The Carnival Is Over

Original posted on London to New York blog, June 22, 2010

New York, New York

WHO would have believed that arriving in Manhattan would provide something approaching a return to normality? The city that never sleeps as the place to kick back, relax and draw breath?

But after 94 days, 21 border crossings, six birthdays, two May 10ths, one rampaging bug and temperatures ranging from about minus 10 degrees C below to up in the 90s, we have arrived in New York.

And after 13 weeks living in each other’s pockets, we are having to adjust to life on our own again.

New York
End of the line – Toasting arriving in New York (well, Jersey City over the Hudson) with Phebes

Well, almost. There are still seven of us staying in the same hostel and there’ll be a select gathering in Boston at the end of the week, but numbers are gradually dwindling.

The first overland trip from London to New York is over. We are out on our own again, left to plan our own travels, our own destinations, our own futures – which, in my case, means working out just what to do next.

Don’t worry, there’s going to be no musing at length about my options (although if any travel editors or anyone looking for freelance writers stumbles across this…).

But having given non-committal answers (or long, rambling ones that don’t really address the question, depending on how many drinks have been downed) to any questions about my future over the past few months, the time is drawing near when some sort of plan emerges from the vague outline in the back of my mind.

Not yet though. For a little while longer at least, the USA is my backyard to explore.

And having gone through the rigmarole of getting an American visa, it would be churlish not to use it.

The Bean
The Chicago skyline (and me in there somewhere) reflected in The Bean

It lasts until mid-November, although the chances are the Atlantic will be crossed well before that.

But between now and then, there’s a lengthy stop in Boston to join in the July 4 celebrations, toss some tea about and cheer on the Red Sox.

After that it’s a bit sketchy, although a road trip down to Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans and, possibly, Austin, Texas, is on the cards before the coast starts calling – just haven’t worked out yet whether it is back to the east coast or head on west to spend some more time in the cities we flew through on this trip – San Francisco, Seattle and, maybe, back over the border to Vancouver.

But that’s all in the future, this blog is supposed to be reporting on what has already happened – starting with the fight to remove the smell of cheese from our laundry in the small town of New Ulm, Minnesota.

The good news is the smell appears to have gone (not that you want to unzip my laundry bag to find out), but the bad news is the impact the whole drama had.

The second wash and several cycles in the dryer to dispel any lingering cheese odour stranded Phil and myself in town long after the bus had gone back to the park.

It all meant a very pleasant, if hot, walk back through the suburbs wearing sandals which don’t really fit me properly and are more often used for short journeys to the shower or around the bus.

Buckingham Fountain
Buckingham Fountain, Chicago

The end result was that while Phil was racing the children of New Ulm to be first into the open-air pool when the lifeguard returned to duty, the huge blisters which had appeared on the soles of both feet were attracting my attention.

Just what you want when the next day’s task is to cover as much ground as possible around Chicago in little more than 12 hours and more of the sweltering temperatures which have accompanied us over the last week or so (tomorrow’s forecast, up to 96 degrees C).

Patched up and joined by Phoebe, Pam and Nick, we headed into the centre of Chicago from the suburb of Lincoln Park – via the lovely Nookies diner where Phebes and I were left debating whether that was Oscar-winning actor Adrian Brody on the adjacent table.

The rest were not much use as they had no idea who he was, but Phoebe claimed the sighting as genuine and as we split up to do our own thing, there was an extra little spring in her step.

My step was not quite so bouncy but, with the help of the open-top tour bus to eat up some of the miles, managed to cover a fair amount of ground.

Four years ago, on my first visit Chicago didn’t really rate that highly on my road trip – it was all a bit too concrete, stifling and vertical.

But its charms began to seep in a bit more this time.

John Hancock Tower
Cocktails on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Tower

Millennium Park has undergone a bit of a facelift (and provides a perfect setting for a break from sightseeing, even getting me to experience a bit of open-air opera) and the whole lake front area buzzed with activity.

A little too much activity by the Shedd Aquarium where free entry had drawn two-hour long queues which ended plans to visit what memory tells us is a must-see, but at least getting off the bus saved me from the breakdown which stranded Julie and Gerda on the top deck.

The initial four Chicago raiders reconvened on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Tower for a quick cocktail before coming down to earth or, more accurately, under it for a few rounds at the Billy Goat Tavern.

