11/11/13 – We were not prepared for this

Painful get-up for half two to get ready and finish packing. We headed to the airport and bid farewell to Klaus! I had a bit of a Psych day and watched an episode whilst waiting in the airport, then another on the plane. I also finished off Jet Lag, my Cobie and Crispin one-shot. The flight to Chicago was about four hours – it was actually our first direct one this whole year. But oh man, were we in for a shock when we landed… I’d been anticipating it would be cooler than the west coast, but I hadn’t expected it to be even colder than back home. And I certainly hadn’t expected it to be snowing! It was really horrific!

Also Chicago, why do you have cling film on your toilets? That’s just a bit weird.

I was worried our hotel wouldn’t be near anything, since I was starving (and certainly didn’t want to go wandering around in the snow!) But amazingly, there was actually a restaurant right in our hotel! So I was happy – I had a steak sandwich for lunch. We lost two hours in the timezone changeover, but it did mean we were only six hours behind home instead. We Skyped Sid for a while and drew on Kel’s chin, which was pretty hilarious. I watched another episode of Psych too. I had a huge Red Bull dilemma, in that there was nowhere for me to get any (the vending machine in the lobby only did Zero, sob!) so I had to break into my Elvis energy drink from Winter Park as an emergency. Hopefully the empty can will still survive the last trip.

We ordered Chinese for tea. I don’t know what it is about American ordering systems, but we have a variety of problems every single time we try ordering takeout. Whilst we were waiting I ran down to get some drinks from the bar to bring back to the room. I was glad I wasn’t staying – I got hit on within the first thirty seconds! The Chinese was amazing though. I had lo-mein and fried rice. I just love the novelty of those cute little takeout boxes too. We then watched an awesome episode of South Park that played on superheroes, Totoro and the idea of Kenny having reincarnation powers. “I die over and over again and you assholes never remember anything!” Brilliant! I also got interviewed by a girl on Wattpad. Awesome.

Welcomed with bad weather. Feels like home!

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10/11/13 – Help is on the way, dear!

Up early to make sure we had plenty of time to get down to Fisherman’s Wharf. Finished off my yummy rice and watched a bit of Chamber of Secrets. America have a serious problem with re-sharing the same set of films. It’s worse than ITV2 with The Mummy! We got different trams down to the Wharf. We had breakfast at Maccies – word of advice: don’t ever have McGriddles. They’re weird as fuck! The pineapple and mango smoothie more than made up for it though.

We then had our movie location tour. It wasn’t quite as great as we’d expected, probably not helped by the fact that we were both young and British – we hadn’t even heard of most of the films mentioned, let alone see them, so about ninety-two percent of it went straight over our heads. Annoyingly there was a parade going on down one of the streets so we couldn’t see the apartment from Interview With A Vampire. One of the two places I was most excited about! We did get to see the other one though, which was the house from Mrs. Doubtfire. We also saw locations from George of the Jungle, X-Men 3, Star Trek and Dr. Doolittle. Our guide Whiley was very knowledgeable, though it wasn’t too surprising seeing as he was an actor too. He was apparently in a TV series about Alcatraz and an extra in the new upcoming Tim Burton film!

The big-ass tree kinda ruined our shot. Where were you in the movie, tree!

We went to Applebee’s again for lunch and then went to catch our cable car. We had to wait for over an hour which was annoying, but it was fun going down the big hills. We had a bit of a mishap with some tickets we’d booked, so we then got the tram back to our motel. Guess what was on TV? Chamber of Secrets. Again. Come on America, there are other Harry Potter films. There are other films in general! We showered and watched some Yes Man early on, ready for bed before nine o’clock. God, I won’t miss these early flights.

A nice man took this for us! Though it was only fair, since he then shoved his bum in my face during the ride.

9/11/13 – Watch it or I’ll take your soul

It’s a very sad day when your notebook finishes but your journey is still going… Oh wait, maybe that’s a good thing. It’s just the OCD part of me that dislikes how my blogging didn’t all fit and that I had to rip pages out of my other notebook to make ends meet. Goddamn it. I also didn’t have the space to write last night that as we left the campus I thanked Jeff again and he said ‘bye Brummies!’ Good man. I’m gonna have to think of a witty tweet to send him today.

With our pit stop for food and petrol, as well as the toll traffic to use the Bay Bridge, it took about four hours to get back down to San Francisco. We’d already Skyped Mom and Dad before leaving, so now I was dying to Skype Sid so that we could tell her all about last night. Of course that was then the first thing we did once we’d checked in. Needless to say, she was very jealous. Sorry Sid! I managed to write a huge chunk of some Cobie and Crispin fluff too, who I’ve been meaning to write about for ages.

We watched bits of Rush Hour and Pirates of the Caribbean and ordered what was apparently Greek style platters. The meat was a bit dry and boring, but the rice and pittas were really good. I’d bought a can of what looked like some fizzy berry alcopop thing, but no, it was 12 percent alcohol so I had to mix it with my Powerade again. I never thought I’d look forward to seeing 4 percent on a can. After I’d showered, Adult Swim finally came through for me and showed some Soul Eater! I knew they were good for a reason. Great way to wind down for bed too.

