Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dad and Daves US Adevnture Part 9, saying goodbye to Vegas..

We zoom back into Vegas from the Hoover Dam, top down on the Mustang, loving life, expecting to find that the old man had only been back a short while from his jaunt over the Grand Canyon in a chopper "Nah I've been back for hours" he says, "it's a pretty quick trip, 40 mins there, half an hour on the ground, 40 minutes back". He doesn't seem that impressed, I thought to myself, "I ran out of memory on your camera just as I got to the edge of the Canyon" he says.. bloody hopeless. He reckons it was good, but I'm not convinced. He's hard to impress, or so I thought, more on that later.

We have to be up early the next morning for our flight to New Orleans, and we all wanna go back to Fremont St for another lash, so we crack some beers and decide on eats. Fanta pants keeps banging on about a place called The Peppermill, he has since we got to Vegas, so we decide we should check it out. 

Walking through the door, some locals say "you'll love it, the food is amazing", we're shown to a booth and order some drinks, I dive into a long island ice tea.. or two to get the blood pumping, we order, the prices are reasonable, so we get appetisers, I forget what we ordered, but they were delicious, maybe I shouldn't have dived head first into this pool of long island? 

When the food arrived, we were all gob smacked at the portions. I should have taken photos of it, coz just writing about the enormity of them won't do the place justice. What was served to the 3 of us would have easily fed 967 people, with enough for seconds. Are you understanding what I'm trying to say? Fucking enormous. 

"We should check out the lounge, get some drinks" Aaron suggests, so we slide in through the glass doors and it's hard to describe the decor and ambiance. To my left is a sunken lounge, in the middle a water feature with a dancing flame in the middle, like the water's on fire. We sit in the deeply padded and soft blue crushed velvet couch and stare at the fire when a cocktail waitress sidles up next to us with her ample bosom pushed up to ask us what we'd like to drink, I switch to JD and Coke, she dashes off and returns quickly with a smile and my drink, I take a sip and suggest we move to the bar coz this is gettin way too comfy. Drinks, fire, soft couches, no ideal. 

The bar of course has electronic poker machines set into it, dad can't help himself, by the time I've ordered another drink, he's 20 bucks into it. 

The plan is now set, we'll walk up to Stratosphere for a look out over Las Vegas at night, then on to Fremont, finally finding out way to where we have to buy tickets to get up the top (yeah, ya gotta pay $18 for the privilege) we line up (fuck this better be worth it) and then get to the ONE lift that's taking people up. This joint is losing points REAL fast. FINALLY we get to the top and start to walk around, wait.. we can only look through windows? Oh, this isn't the top.. we have to take another elevator.. of course we do. 

Look, lets skip to the point. It's a nice view, and it's fun laughing at the people being scared shitless on the rides up top, but is it worth the $18? No. Not at all. Don't bother. 

Dejected, hungover and full, a unanimous decision is made, it's almost 11, and we're calling it a night. New Orleans awaits and we want to charge that joint hard. 

*some hours later*

Time to leave, we're packed, downstairs and drop our door keys in the quick exit box, get the Mustang which we'll be dropping off here, and head out toward the airport, stopping at the drive through Mexican joint on Tropicana for some breakfast burritos. 

Now, this was probably a little naive of me, but I expected the rental drop off place to be at the airport, as it say it is in the brochure. But that would be too easy. As we drive down the road to the airport, following the signs, I couldn't help but notice we driving past the airport.. waaayy past the airport. "what the fuck man, where is this joint?" I say, when we do find it, we realise we're now going to be pressing it to get on a plane. 

We get into the terminal, and find the check in counter, Aaron had already booked and paid for the tickets and in fact checked us in the night before, so all we had to do was drop our bags off. When we do, the woman says 'because you haven't checked in 45 minutes before your flight, we can't guarantee your bags will be on the same flight." Aaron doesn't have a good temper when shit goes to plan, and I certainly had never heard of this type of shit, but we were getting on that plane and if our bags don't arrive, we have money, we'll buy what we need till they get there.

I think we were flying South West airlines, and their policy is a 'first in best dressed' deal. Aaron checked in the night before to try and get us into the A seating category, they board first, and of course that means you can sit together and get your choice of seat, we were in C category, in other words the last. But at least we were getting on the plane. I have headphones and a breakfast burrito, I don't care. 

We get to the gate, Fanta pants says he's gotta go back his brains out, and that we should just get on the plane and not wait. We wait, we're in category C after all, I don't think we'll be sitting next to each other. I was right. 

It was a pretty cruisy flight, we made up some time, I can't really complain about the carrier, they're low cost, all I would advise when using them is, check in online as early as you can, and get to the airport early if you want good seats. 

Bring on New Orleans.. 

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Dad and Dave's Adventure Part 8, Dam it!

I stir to the sounds of something... where am I.. what the fuck is that noise, what's going on? Is that the phone? It doesn't sound like mine.. wait, where am I? A hotel room... it's starting to come back to me, I'm in Las Vegas, What time is it? What day is it? Why the fuck is that phone ringing? I hear a voice, then I blackout.

I wake a few hours later to Aaron buzzing around the room, jazz playing from his Mac "what the fuck happened?" I ask.
"Dude, That was a fuckin crazy night" he says "remember that English guy? and the girls?"
I'm racking my brain and things are falling into the void that is my memory.

