25 May, 2006

The Future of this Blog

This blog was created back on April 03 2005, and back then the idea was to write a journal for when I was going travelling through NZ, Australia, Fiji and the USA. I had no idea what I was going to put within these hallowed pages! In fact I foresaw:
"Well this blog is gonna be showing you the highlights and downsides to travelling the english speaking world, as well as any of my rants about President Bliar and his New Labour crones... I'm gonna share my love of snowboarding with you. I'm also going to share with you my latest jokes.. strange but true happenings on the tinternet.. what books I have read.. which movies I have watched... what music have been listening to... what crap is on the TV this week.. and anything thing else that I can bother to share with you!"

It started off with little things about how the preperation was going.. Mostly the snowboarding prep for NZ.. A little note about my Girlfriend Zena.. something about my 30th Birthday .. but it soon started to be a little travel diary.

Thats whats it gonna continue as.. Jez Arnolds Traveling Experiences. Be they in the UK, or be they abroad in some fabulous city, or amongst the wilds of Africa.. Its just gonna be my travel blog. About me and Zena, and the wonderful things happening in our life (good n bad!)

Absolutley NO WORK or the boss may pull me up.. (unless I am leaving for pastures new!!) There may be a few bits on current affairs, nothing too boring though! I am sure you will all find it thrilling!! Let me know if you want anything different!

Anyway I am now back back and settled. My contact telephone number in the UK is +44 (0) 7970 869599 or email me.. if you don't know it, then leave me a comment! Look after yourselves!

Happy Birthday Jez :)

Img_5016Happy Birthday to me.. Happy Birthday to me.. Happy Birthday to jezzzzz.. Happy Birthday to me!!

Yep, another year and another number added to my already over the hill age of 30. I am 31 today :(

Never mind, its not too bad. I have been back in UK just over a week now, and already me and Zena have picked up jobs in Reading. I'm a Internal Account Manager, while Zee is a HR Manager. Both for big IT companys in Reading, and both of us on reasonably good wage.

Also we have our house sorted. A nice 2 bed, 2 reception Terraced house in one of the better parts of Reading, with catflaps for Chanel Sweetie... Fully furnished; the only bad thing = lack of parking!!

22 May, 2006

18 May, 2006

USA Overview

TBC :)Our USA tour is now over and after our 6 hour flight from JFK Airport in NYC to Heathrow, me and Zena are now back in lovely Somerset!

I thought I would do a quick overview of our trip through the United States of America... After a lovley 12 hour flight from Fiji to LAX, I was stopped by the Federalos for an hour long Passport check.. I thought my US trip was gonna be cut right down.. No problems though and we were picked up by Danni, and given a quick tour through Santa Monica, Beverly Hills and Downtown LA whilst we suffered from jetlag!

After a day around Orange County, and of course a free day out to Disneyland where we went on all the main rides - Splash Mountain, Thunder Mountain,  Indiana Jones,  and the Disney California Adventure Rollercoaster we headed off on our 10 day Cali Roadtrip.. with La Rue the dog!!

Our first stop (after outlet shopping in Barstow) was Las Vegas, and as we didn't go out until midnight we found ourselves wandering Ceasers Palace at 3 in the morning!!  The next few days were spent downtown Vegas, and also around the main Casinos themselves. However, we had to get out of Vegas for a while, so went and had a look at Red Rock Canyon. This was before our detour to the Grand Canyon via Hoover Dam and a small section of Route 66...

The Grand Canyon was really impressive.. if you ever get the chance, try and book ahead and do a mule ride to the bottom of the canyon. We didn't though. All we saw was the impressive views, from numerous viewpoints.. We headed back to Vegas, and after finding that we had no chance of a room anywhere we slept on a casino bars floor at the entrance to Death Valley!

Death Valley was overcast the day we went through, but you can see why it can get so hot. The lowest point in continential USA is here.. We drove on through a Naval Bombing Range and onto the Sierra Nevada mountain Range. Home to the Giant Sequioa National Park, it was amazing to see some huge trees and feel so insignificant. General Sherman, the biggest tree in the world, is over 2300 years old!!

