sarahblack: (Bertie Wooster)
It has been decided! Þorri and I are returning to Narrabri next Friday. It will be an interesting cross-country journey involving a bus and two trains. We'll have to leave Byron Bay on Thursday because one of the trains is an overnight train! It will be lovely to see my grandmother and Lindsay again. (As well as my grandmother's wonderful collection of books!)

As I mentioned in my very brief previous post, the stay in Byron Bay has been a dream come true so far. We could have been luckier with the weather, but I'm definitely not complaining. We've has some amazing sunny days.

However, I haven't told you guys a thing about Sydney! This post will be novel length if I try to go into all the details, so I'm just going to post a few pictures along with a few comments.

Sydney )

Last Monday Þorri and I flew to Byron Bay. We've been spending time with Lindsay's daughter's family as we are crashing at their place. But like I said in my last post, we've also been able to take a trip to Currumbin Sanctuary (Australian animal "zoo"), walk to the most Easterly part of Australia, and hang around the beach for a bit.

Pictures! )

Tomorrow we're going to have a day of pampering at a spa and then we're going to the Lounge Cinema to see Looper. I'm really excited! I haven't had a full body massage since I was here in 2006! The Lounge Cinema is a treat as well. You sort of lie around instead of sitting! It's so comfy.

P.S. I totally recommend The Iron Lady. Fantastic film! Meryl Streep is a genius.
sarahblack: (Yatta says Hiro)
I got back to Cuzco last night after spending four days hiking the Inca Trail.

It was really really really difficult. I can not stress this enough. However, we were incredibly lucky with the weather, the food was ridiculously good, and the company was pleasant. The guides, the cooks and the porters were amazing - a credit to G-adventures and to Peru.

My Inca Trail Adventures )

Today I'm just going to relax and run some errands. Tomorrow my Amazon adventure begins. I'm ridiculously excited about that. ♥
sarahblack: (Johnny Depp <3)
I can't believe it's my last day in LA! Where does the time go?

Yesterday Sigthor took me out to Joshua Tree National Park. It was a bit of a drive, but we stopped at Krispy Kreme and got a dozen heart attacks to keep us going. (A warm from the oven Krispy Kreme doughnut should not be allowed to exist. Too delicious. Jesus.)

IMG_0878


I loved Joshua Tree. It had the most amazing scenery! First there was this part which was full of cacti. Really weird cacti! And then we drove into this area which was sort of like the Flintstones had been filmed there. All these huge, smooth-looking, grey boulders. They were fun to clamber over. Then there were the Joshua trees. They are so silly-looking and awesome!

Joshua Tree )

Today I decided to sleep in. It was the greatest sleeping I ever did. And then I went to Hollywood!

It was my second time in Hollywood, but it was much more interesting than my first time. Way more stuff going on in the afternoon than early in the morning. I also had more time to look for stars in the sidewalk. I found the stars belonging to Marilyn Monroe, Snow White, Britney Spears and Johnny Depp. Also, I met Jack Sparrow!

Pictures )

After Hollywood I went back to Silver Lake where Sigthor lives, and he took me to a local coffee house - Intelligentsia. Apparently it's the most 'in' coffee house in LA. Sigthor once saw Steve Tyler there. I had a very delicious Mocha which was made for me by a bunch of hipsters.

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I asked for it extra chocolate-y. ♥

Anyway, I should really go pack my stuff or something. I have to be at the airport at early o'clock in the morning.
sarahblack: (Jessica Rabbit)
The Grand Canyon and Las Vegas in one entry? This might get a bit long.

When I first saw the canyon I couldn't really believe my eyes. It isn't possible to explain with words or pictures how massive it is. It's not just the tangible size, it's the weight of its history as well. It's hard to believe that water - the same stuff you drink from a glass every day without even thinking about it - is capable of creating something like that.

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I spent half a day at the canyon with my group. We walked some of the different trails along the rim, took oodles of photos, spotted squirrels, deer and the Colorado river, stopped to post some postcards from the canyon post office, and ended the day at a beautiful spot, enjoying the sunset along with a slice of hot pizza.

The canyon is amazing in the day, but it is awe inspiring in the twilight hours. The play of shadows, the different colours as it gets darker, the backdrop of the evening sky...

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I loved it. ♥

It isn't easy to top an experience like a visit to the Grand Canyon, but Las Vegas comes very close.

