#WOMBATSDOAMERICA 2015 Days 1 & 2
Blogging our recent US trip day by day, a month after the event.
10th & 11th November – Back in the USA
I never actually thought we’d go back, really. Yet there we were, standing bleary-eyed at Manchester airport after a 4am wake-up, invitations to stay with amazing US friends warming our cockles. Well, my cockles at least. I can’t speak for Mary.
The first flight was a hop over to Amsterdam, and if we’d had a rear seat we could have boarded up proper steps, like people in the Fifties. Always fancied that, too. Take-off wiped out the disappointment, though. I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed that sexy thrust on a small plane. Also sexy was the KLM lady’s voice: “Good morning, would you like a little shnack? We have shweet or shalty.” I had shalty, the tiniest wee crisps in the known universe. I felt like a giant.
Security at Schiphol was much improved over last year, although the airport does like its gate changes BIG, as we were shifted from D2 to D51. And then – “Hi folks, Captain Smiling Jack here. We had an odd start up on the starboard engine so we have to return to the stand to have it checked.” – what is it with us and flight problems? We didn’t have one clean journey last year. I’ll have to list them all somewhere.
Smiling Jack told us jauntily that there was a faulty starter, which needed replacing. Two and a half hours later, and we were off. Luckily we had a five hour layover to play with in Detroit or I’d have been cacking myself, never a good idea on an aeroplane. I tried watching the new(ish) Fantastic Four, which was quite the opposite of fantastic. Got lost in the beauty of the clouds at thirty-three thousand feet for a while, as you do after a few free gins. I also took a lovely photo of Cod Island in Labrador – a bleak-looking place, identified for me by handsome man-about-town @scyrene.
We eventually arrived at Traverse City, a pretty little airport with a kid’s reading corner and a garden. Hugs and cheers with Jamie and Barb while I tried desperately not to breathe gin on them. Home to their lovely house, seeing nothing outside in the dark but meeting the very waggy Ace the Wonder Dog. Seven hours sleep and I awoke lively and hot to trot. Struggled to make a decent cup of tea, though. A walk on the the shore of Lake Michigan blew the remaining cobwebs away. Strange to see waves but no tide.
In the afternoon Jamie had a photo shoot at a local hospital, so we tagged along to help. We met the lovely Katie, who works there, whom I fell immediately in love with at her first words – “How COULD you end that book like that?!” Katie works in the geriatric hospice section, and Jamie was taking photographs of some of the ‘elders’ with their families. He’s a very good photographer, and brilliant at putting his subjects at ease. There was much laughter. Katie told us that some of the photographs he had taken last year were highly valued by the families, being the last photographs they had of their departed loved ones.