New York City, New York
Martina: I woke up in our Niagara Falls bedroom with a really weird, itchy rash all over my body. Uh-oh. We left for NY, where we landed around midnight, spending the next four nights at the Candy Hostel.
The next day, I paid through the nose for a doctor to dramatically sympathise with me over the condition that the nurse had earlier charmingly described as “you've got hives”. Never one to do things by halves, the doctor said she'd never seen anything like it. I had a 'shot' (they do injections in a crazy fashion over here, pressing really hard with their fingers on the site after taking the needle out. I'm not sure if it's supposed to be soothing, but it really bloody hurts, particularly when they start to knead the site. As New Yorkers are quite the believers in 'tough love', I was too scared to tell her to stop it), and then was prescribed lots of steroids (creams, tablets, ya-da-ya-da) and anti-histamines.
Catherine: Amusingly, Martina’s accent obviously caused problems for the nurse. Her prescription had her address down as ‘New Yorkshire’ rather than ‘West Yorkshire’. All in all, bit of a blip, but it did bag us to visit to the ER later that night though…
Martina: ...where I encountered the most inept hospital receptionist ever to be propelled onto this fair earth...
Catherine: Anyway, we did more fun things in NY over the next few days - Staten Island Ferry, Times Square, Central Park, Museum of Modern Art - all good clean fun. We stayed in a nice part of NY where it felt like we were living in a proper neighbourhood, rather than a tourist hive.
Martina: So, DC was completely different to NY. On our first full day there, we decided to have a squidge at the White House, so we ambled down and were met by this delightful American lady, who encouraged us to go on a garden tour of the White House at midday - it was a 'real treat', apparently.
Nonplussed, we followed her lead, going back at our alotted time, admiring George W's bushes, and generally enjoying our trot around the White House's back garden. It was only on our way out - upon asking the security guys - that we realised that this was a rather special occasion, and people only got the chance to do this a handful of times during the year! This made us feel rather chuffed.
Catherine: Lucky bastards, we are.
Martina: In the afternoon, went to Lincoln Memorial, saw Capitol Hill and then had a tour around Arlington Cemetery, where you buy a Ticketmaster gig-like ticket for the pleasure of seeing where JFK is buried.
Catherine: They’ll be treasured.
Martina: Whilst at JFK's grave however, I committed what could have been a massive boo-boo. A sudden surge of wind briefly dislodged my hat from its sweaty head-abode, and it was definitely heading for the eternal flame which Jackie Onassis lit when JFK was buried. This flame is protected by ropes and is not accessible to the public.
Catherine: It was looking like we were about to have our American visas withdrawn and set back to Blighty for crimes against a national hero.
Martina: Don’t worry! Despite having my heart in my mouth, my hand-eye coordination came up trumps and saved the day, and I averted a story which may well have made the "And Finally..." section of News at Ten.
Catherine: Later, we drank and ate in DC's Chinatown, where we ruminated over how fat we were both getting, and pledged to eat nothing but greens for the next twenty-four hours.
Martina: I started the next day by eating lots of cream cheese bagels, followed by a Big Mac extra value meal at the Air and Space Museum. We oooed and aahhed our way around various spacesuits, aeroplanes, fecal matter waste-bags for astronauts and the like.
Catherine: We also played at being FBI agents, and were thus ID'd a ridiculous number of times.
words and pictures: Catherine Bolsover and Martina Booth