"Vaguely" I tell him. "Oh shit.. now I fuckin remember!" my voice cracking, it feels like I've eaten one of the pillows on my bed, "fuckin DRY" Aaron hands me a glass of water. Wow.. I don't have a hangover.. that's weird.. wait.. damn.. I'm still pissed..

"What was that phone call earlier?" I ask "That was your dad, wondering where he was getting picked up from"
"He's doing the chopper flight over the Grand Canyon remember?"
Oh yeah.. thank fuck I wasn't. I love choppers, don't get me wrong, but in the state I was in, best I stay on terra firma. Vegas kicked my arse last night. It was brilliant.

"What are we gunna do? Hoover Dam?" I ask ol fanta.. "yeah, you up for it?" "fuck it, I'm not driving, shit yeah, lets do it!" completing the SSS* in quick 1, 2 time, we bail downstairs to valet and pick up the Mustang. It's a sensational day yet again, we'd be so lucky so far, we arrived on Saturday, it's now Wednesday, and we haven't even seen the slightest hint of rain. Roof down, Van Halen up, we jet out of the carpark in search for food, I'm gunna kick this hangover in the head before it gets to me.

"We need fuel" he says pointing to a servo, we pull in, fill up, I walk in to pay, I need fluids, can't wait for breaklunch, water.. oooh beer.. that's a good idea. A 6 pack of Miller Silver bullets will do the trick.

*ya know, this reads like I'm an alcoholic, not so, I'm just on holidays

"There's a taqueria right next door, a drive through, you want that?" Aaron asks.. he fuckin loves his Mexican food, I like it too and have to constantly remind myself that unlike Mexican food here in Australia, in the states, it's actually authentic, and it's amazing. A-MAH-ZING!
It's called Filipito's Mexican Food, 1325 East Tropicana Avenue. It has a walk up window too. The food was crazy good. Burito was off it's head. I want one now.

We belt down the highway, tunes up, top down, when we decide to get off the main road and check out Lake Mead. Now this is a massive Lake Eildon type arrangement, huge, and it's pretty much in the middle of the desert. We drive around, walk in the water to cool off and take in the vistas. We look back to where we had driven in from.."I wonder if we can get up that hill, the views would be great" I say as we pile back into the Mustang to go for a looksie.

Across the highway from where we came in, we find a dirt track, looks a bit sketchy "4wd recommended" the sign says.. well, we're in a rental car, they can pretty much do anything, so I'm told "lets do it" I say to Aaron as me makes his way up the rocky incline. "This is a bit dodgy" THUMP the car bottoms out over a dip in the track which is not much wider than the car. "Check it out, mountain goats!" They scurry off down the hill looking at us as if to say 'what the fuck are you guys doing in that thing up here?' I might point out, on the way up the hill, I'm on the outside of the track, there is no railing, and the side of the road was a bit crumbly, it was awesome.

"ahh, where the fuck are we gunna turn around?" I ask looking ahead "ha ha.. I have no fuckin idea" says fantapants. This oughta be interesting.

We get to a spot that is kinda big enough to turn around and make the decision to do so, we hadn't reached the top of this hill, but this track was deteriorating, the Mustang is a good car, make no mistake, but we still have to make it to Hoover Dam.
We find a place to turn around and slowly make our way back down, stopping for a few snaps along the way. Once back onto the highway , we jet off, wondering how much further it is to Hoover Dam. Can't be too hard to miss it. It's pretty fuckin big.

"DO you think we past the turn off?" I say and I finish another Millers. "I'd better check huh" he says reaching for his phone which is doubling as the GPS. "Dude, it's 16 miles back the other way" and he indicates to chuck a youie through the centre of the freeway. Here's the kicker. Remember how we turned off to go to Lake Mead? Yeah well, that's where we were supposed to turn off to Hoover Dam. We is the real smaret ionesomaklmc w dsaFUCK!

Hoover Dam was big, and interesting, glad I went there, not much to tell, I mean it's a giant dam holding water. Built in the 30's during the great depression, over 100 people died building it. Glad I told you that? The views are great, it's interesting, trust me. Plus you get to technically go into another state and go back and forth in time. Now it's 3:40pm, now it's 4:40pm, now it's 3:40pm, 3:40, 4:40, 3:40, 4:40, 3:30, 4:40, 3, 4, 3, 4, 3, 4 fuck you Michael J Fox, I rule.

More later..

**SSS = Shit Shower Shave

Monday, 19 November 2012

Dad and Dave's US adventure, Part 7. I didn't know the end would night would end like this..

Sorry for the delay with the blog.. I've just been busy.. anyway, back to the trip

Day 2 in Vegas, we wake reasonably fresh, actually, if I remember, I was a bit seedy, but once I looked outside, saw the sun was shining, fuck being hungover, WE'RE IN VEGAS!
We rally down stairs and get the car, no real plan, but Dad and I are keen to explore Vegas, the real Vegas, out in the burbs. Probably sounds like a weird thing to do to a lot of people, but we were interested in maybe finding some hidden treasures off the beaten path.

