Not a hugely early start this morning (08.20) but still not a long lie. Mary’s cousin Ann and her husband picked us up in their hired car and ran us round to the train station where we got the 08.50 to Toronto. Breakfast on board was a cup of tea and sandwiches left over from yesterday which Aunt Dilly passed on to us kindly. We ate them with no hesitation! A leisurely stroll through the station took us to the UP departure area and in 20 minutes we had arrived at Pearson International Airport.

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Goodbye CN Tower (bottom half anyway!)

As we suspected, the security procedures for flights to the U.S. were very extensive and apart from the usual stuff, included fingerprints, a barrage of questions and umpteen photos. However we both made it through and spent a couple of hours relaxing before our flight to Washington on a brilliant wee plane which was full with only 50 people on board.

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Mary taking a break from carrying the big suitcase!

Maybe it was being seated at the very back in row 12 but I unusually nodded off and slept for most of the flight. An hour and 20 minutes was all it took to get us to Dulles Airport in Washington before we got a bus which linked with an extremity of one of the Metro lines. We had one change of line to make but we did so successfully and emerged onto Connecticut Avenue. Left or right? We guessed left and we were right! The Days Inn hotel was 5 minutes walk from the Metro and we were soon relaxing in our room.

With an Italian restaurant basically attached to the hotel, there was never any doubt about where we were going to eat this evening and we chose the carry-out version of chicken and pesto pasta. I nipped across the 8 lanes to get some milk, wine, bananas and cola light and there we had it, a superb meal in the comfort of our room.

We chose not to go out exploring this time but turned on the TV and watched what the Americans watch. The programmes were similar to ours but the adverts were predominantly all about health insurance and this emerged as our first observation of American life: a preoccupation with thinking to the future of ill health and the ravages of old age (unless you’re rich of course!).

Lying in bed here tonight listening to dogs barking, car horns tooting and the odd human squeal, I muse that we could be just about anywhere in the world. But one thing I will say regarding first impressions: the Americans are incredibly well-mannered. Everyone seemed to be awfully polite to each other on the train and in the Metro while the guy at the hotel reception and the cashier at the little supermarket literally couldn’t do enough. I hope that doesn’t change!

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I’m Mary. Fly me!

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