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The rarely updated blog of Joel Dixon

Viewing blogs posted in the Honeymoon Travel Log series

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 18/04/2007 23:33:00

Well, our honeymoon was finishing up, and Belinda and I were both looking forward to getting home. A quick recap shows we got a fair bit done in our 19 days:



The morning of day 19 was spent in a taxi driving towards the Pittsburgh airport. We squeezed each other's hands and left a winter wonderland (*sniff*).

A friend of mine had warned me that a fair amount of time was required when transferring planes at Los Angeles Airport, so I think we allowed around 3 hours between flights. It wasn't enough. We arrived in LAX after a 5 hour trip from the East Coast, so we were a little tired and grumpy to begin with. We discovered the gate we needed to get to (and the bus we needed to catch to get there) and made our way immediately. When we eventually got through the first check-in gate as saw "the line".

There was hundreds of people in "the line", and our flight had just started being announced. Both very worried that we'd be stuck in LA for the rest of our marriage, we were lucky enough to find a very helpful airport staff that allowed us to cut "the line". A very small drama that probably happens all the time, but we were amazingly relieved when we were boarding on our plane in time!

When we eventually sat down in our Qantas plane, we immediately heard Crocodile Dundee. I guess we must have adjusted to the American's accents, as half the passengers sounded like they were putting on a killer Shannon Noll impressions. When the captain came over the PA system and went through a few of the formalities I finally started to experience how others countries' populous hear our accent. It was really funny, and took a while for Bell and I to get used to. Thankfully, we had a while on hand (during our 14 hour flight).

Even though we came back to Australia tired, hungry for real food and heavily in debt (and the situation hasn't really changed - although I'm not too hungry at the moment), we both agreed that it was definitely worth it.

We're currently planning another possible US trip, around the time of the next NHL playoffs. Until then - I have no Travel Blogs to complete (w00t).

I thought I provide an ending montage of the famous people we met on our honeymoon.

The Happy Couple
The happy couple

Blue
One of the first celebrities I had met, Blue was really nice in person too

Super Grover
More of a celebrity spotting with Super Grover, as he flew straight past us

Sam Jackson
He actually said to me: "Yes you deserve to die! And I hope you burn in hell!". Pretty harsh since I was just offering him a drink

Kramer
A man that's really dragging the most out of a good situation, for as long as he can.

Foot
Surprisingly the foot odor wasn't that terrible

Iceburgh
Down in front!

Lincoln
Four score and seven facelifts ago ...


This is the 20th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 10/04/2007 22:09:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 14/01/2008 12:52:14


It Starts
It starts

Firstly, let me take you back. The year was 1994. I was about to start high school, and was probably thinking about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or playing Altered Beast on our Sega Mega Drive. My older brother brought home a few games for the aforementioned Mega Drive with a pooled resource of our Christmas / birthday money. One of them, I do not remember and obviously didn't have a huge impact on my life. The second was Sonic the Hedgehog II, a game that I was very excited about. I had played it a fair bit of Sonic at the local video game store, and it did take up a fair amount of my time during that year. The third game was seen as a little odd to me, as Gavin was more of a basketball fan back then, and I didn't think much of it at the time. That third game was NHL 94.

NHL 94 Title Screen
Notice how small the Electronic Arts branding is

Mario
I thought so

Injury
Oops, sorry about that

Nice
Lemieux to Jagr and he scores to tie it at one

Hattrick
He beat him like a rented mule, Mario Lemieux with the hat-trick.

Stars
Gretzky with three pitiful goals gets the third star

With all said and done, I think that that video game has probably had the most effect on my life, more than any other video game. Before NHL 94 I had never heard much about the sport of ice hockey, and only ice skated once when I was around 8 years old. Once I got sick of Sonic and Mr. Prowler I moved on to the NHL game. Initially I played as a few of the teams, and one of my first "favourites" were the Winnipeg Jets (I will buy their jersey one day) mostly due to Teemu Selanne, a gifted scorer. I never really settled on a team until I re-met an old primary school friend who's dad was a huge Penguins fan. The transition was simple for me, as Pittsburgh was also a team I would often play as, with both Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr lighting it up, almost at will.

