The musings and misadventures of a girl unprepared

Monday, 30 April 2012

We made it to CHILAYYYYY

It's been a little while since I last posted (sorry about that!!) but I'll try and get back on track. I don't really have any excuses for not posting, I've just had a few very lazy days.

After one night at The Point in Arequipa we decided to move hostels to the Wild Rover because unfortunately it was no where near as good as the one in Cusco. It had just been moved (it must have been VERY recently) and the hostel was empty with zero vibe. I mean it has the potential to get better in time, but it really wasn't what we were looking for.

During the day on Thursday Evie and I went exploring and wandered up to the viewing platform for a view of the volcano 'El Misti' which was really incredible. I'd love to have been able to do a trek up it but my asthma has been so bad at altitude it would not have been the brightest idea (boooooo).

In the evening there was a UV party at our hostel and a swedish guy called Jonathon invited us to join his table. We had such a good night since drinks were at criminally low prices - s/6 for two vodka oranges, that's less than 2 quid!! - and ended being covered in UV paint. Apparently I'm awesome at pool when I've had a drink and managed to thrash an irish and american guy along with the kiwi guy called Simon who's now travelling with us. They even played some epic music like Rage Against the Machine and Ramstein which makes a lovely change from some of the crazy club music over here. So all in all we had a very good night!!

Friday was spent recovering from the lack of sleep from the night before, though we did venture out for a short while to look at some of the local architecture and the massive food market.

I was so tired I couldn't stay up for very long on Friday to socialise. However the early night was very much appreciated since we had to get up at 6am on Saturday in order to make our 7am bus to ARICA, CHILAYYYYYYY. That's right, we've successfully crossed the bordered and have spent the last few days lounging on the beach and exploring the new town.

The currency here is a bit crazy, for example we got some epic ice creams that cost $1650 each. Which is about 2 quid. How good is that??? It's difficult to get used to the fact that you aren't actually spending a small fortune on every meal. So we were devestated when we ordered Pizza for $3200 and THIS is what turned up.

Four layers of plastic cheese with no tomato puree, just slices of tomato and horrible crumbley bread. YUCK.

However Simon and I later ventured out and discovered a place called telepizza, which is a fraction of the price of the minging pizza place AND incredibley tasty. Just look at the difference.

So no contest, we're eating at telepizza for the rest of our time here :P

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Drugs Raid

One tip for anyone travelling on peruvian buses: all the sales people, attendants, drivers and well ANYONE involved are a complete liars. If they tell you it's a direct bus, it's not. If they tell you it'll take 10 hours, it won't. And if they tell you it's safe, it's definitely not.

We stopped off at every single one of the most dangerous cities along the way, which of course meant the bus took a lot longer than we were originally told AND when the bus got raided for drugs and stolen goods by the police, some little old peruvian lady tried to trick us into hiding a bag for her. Luckily Evie figured out what she said just in time and the police weren't stupid enough to believe what the lady was trying to say.

On top of that when we finally arrived at our hostel, it wasn't there. Unfortunately the cards with all the addresses of 'The Point' hostels in Peru haven't been updated, so we had to walk for around 45 minutes to find the new location, because apparently peruvians aren't the best at giving directions.

However I can't complain about the price of the bus s/25 or the hostel s/19 per night and I have to say I didn't sleep too badly either. Plus we've arrived safely in Arequipa with all our belongings and now I've showered and had a drink I feel a million times better.

Hopefully when we have a little more energy we're going to head out and explore. The city so far looks beautiful and from the roof top terrace at the hostel you can see the two huge volcanoes at either side of the city, it's incredible.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

One month on the road!

I was supposed to post this yesterday but I forgot... This weekend has been pretty crazy, I've done very little but go out and sleep. The hostel which we're staying at is called 'The Point' and is one of those hostels where people come to party and many don't sober up for the entire weekend. I can't say I'm one to go to those extents, but it has been really fun staying here! I'll let the photos do the explaining...

The majority of today was spent in the tattoo and piercing studio, where I got to witness nose piercings and tattoo drawing for the first time. Sam decided to get a cholo (peruvian hat) on his bicep. After a group input of choosing and designing it for about 30 minutes before. Again I'll let pictures do the talking...

