…and another thing!

Well this is it, a final diary entry and our very last day. How I have dreaded this day, in fact since before we even started. Our big adventure, something special, dreaming about this trip sustained me through so many long days at work.

There are so many things that I want to say today that trying to put them in some sort of sensible order is impossible so here goes a disjointed ramble-

One thing I won’t miss from the trip is writing this blog. It has been amazingly difficult at times to motivate myself to do it but I felt I’d made a commitment – probably at times not very good, not interesting, not inspiring but its here. For Ali and Maisie – that�s why I wrote it. If in the future they forget or they want to share it with anyone they can. Perhaps they never will but they can if they want.

I have had the chance to think about all the best times over the past few days on all those long journeys through Arizona. So many to think about and of course our ideas of the best all vary. It’s probably easier to think about experiences rather than places although I did have my favourite places. As our first destination India was amazing- I would go back there in a heartbeat and do it all again, the colour, the gentle people – it entranced me and like the first time we went there I know we’ll go back again at some point.

I fell in love with Cambodia almost as soon as we stepped foot over the border, the Khmer people were fantastic and the history and beauty of the land were awesome. What a fantastic place – I really hope one day to return there to do some volunteer work and give a bit back to the country that captivated us all.

And America- What an awesome country it is. I always wondered why a reported nearly 90% of Americans haven’t got a passport. Well now I know! Despite only visiting 4 states I feel like we have got a bit of a feel for the US and we loved it. From crazy Vegas to beautiful San Francisco, coming back here will be high on our list of places to visit again.

I suppose my favourite places were often the obvious ones, seeing the Taj Mahal and the River Ganges, having a drink at Raffles Hotel, staying on the Khao San Road in Bangkok, the temples of Ankor Wat, walking on the Great Wall in China, the Hong Kong skyline, swimming at The Great Barrier Reef, the beautiful Opera House, skiing in New Zealand and spectacular Las Vegas. These have been amazing experiences that we will remember forever.

We have learnt a lot on the trip and seen the kids grow in more ways than one. How amazing to hear them talking confidently and knowledgably now about places they have visited to so many people. We wanted them to know there’s more to life than Disneyland well that�s been achieved for sure.

I had some personal goals for the trip, things I wanted to do and achieve. I always thought I never had any time to think and having the time to think what I want out of life has allowed me to make some plans for the future to do what I want. I have rediscovered lots of things that I used to love like reading and learning about world history and done some things I thought I was too scared to do- paragliding, walking the through the canopies of the trees in the rainforest, ski lift etc.

I’ve read some great books on the trip the best being The Kite Runner and Half of a Yellow Sun. I’m going to join a library when we get home and try and spend some time each day reading.

Another thing I have learnt is to do stuff when you want to and don’t put it off. (Until you’ve got more money, kids are grown up etc) Watching some people around us dealing with terminal illnesses gave us the push to go and do this trip instead of putting it off until Ali and Maisie were older. I’m so glad we did as we have now experienced all this cool stuff with them and yet when we get home and they go back to school on Wednesday everything will be much the same and their lives will continue as they did before. I’m not going back to work until Oct 1st so I’m lucky and will have the space to sort things out at home for a few weeks. Simon has got his job back with the same company and will starting work again next Monday.

We have decided this isn’t the end of The Bowmans Travels webby. Looking back over the diary entries and photographs is for us really good and as we are already planning a trip to France next year we’re going to try and always update with our holiday destinations. I hope this will mean at least 3 travel updates a year but we will have to see if our finances will stretch to that! Luckily we think the airmiles we have racked up on the trip may at least get us a flight to Europe hurray!! Could be off again very soon. My stars today said I would soon be experiencing unexpected travel!!

We’ve been so lucky and met the most amazing people around the globe. A few stand out in our memories- Dan and Sam in Malaysia, Jon, Toby, Barney and Lois in Langkawi – what a lovely week we spent with them, the girls we spent time with in Southern Thailand in the jungle, Lou in Cambodia- inspirational and back in SE Asia now. (Didn’t take long!) Tracey- we followed each other around China, OZ, NZ and Fiji, Lovely Maggie and the students in China, Toni and Bill in Australia – so kind to us,The McCabe family in Fiji and our fellow Malolo Sliders especially Caroline and Lydiane- what a fab time we had with them.

A few people have said to me this blog is like a book! Hmmm! Not too sure about that! Maybe I’ll end up on a best sellers list! Or maybe I won’t – I don’t care I only wrote it for the kids. But on the other hand this could be my one big chance to be an author so in true literary style here goes.

