Los Angeles to Miami – A journey full of adventures including a very unplanned hitchhiking

So overall all it was not that scary once I got there. People had asked me if I was scared and to be honest I was not that scared till they started asking and that implanted a lot of doubts in my head about travelling alone in North America with no driving skills. A work mate of mine even laughed about the fact that I usually like to walk around saying that – ‘don’t walk on the road, police might just shoot you on the spot’. It was funny but when I was looking forward to this trip (my first time in mainland in America), it wasn’t funny at the end and it made me more anxious. I had to see though what is this all about and I had to go to Los Angeles due to being a really big fan of Hollywood movies. If you don’t know much about me then just so that you know, I have watched thousands of Hollywood movie and I can say that I grew up watching them so this trip was like a dream come true. I know I sound very melodramatic but that was the expression on my face since I started from Sydney and all the way to Los Angeles. I was excited and I couldn’t stop smiling and I guess that made people even more friendly towards me and I got lots of food on the way to Los Angeles and even a Christmas pack full of lollies from the flight attendant.

I was asked few questions at the custom and they looked quiet intrigued knowing that it is my first time in USA and that too alone and I don’t know anyone here. Well you have to start somewhere. I knew people in USA but just not the places I had planned to visit 😉 Sounds like an adventure isn’t it. I know it was exciting and was keeping me on my toes with this thrilling sensation even when I was not doing any adventure sport here. This trip was more adventurous than many other things I have done in my life I can say. And I do really mean it so if you ever doubt of doing something but get excited thinking about it then trust me it would be good to just do it. As I had not expected anything from this trip but it became one of the most adventurous (in different sense), emotional roller coaster kind of trip of my life. I cried, I laughed, I got scared, I smiles, I went curious with new things, I was hungry, I was too full, I rested, I went days without enough or no sleep and finally I felt sad while leaving USA. That’s how wonderful my trip really was.

My actual plan was to spend Christmas in LA (Los Angeles) and New Year in Miami. But I end up going to Las Vegas for Christmas from where I did a tour to Grand Canyon with a helicopter ride and a boat trip at the very bottom of the canyon in Colorado river. I don’t know about others but I was awe-struck for quiet some time and was trying to soak this all in and taking pictures at the same time with this amazing place. No doubt that its a natural wonder of the world. I had to literally run as it was a day tour so I would advice if possible then take few days to absorb the beauty of grand canyon and definitely do a helicopter ride if you can afford as its worthwhile when you have already planned this trip to Grand Canyon. Here are few links for the tour just in case:

Now that I had done the tour to Grand Canyon and seen all the beautiful and exotic casinos of Vegas it was time to go back to Los Angeles and visit San Diego from there. But guess what I missed my bus. It so happened that I must have been walking way too much and when I was in Vegas, I kind of lost track of time with day and night. I was having my first coffee first thing in the morning and last thing in the day as well 😉 Around 2 AM I had my coffee as per my Vegas routine and put an alarm on my phone without realizing it was not plugged to the charger properly and then the inevitable happened. My phone died and I realized it was 9:30 AM already and my bus must have left by 7:30 AM. I was in a wired state of shock when you feel like déjà Vu and I tried to go back to sleep thinking it might be just a dream. Unfortunately it wasn’t and then I started looking for another bus which wasn’t going to run till late in the evening so it looked almost impossible for me to get to San Diego tonight. But I wasn’t going to give up that easy hence I decided to hitch hike. Yes, you heard me right I was all up for asking for a ride. I started my attempt in the hotel I was staying but I was too shy to literally going to people and ask hence I asked one lady only. Then navigated the way to Los Angeles on my GPS and started walking towards this road that leads to Los Angeles. I wish it wasn’t that far then I could have just walked to it 😉 Any ways I did take a ride from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and that too with a very nice truck driver and learned all about him and his nice family on the way and I am still alive so it was fun I must say.

Its time for me to go now and I would tell you more about this adventure and how I was told to stand at the right spot to be able to hitch hike to LA by  a local in Vegas who had done his share of hitch hiking in his time. So stay tuned my friends as its been a while that I have had a chat with you all and I missed you so very much 🙂 But not to worry I am back and that too with lots of stories to tell.