Made famous by John Belushi in a Saturday Night Live sketch and a curse on the Cubs baseball team, the bar has few frills, even fewer niceties and was once the fabled hangout of the Chicago Tribune’s sportswriters. My kind of place.

Enlivened by the tavern, we headed back uptown and, via a brewery pub and dingy blues bar we stumbled back onto the bus for another night on the road.

Canada
World’s second biggest country. Just in case you missed it.

We awoke somewhere in Austenburg Ohio for a quick breakfast in a Waffle House ahead of a complete contrast to the previous day, a lazy afternoon on the beach and swimming in Lake Erie before heading to the banks of the Allegheny River in Pennyslvania to set up camp.

It provided the base the next morning for our final bus clearance and kitchen clean before the final sprint to the finish, accompanied by a flurry of card signing and form filling as we rolled into Niagara Falls.

Having been to the Falls before and instantly impressed, the underwhelming reaction from several travelling companions a little strange, even when we’d walked over the Rainbow Bridge into Canada to get the more spectacular view of the Horseshoe Falls.

Maybe we’ve been spoiled over the past three months and have come to expect a little bit too much from places.

Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls

Don’t expect too much from the town on the Canadian side which is a neon explosion of casinos, tacky tourist traps and attractions – like Blackpool if it was modelled by Americans. Phoebe loved it.

But we did find one dive bar to belatedly toast Freddie’s 19th birthday freed from the drinking laws across the border, although what the American immigration staff thought of us as we crawled through our final border in dribs and drabs is anyone’s guess.

Somehow they let us all through and we settled down for our final night drive, waking in Jersey City on the banks of the Hudson River, complete with the classic vista of the Manhattan skyline for the obligatory end of tour pictures.

And that, pretty much, was that as the group began to fragment – some taking the ferry across to Manhattan, others riding the bus to the hostel with the bags and then heading to wherever they were staying.

Those of us who opted for the ferry, meandered our way to the hostel via a Times Square brunch and waved goodbye to Freddie – the first of the gang to leave as he jetted back home in the evening.

Times Square
Times Square marks the end of the trip

The rest of us reconvened in a Times Square bar for one last supper as more goodbyes were said.

And one by one they peeled off until, just after midnight, left alone playing darts in an Upper West Side bar with drivers Lukas and Charlie and life outside the group became a reality once more…

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Why’s It Always Dairylea?

Original posted in London to New York blog, June 16, 2010

New Ulm, Minnesota

WARNING: This entry is long and contains some explicit references to cheese.

THIS entry was supposed to be extolling the delights of America’s National Parks and looking ahead to the final run through Chicago, Niagara Falls and on to New York.

It may, in the best tradition of this blog, have started with a quote from Blackadder about the final push.

Instead, there is little option than to open up with the latest in an occasional series of valuable travel tips which this blog feels necessary for anyone involved in a similar trip (particularly if that trip is led by a 6ft 4in snoring Kiwi with a penchant for smelly cheese).

New Ulm
Nick’s T-shirt shows the scars of the New Ulm cheese debacle

This tip is useful for anybody, no matter if they are travelling or not (particularly if they know a 6ft 4in snoring New Zealander… well, you get the drift).

And the tip is: Never agree to share a load of washing with anybody who has a penchant for smelly cheese (particularly if they are from New Zealand).

How different today’s recharge our batteries day in New Ulm, Minnesota might have been if somebody had bothered to pass on that advice beforehand.

For starters, we could have… hang on, let’s just consult the visitors’ guide.

Right, the 10 things to see and do in New Ulm, suggests dancing with a gnome; going cuckoo; dining like the Deutsche; sleeping late… but instead, the last few hours have been in the launderette.

New Ulm
Cheesy sock

That’s a touch unfair on New Ulm which seems a very pleasant place. Nick apparently wants to live here, but he has had a chance to get out and about.

Since we rolled in at Flandrau State Park in the early hours, it has exerted a certain charm – helped by perfect blue skies and sweltering heat, as well as some refreshing (ie cold) showers at the outdoor pool which dragged in crowds of screaming kids as we went about the task of tossing everything off the bus and repacking ahead of that final push.

