Barry Frost

This is Barry Frost’s personal website.

October 2001

[Not enough time to do Las Vegas so I’ll concentrate on the last week in LA]: Had a whirlwind week of theme parks, TV shows and culture. Started with our debut appearance on US TV in the audience of the Late Late Show hosted by some unfunny, nobody comedian. Um, our backs were clearly in view… It was quite an eye-opener, as well as a hand-killer, as we were encouraged to whoop, holler and clap our hands until they bled. Next was Universal Studios at which was the new Mummy Returns “experience”. Poor Sue was frightened by the blokes that jumped out at her in mummy costumes, much to my amusement! ET, Back to the Future and the 3D Terminator 2 things were good as well. We then spent a day-o-culture at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art which featured Andy Warhol exhibitions and lots of Latin American water pots. Pat on the back for us. Disneyland followed and saw Sue regress to a five-year-old, beating aside small children to have her picture taken with Mickey Mouse. We then wrapped up what we’d missed at Universal on Sunday and then jetted off to Las Vegas on Monday. More soon when Internet time isn’t so expensive!

Despite United Airlines cocking up our seat reservations on the flight from Honolulu, we’ve made it okay to LA. We’re staying in West Hollywood at the Orbit Hotel which is more backpackery than swanky but close enough to the action. Bit of a mad place, lots of nutters, smog and cars but not as intimidating as I’d expected. Disneyland and Universal Studios are booked this week and then we’ve got a four-day jaunt to Las Vegas next week. And then home!

If anyone was in any doubt how seriously they’re taking the terrorist threat over here, you only need to visit some of the major tourist attractions. Sue and I caught the one-hour bus to Pearl Harbour yesterday with Sue carrying a little bag, cameras and not much more. Big mistake: signs and guards everywhere warned against taking anything in with you. Despite offering to either leave the bag outside the gates with the guards or even for them to thoroughly empty and examine its contents, we were turned away and because we came by bus we couldn’t exactly leave it in our car. So we went back home. Everyone here’s so jumpy that even common sense is being set aside. I can’t really condemn that but just hope things might get a little more settled soon.

Now, I know it’s been a whole month since I last posted here but we’ve just come from Fiji where Internet facilities are completely non-existent. We spent two nights by the airport in Nadi at a great little beach-side resort. Lots of young backpackers who spend a night there before heading off to an island or to the coral coast. We moved on to the latter and stayed at a disappointing place called Vakaviti. You know it’s a bad idea when you see a For Sale sign outside and find the bar and restaurant shut. Nevertheless, it’s an extremely friendly country where everyone shouts, “Bula!” to you when they pass you on the street and quite sticky-hot. Sue will also confirm that there’s a quite a few mossies. The local drink, Kava, looks and tastes like muddy water but is supposed to be a narcotic. For some reason we drank quite a bit. Half the population are fourth-generation Fijian-Indians who the bumbling British imported to work the land back in the colonial days and, as with other ex-Empire countries, this has led to the intense racism and recent military coups. Most roads are unsealed, cows roam the streets and the taxi drivers are quite mad. That sort of place.

And now we’re in Honolulu. A complete contrast to Fiji. Hyper-clean and tidy but feels just like any other American city despite being miles away from contintental US. It’s the Costa Del Sol for Americans (and lots of Japanese) and stupidly expensive if you stumble into the wrong bar. Four quid for a half of watery beer? Um, no thanks. To help us find somewhere cheaper, we went on an organised pub crawl night. Despite the whooping and hollering of some of our American companions doing “erotic” drinking games, we had a good laugh, typically talking to the British and Irish crowd. Tomorrow we’re moving out of our cramped hostel room into a swanky sea-front appartment (courtesy of my extremely generous parents) where we intend to buy food and alcohol and barricade ourselves into an air-conditioned paradise.