2008/06/27

June 27: Bryce Canyon, Zion Park, Las Vegas.

We were woken up at about 7:30 by the Sun. Maggie got up the last one as usual but then we did not delayed much and went to Bryce Canyon. The interesting thing about national parks is, that even there are a lot of them, each park is unique and beautiful. For example Bryce Park is famous for its huge amount of thin high orange rocks which remind me of organs. We took a trail – it was hot and down and up (even on the solid pavement) and it was not worth it sincerely, because the best view is from above. It is possible to use a shuttle but we went by car so we saw even the Rainbow point where Maggie had hoped to see the Puddle rock but it was broken (at least we thought – we simply did not find it). The shuttle does not go all the way to Rainbow point and sincerely it is not worth the driving because you can see everything from the view point.

We had lunch in restaurant Thunderbird – they had awesome cheesecake – and went on to Zion Park. We asked a ranger to call some camps whether they had a space for us – they had not, so we decided to drive all the way to Las Vegas. Before that we took a shuttle and went to the Virgin river where we walked along the river and then along the shuttle way. Then we drove directly to Las Vegas.

We were so nervous about the accommodation that we ended up in the cheapest hotel in Las Vegas and probably the only one without a pool. Hotel Gateway was on The Strip but very far away from the center as we were about to find out soon but after we got over the fear of stealing our belongings we were grateful of the low price of 60 dollars for a night in four-bed-room.

The first day on the Strip did not come out very well because we did not realize how much time it would take to get to the center. So when we finally got there, we bought a soda and took the bus to the hotel.

2008/06/26

June 26: Bridges.

We were woken up by heat at about 6:30, had breakfast and about two hours later we drove back to the Visitor Center, bought there some magnets and presents for ourselves and others (as always in visitor centers), watched a ten-minute-film about Natural Bridges and took the Bridge View Drive from where you can see one by one all three of Natural Bridges.

The first one was the Sipapu Bridge we saw it also very close because we went on hiking trail all the way down near the bridge. The hike was quite steep and there were three ladders so Maggie's flip-flops turned out not to be very much suitable shoes.

Kachina Bridge, the second and youngest one was very far and not so interesting so we decided not to go down there.

The third Owachomo Bridge was the oldest one and the most thin. It is the only one which is no longer shaped by water. The hiking trail to it was short and we were quite interested in this bridge so we went there and up.

After Natural Bridges we drove to Capitol Reef National Park and on the way we had lunch at one of gas stations. The chain of that fast-food was called Sten or alike and although we had just two meals and fries, we made a mistake by taking three “Stens' World famous shakes”. In fact, one shake was a huge mug of very sweet ice-cream, so we were gorged as usual and Maggie (!!) even did not eat it up.

There we just saw Fremont petroglyphs (painted by people of Fremont culture who were living there between 700 and 1250) which sort of disappointed us. There were not many of them and furthermore they were hardly visible.

Then we drove to Dixie Forest where we hoped to get a campground. There were three camps but when we chose (I think) the best one, a ranger came to us and told us that there was a fire on the top of the mountain and we might have to move during the night. So we said we would go beyond the mountain and find another camp. She said that there was a possibility that the road was still open but she did not know.

So we tried... and succeeded... but not with a camp. The camp under the mountain on the opposite side was full and when we finally found the other two camps in Escalante, we found out that they were full too.

So we drove all the way to Kodachrome Basin camp near the Bryce Canyon. The camp still had some places and we were glad to find it even it cost 16 dollars instead of usual 10 dollars. Then we found that there were water and showers in the camp.

We made our fish what we had bought in a supermarket... It might have been sort of weird but anyway... they were good. Then we played our Rummikub for a while and then went to sleep.

2008/06/25

June 25: Monument Valley and road.

I think we got up at 7:00 or 7:30 and after the same breakfast like the previous day we started to go on the same way as to Grand Canyon but then to the East to the Native American reservations. The first interesting thing we saw this day was the Navajo National Monument Park. And it was very interesting. Betatakin (“ledge house”) is a cliff where there is the whole city inside. It was very well-preserved although the inhabitants only lived there between 1250 and 1300.

When I was looking from the Overview down in the direction of the cliff, I could not believe that it was so big and the little houses inside were the real houses for real people. I think it would have been interesting to take a tour around that and some other interesting places but we did not have enough time.