From then on, my love for the Pittsburgh Penguins only increased. When my parents installed pay TV I was finally able to watch some of the games in full, and allowed my friends and I to watch Mario Lemieux's first comeback against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 3 am one December morning (it also introduced me to Mat Hoffman and the X Games, which kindled my love of rollerblading). Becoming a savvy interweb user helped a lot, as I was able to track my favourite team instantly and gain a lot of Penguin information quicker than I had previously encountered.

So that's why I like the Pittsburgh Penguins. Belinda, my lovely wife, on the other hand - chose her favourite NHL team (the Colorado Avalanche) because she likes the colour blue, and the Avs (with some blue on their jerseys) had recently won a Stanley Cup.

I provide this background information, so that you can understand why I deeply wished that the mighty Pens would crush my new wife's favourite team in their showdown match. This was the schedule for Day 18.

We might have done something during Day 18 that was non-hockey related. Perhaps we had a nice meal or saw some more of the town of Pittsburgh. I'm not 100% sure however, as I just thought about my last chance to see the Penguins win a regular season game. As always - dot point goodness:

  • I noticed during my research into this fateful game that the Colorado Avalanche had played a game the night before this one. I looked a little deeper and saw that the Avs had only played back-to-back three times prior in this season. The other three times resulted in a loss in the second game. Hesitant confidence was gained!
  • With Marc-Andre Fleury in net with his golden pads of goodness, I was feeling a little more confident about this match. That little nipper is just awesome to watch in goals.
  • I noticed that once the game started, the Penguins were playing with energy that I had yet to see. They were running around and banging bodies - it was looking like the momentum was all theirs. Maxime Talbot (one of my favourites) was one of the main proponent of the physical play, and it was fun to watch
  • Even more fun was watching the Penguins score the first goal of the game - the crowd was electric. I let myself get excited and started thinking about a win.
  • It only took 6 minutes for me to crash down into depression as the Avalanche tied the score at 1. To the Penguins credit, they kept the pressure up and went ahead again with only a minute to go in the 1st period.
  • After the Pens traded a goal a piece in the 2nd frame, I was still a little edgy being only 1 goal ahead to start the third period. My main man (after Crosby, Lemieux, Fleury etc) Max Talbot made me jump from my chair midway through the 3rd period with a well deserved insurance goal to put the Penguins up 4-2. It was great seeing Talbot's tough physical play rewarded with a goal in an important game.
  • Colorado scored another goal to make it 4-3, but the Penguins held on and I saw my first ever Pittsburgh victory. It was sweet!


Faceoff
The dance begins!

They Score
Belinda got to see a few Colorado goals ...

We score more
... but I got to see an extra Pittsburgh goal

We win
We winned!

Now, although the Penguin's record against the Av's was 0-9-1 in the last 10 games (we won 0, lost 9 and tied 1), the new record is 1-0-0 in the last 1 game! To Bell's credit, she did take the loss much better than I would have. Though I do admit I was a little worried about the plane ride home!


This is the 19th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 21/03/2007 20:46:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 15/11/2007 22:39:20


At the start of the 17th day overseas, I was starting to feel a little over travelling. The air travel, poor meals (involving a whole lot of cheese), lack of sleep and general running around was starting to catch up with Bell and I. I was also starting to get a little bit homesick, though this feeling was lessened by the impending show-down between the Mighty Penguins and the lowly Avalanches.

Due to a previous planning issue Day 17 was also a schedule packed with "bumming around". We went into town, and stumbled upon a toy store. It seemed like a proper, old fashioned, not-too-commercial toy store, and was a welcome change from some of the other, more commercialised sights.

The toy store was 3 levels of fun which was quite a feat, as unlike space crazy New York, the toy store had three decent sized levels. The items that interested Bell and I the most was the Christmas decorations.

Being that we were coming close to Christmas at this time, it was understandable that some holiday decorations would be on display. But these weren't just decorations, these were to-scale model representations of various Christmas themes. There were heaps of different varieties, many different ways to enjoy the holiday period with collectibles (here's some examples). The most we would ever see in Australia is a modest nativity scene model, but I must admit we snapped up some pretty cool items.

