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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hillcrest, Public Transport & Thanksgiving

I have been a busy bee indeed. Hence the need to split the last week up into a few entries! Madness!
So, I last left off that I was about to try out the bus service and head to Hillcrest.

Well, I packed my bag with a book and my Ipod so that I could block out any weirdos should there be the case that there were some on the bus and walked to the bus stop via the garage as I needed a drink. Whilst walking past Carl's Jr a car pulls up, the guy rolls down the window and is asking me something. I cannot hear him, I have my headphones in.

I finally (after taking out said headphones) discover that he is looking for Chipotle, I gave the directions (I realised soon after that there was a quicker route) and explain that it is not yet open. He seemed aware it was not yet open. I am guessing he was a contractor. At the end of the conversation he asks if I am from England. I confirm this to be the case. This may not seem a major thing, but obviously I look confident to know where I am and to be able to give directions. I see this as a good sign. I must be looking like I live here.

Arrived at the bus stop with half hour to spare. This is my usual style. Never late (unless with M), never on time, always early. It was fine though. The sun was shining and the sun was hot. I had music to listen to and could just enjoy the sunshine.

This was taken from the bus stop- hard to believe it is November here.

So the bus arrives, I ask for a ticket with transfers. The bus driver has no clue what I have said. In my whole feeling chuffed that someone has trusted me to give directions I have forgotten to speak slow. I speak fast, very fast. I can understand why he didnt actually understand me. I slowed it down and he explained that I needed an all day pass!

Most of the seats had one person in already, there goes my chance of sitting next to a window. A guy gives me a freaky looking smile. I decide that perhaps it would be best NOT to sit next to him. I feel he may have been someone who would have wanted to talk. Instead I sat next to a guy who didnt even look in my direction. I like to travel in silences whilst travelling on public transport.

The journey to the Fashion Valley Mall (where I need to get off and join another bus) takes an hour. Many people get on, many people get off. We travel through many different neighbourhoods. Whilst I listen to my Ipod the whole journey I dont actually take my book out of my bag. I am too interested in looking at all the sights out of the window and on seeing the different characters getting on and off the bus.

We arrive at the Fashion Valley mall. The bus I need to take from there to Hillcrest goes from the bus stop right next to the one I have arrived at. It arrives on time and takes less than 10 minutes to arrive at my destination.

Despite people saying that the public transport was filled with crazies my experience was fine. I knew it would be. I have travelled on a train on my own from Milwaukee to Chicago and another from there to New York which took 26 hours (the majority of which I spent in the cart where there was food and drink being served), travelled by plane to and from the USA on my own, have travelled on the London underground alone, trains all around the UK alone and buses too. I am comfortable with travel. I love travelling alone, it is about the only time when I can truly relax in my own thoughts (whilst keeping my wits about me).

I walk down to meet my friend, we are stood outside Empire House talking for a few moments, we decide to go and have lunch. We decide to sit in the garden area. After a burger and fries/chips for her and a Cuban Sandwich with fries/chips for me washed down with two Margaritas each we decide to explore some. Of course she had seen many of the stores before but I had not so for me it was a real exploration. As well as travelling (and eating and drinking) exploring and sightseeing are things that I love.

We look in thrift stores, book stores and quirky little stores. My favourite kind of stores. Nothing better than finding places with unique items. I headed back to her place for a short while so I can meet her dog. Her dog seemed to take a shine to me right away. I was indeed shocked by just how high she could jump. It seems also that after I had gone she was whining for me.

Some pictures around Hillcrest:

I took the bus around quarter to 5 back to the Fashion Valley Mall. Again no scary characters. The bus driver was talking of someone threatening suicide on a bridge on 30th street or somewhere. I have no clue where he was referring to. Whilst I seem to be getting to grips with the general geography I am in no way an expert.

So I arrive at the mall, I have agreed to meet hubby there, this was due to some bus issues. If I wanted to travel at THAT time of day back home I had to get a bus into downtown and then travel from there upwards. It seemed like a real hassle which I was not quite ready to do on my first trial!

He was late, the traffic was quite heavy. It was fine, I sat outside the Apple store catching up with text messages. When he arrived we bought some smellies for the apartment from Bath and BodyWorks and had dinner in Sbarro. We first discovered Sbarro when we were in Las Vegas, at the time we couldnt stop getting it. We were hooked! We even had it on our trips which followed so I was really looking forward to it. Of course in reality it was a big disappointment!

Photos from the Mall:

I dont have anything to say about Wednesday. There was little of interest to report on.

Thursday was Thanksgiving. I woke up at half 6, of course I left hubby sleeping and went into the lounge. He got up around 9. I had just finished watching the McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago and was about to watch the Macy's Thanskgiving Parade. I watched that and the National Dog show then we headed out for brunch.

Yes, we had a huge meal to attend in the evening but we knew we couldn't possibly go without eating for another 7 hours. We went to Denny's which had always been a favourite place to eat Breakfast. Firstly breakfast is available 24 hours, secondly it's inexpensive and thirdly the portions are huge. Got to admit it was average at best. Meh.

The afternoon was spent doing a lot of nothing. We headed off at 7 to go for dinner with our friends. There was 6 of us there for dinner, conversation was flowing as were the drinks though some would deny any knowledge of alcohol being involved. The menu was as follows:

Aged gouda, bleu cheese, fontina, aged cheddar, fruit, baguette (I didn't have any of this as I was saving myself for the Turkey dinner)
Brined roast turkey
Herb cornbread stuffing
... Mashed potatoes and gravy
Chilled asparagus with vinaigrette, asparagus coulis, and eggs mimosa
Sauteed thyme carrots
Whipped sweet potatoes with bananas and pecan crumble
Bourbon and chocolate pecan pie
Lemon cheesecake with berries and whipped cream

We played Monopoly, the game seemed to be neverending. We played as three teams. Hubby put all our eggs in one basket and we were surviving for some time with just Park Lane and Mayfair (yes, there we were playing the UK version!) however we got wiped out. The other two teams decided at that time to just declare it a draw. It was 1.30am by this time!

It was such a fantastic evening, amazing meal, awesome host, lovely people and such a fun time!

I shall continue the weekend next entry...

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