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Puyallup, United States

Getting on a 1 PM flight at SEATAC and not arriving in OAK till around 4:50, because of a stop (probably somewhere in Portland, not that I know because I got an online deal and it didn't say where I'd stop...heh.).

permalink written by  Christina Martin on November 6, 2007 from Puyallup, United States
from the travel blog: Moving to Bay Area
tagged USA and California

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Chicago, United States

Sorry it took so long...

Well, lots of things happened since I've been here last time... so, I'll make a brief exposure of what was Chicago for me... and it was awesome.

I am a very lucky girl! (I wish I could say more, but I can't...). Anyway, we stayed at a very nice hotel (a expensive one, but we'd paid half price - employees price). The room had a king size bed, viewing the river, and a very nice square with trees and lights. Awesome!

And so is Chicago. We've been to lots of places (unfortunatelly we only had 3 days there... before Xmas). But the best is the Millenium Park, because of the big "bean" from Anish Kapoor (well, Frank Gehry is there too, but... you know, is Frank Gehry). The bean was an awesome stuff, but don't go there drunk, in the middle of the night =)

Well, then we got a city pass, and we've visited the Field Museum and the Aquarium. The Aquarium was very fun, we spent hours there, seeing Belugas, and dolphins and lizards. Things that we both love.

And there's more (I left the best part to the end!): my first night in Chicago ended with a HOCKEY GAME! And that was for sure one of the best things I've seen. It was a show indeed!!! Loved to see the guys playing, fighting, the shitty beer we had, and the fact that we won the match. Too bad that I don't remember the name of the team right now.

The nightlife were fun too. I am learning a lot about beer, cherries and dive bars. Good stuff.

permalink written by  me on December 31, 2007 from Chicago, United States
from the travel blog: USA here I go!
tagged USA and Chicago

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Wisconsin, Xmas and a lot of snow!

New Auburn, United States

Here I am again, from the middle of nowhere!

I've never imagined being here, Wisconsin, near the famous Jack Dawson's Chippewa Falls! And guess what? I am loving every second of it.

We arrived at the cabin on Xmas eve, and I'm still here. The cabin is just awesome (it's very humble to call it a cabin...), wooden construction, a big lake, frozen of course, with otters, deer and a lot of stuffed animals (I am learning to live with them).

And they have snowmobiles! I've learned how to ride them, and they are awesome! I almost crashed a few times, but I am alive and I want to do it again sometime (cause now the snow is melting, and is dangerous to ride them). On the New Years Eve the house was full, and we went to a nice ride, stopping in every bar we found on the way. It was the best... I kept thinking that I came all the way from Brazil to here, and I am really seeing how people from Wisconsin lives... not tourism, real stuff. People had been really nice to me here, I guess they don't see a lot of Brazilians all the time... and they don't know how I like snow so much!

I am very happy, very very happy. And very relaxed too, because usually we have nothing to do here, but go on the hot tub, and watching TV... with the couches they have here, it's also an experience! Well, talking about the tub, have you ever got out of a hot bath, rolled on the snow for 14 seconds and got back??? Well, I did, and it was very stupid but unforgettable. =D

Today the weather is shitty. We had planned to leave today, heading to Green Bay... but we've been so lazy that we decided to do this tomorrow (this time for sure). Maybe today we're going shopping... the peanut butter is over, and I just loved to try peanut butter and jelly sandwich! (Well, I got some extra weight here...)

permalink written by  me on January 6, 2008 from New Auburn, United States
from the travel blog: USA here I go!
tagged USA, NewAuburn, Wisconsin, ChippewaFalls and Relax

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Green Bay!

Green Bay, United States

Well, we're still going!

Finally we've left the cabin, and here we are, in Green Bay, Packers home. Actually, is a small town, good food at Marty's and a lot Packers' stuff. They have a nice stadium (I don't know if they call like that)... and a lot of marketing!

permalink written by  me on January 7, 2008 from Green Bay, United States
from the travel blog: USA here I go!
tagged USA, GreenBay and Football

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Still New York

New York, United States

Well, I would really love to write about this amazing city... I've spent eight days here, and it has been amazing... so many things to do, good food and weird people!!! I'm really enjoying it, and we did pretty much everything we wanted to, so we'll be living tomorrow :(
After a visit to Chinatown, of course...

I'll come back for more.

permalink written by  me on January 18, 2008 from New York, United States
from the travel blog: USA here I go!
tagged NewYork and USA

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Going to Florida - Part 1

Point Pleasant, United States

Well, here we are again...

