the hoofindex - fast forward to the following trip (cancun in mexico)

Day 1 T -18 hours.

After a few stressful weeks, now we are officially unemployed, homeless, crashing on a mates couch with only the clothes that we carry. The host of chateau Wentworth was very pleasant and accommodating, laying out our bed to crash after a reasonably large leaving party, making us breakfast and fresh coffee, which he made himself. Definitely not what we expected, however at T - 18 hours (4:45am) on the day of departure the pleasant ambience was shattered by the common Mt Wellington sound of a burglar alarm. Yes, the alarm was for chateau Wentworth.

The courageous Hoof leapt out of bed, looking for the intruder who had so rudely interrupted his sleep. Racing around to the garage to check on the cars, then to the front window, and then the front door to switch on lights. Only to find no power... the explanation for the sound effects became clear. But where was the host to turn the alarm off. About 10 minutes later after some discussion between the Hoof and Hoof'ess, out stumbled the host. Now was the host going to spring into action and turn his alarm off... no, he had no idea how to. He knew where the "box" was, but not how to stop the noise.

To cut a short story shorter, after some wire pulling and jiggery pokery we finally had the silence we were after. And crash back to the fold out bed.

Day 1 T - 12 hours. (7am if that helps)

Still no power, found out some crazy local had decided to try to drive up a power poll. Needless to say he, or she, failed. But time was ticking and team Hoof had to finished fitting everything into 2 packs. Cause the packs were both full, and we had a box of other crap to fit into it. After a few hours of shoving we got all of our crap into 2 packs, both bulging at the seams. With 8 hours to go before the flight, what doe the Hoof'ess want to do? Shops! To buy more stuff to cram into the packs... a somewhat concerned face was apparent on the Hoof. Fortunately the shopping trip was relatively unsuccessful and only a few new items (essential items according to Hoof'ess) were acquired and gently messaged into spaces in the Hoofs pack.

The Hoof'ess fully packed and ready to rock and roll.

Day 1 T - 3 hours.

Time is running out and finally we leave Chateau Wentworth after the patriotic Hoof took a little longer (probably an hour) to sew an NZ flag onto his pack - obvious as it sounds, sewing with 2 hoofs is very difficult. But check out the handiwork!

The Hoof's Handiwork along with Hoofy the Hoofdakker.com mascot

(look out for hoofy straddling the Eiffel Tower in future episodes)

After a little cue jumping (thanks Nestle for the Koru membership!) it was time for the long standing tradition - the entire Hoofdakker.com crew plus the resident groupies descended on the airport bar for a quiet beer to reflect and ponder. Hoofy was a little nervous about his first international flight so went a little hard on his final Mac's Gold

Thirsty Hoofy polished off a Mac's Gold quick smart - he doesn't look as stressed anymore.

Thanks to the Hoof'ess organisational skills we had some primo seats on the plane, in fact the first seats on the plane. Those seats that about 300 others have to walk past when they enter and the air staff direct to the "left or right" of the plane. So after a ridiculous number of hours in the air it came to dismount time. Hoofs at the ready, we were for a moment on The Amazing Race. First off the plane we were at full pace toward those pleasant LAX customs staff. We were then first to the baggage carousel - we were certain that we were going to win this leg of the amazing race. Our patience and skill were about to pay off. The Hoof's pack came down as the 3rd bag off the plane... and we waited for the Hoof'ess pack. And waited. It looked like the Hoof'ess was going to cost the team the win. And waited. Well even though the pack took a while to come through it was the smoothest run through LAX ever.

Hoofy was happy to be off the plane in LA.

With the Amazing Race still going we raced outside to get our "free shuttle" to the Tradewinds Hotel. The Hoof'ess was in charge of spotting and flagging down the appropriate shuttle while the Hoof lugged both packs. For those who have been to LAX and tried to pickup a shuttle will have had experience of unorganised chaos that is LAX. We got to the "Red Zone" and waited. After about 10 mins there it was, the Tradewinds shuttle. An interesting looking shuttle and itlooked very out of place amongst the Radisson, or Westin Hotel shuttles. It was the oldest and dodgiest van to pull up. Massive writing saying "backpackers", and signs for the Thursday night bubbly party, and free cake every night at 7pm! It looked interesting, but that is the closest we were to get for now. The Hoof'ess failed in her task to wave it down... so we sat... and waited. No pressure on the Hoof'ess to perform the next time around.

But once we got to Tradewinds, it looked like 70's concrete block place. Difficult to tell what the it was going to be like from outside but what more can I say, this place is classic. First of all there is the welcome note with "what's happening" and the free champagne party, free buffet food, free cake, raffle for a free t-shirt every night, and the list goes on.

Tradewinds welcome - Hoofy found the free champagne party to his liking.

Tradewinds certainly has a certain style to it.

The place is classic cheesy America, from the bar just inside the reception with large Budweiser signs, to the hotdog warmer on the bench, the Pepsi vending machine and even some old school spacies to pass the time. It definitely has a party vibe with an interesting mix of people, an American school teacher who is working in Guatamala, a couple of Croatian chicks, a guy from Southern Alabama, a Sydneysider, and many others. While hanging out in the restaurant /bar we even got treated to some improptue American idol when a two unrelated people figured out they were both in LA to persue their singing/acting career (how cheesy is that - staying at an LA backpackers to persue their singing career!) and decided to show off.

Unfortunately a 5:50AM flight time cut short the nights activities - and the thought of the alarm going off at 3:50 was mind numbing.

hoof on to mexico