Thursday, 24 December 2009

Colorado

A nice hot day in California greeted my weary soul on Tuesday. There was no plan for today just settling into LA - learning that biscuits come in a can; being introduced to places of wonder like Yogurt-land; discovering that corn bread isn't very nice (imho); talking to a homeless man, and even meeting a republican! I don't like that alcohol from New Zealand is cheaper here than at home! 42 below is like $15 a liter, unfair! And a decent amount of juice won't break the bank here either. Does everything have to come with peanuts though?

A quick down-packing into one bag from two - ice axe still present but I decided not to bother with the crampons and all my cold weather kit... Colorado isn't cold or anything is it???
So with mostly adequate gear Kim and I flew onwards to Colorado. Had some nice fast food of Chinese - Panda Express, also discovered that prices don't include tax over here. Anyhow we had a quick stop in Las Vegas - saw that pyramid that is in every single movie set there. Got some nice views of sunset over the North American Rockies! 6 mini bags of peanuts later we got to Denver International Airport.


It was our friend AJ's last day of exams so it was awesome to be able to go out and celebrate with him. The very first place we went - The Mountain Sun. Well my supervisor had the right idea I think - they had some fantastic home brewed beers - Swan Son was one I liked a lot; the nitrogen foamed Pale Ale was a very interesting beer too, nice and creamy, almost buttery. Very nice burgers and grilled sandwiches too - Goony Bird was delicioumo!

The only thing I wrote for the next day is "I want to live in Boulder". AJ took us to a very warm yoga session - which was good cause there was snow on the ground. We had some Jamba juice and AJ cooked an amazing crock-pot of goodness. Books it turns out, are affordable in the states - we went to a book shop and somethings were reasonable - its amazing! New Zealand could learn from this! I paid money for a novel because it wasn't a rip off...
Visiting Neptune, an outdoor shop in Boulder, we asked about local "hikes" and were told about Lake Brainard. As it turns out Kim had been there before by a different route! We hired snow-shoes (well I bought a pair for my Mum's Tramping Gear Hire shop).

We got an early start, picking up Kim's friend Lesley on the way and saw sunrise as we got into the mountains. Snowshoes were pretty much required for this path, it would have been up to our wastes for hours without them. The snow is so dry compared to that in New Zealand though, doesn't make the toes anywhere near as cold! The wind on the other hand - that was just a light breeze but felt quite gnarly.
We came across a few large clearings like this, photos don't really do them justice.

Kim made a berry flavored slushy in the snow for everyone, here is AJ having a drink.
The bridge out at Brainard Lake.
The crew having lunch on the way back from a enjoyable outing! After returning the hired snowshoes, (and having a nap!) we went to AJ's Mum's house - wow could she cook! What a fantastic spread she had done! The next day was packing and moving up day for Kim and I; AJ was working early so we took our time and caught a bus from Boulder to Denver. Then we waited for my friend Dani to pick us up from our hideout in the "Tattered Cover" - a really amazing bookstore by the way. I couldn't resist a cheap physics book on additional dimensions in the universe, kept me quiet for the next few days anyhow! Also in Denver Kim introduced me to my new favorite fast food - Chipotle, a healthy mexican grill.
The next day Dani dropped us into the Natural History and Science Museum in Denver. Here Kim is trying to escape from the fourth floor... We went to a Genghis Khan exhibit that was really good, but I think museums shouldn't be visited too early in the morning. Sadly Dani had to work the whole time we were in Denver; we really had to monopolize her evening time!
While in town an ATM stole Kims check and we ate lots of pasta with spicy croutons. I swear Denver smells a bit off sometimes, it really stunk when we got out of the museum anyhow. The rest of that day seemed to consist of walking down to the frozen lake to see the millions of geese, then back to town via a bus, or the museum. Later that evening round at Dani's friend Brooke's house, I got properly introduced to s'moores; I believe the states might have one upped our old chocolate thins and marshmallows at the campfire to be honest.
Near Dani's house is Washington park, so the next day after a welcome lie in we wandered down and around that. Then Dani took us to the original Chipotle which was really close to her school, a couple of movies later and it was our last day in Colorado.

For some reason even though it was really freezing we had been told of some famous home made ice cream... so one Peanut and Chocolate waffle cone and two amazing fillings later I was ready for the warmer climate of Los Angeles! Kim's mother picked us up from the ridiculously busy LAX and then stuffed us full of fresh fruit, chicken salad and sesame chicken - no complaints from me!
Now I'm going to pretend today didn't happen; I didn't get slightly lost in LA by myself, twice. Nope, it has just gone and suddenly skipped a day to Christmas Eve.
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