Monday, 8 March 2010

Dancing in New Mexico

The night before we had driven to Las Cruces, where Vic's dad resided and spent the day watching the television of badness. I can't remember some of the movies, but Melissa Joan Hart was in one of them.

Enough said.

We then went out for the evening with Vic's friend's from high school. I do not talk to any of my firends from this time anymore, spread out, as we are, across England and the world. The connections have been lost. But not so here, in this town. Vic seemed to know everyone and everyone seemed to know her. The group grew and undulated all night, with more people added at every turn. We spilled out from one pub to another.

A choice was made at one point to go somewhere we could talk as the band was too loud. They took us to a 'quaint Irish pub', Dubliners. At least that is what they thought. Upon arriving it was quickly understood that something had changed since everyone had been here last and what had once been a quiet bar was now a cross between a bar and nightclub, entitled 'Club Dub'. There was American dancing, so everyone on the dance floor, moved with the same moves, like a crazy music video, this turned into mad salsa. It looked like fun and so I tried it out with a friend of Vic's and it was definitely fun. Lots of turning though, which could be a mistake if slightly tipsy. But I was steady and fine and the evening ended with much mirth.

The Countess


Today, I did nothing.

I lazed in the sun.

Slept till the hour of ridiculous.

Ate, drank and made merry on foot.

Not a wheel in sight.

A book started and finished.

I had forgotten the greatness of sloth, stillness and silence.

The Countess.

Four Corners and questions concerning chilli

So after arising and eating a hearty breakfast we moseyed on up to Four Corners, so I could doggy position myself across four states.

It was closed

No doggy styling American states.

It was closed due to contsruction.

Come one!!!

What construction is necessary? Were they making sure the four corners still meet????

Pooheads, I say, and I say it again...Pooheads Sirs!!!!

So we drove into Colerado, so I could see another state and then back down to New Mexico and headed for a friend of ours to spend the weekend. The delicious Victoria Harben. She kindly recieved us and we went out to have mexican. The closest you can have to it without being in Mexico apparently.

They ask you a question

"Green or red?"

and you are supposed to know that this means, red or green chilli? Luckily Vic and the Baroness explained this to me. They also warned of the heat this chilli brings to ones mouth and so I asked in a coward like way, if I could have 'neither' please. Allowing my tourist status to shine out. But then I am not a tourist.

The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes "sight-seeing." ~Daniel J. Boorstin

I am definitely a traveler.
The Countess

Grand Canyon and Dinosaur Tracks.

Okay Today was supposed to start with the Grand Canyon skywalk. But after braving what they call a road and I call a dirt track (To call this path a road, really does offend all roads everywhere) we discovered that this trip would cost us the grand total of $75!!!! for each of us. I am sorry but no can do sir. So we left and hoped the dodgy tyre would make the return trip.

It did

So we continued on our journey and aimed for a town near Four Corners where we could rest for the night.

The snow started to come. Something that annoyed me greatly as in Arizona, we were supposed to have hot weather, I had just come from snow and would be going back to snow soon. So please can I have the sunshine at the moment!!! Weather god!! Are you listening?

Luckilly it missed the dinosaur tracks on the Indian Reservation.


We stopped off, we had time, The Baroness was driving, enough said people.

I have never seen prehistoric remains that were not behind a glass case or barrier of some kind. I could actually touch these ones. Though others before me had gone one step further and stolen a few, before the Native Americans took charge of the area.

Then we drove on to our motel for the night.

The countess.

Getting our kicks on Route 66!!

Early to rise, and we were on the road so we could make it as far into the Grand Canyon region as was possible, and definitely out of the state of California. We had time to view the sights and after a quick shopping trip to grab some clothes that were not jumpers, jeans or thick socks we deicided to follow in the footsteps of beatniks, Hell' Angels, Hippies, gangsters before us and drive along route 66.

A personal dream of mine and one I never thought to live. I had heard the songs, read the stories, loved the poetry and dreamed the dream but now I was living it and creating my own experience.

They were awed by the literary and musicial genius that has ridden this path before and behind them. Their words had been stolen by ghosts and they were speechless in their presence.

The girls came from an age of disillusionment and disappointment. The songs had already been sung and the words already inscribed in tablet and paper. Their parents and those before them had broken all the taboos and left nothing for them to break. They were from a generation who looked back nostalgically at a history that they did not create. So they took themselves upon the road of dreams and drove through the ghosts of someone else's past to see if they could recapture the youth of the previous generations.

We sped along the old highway, basking in the glowing hot sun and listening to the appropriate music (and if you have no idea what thay may be, then I will not tell you and perhaps hanging your head in shame would be a good start to rectify this problem and lack of education). Life could not get any better than this. If you think it does than you have never managed to complete one of your life goals, with a best friends, with beautiful sun shining over a beautiful desert with music gods playing in your ears.

Trust me.

It is an interesting road to take. Parts have seen the potential for money and old diners have been restored and shops and museums have popped up. Other places are like ghost towns, empty, broken buildings and old signs that still talk of free love and the hippy way.

