Monday, April 28, 2008

South Germany

I have been in Germany for almost a week now, and have seen a lot in just a few days.
Southern Germany is very beautiful- filled with old castles, historic towns, modern cities, vineyards, and forests, with the Black Forest being the most famous of all. Gerhart and Annie have been very kind to take me to all of these, and I have some great photos to illustrate it:
On Friday we went to visit some friends of theirs and my parents, Harold and Ute, in a small village near the Black Forest. We took the day to walk in the forest and see some amazing castles which seemed to appear from nowhere from the trees. On the way home, we drove through the Black Forest and past some more beautiful old German towns.
I also visited the UNESCO World Heritage site of Maulbronn Monastery, founded in the 12th Century AD. It was truly amazing, as most of the buildings have been completely preserved, and its very elaborately finished for a monastery. It did make me sympathise with the monks however, who had to live within the freezing stone walls of the buildings with no heating and the vow of poverty, chasity and obedience. They werent allowed to eat meat either, but the cooks would sneak meat into big pasta squares, giving birth to the regions culinary speciality, the Swabian ravioli. I tasted it today and it really was good. South Germany also makes some great wines which I sampled today in a wine growing suburb in Stuttgart.
Tommorrow I will spend another day in Stuttgart and then its on to Dresden.


True to German style, my time here has been action packed and really great so far.
Gerhart and Annie took me to the Stuttgart Art Museum yesterday, which was great, and we walked around the city. Its a really beautiful part of South Germany- many of the buildings have survived the War or have been reconstructured very well. They took me to a typical German market, which I have to say was a lot more civil than the Mexican ones (compare giant cheeses and olive sculptures with whole cows and pig heads sitting before you).
Today we visited the Mercedes Benz Museum, an amazing documentation of the history of the automobile, which was actually invented by Mr Benz of Stuttgart. The museum is an architectual feat in itself, and its really worth seeing.
After the museum it was of course neccesary to refresh with a real German beer. Luckily I made it to Stuttgart in time for the bi-annual Beerfest, a huge festival with copious amounts of food, rides and, of course, beer by the litre. I even managed to see genuine Lederhousen on sale.

San Diego Part II

I arrived in San Diego on Thursday after an uneventful flight from Guadalajara to Tijuana, and bus ride from Tijuana to San Diego.
I didnt actually get to visit the infamous city of TJ, known for pestulant hawkers, violence, police corruption and as a haven for those seeking prescription drugs without a presciption and for underage US drinkers (the drinking age is 18 in Mexico, so they roll across the border to the all-you-can-drink bars). I wouldnt say its the Real Mexico (whatever that means), but the craziness and extreme contrast to just across the border would have been an interesting sight. Its just a shame that people think that that it is what the rest of Mexico is like.
The border itself was interesting enough though- it took about an hour just to get to the border in a distance which should have taken 15 minutes. Cars were banked up for miles. Once we got there, we were loaded off the bus with all our baggage and told to wait in the very long lines. There were huge signs everywhere saying that all conversations were being recorded, and anytime someone got out a cellphone (read: any Mexican), they were told to switch it off. It felt like some kind of space-age concentration camp.
A verbal screaming match broke out between some women while I was waiting in line- one accused the others of pushing into line, and was yelling at the top of her lungs for a long time.
Needless to say, I survived getting through without a hitch, although the atmosphere is of such that it makes you so paranoid that you start imagining that you might actually have hidden hard drugs/cuban cigars/Mexican child seeking better life in your backpack.
It was such a contrast coming back to the US. It took me awhile to get used to the fact that I can actually flush toilet paper again, and drink tap water without the threat of man-eating worms and amoebas growing in my stomach.It was also really great to see Angela again, and to share some great American beers (yes, beers other than Budweiser do exist). On the way home from the bus station we took a side trip to the Yardhouse, home of the largest selection of draft beer in the world. Its a great place.
I also met Angelas teacher friends at their Happy Hour(s)- a great bunch of people who were of course a little zany. Saturday night was spent watching dvds and then Angela very kindly took me to LA airport on Sunday morning.
The flight was long but not too bad, and I arrived in Germany yesterday to the very welcoming Gerhart and Annie, friends of my parents living in Stuttgart. Its a very beautiful part of Germany, and one I am looking forward to exploring.

Adios, Mexico!