My thanks to these guys (amongst others) in no particular order- you have been my friends on this trip and made all those long journeys go so much quicker -
Athlete, Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, Coldplay, Faithless, Foofighters, Greenday, Jack Johnson, Jimi Hendrix, Kaiser Chiefs, The Killers, The Kooks, The Libertines, Lost Prophets, My Chemical Romance, Nivarna, Pink Floyd, Powderfinger, Razorlight, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, The Rolling Stones, Silverchair, Snow Patrol, Stereophonics, The View, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Zutons.

Nicky – My fantastic mate. Thank you so much for everything from us all you’ve been really great and we appreciate it so much.

My love to-

Our families- can’t wait to see you all. Despite some initial reservations about us going everyone supported us and did everything they could to help out and make things easier for us.

Our friends- get the beers in cause we’re too skint to ever buy another round

And lastly I dedicate this diary to Simon, Alister and Maisie my inspirational and lovely family and fellow travellers. Respect to them all, through loads of laughs and rows and a few tears and hysterics. ( Mainly from me) We really have had the time of our lives.

Flight to London

We got up at 4.30 am and made our way to JFK airport. Now its time to go I guess I want to be there but as for wanting to go home- I don’t think so. The flight was on time and luckily we managed to get extra legroom seats and crash out for the majority of the flight.

Arriving at Heathrow was a miserable experience, massive queues and the most unfriendly immigration people ever. We had more conversation with the border guards in China (Who only spoke Mandarin) and it looks so dirty. On a more positive note- hmmm! Our car hire thing screwed up, and after a further 3 hours milling around the various terminals and Heathrow Sheraton Hotel we were at last on the M4 and on our way home.

2am- Just got in house all looks nice – thanks Mum and Paul. Off to bed now .Knackered.

Manhatten, Central Park, 5th Avenue, Times Square and Broadway

We woke up really late today (1130) although on West Coast time its only 8.30 we have gained 3 hours in our flight across the States. My first thought is my lost rucksack but although I’m so upset about it we decide we can’t waste our very last day of our trip and set off from Queens where we are staying towards the Staten Island Ferry. This is a great thing to do whilst in New York as it’s free and gives the best views of the Manhattan Skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

We get on the ferry which is a round trip of about an hour and sit back and admire the view. It’s a bit hazy today but very warm and we get a spot right on the front of the ferry. It’s a bit strange looking at the famous Manhattan buildings, our most vivid memories are of course from Sept 11th 2001 and like everyone we will never forget the sight of the twin towers of the World Trade Centre blazing with fire. We chat to some New Yorkers standing around us but while the consensus seems to be that something is being built at the Ground Zero site no one seems too sure of any details.

We pass the Statue of Liberty, it isn’t as big as I thought it would be but very good to see and the kids enjoyed seeing something they instantly recognised from films.

From there we walk through Central Park towards 5th Avenue. The park is lovely, loads of people cycling, roller blading, jogging and just chilling out on the grass and we amble along peacefully. I could have spent ages there but the pull of Bloomingdales is too much and I chivvy everyone along! It’s very busy along here with loads of street sellers and stacks of shoppers with huge bags full of stuff. I like looking at all the women, they are very chic and smartly dressed and it’s only the thought of a little spending spree that keeps me going in my scruffy well worn clothes.

I want to buy a pair of boots and a handbag but when the most beautiful pair of calf length, softest black leather, pointy toed stiletto boots get my attention I’m just smitten. I can’t say how much they were because I’m too embarrassed as I probably should have bought some other more practical things. (Especially as I have precisely one set of underwear, one coat, one pair of trousers, one t-shirt and one second hand jumper to my name) but I leave happy with the gorgeous boots, some Clarins magic skin cream and a red MAC lippy. The lovely yellow leather Chanel handbag I also liked will have to wait!

We have a good chat with the dragon ladies of Clarins who do absolutely everything in their power to extract every last dollar from us and they recommend a good, cheapish, restaurant just around the corner. After recommending I need god knows what to improve my “wrinkled, sun damaged, greasy, dry, spotty skin.” I took no notice though and they eventually gave up, it made me laugh though, wow what a hard sell! If we hadn’t just bought the boots I probably would have ended up with $600 dollars worth of stuff from them!