Nativity Scene
My parents have something that look just like this, I used to love pulling off the moss

Christmas Scene
The M&M Christmas themed decorations we bought in Pittsburgh

MM Factory
Where the magic happens (I'll resist my regular pants joke)

Skating
This one is just awesome, and note the winter M&M tree in the background

Stamps
Such great detail - Yellow obviously needs to be persuaded by Red

As Day 17 was another light-on day for content, I'll post some other pictures of M&M toys Bell and I bought.

Car
Red's quite the ladies man...

Plane
... but seems equally enthused when his partner is a scared, peanut-filled yellow male. Fair enough I guess

Spinner
Yellow spins Red right 'round baby (etc)


This is the 18th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 17/03/2007 19:32:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 14/07/2017 00:49:41


I had originally made a huge plan for our honeymoon, the planes we would catch, hotels we would stay at, hockey games we would watch, tours we would take and the various tourist locations we would gander upon. I created it in HTML and hosted it on my website so I could make changes from work in the weeks leading up to the trip. After I added all of the staples (planes, games and tours etc that we had booked), I would add a few ideas of what we could do on our days without plans. The trips to the Bronx Zoo and the Disney Store were planned in my handy Honeymoon Itinerary before actually booking tickets. For each day we had free I would research the various things available and note down a few options. Unfortunately work got really busy leading up to the honeymoon, so I had only finished planning up to Washington. This all meant that Day 16 was essentially un-planned - and we didn't do much at all really.

But at the tail end of a very busy and exciting honeymoon, both Bell and I were ready for a bit of a change in pace. We were also a little sick of carrying a camera around everywhere we went - so this post will be lacking in photos. We've agreed that we'll have to buy Belinda a new, small camera for the next trip we take.

After waking up very late in the morning (or perhaps the afternoon) we had lunch at a very nice Chinese restaurant. It's a pity it wasn't closer to our house - because I'm sure Bell and I would eat there quite frequently if it were. Other than the very nice meal, we pretty much did nothing other than watch a hockey game - the Penguins vs Minnesota Wild. Speaking of which, here's the summary:

  • Marc-Andre Fleury wasn't playing in net for this game, which was my first disappointment. This was very quickly followed up by another as the Wild scored the first goal just over a minute into the game. It certainly kept the crowd quiet.
  • Crosby was held without a point in the game, but was definitely the best player on the ice. He seemed to be the only one trying.
  • I was very upset by the way the Penguins were playing, they had few shots and were down 3-0 at the end of the second. But the behaviour of the other Penguins fans was unbelievably disgusting. I just cannot imagine a situation that would cause me to boo my own home team. Some of the fans were yelling out disparaging comments about our own players, and people were leaving the game from early in the third period (when Minnesota went up 4-0). I have trouble believing that any of the people booing their own team are true Pens fans. They really don't deserve to live so close!
  • Even though the game was going terribly for the Pens (we were down 5-0) I was amazed with the crowd's response towards the end of the game (in a good way). There had been a minor scuffle earlier on in the game - but nothing I would call a real fight. With less than 5 minutes to go in the game, Brooks Orpik and Kyle Wanvig participated in the first NHL hockey fight that I had witnessed. The audience made the most noise I had ever heard as the Penguins defender clearly won the fight. Sure, most of the negative nellys had gone by this point, but the crowd just went wild. I guess it was a small victory considering, but it did put a slightly positive note at the end of the game.


After the loss we went back to our hotel room a little dejected, but it did raise an interesting point. I had yet to see my favourite team win a game of hockey, and they only had one chance remaining. Against my (now) wife's favourite hockey team. Belinda had hoped that the Penguins would have won the Minnesota game so that I could get the victory out of the way, and lessen the blow of a loss against Colorado. Whatever happened - we would have a long time to talk about it, as our flight home was scheduled for the next day!


This is the 17th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

Monday, March 12, 2007

Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 12/03/2007 20:36:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 24/09/2017 05:36:34


Well, I didn't finish off my Travel Log before the end of 2006 - but the main advantage of having a limited (read: no) readership is that no one cares when I'm late.

Day 15 was spent doing more touristy things in Washington and was pretty jam packed. We couldn't be bothered finding out if White House tours were available, or how to organise one, so we just took some happy snaps outside the gates. Initial fears that we would look like "dodgies" while performing surveillance on the official home of the President were allayed when we were just one of many people taking similar photos (and we were one of two couples that could have been crowned "Least Terrorist Looking" of the bunch).