Not quite as glam as the Golden Gate Bridge… But still the setting from a scene in George of the Jungle! (Random fact of the day)

8/11/13 – This is the story about the day I died (i.e. totally party!)

The first chunk of our day was pretty chilled and non-eventful, but all necessary in leading up to our wonderful and gloriously spazzy evening! Polished off most of our pizza for breakfast and then headed out. The drive to Chico was about two and half hours – cue more That Anime Show. We checked in and then alternated between Skyping Sid and the oldies pretty much all afternoon. We then got ready for the night we’d both been dying for. I got all weird and stupidly shaky over the idea of it and couldn’t even pluck my eyebrows properly. How annoying! We went to Mo’s Smokehouse BBQ for a quick tea and I had a yummy BBQ turkey sandwich.

When we got into the stage I was literally jumping with anticipation (as well as slapping Kel in excitement). When they were introduced on stage my heart was pounding so hard it was ridiculous. I really am an idiotic fangirl – I always get so starstruck. Though let’s face it; I never ever thought I’d ever get to see a Whose Line show live. And boy, was it fucking amazing! We got a fabulous mix of our favourite games – Freeze Tag, New Choice, Song To An Audience Member, Styles, Jeopardy, Whose Line, Moving People, Sound FX, Greatest Hits and Fairytale.

I felt like I didn’t stop laughing – it was easily the best comedy gig I’ve ever been to (and I’ve seen some damn good comedians live too!) Like most comedy gigs, it was difficult to remember all of the best bits afterwards as there were just so many! But we did get to see a Frankenstein Ryan during a Les Mis performance, Jeff sing to an adorable old woman who hated her dog, Pokémon jokes, plenty of lines that made no sense (I’m a doctor, not an escalator!) and a hilarious detective from the audience who totally killed Fairytale. We even got a crazy Jeff name (Alapecia).

And as if that wasn’t awesome enough we then made the very wise decision to wait around outside afterwards… And it totally paid off. Ryan and Greg were out first. We got autographs and pictures with Greg and chatted to him for a little bit. He was real laidback and told us he actually has some tour dates in London in December! I think Sid will be pleased. I then realised that Jeff had then walked outside and started spazzing out (cue slapping Kel some more). We got autographs and I had a mini heart attack when we brushed hands. Yes, yes, I know I’m sad – let me enjoy my moment. Having a million and one pens in my bag totally worked out for this night too. I will never use that Days Inn pen again now that Jeff has used it!

We did have one where he was actually smiling, but we’re girls and we’re vain and we both preferred this one of ourselves.

We had more pictures and Jeff was even nice enough to point out that the photos wouldn’t turn out great with the light behind us, and did a little skippy sidestep to move us round to the other side. Too, too cute! (I’m glad I didn’t trip over my own feet during that move!) He was really friendly and actually knew of Birmingham! He asked us if we were into the ‘footie’ and even mentioned about ELO being from Birmingham. I managed to stay coherent enough to compliment his socks, which prompted him into modelling them for me. He was apparently having a sock-off with Greg so I asked if he’d won, which of course he had tonight.

This is about the point where I floated off up into heaven. Just look at those cheekbones…

We caught Ryan in his car to cheekily steal autographs through the window, but he didn’t seem to mind (especially since we’d already sacrificed our own opportunity to take some woman’s photo whose camera had died). Once we were out of sight we then spazzed all the way home. Our priority was sharing the news with Sid and Emi and I then spent the rest of the night in a dizzy, happy little bubble. Years old dream totally fulfilled! How am I gonna sleep after that one? Oh yes, dreams of Mr. Davis, please.

It was probably just as well that he was sitting down. I already have height issues and he’s ridiculously tall…

7/11/13 – When in Napa do as the winos do

Skyped the oldies before leaving this morning and lied some more about when our return flights are, since we want to get home a day beforehand and surprise them. We told Sar and Auntie Ann in secret just in case we need some inside help, and they’ve now decided they’re going to pick us up from the airport! Too, too sweet! Now I’m probably gonna blub at arrivals. Hooray. As we left San Francisco we got to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge. That was pretty awesome and we got another great view of Alcatraz from there. We went to an Ihop for brunch just after leaving San Fran. Cue another country omelette and more pancakes, yummy scrumboes! There was a petrol station right next door so we got to feed Klaus too whilst we were at it.

Why is it even called the Golden Gate Bridge? It’s red. Or if we use the technical name: “industrial orange”. Ooooh, fancy.

It was a pretty short drive to Napa so we got to our hotel around one o’clock. Wine country is seriously beautiful – vineyards everywhere you look! We Skyped Sid for a little bit and then headed back out to a winery for our wine tasting tour. They went through the processes of how they make the wine and more info on the winery itself. We got to try two white sparkling wines, one sparkling rosé and two still reds (the reds in particular were vile). I wasn’t keen on any of them, but it seemed to amuse Kel watching my reaction. The guy in charge asked what flavours we could taste in one of the whites and were people saying things like ‘peach’, whereas I quietly muttered ‘vinegar’. I’d anticipated I wouldn’t be a fan from the beginning but hey, when in Napa do as the winos do!

