A Travellerspoint blog

Miami then Bridgetown, Barbados

Arriving in Barbados, with a rash, but feeling good and looking forward to plenty of sun, surf and cricket

sunny -29 °C

We've had limited internet access so it's been difficult to update this blog.

So after Georgia we took off down to Florida, spent a night in Miami and flew to Barbados. This place is amazing. The people have been so kind and they're great to talk to. We've spent nearly two weeks here in Barbados now, we have so many stories and have experienced great things. The rash has completely cleared up too. That's what two swims per day in the azure blue waters of the Caribbean sea will do. The beaches are so good. Our accommodation has been perfect. It's 50 metres from Accra beach too, which is a great beach, so we've been up at 6am every morning for a swim before heading out for the day, to the cricket or off exploring when it hadn't started yet. We then have another swim in the afternoon. There's been some nice little waves, 3 foot with nice peeling barrels so I've been out in it for hours everyday. The water is so clean and clear.

The Test match was great fun, just finished yesterday, we went to all five days and we loved it. Met so many great locals and we talked cricket and people and Barbados for hours. It's so much better going to the cricket in Barbados than at home in Australia. The security and police, the cost of food and drinks and the choice of food and drinks is so much better here. More detail later, but we were buying 3 beers for $5 Australian. Good beer too, Banks.

Right now we're just preparing to leave for Trinidad tomorrow for the second Test and more adventures. We had a massive night at Harbour Lights nightclub last night. We went with some other Australians we've met. We ended up partying with James Pattinson, Nathan Lyon and Mike Hussey, celebrating the Test victory. Hussey is a champion, he was really enjoying himself and we were all on the dance floor and singing songs together. It was great.

More updates and stories to follow, once we have more time on the web.

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 11:21 Archived in Barbados Tagged beaches waves mike test barbados cricket bridgetown hussey Comments (0)

Atlanta, Georgia

Nice hotel, great company and shopping, food, drink and a bloody rash.

sunny 28 °C

After a big night in Kansas City with my brother we headed to Atlanta Georgia. Caught the Marta (train) up to Buckhead in north Atlanta. First night we stayed in a cheap Red Roof Inn. It served our purposes, we went for a walk, ate some sandwiches and had a night off the drink (much needed). However, that earlier mentioned poison ivy tour led by Sharon and Jodie back up at Thickett Cove in Des Moines seems to have led to problems for me.

I was now rapidly developing significant rash-idge. Both sides of my neck, torso, legs and quite a few other places were subsiding to a angry red, itchy rash like nothing I've ever had. Next day I woke up it was worse. We caught a cab to our new hotel, the JW Marriott. I sought medical help. The concierge at this quality hotel helped greatly. Calling clinics and eventually chaffuering me to a doctor, where I had to pay $150US for a visit. I was diagnosed, with a rash, and prescribed steriods.

A spate of shopping at Lennox Square mall with Sharon and a significant effort not to tear at my ugly skin helped me calm down. Looking at the price tags in Prada and Burberry shocked me enough to forget about the rash for a few moments. Next day we hit the hotel's gym and waited for my mate Richard and his wife Alicia to arrive from Huntsville, Alabama.

We spent the day and night with them, having a great time, doing lunch and dinner, lots of drinks, some shopping and plenty of laughs. We carried on until about 3am then arose next day, relcutantly, at 9am. In preparation for our next move to Miami.

Titch and Alicia gave us a ride down to ATL airport.

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 07:23 Archived in USA Tagged medical shopping drinking atlanta buckhead rashes Comments (0)

More SXSW fun and bats

Bands bands and more bands...and FOOD

overcast 26 °C

Last couple days of SXSW and Texas times!
So we haven’t really had access to a computer where we can just sit down and type for a while. Hence the late update to the blog.
The last couple of days in Austin, Texas were more great fun.

We woke up pretty hammered after the Friday night antics at SXSW. I had a massive sore throat, probably from snoring my head off after a right skinful the night before at all the bands we saw. After our self-made ham and salad sandwich breakfast, we rode the bus into town about 2pm to do it all again for the final day of South By. More free drinks in the registrants lounge. We took some of our own Belvedere Vodka in a hippy and spiked a couple drinks throughout the night, haha! Helps on the savings.

After some food we in the evening we went to the Aussie BBQ at Maggie Mae’s. Saw the John Steel Singers and The Art, who were great. Bliss n Eso were there, but we missed them.

After that we took off to the famous Moody’s Theatre to see Sleigh Bells from New York and Nas from Brooklyn. There was this guy with no legs smoking cannabis pipes right in the middle of this plush and non-smoking theatre. Security intervened, but once he cited he was a vet from Afghanistan they backed off and let him do his thing. Bless him.