Whitehouse
The White House from the South - don't know why the flag was half-mast though

Me in front of Whitehouse
"L'homme blanc gelant ses seins"

Bell in front of Whitehouse
Belinda modelling the latest edition of the Lonely Planet guide to Washington

After viewing the White House we high-tailed it to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. We pretty much only visited this museum for one reason, to see a giant dinosaur skeleton, and it didn't disappoint in this respect. It did, however, disappoint by housing a rather comprehensive collection of diamonds and jewels. I won't bore you with the 26 photos (Bell took a pic of every jewel!) - but it was pretty cool to see the Hope Diamond in the stone.

Elephant
If you look carefully, you can see Ben Stiller in the background preparing for a movie role

Skeleton
Crappy photo, but I had to add a pic of a T-Rex

Glasses
When reviewing these photos I've come to the conclusion that I've turned into my father

Quartz
Some of the rocks did look pretty cool

Hope Diamond
The Hope Diamond

Just down the road was the National Air and Space Museum which I was really looking forward to. We saw lots of air and space related exhibits, and had a quick ride in an aeroplane simulation (which was awesome!). I must say one of the highlights was seeing space-candy and space-Coke! We were running out of time, so had to rush through the second half of the museum, but it was a lot of fun.

Cockpit
Doesn't look that difficult

Plane
The Wright Brother's plane, they are from a seven child family. The most that my six siblings and I could produce was a healthy dose of repressed mental illnesses resulting from concentrated teasing. So I guess both the Wrights and the Dixons achieved something in their own small way

Candy
The money shot - space M&M's. I can't wait to travel to Las Vegas to check out even more candy goodness!

Coke
Pretty funny that they made both space Coke and space Pepsi. Some food joints only offer Pepsi - space has a wider array of soft drink

Controls
I reckon I could wing it

We had organised tickets for the Capitals-Predators game, so we decided to grab some Hooters for dinner. Unfortunately there's no more photos though - as the area of Washington we were staying in was not the nicest (felt it was safer to leave the camera at home). Hooters had nice food - but I'm pretty sure most of the patrons were not really there for the food. Our waitress was quite rude, probably because she thought a couple would not tip her as well as a table of drunk college kids (she was probably right). Wasn't the nicest meal we had whilst in the US - but I'm happy I've had a Hooters experience.

As we hadn't planned to watch a game while in Washington, and we weren't that interested in the result, we choose to purchase cheap tickets in the "nose bleeds". I was really struck with the lack of crowd - sure it was mid-week but there was almost nobody there. I got to see rookie phenom Alex Ovechkin score a pretty sweet power play goal, and a damn potent power play unit from Nashville.

After the game we went back to the hotel to pack for the next day, and got lots of sleep!


This is the 16th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 22/10/2006 20:51:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 27/10/2015 16:33:36


Haven't blogged for two months - figured I might as well try to finish off the Travel Log

Bell was quite excited for day 14, as it was a trip to another zoo - this time the Washington Zoo. The Zoo is part of the Smithsonian Institution so entry was free - which was welcomed by Bell and I.

Washington Zoo
The Washington Zoo - and some snow spattering

Decorative Lion
I think his name is Alsan

There were a few animals of note, such as the striped zorse. The strangest exhibit by far was the "Australiana" section. It was supposed to hold Emus and Kangaroos - but when we were there it was just filled with snow (which kangaroos don't have to deal with too often).

No Animals
Not surprisingly, the Kangaroos and Emus were inside on this brisk morning

We were actually at the Washington Zoo at the right time, as the Giant Pandas had a new addition (in baby form). It was very busy (and a 10 minute gawking limit was in place), but Bell managed to get a few photos of the bears (which were, admittedly, somewhat cute).

Where are you
Now where'd my kid go?

There you are
Climbing mummy mountain

Hungry
Hungy!

Pandas
When I heard that the Panda had a child - I assumed this is what they would act like. We don't all get what we wish for

As it was cold outside, a lot of the animals were kept indoors (such as the afore mentioned kangaroos and emus). It was very strange seeing a giraffe and hippo inside - but it did mean we were up pretty close.