One of my favourite drives so far!

We had takeout pizza for tea (I’m gonna look like a sodding pizza). Got another chunk of writing done and watched some Big Bang Theory, including a brand new episode! Totally can’t wait to catch up on the new season. Then much to my delight, Interview With The Vampire was on! God, I love Lestat. Tom Cruise really is perfect in it. Made me miss Kay a lot though… But Kel did spot that the steamboat (the Natchez) is the same one that we went on! Awesome!

Can you tell I wasn’t impressed? I think the man behind me was enjoying his a lot more!

6/11/13 – The real life Azkaban (because I’m a geek)

Up early again and down to Fisherman’s Wharf for our ferry over to Alcatraz. It was a really interesting morning – we were there for almost three hours. There was a whole community that used to live on the island, not just the prisoners of Alcatraz. The prison was totally creepy when looking at it in detail, but also extremely fascinating. We even got to go inside a few of the cells!

Azkabannn. No, wait…

Easily the most popular prison you’ll ever see.

Part of me would kinda like to stay in one for a while if it was allowed. Maybe I could work it into some kind of writing method if I ever came into some money somehow… We learnt more about the various break-out attempts and that only three prisoners ever successfully accepted, though it was never known if they survived the waters. We also kicked up our wildlife count whilst on the island – we saw a hummingbird! It was really strange up close, but totally gorgeous.

Kel’s very professional shot!

After getting back to San Fran we booked in for one of the segway tours – something I’ve always wanted a go on! Whilst waiting we had a quick Subway stop (chicken and bacon with honey mustard and sweet onion, mmm). We then kitted up ready for our segways. It was fantastic! It was surprisingly easy and even more fun than I’d expected. It felt like second nature by the end of it. We rolled our convoy along some of the famous piers, through the harbour and some seriously cute housing estates. Our guide Hana was really nice and funny and turned out to be a writer too!

We hit one of the piers where we were allowed to run wild and test the limits of our segways. Of course that meant we all turned into speed demons and I typically ended up killing mine (who was called Dirty Harry). Hana was able to resurrect him for me though and said it had just cut the power. Oops. I felt a little better about my mishap because Kel had already crashed into a parked car earlier on, ha ha!

We had tea at an Applebee’s and I finally got to try my French onion soup. Was pretty good too! Had more of that lush red apple sangria and a bright green Bacardi cocktail called a Zombie Shiver. We then came back to the room pretty early since we were both knackered. Why does standing in one place take it out of you more than walking? (Plus we’d had to trek up a few big-ass hills on the way back). Spend the night drinking pina coladas and watching TV.

Too cool for my segway.

5/11/13 – Third time’s a charm

Up, ready and packed early to head down to Monterrey Bay for our whale watching tour. We saw (and heard) harbour seals and sealions in the bay before we’d even gotten on the boat. They were a right noisy lot! As we headed out to sea we saw lots more sealions on some Free Willy style rock dam, and even further out we saw some more who even treated us to some jumping displays! Not long into the ride we came across a large group of Risso’s dolphins. I’ve turned into a bit of a spoilt brat really – dolphins just aren’t quite as exciting anymore! It was freezing out on the morning sea, even though we’d layered up in preparation. Plus the mood was dampened by a couple sat near us, who were throwing up over the rail. Eek!

André x1000!

But it was still all worth it because man, did it then get good! We were directed towards a group of at least five hundred sealions (the guy in charge decided afterwards that it was actually likely closer to a thousand!) It was a totally surreal sight but it was all for a good reason – they feed where the whales feed. Sure enough, we ended up in a position where there were humpback whales feeding and blowing water in every direction you looked. We saw the backs, lots of tails and even a few of the heads!

Real lump-in-the-throat moment!

It was truly incredible to watch, and to top it off the water being sprayed from their blowholes created rainbows in the air! It was the single most beautiful, spectacular sight I’ve ever seen. The whales we saw were apparently between fifteen and eighteen metres, wow! Then a while after we came across a smaller group of five (the first group we saw being a number of thirty) much, much closer to the boat. It really was the icing on the cake. Third time lucky!

We had a very quick (and stingy, I might add) lunch at another Chipotle and then hit the road. Drive was about two and a half hours with traffic. Cue more That Anime Show. Was particularly amused when Tatum shared his theory and method inspiration on Kyouya having unrequited love for Tamaki. Too funny! Felt ridiculously tired during the drive though and heavily regretted leaving my Red Bull in the boot, so I made sure I caught up once we got to our hotel in San Fran. We went to a place called Perry’s for tea and I did my new trick of having soup and potato skins. The tomato bisque was gorgeous, but the potato skins were just too much food, Gaston. Then spent the remainder of the night drinking and watching Big Bang Theory.

Mommy, baby!