Sleigh Bells were popular, we weren’t impressed though. I was glad to see Nas as he’s a huge artist in the hip-hop scene. His show was big with heaps of guest MCs and DJs and a great set. After wards we went to see this Spanish band – Suicide of Western Culture – some of the guys we met earlier in the week. It wasn’t our scene, some crazy industrial hard core electronic music, we left. We then went on 1 song per band, per venue blitz to take in as much as possible on the last night. This included Pennywise from Hermosa Beach California, Jimmy Cliff from Jamaica, another hard rock band from US, and a jazzy rock band from the UK among others. Unbelievable night, again. Went home around 330am.

On the Sunday we went into town around lunch time and could not believe how quickly the city of Austin had transformed it-self from hosting such a huge festival attracting so many thousands of people, to showing no signs as such. It was eerily quiet.
We got a shuttle out to the closing day softball tournament, where we got a free Texas BBQ (heaps of meat!) and a hit of softball. It was good fun. We then went back into Austin city and took a tour around the Texas State Capitol building, which is impressive. It has a whole bunch of stuff about the Civil War outside and hosts the two houses, lots of memorabilia and the law museum. We couldn’t help but scoff at George W Bush’s picture (tough for those of you who are fans of him). Great Capitol though and actually 15odd foot taller than the one in Washington, everything’s bigger in the TX.

We then went and played darts while having a few beers. Sharon beat me, again, at darts. Unbelievable.

Today we were up at the record time of 9am! Amazing. We took brisk exercise walk around our neighborhood and eventually went to see the last couple sites in Austin. The State Library was interesting, but the Texas State History Museum was fantastic. We spent four hours in that place, learning and interacting with all the exhibits. It had a fairly comprehensive and very engaging history of the parcel of land that has become Texas. The history was brief prior 1500, but then detailed from then on including Spanish exploration, French competition and engagement with indigenous peoples.

Texas or Tejas used to be part of Mexico until around the 1830-40s. It was annexed by the US Union after a complicated struggle involving many players. For a short period it was also an independent republic and at least two Presidents. Eventually it fought in the US civil war alongside its southern neighbours in the Confederate armies. The North won, the rest is history. Texas has a huge affiliation with its land, cattle and later oil production saw the state boom at the turn of the 20th century. It’s a great museum and we highly recommend.

We then ate a tasty pizza from Papa Johns at the base of the Stephen F Austin building and took a walk down to the Four Seasons, the nicest hotel in Austin. We had a drink and headed to the riverbank to watch the famous bats leave their colony under a large bridge. Apparently this is the largest of this type of bat colony in southern US and they leave at sunset to feed. Like hundreds of thousands of them. What a sight it was. Hundreds of people were watching from city buildings, the riverbank, the bridge and boats.

We bussed it home, packed and readied ourselves for departure the next day for Des Moines. Oh, and we were on Tornado Watch and a Flash flooding alert. We were worried this would affect our flight, but in the morning there was only minor flooding and some tornado activity to the west. Unbelievably we found out that day that Townsville had been hit by some sort of Tornado about the same time. So very weird. Hope all are OK?

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 10:15 Archived in USA Tagged parties music bats austin sxsw Comments (0)

The middle of the US

Kansas City and more huge stuff

overcast 22 °C

Wednesday morning we got up to drive to Kansas City, Kansas/Missouri. Woohoo! Two more states! Only about 45 to go...

The drive wasn't overly exciting so I can't say much about that, it was pretty much one huge interstate from Iowa to Kansas. Trees and fields on the sides of the road and the occasional cow or Wendy's. Our first stop was the Yard House for lunch with Betsy, Daryn's contact at Sporting Kansas (the MLS side). More food! I had angel hair pasta with eggplant and tomatoes which was delicious. Paddy and I went to explore the HUGE shops around the Yard House while Daryn and Betsy talked shop for a while. We then met Betsy at the Sporting Kansas ground which was amazing - the best sporting facility either of us had ever seen. She took us on a tour of the ground, including the locker room, club lounges and even for a sit in Lance Armstrong's personal chair. The stadium is named after his charity Livestrong and he has a yellow seat on the second level reserved just for him, when he can attend games. When he isn't there, someone else from that section - all cancer survivors - is chosen to sit there. Very lucky people, in more ways than one.