Giraffe
The background picture fooled me for a minute (I thought I was an African)

Hippo
Doesn't look too big here

Big Boy
Hippo's about to get his food on

Stampy
The elephant reminded me of Stampy, it kept on head-butting this blue barrel

We then went into the gorilla exhibit, which was a little sad. There were signs up saying that the gorilla didn't like lots of movement from the audience and had a few pointers for approaching them (very slow, don't walk up to them while facing them etc). Of course, everyone ignored these pointers and the gorillas looked a little upset by this. At least they weren't being shot to produce masks.

Unhappy
Not happy Jan

Yummy
The Thinker

Peekaboo
Peek-a-boo!

After the gorillas we moved on to the tigers (of course, Belinda's favourite animal) which took up a bit of our time. They were pretty cool - but I'd already stood next to Belinda for about 4 hours at Tiger Island, and it doesn't take too long to get sick of tigers. They didn't do too much that was interesting, but they were kinda cool to watch.

Tiger
Good shot by Bell

Pounce
I think he's about to pounce on the keg. It's alcoholism that's actually killing off the world's Tiger population

That's pretty much it for day 14 - only 3 more to go. I really hope I can finish it this year!


This is the 15th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 17/08/2006 02:19:00

Yes, it's early and I couldn't think of a proper title

After a lazy morning we dragged ourselves out of bed for some lunch. While Belinda had a boring Subway - I tried out the "World's Greatest Hamburgers" at Fuddruckers. They may not be world beating - but they were all kinds of fantastic! I ordered a triple cheese burger (I like cheese), and it came with just a bun, cheese and the meat. Somewhat perturbed I wondered if "World's Stingiest Hamburgers" had been misspelled, when I saw the condiment table. Brilliant! A whole area with every condiment under the sun to add to your hamburger. I added the exact amount of mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, lettuce, onion and tomato that I wanted - and had probably the best hamburger consumed while in America.

The rest of day 13 was going to be spent getting a tour of the district to see the sights. It turned out that the place we needed to pick up our tickets was about 45 minutes away in a taxi - and we didn't think the travel time and taxi fare would be worth it. So we created our own tour!

First stop was the Washington Monument. It was snowing fairly heavily, so crowds were no problems, and when we got to the Monument there was noone else there.

Pointy
Quite striking, isn't it

While it was quite tall, the real draw (in my opinion) was the elevator ride up the Monument. The windows in the lift showed the memorial stones that were used during construction of the Monument, I found it very interesting. Apparently when donations for the Monument ran out in 1854, some people from Alabama suggested that all states and territories donate memorial stones for the interior walls, made from a product of the state's soil. In total there are 193 stones, as professional organisations, American Indian tribes, business, foreign nations etc also donates stones.

Some of the interesting stones are the Alaskan stone - the most expensive as it's made from green jade. The stone from Japan is made from volcanic rock with a Japanese inscription. Not too surprisingly the New York stone is the biggest, and forced the Monument Society to request a maximum size for all future donations. And Peter Force, a one time Mayor of Washington, donated his own stone which was basically just his name in large letters (after which the Society refused donations from individuals).

Other random Monument facts:

  • At the time of construction, it was the tallest building in world
  • It remains the tallest building in Washington due to restrictions on the height of new constructions
  • The total cost to build was $1,187,710


After the Monument we decided to walk to the Lincoln Memorial. After a few snowball fights we got there and saw that the actual statue of Lincoln was under construction, but we still asked him some questions.

Lincoln Memorial View
The view of the Lincoln Memorial from the Washington Monument

Washington Monument View
The view of the Washington Monument from the Lincoln Memorial

Lincoln Memorial
Geez! I knew a guy in Primary School that had the head gear with his braces, but this is ridiculous!

Our lunch was very satisfying so we decided to just try some "ordered in" food from a local Italian store for dinner. When it finally arrived it was cold and of poor quality - so we just fed ourselves from the friendly vending machine (healthy, I know). Our next day was going to be filled with Zoo adventures, so we had ourselves an early night.