This has been our last day in Cusco before heading to Arequipa. I'm rather excited but unfortunately this meant that we had to say goodbye to all the volunteers :( however we're going to head back here in around a month and do a little more travelling with them when they finish they're placements. So it's not all bad :)


Updated post! We decided to spend an extra day in Cusco to get a few more things sorted and explore a little more. I've had a pretty small appetite after the weekends antics so I decided to finally treat myself to a MASSIVE cooked breakfast at a place called Jacks. It was SO good.

After breakfast Evie, Nell and I headed to the textile market for a browse and hair braids, which are really cool! I'm starting to feel like a proper tourist now :p I also managed to book a jungle tour so I can join Matt and Dan when we head back up. Which means I'll be doing Machu Picchu for the second time. SO excited, it's the most beautiful place I've ever been, no contest.

For some reason we finally plucked up the courage to head back to the piercing studio (probably a really bad idea, I know) and Evie got her nose re-pierced for the FOURTH time whilst I got my anti tragus. I'm actually really happy with it, I just really don't want it to get infected! Fingers crossed eh?

This evening has been pretty chilled, just hanging out at the hostel and trying some new drink a guy from the bar invented called 'The Panty Dropper' which is Jaeger, vanilla ice-cream and milk. REALLY tasty! Not exactly the craziest way to spend our last night in Cusco but it's been a pretty fun day :)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Machu Picchu...

... is easily the mosat beautiful place I have ever been to. I mean WOW. It's difficult to describe how incredible it was, we spent so much time just staring in awe at our surroundings. I would recommend a visit to anyone, but I'd also say TAKE WATER, I'm still a bit upset about having to pay s/8 for one bottle.
These pictures don't do it justice.
On Wednesday it was Hernan's birthday so we got to have cake for tea, which has to be my favourite meal. Evie and I had also bought the family a cake to say thankyou for letting us stay and feeding and that seemed to go down a treat! They're such a lovely family :) I wasn't sure whether they sang happy birthday in english because we were there or whether that is the done thing here, it was rather strange. Though there was a big spanish bit tagged on the end, so perhaps the spanish wording doesn't fit the tune? I'm not sure.
Because we're the best house guests ever :D
Aftewards a small group of us headed out for the evening in Urubamba at el Point. We originally planned to go to the karaoke bar, but unfortunately that didn't happen, so we're yet to have a proper night out in Peru. However Evie and I are heading to Cusco tonight to meet everyone from Urubamba for the weekend, so I'm hoping that will more than compensate!
At el Point with Matt, Sam, Evie, Dan and Stine :)
Yesterday we went to the markets in Pisaq. As a big fan of markets anywhere I was rather excited and they were SO cool! Everything was really colourful but there was a lot more to see than at the ones in Ollantaytambo. For lunch we went to a place called Ulrikes which was ALMOST as good as Msiky's and had such an AMAZING chocolate chip cheesecake. So yummy!
Unfortunately we had to say goodbye to Hernan and Rene before heading to Machu Picchu :( It was so great to experience living in a peruvian household and be completely emmersed in the culture in that respect. I feel very priviledged to have had the chance to live with and meet such lovely people. I definitely intend to come back and visit in the future!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012


The past couple of days have been kind of surreal, I never thought I'd spend my time in Peru hanging out in Misky's Cafe and having movie nights with the volunteers in the area. We've met so many cool people! A few of them are going travelling after they've finished their placements too, so fingers crossed we'll get to meet up with them again before we head back home. I've also been lucky enough to learn bits of Danish and Ketchwa, one of the local languages. It's been proper cool, I'm such a language geek.

I've discovered that absolutely ADORE peruvian food, I'm seriously going to miss Rene's cooking. It's mostly startchy foods and chicken, so you can't really go far wrong, but I'm so in love. We have also got really into one of the soaps called 'La Hija de Mariachi' which is SO funny, purely because we understand very little and have to guess the plot lines from the extreme OTT acting.

