Highlights: Andrew’s first overseas trip, Alcatraz, Disneyland, San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, Knott’s Berry Farm and Vegas.
Late 1998 almost exactly 12 years after my first world trip as a 12 year old in 1986 I set off on my second overseas trip this time with my mother (Helen), sister (Kara) and nephew (Andrew). We flew to USA via Auckland on 31 October and returned to Australia on 19 November 1998 for a 20 day overseas trip.
One of the first highlights of the trip was it was a surprised for Andrew who was 7 years old. He didn’t even know he had a passport when we headed to the airport. He thought he was saying goodbye to his grandmother and me for our USA trip. The surprise was total as he tried to race past security. Many years later his younger sister in the same situation cried at missing out on school and her friends but Andrew was instead racing to board a plane 🙂
The major event of the trip was a 5 day pass to Disneyland. It sounds crazy now but the first day was on arrival and was only for a quick check it out / scope Disneyland so we knew where to go for the next few days. We also visited the Citidal Shopping Centre in Los Angeles which is a stop my mum would make for every future trip to the USA from this point onwards. Experiencing Disneyland though Andrew’s eyes made it extremely enjoyable.
Somehow I become the designated driver and later carrier for all the gifts and presents bought at the stores.
San Francisco was next up in a visit to Alcatraz, the Cable Cars and ice cream at Girhardilli House with later walks along Fisherman’s Wharf. My biggest memory of San Francisco however was the location of our hotel in a very rundown area of the city that my mum was recommended. I was thinking that ‘friend’ must not like her very much!
We then moved onto San Diego, with me doing a lot of the driving during this trip, to visit probably the greatest zoo in the world, the San Diego Zoo with there all white koalas, and later the Seaworld San Diego to get splashed by dolphins and enjoyed the Waterworld show. A quick stop back at LA for a visit to Knott’s Berry Farm was next, not has much fun as I remembered back in 1986 but Andrew loved it.
Our last visit was to Las Vegas and this time I could gamble, we attempt to gamble since I kept losing my money. We once again stayed at Circus Circus but by now the main attractions of the strip had moved down the road somewhat. Still I like Las Vegas and it would feature many move times in future USA visits.
If the 1986 trip was the start of my interest in seeing the world outside of Australia this trip confirmed it. I was just starting to earn enough money to be able to save for an independent trip. Just over 12 months later I was to be on my first big travel adventure, sure I started small by limiting to English speaking places in 1999-2000 but it was over 100 days outside the country.
The travel bug had bitten and the cure was obvious, see more of the world. I was also glad to travel with Andrew while he was so young. We would travel together again in 11 years to USA, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, New Zealand after he graduated high school.