Its my last day in Mexico after a truly amazing 3 months in the region.
I have been in Guadalajara since Sunday. Its a great city, although after Mexico City I have to say its hard to find any city that lives up to it. Cabelleros (cowboys) dominate here. I dont think I have seen so many mostaches, denim and cowboy hats and boots in a long time.
The highlight of my time in Guadalajara has to be my trip to Tequila yesterday, a small, VERY Mexican town, where siestas and fiestas still reign, and if youre not wearing a cowboy hat you are clearly not cool.
I took a local bus there, and saw a Canadian man that I had met a few days ago on the bus from San Miguel. He was heading to Tequila with a French Canadian woman, so I tagged along. I expected the town to be very touristy (i.e. drunk Gringos with giant sombreros and ponchos roaming the streets), but suprisingly we were the only foreigners there. Even the tour of the tequila farm was dominated by Mexicans.
The tour was well worth it- we took a bus about 10 minutes out of the town to a really beautiful ranch. It was surrounded by giant mango trees and a blue haze of agave (the cactus used to produce tequila), and all the buildings were made of solid stone or cement. The tequila making process is quite simple- basically at the centre of the agave is a baseball sized pineapple-looking ball, which are baked in giant ovens to extract the juice which is then fermented with yeast and aged in oak barrels.
Tequila is like champagne in that to be able to call the drink tequila it must be produced in Tequila (or a select few other municipalities in the region), and undergo strict criteria.
Of course we also had a tasting session, and were able to try gold, silver, reposado (aged) and añejo (very aged) tequilas. Tequila is similar to whiskey, and the good stuff is sipped slowly. I have to say it will be difficult to go back to the bad and expensive Jose Cuervo now!
After another tasting at the ranches beautiful restaurant, we headed back to the town to catch a glimpse of the fiesta, the 478th anniversary of the Saint of Tequila. Everyone in the town came out to celebrate this bizarre day.
Here is the promised video from Oaxaca City-
Tommorrow Im flying to Tijuana, and then taking a bus straight to San Diego to see Angela again.
Hasta la vista!

San Miguel de Allende

Buenas tardes!
Like most places I have visited, I have stayed in San Miguel longer than intended. From the moment I saw the hotel Im staying in, I decided it merited a longer visit. I have a 2 bedroom apartment with private bathroom, fridge, huge balcony and rooftop access, all for $15! After almost 3 months of dorm rooms its a welcome break.
I spent most of the day getting lost around the town (fortunately its a perfect town to be lost in). The city is a strange mix of old and new, with sombrero-wearing expat gringos amongst the good old fashioned swinging-doored cantinas (saloons) frequented by cowboy hat wearing old Mexican men. The city has become a favourite for American retirees (and those sick of hectic western lifestyles). I have to say the city has a certain addictive quality, with all the great things about Mexico combined with the comforts of modern life. The city is packed with art galleries, artesan shops and delicatessans, but luckily still maintains fabulous markets with comedors (very cheap local eateries).
More photos here
Tommorrow I leave for Guadalajara and the famed town of Tequila.
Hasta luego


I arrived in San Miguel de Allende this afternoon after two great days in Guanjuato.
Guanajuato is a university town, famed for its cobbled streets, colourful houses and variety of plazas. I was lucky enough to stay with some Spanish and Mexican students there- friends of a Spaniard I met in Puerto Escondido. They were incredibly welcoming and helped to give me a local insight into the city.
I visited the Mummy Museum yesterday, which was a cool (but spooky) experience. Due to the mineral content of the soil and the extremely dry climate, bodies are naturally mummified in Guanajuato´s cemetaries. The museum houses incredibly well preserved bodies (most with their hair still intact) from over a century ago. It also has the world´s smallest mummy, a pregnant mummy, and mummys who were buried alive. Although somewhat grim, it really is a testament to the Mexican celebration of death. When children die in Mexico, it is the biggest celebration of all, with much music etc. to try to make the experience less terrible.
The best thing about Guanajuato though is just walking the streets and seeing the food stalls, shops and jacarandas. It has a unique vibrancy too, thanks to the huge student population and many foreigners which live there.
Another city which needs a return visit!
Hasta luego

