Cookie

Boston!! But where are those "Boston" accents??

I'm a bit lost on the accent thing, because nobody we've come across here has had what you'd expect as the 'typical' Boston accent (or the one Suz so wonderfully impersonates, with her own Long Island accent! Oh, sorry, she doesn't have an accent, we do!!!! I forgot that...)

Anyway, it seems like so many other places (LA and Vancouver for example) everyone here is from somewhere else. They're all going to Harvard or Boston College or have gone to one of those places of higher education .. or one of the many others around here .. and decided to stay.

Regardless, the stereotypical Boston accent has been sadly lacking so far.

People here are really friendly. Another nice city where that sort of thing is concerned. I don't know about Tiia, but to me it has a Chicago kind of feel about it.

So.. anyway, we got in around midday or a bit after, and made our way to the hostel. If you EVER come to Boston, check this place out. It's about $30 a night, which is more expensive than the ones we've stayed in before, but it's fabulous! A nice supply of internet computers (one dollar for 10 minutes), good sized rooms, free breakfast of bagels and others breaky type foods, and (this is the clincher!) the most immaculate bathrooms I've seen in any hostel. Seriously. Really, really clean and just .. nice. And they have hairdryers. It's the H.I. hostel in Hemenway street. Really, really nice.

Anyway, enough gushing over the hostel. We eventually headed out along Boylston Street into town, looking at the shops, checking out some churches and the public library, which is just MASSIVE! We ended up walking around through Beacon Hill, and down to The Esplanade, in the park along the water (near the Hatch Shell, for anyone who knows Boston) There I spotted squirrels. Masses and masses of them. Tiia made the appropriate noises to get one to pose for me! So bloody cute! We then went walking along Arlington street to Boston Common, went through the park, and checked out the iceskating at a place that I think was called the Frog Pond. Again, very cute! They have little statues of frogs there! So cute!

After we'd taken more photos, watched a woman feeding a bunch of squirrels, and had enough of the park for a while, we went back into town, via Chinatown and the Theatre District, which are really cool areas. Very pretty buildings, lots of Christmas lights, and plenty of people, doing late night shopping. (apparently everything is open late here -- because, as the girl at reception said: This is a college town. The kids stay up late! Of course she didn't look much older than about 25 herself! Very funny!

We had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Salads of course, so we could excuse ourselves for having cheesecake for dessert (I had the 6 carb one!! 6 carbs! It's not that bad... I don't think....)

Our plans for tomorrow are a little bit open at this stage. Tiia wants to go to Harvard, I wouldn't mind checking out Boston College if we're going to see Harvard, and we need to go to Fenway Park, because naughty Suz wants us to give it the finger. She's so, so bad. I feel like bringing her a Red Socks christmas hat or something back, and making her wear it! Only I won't. It won't go with the nice, pretty pink Yankees one she already has.

Hope everyone's well. And I'm crossing my fingers that there's no more fire activity in Victoria --at least nothing worse than it has been. Poor old Craig's Hut. Awful...
  • Current Music
    Dido. They like her at the hostel.
LC

Back at Suz's place!

We're back home! Well, our home away from home as in Suz's place. And it feels like we never left. We have enjoyed a veggie platter and bagels and watched some Sparky just like we did during the first week. Finally saw Echoes which is a very, very good episode. 

So not much happened today...we were on the train ALL day after leaving rainy Montreal around 10am. The immigration people were a bit stricter this time and I was thinking it was my sixth time dealing with them in as many weeks. First time when coming to New York, then in Vancouver, on the way to Seattle, on the way back from Mexico, on the way to Montreal and again today. This time it was a bit scary because they took quite a few people to the train's restaurant car for more questioning. I think they were all musicians or something so maybe they looked suspicious. Who knows. So we got to Valley Stream at 9.30pm and Suz was horrified to see our bags! I seriously have no idea how I can have so much more stuff now than I did in the beginning when I've only bought a few shirts. That is one of life's great mysteries...We got our pictures with Joe, hehe, haven't even looked at that one properly yet...*hides*.

Should be checking out Amtrak for tomorrow's trains to Boston. I'm starting to be sick of trains...
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    exhausted exhausted
Cookie

Last day in Montreal...

Still love this place. It's the perfect mix of Canada and France. Great food, wonderful language... just perfect. I want to learn French! I said that after Paris, but I think I really might now. Hey, I have no time because of all the work I'm doing, a little less time won't hurt!

Today we did a bit of shopping after a very late breakfast/early lunch. We also did a horse and carriage ride around Old Montreal, which is just beautiful. We had a very pretty six year old black horse called Tom. His driver, John, was full of lots of information!