Today I got to go along with Sam (the other volunteer living with Hernan and Rene) to the school he's teaching at and help out in a few english classes. It was so cool to see how the peruvian school system works and get to chat to some of the kids and teachers. I was a little scared to walk in and have them all standing in lines with their hands over their hearts singing the national anthem in the playground, with a group of boys marching around with the peruvian flag. That would NOT go down well in England.

Although we haven't got up to much in Urubamba, I've really enjoyed my stay here! It's been good to have a little time to recover after the hectic three weeks in the USA, but everything is going to get a bit busier pretty soon. We're heading to Machu Picchu tomorrow night which is rather exciting, I really canNOT wait! Then back to Cusco for the weekend to meet up with the volunteers and PARTAY.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Canadian Hippies

Last night was another night from hell at yet another horrible hostel. This time Evie and I were woken up around 3am to the sound of a group of guys kicking in the doors of rooms around us and blasting out Britney Spears (weird combination I know) so most probably drunk. It was so scary. At this point we also realised that if they tried to break in we were screwed as the lock on the door was awful, there was no one of the front desk and we had no idea how to contact the police. It beat Knoxville on the scary factor. LUCKILY they didn't get to our room, but went up to the roof, where the shouting continued until about 5am. So another brilliant nights sleep for us.

Unfortunately Evie has been feeling pretty terrible for the past few days and just as we thought it was going away, she woke up feeling horrible this morning (we probably have the lack of sleep to thank for that) so after we moved our stuff to Hernan and Rene's house, I left her in bed to get some much needed sleep and went off to explore the town.

On the square I came across a small organic fayre, with little stalls and people playing music. There were SO many people with dredlocks it was amazing. They were all playing big bongo drums and dijeridoos and tamberines and had people doing cool tribal dances. I overheard a couple of them talking in english so I decided to head over to find out what was going on. After about a 30 minute conversation with a canadian guy called Danny who was so high I could hardly see his pupils, I found out very little about the fayre but now know a fair amount about his life living in the peruvian mountains 'studying' medicinal plants. He was a lovely boy, but one of those types who thinks he understands everything about the world and is into energy in the spiritual sense and thinks drinking alcohol is horrendous (note how high he was when telling me this). So don't worry Mum and Dad, I won't be running away into the mountains any time soon ;)

The rest of the afternoon has been spent chilling back at the house. We're about to head out for some food at Misky's again (I love it there!) and probably hang out with the family tonight. It's so cool to be staying in a peruvian household!! :)

Saturday, 14 April 2012


Today we went to a little village called Ollantaytambo, about a 30 minute Combi ride from Urubamba and it is possibly the most beautiful place that I have ever been to. The Combi ride was an experience in itself, we nearly crashed so many times and Peruvians really need to get some road laws figured out because it's proper SCARY. Also they stuff as many people as possible into a teeeeeeeny tiny space wich has to be illegal. It was so worth it though, the village is gorgeous and it only cost 1.50 soles. (like 45p...)

^ Photo of a Moto, EVEN SCARIER than a Combi... we're building up to one of those.

^ Evie fearing for her life in the Combi. We honestly nearly died.

We went to a little cafe called The Coffee Tree where we were served by the loveliest man, who was asking us all sorts of questions about where we were from and our travels etc. My spanish is improving slowly but surely, but I am still very much stuck in the present tense. The meal was great too, a HUGE plate of tomato pasta with parmesan and I made sure I stuffed myself so I could try and go without tea. But the food is so nice here I think I'm going to find it hard to resist.

^ Real life banana pancakes!! I've been humming Jack Johnson all day.

I love the markets here, they're so colourful! I will definitely be investing in some peruvian attire near the end of the trip. It's difficult to have a look without getting harrassed by the market owners, I don't understand how why people think this sales tactic works. It just makes us run away.

Our trip to Machu Picchu is also now booked which is very exciting, we're due to leave on Thursday and come back Friday afternoon! EEEEEK I canNOT wait. I've been told it's a hard climb but I think that's just adding to my excitement. It was also a lot cheaper than we thought it would be so yay for that!

