It snowed today. Really snowed. Big thick flakes floating down, covering the black ice beneath with a soft white duvet cover.
It was beautiful.
It was also a bit tricky getting out. The hire car, with no snow tires, slipped and slid and bogged down in the snow. Getting the suitcases up the very steep driveway was also challenging. You’d be stomping along, feeling confident when wham bam you were on your butt sliding for the bottom again.
But we eventually packed up and even had the energy to make a final snowman. A cute little fellow (check out his arse).
You might have noticed Hugamuga’s comment in the sidebar. That’s my son. Also known as The Orchid Hunter. However I’ve decided to adhere to his online preference and call him by his online handle.
Hugamuga came from a friend of his in primary school – I’m not sure if this friend had looked up the meaning but in fact he was spot on, for Huggermugger means random and disorderly and that, my dear friend, sums up my darling boy. 🙂
So while I’m updating handles – Junior Poshi will now be referred to by her preferred online handle Dippity, which I think comes from Serendipity, a movie she was quite keen on. In fact we are hoping to visit the Serendipity Cafe while in New York.
While the other cousins have been sledding at Cranberry Hill nearly every day, my poor Orchid Hunter has been stuck inside feeling lousy. So when perchance we happened to notice it snowing outside yesterday we threw on as many clothes as possible and went outside!
We went out to lunch yesterday at some restaurant whose name we can’t remember but was just outside Stamford mall – oh yes we went to a mall – and decided that Americans do do food well. Sure the portions are big but the service is great, the food is delicious and the restaurants cosy. On top of that it’s relatively cheap. Groover and I had meals yesterday that would have cost around $20 a plate in Perth for half that.
I can see weight gain could be an issue.
But as well as they do food well, the coffee is lousy.
Trying to explain to someone in Starbucks that what you want is a long expresso style coffee – impossible! Of course saying “a long black” which is what we call it in Australia is out of the question. I am missing my Saeco… 🙁
In the meantime we’ve experienced another aspect of American culture: The doctor’s surgery. My Orchid Hunter has a very nasty flu. Feverish, heavy cough, sleeping for nearly two days solid – he feels terrible and when you have a houseful of 12 people you want it sorted out quickly.
My sister has found this great doctor. Here’s how it works for her. He charges an annual fee of around US$1500 per child. For that fee you get a doctor who is prepared to see you anytime. This guy will come to their home. He will go with you to specialists. If your kid breaks his arm at school he’ll go to the school and sort it out. He only wants a maximum of 300 patients and that means he can really take care of your child when the child needs him.
For my sister, whose eldest daughter has had needed a lot of medical care, Dr Eric is their lifesaver. And the surgery is a delight! I wanted to be sick and a child again. Check out the photos of the different exam rooms filled with murals and fun lazer lights.
Hugamuga sat on a hippo couch while Dr Eric spoke to him and explained what he was doing. He was so engaging. He did a test for strep throat and told us how it worked – like a pregnancy test – in simple terms that made us understand without making us feel thick. An excellent experience. Brilliant.
Having the whole family in one house is lovely. The house is big enough that we have our own space – indeed my sister – Aussie to the core – calls out “Cooee” to find her kids, and it is nice to have time to make Christmas together.
The two girls and their Uncle – my bro – have already put on a Christmas play. My sister – must make up a name for her soon – has a little theatre in the basement, and as you can see in the photo below they went to some trouble with their costumes. Poshi Junior is Father Christmas, Bear – her cousin – is Rudolf and Uncle Banana is naughty Vixen.
The best bit was JP throwing her hands up and saying “Poof” whenever she wanted the scene to end. Hilarious. And “Poof” has become the new word of this Christmas.
Today we go to a foodstore where there are singing vegetables. You gotta love America!
There is snow on the ground and the kids have spent every second since we arrived sledding. I decided to hang inside for a while and talk to you dear internet but you may see me skidding on the ice soon. Yes it rained after the snow and the top layer is hard and slippery.
Thai Airways was surprisingly good. We went Perth-Bangkok-New York. That’s about 6 hours to Bangkok and then 17 to New York. The food was great. My rule for aeroplane food is to always take the Asian option and I wasn’t disappointed. Rogan Josh lamb curry, Hokkein noodles with stir-fry pork, Chicken something or other.
Bangkok Airport is one year old. Some long name starting with ‘S’ my plane spotter son told me. It has the largest single terminal in the world and it is impressive. Walking down the moving sidewalks to the shopping areas feels like a science fiction movie. But already the cracks are starting to show literally in the flooring. It may look new but it lacks soul.
Perhaps I’m expecting too much but even JFK had some interesting artwork on the walls and of course Vancouver Airport is lovely. It’s not often you can say that about an airport! What did Douglas Adams say?
It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on Earth has ever produced the phrase, ‘as pretty as an airport.’ Airports are ugly. Some are very ugly. Some attain a degree of ugliness that can only be the result of a special effort.
The other surprise, given that we bought the cheapest seats we could find, was the amount of leg room. Seriously good. The plane configuration was 2-4-2, and we managed to get window seats so we were “comfortable enough” down the back. We weren’t expecting much so we were happy.
And the 17 hour flight. Recommended. If there’s one thing I can’t stand is hanging around in airports and all that security checking they make you do these days. Sheesh.
Speaking of which, I don’t mind the putting your moisturiser in a plastic bag, the continual scanning of my handbag, the walking through metal detectors, even being patted down by a perfect stranger wearing a gun gives a little frisson to the journey… but what I really find irritating is this ban on water. Even water you’ve bought in an airport on the right side of security… take that to another airport and finished or not – in the bin it goes. The world has gone insane.
Back to the long flight, we had prepared. I asked my GP for some sleeping tablets so that we would definately sleep and they worked. Although Groover did manage to drop half of them. Note to self – next time get the bigger tablets. My sleep was a little fitful as I was terrified I’d needed to and had forgotton to get visas. What’s the worst that could happen – I thought to myself half-way to New York, trying to think positive – we could be turned around and sent right back! Luckily we didn’t need them – I’m sure the travel agent might have mentioned it if we had and after giving immigration our fingerprints and photo they let us through.
Driving to my sister’s house from JFK, Groover and I felt we were in a movie set. The images are so familiar. I half expected to see a high-speed car chase. They never show you the outcome of those chases do they? The mile long traffic jams caused by the wreckage left behind. Yes, we ended up in our first traffic jam.
We started a game of “numberplate bingo”. This is a lot more fun in the States where there are 50 states to get. So far we’ve sighted 13.
Today is a recovery day. We’re all determined to stay awake for as long as possible to try and force ourselves into this time zone. I’m feeling a bit dizzy as I type so I hope to last the distance. My brother and his girlfriend arrive late this afternoon and my sister and Mum and Dad will be here about 10pm. Christmas has begun.