Why so many!

So during the trip to the USA I took around 2500 photos. I don’t think I have ever taken that many in such a short duration before. I don’t think I will ever do it again! It has been a nightmare working on all of the photos. I have finally finished touching up, resizing, watermarking, scanning, sorting, captioing and uploading all of the photos.

More photos have gone on the net since the last update including a folder dedicated to just the shots taken of the Aircraft in the USA. I had a good time spotting in the USA. Would of loved to of had the time to do some serious spotting but didn’t. Closest I got to it was at JFK while waiting for my flight I had a beautiful shot of the runway from the Terminal 7 food court, that was until a British Airways 747-400 blocked my view when it pulled into the gate (bastards). Also some shots from the Helicopters that I went on along with the Heliport at Manhattan.

Of the photos that I have uploaded is my first ever Panorama shot. This was taken at our final stop in the Grand Canyon on our way out of the Canyon to Monument Valley. The photo turned out pretty good considering. Not 100% happy with it but it is not to bad!

Back at work now, trying my hardest to get my head back into the groove and it is slowly happening. I think once I have to start looking for somewhere to live, the world is gonna come crashing down fast! One departure at work this week I was a little saddened to find out about. Katherine Laing, a beautiful girl, who turns out to be a bit of a spotter as well has left. She was a very kind and lovely person and I would of loved to get to know her better as we only really started talking after the conference like 2 weeks before I left for the USA. It sucks! Life moves forward though.

Anyway below is the link to the new folder for the Aircraft shots along with another link to the USA shots. Also I have updated the Photo page with information on my new camera since I broke my A10 while I was on holidays.

Spotter Photos USA
USA 2007

Home again Home Again…

So I’m home. The flight home in Business was well worth the $$$. The space, the comfort, the privacy, all add up to an experience that I must go back to. The Business Class suites (yes they are called suites on Air NZ) were just so comfortable. I managed to get 3-4 hours sleep which for me is a miracle. And in the little privacy of the suite your able to just sit back and watch movies if you want and you won’t really disturb the person next to you which is great. I managed to watch only a couple of movies and a few tv shows because of the sleep and got off in Auckland after a wonderful Supper (4 courses) and Breakfast feeling amazingly refreshed. Went to the lounge in Auckland and cleaned my teeth etc and missed saying goodbye to Amy :( Amy was rushed off to her next flight as we arrived late so she almost missed her connection to Wellington.

My flight from Auckland to Brisbane was uneventful, watched a few TV shows and just relaxed as the final 3 hours of the trip sank in. I got home realising it was all over. Depression didn’t really set in I guess thankfully as I know during the tour we talked about how rough it can be coming home from a big trip and just feeling like its back to the grind. I didn’t get that feeling (yet) thankfully. It was wierd to come home and a lot had changed. Beattie no longer Premier (WTF!), the dollar hitting an all time high while I was away (dammit!!!), Mum and Dad had been away and even they had been out of touch. I had changed a bit from this trip, I realised I need to be more tolerant of other people and have looked a lot more at the history of things. Hitting all the museums and memorials in DC (a lot of them War memorials), part of me sort of looked at the memorials and saw just how much people sacrificed for our freedom and I know that I need to pay that back by being a good person.

So after one day off and catching up with Suzanne & Brendan and hearing all the stuff that has been going on, caught up with the lovely Yena and told her about her body double in Cairns. Lizzie in Cairns scared the crap out of me as I thought it was Yena to begin with and I was like “WTF she didn’t tell me she was coming to Brisbane” but all was fine and Lizzie was a great person, hopefully can catch up with her in the future. The big thing that I have been doing since I got home was unpacking and putting stuff away. My 2nd bag turns out was screened in NY or LA as it was opened and a nice little note was placed inside my bag by the TSA. I was a bit suprised that it had happened but I didn’t have any locks on it which was probably a good thing in the end.

I have been working on the photos I took which worked out to be a total of 2500 photos. I still have to work on my panorama from the Grand Canyon (i’ll probably do that on the weekend) and still scan in all the group photos, but I have cut the 2500 back to 379, touched up, adjusted, removed red eye where needed, captioned, ordered and reviewed everything and now they are online. I could not believe how long it has taken with all of these photos. Captioning them last night took almost 2 hours! plus another hour to save them all and then upload them. But I want to share all the photos with everyone so they can see the amazing things I did. Some of the shots from the Canyon look stunning!

Anyway it is time for me to go to work. 2nd day back. Found out yesterday when I got to work that I am now permanently in Groups which is good as I don’t have to worry and can just put my self back into concentrating on work for a while. It has been good to be able to just relax while away, come home refreshed and now can start a new chapter in my life!

USA 2007

Homeward Bound

So its all over. All that is left now is two more flights. But first ill finish off New York.