We stayed at Harrah's, another casino, and had more wings as an entree. I know I go on about food but it is one of the most exciting things I reckon. We even found proper bread in Atlanta. I can't tell you how glad I was. Most of the supermarket stuff is so sweet it doesn't matter how savoury the sandwich is, the sweetness of the bread is overpowering. Ugh. Definitely no Walmart bread! Anyway we went over to the Italian restaurant and drank fine wine and ate fine bread and garlic dip, mozzarella deep fried into little cakey things, and some calamari. Joy.

Next day, Paddy woke up with an odd rash. We flew to Atlanta and thought not much of it, but sadly it was not to be 'just one of those things'. First I should mention KC airport, which was outstanding in its boringness. There was absolutely nothing in the place. What a shithole to wait in for a couple of hours! Thank goodness for the reading materials we obtained from Daryn and Eileen.

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 09:51 Archived in USA Tagged planes travel kansas wings Comments (0)

Frosty Des Moines (allegedly)

Definitely not the weather we expected

semi-overcast 23 °C

After hearing Paddy talk about Des Moines a lot over the last few years, I was convinced it would be FREEZING and prepared myself for the excitement and indoor confinement of snow. Alas, it was not to be. Unseasonal weather not only in Australia but all over the USA meant it was warm and sunny and there was absolutely no need to have brought our winter coats (yet). Hey, I'm not complaining - I like it warm.

We met Daryn at the airport and he took us straight out to Thicket Cove to meet Eileen and see their new residence, having just sold their house earlier that day. Very coincidental! We hung out there for a while with BJ and Jody (their good friends and future neighbours) then went to Sharon Circle - a great name, if I say so myself. Daryn had made delicious pasta and it was exactly what we needed after a long day travelling and a long week on pretty shitty food.

Our second day involved a trip to Costco - my GOD what a great shop. You have to buy a membership to be able to shop there, but it would be totes worth it for the savings. The only thing is, once you buy something you better be prepared to use it for a looooong time, because everything is HUGE. Bags of chips - 907g. Boxes of muesli bars - nothing less than 40 bars. Cuts of meat - 2kg+. Best of all - pretty much any type of spirits, including premium vodka like Grey Goose - no more than $25 for 1.75l. YES. It is possible this could lead to a tendency to drink and eat far too much...

At Daryn and Eileen's house we saw they had a dart board. Fantastic! Exactly what we wanted to do as we've both discovered a newfound love of darts, me winning, and Paddy losing. Hahaha. The suburbs of Des Moines look just like the suburbs you'd picture when you think of American burbs, with trees everywhere (including beautiful dogwoods covered with white flowers), wide streets, clean, multiple levels...just like on TV. I don't doubt it can be pretty frosty and awful in the winter but it was hard to see that when the weather was so nice!

We went to a sushi place in West Des Moines for lunch and it was the greatest sushi I've ever eaten in my life. Kind of strange for a place about 1000km from the nearest ocean. We ate so many delicious foods while in Des Moines, including Eileen's famous chicken noodle soup, Vietnamese curry soup, guacamole and jalapeno margaritas, AJs steakhouse at the casino and I even made my eggplant lasagne one night too. Yum! I can sense fatness imminent. We've still managed to avoid sausage biscuit and whoopie pies. We also went to Oakmoor gym a few times to offset said fat, but I'm not sure how useful it is when you're eating twice your weight. Add to that the fact Daryn and Paddy drank a shitload of vodka and mineral waters a few nights and pretty much all the health benefits of the gym are out the window.

Sunday we went to Thicket Cove to pick up bikes and rode across a huge bridge that used to be a train track. It had these funny iron bars all around it that light up at night. On the other side of the bridge, a guy told us about the history of the bridge and the cycling tracks and showed us a photo of it at night. The iron bars all have small lights in them which form a pattern at night, which looked pretty cool. After the ride we went over to the Flat Tire bar. I'm not kidding, about a thousand people would have passed through that day. At least. Heaps of cycling tracks cross through Iowa and there's a cross-state fun ride people do which sounded awesome (and you would love it Dude!). I wish we could come back for the ride!! We went back to Thicket for the chicken noodle soup and sat around the bonfire, played 'bags' (a game where you chuck mini bean bags into holes on wooden boards about 6m away), observed poison ivy*, and patted the dogs.

Eileen took us out to Prairie Meadows on our last night for a bit of gambling, which was awesome, and the next day we left for Kansas City. Something something Toto and tornadoes. Our time in Des Moines was great thanks to Daryn and Eileen, who were very generous with their time and hospitality. Thanks so much guys!!

  • Significance to be revealed later.

Posted by Paddy - Sharon 09:27 Archived in USA Tagged food cycling ivy poison costco Comments (0)

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