Mexico City Part II

Its my second to last day in Mexico City. Its a city which people either love or hate. For me, I will be very sad to leave what is for me the best city in the world.
My time here has been amazing, and the city provides constant suprises behind every street corner, like markets, museums and beautiful historic buildings. Yesterday I decided to walk around the city and see where it took me, and ended up stumbling upon a street square where hundreds of people of all ages were dancing salsa.
One of the highlights was definately the Leon Trotsky museum. Mexico was the only country which would accept Trotsky after he was exiled from Russia, thanks to a plea for asylum from artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. He lived in Mexico city until his death in 1940 by one of Stalins agents, who famously murdered him with an ice pick in his study. The museum is actually the entirely preserved house that Trotsky lived in until his death. You can still see the bullet holes in the walls from a previous assasination attempt, and even an old tube of his toothpaste...
I also visited the Blue House, former home of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, who were at one point good friends with Trotsky and part of the leftist intellectual circle in Mexico. Many of Kahlos paintings are on display as well as personal relics.
The museum of Anthropology was another highlight- one of the best museums I have seen. Its absolutely enormous. I also managed to go up one of Mexicos highest buildings, which gave a much needed perspective on this mega city (population 20,000).
On Friday night I attended a Mexican specialty, the Lucha Libre wrestling. Its similar to WWF, but with a twist. The fighters don colourful masks and costumes, and pull staged moves in the ring, with the odd midget thrown in. Its a hilarious spectacle, and the Mexicans really get into it.
You could stay here for years and still not see all the city has to offer, but unfortunately all good things have to come to an end. Tommorrow I will go to Teotihuacan, Toltec ruins dating back to about 200 BC, and then onto Guanajuato to stay with some friends of a Spanish friend I met in Puerto Escondido.
I have loaded a lot of photos on Flickr-
Hasta la vista

Oaxaca City & Mexico City

My culinary tour of Oaxaca City ended yesterday, after managing to chow down some chili grasshoppers, Mole sauce, the famous Oaxacan hot chocolate and tortilla soup (made with tomato, cheese, avocado and tortilla chips. My friend Sam and I even made a video of the experience, which I will post in due course...

Oaxaca City was yet another beautiful Mexican city, littered with historic buildings, art galleries and stunning orange jacaranda trees. Like San Cristobal, it has a substantial alternative scene, with many interesting cafes, restaurants and bars.

After a grueling 9 hour bus journey from Oaxaca through the desert with no air conditioning or openable windows I arrived in Mexico City last night. At one point it was 35 degrees inside the bus! Luckily Mexico City was well worth the journey- it has exceeded my expectations, and I only wish I had more time here to see the endless and incredible sights. Its a surprisingly calm and cultured city, and very safe and manageable compared to many cities I have visited. Not at all the crazed and dangerous city as its depicted, with mustached kidnappers lurking behind every corner.

Today I visited the Palace and the museums of Modern Art and Anthropology. Both museums were some of the best I have ever seen, and the Diego Rivera murals depicting Mexican history in the Palace were incredible.

Tomorrow I will try to visit Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera´s old home, as well as the home of their dear friend Trotsky. I think you could spend months here at not see it all, but I will try to fit in as much as possible before going onto Guanajato.
Hasta luego

Youre Not in Guatemala Anymore, Dr. Ropata! - Puerto Escondido, Mexico

It´s my second day in Puerto Escondido, a beach town on the Oaxaca (Pacific) coast- the last beach I will see for awhile. The main beach is apparently the 3rd most dangerous in the world, and unswimmable. I have never seen such enormous waves, it´s quite impressive. The beaches are quite similar to East Coast NZ beaches, only much warmer and lined with restaurants and bars.
I have had a great time so far, and a staying at one of the more eccentric hostels of my trip. Last night a group of us bought fresh fish and salad and cooked up a feast on the hostel BBQ.
I have also managed to try a Oaxacan speciality, Mezcal. Not at all like tequila, it tastes like a combination of dirt and cleaning fluid... quite horrific. I am looking forward to the market in Oaxaca, which is infamous for its fried grasshopper snacks.
Tommorrow I leave for Oaxaca City, and then onto Mexico City.
Once I find a fast internet connection I will post more photos.

