I just spent a week in the USA, specifically New Jersey. I spent it with alizep who educated me in the ways of New Jersey, which is apparently considered by everyone to be a "strange" state. The condition of the highways is terrible but everyone was very friendly to me. I have been to the Wawa aka The Wa; I have eaten a hoagie; I have been to a Stewarts and sat in the car while they brought dinner (this does not exist in the UK) and I have finally drunk root beer (which was nice, kinda like dandelion and burdock with added fizz). I walked along a boardwalk and took photographs of funny T-shirts. I have finally eaten sushi and tasted the famous honey miso dip, which is now my favourite dip of all time.
We walked over three miles in total in NYC so we could visit the museums. The Frick Collection first, which is very Old World and in a beautiful house that used to be a residence so it has a bit of a domestic feel. My favourite part was the Garden Room, which is in the centre of the building and has a pool of water with two copper frogs, benches among the greenery and the statue of a guardian angel watching over everyone. It has the original Holbein paintings of Thomas More and Thomas Cromwell, which is pretty amazing for someone who's seen photos and reproductions galore in the history books I've read over the years. They're on opposite sides of a fireplace, facing each other. If you know anything about them and their relationship, you know how clever that is. And there was an original Constable painting of Salisbury Cathedral. It was bizarre and wonderful to find a painting of the place I grew up hundreds of miles away in the crazy jungle of New York City. Then we went to see the Guggenheim. The current exhibition was not particularly inspiring but the Guggenheim itself was amazing and speaks for itself. Then the Met, of course, which was already familiar to me through Ghostbusters II; best part of that was another garden installation based on a traditional Chinese garden. Could have sat there for at least an hour just breathing in the stillness but we had to get to Top of the Rock, which has great views but you have to go through a security check, and then you HAVE to pose for a photograph and I was wearing comfortable jeans for walking that were not at all flattering but oh well. Actually getting up there was amazing. Ate at Bubba Gump Shrimp, which was very filling, and then we went to see a play on Broadway. We wanted to see "The Lion King" or "Wicked" but the matinee tickets were all sold out. It's so annoying, those people who've seen it more than once could leave a couple for the uninitiated! So we went to see "The 39 Steps" instead, which was most definitely worth it. We got the best seats in the place, in the Orchestra, almost exactly in the middle of the row, four rows from the stage! Just four actors, two of them doing over five roles each, very funny with lots of Hitchcock references. You don't have to be a Hitchcock fan to enjoy it but if you are, there's another layer to the jokes. We both laughed out loud a lot and the actors seemed to be having a whale of a time. Highly recommend it if any of you get the chance. Pic spam to follow (hopefully).
My birthday was spent in Baltimore. Camera had run out of battery but that didn't matter too much. We strolled around the Inner Harbor area, had lunch at Phillips, where I tasted clam chowder for the first time (for the record: I loved it). Three course lunch for $29.99! We couldn't finish our cheesecake, so we took it with us. We tried to visit the art museum but it was shut! On a Monday! Unimpressed. Also saw the Edgar Allen Poe exhibition at the library (Poe died in Baltimore when he was meant to be in Philadelphia) and tried to find his grave but it was hidden, typical of Poe! It wasn't exactly in a nice neighbourhood so we decided to cut our losses and go home. We almost got caught in a thunderstorm and then the sun tried to blind us, so obviously Baltimore is more dangerous than people think (it's not just the guns and drugs, it's the very weather itself!).
Plus wrote more Exiles.
Gels, I bought all three of the Emily books! I'm so happy, you cannot find them over here, you have to order the American copies! I only ever read "Emily of New Moon" over 10 years ago, and it's great to actually find out what happens to all of them when they grow up!