This is the 14th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

Monday, July 31, 2006

Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 31/07/2006 23:56:00

And so does Mrs. Dixon, of course

About a year ago Belinda and I were planning our honeymoon. At that stage, we were about 90% sure we would never be able to afford a holiday to America just a few days after our wedding. Added to the cost was the effort of organising a overseas trip at the same time as planning a wedding, buying a house and moving out of a home for the first time. All this meant the likelihood of a honeymoon was low - but it also meant we didn't cut too many corners for the plan (why skimp when it's not going to happen). One such extravagance we added was "there's 5 days between to hockey games while we're in Pittsburgh - we might as well go to Washington instead of just hanging around". So on day 12 of our trip - we flew to Washington.

We woke up early and finished packing for our flight, and went straight to the airport. At the hotel lobby, the guy noticed that we had our bags and asked if we'd like him to call us a cab for the airport. Sure, why not, we said. When the cabbie finally turned up (I'm sure we could have found one much quicker) he put our bags in his car - and I thought I saw him give the hotel guy some money.

Anyway - our guy was really nice - and his car was great. He said he was an old footballer for the Cleveland Browns, but he was a huge Steelers fan. Guess Pittsburgh just wears people down like that. He gave us his card - and said he'd be happy to be at the airport to pick us up when we returned to Pittsburgh. I assume he organised this so he wouldn't have to pay some other dude just for calling his number. But he was nice to talk to - and he didn't cost that much more than the bus we took from the airport when we arrived at Pittsburgh - so it was fine.

Bobbin
A google search of our limo driver's brings up this guy - so I assume the above picture is what our driver looked like in his playing days. (I admit it - I just like bobbleheads)

As we usually tried to do, we arrived at Pittsburgh airport early for our flight - so we had some lunch. While we were waiting for our flight, we noticed that almost half of the airport were hanging around the stores with televisions. Sure enough, the town favourites were playing a game that day. Apparently (I really didn't pay much attention) it was a do-or-die game for their season - which they ended up winning. We could tell the result of the game just by listening to everyone else's reaction - which we ended up having to do for a while as our plane was delayed.

Once the plane was finally ready, we boarded to our seats. This plane was very small compared to all the others we had been on - I guess there's relatively few people traveling from Pittsburgh to Washington. Nothing interesting at all on this flight, except that the wings had ice on them - which was shot off by a high pressure water gun machine (very cool).

We got a taxi back to the hotel, which turned out to be pretty uninteresting. We decided to catch a movie and try to have a typical American evening. We ended up seeing Just Friends, which was a great choice. It was a comedy (which we both love), had some romance and a bit of hockey. Perfect for our honeymoon. After the movie we had some dinner at a random food place, I can't even remember what it was called. It was funny though - the waitresses had no idea what Belinda was saying - and kept talking about how cool her accent was (they thought she was European). I had to translate for us - turns out all that American TV watching was useful.

Our hotel was two blocks from the dinner venue - so we walked. It was getting pretty late, and it got very creepy. There was a car that was following us with people pointing at us from the inside - and some dude just walked up to us murmuring something. Apparently our hotel wasn't in the nicest of neighbourhoods, but we got back ok. This was the only time on our trip that we felt scared - and it kind of soured the whole Washington segment.

Anyway - we found our way home - and Belinda had a great suggestion. She asked if I wanted to watch a hockey game while we were in Washington (that's why I married her - so thoughtful!). It really was a great suggestion - as there was another highly rated rookie that played for the Capitals - Alex Ovechkin. I called the MCI center - and found out there was a game that fit our schedule quite well - and it turned out the rink was just around the corner from our hotel room! It was a sign.


This is the 13th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 19/07/2006 15:38:00
Updated by Joel Dixon at 31/10/2018 03:32:05


I was excited waking up on day 10, waking up on day 11 was twice as bad. I actually woke up quite early - a fair few hours before Bell - so I just read a book I had recently purchased.

When Bell finally woke up we decided to see a bit of the City of Pittsburgh. From the hotel room we could see that there was a fair bit of snow cover on the city, which was exciting. Even better - when we stepped outside our hotel room it was actually snowing. In Niagara Falls it was snowing - but really, that was the equivalent of a small spit. This was an actual fall - admittably not pissing down - but definately decent. I rather enjoyed holding my open hands up to the sky and collecting the snow. As a kid I always liked the idea of snow - the most we ever got in Melbourne was a very heavy hail storm - so this was great.