^ We also saw a real life wild cactus!! Cool huh?

Back in Urubamba we've been to visit the family that Evie stayed with last time she was here and they've very kindly offered us beds for the next few nights. How awesome is that? They've also got a volunteer staying with them from Australia, so hopefully he'll be nice lovely and we'll get to meet a few more people :)

Not too sure what else we'll get up to today, more exploring I assume! Going to some more markets in Pisaq and apparently Che Guevara loved it there, which only makes it more interesting to me.

I do love it here, I definitely would love to come back here as a volunteer and teach for a few months.

Friday, 13 April 2012

25 HOURS on a bus...

...but we´ve made it to Urubamba (near Cusco). Surprisingly we haven´t really done much yet as we´ve spent the majority of today and yesterday on the bus to get here, and the bus didn´t stop AT ALL. FOR 25 HOURS. AHHH.

However Urubamba is pretty cool. The area is really beautiful, it´s in a valley between snow capped mountains and it looks every bit like a imagined Peru to look like. Everything is so cheap too, I don´t know why I was so worried about money :p

Coca Cola is everywhere, I swear since Atlanta it has been following me like the plague. It´s strange that the people around here are lacking in some things that back home we´d consider basics but the big brands in clothing and food are still very prominent. I´m not sure whether this surprises me or not to be honest...

When we arrived here I was suffering rather badly from altitude sickness, but slowly it seems to be getting better (well, I haven´t thrown up my last meal just yet!) We went to get a bite to eat and a drinks from a place called Misky Somq'o, which was really cool, Evie's smoothie and strawberries and creme looked amazing (I was a whimp and got sprite and chips :p)

I think we´ll just hang out at the hostel tonight, it's been rather a long day. Hopefully my post tomorrow will be a little more exciting :)

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The Pacific

I'm actually in Peru! Whoop whoop :) It's not really sinking in yet that I actually made it.

I've calmed down since yesterday, I got all worked up after we arrived because the bus company refused to change our tickets, despite the fact that one of their policies is that you can, because they forgot to reply to our email and transfer the tickets over. And somehow that's our fault, that they didn't do their jobs properly. So I let the scouser in me take over and stood and argued with this stupid man for ages. First he couldn't do it because it wasn't possible, then because his boss would be mad, then when we asked to see his boss he said he wasn't in, then we asked to see him tomorrow he said not possible because he will just tell us the same thing... In the end we got another email address and a phone number to use tonight and this morning, (of course we've demanded to use their phone and computer) so they can check why they missed our email and then MAYBE something will be done. Otherwise we have to pay again. ARGH. I would not recommend Cruz del Sur for its customer service.

This meant that Evie's had to fork out loads for taxis and a hostel (I haven't been able to change my money yet) so we're a little bit skint now too (don't worry, we're going to try and sort that today!) But on the bright side we have a lovely room mate called Esteban who took us to see the pacific ocean last night. We did get a TEENY bit lost for a few hours, but in the end it was totally worth it. It was rather overwhelming to think we were looking across at Japan and Australia... So despite a pretty rocky start to the day it ended on a high :)

Now I'm feeling in higher spirits I'm just looking forward to arriving in Cusco!! Fingers crossed we'll get this bus thing sorted today...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Hello Evie! :)

Alive just about. Afternoon from hell (we're still in Lima) but the evening has made up for it. Now very tired with sore feet. Will elaborate in the morning, this is more to let the parentals know that I made it. :)

BYE BYE Aimee :´(

I´m currently ALONE, in the airport in Bogota, fearing for my life. I have completely forgotten how to speak spanish (though my understanding isn´t too bad) and everyone keeps talking at me really fast and the only thing that I recognise from home is lego (it´s all over the airport, they must really love it here). I´ve decided to hide in an internet booth to kill some time since my flight isn´t until 13.40, which is in like over 2 hours...