We didn't have time for Yosemite, instead we headed to San Francisco. The Golden Gate bridge, Chinatown, the Worlds bendiest street, and Alcatraz were all on offer here. We also saw Barry Bonds hit his 710th Homer when we saw SF Giants vs NY Mets.. We all love San Francisco. Its a wonderful city. After a few days here we headed back to LA via the Pacific Coast Highway...

After saying byeee to Danni and Mr La Rue, we headed to collect a driveaway car, unfortunately our Toyota Matrix was not ready for a few days, so me and Zena went to Hollywood and then to Venice Beach. The next day we left LA for Route 66!!

Route 66 - I have wanted to do this for ages. I believe its iconic of the USA; small town America, cars and apple pie! 2319 miles through 8 states. We had to deliver a car from LA to Rochester NY via Chicago under a deadline - 9 days and 3000 miles!! The first night was spent getting out of LA and into Barstow CA. Stayed in the Route 66 motel! The next day we saw hundreds of Harley Davidsons on our way to Flagstaff AZ. We headed through the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert NP, which was really picturesque as well as very old! A night in Albuerqueque NM was followed by a look round the Route 66 Auto Museum, and we also reached the midpoint of our journey to Chicago.

I bought some genuine cowboy boots the next day in Amarillo TX, closely followed by some lunch at Arnold Burgers... mmmm! 1 1/2 lb of burger which I tried damn hard to finish! We drove onto Clinton OK that day, and woke up early to see the Route 66 Museum. It was great!! Most attractions along the route are free, but the two museums were $5 each.. Bargain!! Oklahoma interstates were toll roads, so we took Route 66 through some lovely towns. We stayed in Baxter Springs KS, and in the morning headed to Galena. It might as well be a ghost town. Hardly anyone there, but it was a wonderful place to have a look around. Missouri wasn't that great, so it was straight through to St Louis MO for the international bowling Museum..

The last stretch of our trip along Route 66 was started at the Chain of Rocks Bridge on the Mississipi River. A little bit of history, which hasn't been in use for over 40 years! It was a nice straight road ahead all the way to our Pit Stop, and the end of Route 66 in Chicago.. We stayed in a hostel in Lincoln Park, and spent the day there on the El, sighseeing and some shopping!! Leaving early the next day was our 500 mile dash through Detroit, Canada and on to the Niagara Falls. This tourist trap was pretty spectacular, its actually three waterfalls. The most famous being Horseshoe Falls. However we couldn't spend all day here, and we drove onto Rochester NY to return the car to its rightful owner! :)

After an eventful night in the Greyhound Bus Terminal, we caught an all nighter to NYC. Our hostel is on 23rd Street, which is in the Chelsea area of Manhatten Island.

17 May, 2006

361 days away

after 361 days in New Zealand, Australia, Fiji and the USA, our travels are finally over :(

06:30 Wednesday 17th May 2006 and me and Zena arrive back at London Heathrow, after a 6hour flight from JFK Airport NYC, in good old UK mist! I have gone to Zenas house in Somerset for a few days, and I will be back in Worcester next week. A week sorting things out, and then its time to find a new job and a house in the Reading Area!!

Anyway I will write a big review of my entire trip soon.. be prepared for a massive email. You don't have to read it though!! I will put the links through to my blog entrys, and of course its going to be on the blog as well.. Also don't forget my Flickr Photo albums .. New Zealand ... Australia ... Fiji ... USA!!

Anyway, I have to get off this internet now! Now that I am home, I don't want to spend forever on this thing anymore... :)

Will let you know my mobile number soon.. Keep in touch

15 May, 2006

Central Park

Central Park 1
Originally uploaded by jezarnold.

Today me and Zena went our seperate ways as Zee wanted to do more shopping.. I wanted to spend a beautiful day in the sun going around another museum, but it was not meant to be..

After leaving the room later than I hoped, I thought I should go and see the New York Public Library instead of the Natural History Museum. Except it was closed. So I decided to wander up the shops on 5th Avenue.