Semana Santa in Guatemala

I thought it fitting to write a post on Semana Santa (Easter Week), one of the biggest celebrations in Latin America, which just finished today.
I was in Xela for most of Semana Santa, which was a great place to be because there are very few tourists and very many religious nutters...
As the name suggests, the celebrations go on for a whole week, with most workers getting a part of the week off to join in or watch the religious processions. The processions are endless, with each church in the city parading around the town centre dressed in purple robes and carrying giant religious floats. On Easter Friday a crucifixion is acted out (and in some places, even goes as far as putting nails through the hands of the day´s ¨Jesus¨).I even hear that in some places a prisoner is used and pardoned after the crucifixion. My favourite part, of course, were the food stalls, which were endless and delicious. My addiction to Guatemalan hot dogs grew by the day- they are ordinary hot dogs, without cheese but with mayonaise and a hot green sauce.
I arrived back in Mexico yesterday, in San Cristobal de las Casas in the Chiapas region. It´s a really beautiful city with cobbled streets and quite an alternative feel to it. The only downside is that its bloody freezing!
Today I took a day trip into the surrounding villages, which have retained many ancient Mayan customs. It was one of the more surreal experiences of my life, beginning with the village church. The ground is covered in pine needles, and there are flowers and candles everywhere. I saw a Mayan family in front of me sacrifice a chicken, spit water over everyone, blow a musical horn on a child´s head, and, most bizarely, drink rum and coke to burp out the evil spirits. I kid you not. I have been assured that this is quite common, and from what I saw it justifies a lot of alcoholism! Unfortunately photography is banned, so I don´t have any photos of my experience.
I had heard that it was possible to visit and interview some Zapatistas, but after many taxis to the wrong place later, I finally gave up. I did manage to buy a guerilla doll though, complete with black clothing, a balaclava and a big gun, so I guess that will have to be my only political souvenier of the trip...
I have one more day in San Cristobal and then tommorrow I´m taking the night bus to Puerto Escondido on the Oaxaca coast.
I have update my Flickr account, so I have more photos on there (
Hasta luego

Quetzaltenango (Xela)

I have been in Quetzaltenango for 1 week now, and my brain is currently in overload with all the new vocabulary, grammar and those damn irregular verbs!
I am managing to (badly) form sentences now, and starting to understand conversations with my host family. They continue to cook me great food and confuse me constantly with new members of the family.
It's been a busy week, with plenty of activities on at my Spanish school. On Wednesday we had someone come to talk to us about Guatemalan politics and history which was very interesting. It's hard to understand the extent to which the Civil war has affected people here- millions were killed and the war went on for 36 years. Although a facade of ¨democracy¨ is in place, most Guatemalans have little power to change anything, and remain in dire poverty.
Thursday really illustrated this for me- I took a trip out about an hour from Xela to work on a volunteer project involving a Quiche Mayan village. Most of the poorer Mayans continue to use open fires in a hut as their source of cooking and warmth, which is extremely inefficient and unhealthy (many sleep in the same hut as the fire, breathing in smoke, and many children are killed or maimed by the fires). The project I worked on is building new, efficient fires with chimneys and has already build hundreds of fires. I worked on the final stage of the project, building a ramp for the smoke to escape and helped cement in the stovetop etc. It was very interesting to see how a rural Mayan family operates, and the countryside was very beautiful.
Yesterday was a protest day for students from around Xela. Every year on the same day before easter, students march through the streets with a variety of demands and complaints about Guatemalan politics. Protests range from anti-government satire to ¨We Hate the Gringos¨, ¨Save the Environment¨, ¨Down with George Bush¨ and ¨Vive la Che Guevara¨ (can we escape it?!). One of the more striking things about the protests is that most of the students wear masks to conceal their identity. This is in response to the number of massacres that occured against students in the past, particularly during the Civil War.
Today I visited an organic coffee finca (plantation) outside of Xela. It was fascinating to see the coffee growing (it looks like berries on the tree) and to see the complicated operation involved in making coffee. We also visited a lake and warm rivers (heated by volcanic activity in the area).
Next week is probably going to be my last week in Guatemala, and then onto Oaxaca in Mexico. I can't believe how quickly the time is going!
Hasta luego

10 Things That Drive Me Crazy About Guatemala

Guatemala is a land of contradictions, and things that really don't make sense.
I've compiled a list of some of these, which either make you want to scream with frustration or laugh hysterically:
*Much of the country is starving, yet there seems to be an oversupply of ¨Pan de banano¨ (Banana bread) sellers, waiting to pounce at any moment.
*Signs advertising ¨Agua caliente¨ (¨Hot Water¨) at hostels and hotels are never accurate. I think I have only truly had hot water once.
*¨Happy Hour¨ is the biggest myth to hit Central America. It doesnt exist.
**The Nescafe conspiracy**(see below) means that every morning, without fail, one is woken by either one or a combination of howling dogs, crowing roosters or loud music.
*Religion is everywhere. Really. You cant escape it.
*When paying, no one ever has change.
*Sidewalks present a constant danger to pedestrians thanks to uneven paving and random holes. It's safer to walk on the roads.
*There is an oversupply of pharmacys, yet the only things they seem to sell are gauze and Pepto Bismo.
*Most big stores, including Subway and McDonalds, have private security guards armed with rifles. I am yet to figure out what they are really guarding--- hamburgers?
*¨Guatemalan time¨ is a unique phenomenom in which buses are always late and a group food order is never delivered as a group.
*The @ sign on Guatemalan keyboards is never universal. Its produced as a result of random combinations such as ALT G + 2; and my all time favourite, ALT + 6 4.
**The Nescafe Conspiracy is a global conspiracy by Nescafe to sell copious amounts of its coffee to sleep deprivated tourists. It does this in Central America via its secret breeding program aimed at producing an oversupply of loud, barking dogs and crazed roosters which wake up tourists extremely early in the morning. The outcome of this is a huge increase in the amount of coffee bought by tourists in the morning to combat fatigue.

