Today was consumed in traveling again. We flew from London to Washington DC. The flight left about an hour late. Some issue with no plane being on the stand and then the pilot said they had a few small technical issues which needed to be resolved. While we were waiting to board some guy abandoned his luggage for a few minutes. It was noticed by the gate staff and they made a few announcements and no one claimed the bags and then the guy just sauntered over and sat down next to his bags. Seriously – who just leaves their bags in a terminal building.
We eventually left London just after midday and landed in Washington at 4pm (with a 4 hour time change). The flight was uneventful. Lunch + movie, sleep for a few hours, afternoon tea and then we landed. A little bit of turbulence over the mid-Atlantic but otherwise quite a smooth flight. Coming in to land though was quite interesting as it was a white-out. Chloe was trying to take a photo but you could really only see the ground just as we were about to land. It was snowing as we landed and quite hard too. At least 3 inches on the ground and apparently there was no snow at all yesterday. 0 degrees C. Cold. Very cold.
Relatively quickly through passport control. Very unusually for arriving in the US, the immigration official was very talkative and friendly. He was moaning about the weather (he used to live in Florida), gave us a little history lesson, a bit of sightseeing advice while he did the necessary fingerprint checks and stamping of the passport. Our one piece of checked baggage was already on the baggage belt and so we grabbed it and headed through customs and into the land of the free. Free but no place to buy a pre-paid SIM card for cellphone coverage. Seriously – in the land of capitalism? Definite business opportunity at Dulles International Airport. We grabbed a cab to the hotel. Another advantage of only 4 of us traveling – we fit into a single standard size cab (we are missing you though Stephen). The cab driver cleared his Islamic reading material from the front seat and I discovered he was actually from Pakistan. We traded our mutual dislike for Australian cricketers and I watched the cab fare ticking over at about a $1 per second. It did also cross my mind if he was part of a sleeper cell in Washington DC … probably pushing the movie theme though and now those words are typed into Cyberspace I probably have the whole of the NSA surveillance centered on me now.
We crossed the Potomac River, saw the Lincoln memorial. Few sights already ticket off. We are staying at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. Impressive outside facade. Nice view even from the room. Still need to get our bearings but close to the Zoo (unlikely to be going there though) and a 10-minute cab drive to Georgetown (will be going there). As we had no desire to go anywhere tonight we simply ate at the hotel. We were given a 5-seater table … thought of you again Stephen. We were also very quickly reminded of the ginormous portions you get in the US. That picture is of Chloe’s chicken Caesar salad (that’s her hand on the plate so you can reference the size). After I had finished eating I asked Chloe when she was going to start. It didn’t look like she had made a dent in the salad even. For someone to eat a salad that size at Chloe’s age you would need to be at least 4-5 times bigger than Chloe. Chloe probably won’t have to eat again this week – she can just feed off the leftovers from dinner. It must have contained a whole chicken (if not two).
It is now 9:10pm and Helen is already snoring. I am not going to be far behind her. Just trying to keep going until 9:30pm at leastttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt