Back to the desert

Trip Start Jun 30, 2012
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Trip End Aug 22, 2012


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Flag of United States  , California
Sunday, July 15, 2012

15th July We left Hollywood at around 1.00 and later arrived in Visalia at around 3.30 - quicker than we anticipated. The drive down wasn't that exciting as we saw mountains and desert land the whole way. We then had a drive round the area before heading down to the camp at 4. I tried to sleep in the car once we reached the camp however it wasn't easy as I had all the equipment like the balls with me. The two families who were hosting then picked us up at 6.00  - the two host families are sisters so we are planning on meeting up some days after camp. The mum is called Jennifer whilst the dad is called GianMarco and they have a 6 year old son called Matteo. At first Mateo seemed very quiet but as soon as we hit the house he made me play some games with him - we played operation but a car version - I decided after a while to use my left hand as I was winning with my right. I thought I better hold back my competitiveness - Mateo certainly wasn't and loved it when he beat me to the finish line. After that we had tea - chicken with rice and beans. As soon as tea was over I helped Mateo build his lego lighthouse with his mum - are mission is to finish it by the end of the week. During this time the dad headed down to the grocery store and once back they showed me around the local area. 
16th July I woke up bright and early for camp as we have to be at camp at 8am on a Monday. I originally was told I was doing half days however Nick said he had a few things to do so asked whether I could coach the full day with Jack. I was then given the oldest age group 9-11 years old where I had 9 players - the kids were very well behaved unlike last week so it was a breeze. At 12 oclock I then sat down and had my lunch with the full day kids I don't know if it was because of the heat but they didn't seem up for it and with only 6 kids the session didn't really fly by. Once camp finished Nick came to pick myself and Jack up where I headed back to our house. When I got back no one was in - the mum is at work till 5 whilst the dad starts work at 2. I didn't mind doing the half day as I knew everyone would have left the house by 2 and as Nick was the only driver there isn't much we could do anyway. Once Jennifer and Mateo got back we decided to head down to this adventure park where they had crazy golf, go karts and bumper boats. When we arrived we headed straight to the crazy golf - I was unlucky on so many occasions and kept hitting the rim of the hole. After allowing Mateo to stop his ball when it rolled past and forgetting to count some of his shots I won by 12 holes. After that we headed to the go karts - the track was very bumpy but all and all it was fun. I was surprised why they asked me if I was eighteen or over - especially since kids in America can drive at 15/16. Finally I went on the bumper boats - Matteo was driving to begin with. On the front of each bumper boat was a water pistol - there were about 6 other boats on the mini lake when we were on. I regretted having my shower 1 hour before we left as I was drenched once I got off - I felt bad for one lady whose iPhone was drenched once she got off. We then headed off to the arcade and let Matteo play a few games before heading back home. I jumped straight into the shower again and used some anti septic stuff just incase the water was dirty as I have a few blisters/cuts - don't want another foot infection. 
17th July After todays camp I waited at the house for the family to return before we then went to Jennifer's sisters- Amy's house to pick up the boys and their son Cole as we were heading down to McDermot to this warehouse place where GianMarco works. The place was huge and included - basketball courts, two plastic soccer fields, gym, boxing arena, skateboard park, arcade, rock climbing wall, lazerblast and an indoor surfing machine. After receiving a tour of GianMarco we headed straight to the rock climbing wall. This wall didn't have mini ledges like the last one and instead you had to grip onto little cracks in the wall - I had 2 attempts and managed to almost reach the top on both attempts - the wall was pretty smooth by then. After that we had a go at lazerblast - my screen didn't work so I had no idea what was happening half of the time. We definitley didn't follow the rules and walk like we were meant to. This place was better than the IOM one as it had an underground walkway and loads of boxes to hide in. There was a lot of cheating going on and Jack at one point put his hand over my lazer whilst at the same time shooting me on the shoulder. Finally we had a go at the indoor surf machine to begin with I was rubbish we decided to first have a go at the body boarding - the water was that strong so as soon as you fell over it pushed you back up. I was glad I had a vest and a pair of shorts on over my bikini - but even with them I was so close to being done for indecent exposure as the water was that strong. We then headed back to Visalia and popped into this pizza restaurant for tea where we grabbed 3 large pizzas between us including bbq chicken with bacon and pineapple - yum. I was so jealous once we got back as GianMarco showed me some of his pictures as he used to coach for Chivas he is allowed into all these VIP places and even got to go into the changing rooms in a Barcelona game and meet Messi and Ronaldinho. He also told me when he worked for Chivas he used to see Beckham everyday also.
