My Favourite Part of the United States

Yosemite National Park is absolutely sublime. Apart from idiotic tourists around every corner doing ludicrous and even dangerous things, it was unimaginably peaceful. It also surprised me how little bird noise there was, unlike what we’re used to in Australia. Everything was completely still.

I’m glad that @NTKF and I left this to the very last full day of our trip here. We’ve seen some amazing places, however the built environment can never match nature.

BREAKING NEWS: @NTKF AND MARTIN SUCCEED IN ORDERING A NORMAL-SIZED COFFEE IN THE UNITED STATES. INTERROGATION OF STAFF BEYOND THE DISPLAYED MENU REQUIRED…

Of the cities that @NTKF and I have visited in the US, I think that San Francisco is the most beautiful.

Two Brief Conversations: Alcatraz Attendant and Ohio Man

Alcatraz Attendant

(As we waited in line for our audio guides…)

Attendant: Two Australians?

Natasha: Yes, how did you know?

Attendant: You’re wearing a Kathmandu jacket.

🤯

———

Ohio Man

(Walking into the lift together…)

Ohio Man: What a lovely evening we’re having!

Martin: Yes, the weather’s been fairly mild, hasn’t it?

Ohio Man: (wide-eyed) Oh! Across the pond… or Down Under?

Martin: (with a smirk) We’re from Australia.

Ohio Man: Oh then welcome to you! Although I say that, I must clarify that I’m not from California; I’m from Ohio myself.

😂

Golden Gate Fortune Cookie Co.!

Driving down from Twin Peaks in San Francisco

Church of 8 Wheels!

A Brief Conversation with a Shopkeeper in San Francisco

Martin: Hello, how are you?

Shopkeeper: Hi there, I’m good! Tell you what, I’m visiting where you’re from very soon! My daughter’s living there right now.

Martin: …and where’s that?

Shopkeeper: The UK!

Martin: No, Australia…

(Two minutes later, looking at tea towels)

Shopkeeper: Now I know that you’re affiliated with the UK because you know what tea towels are!

FIN

The Long-awaited Pilgrimage to Cupertino

Along with @NTKF, it was great finally to visit Apple Park, 1 Infinite Loop and the famous Apple Garage, feat. the lovely @Burk and @alcedine for coffee at the park’s visitor centre.  ❤️

A Brief Conversation with the Attendant at Monterey Express Wash Laundromat

Attendant: Have you heard of Brokenwood Mysteries?

Martin: No, I haven’t. What’s that?

Attendant: You haven’t?! Brokenwood Mysteries is a great show. It’s from her country! (pointing at Natasha)

Martin: (wondering which country he must be from instead but deciding to let that go) Which country is that then?

Attendant: Australia… oh wait, my mistake! It’s a Canadian show.

Martin: No worries! Yes, we’re from Australia and I haven’t heard of that show. Is it a true crime one?

Attendant: No, it’s a whodunnit. Wait, no… it is definitely Australian! (She starts to check YouTube.) See them, in the picture! Do you know them? It’s an Australian show.

Martin: (checking on Wikipedia) It’s from New Zealand.

Attendant: Oh yes, that’s right.

FIN

For fancy dogs: public bowls in America now accept Apple Pay.

Due to a ‘recall’ on the rental car that we were supposed to receive this morning, we were given a free upgrade by Hertz. I’m not complaining.

LA’s Crown Jewel: Griffith Observatory

Today, @NTKF and I wrapped up our tour of Los Angeles, starting and ending the day with visits to Griffith Observatory. Los Angeles is a complicated place and certainly isn’t my favourite destination but this particular spot upon the mountaintop made it all worth it.

The views there are spectacular—day and night—and we relished the opportunity to use the publicly accessible 12-inch telescope. Not to mention, the Samuel Oshin Planetarium displayed a fantastic show called Center of the Universe and the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater showed a short documentary on the history of the observatory, hosted by Nimoy himself. Hilariously, he introduces the theatre in the video and watches himself on the screen, turning to give the camera a cheesy smile.

Also, the scientific exhibits wouldn’t be complete without a cool demo of a Tesla Coil.

Visit this special place!

I will always remember Los Angeles as the city where, no matter what time of day it was and no matter which way you were facing, the Sun was always in your eyes. ☀️

Since arriving in the US, the most amusing thing that I’ve experienced is seeing the looks on people’s faces (in service situations) when I have to provide my first name. I’ve had to resort to pronouncing it in an American accent in order to be understood. 😂

The Conan set at Warner Bros in LA! 👨🏼‍🦰 It was fascinating to watch the show being put together.

We had a very close call in the Cretaceous Period today.

Apple Carnegie Library, Washington DC

Apple Carnegie Library is very cool. I’m generally sceptical of corporations moving into such historic public places, however the respect that Apple had shown to this building by restoring it and presenting historical exhibits is impressive.

Although I’m not a religious person, seeing this first printed example of Gutenberg’s movable type at the Library of Congress is a serious highlight of my travels.

My favourite food stop so far in the US has been Let’s Mix! BiBiJa!. They make absolutely delicious Korean bibimbap and Vietnamese pho and they’re super-polite.

The American insistence on referring to them as ‘restrooms’ rather than ‘public toilets’ is hilarious to me; when their toilets end up flushing automatically by surprise when you’re still using them, that’s anything but a restful experience. 🙂

The National Museum of African American History and Culture in DC is wonderful: beautiful in its design and both fascinating and exhausting in its comprehensive historical explanation. It took us quite some time to get through the whole thing.

We were very impressed by the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. To be honest, I don’t think that I’ve ever seen so much red carpet.

This room is in a quirky bookshop in Washington DC… we can assume what the shopkeeper’s opinion is of languages other than English! Ha 😜

Hotel Edison, NYC

It was good fun staying at this cool hotel, which @NTKF discovered is the site in Seinfeld where George Costanza was conned and handcuffed to a bed. Ha!