The last couple of days have been pretty full on, lots of walking and I mean LOTS! My feet are killing me, I have two busted blisters, plenty of new calluses and hard red feet. Boy I can’t wait to get home to sitting on my ass all day at work so I can give my feet a rest. I did all my big souvenier shopping (the tshirts etc) on Canal St. Also picked myself up some nice cologne. It was pretty cheap as well ($25). I realised after searching all of Time Square that is was nigh on impossible to get the jersey I wanted. So i did what any self respecting net addict does. Bought it off the net. $350 later and its all ordered and I will probably beat the jersey home. I realised once I bought this though that I have spent a HELL of a lot of money on this trip. But part of me doesn’t care. I had not even touched the $25k that i put aside of Grandma’s money for this trip. So in honour of her (see previous posts) I am finishing this tour all out (i’ll get to this soon).

Saw my first Broadway Musical on wednesday night. The only tickets I could get was Legally Blonde (which means i will be flying to Melbourne for a weekend to see Spamalot I guess). It was not as bad as I expected. Lots of hot girls wearing very tight clothing dancing round on stage. What more could a male want!

My final day in New York was spent doing my optionals and some more general sightseeing. I visited Foley Square (where they tape the outside court scenes for Law & Order) and I was going to go find 1PP (One Police Plaza) but couldn’t remember where it was. I had lunch at the Carnegie Deli. Now this place is apparently an Institution for anyone in search of good food. This place piled the food up high. Higher than anywhere I have ever seen. I decided to skip a sandwhich and go for a Tuna Melt (one of those famous american things you always hear about). It was HUGE! I made it through one half and a bit but it was DAMN good. Worth every cent (the food was not cheap but it was DAMN good). Finished up my final night in New York dressed up with all of the beautiful girls enjoying a good night out on the town. We hit a bar in the lower east side which was just very very unusual but I was so tired I went home early (around midnight).

Now that I am on my marathon journey home I am going to enjoy it in Business Class. I could of had it the whole way through but American Airlines cancelled their flight to LAX so they bumped everyone to my flight sadly. It was very very crap. I had a shitty flight with UA. The leg room was good but some wanker spilt an entire glass of red wine all over my pants (they need a wash anyway but thats beside the point). Thankfully he gave me $20 to cover cleaning costs. Once I got to LA, I was fed up with the whole economy thing and decided to hit them up for an Upgrade. I didn’t care about the costs as I wanted to enjoy the end of this trip rather than being grumpy. So I spent the $4000 USD to upgrade and I am now talking to you live from the Air New Zealand Lounge in LAX.

Currently waiting for Amy to get in off her flight so I can tell her to come up and join me and then we can both spend some time just wishing this trip would not end. 30 Days of travelling so far, 23 States, A lot of money, 2 days where I did NOT drink, and a hell of a lot of brain cells and liver function killed along the way.

Time of my LIFE!

Current Location: Los Angeles Airport (LAX) – Terminal 2 – Air New Zealand Lounge.

Early Show

Well New York is pretty damn nice. Ive been exploring for two days now and its pretty good. Yesterday started with lots of traffic delays. Getting around by car or bus in NYC is almost impossible at the moment. The UN is in session so all the delegates are staying in town and all of the streets are blocked off. Damn impossible to move around in a bus, but thats what we had yesterday.

Ended up replacing the camera I broke with a new Canon SD1000 (unsure if this is a model back home but who cares it was $215). Went to the Statue of Liberty yesterday and it was great. So much smaller than I thought but still cool none the less. Went to the World Trade Centre Site (can’t call it Ground Zero because its being rebuilt). i was a bit wierd as it is now pretty much looks like another construction site. Last night had some traditional New York Brick Oven Pizza and it was awesome and also a Grays Papaya hot dog. All three foods for New York are complete: Bagel, Hot Dog, Pizza.

Today went up the Empire State Building, walked 5th Avenue and then explored the lower end of Manhattan and China Town. Did all my dodgy I heart NY shirt shopping on canal and got 7 for $10. Better than most places were offering. Also picked up some H2 Cologne. Hopefully it smells ok. Also early this morning we all headed towards Central Park South to the CBS studios for the taping of the Early Show. I got on TV for a good minute or so as I was right behind the people being interviewed holding a contiki banner. Tonight we are off to Broadway. Sadly Spamalot sold out just as I walked up to the window. Couldn’t get any of the shows I really wanted to see, so like my sister told me to I’m seeing whatever was available and that was Legally Blonde.

Went searching for my NFL jersey but NO ONE had anything so it looks like I am buying it off the net. Ordered a #54 patriots authentic for a total of $350 USD. O wells!.

Tommorrow will be heading around Central Park, hopefully the weather holds out so that the Helicopter Flight and the Beast go ahead. Talk soon.