Pacaya Volcano

After a side trip to the legendary Pacaya volcano near Antigua and a very long and cramped trip by chicken bus, I am now finally in Quetzeltenango (Xela) to learn Spanish.
It was well worth it to climb the volcano, even if my fitness wasn't quite up to scratch.
It's the only volcano in the world where you can toast marshmallows on flaming, flowing lava. I thought it would be a bit of a gimmick until my shoes started to melt on the volcanic rock... It was really amazing- an almost surreal experience. The walk up was shrouded in fog, which opened up into a lunar-esque landscape of black rock and streaks of lava below.
I've enrolled in 5 hours of one-on-one Spanish classes per day, plus the option to get involved in volunteer work in the Mayan community, and learn more about Guatemalan history and politics. My host family lives a couple of houses from the school, and seem really great so far (if only I could understand them!)
Hasta luego

Antigua, Guatemala City, Chichicastenango & Lake Aititlan

Its been awhile since my last entry, thanks to slow internet connections and many bus trips in between.
I am now in San Pedro, a small town on Lake Aititlan, surrounded by active volcanoes. Its a bit like Lake Taupo, only warmer...
I spent 4 nights in Antigua after taking a 7 hour bus trip through the night from Finca Ixobel. Antigua (the old city) is about 45minutes from Guatemala City. Its a very beautiful historic city, also ringed by active volcanoes, with cobbled streets and colourful stalls lining the streets.
While there I took a day trip to Guatemala City- supposedly the most dangerous city in Central America. Actually, I really enjoyed my time there. Its crazy, chaotic and colourful but full of life. I visited the palace, a museum of modern art and, best of all, the only Libertarian university in the world, Francisco Marroquin university (see
There were statues of Hayek and von Mises, and the bookshop was full of Ayn Rand and all my other favourites... The university itself was in a very beautiful setting, set amongst trees.
Yesterday I took a day trip to the famous markets in Chichicastenango. The bus trip weaved through the mountains, stopping along the way for cattle and dogs wandering across the road. Not to mention the thousands of Mayan men, women and children in traditional dress walking the roads with their wares. The market itself was huge (although nothing like the Bangkok markets) and sold anything from hairties to meat to hammocks. I came back with a heavier backpack and a suntan.
After San Pedro I am heading to Quetzaltenango, a smallish town set in the Guatemalan highlands, to learn Spanish. They have very cheap language schools and you can have 4 hours of one on one lessons per day, plus a homestay and 3 meals/day for around US$100 a week. Hopefully it will give me some grounding for my return to Mexico, and make every interaction with people that bit less frustrating!

Tikal, Flores & Finca Ixobel

I have been in Guatemala for a week now and am really enjoying it.
I arrived in a small town called Flores, which is actually an island joined by bridge to the mainland. It's a really pretty town with brightly coloured shops and cobbled streets. Most travellers stay here on their way to Tikal, a huge old Mayan city set in the jungle. It supposedly has between 10,000 and 30,000 Mayan structures, most of which have not yet been excavated. Of those that have, it takes all day to see them.
A group of us backpackers decided to camp near the ruins so that we could be up early to see the sunrise from the temples. We rented hammocks and slept by the jungle which was pretty amazing, even if the hammocks weren't too comfortable!
I spent another night in Flores and then came to Finca Ixobel where I am staying now. Basically it's a farm set near the forest, with horses, monkeys, parrots and many other animals, and you can camp or stay in a dorm or treehouse. From here you can do horse treks, caving and hiking (or just lie in a hammock with a Gallo beer and a good book)...
Tonight I am leaving for Antigua, the old city of Guatemala, to enrol in a Spanish school for a couple of weeks.
I will try to post more photos soon when I have a faster internet connection!
Hasta luego


