Category: Travel (page 2 of 10)

Pink Ibis in Toronto Zoo

Pink Ibis in Toronto Zoo (via bgarthp)

Maid of the Mist Niagara Falls

Maid of the Mist and Niagara Falls (via bgarthp)

Birthdays and Canada

Since my last post I have turned 26 and Charlies turned 25, as well as flying from LA to Toronto via Chicago amid a series of delays due to poor weather in the North of America.

The morning of the 8th Charlie obligingly agreed to get up early, foresaking a pancake breakfast, so we could have a chance of making it to Newport Wedge before thw blackball rules meant I’d have to bodysurf it.

Thankfully the traffic wasn’t that bad and we were getting used to the sat-nav ladys voice, so we made it to where I thought the wedge was at about 09:20, 40 minutes to blackball.

Blackball rules vary apparently but Wedge has the harshest of all – between 10am and 6pm all through the summer you can’t use any floatation device in the wedge area – no bodyboards, skimboards or surfboards allowed at all, and having read up on it I believed this was strictly enforced by the lifeguards.

Unfortunately, we had arrived next to Newport beach pier, ts is not where the wedge is, it’s actually further on down the beach, you park in a residential area, if you can find a space, and walk a few hundred yards to the iconic sea wall.

When I ran down to check it I was dissapointed but not surprised to see a handfull of people in the water surfing a 2 foot shoredump and about 6 skimboarders lined up taking it in turns to skim onto the side-wave.

I decided at that point that I wouldn’t bother with my wetsuit as I only had 20 minutes before Blackball time, I ran down and jumped into the line-up, it was friendly and a good atmosphere, I lucked into a few decent waves and got plenty of closeouts onto the sand and a couple of really nice wedges.

I got out after 50minutes or so, shivering from the cold and happily surprised by the lack of lifeguards and quality of the waves, the set waves which wedged were a fair size and it was just as much fun as I’d always hoped it would be since watching “The Inside” over 10 years ago.

Next we went to Seal Beach for some breakfast, Woodys Diner was the choice and they served up a couple of healthy portions of eggs and potatoes with toast and coffee.

Opposite Woodys we found Alternative Surf, the famous bodyboard only store, where I bought some videos and chatted for quite a while with Ron (the owner and bodyboarding legend), about where we’d been on our trip and his terrible injury from a couple of years ago at wedge, he’d broken his back and was slowly regaining the use of his legs, walking with a stick, but he’d never surf again.

After our chat and shopping trip we drove out to a nearby mall where I got my own RSK baseball cap embroidered and we browsed the stores, before making our way North to LAX to drop the car off.

Car successfully dropped, we got the shuttle to our hotel, the Raddison, and checked in after some confusion with the booking reference, all was fine so we checked out the pool, which was outside and not as hot as we were used to, but still a good size and fun for a bit of a splash around.

A short walk up the road to In-N-Out saved us from the terrifyingly expensive room service menu, and we went to sleep happy after my first day of being 26.

The next few days we explored the touristy bits of LA, Hollywood is a dump, Santa Monica is nice, Venice beach is OK but not great.

On to Toronto, we arrived after a long day of delayed flights and bad airport food to be greated by Charlies Uncle Terry, who drove us to his lovely house in the suburbs where we met his wife Donna.

The next last few days have been a blur, we had an all-day BBQ/birthday party for Charlie on the 13th, went to see a Baseball game, which was amazing even though the local Blue Jays lost miserably, and visited Canadas Wonderland, a huge theme park with some truely amazing rides.

Today we relaxed a bit and saw some of Ontarios many lakes and wildlife, and we are gearing up for a trip to Niagara Falls at the end of the week.

It’s all go at the moment and we’ll not really be resting before jetting off for home on the 26th, then only a couple of days before we come face to face with work and reality again.

Must go now, Charlies just cooked a meal of delicacies from our trip, so we’ll be feasting and remimiscing tonight.

Might update once more before we return, but I’ll definitely put up a bunch of photo’s soon.


Wedge! (via bgarthp)

Acapulco & California

Haven’t updated in a while, not since the 23rd of May, when we had arrived in Puerto Escondido, so here’s what’s been happening, read Charlies take on it in the previous text post.

My travel diary goes a bit blank for the rest of our time at Puerto Excondido, we basically surfed/took photos/lay-in each morning, the swell dropped for the rest of the week and picked up a tiny bit at the end, but never got as big as the first couple of days unfortunately.

This did give me the opportunity to surf every day, whilst Charlie took to the pool, doing 30 or 40 lengths each day between cooking me lovely mexican inspired meals and reading trashy romance novels.

We both decided we’d definitely come back to Playa Zicatela and stay in the same place: Casa Dan Y Carmen, it was a perfectly relaxing atmosphere to spend a week in after rushing through Central America.

We managed to book a coach to Acapulco at a ticket bus agent at the beach, and travelled in comfortable but not luxurious style up the coast to the ex-tourist mecca.

Upon arrival you notice that around 1 in every 10 cars is a VW Beetle, most of the taxis and plenty of private vehicles are battered old V-dubs.  We asked one of our drivers why this was, I’d assumed they used to manufacture them nearby or something, but apparently it’s just because they’re cheap and there’s plenty of parts available.

We stayed at the Alba Suites, a huge hotel complex with 5 pools, a water slide, restuarant, private beach and no doubt other stuff which we didn’t have time to explore.

If you end up staying here, avoid the room-service, which was poor, but do have a go on the slide, and the views are amazing from the room we stayed in.

The weekend we arrived was a national holiday we think, so it was pretty busy with Mexican tourists, I don’t think any foriegners go to Acapulco anymore, all the touristy areas full of restuarants are looking a bit worse for wear, which is a bit of a sad sight.

