Back in late 1999 I set out on my first independent world trip with my best friend Jon who I met in High School. The trip was broken down into three parts
1) New Zealand: 11 November 1999 to 26 November 1999;
2) USA: 26 November 1999 to 27 January 2000 (this post); and
3) The United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland: 27 January 2000 to 4 March 2000 (to be published).
This was a 115 day world trip mostly staying in hostels. At the time I wrote a paper journal which I have now turned into an electronic copy. The entries are the same as the hard copy except I have added a “Highlights” section at the start.
USA Leg Highlights
This is an amazing and complex country with a mix of liberal and conservative people. I quickly realised how great the differences there are in these United States from attitudes, to taxes, to wealth, and even to religion. I experienced the peaks of a great empire with magnificent architecture in New York City to the wealth differences in the beggars in Memphis.
The Grand Canyon lived up to it’s name and I expect I’ll remember those amazing textures and colours in the landscape until I die. Niagara Falls is stunning, especially from the Canadian side.
While New York City is the best place I’ve ever visited the smaller towns of Savannah and Deadwood had a great friendly feel and charm to them. Visiting the seat of power that is the USA White House and the Capitol Building brings to life the stories about the Civil War and the Cold War.
The USA is also the country of theme parks, I enjoyed them all, Universal Studios (LA), Disney World (Orlando) and Six Flags Magic Mountain (LA). I got to watch an American Football match in Nashville and a basketball match in Boston. Throw in the performance art that is professional wrestling (WCW Starcade – Washington) and I got to experience the cheering and passionate fans.
The music experience can’t be underrate either, Jazz in New Orleans was incredible. The history of Graceland is worth visiting and Memphis blue’s music. Comedy clubs are very happening places.
In the end I think I’ll remember most was being in New York City for the millennium celebrations. Watching the taping of the David Letterman Tonight Show New Year’s Eve special added to the experience. I’m not a fan of big cities but I’ve fallen in love with NYC. Maybe it was the Christmas feel, the happy people ice-skating at Rockefeller Centre or the classic and classy feel of the New York Public Library or the experience that is going to see a movie in NYC or maybe the Statue of Liberty. Whatever it is I’m sold.
- Day 16 – Auckland to Honolulu: Nine Hour flight with 2 am arrival to the USA
- Day 17 – Honolulu: USS Arizona Memorial, State Capitol, Holiday Parade
- Day 18 – Honolulu: Polynesian Cultural Centre
- Day 19 – Honolulu: Relaxing
- Day 20 – Honolulu to Los Angeles to Dallas: Long day traveling
- Day 21 – Dallas: Friendly locals
- Day 22 – Dallas to San Antonio: JFK Sixth Floor Museum
- Day 23 – San Antonio: Garden River
- Day 24 – San Antonio to New Orleans: The Alamo, Garden River at night
- Day 25 – New Orleans: Street Car / Tram ride, French Quarter, Classic Jazz
- Day 26 – New Orleans: Louisiana State Museum, Jazz
- Day 27 – New Orleans: Voodoo and New Orleans Crypts
- Day 28 – Memphis: Experiencing Economic Depression first hand
- Day 29 – Memphis to Nashville: Elvis Presley – Graceland
- Day 30 –Nashville: NFL match Tennessee Titans v Oakland Raiders, Country and Western Music
- Day 31 –Nashville: Purchasing warmer clothes
- Day 32 –Nashville to Savannah: Riverside Walk
- Day 33 – Savannah: Savannah History Museum
- Day 34 – Savannah to Orlando: Running into friends
- Day 35 – Orlando: Disney MGM Theme Park, Beer inspired Uno Matches
- Day 36 Orlando: Disney Epcot
- Day 37 Orlando: Shuttle launch postponed L
- Day 38 Orlando: Buzz Lightyear (Magic Kingdom)
- Day 39 – Orlando to Washington: 19 hour plus bus ride commences
- Day 40 – Washington: WCW Starcade
- Day 41 – Washington: Visiting FBI, USA Capitol Building
- Day 42 – Washington to New York: The White House, Arriving in New York City
- Day 43 – New York: Downtown Manhattan, incredibly cold winter day
- Day 44 – New York: Statue of Liberty, Ice-Skating at Rockefeller Centre
- Day 45 – New York: New York City Library
- Day 46 – New York: Traditional American Christmas Dinner
- Day 47 – New York: A night of Improv Comedy
- Day 48 – New York: UN Security Council, ‘Chicago’ (the musical)
- Day 49 – New York: Greenwich Village
- Day 50 – New York: New York Library, tickets to the ‘David Letterman‘ show
- Day 51 – New York: New Year’s Eve ‘Late Show with David Letterman, Native American Indian Museum
- Day 52 – New York: New Year’s Eve 1999 in Times Square!!
- Day 53 – New York: New York Cinema, ‘Stand Up New York’ comedy
- Day 54 – New York to Boston: Leaving New York City (sob)
- Day 55 – Boston: Boston Freedom Trail, Boston Common, State House, Granary Burial Ground, USS Constitution, NBA Game (Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Day 56 – Boston to Buffalo: Cambridge University, Harvard Museum of Natural History
- Day 57 – Buffalo: Free falling snow!!
- Day 58 – Buffalo & Niagara Falls (Canada): Niagara Falls
- Day 59 – Chicago: Jazz and Blues music
- Day 60 – Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, ‘Second City’ comedy club
- Day 61 – Chicago to Deadwood: The cheap 26th birthday present
- Day 62 – Deadwood: Wild West Gambling!
- Day 63 – Deadwood: Visiting graves of Calamity Jane and Wild Bill
- Day 64 – Deadwood and Mt Rushmore: Mt Rushmore, Custer Park
- Day 65 – Santa Fe: Barely surviving a 23 hour bus journey
- Day 66 – Santa Fe: Palace of the Governors
- Day 67 – Flagstaff: Nothing today
- Day 68 – Flagstaff: The amazing Grand Canyon
- Day 69 – Las Vegas: Losing money quickly Vegas style
- Day 70 – Las Vegas: Paris Casino, ‘Viv Las Vegas’ show, The Star Trek Experience
- Day 71 – Las Vegas to Los Angeles: Winning a deck of cards
- Day 72 – Los Angeles: Mann’s Chinese Theatre
- Day 73 – Los Angeles: Universal Studios, live taping of ‘Suddenly Susan’
- Day 74 – Los Angeles: Six Flags Magic Mountain
- Day 75 – San Francisco: Nothing today
- Day 76 – San Francisco: Girhardilli House, Fishermans Wharf, Cable Cars
- Day 77 – San Francisco: Golden Gate Bridge, Girhardelli House Ice cream
- Day 78 – Los Angeles: Venice Beach
- Day 79 – Los Angeles to London: Leaving USA