In a small town Kayenta (as usual just a petrol station) we had lunch, but it was not just an ordinary lunch... A Waitress was a Native American girl, we were the only non-indian customers inside, and almost every tables were covered with dirty dishes. We ordered some Navajo food and we kind of forgot that we should order just two or three meals and not four. Maggie had rice with vegetables – it was quiet tasteless. Mum and I had something like langosh with meat and chilli. Dad had tortilla. I liked my meal but I am not sure about the others. But it was by all means too much.

Then we went to the top of this day – Monument Valley, which is in Utah. It is virtually a desert with rock monuments. It is possible just to look from the main road and see everything but we went to the visitor centre because we wanted to go on an unpaved road 18 miles and back.

The pass to National Park was not valid for Monument Valley, so we had to pay extra.

It was supposed to be OK with an ordinary car, but we were quite afraid of blowing a tyre because in fact we were not supposed to go to Utah with the rented car and the road was not as secure as we had thought, so we returned soon.

We had read that there are two mittens but we were could not have found them because there were in fact lots of monuments which looked like mittens. What I liked the most was the rock what we called Bishop (then we found out that it is called The King of his Throne).

When we left the park we drove all the way to Natural Bridges National Monument where we found a really nice camp. (There were a lot of ants but the did not bother at all.) We took the zig-zagging up road 261 from where there was the best view I had ever seen.

2008/06/24

June 24: Grand Canyon, adulthood.

We had to get up at seven o'clock. The breakfast was sufficient but we lacked cheese like all Czech people almost everywhere. They had very taste fruit juice though.

I would have appreciated if it had been possible to use the pool in the morning right before breakfast but it was open from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and the breakfast was served from 6 to 9. At about 9 we left and since Flagstaff should have been base for all trips around, we thought that the way to Grand Canyon would not take so much time... it took however.

Finally we got there, parked our car at Market Plaza on the South Rim and walked to the edge of Grand Canyon. The first look down the canyon is unrivaled. If you imagine a very big hole in the land..., you are completely wrong. It is really deep but what you can see is just a first level of its actual deepness. It is very indented – you are not sure what is in front and what is deeper. What is the most amazing are the layers of various soils which make stripes on the walls of the canyon. What I was impressed by were the fact, that the walls which I tended to consider hills have the top at the same height. On the way eastward we were able to see the Colorado river but just very small parts of it. In the middle of the track along the canyon to the visitor center, there is Yavapai Point and Observation Station. There is not much to see but if you are a geologist a kind of museum inside could be interesting because you can follow the Earth history step by step how the canyon had been shaped or you can buy souvenirs (like everywhere else).

When we reached the Mather Point and nearby Visitor Center. We were quite exhausted but were ready to ask, whether there were by chance some camping places at the bottom of the canyon free. If you want to sleep in the canyon, you have to book it at least about four months in advance, but there is a possibility that somebody cancels the reservation so you can get place right there.

OK, we were ready to ask for a place but we hoped, that there would not be any. A ranger told us that we had to ask somewhere else so we wanted to ask on the way back. But once we had walked all the way back to the Market Plaza where our car was, just the idea of going down the canyon was absolutely out of question. We had had lunch there and Maggie's question whether there was her birthday party was quite apt.

On the way back to Flagstaff we called at Desert View – the look in the canyon there was also interesting because you can see more of the Colorado. There was The Watchtower built in 1932 according to the prehistoric towers found scattered over the Southwest. There are indian paintings on the walls inside. Then we went longer way around and stopped at Wupatki – the ruins of the dwellings of the Hopi and some other tribes which were living together. They are supposed to have left in 13th century. From the citadel which is not exactly sure what it had been used for. You can see a canyon and San Francisco Peaks from up there. I think it was worth the roundabout. Sunset Crater farther on the road on the contrary is not interesting at all, because you are not allowed to go close and you can hardly see anything.

We were so disappointed that we hiked up the other crater – a Lennox crater – it was not very interesting either but I enjoyed it as a walk.

We got to the hotel at about 8:30 p.m., so we postponed the party to Las Vegas, dived into the pool for fifteen-minute-swimming had a shower and then sort of celebrated... Dad made a “Jamba Juice” – he had by mistake switched the fridge to freezer so our juice was after shaked like a smoothie – and instead of a cake we had a very old and very stale bagel, two Margot sticks and two cookies.

