Wednesday, 27 February 2008

How rude!

Today we awoke to rain - what a cheek! Haven't seen rain since we were in America. Almost forgotten what to do and what to wear. And it's quite chilly in the evening - will have to get the old fleece out from the bottom of the rucksack. Hmm, hope it's not like this in Guatemala. Poor hubby doesn't even have any trousers to wear. Now, we shouldn't laugh at him but it is quite amusing. He bought a pair of those trousers where you can zip off the legs and they turn in to shorts, and then you zip the legs back on when it gets a bit drafty round the ankles. However, somewhere between here and Mexico City, hubby has lost his legs. Chortle. So he has no long trousers; although someone out there has possibly become the lucky owner of two tubes of beige fabric with half a zip on the top.

Anyway, I digress. We're now in San Cristobal de las Casas. A very lovely colonial town up in the hills. Got here yesterday afternoon after a 5 hour bus trip from Palenque - just loving those buses! There are lots and lots of lovely cafes, restaurants and shops in SC, not to mention the great colonial buildings. Found a lovely bakery with choc brownies, lemon meringue pie, carrot cake - did I mention I was immersing myself in the local cuisine?

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

New photos, and a thank you

Just wanted to let you know that I've added a few more photos - please scroll down to see them. And I also wanted to say a big thank you to everyone who has left a comment here on the blog - it's fab to know you are reading my twitterings, just a pity I've not been able to work out how to reply to your comments! And a big thank you to everyone who's reading the blog without commenting!

Monday, 25 February 2008

Totally Ruined

Top photo is the sunset at Puerto Escondido, then there's hubby by the swimming pool at Hotel Aqua Luna, next one down is a somewhat deserted street in Oaxaca, then the cathedral in Oaxaca, then there's hubby on a very bouncy bridge across a river at Palenque, and the bottom one shows some of the ruins at Palenque.

Totally Ruined = Palenque, and me after walking round the site and then 2km back to our room in the jungle.

So, since I last blogged, we left Acapulco and travelled along the coast to Puerto Escondido (aka Pizza Escondido since I only ate pizza when we went out for dinner on the 3 evenings we were there - damn good pizza though, and my theory is that you should fill your boots on your fave foods while the opportunity presents itself. Who knows how many wood-fired pizzas will be on offer between here and Panama?) PEscondido is absolutely lovely. And it was made all the more lovely by the fab hotel we stayed in ( for a bargain $25 a night (the Bearer of The Purse was most pleased.) We spent most of our time relaxing by the pool or walking along by the beach browsing in a few shops and eating good food (mostly pizza...)

Payback for three days of fabulousness was that we then endured a 7 hour bus journey on the wiggliest, bendiest roads in all Mexico. It must have been 5 hours in to the journey before we actually came across a straight stretch lasting more than 10metres. That took us to Oaxaca. We had entended spending 3 nights in Oaxaca, but our initial impressions left us somewhat disappointed so we booked tickets to leave the following eveing. Admittedly, having given Oaxaca more than a cursory glance, we actually discovered it was rather nice, but still not necessarily warranting more than a day. And so that led us to be on the 5pm departure from Oaxaca to Palenque. A joyful adventure which lasted 15 hours. Yes, FIFTEEN. Lovely jubbly overnight bus ride. We got to Palenque at 8am today, found a room, showered and then set off to visit the Mayan ruins. Took us about 3 hours to wander round the site and now we are back in El Panchan - the setting for our room in the jungle. Luckily the room is sturdily built of concrete with proper windows and plumbing so the chances of us being eaten alive by a jaguar, or whatever it is that roams the jungle round these parts, are fairly low. Phew.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

A big round of applause

to the Hyatt Regency Acapulco. For allowing us free use of their lovely swimming pool, clean toilets, and even their showers. Who would have thought they'd be so kind to grubby, weary, budget travellers? Tee hee.

We had a lovely day relaxing by the pool and getting burnt to a crisp. Not to mention TWO visits to Starbucks (as I commented to hubby when we first walked through their doors "It smells like home". Please don't berate me for loving Starbucks, a girl has to have some pleasures in life besides Coronation Street). And then, to top it all, we spent an hour in Wal Mart (aka Asda - they even had clothes by George...) food shopping. We know how to live.

Have just added a few photos

so please scroll down through the posts to have a look (as far back as Prescott, Arizona). If you want to.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Going loco.... (come on, sing the song!)

You know you want to, it's just so catchy.