After that -- tourist shops. Yeah, more stuff to lug around, though luckily we only have one week to go, and we're getting back to our wonderful New Yorker Suz tomorrow! (yay Suz!!!!)

Tonight we did more shopping, looked around the city. I signed a petition against animal testing, and gave them $10 for their campaign. Not like I'll be using it after tomorrow anyway. They had awful images of all sorts of animals being used for testing, and information about monkeys being brought into countries for the purpose of testing. Very, very bad stuff. They gave me a pamphlet with some website details on it. I'll post the websites if I get around to it. It's something that's a global campaign, not just in Canada. On the subject of cash, I think we're planning to give our left over coins to the Salvos. They shouldn't be too hard to find! They were everywhere when we were in DC and Chicago.. I'm sure it'll be the same in NYC.

Tonight we went back to the original Italian place we visited the other night. The first night here! I had a tofu pizza! Yay for Tofu! Tiia had Hawaiian.

Oh, and got to love the French Canadians with their signs for the 'toilette'. Yay! No more restroom/bathroom/washroom confusion! They just call it what it is! It amused me after all the varying terms used to describe the 'dunny'!

Tomorrow we need to be at the station by about 8.30 for a 9.50 train. We arrive in NYC about 7.30 tomorrow night, I think, and we'll then be getting on the train to Valley Stream (Suz, I want them to tell me to "change at Jamaica", but it might not be convenient with all of our luggage! Gah!)
  • Current Music
    Something French! Sounds cute!
LC

Proper coffee! Montreal wins!!

This is starting to get old but...Montreal is gorgeous and we wouldn`t mind living here either. I think we`ve said that about almost all the places we`ve been to:) But this city is really lovely and a lot like Paris. Also in terms of food which is awesome. And get this: PROPER EUROPEAN COFFEE! Starbucks has been okay but this is stronger and creamier and gosh, I`ve been without it for 6 weeks. I`m in coffee heaven!

So this morning we slept until almost 10am with all the stress from yesterday. It`s still hard but we haven`t had time to think about it that much now, which is good. Our hostel is right in the Vieux Montreal (Old Town) which has lovely narrow streets and horse carriages going around. So pretty! I think we might jump into one tomorrow, would be cool. Walked around before heading downtown and checking out McGill University campus (I LOVE going to campuses and this one was pretty nice). We also located the first Starbucks we`ve seen in Montreal there and after that there seemed to be one on every block:) Then we bought tourist stuff and took pictures and I had more coffee. Cafe au lait, how I love you! We`re in an Internet cafe now, building our appetites to go for dinner in this really nice place we ate lunch in today. 

I so love Canada. United States is cool too, but I feel so much more comfortable over the border. Don`t know if it`s because of yesterday or what. Vancouver was absolutely amazing and Montreal seems to be too.
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    hungry hungry
Cookie

karma's going to come and bite someone on the butt.

So we left Washington in the early hours of this morning and didn't get to see FP. She was busy being a mum, which happens when you have a teenager!! We did see Erin, though, and had a great day with her.

However. Right now we're over everything, and just want to go home.

We're in Montreal, which seems very pretty, etc, etc (as much as you can see at 9pm...) but we've had the crappiest day of the entire holiday.

Some time between 4am and 8am, while we were on the train from Washington to Montreal, some arsehole decided to relieve us of our credit cards, my licence and about $180 in cash that I had. Gone. Unbelievable. So now we're in Montreal, at a hostel where they don't take credit cards (I do have one left... but it works intermittently at various places) and where Tiia can't find an ATM that will accept her card. I think we're in for a fun few days, until we find a working ATM.

Had to call Amtrak police tonight, and the woman was a hideous cow.

Me: I spoke to a conductor, who called Amtrak police and let me speak to a guy who was trying to get onto a detective
Her: But you haven't spoken to Amtrak police
Me: Yes, I have, but I couldn't get through to the detective. I've been on a train for the past 7 hours with no phone coverage
Her: But you didn't try to talk to Amtrak police
Me: (getting frustrated!!!) Yes, I spoke to Amtrak police, they said to call back and talk to a detective
Her: Okay, give me your 'cell' number
Me: The country code is 61...
Her: No
Me: No what?
Her: No, not an international number
Me: I'm not American, I don't have an American number...

And it went on. She says she'll get a detective to call me tonight, but I'm not holding my breath. I also have the email address of someone in customer service at Amtrak, which might be handy....

She also argued with me about which train I was on. I think I know the number and time of the frigging train. Rudeness! Unbelievable! Haven't come across anything like that here before.