18th July I couldn't wait for lunch at camp today as I was going to eat the remains of last nights pizza - it was so good even cold. I decided to bring my own cooler today as I used to share one with Matteo but he decided to eat my sandwiches yesterday so I ended up having a banana and a nutrigain bar fro lunch. I caught him at break eating the first half of my sandwich and thought he would at least leave the other half except he left one small bites worth. Once camp finished I headed straight to the boys house as today we were heading down the lake to go water skiing and tubing on my host families sisters (Amy) and brother in laws (Nick's) boat. We got to the lake at just gone 4 and once onto the lake we drove around for a bit in order to view the whole lake before releasing the anchor and having a swim in the lake. Then we got onto the main activity which was water skiing - Nick went up first and on his 3rd attempt he managed to stay up for a few seconds and the same on his 4th. Then Jack went this was his second time water skiing so he had 2 goes and managed to go up first time and lasted around 1 minute. Then it was my go - the skis barely fit me so I just managed to fit in them - they were a bit loose however and became looser once I got into the water. On my first attempt my feet went opposite ways so i did the splits whilst my second attempt my shoes fell off as soon as I got up. Whilst on my third and fourth attempt I managed to stay on for about 10 seconds - we were told to lean back but i think I took it to the extreme - I only noticed this once I replayed my videos. Then we decided to have a go tubing Hailey (Amy and Nicks daughter) was up first however Cole decided he didn't want to do it so Jack took his place. The two of them were flipped all over the place - Nick knew how to make it awkward to stay on so I think he was trying to see if he could knock people off. Then myself and Nick went on at first I took the easy side as on one side you get flipped off on any sharp corner - when I went on this side I lasted about 30 seconds. Then I went with Jack and we decided to cross arms to see if it was better just as I said oh this way is better I flipped off and had to be retrieved from the water. At this point it was about 8pm and was getting dark so we decided to leave - there wasn't many other boats in the lake but there were these 2 rowdy boats who weren't very appropriate in their music and behaviour - so I think the parents wanted to leave before it got any worse.
19th July I woke up today feeling so stiff in my shoulders and necks after the watersports last night - so it was a struggle dragging round my heavy coaching bag. Neither me or Jack felt very energetic when we were taking the evening session and I think the kids couldn't be bothered too so it was quite a chilled out day. I was surprised in the evening sessions when one of the kids piped up that both her and her sister are allowed to watch Freddy Kruger movies, Scream and Chuckie movies despite being 7 and 4 - I was like oh thats nice whilst being quite disturbed from what I heard. Once camp finished I headed n back to the house and caught up with Dad and Liss - I had previously spoke to mum before camp. With working from 9-3 here and being 8 hours behind it is hard to keep in touch but I hope this blog works. Then Jennifer and Mateo arrived home all week Matteo has been wanting to play against me on my wii so we decided to play now. Firstly we played FIFA 12 - I didn't really understand the instructions so i let Matteo play solo. After that we had a go on the Mario Kart - I won the race again - didn't hold my competitiveness back this time unlike operation. Then finally we had a go at Just Dance 2 - I won 4/4 the songs to dance to included Bruno Mars songs however there was also songs such as 'I'm a gummy bear' - if anyone that I knew saw me dancing to this I would never live it down (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hn61z3FlMQ) - grandma better not make me dance to this at her house in order to receive some Haribo. Once the games had finished we headed on down to the towns farmers market - my life was complete when I witnessed the Visalia watermelon seed spitting contest 2012 - one guy managed to spit it 31ft. The woman who was in charge was so excitable once everyone spat out their water melon - it was like she had been waiting her whole life for this moment. We then went to this place called Fugazzi's for tea - I had previously talked about jambalaya with Liss and noticed you could get that in a wrap with fries which were like the ones you get from Nandos - it was one of the best meals I have had in a long time. Nick and Jack and there host family popped in so we agreed to meet them in Rockies after our meal where we had a few drinks before heading home as Mateo was getting restless. 
20th July Today was the last day of soccer camp - it usually flies by as we have to play the world cup at 11 before handing out all of the certificates. The afternoon session dragged however as we only had 6 children. Once the session was over the mum who gave us the $10 Del Taco voucher also gave each one of us a $20 Starbucks voucher including Nick who didn't coach any of her kids - me and Jack coached both their girls in the evening and one each in the morning. After camp I headed back to the house - everyone was off work today so whilst I was doing my afternoon session they went out for a bit. Then to get out of the house I went with Jennifer to drop off Mateo at this kids night out place where he can swim, watch movies and play loads of different sports - it is meant to be a gym but they also offer this service - it was a nice complex. Then Jennifer showed me the new soccer fields - there were about 12 in total - over here they don't have their own grounds and all teams play on the same sports park. I also checked my emails and found out my next camp will be in Long Beach which is near Palos Verdes. When we arrived back  I collected all my things together as I had decided to watch the baseball with Nick and Amy rather than go to Jennifer's and GianMarco's mates birthday meal. When we arrived at the game we sat down in our box seats however the view wasn't very good from there so we found some nearby spare ones. The game was a lot more interesting than the Dodgers game however after the ninth innings (when the game is meant to stop) it was a tie at 8 runs each. They then went into their 10th innings - during this innings Jack got lucky and managed to catch a foul ball. I say lucky in order to win the ball he pushed a lady out of the way and stopped this little 7 year old kid who was jumping for the ball reach it - what a gentleman haha. The game finally ended in the 11th innings when one of the Visalia players managed to hit a home run - they were playing Bakersfield. By this time even the guy who was giving abuse to every player who was batting was starting to get restless so for the last 4 innings we didn't hear a peep out of him. The entertainment at the game wasn't the best - at around the 5th innings they brought out a load of girl scouts who ran round the bases and at the end they were playing this 2 hour baseball movie - I would be surprised if anyone stayed as by the time the game finished it was almost 11pm and the game started at 7pm. 
