America, Countries, Culture

Clean-up July in Surf City USA

It’s taken a pandemic to allow our oceans to breathe but let’s not go easing off now many of us are coming out of lockdown.

Plastic Free July is on us and with beaches opening up again we need to keep them clean.

In Huntington Beach in Orange County, Southern California that means kayakers taking to the seas to clear up the water.

Eco-friendly outdoorsy Southern Californians think nothing, of course, about getting up for 8.45am of a Sunday morning.

And the most appreciative patrons of all for their efforts are Surf City’s www.surfcity.com canine community.

Everybody’s gone surfin’

I know all about Huntington Dog Beach which runs about 1.5 miles along the bluffs between Goldenwest and Seapoint Street.

I had drawn it out of the Huntington Beach delegation who had taken me out to breakfast in Dublin on a whistlestop visit to these islands.

Light up: Beach games

And told me about the dog-surfing champion Brazilian labrador Bono and his handler Garrett McNamara.

This being SoCal it would’t even raise a doggy eyebrow if this Bono also donned the shades.

Surf City USA

As it was I missed Bono then but I did get to see me a Dogg.

Only Snoop Dogg whom you’ve been seeing a lot of on your telly screens of late promoting Just Eat.

Beach life: With United Airlines’ Aoife

Well, we were all eating (and drinking) to the beat when he put on a DJ set for us during the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com, www.visitusa.com, www.visitusa.ie www.visitcalifornia.com and https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/06/01/rainy-days-and-songdays-dogg-days-in-california/.

I’ll be bringing you more clean-up initiatives throughout Plastic Free July.

And tell me what you’re doing fantastic to bin the plastic.

Adventure, Asia, Caribbean, Countries, Europe, Sport, UK

My Sporting Weekend – cow fighting breaks out

Lockdown has stopped us humans competing against each other but animals continue to do it, well, naturally.

I got to hear of the strange sport of Combat de Reines In Switzerland where cows fight each other www.myswitzerland.com and Swhisskey on the rocks.

And I intend to make it my mission to seek out this ultimate moortial (sorry) arts duel on my travels as well as these other animal v animal contests.

Kicking seven cow bells out of each other

A bit of stewarding doesn’t go amiss

Combat de Reines, Switzerland: These contests date back to the 1920s when the skiers were on a break in the summer.

And they attract as many as 50,000 spectators across the season.

Although I’m assuming the cows are happy to fight behind closed doors (or in the open field) without us there.

The mootivation (ouch) for the cows is herd dominance although some need jivvying up and prefer to munch the grass.

Camel ye, come all ye

And in the red corner. https://wrestlingtv.in/have-you-heard-of-camel-wrestling-check-how-popular-it-is-in-turkey/

Camel wrestling, Turkey, Middle East, Asia: And your otherwise loping humpy desert dweller will bear his teeth…

If you try to jostle him along. Or put a female camel on heat between two males.

So not that different from humans then really.

The season is November to March so there’s still hope.

And here’s some Turkish delights and Jordanian japes to tantalise you… https://www.goturkeytourism.com and Wham bam, thank you Hamam. And www.gadventures.com, www.visitjordan.com and Wham bam, thank you Hamam.

Herd up your haggises

http://www.facebook.com

Haggis hurling, Scotland: OK, this isn’t actually a sport but try telling that to the young Irish group I was with a couple of years ago.

Dry-witted Aberdonian Stevie informed our party that because we were running late he’d have to take the haggis farm off the agenda.

Distracted by another question Stevie might not have returned to the subject.

Had I not reminded him and warned him that this might yet appear in their articles as fact.

Invented in 1977 by a Robin Dunseath in 1977 it is still going strong. And check out www.visitabdn.com and Aberdeen – a light in the north and wwwvisitscotland.com.

One for the puperazzi

Catch that wave

Dog surfing, Huntington Beach, California: And to think I might never have learned about this sport of canines had I not pried.

The good folk of HB had invited me out for breakfast in Dublin to tell me about their new hotels and I probed them for info about their beaches.

I discovered that they have a popular annual dog surfing competition and that Garrett McNamara and his Brazilian labrador Bono lead the way.

And no, I never did hear if this Bono wore shades too all the time. Maybe the next time I get out to HB I’ll check it out.

Visit https://www.surfcityusa.com, www.visitcalifornia.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/19/my-weekend-with-marilyn-2/amp/.

I haven’t heard if September’s big surf is going ahead but the Pacific is a big ocean.

Acting the goat

Goat racing, Tobago: And a skill I got me, Marsha.

Marsha had gone through our coach asking us what we were good at, with housebuilder Antony scoring highest and me lowest.

But I showed her! Me and my goat Bandanaman only beat Antony and his kid in the goat race.

The big event is held in Buccoo at Easter and if there’s any justice myself and Bandanaman will be at the starter’s gate.

Although I might pass on the crab race.

Visit https://www.visittobago.gov.tt and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/17/ready-steady-goat-racing-in-tobago/amp/.

America, Countries, Culture

Rainy Days and Songdays – Dogg days in California

Sweet dreams are made of this… who am I to disagree? – Annie Lennox

And they love a dog… and a Dogg in the Southern Californian beach resort town of Huntington Beach.

Which I discovered in Dublin D4 eatery Roly’s Bistro and on the golden sands of California.

When the good people of Huntington Beach invited me out for breakfast in the Iriah capital.

To tell me about their new hotels, restaurants, bars.

All of which they have in abundance as I found out first hand when I eventually got out to Surf City USA https://www.surfcityusa.com

Including Girls Allowed Derry Girl Nadine Coyle’s bar diner.

But best of all they have a dog surfing competition there where the puparazzi gather.

And Garett McNamara and Brazilian labrador Bono lead (sorry) the way.

Although this Bono doesn’t wear shades.

Rapper DJ Snoop does though and he put on a party DJ set for delegates from the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com.

In Anaheim https://disneyland.disney.go.com and https://www.google.ie/amp/s/jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2020/03/23/stair-wars-4/amp/.

His own stuff and modern standards from the likes of Rihanna, will.i.am and Annie Lennox.

And, of course, this being California there was a make-up artist on hand if you wanted your beardie dyed.

Which got me an introduction to Natasha Bedingfield which is another story.

Which I will get back to again… and again and again.

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The faces of 2019 – Marilyn, Natasha and Donald

The stars aligned in 2019 and I got me the walk-on I deserve.

When Natasha Bedingfield, fresh from wowing us at the American Travel Fair http://www.ipw.com, with a particularly stirring version of Prince’s Purple Rain, introduced me.

She pointed out my purple beard from the stage in the plaza in Anaheim http://www.visitanaheim.org.

You see I got purpled up in Huntingdon Beach http://www.surfcityusa.com the previous night when we had been entertained by Snoop Dogg https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/09/18/snoop-and-me-acting-the-goat-in-california/.

Well this is Southern California where the stars come out to shine.

We starspotted from the off in West Hollywood where we dined in Lisa Vanderpump’s PUMP Restaurant Lodge http://www.pumprestaurant.com and http://www.weho.org.

And Lisa herself graced us with her presence.

Walk of Fame

Sometimes, of course, you just want to be on your own and she was good enough not to come autograph-hunting.

Greta Garbo, of course, made a name for herself for ‘vanting to be alone’.

But, alas, she has to share the Walk of Fame with hundreds of other Hollywood stars.

There’s Donald Duck too and a host of Asian picture clickers have gathered around Michael Jackson’s star.

But it is Marilyn Monroe’s tribute that I’m here to see… we’ve been inseparable the last couple of days https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/.

In Venice Beach http://www.venicebeach.com, at her last resting place and now here in Hollywood.

This being Southern California the Beach Boys obviously wanted to turf up and surf up.

And here they are at lunch during the American Travel Fair. And I made Mike Love’s day by holding out my hand to touch him.

Jason Derulo also swayed his stuff while the best of Broadway also trod the boards for us.

So what could possibly bring down the curtain on such a show. We’d had Harry Potter and a light show at Universal http://www.universalhollywoodstudios.com.

While Jimmy Fallon on an audio gave us a behind-the-scenes tour of the sets.

And we were also enthralled at the special effects show with stunt actors setting each other on fire.

But it was the Happiest Place on Earth for the finale… with Mickey in Da House with his Disney pals… http://www.disneyland.disney.go.com.

Oh, I’m the king of swingers… I don’t want this party ever to stop.

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Snoop Dogg and me acting the goat in California

I don’t think Snoop Dogg was talking to me but the ladies were.

Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr, as his Mammy christened him, was entertaining us in the way only he could.

Standing on the pristine Huntington Beach in Southern California playing us a set of his tunes and standard party hits.

While smoking a funny cigarette.

Snoop was always going to be an ambitious choice for a corporate event, the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com, but the Big Fella is a likeable rogue and delivered.

And nobody baulked when Mr and Mrs America, the Mayor and his wife, and their two perfectly presented kids walked on stage.

