Hi Every body, I'm being a bit slack with the updates and as I am about to go once more into the middle of nowhere for about a week, thought I'd better get an update done. Since my last update, I have travelled through the rest of America and into Mexico, all the way down the Baja California to a fantastic town called La Paz and then by ferry across to Los Michos and the Mexico mainland. Tomorrow is an early start to catch the Copper Canyon railway - a 16 hour train ride across the continental divide, ascending from sea level to more than 2000 meters, by comparison the grand canyon is a midget! Altough I loved the Grand Canyon - more about that in a second. We wont be doing the whole trip in one go though, we have arranged 3 nights stay in a town called Creel where we should be able to organise some trips into the canyon, before carrying on with the train to Chihuahua, and then south for Colonial Mexico. Any way, I can't really carry on talking about Mexico with out concluding the USA. The last update left off at Salt Lake City, which as I'm sure you all know, is the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and the closest I think I got to any kind of interesting culture in America. I can't really think of it as any more than a Cult. We went on a free tour given by the Mormons which included sitting in front of a 15 foot statue of Jesus and listening to a booming, prerecorded soundtrack beginning with "I AM JESUS!!!!". It was quite interesting - the church was started by a fella called Joseph Smith who founded the "true religion of Christ", was baptised by a river in Pennsylvania by none other than John the Baptist and was eventually killed with his brother in a prison cell by an angry mob after he announced he was running for president. It really was very interesting, and a large part of down town was occupied by a square containing the various tabanacs and churches which we were allowed to walk around quite freely. We even had the opportunity to sit in on the rehersals of a local orchestra which uses one of the tabanacs whilst we waited for our bus to get us the hell out of there :-) I am joking, the Church was very nice and every body was very friendly. Whilst in Salt Lake, after a night camping on Antelope Island and swimming in the Salt Lake (its like the Dead Sea), we hired a car and motored up to Yellow Stone national Park. Yellow stone is unique in that it sits on top of an enourmous cavern of Lava (although there is no volcanoe). This releases lots of sulpher which Thermophiles feed on, they excrete sulphuric acid or something like that, which heats up the water and melts the rock above which causes hot springs and geysers and things full of colourful minerals. Or something like that. The most famous of which is good "Old Faithful", which I'm sure you have all heard of. They were very impressive, it's just a shame that these wonders of nature have to come with the smell - sulpher, which if none of you are aware, smells very stongly of rotten eggs. The main reason we went to Yellow stone was, however, the wild life. The wild life experience involved driving aroung the park looking for cars that had pulled up, along with another 300 cars doing the same. If you spot a car that has pulled up then they have definely spotted something or in some cases the driver may have stopped to go to the toilet. Either way, you pull up along side, asap as the lay-bys fill up instantly with other wild life lovers. Then every body gets out of their cars and takes photos of a soon to be very dazed Elk, paparazzi stylee. I was a little ashamed to participate so made up a list of guidelines in my head, where I would draw the line before I felt I was violating the animals space for a photo. It was a very flexible list which ended up stopping just short of digging a great big whole for an elk to fall into. The high light had to be seeing a mother Grizzly and a cub at very close quarters - we were driving along minding our own business when we were waved down by a ranger and told to stay put. Then the two bears crossed the road right behind the car, looking in through the back window. It was pretty cool, but happened too quickly for any close up shots (I have posted the best of what I have). I was looking straight into the cubs eyes and got a real sense that there wasn't a great deal going on behind them :-) Another high light of Jellystone was during a hike with Sharon, one of my travelling Comrades. We were beginning a hike to see Osprey Water fall (picured in the photo album, over my shoulder), and were warned that there was a Bison (buffolo to you and me) sitting on the trail some way ahead, but we could probably walk around it. We had previously been warned to give Bison a birth of about 100 meters as they can be quite uppety and can run faster than a Baldwin - even a terrified baldwin. But the sun was shining, the scenary was fantastic and I had a lot to talk about, so I soon forgot about the bison, right up until I noticed Sharon was no longer by my side but ten feet behind me, whisper-shouting me. I then noticed a great big, impossible to miss buffolos bum sticking out from behind a bush no more than fifteen, twenty feet ahead, tail wagging. It was very exciting. We off roaded for a bit and skirted around it, arriving back on the trail just in time to warn a cyclist coming from the other direction - good deed done for the day. The rest of the walk down to the water fall was pretty exciting too. The path was mainly loose rocks, with more than one fallen tree to climb over, along a pretty dangerous drop, and the going was pretty damn steep. Still, better than hiking back up the fecker, though. After yellow stone, we headed the rest of the way to the west coast, first stop San Fran cisco, which is now favourite of US cities. We had booked a room in a hotel in china town, a stones throw from the bus station. Got off the bus. Walked onto the main street. Turned in the direction of the hotel. Oh. Up the hills. A very painful mile later and we arrived. We were pretty well located,just a 20 minuite walk from Down Town, which was really cool, with fantastic shopping - Im pretty certain san franciscans must be the best dressed people in the US, Oli you would love it. We did the tourist thing and popped over to Alcatraz, where I could only find hints at the conspiracy-theory abuse that went on there ("one goveror used the lower levels as solitary confinement, but due to the weak walls, had to chain the prisoners to the ceiling") and which the tour operators vehemently denied.Just like Chicago, not even a mention of prohibition and gangsters - they don'seem