both been included in the bridal party it was a really wonderful experience to be part of, despite the dustiness of some parties ;) Its hard to put into words the magic of the day, but highlights include: the throwing of a very heavy bouquet, Adrian’s fine effort with his dentures – get there rocky! – and Garcie’s charming way with young Tandek ladies!

And I guess that just about sums it all up…. It was good to see you all and we truly miss you already!!! It’s been a blast – but we’ll see you all soon enough.

In order of appearance (L-R) Pa, Nan, Joel, Bec Berrigan (the second ;)) Bob-it, Mum and Me

Us in Darling Harbour.

Mum and me at Hunter Valley Gardens

Jarratt with the two little darlings :)

Introducing Mr and Mrs Adrian Wyatt.... 'bout time ;)