We did stumble onto a cool retro shop, a real step back in time, we were constantly picking stuff up and saying to each other 'remember this, we had one of these'. It was a real trip. They had a tie rack loaded with old Looney Tunes ties, remember when they were big in the 90's? I had a few of em, I think my housemate still has a few.. what the hell were we thinking?

We cruised up to Fremont street to check it out, we didn't stop, we just wanted to know where it was, we'd be coming back later at night when it's lit up like a xmas tree. We continued on to the Premium Outlets Mall to have a poke around, none of us were really looking for anything in particular, just poking around. It's a good place for shopping if you're heading over there, it's north of the strip and you'll find most big brands on offer and bloody good prices.

One of the things I said I would do when I was in Vegas, was hoot some guns. I don't give a fuck what anyone says, and I know there will be people saying it's stupid and blah blah blah.. I don't have any plans to buy a gun, go hunting or any of that, this was purely an opportunity to do something that I probably would never get to do here. So if you're one of those 'you're a dickhead for doing that' people.. piss off.

Dad was up for it, Aaron had no inclination to take part, so me and the old man filled out the form, they asked what we wanted to shoot and how many rounds. The Gun Store was where we went, and I highly recommend the place.
Dad went with one gun, the 44 Magnum. Dirty Harry. 5 rounds to squeeze off into a target. Now, if you've never held of these guns, they've got a bit of weight to em. I let dad go first, his aim was off. To be fair, he's 67 and he needs new glasses, ok that's a nice way of saying I was MUCH better at it than him. You reading this Lance, I rule, you suck. HA!

I also decided to have a go at the Tommy Gun, ya know, like you see in the gangster movies from the 40's? Now when ya talk about weight in a gun, holy cow, this bastard was HEAVY. "Only squeeze off a few rounds at a time, coz the barrel gets real hot, expands, and jams up, so take it easy" Said my instructor.

Bap bap bap bap.. 'wow.. this thing is hard to control' bap bap bap bap "see how it kicks up from left to right?" Says old mate gunny mc gunguns. 'yeah, no shit'. I adjust for the lift in the gun as it fires, and blast off a bunch more rounds. "wow, that's full on" I say as old mate brings in the target. Once I got my aim in, I nailed it. I'm not just saying that, old mate said it too. Lance, you reading that? I rule, you suck. Yay me. I should really take pics of the targets but that would just be boasting, but yes I kept them. What? I'm allowed to be good at something. Shut up.

Remember how I said we wanted to discover stuff earlier? Well that's what happened after visiting The Gun Store.

"Pinball Hall Of Fame... we should stop there" I say as we drive by it, not thinking the other guys would be interested. "yeah why not" said dad, that was enough for me and around the block we go and pull into the car park.
I really didn't know what to expect, maybe a small museum type arrangement, few old pinball machines, I couldn't have been more wrong. I reckon there was at least 120 pinball machines in this joint. From the 20's right up to modern machines, and nearly every one of them playable for 50c. BRILLIANT.
We wandered around for a bit, reading the various paper placards pointing out the history of the machine, marvelling at the artwork and simplicity of older machines by today's standard, then we started playing. This is a place you have to check out if you're into this kinda thing.

Dinner was an easy fix, a taqueria around the corner from the pinball joint, dollar tacos and the bloke that ran it was a champion, he had that many hot sauces I was beside myself. For those that know me, you know I love a condiment, especially hot sauces. "I make my own as well if you wanna try that?" Fuckin oath I do mate, fuckin oath I do.
"holy shit!" exclaimed Dad as he tried it. Now, dad likes his hot stuff too, but that was pushing it he reckons, tasty, but fuckin hot.
"wowee" I say as I take my first bite. That's a bloody hot sauce.. and super tasty. Dad, you're a pussy.

The second US presidential debate was on the telly in the corner, not many people in the shop, so we buy some more tacos and beers and slide up to the seats near the the TV to watch.
"There's no one here, I'll turn it up"
Now, I don't know much about US politics other than what we're drip fed back here in Oz, but we got an education real quick. Fuck Romney is a douche bag.

Thanking our awesome host (the joint was just off East Tropicana Ave on South Maryland Parkway) we make tracks for the hotel.. we have to have a good look at some drinks.

Tonight was gunna be all about Fremont Street. The real old school Las Vegas, north of the strip. If you're going to Vegas, make sure you have a night up there. It's bloody awesome.

We arrive and immediately go in search for a drink.. "I'll go get some beers" says Aaron, "You guys wait here". No problem, he ducks into a Casino and dad and I take it all in, the lights, the people watching, one thing we notice is that everyone is trying to make a buck. People everywhere with an angle, dressed as Austin Powers and other movie characters, there's families with kids everywhere so they get pics with them, pay the 'performer' a nominal fee and everyone's happy.
Dad and I notice some girls dressed as traditional Vegas show girls "c'mon Lance, we're in Vegas, you're getting a pic" I call the girls over, and I take his pic with the lovelies. "righto son, your turn".. shoulda seen that coming.. couple of snaps and we're done. we chat with them for a few minutes, they ask us about Australia until some people come over for pics, I decline and suggest they get pics with the girls.. oh how we laughed.

"Where is that stupid fanta pants?" I ask.. "I'm bloody thirsty, stay here, I'll see if I can find him.".

