Monday, 10 July 2017

H NOT in London right now, PT 1

Damn, the Charlotte airport is big! It's a bit like a fancy mall with airline gates, and it just goes on and on and on.

And, that's where I am right now, quickly writing about the first of many parts of my journey through the USA as I wait for the connection to Chicago. I had an amazing twelve days in North Carolina, both at in Asheville and at Topsail Island. Here's some of the highlights.

First, my journey from Heathrow to Asheville was perfect, no lost luggage, no delayed flights, and ever since Delta has paired up with Virgin Atlantic, flying transatlantic is lovely. I was given my seat at the gate, something that has never happened to me before, and I was a bit worried. Not being able to select my seat was a bit disconcerting. However, I ended up in Delta comfort, which completely lived up to its name.

The first two days in Asheville were spent with my parents running errands, seeing my grandma, and getting ready to head to the beach. During this time, my father and I had an amazing lunch at a small little place close to where they now live, called Abejas House Cafe. It's small and from the outside, you wouldn't think much about it and may possibly pass
it by, but don't! It's amazing. All the food is fresh and mostly locally grown and/or organic. Plus, it's reasonably priced. If you follow the hyperlink above, it will take you to their "about" page, and it's clear that they are the type of business that should be lauded. If you live in or are visiting Asheville, go! They even serve chilaquiles, although they don't appear on the online menu.

Okay, I'm done sounding like an advertisement...

View from the house (taken by my brother)
On Saturday, my mom, dad, and I loaded up the car and started out for Surf City to the beach house we stayed at the year before (actually it's a duplex and this year we were next door) However, within the first 30 minutes of our journey we were delayed due to a milk truck accident on the highway.
Fortunately, (and also luckily) we were ten cars back from where this occurred, so after the three quarters of an hour that it took to clear the highway, we were quickly on our way.

View from The Bistro
Once we finally arrived at the house on Topsail Beach, we met up with my hot and sweaty brother, who had been waiting for us in his car for an hour or more, changed into nicer clothes and jetted over to The Bistro. This restaurant, as well as spending a week on Topsail Island, has become a new family tradition. My mother's birthday is at the beginning of July, so last year we did this trip to celebrate it. We ended up loving it all so much, we did it again this year and will repeat it next year. By the way (and briefly reverting to my advertisement tone) The Bistro serves the most excellent food and makes a damn good Old Fashioned.

Other highlights from the week at Topsail beach included:

-Multiple Firework viewings from the towns and businesses near to the house, including a fantastic display from the people in the house next to us on both the 3rd and 4th of July. We didn't have to leave and face traffic and crowds to enjoy fireworks this year.

-Down the beach about two houses, there was a small evening wedding on the beach (it may have put some ideas in my head-haha)

Sunrise taken by my mother
-Amazing weather only broken up by the occasional thunderstorm. The surf was a bit too raucous at times to swim, but we braved the sea a few times anyway.
My Topsail toes
However, for me the highlight of the trip came on the penultimate night that we were there. My dad noticed a gathering on the beach of about 16 people. They seemed to be forming a semi-circle around a rather large mound. My mom called me to come and see, and after looking for a few moments, I saw the mound move. Realising it was a sea turtle, I flew down the steps to join my dad, who was talking to our next-door neighbour. The crowd included some volunteers from The Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre, who were making certain no disturbed this magnificent animal. She was massive, possibly the largest sea turtle I'd ever seen, and she had just climbed from the sea to an area under one of the steps of the house next to us, dug a hole, laid eggs, and now was making her way slowly back to the sea. Unfortunately, I left my phone in the house and was too mesmerised by the whole thing to go back to get it. It was truly amazing to witness.
Panorama from the deck

After our beach week ended, we returned to Asheville where we ran errands, visited my grandma, took a dip in the pool, and spent a lovely evening with my parents friends, Jan and Ken.
My pool toes

So now I'm in the Charlotte Airport awaiting my flight to Chicago, which boards in five minutes, for the next part of this journey. I'm going to quickly publish and post this, so please forgive my grammar for now.

Ciao for now and see you for part two!

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