Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Disneyland California Adventure Park to see Christmas

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This is our last day with the hire car.
So we head out in the morning and run a few errands.
We had posting to organise.
We had finally collected our Winter clothes parcel we had sent over on Sunday
On the way home at the supermarket we met a Polish family.
He had lost his job.
We instant went through and gave them some of the Winter clothes and some shoes, funds and other items we could spare. I really felt for them.
One thing I have learnt with travel is to be content with what we have.
And what we do not need to give away to those in need.
My son watched them, then went to his wallet and gave them some of his pocket money.
It was cute to see the little boy wearing my sons gloves.

We went home and sorted out more clothes we didn't need.
We end up finding a lady and her son in the Target car park.
We asked her if she wants our spare clothes we can't take with us.
She had an old car, and was really pleased to accept.
I have found if you look for people in need they are there.

So we drive to Disney - it takes over 2 hours as I missed a turn.
We have a car park pass from where we stayed last time, so that was great.

We also have a 6 hour twilight pass to use up.
We were given this last time we were here from a kind lady.
We had missed the deadline with our City Pass, so this was great.

As soon as we are in, my son races to Carsland.
This is not the greatest photo - we are relying on others to use our camera.
But the snow car is cute.

The Christmas decorations are imaginative and fun.

Check out this tyre Christmas tree.
We ride the tractors - this is my sons favourite ride by miles.

We head down towards the Cars ride.
I love the hub-cap tree and the air filter wreaths.

We line up for about 1.5 hours for this ride.
We are told this is quiet??!!

Finally we are in.
Last time it was like pulling teeth to get my son on the ride due to his fears.
This time he is in the front and excited - and I am so pleased!

We race and scream.
Not the flashest photo by any means!

My son wants dinner at Flo's cafe.
I am impressed they have vegetables on the menu so we order.
It really is more a snack size but fills a hole for now and has some nutrition.
If you get a chance, wander through the various rooms.
The decor is unreal.
they have a great ceiling light fitting made of rear tail lights too.

Last time we are here my son is invited into the DJ street show.
So we stand in the same spot.
YES! The same lady selects him again and off he goes for a dance.
He gets to use the bubble machine and is strangely shy.

Night comes early in California.
It is 5 pm and dark.
So the Christmas decorations are glorious.

Mater is talking back, so my son gets a bit coy with it all.
He is having more fun with the camera guy.

I wish this picture was better.
It is the most glorious sight.

We just make the parade, and there is bubble machines in the street lights.

It is a load of fun and there are hardly any kids.
So there are a lot of bubbles to pop.

This bug from Bugs Life is having real fun with us.
He jumps around and poses for the picture without my son knowing.
There are a load of characters. It is a great parade.

We head to Soaring over California.
There is a bomb scare with a deserted knapsack at one of the nearby restaurants, 
so we stand in the street freezing for a while.
We finally get into Soaring over California.
This took a lot of talking into as my son was afraid.
Ala, my seat belt clipped on too tight.
It was so painful but it was locked in and no-one came back even when we were yelling for help.
So I was in the seat in pain the whole time.
But it is a great ride.
We really loved it.

We ended the night with a chat with Santa.
He was so good.
He made all the right comments.
He even knew we were traveling and needed small gifts - how amazing!

We won't be back to Disneyland in a while.
We really enjoyed it.
It was a lovely end to California.

Great day trip to Oxnard and Santa Barbara Mission

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Our Couch-surfing hosts tell us we should visit Santa Barbara.
So in my usual way of loving the coast we turn off the freeway way too soon.
We spend a good couple of hours enjoying the fog of Malibu.
then we find Oxnard.
I love this little town and we get out and wander around.

We would have stopped for coffee, but the lady running the store seems like she is having a bad morning so we press on.

We really love the marina.
I would love to come back and spend a weekend here.

We find this cute island and jetty, but we have trouble finding the road there.
We did find this dead end - it went straight into the sea!

We head into Santa Barbara. 
We find the Visitor Centre and the lady gives us some great advice.
We get lost and finally find the mission.

It is a perfect day!

There are not too many people around so we get to do a slow tour.

My son knows today is a school day.
We treat this as a learning time and he is really interested.
As all the Californian kids have to study missions in Year 4,
these plces have a lot for children to learn.

I love the cactus garden, and we study as we walk.
If you are un-schooling, going to places like this is ideal.
It is only a few dollars each to get in too.

The cemetary garden is really interesting to me.
Creepy to my son.

We do a jigsaw California and the mission areas.
Then we find this interactive board.
It lights up and shows who founded what missions.
There were actually only 3 founding padres.

We do a rubbing picture of the mission.
We spend time together and make this a bit of an art time.

We end with a bit of fun!

We have passed a wooden fort and a playground.
So he gets his energy out here.