I walk into this Casino and see the bar, stuff it, I'll buy beers and we'll just double up. Then I see him at a bar and as I approach he's getting served, we grab the beers and retreat out of there, Aaron's not happy, apparently they'd just been ignoring him for whatever reason, doesn't matter, we have beers now.

We wander around Fremont st taking it all in, it's pretty cool, time for a refill, we duck into a souvenir shop that has an extremely well stoked fridge. Dad goes for his Budweiser, Aaron and I decide to go for Mikes Hard Lemonade in jumbo cans, probably around 440ml, I think mine was a punch flavoured one. Lolly water. Dangerous stuff at 7%. Delicious. I want one now.

At night is when Fremont is at it's best, bands playing, people performing, the overhead light show on the hour is awesome. We hung out there till we were well pickled, grabbed a cab and headed back to our hotel late. But we're not done. No way.
Dad says he's done, fair enough, he's got a chopper flight over the Grand Canyon tomorrow, Aaron and I are going out.
Dressed half decent we make our way to the Marquee Club at the Cosmo hotel.. only to be told "sorry guys, we're closed on Tuesdays" BASTARDS!

We toy with the idea of going to Coyote Ugly at New York New York, reminiscing of our time there in 2004, it was bloody brilliant, then we opt against it, Aaron and I decide to keep that memory as it was, just in case it doesn't live up to the last time.

"lets just have a drink at that  bar in the middle" I say, pointing to one oft he bars in the middle of New York New York Casino. This proved to be where we would sit for many many hours. We spoke with other punters, laughed, and had a bloody great night.. except for one thing. Aaron was slowly heating up to explode due to one pommy guy.
Now I didn't have much of a problem with him, I was pissed, I didn't care that he kept talking, but Aaron was cooking.. ha ha, shit even thinking about it now make me laugh. Aaron was talking to a girl (her name escapes me) and his back was to this bloke, and he was trying to get into their conversation, and that can be fuckin annoying, I hate people like that, but this guy was alone, trying to make friends, just doing it wrong.
Aaron turned around and let him know, in no uncertain terms, that he was trying to talk to someone, and he was making it difficult.


Ok, Aaron let him have it.. I was laughing.. the guy left. Tail between his legs. It might read bad, but you really had to be there to see what this guy was doing, annoying as all hell, I was just letting it slide coz I was on holidays.

We continue to drink into the night with the company of some great people, the barman was loving us and pouring them long and steady..

This is where I have to end this instalment.. you don't need to know everything. Lets just say we had a good time that night in Vegas.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Dad and Dave's US Adventure, part 6, bright lights in the middle of the desert

I'd set an alarm so we'd have time to pack our shit and bail out of the hotel early and make our way to Vegas. I woke up before it. Aaron was already up, that fucker has ADD I'm sure. He's running around like a blue arsed fly, I lazily get up, hit the bathroom, drop the kids off, soap up the nuts, throw stuff in my bag, and I'm set. Shit.. "Have you heard from dad yet?" I ask.. "nope, haven't checked on him"

I knock on the adjoining door between rooms.. "Dad.. oi, Lance.. you up?"


"Oi.. you awake?"

*mumbles from the other room*

"fuck it, he'll get up soon enough" I say, and we go about gettin our stuff together. Then the door opens. "Oh I see" I say, he's up, showered, and ready to roll. "Aren't you hilarious, fuckin old cunt".

We jam outta there, I'm driving, earlier we decided we should go to the Getty Museum before heading out of town, get some culture into us. Apparently it's an amazing place, sure it's a little in the wrong direction, but shit, when will I be back here. 
If you noticed I said 'apparently', yeah that's coz when we drove 20 minutes out of our way to go to this amazing place, we were promptly told by a security guard at the main gate that it was shut on Mondays. C You Next Tuesday. . 

Dad's riding shotgun, I'm driving, Fanta pants is in the back, tunes are cranked, we head back up the 405 freeway, hit the 101 east and get involved in LA traffic, nothing too heavy, it's about 10:30am, the freeways over there rely heavily on a numbered system, and it cam be confusing as the 101 turns into the 134, into the 210, (past Rancho Cucamonga, no shit) before we head north on the 15 towards Barstow. 
It's a hot day, the roof is down and we're doing 80-90 miles an hour. From memory the speed limit is 70, but EVERYONE is doing 80-90, and it works. People actually get out of the fast lane when they're just cruising. Take note Aussie pinhead drivers. 

We pull over at Victorville for a piss, water, and I get some beef jerky. Bloody love that stuff. We decide to put the roof up, coz driving all the way to Vegas with the top down would result in some serious sunburn. Air con on, we don't have to yell to talk to each other.. much better, for now. 

Next stop is Barstow. Now for those that have seen Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, you'll know that one of the lines in the movie is "We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the drugs began to take hold". Great movie, and it's weird when you visit the states and see things you've only seen in movies or read in books. 
Having said that, Barstow is pretty underwhelming. We stopped coz there's an in In-n-Out Burger there. Aaron had been barking at us that we have to go there, they do great burgers, and they're only in California. So we HAVE to have one. 
We pull in, eat, I but dad a T-shirt (way too big) for 9 bucks, we leave. 
Oh, by the way Fanta Pants, In-n-out Burger is now in Nevada, Utah, Arizona and Texas. Burger was ok, chips were pretty good. 