We have a lovely dinner in the most amazing little restaurant they suggested. Called Cinema – there are lots of pictures of famous old Hollywood stars and reruns of Charlie Chaplin footage being shown on the projector on the wall. I have salmon with mashed potatoes and asparagus and Simon and Ali have steaks whilst Maisie chooses nachos. We have a little toast to ourselves and to our trip, we agree it’s been an awesome experience to share and I’m pleased when the kids say how much they have enjoyed it.

We walk from there to Broadway and Times Square, it’s so busy just teeming with people and after looking at the lights by 9pm we’re all ready to go back to the Crown Plaza Hotel. It’s a really lovely place and a great bargain. We have used our final Priority Points and have a suite on the executive floor for two nights for a grand total of $37.

Getting back turns out to be a night mare, we catch the dreaded subway to an area called Jamaica but when we reach the street level I’m not happy at all. Although New York is supposed to be quite safe it doesn’t feel safe here with no signs of taxis and lots of scary looking people milling around. After a lot of running around and a few panicky moments we eventually make our way back to the air train area where some fella herds us into his (unlicensed) cab. We have read not to use these (Only yellow cabs) but by now its 1030 and we’re desperate and feeling more than a bit apprehensive about being out and about loaded down with shopping bags in a clearly dodgy area.

When we see the Crown Plaza I’m so relieved and back at the hotel its cheers all round, when we phone JFK they have located my rucksack. Simon goes off to get it and we sit in bed having a beer and mulling over our exciting and interesting last day in the city that never sleeps.

Flight to New York

Today started well with Simon dancing around singing Frank Sinatra’s New York New York to us to wake us up. After breakfast we check out and drive to the Hollywood hills to see the famous Hollywood sign. It really lovely here, I would imagine like living in the countryside and I read that loads of Hollywood stars make their homes here.

We take some photographs and have a look around before heading back towards the airport. We have to drop the car back first and we say a sad goodbye to it. We have had a great time driving around America in this car and are truly sorry to see it go.

We board an American Airlines flight to JFK airport in New York at 4.15pm and are lucky enough to meet an angel flight attendant called Terri. She takes a shine to us and gives us all our food, drinks, kids’ packs, earphones and badges for free. This saves us quite a bit of money and we are so pleased, when we start to descend she turns up with some cookies from business class for us!

Despite the good flight it all goes downhill from here. When we arrive at baggage collection it appears my rucksack has disappeared. Oh my god what a nightmare, it is absolutely packed with my entire life and some things that are irreplaceable including all my jewellery (Wedding ring and silver necklaces Simon bought me in Australia and New Zealand), plus loads of new toiletries, all my cosmetics, hair straighteners, hair dryer, $200 worth of new clothes we bought for Maisie, books I have been lugging about, clothes etc etc. I’m just heartbroken and even more upset when we go to lost baggage to hear they haven’t even managed to trace it yet.

This delays us at the airport for 2 hours and by the time we arrive at the hotel its 2am. Feeling very upset and not too reassured that I will eventually get it all back. Off to bed now miserable at the thought of wearing the same clothes for the next 2 days and having to use some crappy airline toothbrush.

Universal Studios Hollywood

We wake up early and set off for Universal Studios- Simon got some offer from Burger King last night after looking on the internet for offers and this has saved us $60. A good job as it’s very expensive and really our last final fling of the trip.

We don’t have to go too far as we are staying on Lankershim Blvd a few blocks up from Universal. We arrive about 1030 and park up. Before entering the park we walk along the food and shopping strip and have a quick look at a few places.

The first ride we chose to go on is the House of Horrors. Oh my god what a mistake that turned out to be, it seemed fairly tame at first but was so scary that poor Maisie was absolutely terrified. The final straw was when a 3 foot high, murderous Chucky ran out from behind a gravestone and chased her. Maisie was just hysterically crying and frozen with fear. Chucky tried to help by standing still and then beckoning us forward towards the emergency exit but I virtually had to drag her along, although I stroked Chucky’s arm to show her he was ok it ended with us both sat outside crying. I felt so bad for taking her in there.

Luckily her best friends in the whole world The Simpsons were close by and along with Scooby Doo, Spiderman, Woody Woodpecker and Curious George they managed to cheer her up and bring a smile back. We decide to do something definitely safe and go on the 45 mins backlot tour of the studios. It really good fun and informative and we can see where loads of different films and TV shows have been shot. The effects are so cool, loads of fire and explosions etc plus we see Jaws and where Desperate Housewives is currently being filmed.

