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By this Author: blue79

Wild Western Day 1


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Posted by blue79 23:55 Comments (0)

LA Scene Day 3


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Posted by blue79 23:52 Comments (0)

Wild Western - Meals


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Day 1
Breakfast (LA Hotel):
Cereal + milk, coffee, muffins / donuts (were stale some days), OJ

Lunch (Tijuana, unlisted optional):
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Mexican options (esp. Fajitas) were very good. Other options were poor (not surprisingly). Margaritas were good value, strawberry ones were the best.

Dinner (Dick's Last Resort, San Diego):
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There was a choice, can't remember exactly what it was. This place is apparently famous for it's "rude" service. Must say I didn't notice - service standards are very different in the US.

Day 2
Breakfast (San Diego Hotel):
Cereal, toast, coffee, OJ.

Day 3
Breakfast (San Diego Hotel):
same as previous

Day 4
Breakfast (After hot-air ballooning):
Part of the optional. Stale croissants, OJ, cheap champagne. Very average. There was a breakfast at the hotel for those who didn't go ballooning. Judging by everything else at the hotel, it was probably good.

Dinner (Maswick Cafeteria):
Choice from everything in the cafeteria (voucher). Had a chicken dinner, which was OK.

Day 5
Breakfast (Maswick Cafeteria):
Cooked breakfask. You could also have fruit, cereal, yogurt etc. Good.

Dinner (Maswick Cafeteria):
Again the choice. Has a burger this time which was great.

Day 6
Breakfast (Maswick Cafeteria):
Same as yesterday.

Dinner (Excalibur Casino Buffet):
Buffet, just as it says! Very nce, something here for everyone.

Day 7
Breakfast (Chain cafe next to hotel):
Cooked breakfast, good. There were other options.

Day 8
Breakfast:
Same as yesterday

Dinner:
Pizza party in room.

Day 9
Breakfast:
Made in room (bought supplies at the general store previous day)

Dinner (Bass Lake):
Buffet. Was fairly average, but they were seriously renovating at the time, so it may not be usual. The general store was well stocked and cheap if necessary.

Day 10
Breakfast:
A buffet breakfast had been organised, but no-one told us, so we made do like previous day.

Day 11
Breakfast:
Got breakfast from Starbucks in foyer as we were on the early Alcatraz tour.

Dinner (Chinatown):
Good selection of dishes.

Day 12
Breakfast:
From restaurant in hotel foyer. No problems, it was order from a set list.

Dinner (Carpenteria):
Choice from 3 dishes. They did vego for the vegetarians.

Day 13
Breakfast (Carpenteria):
Can remember much. Probably standard cereal, coffee, OJ.

Posted by blue79 22:13 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Wild Western - Optional Excursions


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San Diego
San Diego Harbour Cruise US$12.00
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Everyone did this - mainly because our TM didn't specify it was optional. Cruise was good value, but a lot of people were upset about not being told.

San Diego Zoo US$28.00 or Sea World US$50.00
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I went to the zoo which was nice but not brilliant. The people who went to Sea World apparently froze (sea breeze). Note if you don't leave the hotel with the group in the morning, you can't get to the beach which is on the itinerary for the afternoon, however you can just be dropped at Balboa Park and wander around if you want.

Phoenix
Hot Air Balloon Ride US$155.00
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Very early start to get to this one, but worth it for the views. Included breakfast was poor - but there was (cheap) champagne. Take a bathroom before leaving the hotel! (We had to get the bus to stop after collecting us, because we all needed a bathroom break.)

Sedona
Red Rock Jeep Ride US$48.00
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This was really fun (and there wasn't really that much else to do in Sedona for a couple of hours). Hey, one of the jeeps had a break problem (they had to go and get another one), and even that didn't stop our fun - they were just a little bit late.

Grand Canyon
IMAX Movie US$10.00
Didn't do this one. No-one really raved about it. We took the opportunity to stock up at the general store across the road instead.

Helicopter Flights US$140.00/US$200.00/US$450.00
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Wanted to do the all-day trip, but in the end it was so windy they could guarantee to pick us up in the arvo, so did the 45 min trip instead which was amazing. Definitely do one of these. (By the way, the one guy who did the whole day trip did get back in the end, although they'd already grounded the helicopters when they took off to get him!) If I had the choice again I'd probably do the all-day - there's accomodation at the bottom, and flights to Las Vegas are only $50 or something from GC airport!

Las Vegas
Las Vegas Cabaret US$65.00
Didn't do the Contiki one, organised tickets to another from TKTS for about 1/2 the price. Show we saw was great, only comments on the Contiki one were from the people who had just finished Europe and compared it unfavourably to the Moulin Rouge.

Las Vegas Surprise Optional US$7.00
DO IT!!!!

San Francisco
Sunset Sailing Adventure US$42.00
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This wasn't the best, but that was mainly due to the weather (very windy/choppy). We couldn't get out of the bay because of the waves and the boat was pitching badly at times - note that this is a real sail-boat and it's fairly small. Would have been better if the weather was nicer.

Chinatown Dinner US$25.00
Food was OK (not sure I'd really call it "authentic" though). Definitely a must-do to say goodbye to everyone who's leaving in SF - although they technically weren't supposed to come, our TM organised for them to choose it as well. Note that the "included transport" to this dinner is WALKING (and it takes 30-45 mins). Get the address from your TM, grab a couple of other people and split a cab, then get comfortable in the bar waiting for the idiots who decided to walk.

Alcatraz US$21.75
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DO IT. And book early! It was really interesting, however it does take a good chunk of time to do properly (3 hours approx). Go 1st thing, have lunch at Fisherman's wharf or at one of the stalls further along the waterfront and get out to see the rest of the city. San Francisco was really easy to navigate on public transport.
Booking is at http://www.alcatrazcruises.com

Others
Contiki Shirts US$15.00
Not even offered to us - maybe you had to ask?

USA Group Photo US$15.00
Got one to remember everything. I think it was worth it, but this would be a personal thing.

Posted by blue79 22:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

LA Scene Day 2

sunny
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Got up early for 8am start to tour. We all handed in our vouchers and then went off the breakfast. Food was average - cereal, coffee, orange juice.

After having the talk last night about don't be late for the bus or we'll leave you / miss our walking tour / etc, the driver was late (apparently she got lost). Left the hotel an hour late.

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(Camille, our TM letting us know what's going on, once we finally got on the bus)

We managed to catch our walking tour through Hollywood, despite the late start.
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Saw an old Speakeasy and Graumann's Egyptian...
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(here with our really hyper walking tour guide)

Graumann's Chinese and the Kodak Theatre...
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...and the Hollywood sign.
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(a really long way away)

After Hollywood, we drove through Beverly Hills and then headed for Santa Monica, where our time was cut short due both the late start and needing lunch.
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On to Venice Beach, where the heat really started to get to us, so we immediately headed for ice cream.
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Afterwards we returned to Anaheim...
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(Hmmm... maybe I can see how she got lost afterall...)

for dinner at an "authentic" Italian restaurant. The dinner was OK - there was heaps of food anyway.
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Posted by blue79 22:41 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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