Getting down to Florida! And our first stop is here, at Pleasantville... it is not a big city, is just a very nice beach city, small, with a lot of beautiful houses, the way I've never seen. We're driving the long way through the coast, so we'll take a little longer to get there.

permalink written by  me on January 20, 2008 from Point Pleasant, United States
from the travel blog: USA here I go!
tagged Beach, USA, Coast and NewJersey

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Going to Florida - Part 2

Ocean City, United States

Today was a great day!!!

Driving trough the coast, along the beach, with amazing little houses!!! It worth the driving! I've never seen such a beautiful place. The beach is just ok (when you compare to Brazil, of course), but everything is so beautiful, that you don't need the beach, actually.

permalink written by  me on January 21, 2008 from Ocean City, United States
from the travel blog: USA here I go!
tagged Beach, USA, NewJersey and OceanCity

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Going to Florida - Part 3

Nags Head, United States

More one day travelling... and here we are, North Carolina, in this interesting city called Nags Head.

Today we saw one of the most amazing sunsets I've ever seen, with the sun in one side, and the moon on the other... on a sand dune. In another interesting city called "Kills Devil Hills", where the Wright Brothers did they first flight or whatever you wanna call it.

Was cold as hell, but really worth it. Actually, I've never been that cold in my whole life... but it worth it.

permalink written by  me on January 22, 2008 from Nags Head, United States
from the travel blog: USA here I go!
tagged Sunset, Nature, USA, NagsHead and NorthCarolina

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Going to Florida - Part 4

Charleston, United States

Well, that was one desired destination... and we've been here for two days now.

It's a very nice city, all about history! It looks a lot with Paraty, in Brazil. The same vibe, beach and history. And we took our time to check on the gardens, plantations, and of course, the walking tours with the guide showing us all architecture, all the history and some funny stories.

It's an amazing place to walk around, looking at everything (my kind of travel =). And that was what we did! Of course, with a stop to shop on "The Body Shop" and to eat.

Only one thing I've getting tired of is having no vegetarian options here... only sandwiches... and fried stuff, that is making me slightly chubby...

permalink written by  me on January 24, 2008 from Charleston, United States
from the travel blog: USA here I go!
tagged Beach, Nature, USA, History and SouthCarolina

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Pretoria, South Africa

Leaving Polokwane began with yet another delicious meal from McDonalds. For a change, this drive was straight highway all the way to Pretoria, where we were going to be staying at a condo owned by a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-friend. To put it another way, a person who lives in the US that I’ve never met before arranged with her friend in South Africa to host 4 people who she had never met before for 3 nights. It took a bit of trust on both ends of the deal, but it sure seems like it’s going to work out perfectly for us.

We arrived at the condo a bit after 11am, and attempted to find an internet café to try and reserve tickets at the Park-n-Ride to take us to the stadium for the match at 4pm. We were told there was one at a mall nearby, except that when we got there, we found out the café was gone, but there was one in another mall really close by. Well, that mall wasn’t that close by, and no one could really give me great directions to get there or anywhere else, so we just decided we’d wing it. When we were on safari, we talked to some other guests who had been in Jo’burg for games, and they mentioned a place to eat called Melrose Arch. As it turned out, while we were driving towards Jo’burg, I spotted it right off the highway, so we exited and made our way to the parking garage there. Total cost for the whole day? $6! Now we just had to find a cab to the match, and we’d be all set.

There was apparently another “Park-n-Ride” nearby, but it turned out that this one cost $50 per person round trip. Ridiculous and absurd. We ducked into a restaurant to grab some food, and they said they would get us a cab after the meal. They did exactly that, and we got a very nice driver in a BMW who took us down to the match as far as he could go without breaching the no-car perimeter that was set up around the stadium. He even walked with us for a bit to make sure we were safe, as the stadium is right next to a slum area that is full of Zimbabwean and Nigerian illegal immigrants. It was sad to drive by the area and see just how awful the living conditions were there. I honestly think the people living in one-story brick houses in the rural villages have a higher quality of life than the people here. In any event, the ride was only $25, and he offered to pick us up after the match. For winging it, this turned out really well.