My group drove to Vegas - stopping to look at some interesting sights along Route 66 - in the scorching desert heat. Thank Willis Haviland Carrier for air conditioning! I don't think it would be possible to drive for any amount of time in the desert without the AC on full blast. (Unless you're lucky enough to drive a convertible, but then you need to worry about sunburn!)

Route 66 was quite cool, but Las Vegas is a much more interesting subject.

After stopping at a Goodwill store to stock up on Hawaiian-themed clothes for the evening, we checked into the Stratosphere hotel, washed the desert dust off, and headed for adventure!

It all started with a red Hummer limo. It took a party of 14 crazy kids, dressed in silly Hawaiian get-ups, to see the sights of Vegas.

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We cruised along the Strip, saw the rock show at Fremont street, checked out the 'Welcome to Las Vegas' sign, and watched the fountain show in front of the Bellagio. The song it was set to while we were there was one of my favourites - 'All That Jazz' from Chicago. Once the limo ride was over it was time to have some fun at the New York New York casino - where you can see a miniature Statue of Liberty! I met up with a couple of guys who were having a bachelor party and the stag made the best man buy me a Martini in exchange for my Hawaiian lei (flower chain)!

The following evening was even better. After a fun day of sightseeing and hanging out by the hotel pool, I got dressed up in a sparkly black dress and went to see Mystère! It's a Cirque du Soleil show, full of acrobatics, humour and dancing. The clown was my favourite. He wasn't in a clown costume, though. He did things like steal people's popcorn and throw it at other people, kidnap audience members and steal their seats/girlfriends, tease the ringmaster, and generally cause mayhem and wreak havoc!

After the show I headed over to the Bellagio and gambled away an entire dollar!

S5008286
On the way to the Bellagio I met Elvis.


At a bar at the Bellagio I was adopted by another bachelor party. Most of the guys were Indian American, but I mainly spent time with a Korean American called Joe. He showed me how to play craps at the Flamingo! At the craps table we met some other interesting people - a high roller from North Carolina, and a guy from New York who was in Vegas to watch his sister compete at a poker tournament. I also tried my hand at Texas Hold'Em while I was at the Flamingo. I didn't spend too much on it - I just wanted to play a hand. To be able to say that I did it. I nearly won my round - but the dealer had a lucky hand.

After a late night/early morning batch of cheese & bacon fries along with a root beer float, I walked over to the Bellagio to see if the rumour of a 6 AM fountain show was true. It wasn't, but the hotel in the early morning light was beautiful.

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As I crawled into bed around 7 AM, I ended up sleeping most of my final day in Vegas away. But I did go to a nice buffet. I should have skipped the main course and gone straight to the desserts! There were so many delicious treats. I won't torture you with descriptions. Let's just say that I spent the rest of the evening in a food coma.

Right now I'm back in LA. I'm staying with Sigthor - a photographer I worked with in Iceland when he was there. I can see the Hollywood sign from his kitchen window! I'll be in LA until I leave for Peru early next Saturday. I'm quite looking forward to the Fourth of July! Should be fun to experience it in the States.
sarahblack: (Giselle dress)
I don't have a lot of time on this public computer so I'm just going to post what I posted on facebook:

"New Zealand is amazing. The nature is unbelievable! I never want to fall asleep on the bus because there's always some new gorgeous view around the next corner. I've been to a beach where you can dig a hole and hot water springs up, in caves with glow-worms that make the ceiling look like a starry night sky, and today I went to see a Maori cultural show! It's all been amazing. ♥"

I was one of the very few who went into the hot water pools that we dug up on the beach. The tide happened to be at night, so it was pitch black and freezing! But I held up the honour of my Viking heritage. It was nice and warm in the water, though.

The glow-worm cave in Waitomo was a dream come true for me. I've been wanting to see them since I saw David Attenborough talk about them in one of his documentaries. It was a surreal experience!

I just got back from the Maori cultural show here in Rotorua. They fed us a feast of traditional hangi after the show. (It's slowly cooked meat and veg, basically.) I'm so full! The show itself was very educational and fun. The Maori did their war dance (Haka) for us and sang traditional songs. We also had to choose a chief from our tour group to represent us, and he got to take part in the opening ceremony. The war dance was quite intimidating!

Tomorrow we leave Rotorua, a place which reminds me of Iceland since it is full of hot springs, and go to Taupo - the adventure capital of the northern island. I'll be sad to leave Rotorua though, the lake here is gorgeous. I walked out to it earlier today, and some black swans swam right up to where I was standing!

I hope you're all happy and healthy! ♥

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Sarah Black

March 2015

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