Thursday, December 31, 2009


Well we had an awesome time in Hawaii. We had quite a few travel woes on the way out there and on the way back, but that's a whole other post. Let's just say we got to spend an unexpected night in San Fransisco that turned out wonderful thanks to the flexibility of our friends. Justin got home from Africa on December 15th at 5:30 pm and we headed out for HI at 8:30 am on the 16th. Poor guy! At our stop in SF we got to hang out with Kevin and Nikki and Jill and meet Preston.
We had a great time of catching up. I forgot how deep and thought provoking Nikki's questions can be. :)

We finally arrived in Honolulu on Thursday at 2:00 and hit the beach. We had a great view from our hotel balcony. You sort of had to lean over to see, but it was still great. It was a very relaxing trip with not much planned which was great!! Thursday night we went to the best sushi place ever! You basically let the chef bring you whatever he decides to make. We ended up eating a 13 course meal! It was amazing. best. sushi. ever.

Friday we got up early and went on a 5 mile hike on the north shore. It was so cool and very pretty. Whitney, Bob (WB radio rep), George (WB radio rep), Laura (George's fiancee), Justin and I all made it the whole 5 miles. It was Bob's first hike and we were proud of him. The path was pretty steep at times, but worth it for the view at the end. That night, Justin played an acoustic set with Whitney for about 30 minutes. Not a bad trade off for a free vacation, I'd say! We also went to Benihanna, one of those Japanese steak houses where they make the food in front of you. Justin had never been to a place like that, so that was fun. We both had pretty much the best steaks of our lives. So yummy!

Of course, I can't go anywhere without getting hurt. Before our hike we stopped at a grocery store to get some supplies. Across the street from the store was the beach and a small tide pool with a bunch of big rocks. Justin, Whitney and I decided to go climbing out on the rocks. I was jumping out to where Justin was standing and slipped on a wet rock and went down HARD! My left hand/arm was all bloody and my leg and lower back had some pretty huge bruises. I was soaked too. Luckily between me Justin and Laura, I was able to change clothes and make the hike anyway, but still it was pretty rough. (This picture is from the end of the day when I took the bandaids off. Most of the blood had dried by then.)

Saturday we just lazed around and hung out on the beach. The fruity drinks and fresh pineapple sure did spoil us! Justin and I walked around the beach in the morning and did a little shopping. The Hilton was crazy, you pretty much would never have to leave if you didn't want to. So many shops and stores. That afternoon Justin and Whitney rented kayaks and I took a spin in Whit's. I couldn't do too much though, because my hands were still messed up and the salt water stung!

Sunday was supposed to be our last day (thanks to United, we stayed an extra night) so we just lounged around on the beach. Justin got a snorkeling mask and some flippers and said he saw some pretty cool fish. I snorkeled for a bit, but again, couldn't stay in the water long because of my hands. We got all packed up that night and headed to the airport. En route, we found out one of our flights had been canceled so the shuttle driver brought us back to the hotel. (After picking up a few more passengers and going all the way out to the airport.)

We made the most of Monday and took the public bus out to Pearl Harbor. We spent most of the morning out there touring the USS Bowfin (a submarine) and the USS Arizona memorial. The USS Missouri was dry docked for repairs for the first time since the memorial opened so it was closed. (Just our luck!) It was pretty amazing and quite sobering to tour everything and remember what happened and all the lives lost. That afternoon we headed out to the beach for our last few hours. We walked out on the rock pier to watch the last sunset and it was beautiful!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

world traveler

I thought I'd give you all a taste of Justin's travels. Here are a few excerpts from some of his emails and a few pictures I stole off facebook. Enjoy!

This is next to the hotel they actually stayed in. The English Channel is just to the left.

that town (amsterdam) is awesome. i heard so many european languages there. there is an ugly side to it--the red light district. our hotel shuttle driver was telling us that it is basically behind this big church. he thought that was really funny. i told him i thought that was a really great location for a church building, actually. he didn't get it. i wish we could have seen that city in the daylight--the buildings were so awesome. so much history here!
Amsterdam Central Station

there were no arrival cards to fill out at the airport (in south africa), and the customs didn't even stop us to rifle through our bags. the airport was really nice and modern and clean. a major change for the better from the lagos (nigeria) airport.

we got in around 6:30am, and were taken to the house we are staying's called the travel lodge in auckland park, which is a suburb of jo'burg. the house is AMAZING. it has 12 bedrooms or so, most of which have two twin beds (not pushed together, thankfully). the neighborhood resembles newport beach or even maui with the style of the homes and the vegetation. it's a bit confusing hearing everyone speak the queen's english here. and it doesn't feel like africa at all. my room is on the bottom floor next to the driveway, and i can look out of my window and see the old-fashioned tennis court in the front yard. further up the hill on the side of the house, there is a small pool and a neatly manicured yard enclosed in a brick walkway. the whole place is a blend of england and the tropics. the city is very modern as well. it'll be nice to be here for a few days before going to ghana.

we are at the studio in jo'burg waiting to get everything set up and plugged in. this really nice older gentleman named kevin brought in a bunch of guitar gear--some old fender amps, a marshall cab, and a few guitars--a mexican tele (pretty cool), a les paul anniversary edition (meh), and a REAL 1961 STRAT (UNBELIEVABLE)!!!! it sounds so good, plays great. worth about $30k...

the studio that we are tracking in here in jo'burg is in the national tv/radio broadcasting studios. it's a huge complex, and i guess it's the only place that broadcasts south african tv. during apartheid, it was where the oppressive white regime would spread their propaganda.

on that note, there is a bit of darkness about this place that comes from its crazy history. there are still townships, which are basically huge fenced-in slums where blacks were forced to live and given little to no rights. the crazy part is that apartheid didn't really end until 1994. can you believe that? most of the country is still not very safe for whites. you need to be aware at all times even in the major cities (which are the safest areas for sure).