We made our way to the Calico Ghost town. I had never been to one and though it was fun. It was not how I imagined it. The place did have the all the old buildings still standing, but now they were booming businesses, capitalizing on the town's 'ghost town' status.

I know

I am unsure about this also.

Anyway, I took it in good spirit and had some fun in the buldings as they were very interesting to look at and then we hit the road again and made it into Arizona and to a motel.

I slept in a motel on route 66. You have no idea how happy that made me. I went to bed to dream of a different time.

The Countess

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Prison Time and Chatting to Walt Disney

It's 9.40am and we are boarding the ferry for Alcatraz.

No The Baroness has not been arrested for speeding.

No I haven't been arrested for stealing all the toiletries from the Motel rooms.

We are merely visitors to the infamous prison.

This tour was fantastic, as you were left to your own devices on the island and you could wander at your leisure, as long as you made it to the last ferry at 4.30pm. I love mobster crime history from the 1910's to the 1950s. It is very juicy stuff, so it was a lot of fun to see the place that incarcerated Al Capone and the like. It fascinated me actually and the stories of the attempted escapes. The Baroness bought me my birthday present from the giftshop on the sly...

...A metal inmate cup.

Love it!! This girl knows what I like. I have a strong urge to drink milk from it and also Whiskey, maybe mixed together in the form of a toddy. It is now my favourite cup.

We were then on our way to LA. A place I have never had the urge to visit. But we were going by and The Baroness had a friend who worked there, so we thought, why not? Her friend, Sam, worked for the ABC studios and promised me a night tour. Very excited by this in a completely geeky, television loving way.

We calculated that we would reach him by 7.30pm. We made it at 6.50pm, The Baroness rocks the road. We had the address and were looking everywhere for these studios but we could not find them.

Two illegal 'flip bitches' later and we make a desperate phonecall to Sam.
Me: "We see the Disney studios, where are you in relation to Disney?"
Sam: "Helen, we are the Disney Studios"

Oh, well surely this was impertinent info that would have been valuable two illegal driving maneuvers ago. We flipped a bitch for the third time and went into the lot. Now I realized I was getting a tour of the Disney Studios, complete geekdom took over and I was incredibly Goofyly excited (get the Disney in-joke?)

So we got to see studios and buildings, including the old animation building. Which Walt (we are on first name terms now) built to look like a hospital wing. This was in case the venture he was embarking on went tit's up and he had to sell the place. He could sell the building to the hospital across the street.

Nice thinking Walt!

I loved walking the streets many of my old school acting heroes of the Golden Age had. Stopped to have a chat with a very bronze looking Walt and Mickey.

The Tour was over and a leather couch on Sam's apartment was my final resting place for the night. By the french doors overlooking LA in a spectacular view.
The Countess

Wine, Jelly Beans, Mystery and Tree Driving

Early rising..again. Due to the long way we still had to travel today. We were speeding along the beautiful 101 in Northern California, which was populated with divine redwoods and sea views. We made it to the Avenue of Giants and a Drive-Thru tree by 8.30 am...we may have been a little eager and we had a feeling we would have to wait a while before we could enter.

But it was open!!!


We were the only ones crazy enough to be there at this hour in the morning, and so, had this place to ourselves which is the only way to experience it. The baroness, then proceeded to drive a Durango through the tree with intense skill, as we had 1 cm either side to work with. Then she got out and I backed it up for photo fun and then drove it out.

We then left our mark upon it's bark as many had done before us.

L & H

Inscribing ourselves into the bark of this tree, was inscribing ourselves into a small piece of history, a flake of me is living alongside the tree till it decides to leave this earth, which will probably be long after me, so I feel part of me will still live after my body decays, which is an intriguing feeling.

We continued along our path. We needed to get to San Francisco that night, but our attention was caught by the many fun attractions lining the road we were driving upon. More importantly our attention was caught by...

"Mystery" "Intriguing" "Confusion Hill"

Our interest was piqued.

We had no choice. Curiosity killed the cat? Well Mia-ow! I bet it died happy in knowledge and so would we.

It turned out that confusion hill had strange gravitational properties and you could stand on the walls of the house and balls and water moved up rather than down.

Lot's of fun and well worth the $5. Hee hee...Still giggling. I love surprise fun.

We then made our way to Napa on a mission from the English parentals.

Our mission, should we choose to accept it, was to locate and enter the Mason Winery, taste and purchase Mason Sauvignon Blanc.

We found it.
We tasted it.
We bought it.

We rock as mission doing people.

Then realizing that we had a little time to kill (The Baroness really is a speed demon) we missioned it to the Jelly Belly Factory. We were not in time for the tour but we were just in time for the shop.


1lb of jelly beans later and we were on the road again, slightly on sugar high, and soon made it to San Francisco and found our motel.

It didn't have curtains. More flimsy lace things that passed for curtains and that the passing public could see through into our room.

One trip to the car to retrieve more rugs and we rigged a rug curtain with great skill and one souvenir Sheriff badge. It really was a masterpiece of design and ingenuity.

Rock it

The countess