We go on all the attractions and they are mostly really good. I liked The Mummy Returns the best but Maisie wouldn’t go on it and we had to take it in turns- so I went on with Ali after him and Simon had already been on -this was good because he told me where the scary bits were!

We get back about 7pm and have a merciless cull on our rucksacks, I know there isn’t any point in taking half the scruffy old gear we have been wearing for months home as we won’t be wearing it again. Plus I want lots of new stuff when we get back!

1100 off to bed now we’re flying to New York tomorrow for our final leg. Can’t wait to see “The Big Apple” but also excited about going home so all is good. Goodnight.

Rodeo Drive, Bel Air and Santa Monica

We set our alarm late today and didn’t wake up until 9.30. we’re all tired after racing through the States for the past 10 days and wanted to recoup a bit this morning before setting off for the day. We felt so cool in the Mustang with the roof down, cruising along, listening to the Red Hot Chillies and after driving back along Hollywood Blvd and waving to a few super heroes we spy on the way. (Batman, Spiderman and Wolverine) we set off to Rodeo Drive.

It is as fantastic as I imagined, apparently one of the worlds most expensive streets and we have the car valet parked before heading off. We don’t bother going in De Beers. (I have enough huge diamonds) and amble along window shopping at Chanel, Tiffany’s, Dior etc. Lots of the shops are appointment only and as good as it is we get bored quickly as we have precisely no dollars to spend!

Next we drive to Beverley Hills and the more exclusive Bel Air, we want to see a few stars homes and it’s such a gorgeous area. We have a look at Elvis Presley’s house and a few others including Rod Stewart, John Wayne and The Incredible Hulk. I don’t really know if people like Brad and Angie and Posh and Becks live around here but we gave up after a while, hunger got the better of us and we decide to go and see Santa Monica Pier and Venice Beach and get some lunch.

Santa Monica is quite an interesting area with lots of quirky little shops. Apparently the place to buy a leather studded hat for your dog if that what it wants! We have lunch in a lovely restaurant on the seafront overlooking the pier before driving a couple of miles up the road to Venice Beach where Baywatch was based. The kids hire two buggy things and spend an hour with the bikini roller skaters and cyclists racing along the path while Simon and I lie on the sand soaking up the warm sun. The weather is lovely here just the right temperature and it feels good to be able to enjoy the sun without frying.

We end the afternoon with a shopping spree in Macy’s. We get Simon some stuff and I buy some nail buffer thing before we head home. Its 10pm when we get in and we sit watching trash TV for an hour before getting off to sleep.

Los Angeles

We set our alarm and went to wake the kids next door who have in the short time we have been in the US adopted Jerry Springer as their favourite show. Tearing them away from it we get some breakfast before continuing west along highway 10 towards LA.

At lunch time we decide to stop off at Palm Springs for something to eat, this desert oasis has been popular with Hollywood stars for years and it is obviously a rich place. Despite the fact that the surrounding desert is almost completely devoid of all colour, a white, rocky barren land, Palm Springs is green and leafy with palm trees and long straight boulevards lined with hotels, golf courses and expensive deli’s.

We get some lunch and get back in the car. We drive past the Joshua Tree National Park where U2 wrote and recorded their album of the same name and try and decide whether or not to make the 3 hour detour around to the park entrance. It is tempting to go and see the Joshua Trees but in the end we decide it’s too late in the afternoon already and carry on to LA as planned.

We arrive in North Hollywood around 7pm and check into the Comfort Inn. The area is ok and the place is nice and we have a quick shower before heading out again. We want to go to Hollywood and Sunset Blvd and after driving round in circles for half an hour eventually find a place to park at the Hollywood and Highland shopping mall. There is a jazz concert taking place and we stand and listen for a while before getting dinner.

Ripleys Believe It Or Not Museum grabs the kid’s attention and we decide to go and have a look around. It’s really good with loads of interesting and weird exhibits that the kids love including a life-size model of Marilyn Monroe made of shredded dollar bills, a shrunken head, part of the Berlin Wall, instruments of torture, a two headed lamb, a human hair bikini and photographs of a double eyed man amongst loads of other crazy stuff!

We walk along Hollywood Blvd and look at all the stars along the pavement. We see loads we have heard of and more we haven’t, it’s a really busy lively place with street entertainers, tourists and homeless people all crowded together. By now its 1130 and I think its time to leave, I don’t feel really unsafe but I’m glad when we get back in the car.

