Joined July 2017 Message
  • Day23

    Science Museum and Home

    August 15, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    An eventful night. At about 230am the fire alarm started. For us it just kept saying listen for the signal after the annpouncement and if it comes then leave the hotel. Afyer about 30 minutes it stopped without ever reaching the evacuation beeps. Then got a call from Tash to say could they come up to get a spare key as they had had to leave the hotel and had forgotten their key. When they got up Ed was distressedas they had walked all the way up (10 flights). We then realised we didn’t have akey for them so went back down to the reception to get another. Kids said it was a false alarm set off by someone on the lower floors, hence why they had evacuated.
    The lobby was still chaotic and when we got served by man who was also answering phone from people saying was it now safe, the system was down and they coudlnt cut keys. We waited and slightly randomly another employee offering us water said she could get us in wih a master key so we got back in about 330. To add insult the full beeping alarm went off for about 30 seconds just long enough to wale everyone up at about 7am. An apology letter from the hotel said the system hadn’t worked properly and they couldn’t play the all clear message.
    We didn’t rush out after all that and pacled our case. Managed to get Sheridan the Shark and the turtle in the new bag so no carrying needed of large cuddlies. Hotel stored our bags and we went off to Caffe Nero for breakfast. Werent sure what to do so walked to the common and sat there a for a while having a lemonade and watching people. Then decided to go to Museum of Sceince as it was only 15 minutes on the T. Short wlk past a lot of the duck from the tour here and we were in. Automatic hand stampers after the gates meant you could gt back in and out. The museum was very interactive, much more so than the London museum. We went into the Gravity exhibition bout space travel, where there were lots ofthings to do related to being on the space station (wearing space gloves, using cranes etc) and we watched a good film about zero gravity, with astronauts playing round. Then went briefly through the disease section, including an iron lung they used to use for helping polio sufferers to breathe. Think treatment ahd moved on and polio no longer so prevalent.
    Then headed to Lightning Show, which was good, some large Van Der Graaf generators made ligtinginside. Learnt cars were protective because the metal cage attracts the lightning and channels it to ground. Nothing to do with rubber tyres. The finale was various mechines that caused lightning at different voltages and each different voltage made a different thunder sound, so it played the 1812 overture. Thunder due to electrons moving air molecules and the movement travelling all the way to your ear.
    We then looked around an exploration area at things like water spinning down a plug hole, light effect and other good stuff. Then went for some food in café. Tash had fancied the 360 ride but it was a spinning space capsule type thing, not what she expected or wanted. We didn’t do the planetarium or 4d theatre as not really enough time. Went back in and looked at another natural world exploration area. Had puzzles to pack blocks into a box, design a fish for an electronic tank, scale balancing, creating waves on a screen using poressure if your feet and lots more. The kids (especially Tash) had not anted to go to any museums but found this one great and we could have stayed longer but wanted to ehad back. Would be great place to come if you were local. Opened until 7 and the crowds of kids had really thinned out after about 3pm.
    Got T back to hotel picked up bags and straight into a cab to airport. Traffic was a little slow but its not that far and we were there in about 25 minutes. Club chck in had no queue and we got smoothly through security and into the lounge. Sam didn’t make anything beep. Had to take our shoes of apart from Tash due to her hollow soles, but she forgot to show her marked boarding card so had to take them off anyway.
    Lounge had reasonable selection of food. We were called to front desk as they could sit us closer together, but we stuck with seats I had poicked so window seats climbed over our own people rather than starnagers. Plane was boarded direct from the lounge and we we left on time. An Indian family on route to Chennai were separated and might hve been one reason why they tried to move us aroiund a little, but n Irish lady moved to let the mum be across the aisle from the daughter and her husband.
    Flight was quite turbulent and short, only about 5.5 hopurs. We all slpet a bit, Ed the least, though I had to wake him from deep sleep as the seats had to go upright for landing. We were on a bus stand but were on first bus and assured that it would take us straight to security so no need for shuttle train or much walking. This turnd out to tbeth case and Security for us had no queue (quite long for non EU)even though until Ed is 12 we cant use the e machines. Waited 5 minutes for bags, ours were some of first off and we were through and looking for driver within about half an hour. Found driver who had only just arrived and we got smooth trip home. Tsh started to fel bit unwell and was sick when we got home, but totally fine after this.
    Glad to be home but we’d had a great time away.
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  • Day22