Which is where it all started to go wrong as a plan was hatched to throw my half load of washing in with Nick’s T-shirt, Phoebe’s jeans and Phil’s… well, let’s just say some of his stuff.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
The quite simply stunning Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone – Best viewed from a few steps back

Little did anyone realise the packet of blue cheese which Phil has been fermenting in the sun at the front of the bus for the last couple of days was in among his washing pile – until opening the machine at the end of the cycle found it all over various items of clothing (Nick’s Mighty Mighty Bosstones T-shirt and one of Phil’s socks were the worst hit) and its scent over everything else.

Hence the delay in getting out to see the town as we wait for the second wash to end and it all to come out the dryer. We’ve even had to put the original machine through an empty cycle to get rid of some particularly offensive residue.

This is not the first time Phil’s cheese obsession has betrayed him.

In Riga, as we geared up for life on the Trans-Siberian train, he was particularly proud of his market purchases, which included a packet of containers into which he put some particularly stinky cheese and a pile of fresh coffee.

Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
And looking back down the canyon from the other direction

He was less than complimentary about our efforts in stocking up for the trip, prompting Nick, Mike and I to dash around the markets and get as much as we could before they closed.

And a successful trip it was too with our magic pepper rescuing many a meal and still adding that little bit of extra spice to dinner on the Green Tortoise.

It was made even sweeter when Phil left his precious cheese and coffee in the hostel in Riga and has been reduced to begging for our pepper ever since.

Yellowstone Falls
Yellowstone Falls does just that into the Grand Canyon

Whatever happened to that cheese remains a mystery. If anyone found it in Riga, hope you enjoyed it, along with a nice cup of coffee. The cheese in New Ulm is still making its mark in the launderette with a lingering smell – we are still here, courtesy of the need to send the wash through the dryer a second time to add a fresher fragrance. And dry it.

Ahead of us tonight is another drive which will see us awake in the suburbs of Chicago, our first big city since San Francisco 10 days earlier.

Since then we have been rattling through the American National Parks and those of you who have been paying attention will recall the mention of National Park Overdose Syndrome.

However, something of an epiphany means the prospect of hiking around these remarkable bits of countryside is met with enthusiasim (despite opting for the bus ahead of yesterday’s six-mile yomp through the sun-baked Badlands of South Dakota) and whiling away the evenings around the campsite – although we are all chomping at the bit to be let loose on the Windy City tomorrow.

Mammoth Falls Hot Springs
The weird and wonderful landscape at Mammoth Falls

The epiphany came at some point during our hike along the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

Having spurned the first day in Yellowstone in favour of watching football, inspiration was high on the shopping list and it certainly arrived – following a quick stop to watch bison and argue about the difference between them and buffalo – as we walked through meadows and barren moonscapes of the thermal springs and onto the dramatic sheer valley carved out by ancient volcanoes and the Yellowstone River.

Take a look at the picture and you will notice there is plenty of the path between me and the edge of the cliff in the pictures.

That was partially due to the discovery of a new fear – the sight of other people on the edge of big drops. While no great fan of heights, evidently seeing somebody else on the edge really puts the fear of God into me.

But the walk along the rim, overlooking the Yellowstone Falls, is pretty spectacular and worth the odd wobbly moment when you look down.

Mammoth Falls Hot Springs
The Hot Springs carve out a unique landscape

As is the walk through the Mammoth Falls Hot Springs which provides a cool, if slightly other-worldly, landscape of bubbling water, calcified cliffs and multi-coloured rocks, all set amid some spectacular Wyoming scenery.

The day was rounded off in the small town of Pray, Montana, where we passed a hugely enjoyable evening with hot springs, basketball, beer and live bluegrass before climbing aboard the bus. 

Devils Tower
Close Encounters of the OzBus Kind – Devils Tower

We awoke in South Dakota for one of the finest ways to start a Monday morning, in the shadow of Devils Tower (pedants beware: the apostrophe was left off the proclamation when it was made the USA’s first National Monument in 1906 and has never been added).

For those of us of a certain age, Devils Tower is the place where the aliens landed in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (and which Richard Dreyfus kept sculpting out of mashed potato), but for Native Americans it is a sacred site and for geologists it is a volcanic plug of huge interest.

For those of us who know very little about any of that, it is a spectacular, slightly eerie place and a walk round it provides a string of wondrous sights.

