Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 4 in LA: Chill out day

Today was a resting day after running around for 3 days, just fresh out of the plane.

It rained a lot so Yumi and I just went to the shop, bought a couple of frames. After a good hour of shopping, which is about 59 minutes more than what Thomas can take, Yumi's mum met us at Wendy's (hmmm burgeeers!) and we went to buy a... washing machine! :)

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Day 3 in LA: San Diego

Today we drove to San Diego to visit my friend Aurélie. She moved there after her studies in Toulouse a few years ago.

It was a nice drive in the old Suzuki on the Oceanside. It just took us a couple of hours to drive from La Habra. Before we knew it we were in San Diego Old Town, eating Mexican food. :)

Wearing shorts and tshirts didn't really make us feel it was winter holidays but who cares? It was good fun!

We also went to Soledad mount in La Jolla Natural Park. We could see SD in the distance.

After a short walk in La Jolla beach, we had to go back to LA, just in time to go to Kyoto Sushis, Yumi's uncle's place.

Great food. Thomas lost to "Okaasan" ("Okaasan" means "Mum" in Japanese) in the fight to pay the bill.

Another great and busy day in the US of A! :)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Day 2 in LA: busy day!

It was only Day 2 and we were so busy already: Cutsco, Beach and Ice Hockey in the schedule
1- Shop at cutsco
Maaaaaaaaan! Zee Americans see big! This shop is huge :) nothing much to say apart from that...

 2- Venice beach

It was a nice walk along the Pacific Ocean. Venice beach is a bit like Camden Town in London, there are a lot of stalls and any souvenir a tourist dreams of :)

The weather was great and it was not packed (we are not big fans of the crowd -See our afternoon on Holywood Boulevard-). There are a few stalls and it smels like some kind of South American herbs (or was it Moroccan weed?). There’s also a skate park full of Tony Hawks wannabees, enjoying being watched by tourists. Thomas was just watching them fall all over, wondering how the heck you can stay on skateboards anyway...

We walked by muscle beach, where Yumi perved at some guys in tight speedos showing off, while Thomas was looking away in disgust...
Muscle beach is part of Venice beach. “Arnie” or “Governator” used to train there. Waow...

4- We then drove West (we really couldn't go Eastern than were we were...) to the Stapples Centre, home of the LA Kings. They played against Minesota Wild (That's ice hockey)
We were all excited as it was our first NHL game.
The atmosphere was great, the Kings losing 3-1 but coming back at 3-3 just before the end of the 3rd period. We were still celebrating when Minesota scored to seal the game at 4-3. It was a great game though and the show on and off the ice were amazing. No wonder why the Americans can bring some many people in an arena every 2 nights!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Day 1 in LA: Visit

Today was a pretty chilled out day.
We went to visit Yumi's grandma. She's 97!

In the afternoon we bought a few things in La Brea mall. So exciting. No, don't go away....noooooooo

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Getting to LAX

We arrived this morning from Toulouse and had a few hours to kill at Heathrow before flying to Kobe Bryant's land.
London from the sky: Big Ben, London Eye and...Battersea power station !

We arrived tonight "only" 1h late. Yesterday a guy tried to blow up a plane before landing in Detroit. We were probably the only 2 people in London Heathrow not to know about it.

The TSA only agreed for passenger planes to come to the US if there were no onboard entertainment and it was mandatory for all passengers to be seated 1h30 before landing...

Better safe than sorry we thought.

There were 3 films we could watch, amongst them "the time traveler's wife" which -honestly- doesn't count as a movie. :)

We were a bit disappointed about that, but hey, it's only 10h!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Xmas in Toulouse

Merry Christmas to All!

Thomas flew first on on the 18th and Yumi joined him on the 23rd.
Between BA strike and the snow storms, both of us were lucky to reach Toulouse as planned.

It was good to see the family again and how the kids grow up. The triplets are 18yo already! Damn!

On Thomas's first day, Didier and JB took him to Toulouse vs. Cardiff for the Rugby H Cup. Great victory for Toulouse, and on top of that, it was a good game.

A couple of days later, we went to play bowling with Fanny, Marion, JB as well as my friends Cedric and Charly. It doesn't happen often to take the kids somewhere, so it was really fun to organise this day out.

A few days later Yumi joined us for her first Christmas with the family. Aaagghh. :)
Everybody loved Yumi and I am sure she'll be back. It also keep all the family's English skills up to date, hehee.
We ate a lot of seafood and had a lot of fun, opening the presents and saying nonsense.

Before we knew it, it was time to go. Time always flies when you have a good time, but you just have to enjoy every second of it.

Tomorrow we'll be in LA, some 14,000 km west of Toulouse, for Thomas first NY holidays with Yumi's family. Aaaagghh

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Costa Rica- Week 1

This week has been crazy. Here is a brief recap for all of you.