Why were we so tired again?

2008/06/23

June 23: Heat and road.

We got up at 4:30 (not very much refreshed) to see the dawn. At the Keys View there was windy and cold but the dawn was worth it. Then we came back to the camp and before breakfast Maggie and I went for a “walk” on the rock. Parents were not very happy that we had been away for a long time. We had breakfast and took the direction to Flagstaff.

Nothing was very much interesting during the journey except for Cholla Cactus Garden, where there was a track among the cactuses. which we took. The cactuses are said to prick... we tried to provoke one plant with a stick and nothing happened. But then while my parents and I were watching a rat-like-animal, my sister gave a cry – she stepped on a cactus and her attempt to take the thorns off caused that she had her hands full of them, which were very difficult to take out. Mum ended up very similarly, so then we quickly went to the car and drove away.

In the tourist center mum told a seller about our night experience and she looked as if really cared and would try to do something about that.

We then left California and entered Arizona. Arizona welcomed us with the horrible hot weather and with the London Bridge in Lake Havasu City – it is an old English bridge which was a stone by stone transported over the ocean to this town. It is not very interesting (just an ordinary stone bridge) and the heat was unbearable so we went on.

We had lunch Kingman in a Mexican (I would say) fast food. We were then experienced enough to order just three meals: salad, burritos and tacos. It was very good but ice-cream at a nearby McDonald's was not – it was just like always but was not worth waiting such a long time as we had to.

In the late afternoon we arrived in Flagstaff in the Days Inn, when another surprise came... At the reception we were told we had made a mistake with our reservation – we had reserved it for July 23 instead of June 23. But after some suspenseful minutes the guys solved it out and rebooked the correct date for us.

Our room was quite nice – we appreciated that it is possible to have a four-bed room in motels. The only drawback was the clogged toilet. Maggie and I went to run for a while and then used a pool at the hotel.

Then we decided to go to Flagstaff centre although the only thing we really deserved was sleep. Later it turned out to be a good decision. We lost our way a bit but then when we finally reached the center, we were walking a bit, window shopping and we chose some restaurants which would be good for the next day Maggie-birthday-party.

My sister was hungry as usual so we stopped at Pita Pit – I did not have anything but my parents and my sister had two pitas together. On our way home we visited a bookstore – Maggie got the new Coldplay CD – Viva La Vida for her birthday and I bought my favorite book – The Waterland. As always we were glad to see our beds.

2008/06/22

June 22: Joshua Tree.

We got up early and set up journey... OK, that was a plan but in fact we got up quite late and did not set up till noon, because Maggie went to the hospital (she helped there with handicapped kids) and we had some problems with packing and cleaning our room at least a bit.

Finally we left for the National Park Joshua Tree. On the way there we virtually did not stop bur for shopping some food. In The Joshua Tree we first bought some gifts for our friends and family members, found out that it was too late to buy a National Park ticket (that is not a problem at all – you can buy it later) and then started looking for food... I turned out to be quite a problem. At last we ended up in the Saloon where a lot of weid people were and where, in fact, I and Maggie were not allowed to enter (we did not know that). But we ate our food and left.

The park was very beautiful. The joshua tree is not in fact a tree although it looks like a being. It has a few curved branches and thorny trunk and prickles. There are a plenty of them in the park.

We found the camping place Hidden Valley – very nature-like nice place where you do not have even water. We tried to see the sunset on the Keys View in which we succeed in fact but we arrived there late anyway because we did not see red-lighted hills below us – the sun was too low already.

We had picnic in our camp, which consists of strawberries and fruit juice and then went to bed...

But now I cannot finish my post because we were supposed to experience quite an extraordinary night. I remember just the sound of cars and then some crying like “I will fuck you! I will kill you!”. I looked at the mobile phone – just to know what the time was (it was about 2:15), but mum told me not to light it and bend the head down. Her voice sounded pretty scared.

The next day mum told us that there were some people playing something like LARP from about 11:30 for three hours on. Mum hardly slept at all and both parents and Maggie were really afraid... You know, how phlegmatic I am all the time.