to want to talk about the fun stuff! Golden gate bridge looked fantastic, and I ate clam chowder. The night life was pretty cool as well. We found a real spit and sawdust bar with some fantastic blues bands on, and a spit and sawdust barman with half his teeth missing. I was foolish enough to get into a conversation with him and was sprayed with spit through out. Only after he left did it occur to me that I should have covered my beer :-( But it was a really cool joint. We would have gone there the next night for a garaunteed saxophonist that WILL get up on the bar no matter how many times the barman tells him not to, if only we hadn't had a Saturday night date with the Whiskey a-go-go club in LA. Los Angeles, what can I say. I can say that the bits I saw sucked. First of all, you need a car to get any where. Unlike most US cities, LA is spread out into many seperate areas, down town being the poor area you do not want to go into, and then Beverly Hills etc, the public transport between them is incredibly terrible. I can only assume the terrible transport prevents poor down towners getting to beverly hills - they get infuriated with the God Damn buses and give up. I did. However we did get to the Whiskey a-go-go club, and it was great. It`s a famous rock venue where all of the greats started out; the Doors, Janis Joplin, Axl Rose. I even got to watch a fight. Well, up until I noticed it was six or seven people, all putting the boot in on Dale :-) Apparently, one of them had knocked his drink out of his hand and he had demanded the guy buy a replacement. I intervened (which made no difference what so ever) and then the bouncers cleared the whole mess up. It happened very quickly, the only thing seriously damage being pride. It was a great night, except trying to get back to the hostel, a lot worse for the ware, and on the GOD DAMN BUSES! Any way, we woke up the next morning, seriously hung over and decided to get the hell out of LA. Maybe I'll go back one day, but probably not. Onto...... LAS VEGAS!!!! LAS VEGAS was fantastic. Everybody should go there at least once in their lives. The game was roulette, the drinks were...free and the night was long. We managed to crawl into bed at a sorry 8am (oops. Switching to Margaritas was probably a mistake!). What can I say, I was luckier than I thought I would be. I went with an idea of losing about 50 pounds and it ended up about a ton, but it took me all night to loose that, and the experience is priceless. Aside from the gambling, Las Vegas was great fun. Memorable moments include a pirate ship battle on the stretch (with scantly clad, foxy lady pirates, of course), an erupting volcano and the water show - a series of fountains, squirting to music (more impressive than it sounds), and as for the casinos, my favourites were "Cesaers Palace" and "New york, New York", the latter of which was modelled like the new york sky line on the outside and new york themed on the inside. Cesears palace looked great inside, obviously with a running roman theme through out, high ceilings with murials or the sky painted on and water fountains all over the place, one with statues which suprise every one by talking and moving every hour. The place was even big enough to squeeze in a fair sized shopping mall. We intended two nights in Las Vegas, but we ended up adding a third so we could make it all the way to the top of the stretch and see the Casino with a pyramid, and the sphinx, before we headed on too..... The Grand Canyon. Very impressive. I totally recommend it if you can still afford the hire car after you have lost your shirt in Vegas. I was feeling very extravagent here so splashed out on a Helicoptor ride and it was absolutely fantastic. I wont even try to describe the Grand Canyon as there is no way I will do it justice, you will just have to wait for me to get some photos posted, however the one thing I will say is that the Canyon was so big, from above you couldn`t really tell how big it was. We dealt with this the next day by hiking down the fella. We choose one of the more difficult hikes as we had been drinking the night before, and set off down the "BrightAngel trail". We intended to walk as far as the "Indian Village", 4.6 miles into the canyon, and nearly 4000 ft down fron the rim, however once we got there it was far too tempting to carry on to the end of the trail, Plateu Point, which had a spectacular view of the Colorado River, in total 6 miles which took us a total of 3 hours. We had to rush to get back before night fell as the trail is not lit, and ended up getting back up to the rim in about four hours, just as the last light dissapeared. I felt very, very bad. very bad. Whist we were walking up some guy ran passed us on his way down. then passed us again on his way back up, jogging along. ******er. I also have to mention a guy called Major John Wesley powell, the guy that originally mapped the Grand Canyon. He did this by boat, travelling along the Colorado river, back when the Colorado river was a real river. It is now only 1 quator of its originally size due to dams on either end of the Grand Canyon. Basically, Powell went out on a four boar,10 man expedition which ended up lasting for 3 months. Within 2 weeks one boat had been lost on the rapids, along with 1/3 of the food, 3 guys gave up and decided to walk out of the canyon, never to be seen again. Oh, almost forgetting, Powell only had one arm. What a guy. Our last stop in America was San Diego, a really nice place. Now, I know it was my favorite California cities, I just can`t for the life of me think of a specific reason for this. We stayed in a good hostel, with free pancakes and waffles for breakfast, but that wasn`t it. I had a great walk along the docks, very peaceful, checked out the Yachts in the Marina. Went to a street party and got to sample loads of beef jerky and listen to a whole bunch of free bands, and just hung out and relaxed. Went to watch some blues with a couple of German guys that worked for Mercedes-Benz, on special projects. Exciting jobs? Unfortunately not, one of them was a project accountant and the other a time planner, so not that exciting at all. They didn`t even know how to change a spark plug.Well, from that it doesn`t sound like one of my favourite places, but it is. I guess you will just have to visit it to find out why. Stay in the Gas quarter. It was very chilled and laid back. Well, that was america. At San Diego we obtained our Tourist cards for Mexico, and the next morning got the Grey hound to Tijuana, in the north of Baja California (the thin strip of land that runs along the west coast of Mexico).