1/10/15 – Last day on Gran Canarian soil

We got up, got semi dressed and went down to breakfast first, this time. Why have we not been doing this the whole holiday? Had my usual sausage, bacon, chips and cheese and ham toasted thing. It was the last one and I actually ran for it, so I felt I deserved it. Cath caught us at breakfast and told me off for not wearing something pineapple-y. Apparently I’ve gotta that reputation as the pineapple girl that I was kind of expecting. Guess that’s better than my reputation as the drink that I got on our trek in America. Though that one became apparent this time too, as Cath was surprised at how much I’d been drinking in the day, every day. Eh, I’m on holiday. We wanted to leave some time to do some more packing after breakfast before we went down to the pool. Kel had already spoken to the guy on reception to see if we could keep our room on for a few more hours, which was fine. We primarily did it just to keep the all inclusive going, as we figured they’d cut our wristbands off as soon as we checked out.

Once we only had a few necessities for the day left out, we suncreamed up and headed down to the pool. We were given more word searches to do. This one was much easier than the last. I did that and then another short story. Patrik tried to convince me to join the aqua gym by sitting on the end of my sunbed, facing me, and doing his stretches. I must have an iron will if I can resist that. I really didn’t want to get wet though, as I won’t be able to shower or do anything with my hair later on, once we lose access to our room.

Instead, we got roped into the paper plane game. Surprisingly, this was the one activity that got most people to join in – over forty of us altogether! All to play with paper planes. We were each given a sheet of paper and told to make a plane with it. That was a challenge in itself as I’ve never even made one before. I’ve always gotten other people to make them and then give them to me to play with. I tried my best to make mine aerodynamic, but when it came to us all lining up and taking turns to throw them, mine just insisted on going nowhere but down. At least mine was more awesomely decorated than anyone else’s – I’d written Thunderbird 3 on the back of the wing. The Barry/Murr guy almost landed his in the outdoor shower, which was funny as you had to stand where your plane landed, so he was practically standing in the shower. One guy even had to stand in the pool when his went really off course. Gutted.

We then went for our last inclusive meal of the trip. So sad. I bid goodbye to the rice, pizza, chips, beef with champagne sauce, lasagne-less pasta and some new garlic potato cubes that I really hadn’t gotten the time to know. I did my last bid to get drinks in before we checked out, so I ran down to the pool bar to grab another sangria and cocktail and left them on the table by our sunbeds. We then brought the cases down, put them in a storage room for safe keeping as we don’t get picked up till later and checked out. Apparently my drinks preparations had been futile – they didn’t take off our wristbands or say anything about the all inclusive ending. Happy days!

I went back to my shade after that. I didn’t want to risk the sun and getting sweaty because of the whole no shower thing. I don’t wanna be that icky person. Joel caught us and got us to go join Patrik for the new rifle shooting activity. Now this is an activity I can get behind! I did feel a bit stupid holding a giant rifle in my bikini and big sunglasses though – the kind of look you’d expect to be all sexy badass, but this was me, so it wasn’t. But it turned out I was pretty good at the shooting part. Even Patrik was like, “Who are you?” My first shot went wild before I got the hang of it, but I quickly got the highest score and also the first bulls-eye. Boo-yah! Nerf guns, eat your heart out!

Did more reading and chilling in the shade afterwards. Also watched some bits of Arrow on my iPod. Ah Brandon Routh, you are a pretty, pretty man. Eventually, I conceded that it was probably time to sort out my appearance at least a little before eating. Had to pop in and out of the room where the luggage was being held (more so than I should have needed to, because I was stupid and kept forgetting things) and got changed and did a bit of makeup in the toilets downstairs. It was actually just a horrible ordeal, as it was really hot in there, so I tried to be quick about it.

We then went for food around six, pleased that we got an extra meal more than we’d been expecting. Bonus meal! The evening menu has a split earlier on and they seem to serve different foods for each half. We’d obviously never been down to eat this early, so it was all new to us. Was initially horrified to see that they had a yellow rice rather the usual amazing rice, but then it turned out it just tasted exactly the same anyway. You deceived me, rice; well played. Also had some salted potatoes with the Gran Canaria sauce, some pork and crackling (wow), chips, a chicken drumstick and some chicken and chickpea stew, which was super yummy.

No entertainment room tonight. We hung out in the lobby instead, so we could see what was going on and if our coach turned up. We had our free cocktail to share that we’d won from the movie quiz. It was called a San Francisco (woo!) No idea what was in it, but it was nice and sweet. I made the most of my last sangria before switching to pop. I really don’t wanna be drunk on the plane or, worse, risking a migraine from lack of hydration. Sadly, we didn’t get to see Joel, Patrik or Marek before leaving. It was an awkward time in between when they’re clearly usually getting ready before the entertainment slots have to start. Sad times. But at least we have their Facebook details. The practicality of the modern age.

The transfer was a bit horrific. It had been alright up until the last pick-up, then about fifteen people got on and every one of them had a child with them, all of which were screaming and crying and shouting. It was like hell got on the coach. I was surprised I wasn’t screaming and crying and shouting too. To make things worse, the girl sat behind me could not stop complaining. Everyone who knows me knows that I actually really, really hate kids, but no way do I ever go on that much about it. Sh was actually causing more of a fuss than the kids and the kids really were making a fuss. Her and her mom were clearly not the kind of people you want around though anyway. Soon found out that they robbed a mirror from a club and were trying to get it through security. I secretly hoped that they weren’t allowed.

Checking in was a real ball-ache, as there were loads of us and then hardly any people behind the desks. The plus side was that we were told our flight was gonna be half an hour early. Getting through security was brief, though I did get swabbed for explosives again! Why me, guys? Do I look that dodgy? Once we were through, we grabbed some drinks for on the plane and I bought a big bottle of citrus Grey Goose from duty free. I’m calling in my early birthday present to myself. Since I asked people for vodka anyway, that’s just like skipping a step. No seriously, I really did ask for vodka for my birthday. I’ll get more use out of that than a gift card for New Look.

We got on the plane and had a bit of a mix up with an older couple who had misread their tickets and were in our seats. They were completely fine about it and the man apologised, saying it was their fault, to which the woman corrected that it was just his fault. She gets how it works. I watched the Psych musical on my iPod to clear some time. It was funny because at one point, even though Kel obviously couldn’t hear it, she could see Shawn’s mouth moving and knew exactly that he was doing the ololololololol hoo-de-hoo hoo-de-hoo bit that she loves from Santa Barbara Skies. Well done, Kel.

After Psych, I watched several episodes of Impractical Jokers. Those guys never fail to make me laugh. I then listened to the Galavant soundtrack, did a little writing and a little reading, then thankfully, we were coming in to land. I’d been getting really tired, but I hate trying to sleep on the plane because it always makes me feel really bleugh and out of it. Which probably would have been made worse by the fact that I’d still pretty much been drinking all day. Getting through passport and baggage control on the other side was pretty quick, thank god. We grabbed a black cab from outside and found ourselves with a very chatty, travel-savvy driver. Awesome.

When we got home, I saw that Dad had put the hard top on my car for me. Aww. I guess we left the sun behind in Gran Canaria for the rest of the year. Would absolutely go back though and recommend our hotel to anyone. Great food, great drink, great place and great crowd. First shot at all inclusive was an absolute success too. For now though, I have to concede to grey old England. We got into the house and, of course, Izzy was very eager to get into my bedroom. She got onto my bed before I did and immediately took up all the room. Home, sweet, home, I guess.

One fancy cocktail to see us off!

One fancy cocktail to see us off!

Advertisements

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!

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)

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!