A Travellerspoint blog

Brians RTW

Honolulu and Auckland

rain 16 °C

Its been a while since I last made an entry.......no wireless access, but n ot to worry I will update now
I had a wonderfully relaxing time in Honolulu, I took adavantage of the great weather and the idyllic surroundings and spent most of the time just relaxing on the beach and sunning myself. The beaches are absolutely beautiful, the water crystal clear and so blue and I mus say relaxing to swim in....it is a long time since I spent so much time just relaxing and swimming on the beach, however I did feed my brain a little as well and do some reading, so I wasn't completely out of it! Waikiki beach is in some ways very similar to our beaches in Australia, albeit a little more crowded and you really just have to put your towell anywhere there is a littel space. While there is some surf at Waikiki the real keen surferes go further around the coast and I did venture to go to a look out and check it out, the surf there is way out of my swimming abilities not to mention the rugged terrain you have to traverse to get down to it.
I wasn't a complete beach bum I did some sight seeing which also involved doing a little mountain climbing up some fairly steep paths as well, once you got there though the views were well worth it and I have some great photo's to prove it and even though I have been on holidays for 7weeks my fitness levels are still there!!
There are plenty of shops for retail therapy in the waikiki area and they also boast the largest outdoor shopping centre in the world and on stuff outdoors the airport is kind outdoors as well...as you can imagine I was in my element while waiting for my flight, just watching the planes come and go and being able to hear the engines and smell the fumes as well, it was almost like being down on the tarmac, my sort of airport, not all glass and airconditioning...having said that Iam not sure what it would be like during a storm. Food in Honolulu was good and I did treat myself on my birthday and go to the only revolving restaurant, the food was great predominantly seafood, b ut with great views of the coast and city to complement it.
The flight to Auckland was good except I styarted off with no one sitting next to me thinking great be able to stretch and then this steand spoils it all stewardess comes up and spoils it all cause there is a couple with achild that they are giving an extra seat to.....dam it all.
Auckland is pretty and have been on a harbour cruise and been to Davenport and did some more trekking up the side of a cople of steep mountains and the view back toward Auckland, the coast and the harbour were just reward for myu efforts. Unfortunately the weather is doing the right thing and has been raining for most of today and I am having to get used to temps below 20 degrees, had to put my Jeans on for the first time since it rained in London OMG and hopeflluy the tan want faed to quickly!!

Posted by Brians RTW 15.09.2010 21:58 Archived in New Zealand Tagged harbours Comments (0)

Brians RTW

memphis

semi-overcast 29 °C

I am so lucky so many wonderful experiences keep coming my way, today I had an easy start to the day and then went down town memphis (my hotel is quite a way out and not all that ideal)
I walked along the Mississipi and went over to Mud Island - they have a Mono Rail that goes across and itis qhite pretty over there, they have established a to scale version of the river, theres an outdoor concert area and some small cafes just nice to stroll around. Also went on one of the Trolley Trams whcih goes up and down Main Street, I don't know how old they would be but I would say they date back to the 30's so quaint, the driver changes the dircetion the seats are facing for each trip and inside they are pretty much all polished wood! The Driver is the only person that is permitted to open or close he windows!!
I had lunch in the Hard Rock Cafe OMG the music, the decor, Iam reliving my teenage years, if my hair was long enough I'd do the slick back rocker type!!. One "old" guy came up to me and said y'all really enjoying this aren't ya!
To build on that I went to the Museum of Rock and Roll WOW that was just so so great, I had vivid memories of Grandpa telling me off because my music was too loud etc. The museum covered not just Elvis, but Jerry Lee Lewis, BB King the list goes on and also talked about the birth of the Blues and how the black and white singers worked together, I will have to get out all my old rock music when I get home. You got headphones to listen to the story and music with and almost made a fool of myself bopping along ( becuase you were wearing headphones you could have the music as loud as you liked). They had some of the old juke boxes there as well, so well done!
If that wasn't enough I then went on and had a couple of beers at BBKings Blues club, that was just so cool the music blaring and then the show starts this blind guy plays a mouth organ and sings with a backing, he was so good and the whole place was kinda rockin. Beale Street is a music persons paradise each club has there music going and you can just walk up and down the street absorbing it all.
Had a great meal for tea, Lobster pasta sounds extravagant but lobster is quite a bit cheaper over here and a nice lime for dessert.

Posted by Brians RTW 07.09.2010 19:22 Archived in USA Tagged music Comments (0)

Brians RTW

Memphis

sunny 36 °C

This morning I did a tour of the city, saw the Mississippi, the third longest river in the world and went down Beale St, one of their main tourist attractions that also has their blues clubs etc. At their Tourist Centre that have two great statues....of both their kings The King of Rock Elivis Presley and the king of Blues BB King, its amazing to think that they both came from memphis, also saw the school that Elvis went to and the house that he lived in when he lived with his Mum and Dad.
Memphis is one of the leaders in medical research and boasts 15 major hospitals and all up the health industry employs around 16,000. Danny Thomas the comedian has donated a lot of money to research into childhood diseases and their is a hospital that has been established through his funding and children from all over the world with incurable diseases come here to get treatment and in the majority of cases are unable to pay and this is all covered through his contributions, some people really go all out to make a difference.
We had lunch in one of the clubs and I had Catfish...first time I have tried it but tasted good, it came with chips and salad and I am going to have to eat very healthy when I get home am having way too much fried stuff even for tea tonight I thought I would have some crispy beans as a starter, sounded good and I thought it would be a small bean salad, when it comes it is beans that have been dipped in batter and then deep fried, I have to say they tasted great but the fat omg.
Also went to gracelands this afternoon and for any Elvis fan it is a fantastic experience and when you are watching the clips and videos, listening to his music it is almost like he is there, well you know what I mean, the tour is quite extensive and you can stay pretty much as long as you like as long as you don't record or use any flash photography, it is so well done without being over top.

