Another trailer to savour…

On to San Francisco and another video. Again I’ve used an iMovie trailer feature which does allow some creativity and produce a different feel than the normal run-of-the-mill home movie.

Ideally it would be good to spend hours and hours on editing shots to produce a blockbuster but it’s not until you start to review the video footage then you realise much of it is of the same views. I guess I need to train myself to think ‘angles’ and ‘closeups’ when filming but I tend to just point and shoot and therefore get poor results.

Anyway here is the first showing…

Coming soon near a theatre near you…

I have finally got around to looking at the hours of video footage I shot whilst we were in America and have put together a couple of films of Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. To be fair I didn’t actually use my camera as much as I thought I would so the Vegas footage is quite short. For the Grand Canyon clips I’ve used the trailer feature within Apple’s iMovie which I think goes well with the filming.

I still have footage of Yosemite and San Francisco to go through, so watch this space for more blockbusters to come…!

Back to reality…

It’s almost a week since we arrived back in the UK from our Californian road trip and I’ve not quite caught up with the change in time zones. It’s been a busy week what with going back to work to over four hundred e-mails to wade through (thank goodness for my Blackberry),  a broken washing machine and washing line to sort and a three day training course to attend in Manchester.

I think two weeks of dirty clothes was the final straw for our Hotpoint machine and rather than try to get it repaired, we agreed to go buy a new one from Curry’s. So Tuesday evening we picked it up and it was soon plumbed in and working hard. The newly purchased washing line was also temporary erected in the garden ready for a more permanent installation this weekend. The training course was really good and I’m glad I decided to stay up in Manchester in a hotel in the end, five hours commuting for three days was just going to kill me.

Anyhow, I thought I’d just do a quick update on our holiday as I have now managed to plot out road trip on a map (courtesy of Google). It’s not until you see how little of the USA you actually can drive in such a short space of time that you realise how big the country is. You could spend months and months over there and still only experience a small amount of what’s there. In total we only drove about 1800 miles as well.

So what was the highlights of the trip?

Well for me it was experiencing the scenery; the Grand Canyon was spectacular and Yosemite National Park was such a beautiful place.

What surprised me?

I really was surprised how I enjoyed Las Vegas; it is a place that unless you see it you really can’t believe a such place could be built. Not so great was San Francisco. Whether it was the colder climate or the high expectation I’m not sure, but neither Tina or I felt it was a place we’d want to return.

The weirdest place by far was Carmel; Tina’s description of it as ‘Creepsville’ really summed it up. Again not a place we will want to go back to.

So where next?

Well actually I have stated that I’m not taking Tina on another plane until she sorts out her fear of flying. She’s resolute that this holiday was not the last one abroad and has vowed to try to get the fear sorted. Anyone know a good hypnotist out there?

If not it looks like I’ll be exploring the USA and beyond on my own in future!

So far so good…

We made it!

So it’s 11pm local time, which means it must be around 7am in the UK which means my body is very confused.

I managed to get a few hours kip when we arrived at the hotel which is a small and cozy place and which doesn’t seem too noisy, despite being in the heart of Hollywood. We were greeted in a friendly manner by David at the check in desk who was surprised at the price of the room we were paying, a full $60 cheaper than current prices. Tip – book your hotel accommodation early through to get great deals.

The flight over was uneventful, if not very long; in fact that is the longest amount of time I’ve been in a plane. I can see why people upgrade to get more leg room. Virgin Atlantic looked after us well, although I must remember to pack some gluten free snacks next time as they only seem to worry about the main meal and on an eleven hour flight I did get a bit peckish towards the end.

Tina managed to get through the flight OK, not before shedding a few tears at take off and landing. She also was a bit ratty towards the end; quite normal when she doesn’t get much sleep.

US Immigration was as inefficient as usual; it took us about an hour to get through the fingerprint and retina scanning process; roll on when they get systems that automatically scan our biometrics as we transfer through the terminal from the plane. That would be far more effective if not a bit sci-fi.

We did get a chance to see a sniffer dog at work whilst we queued though. He wasn’t looking for drugs…no he was on the hunt for food and homed in on a bloke in front of us. It turned out he had a banana in his rucksack which is not allowed to be brought in from abroad. His customs card was duly marked but the offending fruit was not removed. I suspect he might have been pulled over later in the queue for a full fruit frisk down. (try saying that after a long flight).

Bag pickup was not too painful, our new bright red cases appeared right on time and we soon cleared customs. A short transfer to the car hire place to pick up the ‘standard SUV’, programme the sat nav in and off we went, making quick progress to the hotel.

On the way we saw our first glimpse of the Hollywood sign, confirming the fact we had arrived at the City of Angels. Shame we were too tired to take it all in. Still sightseeing will be left for another day.

So I guess it’s time to try & get some more sleep; body still says it should be waking up but my brain says ‘shut your eyes’.

And we’re off…

The cases are packed, the itinerary sorted, the dollars bought and the kids have their instructions written out, which means only one thing…USA is awaiting us!

It seems ages ago that I booked the flights and car hire, but at last the day before we leave has arrived and later on today we will be travelling down to Heathrow ready for the morning getaway.

I am really looking forward to the break; not only to explore places that I’ve never been before but also just to take a well-earned rest from work. I can feel that my batteries are drained and two weeks away from the hustle and bustle of employment will do me the world of good.

Hopefully we will be leaving the house in good hands; this trip will be the longest we’ve left the kids in charge but I’m sure they’ll cope. I guess the cash we leave them for shopping will help :).

We have left instructions as to what they should be doing whilst we’re away including when the bins need emptying. Abby finds this most amusing as apparently that is the thing we keep reminding her to make sure she does. Why are we so obsessed with getting the correct coloured bins out on the correct week?

Anyhow, I’m uncertain how much internet access we will come across whilst we’re in the States; if it’s anything like New York then we will be pretty isolated and I won’t be doing many updates. Still I will be keeping a diary for posterity, which hopefully I will be able to publish on our return.

But until then…byeee!