Which, by the way, is bonkers. The Olympics sailing is going to be held here and we have soldiers with guns and barricades and an Olympic village. Soldiers with guns! An Olympic village! On Portland! Goodness. Obviously I want this to be informative and interesting so I have been out to get pictures.
Ooh look - you can see all the sailing bits and bobs.
Now you can be dazzled by an Olympic Village too.
Oh, and despite the look of the grumpy sky, it is for the Summer Olympics.
I didn't think England had it in it, but yeay for sunshine. And sorry to my husband who is still in Norway with the rain, but about to go to heatwave USA, so whatever.
My hotel is lovely, although anywhere that has individual cafetieres in the room would get a yeay from me, am terribly easy to please. After seeing lots of lovely people yesterday, am now going to have a spot of breakfast, do a spot of shopping and pop in to a museum, then catch a train south. Just perfect. There will be an M&S fruit salad and some salt and vinegar crisps along the way. Even better.
Here are some of the lovely people.
Quite when this turned in to a not-very-interesting diary entry, I don't know, but it is all I got today, am going shopping out to get some culture.
You'd think we could sort this out a bit better, but we do seem to be in different countries quite often. (I know, shocking First World problem...). Unfortunately for me it is usually him that travels so much. I stay home.
But right now I am on a ferry crossing a fjord to get to an airport (yes, I may have mentioned this a squillion times before, like all of these here) and it is a beautiful, gorgeous, sparkling morning. I am (hopefully) nicely early which means time in duty free sniffing perfumes (yeay!) so apart from not seeing my husband for ten days, all is very good with the world.
Am doing a mini project to do with something me and my husband are doing later this year (obviously hold your collective breaths for big announcement maybe one day) and it involves lots of checking and facts and looking and researching and finding out. And you probably get the picture.
And it involves Excel.
Uh, hello Excel, haven't seen you since I last worked 3 years ago.
Turns out it hasn't really changed but I have been talking to my laptop asking the flashing lines around the cell to please stop. They did eventually but not sure how.
So no proper blog today. I will be in my spreadsheet.
It's all a bit mortifying really. I have been chatting away to people lately telling them that I am going to be a bridesmaid. You know, share the love and all that. Turns out that I have been telling people I am going to be the equivalent of a flower girl. Which at 38 is kind of weird and unlikely. Which would explain the slightly underwhelmed faces and second looks.
On a side note, I just did a google search to find a picture for this post so you would get exactly what I mean, and pretty sure I just stumbled across a whole sub culture of adult little girls and I'm not sure what, that I really didn't need to know about.
I can't really recommend that.
Big excitement tomorrow, the service isn't til 5pm so we have all day to get ready / start sweating about doing a reading in front of all the nice people who have come from across the world to be there.
So, I think you must know by know, we got married in Vegas - two years ago in September for any of you that are counting. It wasn't something we had planned for months or even ever thought about before. It was all a bit backwards.
My lovely husband went on a business trip to Houston, Texas, and because he is a lovely husband he went in to De Beers. He bought me an incredibly pretty diamond pendant necklace and goodness me I was pleased when I got it. But, it was a little shorter than I would prefer so we agreed I could change it. Then I saw this ring. This rather beautiful, awfully perfect ring.
And somehow or other we agreed it would be just right as an engagement ring. I can't even remember who suggested it. If it was me, and it quite possibly was, I would like to say that it wasn't in a pushy way. Actually.
So as it turns out, they don't have De Beers in Norway, so as I was in London the following week I went to buy it myself. Yep, for realz. I didn't tell the girl it would be an engagement ring, I really couldn't think of anything more desperate than going to buy an engagement ring on your own. Without an actual other half with you. Imagine all the pity. Very Miss Haversham.
A few days later I was back in Norway and handed the ring over to my then-boyfriend-not-yet-fiance. We talked about a wedding and whilst I love me a bit of attention I suddenly panicked a bit at the thought of getting married in front of actual people. Even actual people that I actually like. So we decided on Vegas. And from there it went super fast. We only did this a few weeks before we actually went so that we could get married on the anniversary of the day we met. Super cute and awfully efficient, only one date to remember.
Anyway, the point of all of this was the proposal. It was, of course, perfect. After the necklace, after the ring, after the Vegas deciding, my then-boyfriend-not-yet-fiance asked me to marry him when we were home, just the two of us. Then the kids came over later that day and it was all very lovely.
After months of having a dodgy back, I finally got fixed in May and joined a gym at the end of the month. I have done pretty well and been every two or three days, which is something like 20 times altogether so far, so yeay me.
On the less yeay me side, one of the first times I went I forgot my iPod. Horrid without it. Lesson learned. Or not. After that I forgot my shower gel, but that's OK, turns out you can wash with shampoo just fine. Great, forward a few more days. Things definitely get harder when you forget your towel. Duh. But luckily I had a big old scarf with me and had to dry fast and hope no-one would come in to the changing room, because it just looked weird.