On the tour of memphis we also went to the place where Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968, it is quite a chilling expereince, the motel is no longer a motel but has been converted into a museum, however in the process of converting to a museum a lot of the homeless people were put out in the street. The motel never really recovered from King being assassinated there and so closed and was used as a shelter byy the homeless. However what Iam getting to is that there is a woman wha has protested since the day they were removed (22300+ days) and she has been there come rain or shine because she believed that that is what Martin Luther King would have wanted rather than have it used as a museum in his honour...so I did give her a few dollars simply beacuse she stuck to what she believed and didn't give up., she has given me the website address which I will have a look at when I get home.
Overall a great day

Posted by Brians RTW 06.09.2010 18:26 Archived in USA Tagged buildings Comments (0)

Brians RTW

Chicago /Memphis

sunny 34 °C

I am now in memphis, but I had a great last day in Chicago, started with a free walking tour, it was a small group and we had a knowledgable leader / guide and so I was able to add to my limited architectural knowledge as he shared a lot of the information about the buildings and their history and ofcourse about the fire that pretty much destroyed Chicago but also enable the cuty to become what it is today.
After that I headed tiwardb the harbour as I wanted to investigate some of the area away fro the Naval Pier, it was a warm sunny morning and so really pleasnt for walking along the coast.
I then headed toward town and funfd the Centre for Modern art - a beautiful building and some great art works inside, they also have any area where children and families can go practice their artistic skills,....what a great idea, walked a bit further on to one of their parks and picture this a beautiful warm sunny day, a leafy shade overhead a glass of wine or beer and you cansit there and listen to jazz being played by some of the best musicians in Chicago, when one band finshes you can either wait until the next one starts or simply move on to another area and listen to the ban there....it was a great way to spend a couple of hours and if you jsut let the mind wander you vcan forget everything else and just lsten to the music, beautiful and I have to say that jazz is growing on me...and the otherthing it was all free well you had topay for the wine but the music etc all provided by the local govt, govt grants and support from local business.
Continued my way into town and went into Macy's for a little retail therapy and then out to tea so all in all a great day....not forgetting I had a interesting conversation with a young woman from germany at Breakfast ( and would like to go to Berlin now it sounds wonderful) but as a result of the converstion realised that it is ok to do nothing, it is ok to enjoy being on my own and to enjoyn what I do while at the same time acknowldging and appreciating what I had in the past and that the past will always be with me, and that being on your own means there is no compromise on anyones behalf or any one giving up something to please the other and its ok to enjoy that, my life is my oyster so to speak........I sincerely hope that I don't upset anyone, but I feel I have made a huge step forward!

Posted by Brians RTW 05.09.2010 19:26 Archived in USA Tagged me Comments (0)

Brians RTW

Chicago

overcast 23 °C

I have moved on to Chicago and I have to say that Iam surprised at just what a beautiful city it is, the streets are wide, the architecture is really interesting and varied, not that i'm an expert but I did go on a architectural tour today...Chicago has long been know for its skyline and you can see the chnages in style as tastes and legislation have changed over the years. Lake Michigan is lovely and creates an ideal setting for this beautiful city, the naval peer being one of the main tourist attractions with something for everyone.
My one regret is that it is the wrong half of the year to see any basketball and the stadium is even open so I acn't say that I have been to the Bulls stadium either, next time I will have to plan better.
Millenium park here is wonderful always something happening and they have some unusaul statues and beautiful water fountains - one of the fountains is quite large and a human face appears on it and then the mouth opens and water comes out, the moth shuts and the water stops, haven't explained that very well but anyway it looks good. Saw a demonstration today and this one was about the govt bailing out the Banks and Wall St and in a lot of ways there is a lot of anti govt. feeling here, not just the ruling govt but governments in general and I think some have just about had enough of the tough times while they still see some reaping the benefits of ripping others of so to speak and you still see newspaper articles of executives receiving large bonuses etc.
I went to a jazz show earlier today and while I have not always enjoyed jazz or it is not my first choice in music the concert was really good and has wet my appetite to experience more.
There is a wide range of retail shops here and I feel quite safe walking the streets, however as wth all cities there are those who beg on the streets and I have seen some peole buy them a meal rather than give them money....I think because at least that way they know what their money is being used for.
Last night I had a great meal at an itallian restaurant and not sure where I will go tonight, I must say there are times when it would be good just to cook myself a meal without having to go and suss out a good eating place....not complaining, I cannot get over how lucky I am to be having all of these experiences, to see all that I am seeing, the people, the tastes, the smells and the noise etc etc.

Posted by Brians RTW 03.09.2010 14:42 Archived in USA Tagged me Comments (0)

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