Devils Tower
A closer encounter with the Devils Tower

Via a short stop at a Prairie Dog Town – honest, that’s what they call the field where the cute little critters, or pests depending on who you listen to, hang out – we headed to South Dakota’s top tourist attraction.

And my verdict of Mt Rushmore – once we had driven through endless miles of signs for tawdry tourist cash-ins and the tacky, coach load-friendly town of Keystone – was largely ‘is that it?’.

Mt Rushmore
Mt Rushmore’s behind there somewhere

Yes they are a collection of quite impressive big heads on a mountain, but it really is a case of walk up (past the gift shop, the museum, the ice cream parlour and through the patriotic overkill of the corridor of flags, informing you when the US ‘acquired‘ the likes of American Samoa and Guam), take a picture, turn around and go home. And it is all surrounded by tawdry tourist traps and that over-the-top ‘America-the-Great’ propaganda.

Mt Rushmore
Aah, there it is

When the time comes to compile the list of great things we have seen on this trip, Mt Rushmore will not be featuring too high – certainly well below some of the other amazing things we have encountered in the last few days.

It did provide a moment of amusement when Duncan gathered a group together for the customary shot with his charity (RMHC) T-shirts and the mist rolled over the cliff top to obscure all four of the presidents.

Badlands
Sunset over the Badlands

There was no such problems the next day, which we spent in the Badlands of South Dakota.

Remote, tough and desolate they may be, but bad? Never.

They are strikingly gorgeous and provide some excellent walks through both the prairies and the cliffs which rise out of the ground like teeth.

One such lengthy set of cliffs gave its name to the town of Wall, where we whiled away a few hours in the baking sun.

Wall Drug
Jackass on a Jackalope at Wall Drug

There’s not much in Wall except the Wall Drug store, which has taken on epic proportions since its founders started putting up signs for free ice water to pull in passing motorists during the Great Depression in 1936.

Since then the store has ballooned from one shop to an entire block and the signs for Wall Drug now crop up all over the world (and on the variety of T-shirts we walked away with).

It also now includes a café, an array of amusements (tacky, but funny in a strange type of way) and a variety of shops selling just about everything you never thought you might want from a small town in South Dakota. You can even still get free ice water.

Badlands
The wonderful view over the Badlands

The Badlands Bar at least charges for its beer, but the World Cup (Brazil v North Korea) was free on ESPN, even with the annoyance of Ally McCoist as the excellent Martin Tyler’s co-commentator.

Why do television stations insist on saddling Tyler with irritating Scotsmen?

All irritations, except maybe the odd lost jumper, were forgotten as sunset in the Badlands saw Lukas guide a group of us out into the cliffs, via a climb up a wobbly ladder, to witness a spectacular view over the prairies.

A perfect end to the day.

NB If you were wondering about the things to do in New Ulm, and why wouldn’t you?, you can dance with the gnomes at all major festivals as they act as the city’s ambassadors; they appear to have a lot of cuckoo clocks on sale; there is a strong German heritage which is still reflected in the restaurants and there are comfortable beds in the B&Bs to sleep in (yes, that is one of their 10 things to do).

Badlands
A special moment – One final sunset over the Badlands
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Teach Yourself Overland

Originally posted in London to New York blog, June 5, 2010

APOLOGIES for the lack of updates in the last week, but there has been very little chance to write or file copy as we careered south through Canada and into the United States.

Normal service should be resumed in the next few days, but until then here’s the Unofficial Abridged Overland Dictionary – designed to provide outsiders (see Randoms) with the slightest idea of what we are talking about when they bump into us.

200 metres – Measurement used by Phil to describe the distance from the bus. New Zealand metres are obviously a lot longer as the walk, laden down by gear, is invariably considerably further than 200 metres. 

Bag Explosion – The phenomenon which ensures that, however hard you try to keep your stuff together on the bus, your belongings will end up scattered all over the place, including ones you have never been (see Phebes; see Tortoise Orbit). 

Bag Party – The long-awaited moment when everybody’s main bags are unloaded from the luggage hold to give full access to the stuff you only think you need. Some will not wait for the party and take every opportunity to get their stuff out (see The Oirish). 

Bear – Creatures we have either been trying to avoid or desperate to see (depending on whether we have been out walking or on the bus). Or large, bearded Kiwi. 

Bear Bells – Worn by hikers on their bags to scare off bears – or to irritate their fellow travellers. The same walkers are also likely to carry pepper spray to ward off bears. Local joke is that you can tell black bear pooh because it is full of fruit and gopher fur. Brown bear pooh is lined with bells and pepper spray. 

Bear Bin – Secure metal bin used to store food when camping to prevent Yogi and his mates getting at food. Anything that smells must be kept in the bin when not in use (that’s toiletries and stuff, not my socks, a pair of which were forcibly wedged outside the window in Anchorage). Failure to do so can end in death – either for a camper who has attracted a bear into camp or for Yogi as bears who get the taste for human food are routinely shot. We received a slap on the wrist from Mr Ranger, Sir, for leaving out beer cans. 

Bigger Than Jesus – Nickname for Marlo, the world’s coolest man (inevitably shortened to Jesus). 

Buddy Check – System which ensures everybody is on the bus before we head off. I have to check Mike and Marlo are on board. Nick cheated and picked Phil (tour leader) and Matty (the driver) as we ain’t going anywhere without them. Not sure who, if anybody, is checking I am there. 

Clam – Officially, a type of sea creature used to make a Canadian drink called Clamato Juice (inexplicably drunk by Phil in a pint of lager). Unofficially, schoolboy sexual innuendo.

Crème Brulee – To be said in as posh an accent and loud a voice as one can manage (think Kenneth Williams crossed with Stephen Fry). Ordered by Freddie in such a voice in restaurant in Juneau, just before he got hit by the stomach bug (see What the bloody hell is going on?; see Rothschild). 

Cubby Hole – Only sleeping place on the bus which will not result in somebody standing or leaning on you during a night drive. Underneath the two tables halfway down the bus, originally thought to be dark and uncomfortable, now much sought after.

Cwtchy Coo – One of several contributions from the ‘Welsh’ contingent. In its simplest term, a description of a pretty young lady. In more vulgar form, a description of what would happen if any of us were to get together with said young lady.

Day Bag – Small bags containing essentials, designed to prevent constant raiding of the luggage hold. Supposedly the only things we have on the bus with us. Yeah, right.

Dippy Eggs – Fried eggs with enough runny yolk to dip bread into. Americans would call them Sunny Side Up, although runny yolk should also be available from eggs cooked Over Easy.

Drunken – Early nickname for Duncan, possibly deriving from slip of the tongue. Stuck because it was strangely apt.

Drunken Lords – Early description via Google translate from Spanish to English of Mike, Nick and I on Enrique’s blog. Not sure if the Spanish version is more or less polite about us.

Frangipani – Much-hyped hair treatment at the spa during the cruise. Or nickname for Fran. Not sure how we managed to have a nickname three syllables longer than her actual name. 

Fuck No – Phrase beloved of original driver Martins on the rare occasions when he a) spoke; b) joined us for a few drinks (see Fuck Yes; see Marius). 

Fuck Yes – Companion phrase for Fuck No uttered by Martins (not to be confused with its unofficial brother fuck yeah, which he never said) (see Fuck No; see Marius). 

Green Tortoise – Our transport throughout Canada and the USA and bed for much of the last five weeks. Company formed in 1973 so do not believe any passing hippy who wanders up and says: “Oh man, I rode the Tortoise back in the 60s…” 

Growler – Evidently some form of beer container belonging to Jane which has gone missing on the Green Tortoise. Her constant pleading of “has anyone seen my growler?” met with schoolboy sniggering. 

Has anyone seen…? (also Where’s my….?; also Have you got my passport/wallet/camera/hairbrush?) – Plaintive plea from Phoebe as she attempts to find whichever item of hers has joined the list of her belongings which have been strewn around the bus (see Bag Explosion; see Tortoise Orbit). Followed by looks to Phil, Nick or me to see which of us she entrusted said item to sometime in the last 24 hours. 

Kenny Thomas (abbreviation, Kenny) – Named after obscure singer Kenny Thomas’ solitary hit single Outstanding and used when something (see Dippy Egg) has reached that level. Quite possibly Nick Machin’s finest contribution to the English language (only serious competition coming from Dippy Egg). 

Juggasoraus Rex – Direct steal from The Inbetweeners. Best used to describe when Pam’s cleavage almost caused me to go blind in Vancouver. 