Not sure at what stage these small things turn in to an epidemic, I have also forgotten to bring clean underwear. Blech. Although, despite all these marvellous moments, my personal favourite is forgetting my shoes. That was a couple of days ago. I made such a performance of checking I had everything - you know, iPod, towel, knickers, shower gel and was so pleased with myself.
Yeah, so despite all the research I normally do, I didn't bother with so much on Vegas, because you know, it's Vegas, it's kind of obvious. Really, what do you need to know?
No-one told me you have to queue to take a picture.
Firstly, and in my defence, we obviously went there to get married and we were there for something like six days before that happened, so we had a little time, but we needed to get rings and a suit for my honey and our paperwork done, so there was a bit of a to do list, it wasn't just a drinking jolly. So when we went to the Coyote Ugly bar (yes, really, I liked that film, secretly quite a lot actually), I just wasn't feeling the urge to lean backwards against the bar and get 'free shots for the ladeez' and take my bra off. Shame on me.
Pure class, that place.
So, Vegas, it is full of casinos. Yep, for reals. Not sure why that was anywhere near a shock, but it was a bit. I think it is the sheer volume and relentlessness of them all.
All worth it with the Fonz.
I have no idea what happens if you spend longer than a few days there, the whole world is in one street, when you walk past New York City to a pyramid to Paris to Venice it is really rather disconcerting. Especially if you aren't expecting to see Camelot or a big old pirate ship on the way.
Pretty sure he's in it for the boobs.
It turns out that buying things wasn't so easy - we had to special order our wedding rings and have tailoring adjustments to the suit. They were all shocked that we wanted it done in the next couple of days, at one point it did seem like we wouldn't have wedding rings. Uh, hello wedding capital of the world?
Shiny new rings.
Brilliantly our wedding chapel was down the strip between a petrol station and motel with adult movies and short rent rooms. We tried to get the photographer to take some photos with the Adult Movie sign in the background but she was having none of it. It is just possible they might consider it bad publicity I suppose..
Not a porn motel in site.
I totally should have watched The Hangover before we went.
We decided to get married in Las Vegas and planned it all in a couple of weeks so that we could get married on the anniversary of the date we met. I know, right? Couldn't be any cuter. Anyway, despite my usual obsession with endless holiday research, I didn't do so very much - enough to choose our hotel and get decent flights and that was about it.
We stayed here - the Trump hotel - and I loved it..
The whole hotel tower is shiny and gold.
Turns out it isn't like Friends when you rock up drunk and just get married by mistake, or perhaps its easier if you are American, but we had to get some paperwork done and buy rings and a few things so it wasn't just hanging out there by the pool.
We decided to take a trip to the Grand Canyon while we were there, and started off small with a little drive to Red Rock Canyon..
That was our gigantic hire car.
Then we thought we would go to the Grand Canyon, I didn't fancy a helicopter trip where you hover over and fly back, I wanted to drive ourselves so that we could do what we wanted on the day. Plus we had an awesome big car.
Yeah, no. It's like a 7 hour drive each way. Suddenly not possible when you only have a few days left and need to get married on one of them.
So really the moral of this story is for my husband to not take the piss so very much when I spend hours planning trips. It's probably better if I do.
Still, the trip was fabby and we did get our happy ever after.
3. Doggy bags - love that they know you paid for your food and should get to finish it if you want to (am not even saying anything about the HUGE portions that mean you need a doggy bag in the first place).
5. It's frickin' huge - I know people make snotty jokes about the high percentage of americans who don't own a passport, much less use it, but wanderlust aside, they kind of don't need to. America is huge and has it all - mountains, desert, coastal resorts, amazing cities.
They also have an ancient tar pit with fake dying animals right in the middle of LA.
Today I shall big up the old US of A, in preparation and celebration of July 4th. Yee ha. Because that is totally how they all talk. Because they are all cowboys. Although some of them are movie stars. Although some of them are both. (Please refer to John Wayne).
It has always been a bit easy to mock America because we englishers are smug that them americans don't get irony. Are we sure about that? They have brought Dallas back WITH JR IN A NURSING HOME.
To me, America is the home of shopping, I frickin' love it there. You can buy what you want, on whatever day you want for not so very much money. Admittedly I may have been in eye-wateringly-expensive-closed-on-Sundays-and-quite-a-lot-shuts-down-in-the-winter-too Norway for too long, but I revel in all that consumer availability. I am both shallow and unapologetic for it.
But, to balance all that commerce out, Americans are good people who will build you a jolly big and fabby house for free. Often in the rain. And often with a country music star in tow. And Xzibit. I know because I have seen Extreme Makeover Home Edition. Although normally I am crying by the end (or even quite soon in to it) so I may have a couple of details wrong there.
Plus it is full of friendliness. And whilst I am aware a lot of it is customer service rather than genuine pleasure at how delightful I am, I still like it. Norwegians are brilliant and all but they are tough nuts to crack. And to crack a smile from. It is nice to have some shiny superficiality.
Oh dear, I seem to have called the nice Americans shallow cowboys, and this was meant to be lovely and in praise of the States.