Our last day in Miami was lovely, apart from me dragging Aimee MILES to get some Pop Tarts - totally worth the hour and 20 minute round trip - we sunned ourselves on the beach for a couple of hours and bought more crap to take home with us. :D I bought a Miami Heat basketball top which is SO COOL. With our new purchases we also decided to take some pictures being proper americans as we felt as though we had stuck out like sore thumbs for the entirity of the trip. (see Aimee´s facebook, I think we´d blend in with the locals.)

For lunch we went to Five Guys Burgers and Fries, which was AMAZING, like the best hot dog I´ve ever had. In fact it was so good that we decided we would go back there for tea too, as well as pig out on pringles and Pop Tarts. This was partly to put off packing (the pigging out on whatever we could get our hands on) but also to end our tour in true american style.

We tried to get a couple of hours sleep before I had to catch my taxi at FOUR AM but this proved quite a challenge as the other EXTREMELY curteous hostel inhabitants decided to blast rubbish music out until it was time for us to get up. So we could get ready in peace and quiet, how lovely. So sorry if this post seems a bit irritable or whiney, I´m currently running on two hours sleep :p

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

I'm in Miami GIRL

Miami has definitely been the right place to spend our last few days, because we can just chill out and relax, after constantly rushing around for the past three weeks.

Yesterday morning was spent at the beach, where I watched (from the safety of the ocean) Aimée getting attacked by seagulls and subsequently have a glaring contest with a father who had allowed his six year old to run around with an open tube of pringles, taunting the seagulls. VERY amusing to watch.

In the afternoon we headed to McDonalds for lunch and ordered extra drinks with our meals because it was properly roasting. We also had kids meals but still got six chicken nuggets, which to me defeats the idea of kids meals as they are practically the same size as an adults, but you get a toy. I got a really cool Green Lantern one that shoots out green disks and I intend to use it to wake Aimée up this morn :p

After pottering around the shops for a few hours, we headed back to the hostel to get ready to go out for tea. We found a road called Española Way, with loads of cute little restaurants on. We had an amazing meal of mussels and mushroom pasta (it was super yummy!).

So all in all a lovely day, even if Aimée did burn her face. :p (I also burned my chest a TINY bit but that doesn't really count).

Monday, 9 April 2012

A belated Happy Easter! :)

I FINALLY got to eat the creme eggs that I've been saving at the bottom of my bag since the beginning of the trip. I'd almost forgotten how good real chocolate can be. Totally worth the wait and thank-you Mum :)

There was a little bit of drama yesterday before getting the bus to Miami, as unfortunately our taxi just didn't show up on time and when it eventually did, we had 10 minutes to complete what turned out to be a 20 minute ride to our bus. We turned up 10 minutes late and the bus was no where to be seen. I don't think I've ever panicked so much and the realisation dawned on us that we had no plan B and we were literally just stuck... However, I think we may have had a little intervention from above, as when we were about to leave to head back to the hostel, we saw the bus we needed to catch (by sheer luck!) turning in, 15 minutes late. We were both on the verge of tears. PHEW.

In utter disbelief we arrived in Miami just in time to dump our bags at the hostel and get back to watch the Miami Heat vs Detroit Pistons basketball game. It was really good fun and all those things you see in TV programmes and in films that you think they add for extra effect, actually happen. They had a kiss cam, dance cam, some giant McDonalds chips wandering around and dancing with a Big Mac and the team Mascot. There was a court side DJ and cheer leaders who did two rather provocative dances - considering children were watching! - and big screens that told you when to chant, cheer and boo in order to distract the opposing team. It was all like a big show to be honest but it meant you didn't get bored in the millions of time outs and stoppages :p Heat won 98-75(ish) which was even better, so the atmosphere leaving was great! I definitely prefer basketball to football (sorry Grandad!)

After the game we grabbed some pizza from a 'Groovey's Pizza' and just chilled in the room. We're not sure what to make of this hostel yet since we feel really young here and were greeted by someone saying 'Welcome to Sin City'. Lovely.

Also check this out:
My friend Pieter is keeping a blog about his adventures on the Appalachian Trial in the US. It should prove a very interesting read :)

Saturday, 7 April 2012

We finally got some ribs

And they were AMAZING. We went to Smokey Bones Bar and Fire Grill and had to share a meal between us because the portions were so good. I'v been craving ribs since Nashville (we couldn't get into the places that sold them there because we're not 21 ><) so that probably helped to make them extra tasty.