They were all pretty pricy.. I spent a little time drooling over laptops and HD TV's in Best Buy, and the trainers in Niketown, but they were mostly too expensive for my modest tastes! So instead of all my plans I went to sit in Central Park reading my book and waiting for Zena.

We had a picnic planned for this afternoon, but the weather was crappy and all we wanted to do was watch a DVD in the warmth. So after laughing at the playful little squirrels, we went home...

Tommorrow is our last full day in NYC, and we are spending it buying souvenirs and I am going to the Grafitti Hall of Fame as well, as well as the NY public Library to do this tour.. Tuesday me and Zee are heading up the Empire State Building first thing, then lugging our numerous bags to JFK for our 18:45 flight back to LHR with Virgin Atlantic..

14 May, 2006

The Mets

Img_4717 We moved rooms at last.. We are staying at the Chelsea International Hostel on 20th Street between 7th and 8th Ave.. its a great place only US$70 a night for the both of us.. However we have slept terribly our first two nights. We were right on the road, and only on the second floor (which would be the first floor in UK).. All night long people honking, and NYPD going off..

Anyway now we are on the top floor away from the road, and we slept like logs. Thats why we got up late today!! Anyway we headed down to Greenwich Village. The Friends apartment was selected from around here, and Zee just had to see it!! After that we decided to head for the Met..

No not the Mets, the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Its world famous.. and has over 2 million pieces in its collection. Its famous for its paintings, but also has an amazing American, Egyptian and Japanese collections. It has famous paintings by artists such as Rembrandt, Picasso, Monet, Cezanne and of course Van Gogh.

I was constantly taking pictures.. it was really difficult to just get around it in less than 6 hours. I am absolutely worn out now.. So we came home and ate Chinese food out of cardboard boxes!!

13 May, 2006

Union Square to United Nations

Building the UN - Zanetti Mural
Originally uploaded by jezarnold.

There is so much to do in NYC, and even if you are here for a week like we are.. you still couldn't do it all!

We wanted to do a little sightseeing today, so our first stop was Union Square. Me and Zee split up for a while as I wanted to look through bookstores and Zee wanted to do shopping! The Strand was my first stop, and its one of NYC's famous secondhand bookstores. As I wasn't looking for anything in particular, I found it frustrating wandering through. I ended up just getting a Strand canvas bag. After here I went to Forbidden Planet, and then Barnes and Noble. Both of these stores were amazing..

After meeting Zena (half an hour late again!) We headed to Flatiron, which is this triangular shaped Skyscraper and then up 5th Ave. We went past the Empire States Building, New York Public Library and Grand Central Terminal. Then headed for the United Nations...

John D Rockefeller Jr donated the money to purchase this land for the UN, and its looking pretty dilapidated these days. However I had been wanting to do a tour for some time, so as I still have a valid NUS card I did the Student tour!!

It was pretty interesting as well. We saw donated Artwork, as well as the main conference rooms including the Security Council, Economic Council and of course the General Assembly rooms. Normally all the flags are up, but they have this rule that says "In bad weather they come down".. apparently it rained for a short while earlier!!

12 May, 2006

Remembering NYC

Img_4617 Today me and Zena went to Ground Zero to remember all those who perished on Sept 11, 2001.. it was a pretty harrowing experience and one that will always be with me. It was a cold grim day today and afterwards we headed down to the NYSE to see if we could visit the Trading Floor, but were told it has been closed to visitors since 2001. They was NYPD all over the place, some armed with Automatic weapons.

Later this afternoon we went to see United 93. I cried...

NYC is a wonderful city, and just walking though Lower Manhattan today, catching the Staten Island Ferry and using the Subway.. I was just constantly remembering everything that happened that day 56 months ago.. Its still clear in my memory.

Rest in Peace. You will always be remembered... :(

10 May, 2006

Niagara Falls

Horseshoe Falls
Originally uploaded by jezarnold.
After a 500 mile dash along I-94 and a quick run through Canada, we arrived in Niagara Falls. We stayed in one of the cheapest motels so far, and it wasn't long before we saw the beauty of these waterfalls.