Back at the hotel we plan for tomorrow, we want to have a good look around but another late night means we’re not going to rush out in the morning. Off to bed now.

Arizona

Flagstaff has to be one of the noisiest places ever with huge slow trains rattling through the town all night long. Subsequently I didn’t sleep too well and was awake from 4.30am until about 7. When Simon woke me up about 8ish I was feeling tired and not too enthusiastic for the days drive. After some coffee though I perked up a bit and we pack up and head into downtown Flagstaff in search of some breakfast.

After porridge and pancakes (Maisie) we set off south towards Phoenix. Our map driving distance thing says it will take us about 1 hour 30 mins but soon it becomes clear that it will in fact take much longer. Today is Labor Day and the road is so busy. As the general speed limit is 60 we’re surprised to see a few people racing along including pops who Simon is getting ready to ram after he cuts us up for a second time!

The road is very beautiful, the town of Sedona is famous for its spectacular red rocks and we pass some wonderful scenery on the way. We have both been awed by the sheer size of Arizona – it’s really massive and although driving here isn’t unpleasant we are all feeling a bit uncomfortable due to the heat. We have our aircon on full, but it makes my eyes so dry we have to stop and buy some eyedrops. A thermometer showed the temperature to be off the scale at over 120 degrees (Not sure what that is in degrees c but damn hot!)

By the time we get to Phoenix its past 1pm and we have to make a decision. Our plan has been to travel further south to the town of Tucson and then back to LA tomorrow. From Tucson to LA will take about 8-9 hours according to our map and we decide we just can’t face another long journey this afternoon and then again tomorrow especially after yesterdays mammoth trip. Arizona has beaten us and we sadly decide that the amazing saguaro cacti of Tucson will have to wait until another time.

Once our decision has been made we can relax a bit and we stop off just outside Phoenix for lunch before heading west towards Los Angeles. It takes us a few hours to reach a halfway point at Blythe and we are all so relieved when we find a lovely Best Western Motel with a gorgeous pool, free wifi and complimentary breakfast for 70 dollars a room. As we are all feeling a bit frazzled we get 2 rooms and I lie on the bed nursing my pounding headache whilst Simon takes the kids swimming.

9.10pm- we’ve just got in from dinner. We had a look around and having discarded the choice of McDonalds, Taco Bell, Mexihitas, Jack in a Box and Wendy’s we decide on Sizzlers. They offer a salad bar dinner for $5 and as we have all noticeably gained weight in the past week we’re desperate for something a bit healthier.

Half way through our salads we are surprised when the waitress appears at our table with a huge plate of thick sliced white bread, soaked in melted butter and grilled and two large plates of fried chicken dinosaurs and fries. We start to tell her we didn’t order it but she explains it’s free and comes complimentary with the kid’s salads! Oh my god- no wonder there is an obesity problem in America. We really have tried to make healthy choices but unless you have exceptional will power its very difficult when food is placed in front of you to refuse it.

With that in mind – I give up!

Hoover Dam, Route 66 and The Grand Canyon

We wake up and pack up. We now have an extra bag full of stuff as we seem to have bought quite a bit of gear here- mainly clothes for the kids and we have to dump a few things. I give Mum and Paul a quick call to let them know we have survived without gambling absolutely everything. They have been to Plymouth this weekend to clean up our house- thank you so much! We check out and I feel sad, Las Vegas is just complete mayhem really and I’ve loved it. I could have easily stayed a lot longer. (And gambled it all!)

We drive through downtown Las Vegas and look at all the wedding chapels on the way, it is the bank holiday Labor Day weekend and Vegas is packed with brides and grooms. We laugh when we see a drive through wedding- how mad is that -they don’t even get out the car!

We take the 93 out to the Hoover Dam. This huge and famous dam of the Black Canyon on the Colorado River was completed in 1935. It’s a strange, wild, bare and rocky looking place and so hot it’s unreal. We drive over the dam and take a quick photo of the short side, there wasn’t really anywhere to stop and we are in a rush to get onto the freeway. Heading towards Kingman we have the choice of getting on the freeway to Williams or taking Route 66. The longer way is of course on Route 66 and we decide due to lack of time to take the freeway. (Definitely the most sensible option)

10 minutes later and Route 66 it is – getting our kicks-yeh! How could we possibly take the freeway when we have discovered today we can plug our MP3′s straight into the car stereo and listen to all our favourite tunes on the way. It’s amazing, as I always thought it would be- miles of long straight road cutting through the Hualapai Indian Reservation, we pass tiny Peach Springs on the way. Good job Dad told us to fill up with gas before taking this road; we hardly see any other cars let alone anything else. Except the mirages, shimmering across the road, it looks as though there’s water lying across it.

