Its Hot - Damn Hot!

Trip Start Jul 27, 2003
Trip End Jul 26, 2004

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Thursday, July 31, 2003

Sunday July 27th

Well the past few days we have been to Newcastle, Portsmouth, York, Braintree and Exeter to name a few familiar places. The only difference being that York has a beach, Newcastle is an island and there are no sailors in Portsmouth!! These places of course being in New England, USA not at the top bottom and middle of the M1 as you may have first thought.

We have had a brilliant first few days thanks to the hospitality of our American relations who really know how to welcome you. So much so we have decided not to move on tomorrow but to stay another day or two here in Newcastle.

Firstly we will give you an idea of how our week has panned out.

Sunday 27th July

Sophie dropped us at the airport for what was as predicted a tearful goodbye. I think the realisation of being away for a whole year finally hit!

We saw Flavio Briatori (Renault Formula One Boss!) getting out of his Mercedes at Heathrow. We thought we would let you know of our star spottings after bumping into Arnie Schwarzenegger in Venice we reckon we may see a few stars along the way.

The plane left a little late but made up good time on the way and all in all was a good flight. I would just like to say that I am no longer going to miss my 8 hour cream as at only 13.50 a tube on the plane it would have been rude not to.

We arrived at Boston Logan Airport where we were grilled about where we were going (I don't think the guy actually wanted our whole itinerary!!) who with, why, what for. After four passport checks and one hour of queues we were eventually free to go!

We left the airport were Auntie Ann met us straight off the plane. With the 5 hour time difference it was only 5pm over there and in a bid to beat any jetlag we decided to stay up as late as possible so we went round to see Tania and Brett (Simons cousin and her husband) who have just bought a house in Portsmouth and are currently doing it up. We had take out Pizza and watched the Tour de France (oddly really big over here!) I then started to fall asleep on their couch so pleaded to go home. This was around 10.30 but my head was still on UK time of 3.30am.

Monday 28th July

After a brilliant night sleep we headed out onto the patio to have coffee (pronounced coy-fee!!) It was gorgeous, already 30 degrees and only 9.30.

Now the weirdest thing. Americans have drive through banks and ATM machines (so you never have to get out of your car and exercise!!) They drive straight up to a McDonalds style window, cash some cheques and draw some cash but even more bizarre the woman at the counter asks us how many dogs we have today?!? Ann tells her just the one and the bank clerk hands her a dog biscuit! Everytime she goes to the bank she gets food for the dog - customer service or what!!

We then hit the beach and I had my first "I thought that only happened in the movies" moment. A bi-plane went over head with a message flying behind it. It was like a "Congratulations on your graduation day Chuck" message!?!

The beach is two minutes walk from Anns house and is just lovely. We got a bit frazzled so decided to head back to the house for Gin & Tonics on the patio and some fried chicken and corn.

Tuesday 29th July
Today we took a bus (yes Nicola - me and bus in the same sentence you would be proud!!) into Boston. Now I bought a copy of USA Today to read on the bus and just want to share with you some headlines and stories from the front page. "Health service failing patients" "War on Iraq" "Can Beckham conquer the US" and finally "Simon Cowell signs up for American Idol 3" I could quite easily have been reading any number of UK papers!

Boston is a cool city, we came here a few times when we were here 2 years ago so vaguely knew our way around. We were told about this new IMAX theatre that had opened on the harbour so though we would check it out. They had a few movies playing like Matrix but we didn't fancy being stuck in a cinema all afternoon on such a nice day so we chose to go and see a documentary "Ghosts of the Abyss" which was actual footage of James Cameron and the guy out of Twister (can't remember his name) when they went down to Titanic with millions of dollars worth of new equipment a couple of years ago. It was 3D and only on for an hour so it seemed like a good way to see this IMAX theatre.

We went inside, the screen was 6 and a half stories high!! They had 88 surround sound speakers around you, you were given a pair of polarized glasses (not the old green and red ones) and you truly felt like you were in this submersible with these guys it was amazing. You looked a bit of a div mind you when you tried to reach out and touch stuff. Would recommend it to anyone in the Boston area.

Wednesday 30th July
Tania had today off so she took us up to York where there is a beach and some great little restaurants. We went to Barnacle Billys in the Cove and ate Clam Chowder and Crab Salad Rolls followed by Ice Tea which is soooo good. We then went to park at this car park which was $4 an hour. We only wanted to go for about an hour to sit on the beach and have an Ice Cream so we went in and parked. We went to the kiosk to buy an ice cream and we had a choice of Kiddie cone, Medium, Large and extra Large, we ordered three Kiddie cones which I think got there name from being the size of a small child rather than being enough for a small child, they were huge.

The car park had a huge queue to get out and we sat for about 30 mins queuing to get out, then everyone started shouting at this park attendant to tell him to sort out the problem, there were 5 lanes of cars trying to get out of one pay barrier. This poor guy stood in the middle of all these huge cars (most people drive Sports Utility Vehicles or Pick up Trucks) he tried (kinda) to get some sort of queue going and then just when I thought he would burst into tears he quit! He just turned on his heel and walked out of the parking lot not looking back straight out of town. So everyone was just sitting there honking (cause that's something else they love to do here) Simon then got out of the car and probably committed a federal offence moved the barrier out of the way and we all left. It was a real victory moment and very amusing! Plus we saved 4 bucks.

We got back to Newcastle without being arrested which was a bonus and had some dinner before heading out on a boat. It was a sort of Booze cruise. There was a band and a bar (what more does one need!!) It was a really good night we headed out and circled Newcastle then headed out to this Island and then headed back.

Thursday 31st July
Very boring report for today as we did nothing! We got up, went to the beach, had lunch at the beach, came back from the beach and drank Gin & Tonics on the patio!! It's a hard life - only 360 days to go!!

Thanks to you who have been sending us emails and keeping us updated. I think we will next be in touch from Washington as we head there either Saturday/Sunday for a couple of days then onto New Orleans.

Take care all
Lots of Love
Liz and Simon xxx
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