To greet the Long Beach native through a plume of smoke.

California is the hippy state where anything goes and where an old man can get a high five for purpling up his beard.

Of course it doesn’t get much better than Natasha Bedingfield picking you out in the crowd the next day in Anaheim.

But she deserves her own slot so I’ll reshare that story with you another time.

Huntington Beach, Anaheim, West Hollywood, Hollywood et al is SoCal, Southern California which we all know about and keep coming back to… www.visitcalifornia.com.

SloCal is the area between Los Angeles and San Fransisco and prides itself on being even more laid-back.

So that’s almost horizontal then.

And all right by me and Snoop.

Now I’ve been flagging up the fun that’s been had in the surfing war between Surf City USA Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz.

www.surfcityusa.com and www.cityofsantacruz.com

Huntington won in the courts but whisper that around Santa Cruz, and its delegates when they make their annual pilgrimage to Ireland.

Although I must say that Huntington did tempt me with their hospitality when I visited and their surfing dogs competition every autumn.

Everybody’s gone surfin’

But I learn now that Huntington is not the only beach for surfing animals in California.

They like to act the goat in Pismo Beach.

Acting the goat

Dana McGregor has built up quite a following on the back of goatie Pismo and his two pals who he has taught to surf https://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/local/article39452574.html and http://surfinggoats.com.

He offers surfboard lessons, stand-up paddle board lessons and SUP/Surf camps on Pismo Beach.

You want to see a Dancing Dad dance the waves again…

On board Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Oasis of the Seas’ FlowRider simulator in Barcelona www.royalcaribbean.ie.

Thought you might.

For more information on SloCal, keep posted here and also visit www.slocal.com.

And remember Aer Lingus www.aerlingus.com flies direct to LAX from Dublin.

LA is from €204 each way as part of a return trip. Book by September 23. And you’ll get pre-clearance.

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Holiday Snaps – Dog surfing, California

They’ve been in training all year for the big event, and it’s almost upon us – Surf City Surf Dog in Huntington Beach, Southern California.

This is where Bono, the Brazilian labrador made his name (I never did hear if he also wore shades).

And the pupparazi will be at Surf City Surf Dog in Huntington Beach in numbers for the free event on Saturday, September 28.

Where there will be a surFUR expo, athletes of all breeds and pawsome fun! 

Have I forgotten something? On Huntington Beach

Earlier this summer I visited Huntington Beach to see Dean Torrence trill Surf City USA and Snoop Dogg have us dancing on the prom to his DJ set.

https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/2019/06/22/my-weekend-with-marilyn/

Get him on stage: Bandanaman

And here’s when I tried my hand at surfing on FlowRider on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas. https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/a-royal-party/

And watch out for Ireland’s surfing superstar Gearoid McDaid’s masterclass and my day on Oasis of the Seas. http://www.royalcaribbean.com.

I also had a jaunt around Barcelona in the Star Ireland’s Chic magazine out today.

Aer Lingus flies Dublin to LAX with pre-clearance. Visit http://www.aerlingus.com.

I found an economy return for the sample dates of August 31-September 7 from €321.04.

Now I’m a big fan of Kimpton boutique hotels and LOVED the La Peer Hotel in West Hollywood just up from Huntington Beach. Visit http://www.lapeerhotel.com

So I’m angling for a stay at the Kimpton Shorebreak Resort, Huntington Beach when I visit Surf City USA next http://www.surfcityusa.com.. Visit http://www.shorebreakhotel.com. http://www.visitusa.ie.

And some Canaries

The origins of names can be surprising… The Canaries, for example are named after dogs (canaria) and not tweetie-birds.

The most common golden-coloured creatures on the Canaries are the sunbathers on the beaches.

TUI serves the Canaries all year round but if you’re looking for some last-minute sun…

And remembering that elsewhere if you live in the West or South in Ireland is Dublin…

From Cork to Lanzarote: Seven nights’ self-catering, staying at the 2+ Lanzarote Paradise Club, Costa Teguise, from €349pps. August 27

From Shannon to Lanzarote: The same deal but leaving on August 29.

Visit http://www.tuiholidays.ie.

India… at a stretch

Would you like to go to International Yoga Day in India and can you tell me by the close of play today?

As Mamma told me, they’re would be days like this!

Big-hearted fella that I am I nominated a yoga fan to go out there to stretch and contort her limbs.

I’m too kind for my own good!

That’s why I’d keep this Travel Department break to myself.

Explore Amazing India is a 12-night TD active Holidays small group tour.