21st July Despite having the opportunity to lie in I still couldn't manage it so around 7am I decided to go for a run around the block, this was my first run all week as it gets too hot here in the afternoon and I can't really fit it in in the mornings. After my run I got ready as I decided to go and watch Mateos baseball game - as he is only 6 years old they have to play a game called T-ball where the ball is placed on some stumps and they swing from there. It was funny watching all the kids run for the ball at the same time and rather than throw it straight to first base they look at their parents to see if they noticed that they have the ball. When every batter stepped up the team coach helped them into the correct batting stance- however through this job he took a couple of swings to the stomach as the kids practiced. Once the game was over we headed back to the house where we prepared ourself for the day - we decided to go to Sequoia  national park where they have the worlds largest trees. The journey to the park was meant to take 30 minutes but we ended up getting stuck behind a caravan and we didn't have the opportunity to overtake so we had to add a good 30 minutes onto our journey. Once we reached the park it took about an hour to get to the trees (the park is about the same size as the IOM), our journey also took a little longer as Mateo felt sick - he has supposedly developed car sickness in the past few weeks. When we reached the trees we took a mini hike around the area before looking at the Great Sherman - the trees weren't actually the tallest in the world but instead this tree was the largest by area. We then headed back down the mountain and stopped off to take a picture of this rock on the mountain - it looked like the one in the Lion King. I said to Mateo if we got up there I would lift him up like Simba - however we ran out of time so we didn't get to go there. The family told me that they have seen a few bears when they have been on previous outings - they even had bears dedicated to prevent the bears getting inside them - it even took me a while to work out how to get in - it was almost idiot proof too lol. We then headed down to this river there were about 20 people swimming in it - I couldn't be bothered despite having all my swim stuff on however Mateo decided to go in. We then decided we better leave as it was 3.30 and we were going to a BBQ which was to start just after 5pm - however we had to fit an Ice cream stop into our time- I had peaches and cream it was nice but it didn't beat Davisons. We then prepared ourself for Daniel and Tiffany's BBQ - Tiffany works at the same school as Jennifer and also helps coach Mateo with GianMarco. Instead of going to their house we went to their parents who have a massive house with a swimming pool which I went in not long after arriving. At first it was a bit awkward as I didn't know them but after a while conversation flowed. We had tri tip burgers (steak) and marinated chicken for tea. We didn't leave their house till around 11pm - I have had a few bad sleeps so by then I was starting to feel very tired. 
22nd July Before I start today's blog a quick happy birthday to Grandma Kathleen - sorry I can't be there and I couldn't make your meal - it would have been an expensive meal to get back for. I tried to lie in again but this didn't happen once more. About 20 minutes after I woke up Mateo got up and wanted to play some games so we played this noughts and crosses game which also had different sized figurines like china dolls where you could place larger ones over smaller ones. Then once Jennifer woke up we headed down to a park where GianMarco was playing soccer - he also roped in Nick and Jack. We caught the last 30 minutes of the game- everyone was struggling by this time. I told Jennifer I needed to pick up some toiletries - it was really the families present so she drove me down to TARGET where I picked some drinks for them. We then headed back to the house and I gave them my present and they gave me one too - it consisted of a Chivas scarf and boot bag and a bottle of ginger dressing - I became addicted to this stuff this week and would put it on my salads everyday along with my meal. At around 1.30pm Jack and Nick showed up however as Nick was on the phone we hung around at my house for a bit, had some photos and said goodbye. Mateo seemed a bit upset as I was leaving - I think it is harder as he is an only child and I am a big kid. We then made the journey down to Long Beach we arrived at the park around 5ish and had a wander around the park as everyone else was arriving at 6. It took a while to assign people into groups - I was placed in a house just outside of Long Beach in Cerritos with the mum Kenya and dad Matthew and their kids Maya, Aline and Clayton - Kenya's brother Kenny also came to pick me up. We then got to know each other in the car journey which was about 15 minutes long. Not long after we arrived we had tea - a family friend also popped round unexpectedly and had tea with us - it was like these tv programmes you watch and people come in from nowhere.

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