Thursday, 29 January 2009
Wednesday, 28 January 2009
Tuesday, 27 January 2009
Moving on to Monday, Martin Luther King, Jr Day, we started the day with brunch at Old Ebbitt Grill. This was a gathering of our travelling party with Alda and her friend Sam, to celebrate Simon's 40th. This was a wonderful time of chatting and eating, and of course, lots of photo taking. Upon our departure, we walked to the White House (where we experienced our first real mob of people). As lame as this sounds, it looks a lot different in person than in pictures and video footage. It's far less imposing, and really just looks like a huge fancy house with a gorgeous gated garden. Of course, we only saw one approach so I should probably hold my opinion until I have the chance to see it from all directions.
We then moved on to the zoo, where it was cold and the animals were returing a bit early to prepare for the inauguration. Regardless, we had a fun time and got to see some of the residents. After that, we were pretty cold and since it was dark out, it seemed like a good time to have dinner (although the meal from Old Ebbitt would have surely fueled me until we returned to the UK). We made the most of the neighbourhood's array of restaurants and ended up at the Taste of India (which charmed us from Kings Langley because there is a restaurant by the same name near our house).
We returned to the hotel and opted for a calm evening in since we knew the next day would be full throttle...
Sunday, 25 January 2009
At the moment, I'm looking very rough and feeling the heavy blanket of jetlag. Accordingly, I'll divide our trip into segments, starting with Washington DC in this post (Eric's Baltimore details to follow later in the week)...
We arrived in Baltimore on the evening of Saturday 17 January. Although we got held up in customs (the lack of a common surname and a single nationality in our traveling family didn't help...no mysteries were being accepted at this US arrival point) Eric waited for us to ensure we had arrived and had all the travel info we needed to get to Bethesda. Upon our arrival at the Marriot Suites in Bethesda, we were met by dear friend and excellent travelling companion Liz (a.k.a. zil) and made the most of a very expensive hotel room and reasonably-priced room service.
Sunday was museum day. Since we didn't have weeks to spend in the vast DC museums, Liz helped us focus our efforts. We visited the National Air and Space Museum as soon as they opened. This museum is fab because we got to see the US glories of space travel. Bailey loved it because her school class has been studying the planets. She also loved it because she got to control a flight simulator (she's not quite ready to be a pilot...). We also visited the National Museum of American History, where we got to experience a re-enactment of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr speeches, done by one amazing actor. This museum is so cool and I loved getting to interact with the exhibits, such as the American house room. Bailey enjoyed getting to see Dorothy's red slippers, and we all enjoyed seeing the Star Spangled Banner.
On Sunday afternoon Jamie arrived (if you want the professional and detailed approach to our DC days, check out Jamie's Hammock blog). She and Bailey visited the National Museum of American History together then the entire party went onto the Mall for the We Are One concert. We offered a continueous commentary on the performers within our own listening circle but the best for our little family was dancing to U2.
More to come...
Saturday, 17 January 2009
On the travel topic, safe travels to all who are out and about this weekend, especially those heading to DC.
It wouldn't be my blog if I didn't cover a few current events, so here we go...
Why, Boy George, why? You had so much with Culture Club then lost it due to drug abuse, but was able to turn it around to be a cool man with a good career. I'm not saying you can't dance with the devil a bit but why couldn't you just keep it this side of the law?
OK, I'm intrigued about this book. When The Guardian has to ask "is it a daring feminist work or just puerile porn?" you know it's got the goods...
Don't mess with the books, people. You'll never get away with it...
Lastly, although US Airways lost a plane, they showed they know how to run exceptional service. Well done, Captain Chesley Sullenberger ...you are a hero, indeed.
Next stop, DC and witnessing a country led by President Obama. Bring it on!
Tuesday, 6 January 2009
On Saturday I was in Borders and noticed their DVD section now showcases an adults-only shelf. This is a relatively new genre in this section and, as you may or may not know, I'm no fan of porn. I'm no fan of censorship either, but that's not the point.
The point is, it was me who sullied the XXX shelf with titles from the non-porn section, titles which when put upon the pervy shelf, took on a new life. Yes, I put Cheaper by the Dozen, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Columbo, series 4. And, yes, I'm sure you were thrilled to see some new titles on the shelf later that day, some really racy ones!
This isn't an apology but a prideful confession. Everytime I think of someone buying these with the pornographic hopes of a solitary evening on the couch, I can't stop laughing. And if you saw someone leaving the DVD section that day with tears streaming down her cheeks, it was me.
Sunday, 4 January 2009
I'm aiming to do one small thing a day to calm the spending. One very small gesture was changing from a premium-priced shampoo to a store brand one. OK, that's not as significant as giving up the credit card but it saves me almost 91 pence per 100ml.
The other notable gesture is withdrawaling a fixed amount of cash at the start of the month for my personal expenses. In the past, I used the credit card for my personal purchases so the new plan will require all purchases be in cash. I've just started this step so I'll have to keep you posted.
I think some of the fiscal slimming has rubbed off on Bailey. This afternoon she was busking with her harmonica in our dining room. She even put a little empty box in front of her to inspire donations.