Apart from that all we've done today is browse the supermarket across the road and sleep. Those over night Megabus rides really seem to take it out of us. It's a shame that we're not here for longer - the hostel is really nice, has a like a mini beach and a pool and the owner is really helpful and friendly. I mean it's a proper touristy area and I wouldn't recommend spending ages here if you're not planning on doing the whole Disney World thing, but for a couple of days to just chill it'd be pretty nice.

Proper looking forward to Miami and the BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEACH.

Coca Cola World is WEIRD.

Sorry for the two day lapse, we've just had a very lazy two days in Atlanta!

We started off Thursday by doing some washing. I never thought I would be excited about doing washing, but I'd managed to get to the point that the only clean clothes I had were the ones I was wearing. I got extra excited to discover that it only costed $2. Yay for not having to look like a tramp anymore!

In the afternoon we went to Coke World with Pieter and Brent (from Holland and Atlanta) from the hostel. It was an interesting experience, startinng off with an over-enthusiastic south american tour guide attempting to crack a series of un-funny jokes before we watched this film that is definitely designed to brainwash children. The tasting room was fun though, there were coke products from all over the world, but I wouldn't say that the whole experience was worth $16. For anyone visiting Atlanta, apparently the aquarium is amazing but we couldn't really afford $35 :/

Once back at the hostel we just played cards and chilled for the evening. Suzie from the hostel made us all hot dogs for tea which was lovely and those of us under 21/who weren't interested in going to an old lady strip club stayed in and watched Coach Carter, until the others got back and told us all sorts of weird and wonderful stories...

I also got into an interesting conversation with a few people about global development, injustice etc. Kinda cool to be inspired by people from different parts of the world and find out that you hold similar views! :)

Friday was pretty much more of the same, we played cards in the morning with some of the lads and then headed out to a real life american shopping mall with Pedro (from Brazil). I got a MASSIVE ice cream for lunch which was really yummy and managed to last about 4 hours wandering around the shops. Considering I'm not a fan shopping, I was rather impressed that I lasted so long. Plus I got some cool new converse because I'm already SICK of wearing my flipping walking boots.

Back at the hostel we played cards AGAIN (I said it was a lazy few days!) had tea and just chilled out for the evening until we had to leave for our bus at 10.30.

Even though we didn't really get up to much in Atlanta I really enjoyed it, I'd defo recommend the hostel (Woodruff Inn/Atlanta International House) and we met loads of really great people :) We also found out that Pedro is heading down to Miami when we are so we already have someone to hang out with there :)

We've not been in Orlando long but the hostel is pretty cool! It seems we've had our room upgraded for free (we now have 4 beds and a fridge) AND we got discount for it being the holidays or something. So not a bad start at all. Currently trying to convince Aimée that we should go to the magic lights parade tonight at Disney World. I don't think I'm going to succeed.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Chinese Snap, again

Since my last post all we've done very little except eaten chicken and played cards, due to sleep and food deprivation. The chicken was a little disappointing though, there was more breadcrumbs on the meat than there was meat on the bone, so you can imagine how tasty that was. There have been a fair amount of discussions about whether the EU is a country or not, I'm not exactly sure why since well, it isn't. We also got accused of not being european by some dutch guys, who were confused when we disagreed, despite the fact that England is in fact in europe...

It turns out that playing chinese snap is the best way to making new friends - everyone seems to love it! We've also been using the line about Preston had the first KFC in England to wow everyone. The people at this hostel seem pretty cool, again they're from all over the world :) We've been invited out to some 18 and over clubs tomorrow night by a group from Wisconsin, so I'm looking forward to that.

And that's about it... :D

Cheesy Chips, Chinese Snap and ED SHEERAN

Maybe I was a little rash in my former life plan, but until Nashville, Knoxville was the place that had made the best impression on me. But I have to say I did love Nashville as well, I could definitely live there too, so it'd be a pretty close call to choose my favourite. Though this is probably more due to the hostel and the people we met, rather than the city. I mean don't get me wrong, it was a pretty cool place to visit but we found that there wasn't much to do there if you are under 21, as the majority of the entertainment is bars that we had to leave before 7pm because we're not 21... I feel like a child again!