2008/06/21

June 21: Birthday party

Instead of going to the Getty museum as we had planned we stayed at home and helped to prepare Maggie's birthday party. First we built a new pool then swept garden furniture and built tents. It was extremely hot so I even got a beer from Dan (he said it was OK if it is at home under the parental control and at age almost 21). Then some guests came. There were three types of them: little kids, their parents and Maggie's friends. I was sitting on the patio with my parents and we together had to face a lot of introductions. Then Enxuush from Mongolia came to talk to us which was shy a little bit.

Then Maggie got a cake and presents but I was not watching that too much because I had something to do on the Internet for about five hours. My parents left and came back during the time and were planning our trip with Dan. Then I went to the backyard and talked to some of Maggie's friends. I was talking to Agelina most and to Tegan (such a bright girl), Amanda, Steve and Jordan and maybe some others.

I went to bed after I spent some other time on the Internet. We planned to clean all the mess up in the morning but Maggie did it right in the evening – I was not able to help her unfortunately, because I was very tired.

June 20: Downtown...

Two days ago we decided to go to the Downtown. Ok, I can admit now that it was not such a good idea to go there at noon. I do not think I had ever been hotter! First we went to the City Hall and it was even possible to go up the Hall even though dad was not allowed to go there with a knife so I went there with him again then.

After that we went to Olvera Street where near the City was founded in the El Pueblo de Los Angeles and to the catholic Our Lady Queen of Angels Church nearby. Then we visited the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels - a very big impressive building in modern style. There was cooler and the mess was in progress so we spent a while there.

Then we went to Disney Theatre because parents thought it was the Getty Museum because of its architecture... there were wrong though. My parents (especially mum) were so keen to see the skyscrapers in Wells Fargo Center so we walked there... At that time we started to be pretty exhausted so we got Jamba Juice and Fresh Juices (since mum hates all that stuff she bought a coke for herself). The skyscrapers were very high and it was very hot among them. But we are to see a lot higher skyscrapers in the New York City (although there will be a bit more bearable weather I hope).

The Westin Bonaventure Hotel near the Wells Fargo Center was very interesting, because it is known for its tangled stairs, lifts, inside terraces and corridors.

On the way to Broadway we started dying. Broadway was full of Hispanian Stores and quite dirty but we did not care about anything honestly. We just stopped in Bradbury Building where a few films (for example Blade Runner) was shot because there are beautiful stairs in wood and metal and marble.

Then we crept to the Union Station where we had to buy something more to drink and mum got an acquintance. Mum had the red spotted face and I think she felt dizzy, so we decided to go to the beach.


The Venice beach was also very intensive experience. It wasn't that easy to find our way but we saw the channels (from which the name of the beach is derived) at least before we found a parking place. The sea had as usual huge waves but far more interesting were the people on the street. There were kind of market and a lot of buskers and beggars. Maggie bought an earring for herself and both of us had ice-cream.

In the evening it started to be quite difficult to find a suitable place for having dinner. At last we found Bondy's place - there was quite a funny Australian guy from whom we bought fish and chips.

We arrived home very late and found Kerry making a sign for Maggie's birthday party. I felt asleep immediately.

2008/06/19

June 19: Fourth day in California

I have an idea, that this blog could be my something like diary during the trip... but we will see.

Two days ago we had breakfast made by Dan and then meant to go to Malibu, Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Maggie was not with us because she had to receive her graduation diploma at school. Thanks to the Thomas Guide we got to Santa Monica but we wanted to take a walk in Malibu. So we drove further and further but still nothing special could be seen... After all the attempts we parked the car for free(!) and then walked for about fifteen minutes just to find out that we could neither swim there, nor meet some foreigners.

Then we went to Santa Monica but we just walked around the most shopping street. But it was not so bad – I bought there a T-shirt so I was quite satisfied. Then we had something little to eat and then had to drive back, because we were supposed to have dinner out with host-parents.

I swam at parent's hotel's pool for a while and then we went to the city where Maggie's graduation had taken place. There was a very nice Italian restaurant. I had pasta but I could hardly eat it up. In the front of the restaurant there was an outside-cinema – E.T. – so we watched it for a while and then went back. I didn't go to bed till half past two because I was making puzzle with Kerry...

June 16 - 18: California!