Aaron also suggested that we peel off the main drag and go via the Mojave National Preserve. Somewhere along here, someone needed to shit, maybe it was dad, anyway, we had to stop somewhere. That place was Newberry Springs. Not a terribly remarkable place. Although it is on Route 66, so we got to tick that off the list. Kicks were had. 
 We stop at a roadhouse, there's a sign out the front, like, not a sign from the shop, like a tourist sign. (it's below) Baghdad Cafe'. A roadhouse made famous by the movie Baghdad Cafe. No, I'd never heard of it. Yes, I'd recommend you stop there if you get the chance. There's crap everywhere. Tourists, mainly French (where the movie was popular), leave t shirts, undies, hats etc, signed, and pinned to the wall. (pics below).

We don't stay long, but it was a good sidetrack. 

The GPS on Fanta Pants phone tells us our turn is coming up, time for the Mojave. I didn't really know what to expect to be honest, cactus, rocks, not sure really. It's pretty amazing though. The scenery, do the drive if you get the chance, pretty cool. I'd do it again. 

Soon enough, we're back on the main highway and making tracks for Vegas, shit, I need fuel. Now, something you will discover when you do the drive from LA to Vegas is that it's not the first town over the border in to Nevada. There's a town called Primm, and you can see it from miles away as the sun goes down. Casinos shoot out of the ground everywhere, lights, themed joints advertising cheap food and cheap 'slots'.
Now, when I say that this is the first ton over the border, it's literally built onto the borderline. Nothing on the California side at all. 
We blow through there and head on to the next servo, pull into the Shell, go to fill up, stupid yank servos being pre paid, it's only 6:30pm! How the fuck am I supposed to do the math on gallons? BASTARDS. Fuck it, $20 will get us to sin city.
I walk in to pre pay, and I hear the sounds of pokies. That's right, inside the servo, there are people playing pokies. Fuck me this joint is mental. I'd been to Vegas before, but to be honest it was a complete blur.

It's getting close to 7pm as we roll into Las Vegas Blvd, the top is down on the Mustang, is a balmy night, we HAVE to do a lap of the strip before checking in. We cruise up and back, dads head spinning like a top. It's exactly as I remembered it from 8 years ago, save for a couple of new places.
I booked the accommodation, and I had planned on getting us a 2 bedroom apartment at New York New York Casino, but dad said "why, we're never gunna be in the room" so I changed it to the Excalibur, $37.50 a night per room. That's right, we slummed it. Dad was right, we were never in our rooms. Although a fridge to keep beers cool would have been nice. Still everything else was there..

Fanta Pants and I decide to get out there and get amongst it, dad says he's staying in, he's knackered. First night in Vegas ever, and he says he's staying in, 'tard.

We walk the strip, drink beers, people watch, get our bearings as to what we're gunna do. We end up at the piano bar in New York New York (should have fuckin stayed there in the end), a great place if you've never been, duelling pianos, crowd involvement, it's loud and fun. We happened to make it in there when a wedding party had arrived. All the blokes in kilts, I guess they must have been Spanish or something, anyway..
Two of the blokes in skirts were up there, one on the piano, one singing, and it was pretty obvious they've done this before. The crowd went nuts, they were great.

Drunk, late, we decide to call it a night. We'd had a HUGE day and I don't even know what time it was when we crashed. Not stupid o'clock, but not early.. maybe 1:30-2am?

When we wake up and catch up with dad, he tells us he went out coz he couldn't sleep. I have a feeling he wanted his own space, and I wouldn't be surprised if the old cunt dragged a renter. He's a dirty old bastard.

More later..

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Dad and Daves US Adventure, Part 5

Where was I? Oh yeah, preparing for another assault on West Hollywood. Once we've all washed the sand and freak of us, I suggest we head back to the Rainbow, use it as a launching place to head out, Dad and Aaron agreed, we didn't know how it would be on a Sunday night, but we liked the music and the vibe of the joint, so we just figured, go with what you know before making another decision.
We're half charged at this stage, the cabbie takes us a different way to West Hollywood which freaks us out, coz lets be honest, he could have been driving us via Mexico and we wouldn't know where we are. Our bearings were completely shot.
There's nothing to worry about, old mate was just taking us straight down Coldwater Canyon Drive. From where we were staying in Studio city, it's up, and over the hill that brings you straight into Beverley Hills. The houses there are BULLSHIT big. I didn't see Brenda or Steve Sanders. I think we passed the Peach Pit though.
Soon enough we were back at the Rainbow, crowd was much the same outside, so we pulled up to a table and got a round of drinks.

I should mention at this point we'd been in the states a little over 36 hours, and one thing you quickly discover over there is, Aussies are everywhere. Make no mistake, you'll hear 'thanks mate' and your head will swivel to see where that familiar slice of home is coming from. We'd heard it on Santa Monica Pier, the day before, in the little souvenir shop at the end. In fact I'm pretty sure I heard it in the car rental place as soon as we landed.