Mal

Current Location: Hotel Beacon – New York City!

Woops…..

So its been a while. I haven’t had much chance for decent web access since leaving St Augustine as I have been busy busy busy. After leaving St Augustine we started the trek north up the East Coast towards New York City.

It was an amazing set of days. We visited quite a big chunk of states as they are so small. You can easily cross the states so quickly (some of them we did). A few highlights of the first few days. Visiting Savannah and also Raleigh in North Carolina. It has been some interesting times.

In savannah was not that interesting for night life but the city was so beautiful. All the history and the streets and buildings were stunning. Raleigh was a bit of a let down as we didn’t see much of it as it was more of a road stop on the way to DC. We went out bowling that night and I decided not to bowl and I was so bored. I ended up till 2am that night trying to do laundry. It was a good few relaxing days.

Once we got into DC though. Thats when the sightseeing kicked in. The first full day was the trek out to the Udvar Hazy centre out by Dulles Airport. It took 3 Buses and a Train to get out there. 2.5 hours out, 1.5 hours back. It was worth every minute. It was awesome! I had an awesome time! The highlights of the museum were the SR-71 and the Enola Gay.

Second day was DC itself, all the different monuments and museums. Was quite let down by the Air and Space Museum in DC itself, after seeing the Udvar Hazy room it was very different and not that much on display really.

Today was the final day of the 24 day tour (thank god no more long distances on the road). It has been an interesting time i tell you that!

We have had an awesome time across the country. 24 days, 2 hospitizations, 4 people arrested, 1 naked guy in a club, Some Beer bongs, a night in memphis of 20 shots for 2 guys in less than half an hour. Plenty of “lets get fucked up” being yelled out. A heart break, new friends, old friends and a lot of road in between (around 8000kms i think but Bob will tell me the full details).

What does the woops mean? Well i broke one of my cameras (thankfully not the SLR) but I will have to replace it (yay im in the Camera Capital with B&H photography pretty close by).

Anyway i best go find out some info and grab some cash out. Peace out all.

Current Location: Hotel Beacon, New York City
States Visited: 23

Florida shenanigans

So i didnt really explain what has been going on the last few days. After the big party towns of Memphis and New Orleans i thought we would be having a bit of a relaxing time. I was wrong. Currently running what is termed.. the Gauntlet. From Amarillo to Orlando is termed the Contiki USA Gauntlet. 10 days of traditional Contiki partying, we did not disapoint.

You have all read about dallas and memphis. New Orleans was pretty seedy but it was pretty good for partying. Florida on the other hand was quite different. From the minute I stepped off the Bus in Pensacola (our first stop in Florida) the drinking began. By the end of our lunch/beach stop I had consumed 6 drinks (ranging from beers to daiquris to shots of Jamaican rum.. yuck). After dinner that night the drinking continued into the early morning till i could no longer walk and promptly passed out in my bed.

Orlando held more of the same. Pleasure Island was awesome. I wish they had something like it back home but sadly they dont. I found one club called Masquerade (the first club we went to actually) which was a very good dance club. When we first got there it was pretty much more commercial dance but by the time we left it was all trance and a touch of progressive and house. It was an awesome club. The dance floor rotated in a circle (like a lazy susan). It was fun :D

Then the 2nd night in Orlando after hitting the theme parks all day was spent at the Pizza Party. Pretty easy way of relaxing you would think… NOPE!!!! Had been drinking during the day at lunch (Hard Rock Orlando) and then consumed not to much really that night. BUT i was playing beer pong and we lost of course and then of course… the beer bong. I couldn’t believe how much of the beer you actually wear. Horrible. Afterwards that night they threw me in the pool. BASTARDS! right after i had showered after the beer bong.

Last night though, I took it pretty easy, still had a few beers but nothing to huge. Today again a couple of beers tonight but nothing to huge. Took it very easy.

Some highlights non drinking wise from the last few days:
* Seeing the Disney Golf Ball at Epcot
* Riding Test Track and Mission: Space
* Seeing Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Centre
* Seeing the size of a Shuttle and the Saturn V rockets
* Having lunch with a Real Astronaut and getting my photo taken with him

I am having a great time and I just wish it did not have to end. Wish i could just keep going travelling at the end of this but I will need to wait a bit I guess.

Current Location: Howards Johnsons St Augustine – Room 125
States Visited: 13

Sun, Sand and way to much beer….

Well its been quite a few days since the last update. Had no access to the net in New Orleans and was to busy partying the last few days to worry about it. But I thoguht i would grace you all with my presence on the net for a few minutes. New Orleans was awesome. It was such a great party atmosphere however Bourbon St was seedy as hell. Lots of sex act places or strip joints in plain view.

I did a cooking school in New Orleans learning to cook some creole food. It was pretty good. Partied a bit in Pensacola and also the first night here in Orlando at Pleasure Island. I found an awesome club called Masquarede and it was all dance and trance music so I was in heaven.

