Just got back after going in to downtown Boston for “First Night.” Jessi and I started off by going to this great exhibition of inflatable sculptures, then watched the Grand Procession and checked out the ice sculptures before finishing up with the family fireworks. Jessi really like the Fried Dough with icing sugar and cinnamon.
Christmas in Boston has been fun. Lot’s of kids and lots of food. Lot’s of Xmas presents to be unwrapped. Of course I’ve spent some time missing Mum, Christmas dinner was both a happy and a sad moment for me.
I’ve enjoyed doing lots of things that just don’t happen in Sydney, even mundane stuff like walking the dogs. Jessi’s video camera has had a work out already, there is a video of the dogs and me walking with them and one of Graeme doing the Mentos in the Cola experiment they tried on mythbusters. Keep an eye on “ilovechoccie” and Jessi will be uploading some more. She has some of Xmas dinner to go up soon.
I’ll be uploading some pictures to Flickr when I find my card reader.
So after way too many hours on a plane, a short stop in San Francisco and another 5 hours we arrived in Boston.
The timing was great. We got to Graeme’s house with just enough time for a quick hello and changed into our jammies and straight to bed for a good night’s sleep. Today our hosts had their last day at work so Jessi and I were thrown onto our own resources. We walked to the local strip mall – about a mile away. After the walk in the morning chill a quick trip to Dunkin Donuts sounded like a great idea. I’ve finally found somewhere that sells a bigger coffee than I can actually drink – a DD Extra Large is too big.
Once again I was amazed at US retailing. Have a walk around even a small strip mall and you can find amazing bargains. We got Jessi a pair boots for $20 and a 1Gb CF card for the same price after the “instant rebate”. Gotta love it.
So I’m off to the United States for the festive season. Christmas and New Year in Boston with a short stop in LA on the way home.
I absolutely love travel, but loathe the process of getting ready. It seems to drag on and on, with little in the way of organisation. I always think I will learn a lesson from it and never do. I’m already thinking I’ll never find a few pieces of vital gear – where are the spare batteries for the PowerBook, the world adapter kit that can be used for both the iPod and PowerBook power bricks, various semi-important cables.
Then there comes the question of packing – what to take, what to leave behind, how many shirts and socks? Given that I’m visiting family and it’s Xmas a fair amount of luggage space is taken up by gifts and other such things – licorice for my brother, magazines for his partner. All the medication and toiletries are another bunch of questions and problems.
The stress and excitement make sleep difficult, too. At the moment my sleep patterns are totally screwed up – I can’t get to sleep early and I find it hard to stay awake in the middle of the afternoon.
It’s all worth it in the end, of course. More to come from the road.
Oh, hang on, maybe that should be ‘Jessi on lion”.
I’m just testing posting photo’s straight from Flickr to the blog to see if Flickr stuffs up the layout or anything.
What do you think?
The photo is Jessi on one of the lion’s around Nelson’s column in London and was taken last January.
So it’s Boxing Day. Xmas was nice with lots of presents for everyone and a dinner with a bunch of good food.
It was snowing lightly when we got up this morning with just a light covering on the ground. It has continued snowing throughout the day, getting a little heavier later.
We went for a late brunch (1 PM) at a chinese restaurant in Lexington that had a great yum cha (and a buffet for those who didn’t want yum cha) all for a fixed price – recommended, I’ll try and get a name for you later.
We then went to Burlington Mall for a quick shop. As we were leaving at 4:30 I was surprised how dark it was. Snow was falling a lot heavier as we drove back to Waltham and it was fully dark as Graeme and I cleared the snow off the car parking spots at the house. Luckily I’d just bought a pair of gloves and a hat at the Sears sale.
I’m always amazed at the prices at a US sale. I got my pair of gloves for $10 and a hat for $5. Back home in Sydney both would have cost me four times that even at a sale. Of course I expect warm clothes to be cheaper here as they are so necessary.
Now that I’m getting ready to leave London some thoughts on the place.
First, there are white earbuds all over the place. It seems a huge portion of the population under forty has an iPod. They certainly outnumber all other music players by a huge amount.
Second, the public transport here is phenomenal. The Tube seems to run more than frequently enough, there is a decent bus network and any time we’ve wanted a cab there has been one passing along in minutes.
I’ve also managed to get around the town entirely without a map. Using the Metro guide in the Palm to get around the Tube and then sign posts and the occasional question has been enough. Street vendors, the odd police person and even people in shops and coffee shops seem to respond well to a polite question.
So we have arrived in London. The trip over from Boston was fairly incident free, though we had to change planes at Montreal where they can’t cope with transit passengers and we had to go out through customs and then back in through security.
Yesterday we arrived a little late and had a walk around before an afternoon nap and then dinner. We all had broken sleep last night before finally sleeping through until 9:30.
Today’s adventure was a trip to Harrod’s. After we had explored Harrod’s Nanny went back to the hotel while Jessi and I walked up to Picadilly Circus then caught a Routemaster double decker back to Knightsbridge tube station.
This evening Mum had an earache so we went to the local hospital for her to have it looked at. It was fairly fast – they told us it would be a two hour wait but when Mum said she’d just go they found a doctor to take a quick look and diagnose a middle ear infection.
Afterwards we had a great dinner at a cafe/restaurant across the road called Caffe Carluccio’s (236 Fulham Road – across from the Chelsea and Westminster hospital). I can recommend the Osso Bucco and they had a chocolate bread and butter pudding that was to die for.
We set off to visit the London Eye only to discover that it’s closed for January. Rats! I’ve also got to say that the sign posting from Waterloo to the Eye sucks.
Lucky that London’s packed with interesting things to see. Jessi and I walked from the Eye to Westminster Abbey. Of course along the way we saw Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament (though we didn’t tour the Houses).
At the Abbey we took one of the Verger tours. There are a few of these a day and they last an hour and a half. It costs four pounds per person and its great value. Not only do you get a well informed guide there are a couple of spots the tour takes you that aren’t open to the public. Both Jessi and I enjoyed it. Jessi liked going to the bits not open to the public and some of the details the Verger knew non included in the guide, like the way that pilgrims used to steal bits of the decoration on tombs as a souvenir. In fact on some tombs you can see a tide mark where people couldn’t reach any higher.
Personally I find Poet’s Corner incredibly moving. Half of English literature is buried there and to walk on the burial place of Dickens or T.S. Eliot (to name two of the dozens entombed there) gets me all weepy.
What can one say about the British Museum. The place goes past mind boggling. Just the Reading Room and the Rosetta Stone are enough to blow the mind.
The Museum is another place that will take you considerably longer than you estimate. Jessi and I went with Mum, which slowed us up a bit but it was four hours to explore a fraction of the place.