For the main part of tuesday we wandered around the shops (if anyone is visiting Nashville I'd recommend the shop Earthbound, SO cool) and visited the Country Music Hall of Fame. Which I'm sure would have been extremely interesting if we were into country music. But we know very little so the only exhibits we could really relate to were about Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Taylor Swift (and I'm not 100% sure that I'd class her genre as country...)

Lunch was a bit of a disaster, as we got cheesy chips to share without really thinking about what state the cheese would come in. It was MINGING. Definitely had nothing on the cheesy chips from college. Aimée decided to be a daredevil and try hot sauce, but it turns out that it's just very similar to ketchup and americans call it 'Mexican Hot Sauce' so that people feel dead hardcore when they eat it.

We met up with a swiss guy we met at the hostel called Peter for tea. It seemed that everywhere that sold ribs seemed to be 21+ (I have no idea why) so we settled for burgers and spent a few hours there chilling and playing cards. Unfortunately for me he was a quick learner, so as usual I lost at any game to do with being fast.

In the evening Peter went to meet Dennis and Lars (from Thailand and Germany, two more Music City Hostelers) for some important Nashville ice-hockey game whilst we went to see ED SHEERAN AND SNOW PATROL at the Ryman Auditorium and it was AMAZING. Ed Sheeran did his full version of 'You need me, I don't need you' which was really cool and Snow Patrol did 'Set Fire to the Third Bar' and it was SOOOOOO good. I can't believe that I finally got to see them live :D Ed only got four songs which was a little disappointing but that was more than made up for by the fact that WE GOT TO MEET HIM after the show. We accidentally ended up at the front of the queue - hopefully not upsetting too many of the crazed mega squealy fans - which was a little embarrassing as we were almost definitely the oldest there by a fair amount :P It's the first time I've actually been properly star struck I think (except maybe when I met Mr. Blobby, but that was like 16 years ago now), I went all jelloid legs and flustered. I did manage to force out a few words that somehow formed a conversation about our travels, whilst Aimée lost her ability to speak all together. But yer, that made for a pretty AWESOME day/slash highlight of the trip. Also he smelled really nice.

When we got back to the hostel we had planned to pack our bags and have an early night, since we were getting up at 6 this morning, but we were on such a high that we ended up playing cards until rather late and then the other girls in our dorm went to bed without letting us know so we couldn't go in without waking them up... However some of the lads at the hostel agreed to stay up with us and play chinese snap, hospitals, poker and apples to apples until about 5am. It was actually really fun, 7 of us in all (the three guys a mentioned before plus Que who works at the hostel, Ray from Minneapolis and Tiago from Portugal. Ray had the most awesome idea ever, of setting up a food exchange thingy. So when we get home we send him Jammy Dodgers and he ends us Pop Tarts, Pizza Pringles and Iced Tea. Everyone's a winner.

After fumbling around in the pitch black trying to pack our cases and be as quiet as possible, we checked out of the hostel at 6am and set off to Atlanta. Not much had happened between now and then, I slept a fair amount of the journey, waking only to hear a woman talking so loudly on the phone that the whole bus now knows her life story. There were also some pretty impressive views of lakes just before Chattanooga, which made the ride a little more interesting. The new hostel isn't too bad, considering it used to be a brothel.

I am a little sad to leave Tennessee behind, I really enjoyed my time there and so far it is definitely my favourite state. I will have to go back and do some more exploring in the future :)

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Nashville, Tennessee

Yesterday we had to bid farewell to the lovely Knoxville and set out for Nashville. I mean I wasn't sad to leave our hotel or the surrounding area, but I will definitely be back to visit the city again.