    Harvard and Fenway

    August 14, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 27 °C

    Tashs birthday. We went down with cards from ourselves and also from friends etc who had sent them to us in advance o leaving. Tash was happy with the birthday shout outs she was gettomng from friends on social media who were ahead of us in time zones.
    We had slixe of their leftover room service poizza from the night before then ventured off on the T to Hardvard. Quite simple, 4 tops to Hardvard Square, we just boight slightly more expensive paper tickets as it was impler, only 2.75 each and Ed at 11 was free.
    Was rrally hot and sunny today in ontrast to warm but fogy days we had seen in Boston to date. Tash had wanted to go to the IHOP diner in Niagara but we didn’t have tiome, the one in Boston was catually in Canbridge near Harvard so we headed for that. Zoella has taled about them apparently. They do pancakes, onelettes in diner style, really a breakfast kind of place. The door was locked even tjough it opened at 7am and there seemed to be folks inside. Another family was puled. As I peered through the window the waitresses seemed perplexed what I was doung until one came to the door and relaised it was shut. She said she couldn’t uncerstand why we didn’t kist come in!
    I had cheese omelette which was huge and also came with a stack of pancakes on the side. Ed had Nutella crepe which was actually 4 crepes on the plate. Sam and Tash had the breakfast plates which also came with pancakes on the side. Crazy amount of food, it was alright but the amount was off putting. Coffee was goof though. It was inexpensive and we then headed back towards Harvard to the shop to get a seatchirt. Went into Urbak Outfitters as Tash wanted a dress and got a lovely one with sun flowers on it. She would have stayed in the shop forever but Ed was vert funny ushering her away fro racks of clothes toeards the door. The shop assistant told us the Coop shop across the road was an official Harvard shop and also that LA Berdicks around the corner did amaing hot chocolate. So we went to the Coop and got hoodie, bear and magent then on to the chocolate shop. It was cool inside so I had a milk hot choclate, kids ahd iced milk ones and Sam an expresso. They shaved real choclate into the cup then mixed with hot milk. It was very thick and vry sweet, very good. From here we walked to the university and took some pictures of the buildings and Tash of a tree featured in Gilmore Girls.
    Then ordered an Uber to take us to Fenway Park home of the Boston Red Sox for a tour. This was much quicker than the T which would have meant going bck to the centre then out again. Took maybe 20 minutes to get there. We found the booth selling tour tickets and got on the 2pm one, was about 120 now so we had tome to go in the shop, which was also the meeting place for the tour start. They had varios framed bits of soil, homeplate etc and we got one from first base that had been used on 14 August 2017, Tashs birthday last year. She also got s shirt with Betts on it – Mookie Betts apparently great name.
    The tour started, our guide was good fun, good sense of hunmour and tild some good stories about Boston baseball. Babe Ruth had played for the Red Sox first as a pitcher originally. In his final season with them he hit 29 home runs when most teams only hit 10 a season (bats and balls were less easy to hit home runs back then). For reasons not explained the Red Sox owner didn’t like Ruth and so sold him and most of the rest of the team to the Yankees for 125k. Must have been something behind the scenes of that deal I think. First stop on the tour had been the restrooms, then we had a photo taken, then sat in the seats on the wide left field near the green monster and got some history. Some folks on the tour thought fround lookd bigger than they were expecting, but most thought smaller. Certainly much smaller scale than Rogers Centre. Capacity about 32k. The wide angle lenses used on the tv made it look bigger on screen too.
    We then went to the seats on top of the green monster. This had been put up to stop people in buildings opposite watching the game for free. No seats on it until a few years back, when they were first installed and sold for $50 each. Now they sell for that for midweek games against poor teams in early season, but for a big game against the Yankees mioght be $600 each. Was a good view from up there and a unique place to be.
    Then moved round the back of the satdn toards the press box, passing a garden on the roof where vegetables were grown to be uised in the catering in the ground. Also passed a wall showing some of the music artists that had played there. Also had ice hockey there in winter and also ski jump trials for the Olympics earlier this year. Every bit of roof space was uised behind stands with bars and seats etc. Was a real old school ground (oldest in the league, opening was delayed by 6 days in 1912 due to the Titnic sinking). Like an old football ground in UK, turnstiles opening straight onto road, old brick building and old unpadded seats in stands which were much closer together than a modern stadium). The Red Sox had a bad run of no success for 86 years, but were doing well this year and had best record so far in season.
    The press box was high up behind home plate. Had windows which the senior journalists in the front row could decide whether they were open or not. The view actualy wasmnt that great as high up and the window panes blocked the view. A third row had been added at the back when demand from Japan rose whne Red SOx signed a Japoeanese pitcher. Were shown roughly where Brad Pitt sat in film Money ball for his interview with Red Sox. Also pointed out the retired jerseys on the stand opposite, including 42 which was in blue as it is retired everywhere in memory of the first black player in baseball. Wade Boggs who I had seen play in 1994 (for the Yanlees I think) but had had along career with the Red Sox.
    Final stop was round the right field where there was a red seat in amongst all the others. This was where Ted Williams hot a 502 feet home run in 1946, the longest ever. It hot a chap who was dozing in a straw hat and knocked him out briefly.
    Then downstairs to a museum with features on lots of ggreat Red Sox players. Also a ball from every Wolrd Series winner (except 1994 when a players strike had meant there was no world series, even though Paul and I had seen games that year).
    We got our photo then got an Uber back to Faneuil Hall. Started to really pour with rin so we ducked into a bar for a drink. Soon fined up, kids wanted food so we had some in Quincy Market, then headed to Hard Rock Café where Tash got a T Shirt – cooler than one saying Niagara apparently. Ed had promised her something from Sephoira for her birthday so we went in and she chose some lip gloss (taking forever again to do so!). Then headed back to hotel. We still needed another bag for stuff to get home, so Tash and I ent in search. Tried TJ Maxx (not sure wy not TK in US), but they were all expensive dsigner cases. Tash thought Primark might have something and they did, a $20 cricket bag like case, perfect size. We had intended to try Macys and Tash wanted to go in so we did. They had larger thn life sie cut outs of all the Kardashians which Tash introduced me too. Brief visist then we headed back to get ready for meal out at Top of the Hub on 52nd floor of Prudential Centre.
    Got the T accorss to there and had a little trouble finding the entrance, then despite the 52 light looking like it was pressed, we only went up to the 50th floor (dropping off a man with a sparkly coloured cuddly unicorn) then went back down. Pressed button and we made it and got our table near the window looking back towards Old Boston. The food was tasty. We saw another couple of tables set up a proposal, with a large flashing sign – the lady said yes. Tash got a sparkly candle in her cake dessert for her birthday.
    We got an Uber back to hotel, with the Red Sox commentary on the radio.
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  • Day21

    Duck tour Quack Quack

    August 13, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 21 °C

    More leisurely start again, out just after 9. We had decided to jead to the Duck Tour this morning and grab some breakfast once we had got a time to do the tour. It was about 10 minute or so walk down to the Harbour front near the Aquarium which was the closest Duck tour to us (they leave from three places, Prudential Centre and the Sceince Museum, all doing the same tour just in different order). At the counter the girl was having problems with her computer and while she had resertved us 4 spots on the 1020 (it wasa bout 935 now so some time for a coffee and croissant) she couldn’t process my payment or issue the tickets. While she was trying another chap came along who had some tickets on his phone with the Boston pass so she sent him to the desk around the corner whete the Ducks left from. After a couple more minutes she said I’d best go round to that desk too, where they would be able to sort me out with the seats she had reserved for me – she had radioed them ahead to say I was coming.
    When I got there they said the 1020 only had 3 seats left, could the chold sit on my lap. I laughed at the thought of Ed on my knee. I explained there should be some free as the lady the otherside had been holding them for me. The guy said no they were for the chap he had just served. I said no way he hadn’t even interacted with the lady other than to show here his phone. Turned out he ahd wanted 4 seats too and had obviously kist agreed when asked oif he had had them reserved on the other side. Don’t think it was deliberate just a misunderstanding I imagine and bad luck. So we ended up on the 1040, more time to wander around and have a look at the harbour etc.
    We took some oics and saw the whake watch boatd going out (and one coming in very dat) and also saw the jet boat Codzilla – not like the Montreal one though! Went back to the departure spoot about 1025 and joined the line. Seats were allocated so no need to be at fron t of line. Had a pic taken before boarding.
    Our guide was dressed as a witch and claimed to be from Salem. She had a toy cat with her called Hocus Pocus, if she waid his name we needed to go Quack Quack loudly! Tour was 80 minutes or so, with about 20 minutes or so on the water. We went round the historic sites and as traffic was light heaed into the back bay too. Saw various old churches and burial grounds. Heard the Paul Revere wasn’t really the hero of the ride as he didn’t do all of it, but his name rhymned better when a poem was written bout it yeats later. The back bay area is New Boston with reclaimed land and streets in drid formation. Old Boston on original land is a mass of narrower winding streets. The original puritan setlers bought the land of a local man who had settled it in the mid 1600’s. They were the folks from Boston in Lincolnshire who started the city. The Common was wheren they hung noin puritans and witches. We drove past the Cheers bar which isn’t anything like the TV one inside (and the witch had been and no one knew her name!). The Botanical Gardens we passd had the state tree from every state except Hawaii and Florida as they didn’t survive the frost. Had a sculptute of some ducklings from a fanous kids story and a pedallo lake with swans. Sam was going nowhere near that. We joined the atwr from the Cambridg side having past the science museum which we were told had an indoor lightning show. We drove through an old lock to onto the Charles river. Saw a sailing club that was open to all and pay whatever you wanted, run as a charity and supported by the Ducks. They had a fleet of 28 all but one replicas of the WWII ones. They were avtiallu called DUKW but known to everyone as Ducks. Kids on the boar were allowed to steer it for b I on the water, our two were a bit old!
    Heard about the huge cost of the Biug Dig that sunk the highways underground. We ent by the old Beacon Hill area with very epensive houses and narrow streets, a parking spot had gone for 500k. We ended up back where we started at aboit 1210, so more like 100 minute tour. The guide had been good value with a dry humour. At the start when we sad we were from London, she said will need to be nice about the English then.
    We had seen a place called Legal Seafood on the Hrbour Front and so went there for lunch. Sam and I had fish and chips which was good. We went to the Aquarium after this as we were nearby. We had already bought combo tickets from the duck place snd while I exchanged them for proper tickts with Tash the other looked at the seals swimming in the enclosure outside the aquarium.
    Once inside first thinsg were African penguins. All very cute and posing while drying their feathers. Their enclosure was all inside on the ground floor level, The interior of the building was dominated by a huge circular tank that went 4 floors up to the top. You spiralled up arpun the tanl looking at the smaller tanks on the outsode walls and then spiralled down again looking at the big tank.
    We bent off to look at the seals and sea lions outside – as Ed said we’ve seen them in the wild and youi cant beat that! Then when we cameback inwe realised that half of the penguin area was a different breed, the enclosure was split into two, These were little blue penguins we had seen in NZ, really tiny and very cute. We winded our way up to the top of the tank. The large octopus wanst doing much but was big. The coral reef tanks were as ever the most colourful. Various sea horse tanks and some odd updatnding pupe fish. No jelly fish that I saw in this one.
    You could go right to the top of the tank and look down into the open top, this made Sam feel a bit of vertigo so she went back to the level below. There was adiver in there cleaning tha pants and roicks. Lots of very big fish in here and we also saw three trutles incluing a huge one called Myrtle waho was around 100 years old ane very big indeed!
    Once back down we went to the shop and Tash got a big turtle! They ahd the Hairy Otter ts short I had got from Vancouver. We got a green screen photo then headed back to hotel. Not as big as Vancouver or Toronto aquarium but impressive with the big tank in the middle and the oenguins.
    Ed and Sam were tired so stayed in the hotel, Tash and I went to the cinema to see Mammia Mia 2 which she ahd wanted to see since it came out. Cinema was 10 minuts walk away on Boston Common, 20 or so screens. Got a huge drink and popcorn and ent in. Only one person in when we went in, but probably about 20 by the time the film starter. The drink machine was like the one in 5 guys Putney, so we had raspberry fanta zero. Film was goof, very tongue in cheek and hammed it up. Tash was confuses as she thought the flashbacks to Donna the mum were flashforwards to the daughter in the duture!
    Went back to room after and we ordered room servie. I had clam howder, Sam a huge turkey club. I also had Boston Cream pie which had been ionvented in the hotel. Was OK, cake with cream in the middle but not my favourite dessert.
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  • Day20

    Tea Party

    August 12, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

    Had a leisureky wake up, we were all feeling tired. I was feeling little under the weather, think it might have been fighting reaction to a bite I had got on Friday that was now quite itchy. We went to the coffee shop attached to the Beantown Pub from yesterday and sat towards the back ordering from the same menu. Oatmela again for me. The Liverpool West Ham game was on TV so we happily watched that, then headed off to walk to the Boston Tea Parrty museum about 15 minutes away. Well navigated again by Edward. The morning was warm but foggy/low cloud and there was some rain while we were on the eay there.
    Arived just before 11 and bext tour was 1115. We were allowed into a room set out like an old meeting room where the patriuots would have gathered to discuss politics etc. Had church like pews and a pulpit at the front.
    We were each given a feather on the eay in and a lady in character at the front told us tehese would help disguise us to the English so we looked like natives rather than patriots. She gave everyone a card with a character that we would be from the night of the rebellion in 1775. I was Edward’s roommate. Tash ewas Sam’s mother. A couple of the parts needed to read out something from the card when prompted, which we didn’t want. The lady showed us some things to do, so it would become a bit like a opantomime. If we heard something bad we should boo and hiss, good meant bang hands and stamp feet. Somethong very bad meant putting thumb on nose and waving fingers in air while shouting FIE. Very good meant shouting Huzzah and fist pumping the air.
    At 1115 a man in costume came in and gave us a humorous and informative talk about the events of the tea party rebellion. One of the girls reading her part got very giggly and you could see her dad getting very frustrated. We learnt that Heorge III was taxing lots of things, paper, glass and now tea at 3 per cent. A fanmous uote was taxation without representation is tyranny, as the colonies didn’t have any seat in government or say in how their taxes were spent.
    We then went through and onto one of the three tea boats attacked that night. 112 tea crates on ech were destroyed. They weighed about 140 pounds eqach so it was hard wrok moving them from the hold and breaking them up and scattering the tea, taking most of the night. A crowd of around 5000 had agathered to help and watch. A different chap in character took us around the ship and we all got chance to throw a tea crate into the water. Then off the boat and inside into the museum.
    This was very well done, with three rooms. The first showed a hologram film of two ladies talking, one was a patriot the other a tory (King supporter) and they argued about the fate of the colony and british rule. Each room built from the tea incicent towards the war for independence.
    The next room had some artefacts and paintings. A film showed us the history of the only surviving tea chest, which had been found by a man the morning after on the beach and kept in his fmily for generations, used as a table and a cat box at different times. It was now in the museum along with the only remaining tea from the night as a liuid in a small glass bottle.
    Then two pictures oin the wall came to life like Harry Potter. One was King George III, the other John Hancock. They argued about Britih rule.
    The third room was a large curved screen which showed a film of the start of the war. Patriots got wind of the British army heading to Lexington to arrest Hancock and Adams, so Paul Revere did d fanous midnight horse ride from Boton to warn them to move on. The militia waited in Lexington for the British and, when the British advanced with bayonets one of the militia fired a shot, which starter firing from both sides, known as the shot that was heard around the world and signified full on wat between Britin and US, all stemming from the tea party incient.
    The whole thing was very well done and even the kids enjoyed it and learnt a little I think. We ended up in the café where you could have alimitless tea cup to sampole the 5 teas on the boats that night. I tried three, two were normal and souchong was very woody. Kids coudnt stand the smell. We sat at atbel with a lad who chatted to us while waiting for his Irish girlfriend who worked in the shop. He ahd travelled to Europe a fair bit so we chatted about that. He was from Philadelphia so joked about the rocky stepos and pictures I had ftom there from years ago. Ed and I palyed 9 mens morriss. I won game 1 then he won next two. Exited through gift shop and out. Walked to Faneuil Hall and Quincy makrte for some food. Went into decent restauartnt, I had good clam chowder.
    Had look in the hall then thought about Duck Tour but decided to leave that and followed some of the Freedom Trail. Went into the South Meeting House, a Puritan chapel used by Patrioys for meetings. The pews were laid out in boxed in pens, reminded kids of cattle pens at the Big Sheep. Ed did a couple of treasure hunt sheets which he enjoyed. The aisles were short so everyone was closer to the pulpit.
    On leaving we found a cup cake shop, including a vegan choclate one for Sam! Then followed trail back to hotel as we were all tired.
    After an hour or so Tash and I headed out for food. Google suggested there were supermarkets nearby but the first just looked like a takeaway food store (though on the way back we noticed a downstairs that looked more supermarket like) and the second was a C Mart that turned out to be Chinese. So we doubled bac and gt some bread, crisps and jerky from a 7/11, then Tash ahd a ham and sheese toastie and hot choclate from Caffe Nero. Had meant to get Ed a toastie two but the order cam through for just 1 and we couldn’t face queueing again. So went to Burger King for him and got chicken burger.
    Everyone was happy with their food and we wayched some TV before going to bed.
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  • Day19

    Off the boar - Boston

    August 11, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

    We had a leisurely morning, packed last things away and went up to breakfast just after 8. Ed and I played a last bit of table tennis on the ship - he's definitely improved. Went to the room to wait for out call, we were purple 2 group. Got the call about 915 and left ship, one last key card checkout.
    Found our bags in the tyerminal. No porters around so we carried them to taxi queue. Quese was longer for larger cabs for more than 2 people, but we only waited about 15 minutes. Despatcher was angry at some elderlies who marched past the queue and got in further doiwn the road. She said normally she would have made them get out but as they were old it wasnt worth it.
    Cab was about 15 minutes to Omni Parker Hosue Hotel right in centre of Boston. Even though was only about 10am one of our rooms was ready so we went straight up - bags quickly followed. We headed back down to the concierge and got a map and some ideas of what to do. Went to pub up road which was showing the Chelsea game and had some brunch. After game finished we decided to go back to room and chill until about 1 when we headed off to the Blue Man Group theatre about 15 minutes walk away.
    It was raining so we took coats - first rain we had been out in since we came away. Ed navigated us to the theatre and we got drinks in bar and programme and fridge magnet! Got our seats - right in front row, complete with ponchos for paint splatter.
    Show was great. The three blue men were really expressive and behaved like child like beings, a little like curios things from a ikds pprogramme like the tele tubbies!
    After playing paint drums at the start (these were set up and back from front of stage so no splatter of audeince), they threw some marshmallows into crowd. ONe hit Tash in eye and bounced to Ed who gave it to me, I ate it. Then they threw marshamllows into one of the guys mouths he must have caught about thirty in all, after the first twenty or so he moulded them round his mouth into a funnel shaoe inside to be able to catch more in the middle.
    Paint balls were thrown at the other blue man who caught them in his mouth and spat them onto a canvas making a picture.
    Sam had been given a handbag before the show started to put on her lap and after the mallows the blue men came over and took it and put the marshmallows into it then gave it back. Sam hamed up a hoorified look and the corwd thought it was hers! A bit later someone took it away as I put it on the floor near the end of the row.
    They climbed into the audience on chair arms and bacs, using Ed and Sams heads as balance rests. Chewed some crucnhy cereal and spat it all over, we got some especially Ed, who hd behind his poncho and the blue man mimicked jim hiding behind the cereal box. They got a lady on stage from near the back and ate twinkies with her. She was very funny, wouldnt be fed by the guy at one piint and he blew on the twicnkie to cool it down. Mushed up twinkie (actually banana) spurted out of holes in blue mens chests, sytaight into audince. I got a bit but Sam got loads, all in her hair!
    The show was about hour and half and really good. Ponchos werent needed that much other than the banana. The finale saw toilet rolls type paper pulled across the audience from the back. At the font we had to keep pulling it forward and piling it on the stage. It was never ending, Ed got covered, especially when the blue men got back on stage and threw the pile over the front row. He sat for the rest of the show (only few minutes) in a cocoon of papsr! They blew more roll from the stage with fans. Was great finish verys pectaclular.