As for the match itself, there’s only one word – Ayoba! Ayoba apparently is a slang term for “wow” or, more accurately, a “wow-factor”. If you watched the match, you know what I mean. But let’s start from entering the gates. The US support was through the roof. Everywhere I looked there were American flags, face paint, and vuvuzuelas. I tried to get a video or two capturing the atmosphere, but I’m not certain how well it worked. Once again we were sitting in the upper level, so we made our way up the winding ramps to the tune of USA chants and vuvuzuela blasts. We wound up in the 4th row of the upper level much closer to mid-field, which were great seats. In the “it’s a small world” category, we wound up sitting directly in front of an American family who was on our safari just a few days earlier. I was on the end of my group, so I wound up talking to a South African couple next to me throughout the match who had never been to a soccer match prior to the World Cup. The guy was asking me about our team and how good we were, along with getting clarity on some rules of the game itself.

For whatever reason, I love the pre-match ritual with the flags, the entrance of the players and the national anthems of both teams, even more so when it’s a US match. I think it has to do with all the build-up to the match coming to a head right at that moment, knowing it is only seconds away from beginning where anything can happen.

Unfortunately, the “anything” can be bad just as well as good. The Slovenians set the tone of the match not 30 seconds into it when one of their players went down like he’d been shot in the head, requiring the presence of the stretcher only to have him stand up and walk off the field when it arrived, and then re-entering the field a minute later. The guy next to me remarked that it was less about actual skills and more about who’s the best actor. This occurred probably 5 times throughout the match, until someone finally did get hurt and actually went off on the stretcher.

The first half was a disaster. 2 goals by the Slovenians, none by the US. We had a ton of wasted chances late in the first half only to have it followed up almost immediately by the 2nd Slovenian goal. I thought we were done. The way the team had been playing, I saw no chance of us coming back to tie, much less win the match. At the time, had we lost, the World Cup would’ve been over, as we were certain that England would beat Algeria and make it impossible for us to claim 2nd place. As the 2nd half started and the US made what Ryan and I thought were 2 underwhelming substitutions, along with some tactical switching of the players, things started to pick up a bit. Then Landon Donovan put home his magnificent goal into the roof of the net, and we started to believe again.

The US had a ton of momentum throughout the next 10 minutes or so, but couldn’t put home the 2nd goal, and as time wore on, it started to get more and more bleak. We were having some success passing the ball up to Altidore, but no one was getting great shots on net. Finally, the breakthrough came in the 82nd minute on a beautiful head from Altidore down to Bradley who buried it past the keeper in the back of the net. Complete delirium from the American fans, and all of a sudden there was new life. What followed after that is something that I still haven’t seen a definitive replay of, and have no idea why it didn’t count. Altidore won a gift of a free kick, which was kicked into the box and put into the net by a US player. Everyone went absolutely crazy only to discover moments later that the goalie was taking a goal kick from the box and the goal didn’t count. After a few scares late in the match, it was over and the US was still alive. As an older South African man said to me as we were leaving, "the match was Ayoba". It certainly was.

We made our way to that international landmark known as KFC to find our driver, who told us that the goal should’ve counted because he couldn’t see a foul when it was replayed on tv. On the way back to Melrose Arch, he was talking with us about how much it hurt to see South Africa going out before the 2nd round while the other teams are playing on, and that if they had only made it to the 2nd round, everyone in the country would’ve been happy. The rest of the World Cup will be very bittersweet for South Africans unless a miracle happens for them on Tuesday night.

Back at Melrose Arch, we went to a restaurant called Moyo that had been highly recommended by the Chicago people on our safari as well as the guy next to me at the match, and we sat outside in a big open area where they were showing the England-Algeria match. Thankfully, they provided us with big warm blankets; otherwise we would’ve been frozen. There were gas lamps and fire barrels scattered throughout the area as well. The place was absolutely packed as the game approached, with a small group of dedicated drunken English fans singing songs while everybody else in the area – mostly US fans, some Mexican, some Argentinian – were rooting for Algeria. A group of Hondurans passing by saw my American flag and all of them told us that the goal should’ve counted, and that they were rooting for us. We expressed our thanks, and said the same for them. The Argentines had a number of tables and were singing their own songs while waving towels or flags around in the air. It was a great atmosphere, and we got the result that we wanted with England drawing Algeria. If the US can beat Algeria on Wednesday, we go through to the next round regardless of what happens in the other match. Hopefully this is not a repeat of 2006, when we had a match against an African team that we should’ve beaten to advance to the next round, and lost.

The drive back to Pretoria was a piece of cake. Tomorrow, we see what it has to offer.

permalink written by  nucappy on June 18, 2010 from Pretoria, South Africa
from the travel blog: London and South Africa - World Cup 2010!
tagged USA, SouthAfrica, Pretoria, WorldCup and Slovenia

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