So we're enjoying some beers, Aaron has gone straight for a greyhound, a vodka grapefruit basically, taste pretty good, a nice alternative when you're beered out and don't want bourbon. Soon this guy flounces over, it doesn't take a genius to figure out which way he swings, he's heard the accent and is up for a chat, he tells us he used to be a cop in New York, but has since made the move out west to enjoy his lifestyle. It was also fairly obvious at this point that he had a bloodstream full of party.
He wanders off, and because dad and I were facing him, we didn't noticed Aaron had slipped away to talk to some girls at the bar. Fast mover. We let him be and watch from afar, don't wanna cramp his style.

He comes back and starts telling us they're from Germany and are here with their fellas but that they were 'Up for it, even the guys seemed keen'. Yeah, not sure about that one.

Here's another thing about California that, well, didn't surprise me, but I guess I wasn't prepared for. The use of medical marijuana. You've all seen the TV shows I'm sure. Basically there are 'doctors' that will hook you up with a medical marijuana card for a minimal fee, and boy, don't the locals take advantage of that.

Aaron notices a couple of blokes up the back, outside of the drinking area at the Rainbow who were enjoying and walked over to see what the deal was. Friendly bunch it turns out, he's the chef and has knocked off for the night.

At the bar were a bunch of old rockers, talking about times gone by, clearly blokes in their late 40's who maybe once had a band that performed on the strip, now probably roadies enjoying themselves, dressed as you would expect, some with bleached hair still teased, a brilliant cliché that you hope to see in Hollywood.
They're all bikers too, as we saw a gaggle of bikes out the front, must be theirs.
We're soaking up the atmosphere when I think I hear that Aussie accent amongst said bikers.. "nah, can't be" I say to dad.

Meanwhile, Aaron is talking to locals, enjoying the local flavour, when the chef comes out with food for his mates. He offers us some. It's mashed potato. Hang on, let me try that again. It wasn't just mashed potato. It was MASHED POTATO! I don't know what he put in it, but it was fucking awesome. Easily the best I've ever tasted. That might seem like a weird thing to read, but trust me, old mate chef knows what he's doing.

Soon after the voice which I thought was an Aussie slides up to us and asks if we are Aussie, dammit, he's from Sydney and has been in South America with his girlfriend, and what a piece she is. This guys is batting WAAYYY out of his league, lucky fuck. We make small talk and they piss off back to the bar.

Then one of the bikies hits us up for a light, which we don't have, we start chatting and he's a bit pissed, so he's heading off home. We follow him out to have a look at his bike. What happened next surprised us all.
Here's a guy, full old school rock star clothes, bog leather jacket, studs, patches, arm bands, you know the full 1982 Judas Preist look.
He walks out to the mess of bikes in the parking lot, throws a helmet on his head, and slings his leg over...
a CT90 Honda.
A postie bike.
An orange 1986 Honda postie bike. With a bright orange flag like you'd see on a push bike in the 80's
Fuck me. That's some funny shit right there. We all held back laughter, Aaron had the good grace to compliment on his ride, so we followed suit. "I had one of these when I was a kid" says Aaron, "I was fuckin awesome". The guys appreciates the compliment and they wax lyrical about the benefits of owning such a gargantuan hog.

He buzzes off and we head back inside, only to be met by the bouncer.. "time to go guys, finish up and make your way out please"
What the fuck?
We're just getting started, what time is it? "Bar shuts at 2 guys".
The time zone difference, and us having such a good time, has resulted is us getting pretty pissed but not tired at all, and ruined out chances of heading out.. how the hell did this happen?

When we walk out the front, something weird happens.. we just decide to start walking down the hill. We don't know where we are really, we don't know where we're going, but something instinctual makes us walk towards to thr Roxy, right next door. It's open, but closing. Fuck, we'll head to the Viper Room, a little further down and across the street.
There's a bunch of guys out the front, good sign, one of them opens the door and walks in, bouncer at the front says, sorry guys we're about to close.. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON? Everything in Hollywood shuts at 2am?

Making the most of where I am, I get Aaron to snap off a couple of shots of dad kicking into me as I lay lifeless out the front of Viper. A tip of the hat to River and Jason Donovan.

We're pissed, looking for a good time, we know we have to be up early tomorrow, but we don't wanna go home.
We decide we need eats, and what better to eat at this time of night than a burger?
"there's a Mel's diner down the road a couple of blocks" Say Aaron consulting his Yelp app, so we start to walk.. and walk..

The streets are empty, so we wander all over the joint, and duck down a side street for a leak. Not realizing that there's a couple sitting on their front porch, and they see everything. I apologise and continue on our way.

Now, if you have never been to LA, let me tell you, go to Mels Diner. (Sunset Blvd). Holy snapping frog shit batman, that's some good eats, oh, and get a thick shake, A-FUCKIN-MAZING.

I ask a cabbie sitting out the front in his Prius if he's working, he says yes, I think he's Russian.
"Do you mind if I smoke?" he asks (yes he's Russian) "We don't care mate, we just wanna get home"
The cab ride that ensued was an absolute ripper, Aaron is talking to the cabbie, he says he's been doing this 17 years around LA, although his thick accent would suggest different, the fact that at one stage we hit 90 miles per hour (144kph) up Sunset Blvd, in a fuckin Prius, was both a highlight and a scary moment.

