Wednesday, 24 August 2011

I don’t BELIEVE it!


There are lots of things I don’t believe today.

I can’t believe it’s been two years today since my cancer diagnosis. Bloody hell, what a week that was! On the one hand, two years seems like nothing. But on the other, when I think of what’s happened – holy moley! And I’ve managed to fit in an engagement, wedding and redundancy as well. How do I do it?

My diagnosis was actually on the day before we were due to fly out to the States for our big summer holiday. The plan was to stay with friends in Boston, then to travel around New England and finish up with a few days in New York. We had to cancel the trip with a days notice – and damn you insurance companies – we only got a fraction of our money back (Bar-stools)!

Does this trip sound familiar? Well that’s because we will be attempting it again next week, for our honeymoon. I cannot begin to tell you what an achievement it will be and how much it will feel like I’ve ‘book-ended’ this whole terrible experience. I never thought I’d see the day and I don’t want to speak too soon, but I bloody did it!

The reason I don’t want to speak too soon brings me to my next ‘I don’t BELIEVE it!’

I don’t believe that I woke up this morning to news of earthquakes (5.8 on the whatsit scale) along the east coast of America, which not only temporarily closed JFK airport but much more importantly stopped some tennis in Connecticut. This is so rare, that the TV and radio channels had to broadcast that it was actually for real. 

Check out this news report with the headline ‘What?! An earthquake? The east coast reacts with shock. 
 
Even better – there are promises of serious aftershocks over the next couple of weeks. We fly out there on Tuesday.

One news web site leads to another and it gets better. Apparently hurricane Irene is also due to hit at the weekend – for our ‘Exploring New England’ part of the holiday – we will be in a tent. Check out this lovely bit of news:

The storm is forecast to approach the coast of the Carolinas on Saturday morning. After that, the saturated New England region could be at risk from torrential rains, high winds and flooding from Irene, Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate said on Tuesday.

Why does this keep happening to me? America has been trying to kill me off for years. Whenever I come to the States there is always some drama.

In 1992 my friend Julie and I had just booked our road trip around the western states when the LA riots broke out (following the acquittal of white policemen who were caught on video beating up Rodney King, an African American). 

Sunrise over the Grand Canyon

Yikes!

Although our trip started in Las Vegas – it was due to finish in LA. We were terrified – in particular of taking a wrong exit from the freeway and ending up in the ghetto – it was before sat navs and I was in charge of navigation so the margin for error was substantial.

As it happens LA was fine but it did add an extra tension to the trip.

I LOVED Lucy! Universal Studios, LA


Then in 1999 on my next trip to the States I just missed Hurricane Floyd which was not only MASSIVE, but came ashore exactly where I was flying out to stay the next day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (you can read more about that trip in my ‘Finding the one’ blog).

The next trip to the states was to New York 6th – 11th September 2001, and we all know what happened then. I was actually in the air flying home when the planes went into the Twin Towers (you can read more about that trip in my ‘New York 9-11’ blog).

My trip to the States in 2002 (North and South Carolina) was probably the least eventful although I do remember that it was a particularly good year for tornado’s and we did have to go and hide in the storm shelter under the stairs a couple of times. If you want a good old adrenaline rush, there’s nothing like watching the tornado reports on the TV – coming closer and closer. To panic, not to panic? It’s the modern day equivalent of watching the German army advance on Stalingrad.

My last trip to the States was again to LA as part of my round the world adventure in 2007. I don’t remember anything too traumatic happening – apart from seeing Britney Spears in a shop?! (you can read more about that in my ‘Chasing Fame’ blog). But then I was flying in from Fiji that time rather than the UK, so maybe I took the Gods by surprise.

Britney (scarf & wig)

 I’m trying hard not to take it personally, and to be fair it isn’t just the States. I seem to have a knack for dodging disaster.


Christchurch cathedral, before the earthquake.


So here we go again, a weekend of nervously checking the news reports and tracking a hurricane. If all goes to plan we’ll fly out next week, an excellent opportunity for another travel blog – especially as we get to New York exactly 10 years to the day after I flew out. Not exactly September 11th, but in terms of the day – bang on. Now that will be a bit weird.

 If not, I guess we’ll head somewhere a bit safer – Libya anyone?

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