We're going out braving Montreal now, trying to find an ATM and some food.. probably... But seriously. I wouldn't mind just being back in NYC! Gah! Tiia wants to be on the plane to Finland. We're seriously over this... Can you imagine, we were at Union station in Washington from 8pm last night to 4am this morning, homeless people who actually need money didn't take anything from us. They were polite, they just slept, they left us alone. Some bastard who could actually afford to get on Amtrak was the person who robbed us. Says a lot about people, really. And it reminds us that you should never judge a book by its cover...

EDIT!!

Spoke to a fabulous detective from Union Station. She was great. Helped us out a lot, filed a report, and basically said yeah, something bad could happen, but it might not. It's best to be prepared. She was really, really helpful, and gave me confidence in the cops here, after that woman I spoke to this afternoon was so ... unhelpful!
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    pissed off pissed off
LC

This place looks familiar...

We have arrived in DC. It's warm! Well, not warm but warmer than Chicago and Colorado. Sunny too but very windy. The hostel looks better than it did the last time I stayed here and these computers are pretty cool. And guess what? I can hook the camera on the computer so I might post some pics for you guys later.

So...we were a bit sad to leave Chicago as it's such an awesome place and we should have had more time there. And we managed to find the elusive Sears tower! Which in the end turned out not to be as high as I expected...that's probably why we couldn't find the thing. But yeah, Chicago people were so nice! On the metro station the guy who checked our tickets wouldn't let me through the gate with my luggage until my wallet was safely in my handbag and the zipper was closed. How cool is that? Then there was this other guy who was worried about our suitcases on the escalator and wished us a good journey wherever we were going. Is it just Christmas spirit or are Chicago people really that nice? Hehe and I found the funniest ATM machine too - our "conversation" went something like this:

ATM: Hello. Please insert and remove your card so we can begin.

Me: *inserts and removes card*

ATM: Which language shall we speak?

Me: *touches screen where it says touch here to speak English*

ATM: Which transaction would you like today?

Me: *cash*

ATM: Give me your PIN and press enter

Me: *enters PIN*

ATM: Thank you. Would you like to see your balance for this account?

Me: No!

ATM asks how much I want, gives cash, asks me if I need anything else etc.

ATM (again): Would you like to see your balance for this account?

Me: No!!

ATM: Okay, I won't display your balance.

Me: *presses EXIT quickly*

That was just such a funny ATM...I swear it was disappointed when I didn't want to see my balance:)

So anyway, must go out now..hopefully I can still remember my way around here. I'm starving too...

Oh, and happy Independence Day to Finland! YAY! Once again I miss the president's ball...

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    hungry hungry
Cookie

Gah! Last day in Chicago!!!!

Quick "drive-by" post from the Apple shop in Chicago (free internet! Yay!! I want one of these pretty 'puters at home!) before we head off to DC, where hopefully we'll meet FP and Droops. Poor Southern Red (She rocks!!) can't be there.

Anyway, we're doing another quick, day in Chicago before we catch a train tonight to head to DC. It's 17 hours all up, which is why we'll be a little quiet on the internet for a while.

Chicago has been wonderful. Beyond wonderful! We love this city so much. It's like a combination of Vancouver, San Diego and Denver. Friendly people, beautiful city, and just an all around good feel to it. The snow is so pretty, though the signs warning to beware of falling ice are a little worrying! The only down side is that people don't know how to drive in this city! No kidding. We've nearly been run over several times, because people just don't seem to understand that a red light means stop. They think it means "go faster and try to take out a few pedestrians while you're at it". They're so nice and friendly and polite, though that you can't be too mad at them (unless they actually make contact with their bloody great cars!)

Today we went to Wrigley Field, took photos, then got back on the train and headed to the city. Went to Starbucks to get something to warm up (man I love their hot chocolate!), went to Borders to try to find a map so we could actually get to Sears Tower, and then I lost one of my mittens. Went back to Starbucks to find said mitten, but it turned up at Borders. I think someone must have picked it up as soon as I put it down and given it to lost property. Not only friendly, but honest! (though who knows what else you'd do with it. You can't exactly do much with one mitten, can you?)

Anyway, I can't for the life of me find Tiia. She must be in the shop somewhere, but who knows where. Oh, here she is!!!! Time to go! We'll update from DC.

Oh, Tiia just told me it's minus 7 celsius. I blame all typos on cold fingers!!!! (you know, I was without mittens for a little while, and all that...)
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    cold cold
LC

We love Chicago!

Livejournal tells me it's 1st of January 2000...some computers seem to have handled the Millennium better than others...