Something that I was entirely unprepared for was the amount of support the town gave to the Steelers. I had read on message boards that Pittsburgh was "Stillers Town" - but I was very surprised. Pretty much 1 out of every 3 or 4 people had some article of Steelers clothing on. Everyone from grandmothers to children was proudly displaying the Steelers name. There was also a lot of Penguin clothing (much more than I'd ever see in Australia) - but it was a little bit of a letdown.

We walked around the city - the first stop was the (now retired) Kaufmann's department store. The first thing I noticed was that half of the store staff were wearing Steelers jerseys as their uniforms (none of them were wearing Penguins jerseys though). We bought me two pairs of shoes (very cheap - and Pittsburgh has no sales tax on clothing) and two extra suitcases to store all of the crap we bought at the Penguins store. There was also a nice cafe in the middle of the store and I filled up on soda spiders. We just had a great day out.

At the end of the trip Belinda and I both agreed that Pittsburgh was one of the nicest cities we'd visited on the trip. The people were great, food was nice and (though it's probably got a lot to do with the snow) the place just looked beautiful. Whenever I list the honeymoon destinations (New York, Niagara Falls, Washington, Pittsburgh) I get a "Why Pittsburgh?". Originally the answer would just be "hawkey" - but now I could honestly say it was a great place to visit. We didn't even end up seeing much more of Pittsburgh than downtown - but it was great fun. I'm looking forward to returning (and Bell is too - which is wonderful)!

Anyway - the most important part of day 11 was the chance to watch the Penguins play at home. About a half-hour before the game's start time we walked around the corner to Mellon Arena. The atmosphere was incredible, and every second person had a Pens jersey on (with about a quarter of those having Crosby's number 87). Afterwards Bell and I both agreed that the Pittsburgh game was so much more of a show, and much more enjoyable (even though it was great in New York). Cheerleaders, free T-Shirts and a mini radio controlled blimp were some of the things that anyone could enjoy - not just fans of hockey.

Matchup
Not as fancy as the Madison Square Garden display (a few extra dead pixels) but it was a great sight!

Banners
How cool are these! And note the Pen's credit card in the background

Me
A few warmups going on behind me

Cheerleaders
The Penguin's cheerleaders shooting t-shirts from a slingshot. Iceburgh was also firing t-shits from a bazooka contraption

Blimp
The Verizon blimp was dropping some kind of vouchars. One dropped right in front of me - but kids snatched it up before I got a chance (and then ran back to their seats on the other side of the stand - bastards!)

Zamboni
"My dad drives the zamboni"

Scoreboard
Go you big skating penguin!

Anyway - another dot-point summary of the game:

  • I saw a few people wearing Steelers jerseys to the game - poor form!
  • I was happy to see Fleury starting in net again, and he played a great game again.
  • The Penguins were robbed early, and I was pissed off. Marcus Nilson's shot hit the crossbar and lay on the goal line - but didn't cross it. Many players on the ice could clearly see that the puck didn't go in - and quickly protested. The referee called the goal and they didn't even go to the video referees for clarrification. 1-0 Calgary.
  • Pittsburgh then tied it up with a spectacular backhander goal by Sidney Crosby. I was extremely happy that I got to witness Crosby scoring - and it was a plus that Mario Lemieux had the second assist on the goal.
  • Langkow scored two early third period goals to put Calgary ahead 3-1 both from great assists from Huselius.
  • Midway through the 3rd I saw Ryan VandenBussche's first NHL goal to bring it up to 3-2.
  • We pulled the goalie towards the end of the game to attempt to score a tying goal - but alas, it was not to be. Made the first non-goal so much more difficult to stomache!


Faceoff
Opening faceoff - people were still only just getting to their seats. What a waste!

Iceburgh
Iceburgh stood up right in front of us. I didn't have the heart to yell "down in front" to him! (so I just pushed him)

More Iceburgh
I'm not 100% - but I think Iceburgh is trying to score here

Again, watching a Penguins game was awesome - it was just a bitch that we lost. Once we left Mellon Arena, we saw that it had been snowing all through the game, and the ground was just covered! Most of the Pens fans were huddled together, head down, running towards their cars. Bell and I were running around playing in the snow, it was quite fun. We even made snow angels!


