Douglas Spencer (dougs) wrote,
Douglas Spencer

The trip to America, part one

Yes, I've been here a week now, and it's time for an updatey sort of update, full of narrative and stuff like that, covering the gaps between the little morsels I've been offering.

I was on a 777, where the middle block of seats is three wide. I had the aisle on my immediate right, and the centre seat was empty. In fact, most of the centre seats were empty. None of my fellow passengers were troublesome, although the ground crew had contrived to allocate four seats to eight people -- they'd moved a family to the front of a block so they could have a shelf in front for the baby, and hadn't reallocated the prior occupants. All sorted out without too much fuss.

Off the plane and onto a shuttle bus, and I was the last person to squeeze onto the shuttle ... with the result that I was the first person off it and into the immigration hall ... where, for the first time ever, there was no queue at all. The conversation with the chap behind the desk at immigration went something like this:
Me: "What happened to the queue?"
Him: (glances sideways) "Shhhh! We don't talk about what happened to the queue!"

There's a shuttle bus which takes you from the airport to the distal edge of the tube metro system, so I took that, and with my tube ride I got to scarlatti's flat at something like 16:30 -- that's a near-record of about two hours from touch-down to front door. I doubt I'll do that well very often.

You'll have read elsewhere about our first evening, my walk to hospital and back, scarlatti's scan and the accompanying interview from her father.

On Thursday, after I'd walked scarlatti to her office, I walked a couple of hundred yards east to pick up the Capital Crescent Trail, at approximately the 2.5 mile point. In common with most walks which follow the course of a dismantled railway, it was very easy going -- well paved underfoot (on this map the blue area is crushed gravel, the pink is tarmac, and the tarmac extends for the whole of the rest of the route), with no steep sections. However, in common with most walks which follow the course of a dismantled railway, it was also very short on dramatic scenery. If you go to north Wales, for example, or the Lake district, and you bound around on the mountains that you find there, then you can see ... well, mountains. But here, there were buildings, and more buildings, and then some trees ... and more trees. There weren't very many insects and hardly any birds at all, which would have leavened a similar walk in England or Wales. Perhaps at a different time of year it would be better. I have photos, but they rather reflect the levels of excitement on the walk, which is a pity. At one point you get to see the edge of a reservoir, and at another you get sight of the Potomac river. But it's not terribly inspiring. Apologies to everyone. There were lots of cyclists on the route, and frequent calls of "passing on your left" as they approached -- there are signs which instruct users of the route to warn other users of their approach, and it's a system which works very well. But, to be honest, I'd sooner go and find some pack-horse trail up a hill somewhere. Ah well.

On Friday, as you'll have read, we went out for a movie and a meal. The HHG movie improves on each viewing, I've found -- this is my fourth time now -- and the meal was excellent. My earlier review, written after the first viewing, is visible here.

Saturday was occupied with such delights as laundry, shopping, pancakes and pizza. And lots of rolling around in bed -- so much so, in fact, that we left the clothes in the drier for more than an hour after it had finished. Golly! And then eleven hours in bed overnight too.

Today, we catch up.

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