And there’s more than just yoga.

You’ll cycle through Delhi at sunrise and hike between ancient forts in Jaipur.

How about a traditional homestay, learn to cook traditional Indian food on Dausa and a Hindu aarti ceremony?

As well, of course, as the Taj Mahal and the other iconic sites.

From €1,999pp for 12 nights including return flights and accommodations and features. Visit http://www.tdactiveholidays.ie.

Full steam ahead Thomas

A plaster cast, or stookie where I’m from, is a useful makeshift bridge for a Thomas the Tank Engine track. Take note, Thomas Land.

The Son And Heir had broken an arm but that wouldn’t stop him playing with his favourite toy.

He’ll be interested then in Irish Ferries discount on a trip to Drayton Manor & Thomas Land in Staffordshire near Manchester.

Thomas Land has 25 rides and attractions.

A couple of smilers: Thomas and The Son and Heir

From €595 for a family of four (kids under 11) for three nights in the 3* Tillington Hotel.

It also includes a one-day park pass to Drayton Manor & Thomas Land and a return car ferry.

Valid until August 16. Visit http://www.irishferries.com/drayton.

A call from The Ronald

Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Mickey and Minnie

I seem to be a magnet to American Presidents, living and dead. The Donald, The Dickie and now The Ronald.

The first has cropped up across America and the Caribbean looking for selfies with me.

While the Richard Nixon Library in California invited me to a 50th anniversary of the Moon Landings with Buzz Aldrin in attendance.

Now Ronnie’s pals http://www.reaganfoundation.org want me to get out there for a talk from a Supreme Court Associate Justice.

It’s flattering but if they want me to help run their country get me on the payroll.

Mexican waves

Strike a pose: Mexico. Pic by Matthew T Rader. Pixels.com

Mexico is one place I reckon The Donald wouldn’t follow me.

But HIS loss.

Escape2 has a seven-night all-inclusive Mexico trip from €1599 including Air France flight, departing November.

Stay at the 4* Riviera Maya. Visit http://www.escape2.ie. Contact (01) 435 0005.

MEET YOU ON THE ROAD

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Surf City U(Who)SA?

This is right up there with Dublin and Cork, Glasgow and Edinburgh, Madrid and Barcelona, Melbourne and Sydney. It’s the battle of the Surf Cities USA, Santa Cruz and Huntington Beach in Southern California.

And it was reignited this week when I met the delegates for Santa Cruz at the Visit California Roadshow at The Alex hotel in Dublin. Visit http://www.thealexhotel.ie. And http://www.visitcalifornia.com.

Catch a wave: Santa Cruz. Photo by Daniel on Pexels.com

They are very protective about Santa Cruz being the birthplace of surfing… it’s probably still raw that the courts ruled that Huntington Beach was granted the title of Surf City USA.

Santa Cruz though point to the history books and three Hawaiian princes washing up on their shores in 1885. The trio persuaded a local lumber mill to make surfboards from redwood logs and then proceeded to teach the locals how to surf in Monterey Bay.

It was to Santa Cruz too that surf legend Jack O’Neill (we’re claiming surf royalty here in Ireland then) made Santa Cruz his home and introduced the wetsuit which makes surfing a year-long activity.

Me surfing: On the FlowRider on Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas

The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum at the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum is where you can find out all about the history of surfing. Visit http://www.cityofsantacruz.com.

It may not have done Santa Cruz any favours when Hillary Clinton endorsed it as ‘the real Surf City’ and went on to say that ‘only real surfers surf in Santa Cruz.’

Time for a paddle: Dog surfing in Huntington Beach. Photo by gdtography

Huntington Beach though has the mantle by jurisdiction of the American courts and that is in part down to the efforts of Dean Torrence, one half of the Jan and Dean singing duo who recorded the co-written Brian Wilson song Surf City. Dean moved to HB and campaigned for HB to be known as Surf City.

HB has its own surf museum and I’m a little anxious about mentioning that their website is http://www.surfcityusa.com or that I’ve been to HB and bogeyed with Snoop Dog.

Huntington Beach fan: Snoop Dogg

They also have a dog surfing competition which drums up a lot of interest from the pupperazzi.

I’m not making this up, the good burghers of HB told me this when they came to town and that the star dog is a German labrador called Bono although they wouldn’t confirm that he wore sunglasses all the time.

Just to funk it all up should I mention too that North Carolina and New Jersey both claim a Surf City? Visit http://www.surfcitync.gov and http://www.welcometolbi.com.