This is the 12th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)

# Posted by Joel Dixon at 02/07/2006 16:45:00

I woke up on day 10 with a real excited feeling - as this was the day we were finally going to Pittsburgh. We woke up early and left straight away to La Guardia Airport. The flight from New York to Pittsburgh was quite enjoyable, it only took an hour and a half and it was much less packed than the Red Eye we took earlier.

The first thing I did after touching down in Pittsburgh was purchase a Post-Gazette newspaper from the airport. At first it was great to actually buy the paper I had been reading online for many years - but then I realised it was a bit of a waste as I only read three articles from the sports section.

We took a Shuttle bus downtown, and checked into our hotel. Most hotels have a mint on your pillow to welcome you - the one we stayed at handed out cookies (which was muchly appreciated). Anyway, after dropping off our bags and scoping out the hotel room (much nicer compared to the one we just left) we set off to pick up the hockey tickets.

Our Room
I really liked the Pittsburgh room - no neo-romantic Ostro-Goths here

Once we left the hotel and started looking for the building to pick up our tickets we saw that Mellon Arena was literally across the road from us. Being this close to The Igloo was another dream come true, and the hockey flags around the place just topped it off.

Mellon Arena
Mellon Arena - Terror goes into over-time

Crosby Sign
One of the flags around the 'Burgh

The place we picked our hockey tickets up was pretty cool in itself - as it was Mario Lemieux's actual office. The decorations around the room were very nice too - especially the next-game countdown.

Jerseys
A little display outside the ticket office

Countdown
Time until the next Pen's home game. I would be lying if I didn't think of ripping it off the wall and running!

Mario Returns
I'm sure this paper sold a few copies

Hall of Fame
Fleury's distinctive pads can be seen in the foreground

After picking up the tickets we went straight to the Arena to see if the memorabilia store was open, fortunately (unfortunately for my wallet) it was. I had another "WOW! This is awesome" moments when we stepped inside - looking at a sea of Black and Gold. All the Penguins stuff was cool and we bought lots of it!

Jersey Front
The first thing I bought - a Crosby Pens home jersey

Jersey Back
Wearing this in Melbourne - I'm sure some people are wondering when Bing played Ice Hockey

Grey Top

Black Top
A couple of sweet hoodies, for the casual man about the town

Jacket Front

Jacket Back
Don't get me wrong - I'm not the kind of guy that normally wears leather jackets. But this jacket is just awesome - and will be treasured for years

Pens Shelf
The only things I got from the Pens store here is the shot glass and cool tiny replica of a goalies mask. The plastic cup was filled with sprite at one of the Pens games

Pens Bin
My final purchase seen in action - next to my computer desk


This is the 11th in the Honeymoon Travel Log series
Day 0 - Travel Log - Day 0 (Flights)Day 1 - Travel Log - Day 1 (New York, New York)Day 2 - Travel Log - Day 2 (Thanksgiving)Day 3 - Travel Log - Day 3 (I can't believe it got colder)Day 4 - Travel Log - Day 4 (What is the deal with "New" York anyway?)Day 5 - Travel Log - Day 5 (J-Dix on the six)Day 6 - Travel Log - Day 6 (Niagara Falls, eh?)Day 7 - Travel Log - Day 7 (Wet Wet Wet)Day 8 - Travel Log - Day 8 (New York, New York ... again)Day 9 - Travel Log - Day 9 (Best NHL Game Ever!)Day 10 - Travel Log - Day 10 (Pittsburgh at last!)Day 11 - Travel Log - Day 11 (Best NHL Game Ever - Mach II)Day 12 - Travel Log - Day 12 (Mr. Dixon goes to Washington)Day 13 - Travel Log - Day 13 (Mr. Dixon ... stays in Washington)Day 14 - Travel Log - Day 14 (Washington Zoo-lander)Day 15 - Travel Log - Day 15 (A Day at the Musuems)Day 16 - Travel Log - Day 16 (Worst NHL Game Ever)Day 17 - Travel Log - Day 17 (A kid in a candy-filled toy store)Day 18 - Travel Log - Day 18 (The only game that really matters)Day 19 - Travel Log - Day 19 (Fare thee well America)


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