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USA Trip 2006

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USA Trip

__________________Edwards USA Trip 2006____________________

I am sitting in my lounge on a cold afternoon, there is just Roly and me here, and we are warm and cosy and there is a roaring fire just shooting up the chimney, and we are both enjoying every bit of it.

It seems hard to believe that Christmas and New Year has came and went, and so has my somewhat hurried and surprise visit to USA in February 2006. I just had this sudden urge that I wanted to go to the States again on my own. I hope that you enjoy my story.

I made a quick decision and I had all the bookings and flights arranged within 10 days and I was off.

I caught the train from Bodmin Parkway and on the way up to the Airport I stayed with my friend at Reading. His wife is the most fantastic cook. I think I must have put on a stone in weight overnight! It was like staying in the best Hotel that money could buy. We had a lovely meal and then I fell into a sound sleep tucked up in bed.

The next morning my friend took me to Reading Bus Station and I was off again on the bus on my way. I have to admit that for the first time ever I felt a bit lonely.

On arriving at the Airport I managed to find my way to the Virgin Check In desk and I explained my situation, i.e. that I was partially sighted, and I could not make my own way to the Departure Lounge unaided, to the young lady. She was very kind and asked me to take a seat beside the Check In desk and when the time came she would escort me to the Departure Lounge. That is exactly what happened and I was glad of her help as it was quite a long way to go.

My plane was called Ruby Tuesday, and I have a feeling it was something to do with a Beatles song. Whilst I was waiting I got talking to a lovely lady who was an Irish Nun. She told me that she had lived in America for 30 years and hadn't left it in all that time, but she had been persuaded to come back and visit Cork for her nephews wedding. The time came to board the plane, and I had a super seat with plenty of leg room. The plane was far from full, and in fact I think it was about 100 passengers short of a full load. The head Steward was called Kirsty, and she had two assistants called Lorna and Rupert. All three were fantastic to me, and looked after me. One of the things that I always have difficulty with are those tiny little milk cartons. From talking to other people though, I don’t think I am alone in this! The milk always seems to go everywhere when you have finally picked it open. The journey passed pleasantly enough. As we approached the USA the Pilot mage an announcement over the tannoy system telling the passengers that if they looked to the right they would see the Golden Gate Bridge spanning San Francisco, and we could also see Alcatraz.

That however was one thing that I did not want to see! I have been to Bodmin Jail 2 or 3 times and it is so depressing it just haunts me, so I wasn't going to make a big effort to get out of my seat, which was a centre seat anyway, to see Alcatraz.

We landed safely I asked Kirsty if she would get someone to help me look for my case coming off the carousel. One of the Virgin staff, a young Brazilian girl was waiting for me when we disembarked, and she helped me. She asked if I could recognise my own case and I said "yes, it is decked with rainbow ribbons to help me pick it out" and sure enough I could make it out, and I managed to grab it as it went past.

I walked out on to the Concourse and all the people were there, waiting for their relatives and friends. I heard my name being shouted "Eddie, Eddie, over here", and there was Faith and Rebecca and the rest of the family. We really are a big family all told. We are connected to the family through St. Issey. It is almost 100 years ago when Chris and Faiths Mother went to USA to live, but if we were to have DNA testing today there would be no doubts about us all being cousins.

It is always lovely when someone surprises you with something. Well Rebecca certainly had arranged a surprise for me! There was a big black Limousine waiting to pick us up and take us to Santa Cruz! I felt like a film star (albeit a film star with no money!). We drank champagne as we drove along, and I never stopped talking. I think I wore them out in the end! What a day to remember!

I will try and describe Santa Cruz to you....

Other than Cornwall, and a wonderful trip to Holy Island off the coast of Northumberland with my friend Rose, I have never been to many seaside places, but I reckon it is about 100 times bigger than Newquay, which is pretty much recognised as the most popular holiday tourist seaside resort of Cornwall. The Pacific beach is just huge and beautiful with surfers everywhere, just like Newquay. My favourite place was the jetty which runs out to sea, and the promenade, and there must be about 100 resident sea lions who live there. Even with my poor eyesight I could see them underneath. It was lovely to hear them barking and calling to one another. If ever you go to Santa Cruz never miss a trip to the jetty.

I don’t however think that their Seafood restaurants are as good as in UK! What, I hear you cry, all that fish available there!! Well I think that is because I am not used to all the different types of Pacific fish that they catch!

Over the next few days, Faith took me to the Redwood Forest. I have been before but I always wanted to go again. Prince Charles, I think, is supposed to talk to trees. Well I wouldn’t go so far as to say I did that, but I do consider them part of my family. Some of these redwoods are over 300ft tall. The Ranger told me that in their first 100 years they grow the 300ft and then in the next 2000 years they round out and fill out sometimes to 15tf in diameter. By now it was almost dark and the frogs were very loud and noisily calling. The noise was amazing, and I did wish I had recording equipment with me. I have never heard frogs like it in my life.

On another day we went to a beautiful Aquarium. I have been to both Florida and Plymouth Aquariums in the past and I have heard that there is a good one in Australia, but the one in Montera Bay I have never seen the like of. In addition to the killer whales, there was particular fish that stood out. (I will have to try and get a picture of it for my website). This fish looked just like what I would call those spotty dogs, the one we call Spotted Dicks, but are really called Dalmatians! He lived in a mega big tank with other fish all weighing between 5-700lbs. There were groupers and all sorts, but this magnificent fish sparkled like a diamond in a scrap heap. Apparently it was a Sea Bass but it certainly didn’t look anything like any Sea Bass I have ever seen back home in UK. I couldn’t take my eyes off it. It swam so gracefully as well, and as it swam and sparkled and danced through the water I felt he was looking right at me.