Cliff diving is one of the must-see attractions, thankfully though it’s not a must-pay-for event, so we watched from a bit further away than the paying spectators and were very impressed with the climbing and diving-skills/balls of the blokes doing it.

after a few days there we headed on to Mexico City airport, we were deciding on our Mexico plans during the height of the swine flu outbreak, so we were limiting our chance of exposure by going straight to a posh hotel next to the airport and getting out as soon as possible.

The Ramada lived up to expectations, room service was excellent, beds and facilities all top-notch, and we managed to get up for the 06:30 shuttle to the airport.

Continental airlines became the first carrier of the trip to charge me for taking my bodyboard on the plane – $26 it cost me, which is about what I paid for it 2 or 3 years ago, but it now has sentimental value, and I was hoping to get some waves in California too.

The flight was fine, stopping in Houston Texas on the way to San Diego.

Upon arrival we were happy not to step into a wall of heat, the first time that’s happened since stepping onto the asphalt in St Lucia. A quick bus-ride to the hostel later and we were settled in our seperate dorm rooms.

No alcahol or camping equipment is allowed in the hostel and it’s occupied mostly by europeans with a few token older Americans who are clinically insane.

Two nights in and one of my dorm-mates – a strange old man who seemed a bit lonely and wierd but not any more mental than the others had been reported to the police after having his background checked out by one of Charlies dorm-mates after telling her he was a doctor.

“He was probably telling lies to make friends, he seemed nice, he gave me some chilli” I explained to the loopy old guy, who was searching our dorm at the crazy old wenchs request for “DNA evidence and fingerprints”.

“Evidence of what? what did he do wrong?” nothing apparently, presumably if the election had gone differently he’d be in Guantanamo bay by now, older Americans are wierd.

Other than that everythings normal in San Diego, the staff in the stores (shops) are super-duper friendly and stuff is pretty cheap compared to the UK, I’ve spent more money in the last 3 days than I did in the whole two weeks in Mexico.

I’ve been spoiling myself for my birthday, going on the flowrider at mission beach, seeing Up in 3D (excellent movie, 3D was fantastic), seeing Gunther Von Hagens Body world exhibition, eating out twice a day, hiring a car, buying a Nintendo DS on a whim and purchasing new clothes rather than washing the smelly ones in my bag.

I managed to get into the sea at Salt Creek today, which was a good laugh, but hard work being back in a wetsuit, Charlie was disgusted by the water temperature, declaring it too much like England for a swim.

Tomorrow we are driving to LA, which should be an experience, the roads are crap, everyone drives oversized cars like idiots, the sat-nav is an idiot, and I do not get on with automatic cars with backwards controls.

Still, weathers good, people friendly, and soon we’ll be jetting off for our final leg in Canada with Charlies relo’s to look after us and show us the sites.

Back to reality in 2 and a half weeks…

San Diego Wave House Flowrider

The San diego Wavehouse (via bgarthp)

Gracias I mean Thanks!


So my last update we had just arrived in Puerto Escondido, Mexico, since then a lot has happened. Our 9 day stay in the small surf/fishing town was amazing, we filled our days with early mornings (Ben surfing, me taking pictures), swimming in the hotel pool, reading books and going for walks in the blistering heat. With a little regret at having to leave we got on a coach and travelled 8 hours up the road to Acapulco, we had found our hotel on Hostelbookers surprisingly and it turns out we chose the right place. Our room was overlooking the harbour and the beautiful sunsets were right in front of the building.

We took advantage of the airconditioning and enjoyed the numerous swimming pools and the waterslide, but the high light of our stay was definitely the cliff divers, it wasn’t the diving that impressed me the most it was the 30m climb up a cliff that was amazing these men just climbed up in a matter of minutes wearing only a pair of dodgy speedos! My final comment on Acapulco is that it reminds me of a British holiday resort like Blackpool, a place that was once glamorous and great is now, 20 years down the line, faded and forgotten by foreign tourists which is a shame because I can see the appeal it once had.

So we left Acapulco and headed to the airport, we decided to splash out and stayed in the Ramada by the airport. It was such a shock to the system all the space, the posh soap, soft towels and …a free sewing kit?! After the excitement we ordered room services and settled in for the night watching the ‘f’ word on tele’ and not looking forward to our 5:30am start.

We arrived in San Diego just after lunch and got a bus to our hostel dumped our stuff and headed straight to Ocean Beach, we had been told it was the ‘must see’ place in San Diego and it was nice but nothing to write home about 😉

Yesterday we had day 1 of the Ben birthday celebrations, we headed to Mission Beach by bus and spent an fantastic afternoon of taking pictures and filming Ben on his present to himself the ‘flowrider’. Its like a manmade wave and soon I will put up some pictures of him (he got some amazing bruises from falling off!). In the evening we headed to the cinema to watch ‘Up’ the new pixar movie, we went to a 3D screening which was brilliant I looked so funny wearing 3D glasses over my normal glasses (no picture evidence available).

Today we are heading to see the Body Worlds exhibition by Gunther von Hagens’ as Ben has wanted to see it for a while, after this we are doing what I have been looking forward to the whole trip we are going shopping (Victoria Secret mid season sale here I come!), and then picking up a car for a couple of days of exploring.

Less than 3 weeks to go now so I will be seeing you all very soon, expect texts as soon as I get my phone back and remember how to use it!

Love Charlie xxx

Acapulco Water Slide

Acapulco Water Slide! (via bgarthp)

Beach Break Fun in Mexico

Beach break fun (via bgarthp)

Dropping In

Dropping In (via bgarthp)

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