I have been in Belize for 4 days now- 1 day in Belize City and the rest of the time I have been staying on Caye Caulker island off the coast of Belize, which has been the highlight of my travels so far.
The instant we crossed the Mexican border into Belize I noticed a huge difference in everything. Belize is very unique for a Central American country in that the main languages are English and Creole, and the people are predominately black. The food, too, is very different, with Jerk Chicken and lobster trumping tacos every time. My first stop was Belize City for a night, which is probably the strangest city I have ever been in. Despite being Belize's largest city its only got 60,000 people. Trying to find a place to eat or drink at 8.30pm proved almost impossible, with all the bars and restaurants closing in the late afternoon. We were lucky not to be in the city last week following the national elections- a man went crazy and shot several people on a rampage through the city in response to the outcome. Despite its shortfalls though, the city had its charms. It's very colourful, ramshackle and full of Caribbean character.
As soon as you get out of Belize City Caye Caulker is a really small island (you can stand in the middle and see both sides of the island) and the main form of transportation is golf carts. It has a strong Caribbean rasta feel with dreadlocked Belizeans playing Bob Marley on every corner and cooking fresh seafood on BBQ's on the beach.
Yesterday I went on a full day snorkel tour on a sailboat which was fantastic. We swam with nurse sharks and bat rays near the Belize Barrier Reef (the second biggest reef in the world after the Great Barrier Reef). The free rum and fresh conch ceviche (raw seafood marinated in lime juice with tomato, coriander, chile and onions) was the highlight.
Tomorrow I will probably make my way to San Ignacio, on the Guatemalan border, where I'm hoping to do a horse trek through the jungle to partially excavated Mayan sites.

The Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico

I am now in Tulum- I have been here 2 days now. Tulum is a beach resort on the Caribbean coast, famous for its ruins which overlook the ocean. Its a bit more laid back than Cancun (and slighly less touristy).
I spent 3 days in Cancun which, despite its reputation for being completely taken over by bum-bag weilding overweight Americans who spend their time between all-you-can-eat-and-drink resorts and the beach, I did see a different side of it in Downtown Cancun. Downtown Cancun has a great buzz about it, and much to my liking it retains uneven sidewalks and rickety taco stands. I stayed in a hostel which was more like a Mexican home, complete with garden courtyard and maid who cooked us Cactus omelettes in the mornings.
While there I went on a day trip to Chichen Itza, one of the most well known Mayan ruins. On the way there we passed tequila farms and Mayan villages, which have actually retained their traditions and many still sleep in hammocks in mud huts amongst the trees. Chichen Itza was well worth seeing, although I was on a tour with middle aged all-you-can-eat-and-drink tourists, who spent the majority of the tour getting drunk at a hotel nearby.
The ruins at Tulum have been the highlight of my trip so far, along with the food, which is incredibly cheap and delicious. Yesterday I tried fresh mango with lime juice and chile powder from a street stall. I havent had food poisoning yet- touch wood.
I'm leaving for Belize within the next couple of days, probably stopping off in Chetumal, a border town.


I have been in the USA for over a week now, and am leaving for Cancun, Mexico tommorow. I've had a fantastic time sampling the sights, sounds, and very large meals.
Sights so far include:
*Pacific Beach, San Diego
*San Diego Zoo
*Balboa Park
*Old Town San Diego
*Los Angeles- Downtown and Hollywood
*Universal Studios
*The oldest mission in California
*Anza-Borrego desert
*Julian, CA
There's a huge buzz with the primary elections nearing the climax tommorrow (Super Tuesday). I'm happy to report that the number of Ron Paul's billboards far outweigh any other candidates, and a common slogan is "Ron Paul Revolution". It's almost cult-ish.
I have been suprised by the diversity of landscapes and climates. On Saturday Angela took me on a day trip through the Anza-Borrego desert, which is an amazing sight, covered in cacti. On our way there we passed by huge forests devestated by the October fires. Most were blackened stumps. We stopped off in Julian, a historic town famous for its quaintness and apple pies, before making our way back to San Diego with its stunning white sand beaches.
I had a great time in Los Angeles, staying on Hollywood Boulevard, which is tacky and glamourous and slightly insane... The highlight for me was Downtown, a predominately Hispanic area with the most amazing Mexican food and pawn shops.
I'll be back in California in April, so hopefully I will have time to explore some more.