Legal Team – General threat from Freddie, first issued on the Trans-Siberian, to get a high-powered legal team onto us when we were winding him up about plans for his birthday. Only served to make us even worse. Actual legal team believed to be at other end of phone ahead of Freddie’s birthday in Chicago. 

Marius – Alter ego of original driver Martins on the rare occasions when he was able to join us for a few drinks (see Fuck No; see Fuck Yes) and the day after when he was even less capable of speech than normal. 

Night Drive – Form of transport used to get us from one place to the next overnight. First on board should take the beds at the back and work towards the front, leaving the stragglers to fall into bed at the front. At least, that’s what’s supposed to happen. When we are all on board, Matty (or his successors) head to the wheel, start rolling and await the first request for a toilet stop (normally within the first half hour). 

Ongaru – Ancient, mystical term originally thought to derive from West Wales. Shouted as term of encouragement or pleading for somebody to get on with something. Also worked, albeit just the once, to summon a waiter on the Diamond Princess. 

On Top – One of the least popular sleeping berths (except, strangely, with Mike and Nick) on the luggage racks of the Green Tortoise. Comes with unexpected bonus of being groped in the darkness as people search for bags they thought were on that bunk. 

Phebes – What Phoebe officially likes to be called (see Phoebe Kate; see Puggle; see Skanky Weasel). 

Phoebe Kate – One of the things Phoebe is actually called (see Phebes; see Puggle; see Skanky Weasel).

Puggle – A baby echidna (small, spiky, Australian creature). As revealed by Phoebe (small, spiky, Australian creature) in bus quiz in the opening two days, hence earning herself a nickname which has stuck for the rest of the trip (see Phoebe Kate; see Phebes; see Skanky Weasel). 

Randoms – Name given to all outsiders. We may communicate with them, but they will never understand. They weren’t there maaaaan… 

Red Lines – Dangerous shot consisting of tequila, Tabasco and vodka and featuring a red line halfway down the glass as fed to Mike in Vilnius by a strange Icelandic bloke. Resulted in Mike losing much of the next day. 

Rothschild – High-class wine. Entire group left in suspense when Freddie did not attend second wine tasting session on Diamond Princess to find out the answer to the burning question of the entire trip: “How are they going to deal with the Rothschild?”. 

Roy – Strangled shout, initially issued by Mike, as a tribute to former Republic of Ireland manager Jackie Charlton’s summoning of midfielder Roy Keane. In no context to be confused with anybody else of the same name (see Soy). 

Shitfight – Phil’s term for anything that involves a lot of people attempting to do the same thing in a limited space or length of time (used often when loading/unloading bags, entering hostels or – at its best – when boarding a train in Moscow). 

Skanky Weasel – Yet another nickname given to Phoebe after four days on the Trans-Siberian Railway with no access to a shower and limited range of washing facilities. Variation: Cranky Weasel 

Soy –Variation of Roy in restaurants in China (see Roy). 

Terrible – Mike’s verdict on any act or phrase which he deems inappropriate. Most often used after something he has done or said himself. Often followed with the phrase: “I think I may have got away with it”. 

Thank you my friend – Term of address used by Mike. The rest of us were using it without realising within days. 

The Oirish – Easy catch-all name for Leila and Dave. Find one, the other is not normally far away. 

Tortoise Orbit – The strange void into which belongings vanish on the Green Tortoise, only to turn up (hopefully) in a completely different spot from when they were last seen (see Bag Explosion; see Phebes). 

What the bloody hell is going on? – To be said in the poshest possible voice (as only normally heard in an episode of Jeeves and Wooster) when woken during the night on the boat by rolling into the wall (see Crème Brulee; see Legal Team; see Rothschild). Late variation: What the fuck? – Used when Freddie was prodded in the arse while asleep in Vancouver, accompanied by leap and full turn in the air. 

Whiffy – Spanish for Wi-fi. Invariably Enrique’s first question when we arrive at a new destination (see Wi-fi). 

Wi-fi – As much as there may be plenty of sights to see and experience in our new destination, the one thing guaranteed to get half the bus excited is the presence of wi-fi access. Laptops are reached for far quicker than maps, guide books and cameras (see Whiffy). 

Wow moment – The times that make going without showers, changing clothes or much sleep worthwhile and the reason we are all doing this in the first place. 

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