At Williams we take the 64 to Tusayan and The Grand Canyon. Its getting quite late in the afternoon and we’re hoping to catch the sunset here. We pay our park fee- $25 and head in. Parking the car, I feel excited and as we walk towards the South Rim of the Canyon it feels a bit unreal to be here. Sort of unexpected for us over the past couple of months, we didn’t expect to even be in America.

It’s awesome- as amazing as anything I have ever seen and a truly stunning view. Nothing can prepare anyone for the vastness of the canyon in the flesh. Over a mile deep in places, around 277 miles long and ranging from 4-18 miles wide it is known for its overwhelming size and intricate and colourful landscape. Today the rocky outcrops seem to glow a deep, dark red in the late afternoon sun. We take a stack of photographs from every angle, but trying to capture the hugeness of it is impossible.

We walk around the rim and in the end sort of give in to it. There is no way that we will be able to experience even a fraction of what the canyon is so we just sit together, watch the sunset and gaze at what we can see in awe. It is truly an inspiring and beautiful place.

Back in the car, we take the 180 to Flagstaff where we plan to stop for the night. By now it is getting dark and the hour long journey is eerie in the dusk. We put the roof down, turn up Pink Floyd – loud! and watch the nightime drawing in. Behind us the sky is deepest orange, the tall skinny trees silhouetted against the clouds and ahead a scary looking inky blackness. Lightening illuminates the sky completely; every couple of seconds and the electric forks crackle in the distance. It was almost an other worldly experience, partly thrilling, partly nightmare- like some kind of strange hallucination.

At 8.30pm we finally reach Flagstaff, exhausted! Today has been tough but amazing and I know we haven’t spent enough time here. Off to bed now- had some pizza – more junk. Oh god.

Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada

We woke up a bit earlier today and make some plans to go and see some of the remaining casinos. First we head for Caesars Palace and watch the Atlantis Fountain show and then to the glittering Wynn. This is Las Vegas’ newest hotel and we are expecting something special as Steve Wynn the owner has built it with the proceeds from the sale of Bellagio.

We decide to take the car as it’s so hot here walking around, even a mile, is almost impossible and we are tired from yesterday. Wynn is absolutely beautiful inside; imagine the most ostentatious, gilded palace, full of light and with an artificial lake and waterfall and only the most expensive designer stores alongside a more exclusive looking casino area where the gamblers all sit in rooms with craps, roulette, poker and blackjack being played alongside the rows of fruit machines.

We have lunch there; the food is excellent and then walk back to the car. We were supposed to be leaving this afternoon but we decided to stay. I think 3 days is perhaps perfect for Vegas and will give us time to see a few more things. We go shopping for clothes and get the kids some new stuff. Ali is so pleased to have some new jeans and insists on wearing them in the evening despite the heat. One of the best shops we go in has loads of signed rock memorabilia- the Jimi Hendrix guitar was my favourite, me and Ali just stood looking at it for ages going “wow Jimi signed that- cool!”

Around 8pm we head back out again, this time to TI, the old Treasure Island pirate show has been recommended to us by Shirley and Adrian but when we get there we realise the “swash buckling buccaneers” have been replaced by the “Sirens of Pirates Cove!” We get some dinner first and then manage to snaffle a good spot on the bridge. The show is good, kind of a stripper show really but we enjoyed it anyway!

Back at Circus Circus we get some Krispy Kreme donuts. Pretty bad at midnight I know! The kids have been, at times, completely evil since we have been in the US and I can only think that the deterioration in their behaviour must be due to a combination of such late nights and eating crap. The food is actually really delicious, but although we have ordered salads with every meal they invariably come smothered in some fattening (scrummy dressing) and I am a bit worried about the lack of vegetables and fruit. With so much on offer they have also asked for things non stop- mardigras beads, candy floss, chocolate covered strawberries, snow globes, badges, laser pens, ice creams etc etc – the list just goes on and on!! We have bought them loads of bits and pieces but somehow here what ever you buy wouldn’t be enough!

Tomorrow we have another massive drive ahead, we are going to the Grand Canyon and then onto Flagstaff. Not nearly enough time here but hey better then being in Tahiti any day!!