Friday, 1 November 2013

American Adventure Part II (with a side of Mexico)

It seems like about two years since my last blog post. I will now attempt to pick up where I left off.
On our last afternoon/evening in San Diego we went to the Old Town, where you can walk around and see loads of houses and things built by the first settlers to the city. There was the first synagogue, post office and theatre. It was a shame we got there a little late so the places were closed to look round, but we still had a lot of fun ambling up and down the pretty streets.
Witch's House?

In the evening we (sleepily) watched some live singers and I ate Creole Catfish, which was lovely.
Our one day trip to Mexico was somewhat of an adventure. Due to car hire restrictions, we had a mere 24 hours to spend there, although I think we made the most of what little time we had. Crossing the border was simple enough but due to a combination of the crazily big road system afterwards and my terrible navigation, we got instantly off the route we'd carefully planned out (i.e lost). The roads were predictably much scarier than the ones in the US and after nearly crashing/being crashed into I was close to freaking out, especially when we realised the car insurance wasn't going to kick in for another hour and a half. We found a car park to sit in and have a romantic salad picnic, whilst waiting for the minutes to pass by and for me to gain some composure.
At 2pm we went out onto the roads again, in search of the tourist area. What we found instead was the border crossing going back to America, whose queue we were then not allowed to leave. So we were forced to cross, turn around and cross again (I wonder how many people can say they've done that in one day?)
When we finally started to drive around Tijuana we decided it was much too ghetto to tempt us to leave the car and go for a walk, so instead we headed for the coastal town of Rosarito, a bit further south. We had fish tacos and ceviche (raw fish with chopped up salad) at a beach bar next to some horses and donkeys. The beach was quiet, a little chilly but beautiful and we imagined it would look very different in the summer. Then whilst the sun set over the Pacific, we drove further south along the coast to Ensenada. Tired but aware we only had one night to experience Mexico, we went to a bar. And boy did we experience Mexico! We got talking to a group of students, who took us to a couple of 'real Mexcian bars' where Lee found his favourite ever drink (a sort of coffee flavor beer) which later made him sick due to its deceptively strong percentage. The last place we went to was so cool- the centre bar made of wooden panels and propped up by drunk looking middle aged Mexicans, whist a four piece guitar-accordion group played in the background.

Lee's beloved
And so it was that I came to drive ten hours from Ensenada, Mexico to Lake Havasu, Arizona with a hangover. Oh that's right, via a blow hole somewhere almost an hour in the wrong direction. I don't regret that though, the Buffadora was cool and is apparently one of the few of its kind in the world.

Hours later we were happily sailing up the freeway in California when suddenly I spotted some pretty flashing lights in my rear view mirror and realised they were in fact flashing at me to pull over. Yes that's right, stupid idiot here got a speeding ticket for going (wait for it) 23 miles over the limit. Argh. I do think he should've let me off though, but as he spoke to us solely from the passenger side of the car, it was left up to Lee to flirt his way out of the situation.
Anyway, after than we kept driving (at a much more leisurely pace I might add). And driving. Another lovely sunset that led us into the desert around dusk. The shadows on the huge sand dunes to either side of us were quite an eerie sight. And it turns out a lot of these roads have no lights, which was pretty scary, added to which a lot of the big cars here have headlights that could blind you.Then there were dips in the road- up and down like a roller coaster in the dark. And then we got lost and went up a sandy dirt path that had a sign saying 'unmaintained road, enter at own risk.'
All in all it was a pretty intense day.


The hotel in Lake Havasu city was only really a place to lay our heads, but we did have a small drive around in the morning. Like so many places in the states that aren't really famous or that you'd never really know to visit, it was truly beautiful.

Lake Havasu

We had a much more leisurely drive that day the mere 4 hours up to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, where we stayed in a rather plush hotel complete with hot tub which we used gratefully as it was so cold that night that we when we woke up there was ice all over the car.
Our day in the South Rim of the Canyon was spectacular. Wanting to get into the canyon and not just along the top, I dragged Lee on an 8 mile trek. We ignored the signs that said only to do this walk if you had proper walking gear, as we thought they were probably exaggerating. It turned out they weren't and therefore we (especially me) spent the whole time feeling stupid in shorts and pumps when everyone around us had hiking boots and sticks. But whatever. The two metre wide path was pretty scary at first as it had a sheer drop into the canyon to the side. Once I got used to that, however, I thoroughly enjoyed the amazingness of being inside the canyon. We got quite far down before giving up and turning back. As we'd suspected, the walk back up was painful as hell and left me hardly being able to walk up and down stairs for the next few days!
After another lovely sunset at the Canyon we drove another three hours to Bullhead City, where we sank, shattered into the bed at the motel.

The next day was our final day with the car. We drove to the Hoover Dam and Lake Mead, then into Vegas.
Lake Mead

It was an emotional farewell with the car. I'm not sure exactly how many miles we drove, but I think it was near to a thousand. We cleaned out all the sticky sweet wrappers and as much of the sand as we could before plodding off to wait for the bus like mere mortals.


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