Well, here we are 'down in Acapulco'. It's a miracle we got here really considering the bus driver we had. We were unlucky enough to be in the front seats which gave us (and particularly me, as I was nearest him while hubby distracted himself by looking out of the window) a birds eye view of what he was doing - most of which seemed to involve not watching the road. He managed to conduct almost all of his day-to-day business during the 6 hours it took to drive (I use that in the loosest sense of the word) us from Taxco to Acapulco. I'm almost positive he wasn't smoking just regular cigarettes, if you get my drift, dispite the 'No fumar' sign. And at one point I watched him steer the bus (going at approx 50mph) with his elbows while he shovelled a taco down his gullet. Anyway, enough on the stereotypical Mexican bus driver, and on to Acapulco.

Being under the ever watchful eye and tight purse strings of the Stasi Finance Minister means we are staying at the cheap end of town, away from the main beaches. Our room is the cheapest we have managed to find so far, at a bargain 10GBP. We discovered a bus that goes all the way along the beach road (which is no small distance) for 45p each, so this afternoon we caught the bus to the far end of Acapulco bay and relaxed for an hour or so by the pool of the rather fancy Hyatt Regency hotel. Tee hee. Tomorrow we plan to go the whole hog and spend the day there making the most of their facilities (although we may take a packed lunch cos the restaurants are bound to be expensive...) Don't tell anyone.

This evening we went to watch the Acapulco Cliff Divers! There were 5 of the Speedo-clad young men in total and they were really quite impressive indeed; as a treat we watched them from the bar of the nearest hotel (for a fee, of course) and drank beer (hubby) and pina colada (me - isn't that the ultimate holiday drink?)

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Taxco, tres taxing

We are now in Taxco, sort of south/south-east of Mexico City. Had our first experience of a bus ride in Mexico in order to get here, and it was very pleasant. Admittedly, it was only 2.5hrs and I'm sure 'pleasant' will be the last word I use when describing the 12hr journey that we're going to have to make from Oaxaca to San Cristobal in a week's time, but we got here without any problems, and even managed to navigate our way round Mexico City's metro to get from our hotel to the bus station. Such worldly travellers, us.

Taxco is like a very pretty Italian town. It's built on the side of a hill and has EXTREMELY steep cobbled streets meandering in and out, and a main square featuring a large and very OTT cathedral. I'm surprised I've not gone and got Acute Mountain Sickness here with the gradients we've been climbing and descending. Must be doing my calf muscles the world of good. Last night there was some sort of 'do' in the main square outside the cathedral which involved a band; they certainly like to party late round these parts as hubby and I could still hear the wailing, I mean singing, when we eventually got back to our hotel. I say 'eventually' because we managed to get lost in the 200 metres between main square and hotel. Did I say we were worldly travellers?

Friday, 15 February 2008

Hola Mexico!

Here we are in Mexico City. Arrived Weds evening and spent yesterday wandering around not doing an awful lot. Hubby got a shave and I got Acute Mountain Sickness (what a great name!). At least that's what I think it was according to the 'Health' section in the font-of-all-knowledge that is the Rough Guide to Mexico. Mexico City is at an elevation of 2400 metres which is 1000 metres higher than Ben Nevis, which might explain why I felt a bit poorly cos I reckon if I climbed up Ben Nevis I'd probably be sick (especially if I'd drunk a bottle of bright orange fizzy Mirinda pop on the way up).

Today we behaved like proper tourists and got the double-decker 'turist' bus round the city. We jumped off at the National Museum of Anthropology (which made hubby's day, not) and spent about 3 hours there. Then we jumped back on the bus and spent another 3 hours crawling through the rush hour traffic. What a dopey pair we are - fancy going on a bus tour through a city reknowned for its traffic problems. Poor hubby nearly jumped off the top deck in frustration. That said, we did enjoy it and got to see lots of the city that we probably wouldn't have bothered to visit otherwise (as we can be remarkably lazy when it comes to sightseeing.)

Thursday, 14 February 2008

Adios America, Hola....

Boo Hoo. That´s it. America is no more. I don´t mean it´s been wiped off the face of the earth (however much some people might wish that to be the case, for the record I wouldn´t be one of those people - I LURVE America), but from our point of view, it´s no more. We aren´t there any more and I am v sad about that. Hubby doesn´t mind so much since he is the Grand Overseer of All That Is Financial, whereas I am the Grand Spender. Hubby is hoping that the rest of the trip will be kinder on the pockets. So, where are you now? I hear you ask. Well, you´ll have to read the next post to find out...

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Scream if you want to go faster

Yesterday we went to Knotts Berry Farm which is like Disneyland but a gazillion times better since it has no real appeal to children due to the abscence of Mickey Mouse and fairytale princesses, which can only be a good thing. With no little people to pander to, the rides are real mean. Hubby is a rollercoaster nerd and insisted on going on 8 rides whereas I, the sensible member of the family, went on just 4. Being a northerner hubby probably didn't really want to go on so many rides but just wanted to be sure he got his money's worth; I must be such a disappointment to him. Still, we did have lots of fun.

The O.C.