Nashville, however, is also pretty cool. We arrived mid afternoon and the weather was SO HOT it was ridiculous, probably made worse by the fact I was wearing jeans and a massive backpack. Luckily the hostel wasn't too difficult to find and I love it here! So much better than some of the other places we've stayed. The people are so friendly and its in a nice neighbourhood and its decorated all colourfully :D

We managed to accidentally miss breakfast and lunch again, so decided to treat ourselves to a Taco Bell burrito thingy, which was alright, but unfortunately the good food bar has been set pretty high after Tomatohead pizza. I love the american system of free refills at pretty much every restaurant/fast food place you go to, we should definitely bring that in in England. Also can anybody explain the difference to me between the UK and GB? Because I had people ask me last night but I had no idea...

Downtown Nashville is so awesome, on Broadway there are SO many bars all with live country music, so we've decided we should definitely come back here when we're 21. There's loads of cool shops too, but we went to look at cowboy boots and it was like $400 for ONE pair... :O Apparently all the cowboys around here are loaded.

After a wander around town and a quick stop at the supermarket, we headed back to chill in the communal area at the hostel and watched a game of Kentucky vs Kansas college league basketball with some of the guys who live/work here. People seem to come here from all over the world, it was great to chat with people from all over the US but also from Switzerland and Thailand! We also had basketball explained to us, which should come in handy at the Heat vs Pistons game next week :p

I stayed up chatting for ages which is why I didn't blog last night, but I'm glad I did because I got to meet some really interesting and cool people. I kinda wish we were staying here longer now. Hopefully Atlanta will be as good!

Sunday, 1 April 2012

My Life Plan

Not that I'm rushing into making important life decisions but I have decided that I am going to move to Knoxville, marry a man called Dustin and work in Tomatohead, making people happy by serving them the best pizza of all time. I really do love it here! I mean the area in which we are staying isn't the nicest in the world, but living up town would be lovely.

For example, there was a bit of a commotion last night in the room next door to us which meant I didn't get any sleep from around 2.30-5.00 or much after that. This consisted of a man and two women having a rather loud domestic, shouting and screaming and almost definitely having a physical fight. There was smashing glass and all sorts. Even turning my iPod up on full wouldn't drown it out properly. Next time we come travelling we need to research our hostel choices a little more, though to be honest it does seem like we're just having a lot of bad luck so far!

Despite lack of sleep we did still venture out today and when we went into the city there was some kind of health marathon on and it seemed the whole town had come out to show its support. Everyone was cheering and waving signs saying 'My pace or yours?' and 'Hydration in sexy'. I really like the sense of community spirit :) So while this was going on Aimee bought her second meal from Tomatohead whilst I had some orange and chocolate ice cream from a place called Coolato Gelato. SO tasty. We took these to the square and chilled in the sunshine, listening to a lad play his guitar and sing - he was really quite good!

Around 1 the weather started to look a little ropey so we decided to try out the american cinema experience. We watched 'Mirror Mirror' which was pretty good, but I have to say that I was a little disappointed that no one clapped at the end... I thought that's what americans did at the end of films?? The seats on the other hand were AWESOME - proper comfy and they tilted back and everything!

We did do a TINY bit of shopping in the afternoon, I managed to restrict myself to a ring and a t-shirt that says 'Keep Knoxville Scruffy' which is to do with supporting local businesses in Knoxville :) The weather decided to be a cow and rain on us just as we decided to spend some time outside, but we soldiered on and went for a wander around World's Fair Park which was lovely and went to the top of the Sunsphere (this seems to be a big tourist attraction in Knoxville but we don't really understand it's significance...) It was cool to see the whole city though, its such a pretty place!

Because Aimee is a little bit addicted we went to Tomatohead for tea again (not that I'm complaining). Aimee got the same thing for her third meal in a row - just loadsa cheese on bread and ice tea, unsweetened. She wants to go there tomorrow too before the bus. I'm a little concerned that she's gonna start getting withdrawal symptoms when we leave.

This eve we had to head back early because the last bus back was at 6.15, so we've just been chilling in the room since then really. Although I'm properly looking forward to Nashville I will be sad to leave here. Thanks again to Brian from the bus for all the awesome advice about what to do here!! The visit wouldn't have been nearly as good without your help :)