    Down in the bar at the end the Blue Men were posing for pics. We had to wait while the guy in fornt tried to do a magic card trick with the blue man. Didnt quite work! Blue man took my phone and did couple of great selfies!
    Ed then realised he had left his coat under seat, someone fetched it for us. Walked back to hotel for just after 4 and chilled until 530 when we got an Uber 10 minutes or so to the Summer Shack lobster restuarnat that had been recommended. It was good had soem great lobster potstickers (which we had seen test kitchen on baor produce some shrimp ones) and lobster rolls. MIne with a little butter was good. Got Uber back to hotel and turned in.
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  • Day18

    Into the US - Bar Harbor

    August 10, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    Entering the US today. Got to breakfast early as we had an 830 slot to process US immigration. THe previous night had been traumatic as the paperwork delivered to the room said we needed to complete the old green I94W forms and alos have a printed copy of our ESTA. This is despite the SU governemnt website saying US law does not require a printed copy of the ESTA tp be carried or produced by travellers. Went to talk to front desk who said did we have screenshot. I said no and that thought woukd be hard to find on email ro website. She was vague as didnt seem to realise that ESTA lasted for two years and that I had used mine few times already to enter US without needing a copy. Went away to talk to someone and came back saying we had to find it or we may get fined and not be able to proceed on cruise. Worst case we would need to app;ly again for one. Didnt offer much help to let us use their PC etc, just suggested we use our phones in morning when they worked in port to look for info. USeless.

    Back in room decided should buy wifi pack to look for it now to screenshot. ESTA website was searchable without confirmation number so I foujd them all and screenshotted. Still had uneasy nights sleep wondering if this would suffice.

    We were called to the casino area to quu for immigration. Queue was longer than it seemed when we joined it. Took us about 45 moinutes to reach the front. Chap never asked about ESTA. I asked him about it and he just said these forms they did instead and need to make sure we give in the slip he leaft in our passports when we leave US. JUst like the old days! Such bad info from the cruise company, I will be feeding that back to them without doubt!

    We then had to get tender tciket as boat was moored offshore a little way and we needed to get smaller boat ashore. Had to wait another 20 minutes ro so for our turn and so eventually we got to shore about 1010, just after shceduled tour time of 10. Met our guide Will, a younger chap in his 20s this time.

    He drove us off through Br Harbor and towards the Acadia National Park. Was established by man called Drew from the area nd also John Rockefeller. Rockefeller still have many houses etc on the island. The park was one of first in US and was established by Rockefeller buying land ferom people and alos people giving it for free as they suppported the idea. The first area along the coast we visited was very busy. Had lots of pink grabite to scramble on which Ed loved. This is where pink granite in White House comes from. Further uop we stopped at Thunder Hole - when tide is right waves make a huge noise as air gets trapped against rocks here, not quite right for our visist, but nice spot with good walkway down to sea level (busy though), Sam saw people fro night 1 dinner who were on a bus tour and not liking it - hot and couldnt hear guide!

