Brief return to the USA
Europe - Germany, Belgium, and France
Nepal - Around Manaslu
Australia - Driving around Southern Australia
Australia - Olympics
Australia - Great Barrier Reef
Thailand - Bangkok
Vietnam - Central and South
Vietnam - North
Egypt - Along the Nile
Egypt - Touring and diving
Israel and Jordan
Brief return to the USA
Ecuador - Quito and surroundings
Ecuador - Galapagos Islands
Ecuador - Quito and the jungle
Peru - Machu Picchu and Lima
Peru - Cusco and the Sacred Valley
Zimbabwe and South Africa - Vic Falls and Blyde River Canyon
South Africa - Motorcycle trip
Argentina - Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls
Argentina - Bariloche and San Martin de los Andes
Chile - Exploring the Lake Region
Chile - Pucon and the Bio Bio
Argentina - El Calafate and El Chalten
Chile - Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine
Argentina - Rio Gallegos and Ushuaia
Chile - Santiago and Punta Arenas
Guatemala and Honduras - Rio Dulce and Copan
Guatemala - Coban and Spanish school
Guatemala - Tikal and Spanish school
Guatemala - Antigua and Spanish school
We spent a few enjoyable days in New York - it's great to be back in the US of A, even if we did get sticker shock a few times compared to South America. We landed early, and had no problems coming through customs in Newark, so we grabbed a car to Manhattan. We headed for our first meal on US soil in over 5 months, and it was the same as our last meal there - sushi at Haru, on the upper west side. We then went down to the village to Tom's sister Kyra's apartment for the night.
Today was all about errand and pampering. Louisa went to a chi-chi spa called Bliss with Kira and Kyra for pedicures and other beauty treatments, while Tom ran errands and walked around the city. We also spent a bunch of time filling out forms, and sent our passports down to Washington DC to get visas for China, Egypt, and India. For dinner, we met our friends Larissa and Andy, at a great Thai restaurant in the village.
This morning we were craving New York bagels, so we went on a mission. At the third place we tried we found some that were suitable - mm mm good!
We ran yet more errands, including purchasing Louisa shoes suitable for the wedding, and then headed up town to pick up our rental car. Back in the village we loaded it up with our huge bags, then headed up to Connecticut for dinner with the parents.
After a nightmare 4 hour afternoon drive to get to Old Saybrook, we arrived at dinner an hour late. We had a great time with our family and meeting David's family, and then rushed to our hotel to check in before their desk closed at 11pm.
In the morning we played a bit of tennis, including some fun mixed doubles. Louisa enjoyed the bridal luncheon with the girls, while Tom, Seth, and Dad headed to the driving range.
We spent the afternoon making an incredible mess of our room by unpacking everything to organize our gigantic pile of gear.
We then dressed for the rehearsal, and headed for the church. The rehearsal went without mishap, so we soon were over at Rooster Hall for dinner, which was excellent. Afterwards, many of the other wedding guests joined us there for drinks and dessert, and we all had a great time catching up with the family. We spent a lot of time talking about out trip - clearly a lot of family members weren't doing their homework and reading our journals on the web! :-)
We started the day with some fun round-robin tennis with the Shields clan. We then headed over to Grandma's house for lunch and some visiting with the Henrys. Soon it was time to get ready.
Louisa took her things over to the Bee and Thistle to get ready with Kira, while Tom went to Rooster Hall to hang with David before the wedding. We met up again at the Old Lyme Beach Club, where the pictures were taken before the wedding. Since it was over 90 degrees out, we were all a bit warm, but the breeze outside was nice.
The groomsmen left early, while the bridesmaids finished up the photos. Once the church was packed full, the temperature started to rise, and people began using the programs as fans. Soon the usual ceremony began, and Kira made a stunning entrance as the beautiful bride.
One funny moment was in the middle of the hymm, about halfway through the ceremony, when Kira requested a tissue for the "nose beads" on her face. Tom, at the end of the line, had a red bandanna, so it was duly passed up the line of groomsmen, David and Kira dabbed their faces, and it was passed back, with nobody in the congregation even noticing. Louisa could hardly sing for laughing, but it worked!
After the kiss, David and Kira made a dramatic exit in the Mercedes roadster he had borrowed for the occasion. We then all headed over to the Beach Club. The warm weather made for a fantastic evening of dinner and dancing - the ladies didn't get cold on the beach, and the men took off their coats and relaxed. Tom's Dad's toast included a song written for the occasion, sung by a quartet consisting of him, Tom, and uncles Evan and Eric Henry.
Overall, the wedding was beautiful, and a rousing success. Well worth returning from a trip around the world for!
We got up early to get a good start on packing, and then headed over to Grandma's for brunch. After numerous lengthy goodbyes, we were back on the road to NYC. On the way, we stopped to look around Louisa's old stomping grounds in Stamford.
We checked in to our flight to Columbus with no problem, but the increasingly rainy weather made us a little worried. We were pleased, therefore, to board our flight just a few minutes late, and taxi away from the gate.
Then the pilot announced that due to thunderstorms we were going to wait on the ground for ATC to let us go, and that there was no prognosis. Every half an hour or so we got the same story, although a few planes did take off as the weather lessened. After nearly 3 hours on the ground, the pilot announced that we were ready for takeoff, and we all got ready to go. Not 2 minutes later, the pilot announced that because the plane could not return to La Guardia by the next morning, they were instead cancelling the flight. Well, we were upset, but we knew our rights - since it wasn't a weather problem, the airline would pay for our accommodation.
We got a nasty surprise when we got back into the airport. The supervisor on duty was calling the cancellation weather-related, and refusing to pay for accommodation. At this point it is 11:30pm, and we are tired and cranky. A few other passengers get into a shouting match with the supervisor, but to no avail.
While Tom waited for service to get a flight tomorrow, Louisa got on the phone to hotels. At this hour, and given the weather, every hotel in the La Guardia area was completely packed. She then tried several hotels in Manhattan, and finally found a room at the Omni, at an outrageous price. We almost decided to sleep in the airport, but in the end she got a corporate rate which brought it from absurd to merely ridiculous. By the time we arrived there, it was almost 1, and we had less than 6 hours until we had to leave for our morning flight. We were bummed - it was a nice hotel, we would have liked to enjoy it. Needless to say, we are writing a nasty letter to America West airlines, and asking for a full reimbursement.
We did finally make it to Columbus, and spent a few days there catching up with Louisa's family. We finally got to meet the mysterious and charming Doug, who made a very good impression. We were also excited to meet Jennifer. Mom-Tom looked great, too.
Revised: Wed Feb 13 11:37:55 2008 on