Archive for November, 2005

Our flight back to the UK was scheduled to leave at 9:25am, so it was a 6am start for us — not exactly my idea of fun. We made it out to the airport easily, since traffic was light, and got checked in on our flight. We stopped by the lounge for a cup of coffee. We’d barely sat down when our flight was called for boarding.

“Wow, that was easy,” I remarked, thinking how smoothly everything had gone. Never count your chickens before they hatch.

We boarded the plane shortly before 9am and took our seats. Just before 9:25, the pilot announced that we were ready to go and that we would push back shortly. I was listening to air traffic control (I’m really sad) and suddenly music came on — always a bad sign, as it means the pilot is discussing something with the tower that he’d rather the passengers not hear.

In our case, it was a defective environmental control system — something to do with the pressurization of the plane. After about an hour onboard, the mechanic determined he couldn’t fix the fault. Luckily, they had another plane at the next gate. Over we went, finally taking off about 11:30am.

United managed to get an exemption to the late-night arrival ban in force at Heathrow. We arrived just before midnight, and managed to get home shortly after 2am. So much for avoiding jetlag with a good night’s sleep!

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Saturday was a day for the sights. After a leisurely start to the morning, we hit the Silver Diner for breakfast. I figured you couldn’t find a more ‘traditionally American’ place than this.

Silver Diner

After breakfast, we headed down to the Mall again to see some of the Smithsonian museums. We spent a few hours at the Air & Space Museum, one of my favourites, then headed on to the American History Museum.


We also managed to shoot a few touristy pictures in front of the Capitol.

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It’s a small world. We decided to brave the first day of the sales (Black Friday, as it’s called in the US) at Potomac Mills, looking for a bargain or two. We weren’t terribly successful in our endeavours, but we did manage to run into Aude’s boss, 3677 miles from home.

Aude & Boss

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Thanksgiving, American-Style today. What started out as a small gathering for seven people ended up being a much larger affair with about 15 of us in the end. In addition to the ham my parents did (quiz: how many hours is 195 minutes?), one of the guests managed to bring an entire Thanksgiving on their own — turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, and cheesecake.

It was an international affair, with less than half the guests actually being American.



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Aude and I went to Washington, DC for the Thanksgiving holidays. Since nothing was open on Thursday morning, we decided to see those sights which we could see from outside, mostly down on the Mall.

One of the highlights of our morning was a trip to see The Awakening at Hain’s Point.

Awakening - Matt

Awakening - Aude

We parked by the Lincoln Memorial, toured the memorial and the Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial, then headed back to the house via Massachussetts Ave, to see all the embassies.

Aude - Washington Monument

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In time-honoured tradition, I held a traditional American Thanksgiving celebration for my friends here in Canterbury. I enjoy the celebration, and it confuses the heck out of my foreign friends, which gives a certain satisfaction of its own. πŸ˜‰

Thanksgiving dinner

For those of you keeping track, the menu this year was:

  • Roasted turkey stuffed with orange & onion
  • Wild rice stuffing with cherries, cranberries, apricots, sultanas, pecans, and onions
  • Baked sweet potatoes
  • Roasted carrots and parsnips with a honey & cinnamon glaze
  • Buttered green beans & corn
  • Apple pie

My guests embraced the occasion. We at until we could barely move, and stayed up talking until nearly 2am. Or ‘midnight’, if you’re using Julien’s sense of time.

Clean house

Peace and quiet at last…

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