    We drove on and Will talked about teh cariageways Rockefeller had built acorss the park. We sqw a horse and carriage along one of them. Most are cycle ways now and used for that by visitors.

    Saw house owned by TV producer and one by Martha Stewart. Will talked about lobster fishing here, which seemd much more fats buck and cut throat than the more sustainable approach in the Canadian towns we visited. Other fish ahd been taken too much so lobsters was now controlled by the fisheris board and quotas for pots only became available when fishermen died or retired, thoygh Will hinted at some murky goings on. Got impression they would fish for more if they could get away with it. Females with eggs are thrown back, often makred on tail ss breeders so if they are caught when they dont have eggs they will still be out back. Large males are aslo returned as they are good breeders too. Each fisherman has their won coloured buoys (pronouned boo eee!) and matching pole on their boat so coastguard and other fisherman can tell if people are sticking to their own patch.

    We drove past the only fjord on the island. ISalnd was formed by volcanic activity and Mount Cadillac is plug of old volcano then all smoothed over by glaciers. Stooped for laucnh in Northeast BQuay. Much quiter on this side of the island and better for it. Had greatxrabster roll (half crab half lobster)from a small van parked on the quayside. Had look at the baoptda nd lobster pots then back on our way up Cadillac Mountain.

    Reminded us of Revelstoke as you drove all the way to the top. Gradient was shallow going up as was built as a brdleway orignally for horses to make it. Had been a mountain railway up at som point to a hotel at top, but hotels all mysteriously burned don and railway was removed to Mount Washington.

    We had perfect clear day for views and could se our ship docked below. Mountainw as rounded so no really steep edges and we scrambled around at the top for a bit. Got nagment from shop and Will bought us some picture playing cards. mountin was named after same guy that Cadillac cars named after.

    Will told u winters were cold, at least with some very cold snaps. He had snowplough on his truck and earned some money ploughing roads and driveways. He was curios character, telling us how we didnt truct doctors and so made his own medecines. And how his sister had had her son taken away when he was born in hsoiital for no reason.

    Back to Bar Harbor and saw some of the landmarks there (not a big pkace)mand we ere dropped back where we started. Will overrqn the time bit, whcih was nic and we enjoyed the scenery, though for kids was less interesting than the otehr two tours.

    We walked into bar harbor and giot a drink, then some souverbirs (a cuttlefish for tash!) and visisted a pharmacist - they dont appear to have paracetamol over here.

    Ice cream on way back to tender. Ed dint like his raspeberry lemonade or choclate so I ended up with a lot of ice cream!

    Back on the baot we chilled in room. Tash and I went to the Americas Test kitchen again and watched salmon prepared by over roating and pan steaming. Somehting to try at home. Then went for dinner in dining room, mainly to finish off the wine I had started the other day. Got usual spot for quiz and Nicole and To ny came without boys. We almost won, got 21 and tied with the team whoi had won every night. We lost the tiebreaker! Ed was annoyed as we had wavered on whether Australia had 5 or 6 states. We pust 5 but it eas 6. Wpould have won if we had gone with Ed's final answer.
    We exchanged email addresses with them as they may visit London next year so we offered to help with any planning. Show tonight was half magic half comedian. Botrhe good again. Magic was close up this time with projection onto bi scren so all could see. Comic more fo the same with some great observations on pre v post married life (driving directions) and eyesight, icnluding tv remotes with volume and channel looking the same (why do we subscribe to lots of channels that just show the same prgramme but louder!).

    Had to pack our big cases and leave them outside the room by midnight, keeping stuff we wanted to carry. Tash was slow paking but we got there in the end.

    Like night before boat was quite rocky at sea, even though was calm,, Think crusing on ioen seas in rougher weather would be unpelasant
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