(Fun fact: spell-check just corrected my errant typing of “hooplah” to the clearly far more sensible “hoopla”…)
Ah April, I hardly knew ye. I have now returned from my four weeks in the US, which was divided just over half work and just under half fun. That said, some of the work was actually pretty fun, so I can’t really complain about it. It was a total whirlwind, in part because I travelled all over the country, visiting South (Miami) and North (Boston), East (New York City) and West (Las Vegas). Not to mention points in-between, including three fabulous days at the Grand Canyon.
Somehow no one in our nuclear family (parents, sister and me) had ever seen the Grand Canyon, whereas we had all been to the Great Wall of China and we’ve all spent time in major European capitals–for a group of reasonably well-travelled people, we have missed huge sections of our own country. So the highlight of the trip for me was the hilarious “family vacation” done approximately eighteen years since the last time we had a family vacation (in my last year at home and in high school). We rented an SUV and drove out to the canyon from Vegas, taking in a few amazing foodie stops (Nobu before the Canyon and Mesa Grill after the canyon and before leaving Las Vegas). We played CDs of old road-trip music from the era of the last family vacation, including ABBA and our home-made “Monster Ballads” mix made up of classic slow songs from hair metal bands. We all commented on why it was that we could remember the lyrics to all of this music from several decades ago, but struggle to remember things that we really need to remember these days.
Now I should point out that my family, growing up, was not what you would call “outdoorsy” and so a visit to a National Park to do some hiking was a bit of a departure for us. I admit to being part of the driving force for this, as I have spent more and more time doing such things in the last decade. We are all keen walkers and so “hiking” was not really that much of a departure, although the 10% average grade on the vertical ascents up the canyon walls were pretty intense. Overall in two big hikes we did 9 miles and just over 3000 ft down and back up again. It was awesome. If anything, it made me want to turn around and go back and do more canyon hiking ASAP.
After the trip, I bought and devoured the Ken Burns National Parks documentary set. If ever there was a reason to feel proud to be an American, that is definitely a good one.
And now, gearing up for 48 hours of mass royal wedding hysteria. I did not come back to the UK on purpose to be “on time” for the wedding, it just happened that my US trip’s logical conclusion fell early this week. Returning “home” to a few days of work and a long weekend with two bank holidays also seemed like a good idea in terms of beating jet-lag. But as for the wedding itself… So much great commentary has been written that I hardly know where to begin. I suspect that should be the subject of another post…