On the Mega Bus to Chicago
Stephanie found a free trip deal from Mega Bus from Indianapolis to Chicago, and we’re going up to do some sightseeing.
Questions & Answers
Question from a friend: How risqué are we allowed to get with these questions? 😉
Oh, what the heck. As risqué as you want. Bring it, baby! I say that now, but watch me get bashful when you actually ask them.
Anon Question from Formspring: If you could spend three days (two nights) anywhere in the United States doing absolutely nothing but exploring (with Stephanie and without your cameras), where would you choose?
San Francisco. That city has been on the agenda for awhile, as well as Boston and Seattle. We’ve talked about hopping on a plane and going, but we haven’t solidified plans for this year. We’ve had some fun poking around Toronto and New York in the past, as well as some great road trips, so I know we’d have fun. I’d like to explore more cities we haven’t seen (I’ve been to Washington D.C. a lot, and Chicago and New York several times, and we’ve both made the road trip to Arizona/New Mexico several times. I haven’t seen enough of New England or the west coast.)
San Francisco because it’s pretty and touristy and gay-friendly and warmer than Indianapolis. And I’d like to see more of California. We’ve driven through LA and spent a bit of time there, but not much. Boston is on my agenda at least because of the history. I’d like to visit a New England city with a lot of past lives. Seattle because I think of it as young and urban and hip. And all of these places would be fun to visit with Stephanie.
It would be quite a feat for me to explore without my camera though. I’d feel as though I’d left my right arm at home. I think I’d spend the entire time thinking “wow, that would make a great shot.” Plus I love taking photos of Stephanie, and it’s always fun to capture her while she’s exploring stuff, because she can be really expressive when she’s interested in stuff. So photos of Stephanie + photos of site-seeing = cool photos.
Photos from our stay in London on the last two days of our England trip.
Bircham Windmill, Norfolk Lavender and Hunstanton
Today, we visited the Bircham Windmill – a real working windmill and farm in Norfolk. We climbed up five stories to the top of the windmill and I took tons of photos. Mom even climbed all the way to the top, and she’s very afraid of heights. We also watched sheep being milked, chickens running around, and had snacks.
We visited Norfolk Lavender briefly and looked around, but they were closing so we didn’t take the full tour of the farms. It’s a large lavender farm – smells heavenly.
After, we drove up to the Victorian seaside town of Hunstanton to walk along the beach, eat fish and chips and play at the penny arcades. We won Peppa Pig and George for Annabelle at the two-penny coin game, but I utterly failed to win a meerkat from the claw machines. We teased Mom into playing air hockey, and she did quite well at it against Annabelle.
We had a lovely day.
The Queen says hi!
Despite my whining about seat assignments, we ended up together on the plane. The first leg of the trip was on a tiny jet but the Boeing 757 wasn’t bad at all. It was an overnight flight, but we didn’t get much sleep on the plane, so we’ve been catching up here.
Once we landed, it was Friday here. We had a hired car to take us up to Stacy’s house in Upwell, and we visited with Stacy and the girls. After lunch we took a walk up the road and I took photos while Annabelle played a bit in the play park. Then we went and explored the Church yard and I took pictures of the gargoyles and gravestones.
Later we checked into our bed and breakfast (Bury House in the village of Little Downham) which is a lovely place with a nice room. After getting settled, we walked down the road to The Plough, which is an quaint English pub that serves Thai food. Roger mentioned that lots of pubs are closing, so it’s possible they added the restaurant portion to supplement their business.
On Saturday, we went to Ely and walked around the river, through town and up to the Ely Cathedral, an 11th century construction called “the Ship of the Fens” because it could be seen on the hill out across the marshy wetlands that surrounded it. Most of the fens were drained several centuries ago, resulting in a flat, damp, low-lying agricultural region.
We visited the market and the yarn shop and toured the Cathedral until we got kicked out because there was a mass going on. Oops. Mom and Stacy and the girls headed back to Upwell, and Stephanie and I visited a pub – The Lamb – and had dinner and a pint. I have British Beef and Ruddles Ale Pie – which is not as odd as it sounds – just a beef pie with gravy made with ale. Very tasty.
Sunday, Roger and Stacy drove us all up to Sandringham, the queen’s winter home in Norfolk. We took a tour of the grounds and the children’s play area, then saw the house and the museum. The queen said hello, of course, and that we were her favorite guests and should come back often. (that is completely not true.) It was a long day, so Roger and Stacy and Mom and the children went home and we stopped back in Ely for pizza and a nice glass of wine before heading back for and early evening in.
Here are a few of the photos I have so far.
Continental Airlines seat assignment problem
So we booked our flights to England back on April 3rd, and at that time requested seats all in the same row – three people traveling together, seats in the same place – makes sense right?
In double-checking our flying information today, we discovered they had moved our seats and placed my mom about 10 rows behind us on one of the flights, and several rows away on 2 others. I called Orbitz customer service (where we had purchased our tickets) and after an hour an a half on the phone discovered that the only way we can get in the same row is if we have medical identification saying that we must all be in the same row together for medical reasons.You can also learn about contact center as a service here as they help you in getting services.
You have got to be kidding me. Really? Seriously? Three people traveling together can’t sit together unless they have a medical need? What bullshit is that?
When did poor customer service become a matter of course for airlines? I can’t think of any flight I’ve been on in the last 10 years that hasn’t had some problem with it. I would gladly pay for an airline that gets it right if anyone can point one out to me. It’s not surprising to me that people purchase private jets when they can afford them, because what person in their right mind would put up with this kind of bullshit if they didn’t have to?
So I got home from SxSW late on Tuesday. I didn’t recap the last couple of days of the event because I was catching up on sleep and fighting what I had thought was a wicked case of allergies. Turns out – walking pneumonia. (Also turns out that I managed to spell that word correctly the first time, which given the state of my woozy, drugged-up head right now, impresses the hell out of me, at least.) Yeah. I spent yesterday zoning out and finally got to the doctor late in the day when she delivered the bad news. So I’m forbidden to return to work for a couple days, and I’m on some wicked strong antibiotics and Mucinex.
I feel like poo.
And I feel like quite a douche, because I insisted to everyone that I wasn’t sick, that it was just allergies and I was really not contagious. I swear I thought that was the case; it really did feel just like when my allergies are out of control – runny nose, stuffed up head, sore throat. I didn’t have any other cold symptoms, and I didn’t feel bad enough to seek out a doctor (until Tuesday, when we were already flying home) and also felt like I had a responsibility to learn as much as I could while I was there. I’ve felt much worse at other times in the past, so this severe diagnosis makes me wonder. The thing that really sealed the deal was the two plane rides home though, where my ears popped and I couldn’t hear a thing, and my sinuses felt like they were going to jump out of my face from the air pressure changes. My left ear is still not right.
I so wanted this trip to Austin to go well.
SXSW 2010 Prep
I’m taking off on Friday for SXSW in Austin, Texas. I’ve been there a couple times in the past in 2007 and 2008. I’m having a bit of anxiety about the trip after the doozy of a time we had in 2008 (stuck on a plane on the tarmac for 6 hours in Dallas, then driving from Dallas to Austin) so I’m kinda keyed up. The weather forecast is much better this year, but then again, it was fine last time, too. 🙂
But I’m trying to stay optimistic about the trip; it couldn’t possibly go as bad as last time, right? I’m hoping to learn a lot and see a bunch of cool new stuff. I need to do a bunch more prep work; this time I’ll have a much better camera with me, and Austin is a really cool city.
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