Its actually three falls - two of them are on the US side (American falls and another smaller one) and Horsheshoe falls which straddles the border between the USA and Canada. They are mighty impressive...

We went for a walk the evening we got there down there, and again first thing the next day... Rainbows and mist everywhere; apparently its magical in the winter!

Anyway on we drove to Rochester via Outlet Stores, where I got a Samsonite Airline CarryOn for half the price in that store, which was already 2/3 retail!! Bargain.. I love it!! Rochester seemed a very nice city, and the lady whose car we delivered was very pleased to see it back..

We were pretty unhappy to see it go though.. The Toyota Matrix served us well on our trip across the states, and very fuel economical! especially now the price of gas is catching up with UK!!

Instead of staying for a night in Rochester and getting the Amtrak the next day, we decided to do an overnight Greyhound for a couple of dollars more. It was real fun waiting in a drug dealing neighbourhood, with US Border Patrol questioning people, Crack Whores trying to get money for there next fix, and the heroine Greyhound Lady threatening misfits with her baseball bat.. Great Times!!

Anyway arrived in the Big Apple... Woooohooo!! Its pretty pricey here, so are flying back four days early. We arrive in LHR at 06:30 Wednesday 16th May!

08 May, 2006


Img_4474Chicago - The Windy City.. The Second City.. is amazing!! Here and San Francisco have been my favourite US destinations so far..

Unfortunately we only have a day to explore, so after a go on the El, its a wander through the streets and a little shopping for Zena (I did my faves - Apple, Niketown and book shops, whilst Zee did Bloomingdales for a makeover)

We wandered past the beach on Lake Michigan and then back to the Arlington House hostel in Lincoln Park, and then caught a bus so we could go out for Pizza at Ginos East. Famous for its Deep Pan Chicago style.. mmmm

Got to come back here one day.. I LOVE IT!!

07 May, 2006

Route 66 - St Louis MO to Chicago IL

Early start today as we want to get to Chicago to get a room... There is only a few things to see, but one of the most important icons on Route 66 is the Chain of Rocks bridge over the Missisippi in St Louis.

This bridge has a 22' bend half way across, because of this it was closed in the 1960's .. its still open to pedestrians/cyclists. Its really amazing..

After that though was the dead straight I-55 to Chicago.. set up Cruise control and we were away, and apart from a brief stop in Elkhart IL, we were soon arriving next to the "Historic Route 66 - END" on Jackson Blvd, Chicago. Total Mileage?? 2295 ... only 100 extra miles!

06 May, 2006

Route 66 - Baxter Springs KS to St Louis MO

Img_4373We have managed to stay in every State on the Route 66 so far. The one I was worrying about was Kansas. After all there it is only 13 miles (or less than 1%) of the entire trip

It is one of the most beautiful parts of Route 66. People really look after there homes here, and Galena is one of the most photographic towns we have come across. It used to be famous for its mining, its banks and its brothels :)

We stopped here for photos because of a Route 66 photobook we came across, called "The Tropic of Route 66", a Japanese book we discovered in Adrian TX. It had a photo of Bucks Recreation.

Just because of that we had to visit... We soon discovered Bucks Recreation, apparently it used to be a whorehouse, (hehehe) then a pool hall. Anyway after that we drove straight on to St Louis, so we could got to the International Bowling Museum. Pretty standard...

Staying in HI St Louis (V.Friendly Manageress) however our roomies are mad and/or smelly.. Total Mileage so far? 2051

05 May, 2006

Route 66 - Clinton OK to Baxter Springs KS

Img_4340 Headed striaight to the Route 66 Museum. We did pass the National Route 66 Museum, but the book said that this was the better one, so we followed its guidance!! It was pretty impressive, giving a decent run down on what has happened in the last 70 years of its existance.

It was established in 1926, It originally ran from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California before ending at the beach in Santa Monica, California for a total distance of 2,347 miles (3,755 km). A major migratory route west during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl of the 1930's. When Eisenhower became President, he had seen the German Autobahns during WW2 and decided the USA needed an Interstate system. It was made a Historic Route in 1985 when it was finally decommissioned. For more info visit Wikipedia or the Route 66 Museum online.

After we reached Oklahoma City, we discovered the I-44 in Oklahoma state was a Toll Road, so we took a very scenic route instead.. it was non-stop driving!! We stayed at Baxter Inn in Baxter Springs KS.. total Mileage so far? 1740

04 May, 2006

Route 66 - Amarillo TX to Clinton OK

We had a nice lazy morning, shopping in a few malls, trying to find internet (no such luck at the Library and I couldn't do anything with my piccys on the Macs at Schlotskys Deli)..

Anyway last night I had been to Cavenders Boot City, and I decided to go back to have another look at some cowboy boots. I had put some aside, but as I had another look I came across some beautys. I had to get them!! My USA souvenir

We had also found out there was an Arnold Burger in Amarillo. It was closed last night, so we had to go for some lunch. The standard burger is two 3/4 lb patties with a big bun.. It was damn tasty, but I just couldn't finish it.. I tried Lanners, honest!!

As were driving out of Texas, we decided to pass through MaClean to see the Museum. Zena was driving, and we got a bit confused. Before we knew it a Texas State Trooper was given her a Driving Violation Ticket.. he was more interested in what England was like!!

Stayed at Clinton Inn in Clinton OK.. total mileage 1424

03 May, 2006

Route 66 - Alburqueque AZ to Amarillo TX

Img_4273 Instead of heading to Santa Fe, we took the alternate route so we could see the Route 66 Auto Museum. Its in Santa Rosa, and has some amzing classics.. including my favourites the Ford Mustang.. I was hoping to see a Shelby but was out of luck!

As we crossed the border into Texas, we soon came upon Adrian TX - The midpoint of Route 66, where its 1139 miles to Los Angeles or Chicago.

Found out some real useful info.. the new Disney/Pixar Movie Cars?? its about Route 66... The lady who owned the place was real friendly. Apparently the burgers are great, but we didn't get any.. bought an amazing Route 66 photo book instead (and got the lady to sign it!!)

After the Midpoint we came across more tumbleweed, and then the Cadillac Ranch just outside Amarillo TX. Loads of Cadillacs buried nose first into the ground.. got some spraypaint and painted "Jez loves Zena"... ain't I sweet!!

After a browse around Cavenders Boot City, we stayed at Camelot Motel in Amarillo.. total mileage? 1219

02 May, 2006

Route 66 - Flagstaff AZ to Alburqueque NM

Img_4177_2 Mayday - The day without Immigrants..

Today thousands of illegal immigrants, mostly of Mexican origin, decided to strike. They striked because of HR4437, which would make the immigrants even more resticted than they already are... its a difficult choice for many Americans.

Anyway we were heading on. We went through Holbrook AZ on our way to the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert NP. Petrified wood is when logs millions of years old, become stuck in dams and over millenia absorbs the minerals flowing down the stream. It soon turns to stone. There is some amazing examples in this National Park. It also has wonderful vistas of beautiful desert scenery.. truly stunning!

Carried on through Navajo Indian Country and stayed at Rodeway Inn in Alburqueque.. total Mileage so far? 908

01 May, 2006

Route 66 - Barstow CA to Flagstaff AZ

Img_4116 After staying the night in the Route 66 Motel in Barstow CA, we got up early the next morning for our 300 mile journey east!

As we got on the I-40 we saw loads of bikers heading back to California. We met up with a few later in Amboy CA, when we took a Route 66 detour and found out there was a huge biker festival and they were all heading home. Loads of Harleys roaring up the highway all day long!!

We took a few detours along the way, otherwise the route is interstate and its boring! We took the same Route 66 detour we took with Danni the week before, it was just as fun! We discovered the cruise control... it makes driving so easy!

That night we stayed in a Budget Inn at Flagstaff Arizona.. total mileage so far?? 719