So, I am in California now! I really enjoy my stay here. We arrived here two days ago in the evening (at midnight precisely). When I saw my sister, the first thing that came to my mind was that she is not that plump as she had told us – on the contrary – she is so beautiful with the long blond hair and suntanned skin.

Yesterday we had some experience with the American food. I found out two things: I hate Hawaiian BBQ and the "medium" Jamba Juice is too big (especially if you have to finish your mum's one...). Then we went to the beach – the Pacific Ocean really has bigger waves than I am used to from Mediterranean Sea, but I enjoyed it much more.

Today we went to Hollywood and to the Beverly Hills. We drove through Mulholland Drive and went through Rodeo Drive, where there are shops as Vuitton, Chanel, Dior and so on. We even went inside what was fun a lot because I was wearing my worst and oldest sandals... but after all they should not care.

After that there was Maggie's graduation at La Serna High School. It was very... American. It took place at the football stadium, there were speeches, some special awards were given and they congratulated every each student and read their name. Now my sister is partying – she has Grad Night.

Tomorrow we are going to the Venice Beach and maybe to the centre of Los Angeles.

Have a nice time in Prague!

2008/04/20

Puppies!



My sister wants some photos of Cyra... I am sorry, I do not have any just now. But on my way to work I met very cute puppies, so I post their photos instead of Cyra's.

I hope to get some photos from the mountains I was with my friends about two weeks ago so you have something to look forward to.


2008/03/17

My poor ability to speak foreign languages.

Hello again,

I am sorry, that I have not been writing until today. I am at the lecture on Hungarian literature. As I am in touch with people who can speak Hungarian, I am really sorry that I cannot... As for my abilities of speaking in foreign languages, I am completely hopeless. I started learning German, but my English is getting worse (as you might have noticed) and I'd rather not speak about my French and Russian...

Bu I still love foreign languages although I do not have time to study them like they would deserve...

2008/02/25

At School Again

OK, so it has been quite a long time since I wrote here... The summer term started a week ago and I found out that I have even MORE subjects than I had in the winter term. I was really surprised by that but you know – I do not have many compulsory subjects but there are quite a lot of interesting lectures which I can attend optionally like Modern Hungarian Literature, Bible in the Modern Literature, Tragedy, Europe and Islam,...

And I go to work more often so I do not believe I am going to survive this half year.

I started reading Lolita by Nabokov (in English) – it is really exciting and quite difficult I have to say. Unfortunately I am not going to finish it because now I have to read Plato and Bible and Dante...

However surprisingly enough both Plato and Dante are enjoyable. Plato's Dialogues are very humorous, because Socrates, as a character, is often very ironic. Dante's (Divine) Comedy is full of poetic images and metaphors and is supposed to be ironic as well but I cannot appreciate it yet because the style is very complicated and you have to get used to it.

2008/01/27

My birthday and my favorite city!!!

Despite all my expectations there ARE some people, who have visited my blog... and there are even some, who asked me for new articles:) I meant to post some photos of my birthday celebration (January 20) but I do not have any just now. However my birthday was quite good – apart from some useless mug-like-presents I got some things I can make use of and my parents and our family's friend (instead of my beloved sister in the US) and I went to a Spanish restaurant. We had seven-course dinner and consequently all of us had a stomach ache.

Anyway we really enjoyed it and did not care about the following days:)

Since I hate articles without photos, I post at least one I took on my way to work. It is in the centre near the St. Jilji Church.

2008/01/05

Mountains

As I promised, I am now going to write some information about my holiday. My parents, I and our family's friends were staying for six nights (07/12/27 – 08/01/02) in Austria in a town called Pasriach. We were there for skiing and snowboarding in Nassfeld, a ski area near the Italian borders. The interesting thing was, that there was not but artificial snow, although it was quite cold. One day we went for skating on a frozen lake near our house, because of my mother's third-day-superstition. There was a very nice weather all the time, so we really enjoyed it.

The only bad thing was the fact that my sister was not with us because she is in the US. Her blog is here.

In the first photo there is me and in the second one there is my mother and I am behind her.

2008/01/02

I have a blog at last!

So, like a lot of people, I have started my blog. I have just returned from Austria, where I was snowboarding and skiing and – sort of by the way – celebrating the New Year's Day. I will post some photos hopefully but for now you have to put up with a single photo of me.