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Diary 2

30 June

This is not how I remember camping. OK there are similarities, but the similarities have differences.
Similar - I'm wet, but it's sweat not rain.
I have a tent but it's pitched in a sand pit not on grass.
(The sand pit is next to my fire pit. Not a fire pit but my fire pit)

Biggest difference - I'm on line, sitting in the trees at my own picnic table with the chipmunks playing around me.

1 July

Fitful nights sleep. Partly because of the heat but mostly because of the screaming baby.
If anyone could build a small, solar powered, aircon unit, I'd have one.
Up and out by 8am.

I met a guy over breakfast who had done a similar trip to mine, but in a boat.
We talked about travelling and places, about the unimportance of time and the amount of time you could travel for the cost of a truck.

Into DC by lunchtime.

Went to the local day care place to pick up Joyce's kids then to "Babies'R'Us" to pick up a kids car seat for Billy's 4th birthday. Day care & kids shops are a real foreign country to me.

Went to a party with some of Joyce & Brad's friends.
A private house with caterer, musicians and barman.
Another foreign country.
I felt out of place for the first 20 minutes then thought 'What the hell, they're just folks'. Ended up drinking beer and chatting with some good friendly people.

Sitting on the porch having a final smoke of the evening at about 11 when the lightening & rain started.
You could feel the humidity drop and breathing got easier.

2 July

Billy's 4th birthday party this morning.

JJ took me out for my first Slurpy. I'm not sure why I've never had one before and in this heat I'm anyone's for a cold drink.

23:30 - sitting on the porch after wandering round a few bars.
OK - why am I doing this trip?
I have a reasonably well paying job - but recently it's been dull.
Moving to some other contracts within my company added some spice but meant travelling stupid mileages & staying in hotels. I like to think that I'm reasonably good at what I do, and various managers have seemed happy with my work but recently the challenge has gone out of it. It would be good to always be at the sharp end with crises to deal with but once you get computer systems in good shape you get less crises and a dull job. And there are only so many big projects you can work on before you start repeating yourself.
So what do I want to do?

Beats me - but I'm kinda hoping that I might stumble across something, or at least something that might point me in a good direction. Strangely I'm coming to the conclusion that what I am most likely to find is a lifestyle that appeals. I've stayed with a number of folks on this trip, some I've known for 20 years (since University) some I'd never met before and their ways of life are what are giving me most pause for thought.

On a completely different note - something I've been noticing is the difference in road signs.
The ones over here are in the singular, like "Road Work" and "Falling Rock" but my favourite ones have to be the children signs. In Canada the first one I noticed said "Children being Children". I thought that was wonderful. A perfect description. The second said "Watch Children". Given the pedophile scares in the UK I didn't think that that was the best advice I'd seen.
My favourites are the "Deaf Child Area" and "Blind Child Area" but the weirdest was "Reading Difficulties Child Area".
I'm sorry but what exactly was I being warned about there?
Maybe the child felt left out not having their own sign but they wouldn't be able to read it anyway.
And if you had a child with reading difficulties would you want to advertise it to the world?

3 July

Went to DC with Joyce. Checked out the folk life exhibition, the old post office and the spy museum.
In the folk life exhibition, held on the Mall every year, they feature an industry, a state and a country. This years country was Oman and I discovered that, after the British armies had been there they adopted the bagpipe for their folk music. It was seriously strange hearing very non Scottish music being played on an instrument that I've only ever heard used for Scottish music.

4 July

It's another birthday. This time the countries birthday.
Not something you can celebrate in the UK.

Went to the new Smithsonian air and space museum near Dulles airport.
Good collection. The SR71 Blackbird is quite stunning.

On to a baseball game. The Nationals (from DC) vs. the Mets (NY).
The Nats were up 2 to 0 until the top of the 7th innings when you could feel the tide turn.
2-2 at the bottom of the 7th and 2-5 at the bottom of the 9th.
I do enjoy baseball. I'd never watch it on TV but it is a great live sport.

We (Me, Joyce, Scott and the boys) went to the Marine memorial to watch the fireworks over the Washington Monument.
From our vantage point we could see the Washington and Lincoln Memorials and the Capital building.
All in all a stunning backdrop to the firework display.

Happy birthday America.