First up: they had a great time. They loved the place and also mixed really well with the other members of the band. Their conversation was peppered with the names of the other kids and they have lots of in-jokes.
In the car on the way home they had some interesting observations to make about America. Keep in mind that they only went to Los Angeles and San Francisco, so their sample was pretty limited.
* Incredibly dirty. The streets of LA were filthy and looked really grotty. San Fran was slightly better, but the cleanest place they saw was Disneyland. That was impeccably clean and looked great.
* However, Melbourne has more graffiti than America. Still, Melbourne is a far better place to live… cleaner and by far less polluted.
*Venice Beach is scary. The boys were taken by guys selling what are probably blank cds…. the man selling them struck up a conversation with them, wrote their names on the cds, then when the boys balked at paying him, his friends materialised around them and pressured them into buying not only that cd, but theirs as well! David2 spent $60, while Ryan3 got away with only paying $15. The teachers were also leery about Venice Beach… the people are very tough and, as I said, very scary. Still, as our principal said, it did the kids good to go and actually see it for themselves.
*Hollywood is grimy. They were disappointed with the reality as opposed to the legend.
*People in Australia are in general about the same weight as in America, however those who were overweight were REALLY overweight.
*The waitresses are hot in Hooters. However, David2 was shocked to see that people were bringing their families in to eat there, some with little kids.
*The Golden gate bridge is mad. Makes the Sydney Harbour Bridge look like a child’s toy. They saw it on a misty morning and the boys said it was incredible… like something out of a fairy tale.
*Waiting in airports is no fun. Made them really feel for Tom Hanks’ character in ‘The Terminal.’
*Knottsberry Farm was the best of the theme parks they went to. Just like the game ‘Rollercoaster Tycoon’.
(Evan4 modelling his gifts from them.)
* They were outraged at having to pay tax on top of the ticketed price of anything they bought. (In Australia our taxes are already built in to the price, so you don’t have to add anything on when you pay.) They also didn’t like tipping. (Tipping is optional here.) They found it harder to budget with those extra amounts to factor in.
*Clothes were the same price as here, contrary to what we think. Food was slightly cheaper.
*They commented again on the amount of sugar being added to everything. The corndog ‘thumbs up’ that was texted to me at the beginning of their trip didn’t last… but apparently something called ‘Twinkies’ is excellent.
*David2 said that everything they ate over there was really high GI, so he felt tired and blah a lot more than here. In the car they both said they were dying for some GOOD FOOD! David2 even asked for salad, which was surprising as we’re not a big salad eating family. When I asked him why salad, he said, “I don’t know… I’m just craving some healthy food.” So we had poached eggs (from our chooks) on wholemeal toast when we got home. They each had 4 of them. So they might die from cholesterol poisoning instead.
* In the interests of fairness, I asked Ryan3 if he agreed with this post. When we got to the above point, he shrugged and said, “I don’t know. I didn’t have twinkies. I ate real food.”
(A top priority was to see the latest episode of ‘The Office’. The one with Will Ferrel in it.)
*The workshop that they had at Disneyland was a highlight. They had an hour and a half in at the animation studios, where they had to play some music, then it was put with animations to supply the soundtrack. They said that the first one was a little out of synch so that it didn’t quite work; but once the trumpets saw that, they played on time and it was all fantastic after that. They said that the time flew by.
David2 bought this jacket at Disneyland. It was cold when he was walking through it and he said that other kids wanted to buy it but he got the last one. He was wearing it yesterday.
A detail from the jacket.
*There’s a 4-D ride at Universal Studios that knocked their socks off. They loved it.
*There’s more to do in LA, but San Fran was prettier and more comfortable to hang around in. They were amazed by the hills and (of course) went to the windiest street in the world. I don’t think they’ll forget it.
*The hotels they stayed at were just like in “My Name is Earl”. I had to laugh at that one!
*Playstation games are incredibly cheap over there compared to here. I think Ryan3 was in gaming heaven.
* “They have magic shops everywhere!!!!”
*Their money really is green. It also has that weird pyramid thing with the eye on it. Evan4 was really intrigued by that.
All in all, they had a blast and were very glad they went. But David2 made an interesting observation as we were driving over the Bolte Bridge, with the bay sparkling in front of us and the city to our left.
“All my life I wanted to go to America. We keep seeing on tv shows and movies how it’s the best place in the world.” He turned to face me. “But it’s really not. What we’ve got here in Melbourne is FAR better.”
It’s lovely having them home. The sounds of playstation games is now filtering out from Ryan3’s room again, while the fun never ends with David2. I came home from shopping only to find that he’s stuck an old safety pin through his earlobe to pierce it. He bought some earrings in America so he thought he’d do a DIY piercing job on himself. (“Don’t worry Mum! I disinfected everything!”) In the interests of avoiding tetanus I dragged him up to the chemist, where he pulled out the safety pin and the lady gave him a stud instead. It looks good, but I could have done without the drama.
In other news, Tom1 and his friend Gus decided to audition for a gig at the winebar around the corner. They put together a selection of standards to suit the clientele, (‘Sway’, ‘Mack the Knife’, songs like that) and they ended up getting work! Their first gig is in the week after Easter. I’m really proud of them both.