“You can call me later, maybe? I’m in room 603..” As she speaks the words, the petite black lady in the brightly coloured flower dress gives me a big wink and leaves the computer room of the hotel. I’m left feeling a little confused. Why would I want to call her, after only a couple of minutes talking? I walk over to Annemiek and tell her the story, she starts laughing. “Hahaha, you just got hit on by a prostitute.”
I’m a little taken away by her comment. So the girl didn’t like me for my Californian looks, like she said? I decide to ask my new friend the hotel manager Daniel to shed his light on the case, and he tells me Annemiek is probably right. Great, haha.
Meet the family
It’s Sunday funday, Annemiek has recovered from the wedding and we are back in the hotel after a day with the Americans in Winchester, Virginia.
From the hotel it was a good hour and half driving from to the house of Michael and Rose where we were to meet, and it was actually quite relaxing to leave the concrete and the noise of the city behind for a bit and drive up to the countryside. As we drive into the state Virginia, a sign tells me that “Virginia is for lovers.” I’m a little confused. Are there no single men and women in VA? Ah well. I think to much.
Michael and Rose live in a great big house in a (for me) very typical American neighbourhood, like the ones you see on tv. Big, detached houses with green lawns in front of them and a super quiet asphalt road that connects the houses. Rose’s parents John and Olga came over as well with all of the kids, which was great, because this way we could actually spend some time together other than what we did on the wedding.
Virginia is for lovers. I bet you didn’t know. Well now you do.
Michael and Rose’s beautiful house
They have a very special thing going on in that family. It’s a BIG family (really big), but somehow everybody gets along with each other so well and there is so much mutual respect for each other, it’s special to see. Also I love how all of Olga’s and John’s boys play with Rose’s young kids, and how natural it comes for them to care for them, even when it comes to the 2 month old Rebecca, who is the cutest ever.
After a delicious taco salad (something Americans have adopted more than happily from the Mexican cuisine, according to John) with bruschetta and homemade banana-mint-chocolate chip cookies we watched some photos, took a tour around the house and after many goodbyes called it a day, as Annemiek and I needed to prepare our suitcases for the next day when we were to fly to the other side of the country..!
Cueing up for delicious taco salad
I get hungry just by looking at it
Big family, big table!
Rose and Michael’s oldest showing me her clubhouse
The next morning (this morning) we got up reeeeeally early, my wake-up call was at 5 am. No fun. But, there was a big fat reward for getting up so early: we would fly to the other side of the country, the
After our near disaster in Schiphol we decided to take no chances and go early, as we were warned for lots of early morning traffic at the Washington beltway. Fortunately things went really well and before we knew it we had dropped off the car, were checked in and past security.
A sandwich later my stomach stopped complaining and we were first to board the plane. First stop: Chicago! Flying with budget airline Frontier, on the way there was little to no entertainment, and even the stewardesses seemed more preoccupied with their coffee than with us. But boy, was that about to change.
During our short layover in Chicago we got to talk with them real well and they were loads of fun. High fives were thrown around. People laughing, making jokes. It was great.
Ever wondered what Chicago looked like? Me too! If you look carefully, you can see Oprah somewhere on the left.
Our new friends Emma and Jessenia. Thanks for everything, guys. You rock.
The girls made sure Annemiek and I didn’t have to move seats for the second stint, Chicago – Phoenix, and that was great. For us. Some other people on board weren’t too happy with it though, as one man kept repeating: “I paid for a damn window seat, and I will sit at one.” Another grumpy old man pointed at me and barked “that was supposed to be my seat. I hope you’re happy.”
I was. Especially when it turned out our new friends, the girls from Frontier kept an extra window seat on our row free for Annemiek and me and seated the grumpy people right around us. And so we had lots of extra space. Great succes! To add insult to injury, the girls kept bringing us free wine, while the
losers complainers around us just had to pay. Ha.
The flight to Phoenix was very pretty, as we flew over land and that always makes me incredibly happy, since you can just look out the window and imagine what is going on down at the ground. In between looking down I was mainly occupied with taking sneaky selfies with sleeping strangers. Here’s the selection of today.
Pretty average shot
Seriously considering a special segment on the website
Spectacular scenery from above.
Desert (I think desert and dessert should be spelled the same)
In Phoenix, things tend to get a little warm. VERY warm, as it turned out, as the weather forecast told us it was 110 degrees outside. For good measurement: that’s 43,3 degrees celsius. Let me tell you, that’s hot. As soon as I stepped outside through the sliding doors of the airport it was like being punched in the head by your oven. Holy moly. You know sometimes you open the oven to see if your pizza is ready and you get such a big gust of warm air in your faces that it makes you wonder if your eyebrows are still there? Well, it was kind of like that.
After picking up the rental car (great big white chevy!) we started making our way up north to Flagstaff, and it was a glorious route. Having never been to a desert before, it was always gonna be special, but man it is pretty here. To be honest with you, I am not the biggest fan of Washington. I mean, there’s a lot of history there, the museums are great and world politics are being made right there, but is it spectaculair? Exciting? Pretty, even? No. Well, the interstate 17 from Phoenix to Flagstaff is all of the above. I just loved loved LOVED driving along and counting all the cactusses (cacti?), wondering how on earth the early settlers must have survived here and just staring at an endless road.
Slowly but steadily the road started climbing, the cacti (cactusses?) starting making way for pine trees and the whole landscape turned from a barren desert landscape into a green, mountainous live painting. Loved every minute of the trip here.
Shot from the car in the desert.
Changed landscape plus mandatory stereotypical pickup truck
As it turns out, Flagstaff is a great little town, with lots of bars, restaurants and terraces. It has something kind of alternative like, with even a bike shop (!!), smoke shop and a couple of instrument stores. After a long day of travelling, we decided we had earned some good, unhealthy food and we dug into a big, tasty pizza.
Ever had a pizza with fennel on it? Me neither. It’s surprisingly good.
Amazing street art, graffiti on a wall
Sunset over the road our hotel is on: Route 66!
Not the funniest post I have ever written, I know. I’m super tired from travelling all day but I just forced myself to write a piece, otherwise I know I’ll let it slip and before you know it I stop completely. Anyway, tomorrow we’ll head out to see the grand canyon, a place that must be among the prettiest of things here on earth. I’ll tell you all about it very soon! Hope you enjoyed reading it, would love to see you soon.
Lots of love,
READ NEXT: MY BIG FAT AMERICAN WEDDING
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