I know we made it home ok, but I don't really remember the walk to the room, maybe I'd had a few more drinks than I thought? Ah well, tomorrow we have to be up early to check out and make our way to Vegas. Fuck yeah..

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Dad and Dave's US Adventure part 4

Ok, so it's day two, we've got our replacement hire car and have parked at Santa Monica Pier. I have to tell ya, on a sensational day, it's a pretty impressive place to be. The tide was out but the water washes up a long way due to the near flat sands, old bastards will remember skim boards, well this beach is prefect for it. For those not so ancient, this beach is great for cricket, check the pic below. 

Aaron suggests we walk down to muscle beach at Venice Beach, not far, a gentle stroll. Before we're even off the pier, there's some freak show standing there with a sign, before I tell you what it says, there's one thing I noticed on this visit to the states.. there's fuckin people everywhere with signs for one thing or another,  begging for this, advertising that, mostly for begging though. 

So this clown is standing up on a garden bed with a HUGE sign "Need money for penis reduction" and a bunch of other stuff scribbled around it, including "Photos $1" with a big X through it and "Photos $2" under it. 
Firstly mate, no one in their right mind would believe it, which renders the joke lame. Secondly, your personality is like the one mate everyone has, the person who thinks their funny but everyone just rolls their eyes at. Yeah.. that cunt. 

Then again, maybe other people find it funny, not me, fuck off mate, try harder to get my dollar. 

Muscle beach is an interesting place, I mean, you hear about it, you see it in movie's, but to see it in motion, people doing this of their free will, en masse, was weird. It's basically a whole bunch people showing off. Or it could be a whole bunch of people trying to stay fit using public equipment. Nah, I'm sticking with my first impression, this is America after all, land of the fuckin weird. 

The beach is wide, really wide in fact, I found city beach in Perth to be like that, and although it's flat, it gives you a bit of a work out as you walk to the waters edge. It was worth it, the water was cool and refreshing and it really gave me a sense of 'ahhhh I'm on holidays'. Ya know that feeling? Fuckin great. 

I take the obligatory Baywatch photo, and we head back toward the boardwalk. We're thirsty. Real thirsty. Holidays in the sun thirsty. "Aaron find us a bar on ya phone" I say, he dials into an app and comes up Finn McCools. Yep, in the heart of Venice Beach we find an Irish Pub. How gauche.

Still, they have a bunch of different beers on tap,Dad goes for a bottle of bud, he's found his flavour and he's sticking to it, unless he finds a cheap Corona. I don't even remember what I had to drink, I know it was beer.. and it was cold.. and delicious. We chat, listen to the 3 piece irish band playing in the front bar, checking our the scenery, then Aaron and I notice the vodkas on the shelf. "Dude they have infused Vodkas here, we should get one" he says. "Ok" I agree, really had to twist my arm on that one. 

I'm sure at the time I took a mental note on the names of the vodkas so I could regale friends with these foreign delights, but this is day two, and I drank every day after that, you reckon I had a chance of remembering? I do know that they were local to California, and we had them with soda on ice and they, like the beers, were cold, and delicious. Dad stuck with Budweiser. Pussy. 

We start to get peckish, and decide to eat, traditional Irish fare for us, we needed something to sop up the booze before we crash too early. 
We decide to leave soon after, not realising we'd been there for over 2 hours. "we gotta get back or we'll end up staying here all night, and fuck that" I say. We get a cab, stuff walking back now.
Back at Santa Monica pier, dad ends up getting sucked into buying these kids flying rubber band toys.. he's pissed, not blind, just on the verge, he's having a good time. 

We get back to the hotel and prepare for another assault on West Hollywood. 

I'll tell you about it tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Dad and Dave's US Adventure, Part 3

I remember waking up slowly to the sound of birds and water trickling and thinking 'where the fuck am I?', as I rolled over, I could feel the effects of a big night, I felt foggy, I dared to open my eyes and I notice that the blinds are open, and so is the balcony door, the warm LA breeze negating the need for anything heavier than a sheet. Aaron is awake and rummaging through his shit, "what the fuck are you looking for? What time is it?" I ask. "I can't find my lighter.. it's 10" he replies. "Is dad awake?.. fuck, what time did we get home?" I ask as I stumble out of bed and make the stagger to the dunny.
Dad has an adjoining room, so I knock and call his name, no response, he's obviously catching up on sleep so I leave him be and head out to the balcony to check out where we are. Top floor, overlooking the pool is where we are... funny, I don't remember even coming back to the room. I'm sure I'm not alone there.

Some 20 minutes later dad opens the door, he's showered and looking refreshed, 'bastard' I think to myself.. Best I get myself moving, for what I'm not entirely sure, but we have a stunning day outside, it's day two or this epic trip and I wanna get out there. Little did I know what this day had in store for us.

We decide we're gunna hit Malibu to see how the other half lives, but first we have to get to Ralphs across the road. That's a supermarket, I need water, and fuckin lots of it.

We get into our shit box Chrysler 200, plug in the ipod, and make our way west along Ventura Blvd, then onto Ventura fwy. Dad is sitting in the back, Aaron is driving, and I'm up front loving life. Dad on the other hand, is hating it. With the top down, his ears are getting buffeted by wind, he's gettin shit in his eyes, and he's whinging like a bitch. He hates it. Not exactly what I wanted for him.

