Well, another opportunity to combine work and pleasure. A work trip to encompass Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dayton (Ohio), London, Belgium and The Netherlands. Four of us went and it took a shade over three weeks. Most of it was pretty fast flowing - using the US dollar one day, British Pounds the next and the Euro the day after.
We spent five days at Waikiki and were able to see the USS Missouri and do some shopping at the local retail outlets - I finished up with an extra bag by the time I'd finished, but everyone got a t-shirt ;-)
We had time to visit Pearl Harbour, the USS Missouri where the Armistice took place, and the USS Bluefin - a sub which was claimed to have 44 kills
We had a very quick trip through L.A. - got in to the airport at 10 pm, hotel by midnight to iron a suit that had been squashed in my bag, to be up by 0730 for breakfast before a meeting before going to the airport to go to San Francisco!! - like being in the army again - go go go.
Anyway, this was San Francisco - here for three days and had 'Clam Chowder in a Sour Dough Roll at Fisherman's Wharf'. Saw Alcatraz from a distance, but missed out on the tour because we just didn't have the time. Huge fog covered the city the whole time we were there which made photo's a bit bleak - heard the fog cleared the day after we left - someone knew something!!
Most of our work (and time) was at Dayton, Ohio. We were working with AFRL to receive joint information over satellite. We flew on the last day to Norfolk, VA and back in a triangular affair to check out the impact of aircraft manouvres on data reception. Ed and I were able to sit in the cockpit for the landing with headsets listening to the whole shooting match - what a hoot - very impressive. It was cooooolld - but didn't snow until the day after we left..
Our hosts took us out for an ice hockey game followed by tea - pretty physical stuff and good to watch
We got to the museum on the last afternoon - this place is amazing and just about every aircraft that ever was is there in all its glory. B17, B everything - there are some huge ones, Wright Brothers originals, WW1 Camel's, Spitfires, Hurricanes, Presidential aircraft, satellite command modules - the lot - and it's free
I didn't realise until quite late that I had more than an hour or two as a stopover in London - a shade over 24 hours, so caught the Oxford Tube down to Oxford, met by cousin Helen who I don't remember from when we were in England (we left in 1969 when I was 6) but she remembers me!! Checked out the Trout and then caught up with Steph and Tony at Irondown farm where they live - out for tea, a couple of pubs and finished up on some coconut liqueur after midnight. The next day, a wander round the farm, fed the animals, visited Helen on her narrow boat and then off to Oxford to catch the tube back to the hotel to meet Ed, and out of there.
A very quick trip into Belgium - landed at Brussels, train to Antwerp and then my first taxi ride in a Mercedes (following a BMW taxi). These photo's are of some of the churches in the middle of town - we were only there the two nights before we caught the red eye special to The Hague in The Netherlands
This place was amazing with its many canals, the closeness of the buildings to them, the push bikes - many of them looked about 50 years old and straight from WW2. Anyone and everyone rides them - from 7 to 70 - when they get older they ride them that slow that you'd think they should fall off - but they don't
The other thing that spun me out was the width of the buildings. Evidently in early days, taxes were levied based on the width of your frontage. Houses were therefore built very high (like three stories), and very deep. The average house would be four to five metres wide. The narrowest one that we saw was only two metres wide.....