Here we are in Laguna Beach on the coast just south of LA, living the O.C. life. Today we spent the afternoon in and by the pool in the lovely sunshine. Admittedly, the morning wasn't quite so 'O.C' as we spent time at the laundromat and queuing at the Post Office, but even the fanciest Orange County types have to do their own errands sometimes surely? Hubby overheard a juicey snippet of conversation as we were lunching at the Zinc Cafe where a man was explaining that he'd had to get a restraining order against his ex-wife, which just goes to show that O.C. is just like any chav housing estate anywhere in the world.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Temecula - a or b?

a) a highly contagious disease; a cross between tuberculosis and eczema or b) a pretty town in California with a high street filled with antique and interiors shops? Luckily for us it was b) or otherwise I'd  be typing this from a seriously expensive American hospital bed. We left Pioneertown on Friday morning and took the circuitous mountain route (rather than the sensible freeway route) across country to the wine region and the town of Temecula.  What a lovely little town. Pity we are backpacking for the next 12 weeks cos there were so many lovely things to buy... (hubby is breathing a sigh of relief that the credit card was saved a battering this time).

Friday, 8 February 2008

Giddy up, cowboy

Much to my disappointment we left Palm Springs on Thursday morning and drove to Joshua Tree - not the U2 album, but the National Park. We were clearly in a tight-fisted, world-weary budget traveller frame of mind as, after reaching the visitor centre, it took us about 30mins to decide whether we wanted to shell out $15 to drive round. Finally good sense prevailed and we spent the next 3 hours admiring large rocks and, you've guessed it, Joshua trees. After that we drove to Pioneertown (built in 1946 as a stage set for Western movies; have a look at and spent the night in the 'Roy Rogers' room at the motel there. Evening entertainment was provided at Pappy & Harriet's Saloon in the form of listening to a band and people-watching the local rednecks.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Palm Springs, je t'adore

Hubby doesn't agree but I think Palm Springs is fab! It's full of old couples, women wearing too much denim and too many rhinestones, and camp men - the people-watching opportunities are endless! Oh, and did I mention that it's about 70F and I'm lying by the pool with a Starbucks frapuccino in one hand and the iPod Touch in the other. It could only be better if I could also be watching Coronation St, but you can't have everything.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

A night in Prescott, Arizona en route to Palm Springs

We finally made it out of snow-bound Williams yesterday just before midday. We had to abandon all thoughts of getting to the Grand Canyon after hearing snow chains were the order of the day - not got a clue what these are, where to get them or how to fit them! So we decided to head for the (hopefully) sunnier climes of California. After driving southt-west for a couple of hours we came to the town of Prescott (still in Arizona, which may account for the smattering of snow). The town looked so nice we decided to stop for the night. And what a good choice we made - Prescott is lovely. So, I've just finished an all-American pancake and syrup breakfast (I only did it to celebrate Pancake Day - which doesn't exist here - not because I actually wanted to eat a stack of buttermilk pancakes smothered in maple syrup...), hubby is just back from the barber (where he had a wet shave and now looks very baby-faced) and now we are off to Palm Springs. Hubby wants me to say that all Prescott is missing is Marty McFly and Doc Brown. Now I know that's a reference to Back to the Future, but I think it's a boy thing.

Monday, 4 February 2008

Well, I wasn't expecting that

We left a fairly warm Vegas on Saturday morning and drove through Nevada, across the Hoover Dam and in to Arizona. Decided to spend the night in Williams (of course!) before planning to drive to the Grand Canyon Sunday morning. Imagine our surprise when we awoke to snow! Perhaps the fact that is it February and we are at an elevation of over 6000 feet should have given us some clue that this might happen, but we're on holiday and we just expect sunshine all day every day!

So, it's now Monday and we had to spend an extra day in Williams as the snow didn't stop all day yesterday. It has stopped now but there is probably over a foot of the stuff hanging around. We are planning to head to the Grand Canyon this afternoon as, hopefully, the roads will be a little clearer...

Sunday, 3 February 2008

I've finally added a few photos

I can't work out the layout though and all photos keep appearing at the top of each blog post rather that within the text. Anyone know what I need to do?

Friday, 1 February 2008

Oh dear, I'm sooooo behind with this blog

Bite-size chunks, that's what it needs. Don't want to send you all in to a stupor with great chunks of text. So, where to start? Where I left off would probably be good, wherever that was. Since I last blogged we've been to Carmel & Monterey, driven along Big Sur, seen elephant seals crammed on a beach like Brits in Benidorm, been to Hearst Castle (again), driven across California, had our eardrums burst by low-flying fighter jets, spent 2 days with mouths agape in Death Valley, and 'done' (or been done by?) Vegas. So far I've only lost $1.30 on gambling - my tip is to only bet on the 1c or 5c slots and cash in as soon as you're in credit. Ha! These casinos won't get the better of me...