So, yeah, we really love Chicago! It's beautiful!! Despite crazy traffic - here people keep driving despite red lights so crossing roads is a bit dangerous at times - I think this is one of the nicest places we've been to. Another addition to the "I could live there" list...People are really friendly here too. 

This morning was difficult...we could have slept for the whole day, don't know why. I suppose we were tired from not sleeping properly on the train or something. Anyway, we managed to get our asses out of the hostel by 10.30 or so and took the famous El train to city centre. It was so cold!! Really, really cold. And if one more person tells me "you should be used to it" I'm going to scream. I may be used to it but that doesn't mean I don't feel it...So got to the city, made the mandatory Starbucks stop and headed for Michigan Avenue or the Magnificent Mile as it's also known. Took a lot of pictures despite hands freezing every time. Then we went to Macy's to find a bathroom and Alicia bought a new bag with a monkey hanging in it! Funny. Then I thought I should get a new wallet because the one I had before has a really long annoying string that gets stuck on everything. So we went to TJ Maxx - so weird because it's TK Maxx in the UK if I remember correctly - and I got a Guess wallet for half the original price, 19 dollars. It's red and really pretty! I also got new gloves which are pink:) Thinsulate is good for this weather! Alicia got new boots too so now we're all warm and comfy - well, sort of.

We had lunch in a really nice sandwich/salad place - this city seems pretty cheap in terms of food - and then wandered around in search of the Sears Tower. Seriously, couldn't find the thing anywhere! You'd think one would be able to see as it's so high but we didn't. In the end we went to John Hancock Building which had really nice views over the city and Lake Michigan. And we saw the Sears Tower from there:)

What else...we bought postcards and other touristy stuff...took more pictures and then caught the El back to the hostel. Had dinner at Francesca's again - that place is awesome! The dinner salad is the best one I've had in a while and the ice cream - divine! We ended up having the most expensive meal we've had since arriving in the US but it was GOOD.

Okay, so tomorrow we'll check out Wrigley Field and more of Chicago and then there's another overnight train to DC. Which we need to book tonight.
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    happy happy
Cookie

We're in the land of ER....

I've just spent way too much time playing online replying to emails and have used up a significant portion of my allocated online time at the hostel. Grr.

Anyway, our last day in Denver with Sara was fantastic! OMG! I'm so glad we went there. We left her house around 9am, and headed out for bagels. I had a raspberry one.... Yeah, I know, it's all about the fruit with me. That way I can pretend they're healthy.

After that, we went to park near the station before heading off to look at Denver. It's such a pretty, pretty city! I love it! We did so many things, took so many photos, and I hand fed a couple of squirrels!!! I was whinging to Sara about how I hadn't seen a squirrel and she said "look over there"... and there were soooo many of them!

We had dinner at the Cheesecake Factory -- really good salads, and of course we had to get a piece of cheesecake each to eat on the train! After that we went to look at the city buildings all lit up in Christmas colours -- but first we waited in line for 20 minutes to get hot chocolate at Starbucks! Too funny! The people there were very funny. Amusing themselves despite the long wait.

Anyway, we eventually made our way through a plethora of people who were watching the Christmas parade so that we could get back to the station at 7, in time for the train which would be there at 8 (you know, luggage must be checked in, etc!). Well the train didn't leave until 9.25, and wonderful Sara waited with us until it got there, even though she was tired from a crazy few days with her test before we got there, and then driving us around!

17 or so hours later, we arrived in Chicago. We got a cab to the hostel, which is pretty good, and then went out to find food. We passed many pretty buildings on the way, and ended up getting dinner at a great Italian restaurant called Francesca on Bryn Mawr... I think that's how you spell it. Anyway, it was great. If you're in Chicago (near Edgewater) check it out. Great food, great staff... just all around great place!
LC

Colorado day 2 (and delayed Vegas post)

It's cold!! Yes, cold, even for me...I think it's about -11 C tonight, which would be...eh, 20 something F? I swear I will never learn this temperature conversion.
So I figured I should do a post about both our one and only full day in Las Vegas and the day here. Starting with Vegas - if I can still remember...

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Oh and here's a tip for anyone who's traveling: it sometimes pays to miss your plane because if you get tickets for the next one there's a good chance of an upgrade! For the flight from Vegas, we got into Economy Plus for the same price - ah, the amount of legroom!! Not saying that being late is good or anything of course...

So tomorrow we're going to check out Denver and then catching a 7.30pm train to Chicago. 18 hours traveling again...I'm grateful Amtrak is so much nicer than Greyhound!
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    okay okay