It was a good time i tell you that. Last night though…very messy. Was playing beer pong (lost) and did my first beer bong. But not some small pissy thing. A two story beer bong! I was covered in beer it was not good.

Anyway best be off, goign to Disneyworld any minute now.

Location: Suites at Old Town, Orlando Florida
States Visited: 13.

Singing the Blues

Blues music, its known the world over, yet I have never really listened to it. However its all your gonna get in Memphis. Last night went to Beale St and it was fantastic. We went to a place called BB Kings. It was great. Was sitting right next to the stage with a beautiful singer and I ended up buying her CD cause she was good. Had my first try of Catfish. It was fantastic! Loved every mouthful of it. Other than being in Memphis yesterday was pretty cruisy. We went to a place called Texarkana. It is literally the border between Texas and Arkansas. you can jump back and forth between the two states and when you drive down the main street. One side is Texas the other Arkansas.

Also saw the Arkansas state capital building in Little Rock. So extravagant and nothing like at home. If thats what a state capital is like I can’t wait to check out somewhere like Washington DC with all the monuments etc.

This morning was amazing! Went to Graceland. So so so so so worth it! Took quite a few photos although not many of them will work out as you could not have flashes anywhere inside the compound at all. Saw his two planes. The Big Convair 880 and the Little Jetstar. Awesome planes.

Tonight prolly have a quietish one on Beale St somewhere maybe. Heading in search of Good Ribs!

States Visited: 9
Current Location: Benchmark Hotel – Memphis, Tennessee

Crazyness

I forgot to mention this in the last post but some of the nights on this tour have been crazy. I have talked about vegas but suprisingly the other crazy nights have not been there. We certainly have had our share of wierdness. The canyon was pretty quiet for us but it was nice and serene. In Cortez though we decided to have a Pool Party after dinner to enjoy ourselves and relax by the pool. It went good to start with and when we found out someone was stealing the girls panties from the washing machine and had been doing it all day and they saw the guy it kinda deterioated. O did i mention in Vegas one of the girls ended up in hospital. By this point we had the Paramedics and the Cops come (not our fault for the cops it was to do with the panty theif).

After Cortez the next big night was Amarillo. Bugger me was that huge. After dinner we all went to this club in downtown somewhere and it was $17 to get in, I drank myself stupid at the club on Beer, Shots and Tequila and then went back to the hotel alone because I was feeling depressed. But when I got back everyone was out on the balcony drinking so I decided to join them. I had another beer and talked for a while and by the time everyone got back from the club it was around 3am. At this point i tried to go to bed but it turned out the cops had come and arrested 4 of the guys. I thought my room mate was joking until i saw Keeth (commonly known as irish) walk past my room in handcuffs.

Then there was last nights efforts in Dallas. $1 drinks, got royally fucked up and was playing people in Mortal Kombat. The first guy I was playing i whipped his ass so good that he would still be feeling it. Then he moved on and another guy came along but he kicked my ass over and over again. It was good. I enjoyed that you didnt just have to drink and dance in the club.

o and i pwned the Tour Manager in Mortal Kombat. 1 hit off a Flawless Victory.

Yeehaw!

A lot has happened since I last spoke with you. I enjoyed the Grand Canyon at Sunset, took in the breathtaking Scenery of Monument Valley, Went 4WD’ing in Durango Colorado in the Mountains, Floated in a Hot Air Balloon over Albuquerque new mexico and then finally headed into Texas.

Its been a good few days. Highlights would have to be the hummer trip into the mountains in Durango with a climb up to a disused gold, silver and platinum mine. It was good, although being a 14,000ft was a bit rough when trying to walk around. Also checked out Monument Valley which is so beautiful its breathtaking. Enjoyed that heaps. Coming into Texas though and a big big party in Amarillo. It was an experience. I enjoyed it quite a bit. I would of liked to of been able to see the city more but I drank myself stupid instead. I think the total was at about 8 beers, 3 wierd test tube shooters and a shot of tequila. I was fucked. I could barely walk. I enjoyed the night though apart from one bit.

I got my heart broken thats for sure. There is one girl on this tour that i was attracted to. And low and behold she hooks up with someone else on the tour that night. what a way to get your heart broken. Anyway not much on that.

Tonight i am off to Texas Stadium (its currently raining at the moment though so hopefully it pisses off). Yesterday we had a tour through the stadium and a mini game on the field it was a great experience. So loved every minute of it. Tonight should be good. Get to see my first ever live game. YAYAYAYAYAYAY Can’t wait. Anyway i best be off. I have some laundry to do before the game.

Love you all lots, miss you all.

Mal

States Visited: 7
Current Location: West End Hotel, Dallas, Texas.