Day 1: We started early (5am) and made our way to Volcano Irazu. Although the weather was fair in San Jose, it got worse and worse and by the time we reached the volvano, we had a reduced visibility -we were in the clouds- and rain. We believed it would clear up, and we were right. We even got a few good pictures! :)

There were nothing much to do up there so we headed earlier than planned to Turrialba, some 50km south of Irazu. We still had most of the day for us, but it was pouring rain, so we rested and chilled. getting ready for our rafting excursion.

Day 2: Another early wake up as we were ready to go by 5am :) By this day, we knew our days would start early and that bed time would be equally early. We would later be surprised if we'd last until 8pm...
We started the day by exploring the Monte Claro trail, full of exotic plants and giving us a first taste of a jungle like environment.

After our breakfast, Pablo and Julian came to pick us up in their van, for our rafting day. We'd be paddling in the rafting with Pablo while Julian would ensure our safety should any of us got into the water. Like this is gonna happen. Yeah Right.
Moments later, our raft was 90 degrees vertical about to capsize after hitting "el muro de los lamentos". Yumi and Pablo fell first while Thomas still had one foot into the loop. Soon after fighting it free, he remembered Pablo's wise words "if you feel something heavy on your head, it probably is the raft...". We were fine, apart from Julian shouting at us, to reach the shore ASAP and the raft left with only one oar :)
We found ourselves sunburned at the end of the day, but it was all worth it. The fauna and flora are amazing and we cannot wait to be surrounded by it.

We are heading to the Jungle now, but before that, we have one last stop: Dominical

Day 3: We decided to stay in Turrialba after rafting as we didn't want to be in a hurry. We are on holidays after all. We took the "Interamericana", the highway which link North to South America. This highway is in fact a mountain road where the truck reach crazy speed and overtake you with no visibility just before a turn. It really felt like Thomas was driving on one of these good old Corsican roads :)

Dominical is -in the raining season- a ghost town full of man-eating mosquitos. Nothing really exiting really, we had the luxury of having a fan in our room, and that is the only reason why we took this room, otherwise we would have camped.  There was no air and it was 40 degrees, so we took the room.

Day 4: Going to Puerto Jimenez!
Driving there was an experience in itsef. Bridges straight out of Indiana Jones' movies and wild atmosphere.
When we arrived in PJ, we had no clue where to sleep and how to get to the jungle.

We finally found a small place called "Cabinas Marcelina", left our stuff there and went for local food. PJ is not a touristy place. There is nothing to do there, apart from passing by and go to Corcovado.

Day 5: on our way to the...Park, as the locals call it.
The plan is simple: waking up a dawn, take the bus, to a place with no name, then get a lift to a lodge where horses are waiting for us. After riding the horses for 2h, and crossing about 40 rivers, we arrived at Los Patos.

It is only 11am so we still have most of the day! We quickly set up the tent, realise our stove is not working and take a good hour to take it apart, rebuild it, test it, and take it apart again. Our pumps is dead! Not nice.
We'll have to improvise and after speaking to the local ranger, we manage to get some boiling water to mix with our dried food.

In the afternoon, we decide to explore the surroundings of the station, go for a swim near a little waterfall  and walk all the way to the old ranger station, some 4km away from the new station. It doesn't seem hard, but walking 8km in a very hilly and muddy area is not so easy! At 7pm we are exhausted and go for some deserved sleep. We are getting mentally ready for the 21 gruesome km which await us tomorrow.

Day 6: Crossing the jungle!
We knew it wouldn't be easy, but we didn't expect to take some 9h to reach the West side of the peninsula. Reaching the clearing and seeing Sirena station was great. We were lost for about 4h but kept going west. We may not have been too lost after all when we found the track again and the last strech was easy... and flat.

We found out afterward that very few people go from Los Patos to Sirena, or if they do, they have a guide. Some guides there called us "Locos" :) We met some nice and crazy people at the station and decided to stay another day in Sirena to walk around.

We tagged along a group of students with their guide as we were all going the same way: Rio Claro. the "safe river" as opposed to the one called Rio Sirena where bull sharks and crocs meet to feast on fish.
It was a surprise to see a big croc in the safe river, so we headed inland to be able to swim and relax.

Thomas learned that day that you can swim with alligators. They would avoid you as you are bigger than them. To be honest, he won't try this.

Day 7: Nothing much that day. we explored a few trails around Sirena and met Mike and DAve, 2 american guys. We decide to join them and walk with them the following morning to go to La Leona, the last station before leaving the jungle...

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Costa Rica- Random pics

A Golden Orb spider, found in between Los Patos and Sirena in  the Jungle. We couldn't really miss it as there were dozens of them, on a massive spider web.

On our way to Sirena. So far, so good...