We end up taking a walk along the pier.
We tried to rent bikes which are opposite.
But the minimum is two hours and we are out of time.

This lighthouse is now a restaurant.
There are some gorgeous things to see.
We drive around the old town.
I really would love to spend a few days around this area.
We drive home and get caught up on the freeway for nearly 3 hours.
Tip - always go to the toilet before you leave a town.

Australians enjoying Thanksgiving in USA

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Today is Thanksgiving.
We are sharing the meal with friends of our Couch-surfing hosts.

We arrive and are greeted with a turkey dip.
Not sure if you can see the vegetables in the shape of a turkey?

We sit down and we all give thanks for something.
I am very thankful for this trip.
for being so much freer.
For feeling like I am living life again.
For new friends.
For my son.
We are read a great poem before the meal begins.

The table is long - it goes through two rooms.
Our host is a great cook and there are lots of yummy treats.

She is also a Pinterest fan.
So she has made Indian and pilgrim hats for the kids.

Here we all are - having a great night.

We are full to the max with turkey, mash and gravy and all the vegetables.
And of course some fabulous desserts.
The kids are entertaining us.
They are all dancing at the end.
It has been a lovely Thanksgiving Day.

We drive from Las Vegas through desert and hit Hollywood!

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As we leave Las Vegas, it is a really boring drive through the desert.
We see a sign to the world's tallest thermometer at Baker.
Must say, it also has a wonderful Greek Restaurant if you get the chance.
We have to push on, but take a picture to ad to my son's blog.
(His blog is on hold for a while right now).

We have seen signs all the way from Vegas for Peggy Sue's Diner.
As we get out of the car, we meet 3 Australian girls in the car next to us.
We join them for lunch.
they are on the way to South America and they share a few tips, as do we.
Peggy Sue's Diner is well worth the visit - it is retro heaven; good service.

We had planned to go stay the night at Venice Beach.
But when we get there it is full of alternatives.
And a lot of afternoon drunks, so we decide to move on.
We check out Santa Monica and then we agree to go stay in Hollywood.

We find a fabulous and reasonable hotel - Rodeway.
It is right on Sunset and one block behind Mann's Chinese Theatre.
I recommend it.  It is a great price for downtown.
Very neat and clean and includes breakfast.

We decide to walk and see the sights.
My son is scared as we have seen this area at Halloween and it was full of actors -
all dressed up, and a lot were scary.
Tonight there is none.

We visit the Disney store.

We see Mann's at night and decide to come back when it is quieter tomorrow.

We head up the side.
There are musical steps.
these are a lot of fun and we spend time trying to make a few songs.
Hard as it wrecks the tune any time some one comes down.

We find a new store - just opened with Lollywood in Hollywood.
this car is set up to shoot gum-balls out of the exhaust and you can race them.

My son is addicted to the Crunch Bar floor.
Yes it makes the crunch sound.

It has a Chocolate Lab.
You can make your own chocolate bars.
This store is huge.
It is well worth a visit.
I think we spent 2 hours in here.
I have way too many photos to load up.

We head next door to the Highland Shopping Mall.
The water fountain changes colour and patterns.
Of course I have a wet son.
We have the most wonderful night here.
We end up at an Italian Restaurant for a lovely glass of wine.
We sit outside and watch the fountain.
As we head home we meet a homeless girl and we talk with her.
She touches our heart.
She is dressed OK, and has just ended up with a tough life.
We decide we want to help the homeless if we can and we start to talk.
I walk back to the hotel and we are both very happy.
My son prays for the homeless girl Nicole we met as he falls asleep.

Next day we are up early.
The streets are empty and we can get some good photos.

We play on the piano steps again.
Most shops are closed.
Mann's Chinese Theatre has a few scary people dressed up.
One guy gets abusive and so I reported him to security.
Not appropriate for where there are kids.

We then get a heap of pastries and other food and load up the car.
We drive around and hand food out of the window to the homeless.
My son really enjoys this.
He says it fills his tummy up by being kind to others.
We really do get the greatest buzz out of being kind and giving.

We go the longest way to Rodeo Drive - thanks to the GPS.
Mind you it has been great help.
I am a confident drive in USA now and I wasn't at the start.

Seems no-one is shopping in Rodeo Drive.
I think you can see signs of the recession here.
Though there are a lot of flash and fast cars.

My son then wants to find the Hollywood sign and drive up.
We have seen it from the lookout already.
The GPS does a great job!
We go through many a windy street and up hill.
It is incredible.  We get to the base where it is gated off.
We do a bit of a shonky park and take a walk.
We are so happy we find this!
It ends a great day.

We are heading back to our Couch-surfing hosts.
We have been so blessed to be able to stay there.
We left a heap of our things at their house too.
My budget for USA has had a beating, and so Couch-surfing is such a God-send.
It is also lovely to be in a home.
To feel relaxed and of course my son is busting to see the kids again.