Let’s Hit The Road

THE TIME HAD COME:

The time for goodbyes as classes were over and I had a few more weeks until I would hop back over the pond.

Many a red cup had been drunk from, many a crazy party had been had (with many a stumble back home along Route 66 from Burt’s Tiki Lounge, Downtown Albuquerque). I’d said goodbyes and now it was time to hit the road and soak up as much New Mexico sun as possible before heading back to the Wet Country (England).

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California, Here We Come

Sourdough sculptures, groaning sea lions, the most amazing clam chowder – San Francisco really is one for the bucket list! I stayed with family friends in their stunning house, up the road from the beach with the most amazing view over Half Moon Bay! I quickly discovered, even tho it was May it was still pretty nippy, we are definitely still in coat-wearing season over here.

Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay

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Spring Break, Y’all.

The most American holiday of all, Spring Break is quintessentially American and something that people around the world associate with lots of drinking and general American-style chaos. They’re right…

We decided to do what every other American was going to do this Spring Break- go to Mexico. Only, as we were all on a budget and miles away from Cancun our next best option was Rocky Point in Puerto Penasco just south of the boarder of Arizona. Fun times were ahead!

ROAD TRIP!!
ROAD TRIP!!

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Red, Green or Christmas?

If you’ve got a delicate palette, or stomach…or both, then this festival is not for you! Pretty much all the BBQ sauces and salsa have some degree of heat. For those of you who are after an unusual stamina (or stupidity) challenge, then get yourselves down to the New Mexico Fiery Food and BBQ Festival and try some of the hottest chilies on earth!

New Mexico Fiery Foods Festival
What’s your (fiery) poison?

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Trying to Find ‘Lost’

That’s right, after a tip off from a cameraman of the TV series “Lost” who was staying in our hostel, we had plans for the final adventure of our trip. He lent us his car for two days and drew us a map on a napkin. That was all we needed, apparently, as it was ‘dead easy, you can’t miss it, just look for the padlocked gate’.

We were off to find ‘Lost’, after posing with a tin man in downtown Honolulu, obviously!

Posing in Honolulu before the adventure
Posing in Honolulu before the adventure- the jellyfish sting had subsided enough for me to walk properly

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Surviving a Box Jellyfish Sting

Last nights episode did teach me even more respect for the sea than I already had. I had learnt my lesson, but it wasn’t going to stop me from making the most of my trip – despite the fact even the ambulance crew were surprised I wasn’t rushed to A&E.

After a quick morning surf (once the jellyfish warning had been lifted and everyone hopped on their boards) we were then evacuated due to a shark scare. We took the hint and figured it was time to do some land-based sight seeing before we hit up another beach.

Hawai'i
Lanikai beach

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A Night with a Box Jellyfish

This was all because I didn’t check the ‘Jellyfish Timetable‘- Box Jellyfish arrive in Waikiki and other parts of the Hawaiian Islands based on the lunar cycle- they come to shore 8 to 10 days after each full moon and are particularly abundant in the early hours. There was also a noticeable lack of warning signs. I guess this was why the flights were so cheap!

Lesson learnt - don't go in the sea at night in Hawai'i
Lesson learnt – don’t go in the sea at night in Hawai’i

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I’ve Just Bought a Flight to Hawai’i

I could have gone somewhere local, yes, but I wasn’t thinking straight, and a $250 round trip to Hawai’i via Vegas was too much of a good opportunity to miss! I guess this is what happens when you come up with ‘good ideas’ without thinking them through first or checking various reports like ‘Jellyfish Reports’…jellyfish reports, seriously? Yes, and yes you should check them, as I learnt the hard way!

Distracted by a roadside waterfall
Arriving in Honolulu, I couldn’t wait to get in the water

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The Wonders of Chaco Canyon

Having studied about this remarkable place in my Native Philosophy class at UNM I couldn’t wait to get out and see it for real. How it sounded on paper and in the documentary ‘The Mystery of Chaco Canyon’ narrated by Robert Redford was pretty magical, but nothing could prepare me for actually seeing it first hand.

The road out to Chaco Canyon gets pretty rough once you enter the Navajo Nation
The road out to Chaco Canyon gets pretty rough once you enter the Navajo Nation

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Hallowe’en, or Dia de Los Muertos?

Having seen how these crazy Americans do their own Guy-Fawkes-esque celebrations at Zozobra festival (even tho, obviously, it’s nothing to do with Guy Fawkes) it was now time to see how to throw the ultimate Hallowe’en party, American-stylie.

This is how they do it in 505 - Jimi Hendrix and fairies!
This is how they do it in 505 – Jimi Hendrix and fairies!

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