 

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Time to Slow down? Wait one more day to go before that – Part 3 (Travel faster or Fast Travel – Sri Lanka in 7 crazy days)

I am back 🙂 I know you have enjoyed the last two posts and hope I can share as much as possible in this post with you as well. I didn’t intent to make it a series here but had so many pics and so many incidents to share that turned out that can’t be written in one post. So after last two posts here comes some adventure and more relaxing way to travel in third post 😉

Here is the link to last two posts in case you haven’t read them already or want to read again 😉 Although to be clear there is not much dependency so you can go ahead and read this only as well.

Part 1: https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/

Part 2: https://talkingexperience.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/go-go-go-rest-of-sri-lanka-is-waiting-part-2-travel-faster-or-fast-travel-sri-lanka-in-7-crazy-days/

Now that I was done with Sigiriya, I took another bus to get to Dambulla, city famous for cave temple. It takes almost 40 minutes to get there. But to be honest I felt its more over a stop over for few hours and better to continue to next destination after this if you don’t want to spend time in one place only. I checked out the Cave Temple.

Now that I had seen the temple it was time to go to another city where I could be more comfortable staying and might get a chance to go out. Kandy, my next stop, was like a town in India (Nainital – near my home town Almora). Its main attraction is the lake in the center of the town. It has got a feel of hill station to it. And I really felt glad that this is where I planned to stay finally.

 

It was this feeling that made me more energetic after already been to two towns before getting here. Now the next task ahead was to find a place to live. It was close to 4 PM so not much time in hand but still enough. So I stated walking around the lake. I saw a road going uphill and started walking on it with my backpack. It was a rough walk after a tiring day but then I was not going to settle down with just any Auto-rickshaw telling me where I can stay as they always quote a higher price. And by now I was in the country for 4 days so felt like I am already an expert (which was a mistake really to be this over confident). I kept walking and then I realized the higher you go the more expensive the hotels were. I talked to few locals and they pointed out to few directions I could go and I finally went to a home-stay but at this height, not even home stay was cheap. I gave up and as directed by one of the locals, I finally took an Auto-rickshaw and went to find a better and cheap place to stay that can fit in my backpacker’s budget. Note: You don’t have backpackers much in countries like this (other than Colombo). But it’s still cheaper to get a room at your own.

I finally found a really nice place and that too very cheap in a hotel. And it was time to get some food as my physical strength was giving up by now. I got fresh and headed to the town now. Got some local food like last time – Kottu (roti made with various vegetables). I loved it and was eating it almost everyday. This time I was really brave and determined to at least try few Sri Lanka dishes and one fruit, one sweet-dish and if possible one local drink. And guess what – I tried them all. And you know what now I am already feeling hungry talking about it 🙂 So after food and some desert, I was ready to go out for a drink. I met a polish guy who was also willing to see some nice club in the town. The more the merrier and we headed to a nice place and I tried the local drink called Arrack. Also spelled arak, it is a distilled alcoholic drink made from either the fermented sap of coconut flowers, sugarcane, grain (e.g. red rice) or fruit, depending upon the country of origin. It was really strong and I felt right to order just once. And was happy enough that I could still remember the way to home..lol. Don’ t worry I am never that drunk as directions are like my sixth sense and if I know the  way then I can always get my way no matter what.

Next morning was so beautiful that I could not complain to get up early. I had inquired the last evening where I wanted to go today – ‘Bahirawakanda Viharaya’. Its a 88 feet high Buddha temple on top of a hill and provide a bird’s eye view of the town.

I was already on my way to this place as I was missing some exercise so I planned to walk to this place. It’s an hour walk at max and very pleasant if you start first thing in the morning, although I started around 10 AM. But it was fine anyways. I made sure that I keep my sandals with me in my bag (just in case I loose it as I could not afford walking back barefoot). It was a treat for eyes to see this very big statue of Buddha. It has got a little museum with different wall cravings on it. It was a nice and refreshing walk back to the town.

Now it was time to head to the most important location for tea production in Sri Lanka, Nuwara Eliya. It is located in the hill country of the central province in Sri Lanka. Its name means – City of Light. If you ever go to Sri Lanka then the train ride is a must. So you better get ready for one of the most amazing train ride through a very beautiful breathtaking scenery.