After about 4 days I don't know what came over me. I had even planned on maybe staying 6 weeks more, or before I left, my Step-daughter Emma, said I would be homesick, and she was right! "I won't," I said, I have been to USA 5 or 6 times already and I know and love it. But on day 5 the rot set in! All I wanted to do was return to Blighty, Home and Cornwall. I have friends who are off around the world all the time, but that’s not for me. I think we live on in the greatest place on this planet right here in UK and I just knew that that was where I wanted to be once more. Both my cousins Rebecca and Faith begged me to stay, as they thought they may have done or said something wrong, but they hadn’t. I had had a lovely few days. I had thought about going up to Oregon to see Howard Hughes, The Spruce Goose, but the family had talked me out of it. They said the weather was too rough up there with rain and snow.

On the last Sunday I went to a Mormon Service with my cousins. Like all religions they all have their own rules and regulations, and I must say I did enjoy it. I learnt quite a lot. Some people would stand up and tell their entire life stories, and cry and get very emotional, and I felt this spoilt the service a bit. It lasted about 3 hours, and if I lived in USA I might well have taken up their religion, as they were such a friendly lot, and look after their own. Perhaps, more so than we do in UK.

I decided to return home on the Tuesday, my mind was made up. My cousins unhappily took me to the airport, and I was sad, to say goodbye to them and to Santa Cruz. My cousins have spent a life time helping people. Rebecca, Faiths daughter, is very special in my eyes she has such a kind heart. As many of you know I have quite long white hair, and sometimes hairs fall out on my coat. Simple little things that she did for me like brushing the hairs from my coat, and sewing a button on, which most people take for granted, she just did.

I am going to take a photo of Mary Udi's headstone, in St.Issey, and try to have it put on my website, and I will also send Faith and Rebecca a copy.

I cried my eyes out saying goodbye to them and it had to be done quickly because of the shortage of parking space. Once again I was on my own at the huge airport, where I had to spend about 2-3 hours. The airport was about as big as the Royal Cornwall Showgrounds! The lady behind the desk booked me in early, and warned me not to get lost. (I had to pay an extra $100), I assured her I would not leave the ground floor. Aah, but what was that I could smell? Could it be English breakfast? It was. I had an absolute feast of beans, eggs and sausages, and the time seemed to pass really quickly. Soon we were called to the Departure Lounge and boarded the plane which was again only half full. I was seated in a window seat and I think I saw a glimpse of the huge Golden Gate Bridge spanning San Francisco. So there I was, flying out of the country that I like best next to Great Britain and I am coming home and I was excited about it as we flew on through the night. We had tea and I set my watch to British time, and again I was well looked after by the Air Hostesses, but I can't remember their name as they didn’t look after me quite as well as the others did.

We had our meals and I fell asleep and I think when I woke up we were almost back to Iceland, and I knew we were almost home then. When we got to Heathrow we couldn't park up and get a proper place to unload, we had to go to the other end of the airport and we had to get buses to take us back to the main terminal. I remember there was a Pakistani guy, with a little beard, ( and remember I was carrying my white stick) and they all offered me their seats, different ones, but he seemed special, and he said "please Sir, have my seat" and I thought "well I wont offend him" so I said "alright then, I'll have your seat". I thought this was such a nice gesture. As we got off the bus I thanked him again.

I often think to myself, I must look so decrepit, because I've got a white stick, but I don’t have a Zimmer frame or anything like that, I can actually walk 5 or 6 miles, I am alright like that, it is just my sight. Anyway we get out of the airport, with the help once more of the Virgin staff. It was a good job I did; otherwise I would have been in the biggest trouble of my life. There was a lovely man, who took me down to the carousel and asked me if I knew my own case. "Yes" I said "it's easy I have all ribbons flying from it". He said I can see it and he ran and grabbed it from the carousel. He said I will take you to the Bus Station. The Bus Station was attached to the Airport not too far away from the carousel. The girl had given me directions, a lot of directions, which seemed to go on for about a quarter of mile! I said to the guy "I hope you don’t get the sack helping me" and he replied "I will have to take you down there Sir, or you will never find it!" And I reckon I wouldn’t have either. Anyway he got me there, and took me to where to wait for my Bus. So I stood there and it is funny from where help will sometimes come. One of Richard Branson's big buses pulled up, with a lady driver, and she must have seen that I looked lost. She asked me if I was lost. I said "well I'm not quite lost, Madam, but I am waiting for a bus to go down to Reading". She replied "your bus will be a pink one, and I have already seen it, it should be here in 6-7 minutes". I thanked her ever so much, and sure enough in 6 -7 minutes, the bus arrived, and I was on my way. Its funny with people, people in buses, especially drivers, some have a lovely smile, and yet others you need a pair of pliers to pull the smile out of their lips! If I was driving a bus I would be a Company man, and I would be pleasant for my passengers. Anyhow, I got to Reading and caught a train to Bristol Templemeads. I do love trains, oh |I so love the trains. Now that I am semi retired, when I have a spare bit of money I can catch a train and just go anywhere I want. Soon I was home. My friend picked me up from the station and oh what a welcome from my dear dog Roly. He licked me to death! I sat in my armchair in the kitchen, and I was saying to my friends, "Oh thank God I am safely home, America is a wonderful country and I love the people but it so great to be home in Cornwall" .So there we are the end of another trip, but I will be doing other trips, lots of them, and I will be telling you all about them because so many exciting things happen to me when I am on the trips. So until the next of my adventures, Goodbye Folks.