We get off the freeway at Topanga Canyon rd and decide it's best to cruise up and over to Malibu, a much more sedate and picturesque way to go. If you get the chance, do the drive, it's bloody nice.

Soon enough we find ourselves on the coast and head north to Malibu. Stunning scenery, and you know you're in a ritzy part of California pretty quick, as BMW's, Porsche's, Mercedes, and other exotics adorn the driveways of the seaside joints.
We're looking for something to eat, and have no idea what we want, so after a quick look around, we decide to head back toward Santa Monica Pier, we'll find something on the way.

We stop on the side of the road to be tourists, take some pics and check it out. It's a bloody beautiful part of the world.

Aaron recognises a joint and suggest we pull in for lunch. I would tell you the name of it, but I'm fucked if can remember. Bloody top joint though, right on the water, we get a booth, hell of a view, order beers and lunch. The cocunut shrimp was UNBELIEVABLY GOOD. When I find out the name, I'll let you know.

Fed and watered, we make our way to Santa Monica Pier. We swing into the enormous car park to the right  of the pier, find a spot, it's a glorious day, time to people watch, take some pics and wander around.

I hit the switch for the roof (we're in the convertible) and this is where the fun began..

The Chrysler 200 convertible has a hard lid that pops up and the soft top then extends from under that and latches onto the windscreen, fully automated, it's pretty impressive. Until the hard lid stops half way open, as it it did this day. (see pic below)
We checked fuses, tried it a dozen times, but this thing was stuck halfway. So there we are, so close to the Santa Monica Pier, yet so far away. "You gotta be kidding me.. what a piece of shit' I say, I find the rental agreement with the 1800 number and I remember the agent at the rental joint saying 'here's the number, not that you'll need it, if anything happens". I should have known.. famous last words.

I call and get through to a lovely lady on the other end, all the while, my old man and Aaron are making small talk about how much of a piece of shit this car is. "fuckin gutless, slow, bits falling off it, now this" says dad. We're all being philosophical about it, as much as we're pissed off, we could be stuck in a worse place than Santa Monica on a beautiful day.

'We want a bigger and better car than this, I don't want another one of these" I say, "That could take a while, can you bring it back here?" the agent asks.. "ahh, no, it's a bit dangerous to drive like this, it's like a bloody sail". "Well, it could take a couple of hours to get one out to you" Shit.

We sit around for a while before Aaron suggests dad and I at least get up to the pier and look around, he'll stay with the car and his phone, we agree and go for a wander, just a quick walk to the end, snap some pics, grab slurpees and head back to the car. Aaron gets a call, it's an automated call telling us how long the car will be, it's been dispatched and should be there within the hour.

His phone rings a little while later, it's another automated call, the car is 20 minutes away..

A short while later, his phone rings, its the truck driver asking where we are exactly, Aaron explains "we're in the huge car park to the right of the pier... no I don't know what street it's on, we're not from here... just go down the hill to the car park and come in.. there'll be a guy near the traffic cones.. just tell em why you're here, we've seen a couple of Triple A cars in here, so you won't have to pay... great... thanks"

It's been an hour and thirty minutes since the first phone call I made.. could be worse I guess.

The phone rings again.. it's our truck driver.. Aaron talks to him "no.. dude, we're in the big car park to the right of the pier, you can't miss it, it's massive, where are you?... I don't know where Colorado street is, have you come through the ticket box yet?" Aaron is getting agravated.. rightly so, this shouldn't be that hard, the truck driver is from LA, you'd think he's know where the fuckin carpark at the Santa Monica Pier is, but ooooohh no.. we're dealing with a brain dead fucktard.. but this brain dead fucktard has our replacement car so I'm urging Double A to play it cool. He doesn't.

For the next half an hour the phone calls continue and our truck driver has NO idea where we are, dad goes for a walk to see if he can find this arse wipe with our replacement car. In the meantime.. "listen dude, you stay where you are, we'll find you". "What?.. mate we can't drive this bloody thing like this" "Well fuck, this guys is a complete dumb cunt.. I know it's like a catchers mitt, but what the fuck"

Meantime, dad is AWOL.. he's out looking for this guy too, so we've got no idea where he is, we drive around the car park looking for dad, we find him, he gets in and we hit the highway and do a lap up to where we think he is.. he's no where to be seen. Fuck.. we take a wrong turn and end up back in the car park FUUUUCK! Back out onto the highway (hey it's a big car park, fuck off) and just before we turn down a street, we spy this bonehead truck driver parked at an intersection, our car facing the wrong way into traffic. This guy really is a dickhead.

We pull up, "see I'm at Colorado near the car park he he he" (Yeah mate, we can see that) "Dude, see that HUGE fucking car park? That's where you're supposed to be" Aaron says.

We clear our gear our of the shit box, (I still have the spare key to the Chrysler) grab the keys of this arse clown to our replacement car, a red Mustang convertible (finally!) and head back to the car park for the third time, park, lock up, and head off into the sun.. surely nothing else could go wrong today.. surely..

To be continued...