So, my first Thanksgiving is over.
I confess to being a little skeptical about US holidays before actually being here, we tend to see all the ‘excess’ on NZ tv – you know, everything’s bigger, brighter and better. So, I am pleased to report, Thanksgiving is an awesome day…well mine was anyway.
We flew to Philadelphia on Wednesday afternoon…with TSA security the way it is, the time taken getting to the airport + the time getting through security is often longer than the actual flight! Silly me too, no one checks in baggage now because on most airlines, you pay even for one bag…so everyone takes very large bags onboard (creating a rush to get on first so you can get overhead locker space…it’s NOT pretty). But of course being new to this, I hadn’t thought about my liquids and had full bottles of hair products, so had to have my bag searched. Fortunately the nice man merely passed a detection device over the offending shampoo and conditioner, declared me to be ‘not a terrorist’ and sent me on my way.
Philly was definitely cooler than Atlanta! So when we got up early on Thanksgiving morning to catch the train into the city to watch the Thanksgiving Parade, I was less than enthusiastic about the adventure. Still, I had my merino gloves and top, a scarf and jersey (aka my sweater), so dared to venture out into the weather. Arriving at Suburban Station, I realised after a quick glance at other parade goers – I was still under dressed…no ear muffs or arctic outer-wear! But we Kiwis are built tough! And with all the humanity crowded round me – well shared body heat is better than no body heat at all!
High school band.
I think I should know who this is…but I don’t.
The parade was fun and worth getting up early to experience at least once. We really got the tail end of it, but had a good view from a raised ramp going into a building (in the shade). I loved the high school marching bands and flag twirlers – huge groups of young people doing a fantastic job and looking great in their uniforms.
Very cool drummers.
In a vain effort to thaw out, we headed towards the Art Museum – and ended up watching the same floats and bands as we’d seen while standing in the shade – but this time in the sun.
All 4 One…singers of ‘I Swear’ and ‘I Can Love You Like That’
On the way to the train back, we stopped at the Comcast Center to watch an annual show displayed on a wall – we caught the end of it too…all very festive, but what intrigued me more was the ‘people’ posed on the beams above us. From the outside, they look very real and eye-catching – it took me a while to realise they were just mannequins – well I hope they’re just mannequins!
The show on the wall in the Comcast building, we just caught the end.
Inside the Comcast building, from the outside these guys look real.
Thanksgiving night we were invited to Marci and Tim’s with others of David’s family. It was great to catch up with people I haven’t seen since last October, and new friends who I hadn’t met before. The turkey was enormous and the table was laden! Our contribution was sadly store bought, as my plans for home made chocolate mousse or a pavlova were thwarted by the a. the lack of anything useful to cook with in our motel and b. my total inability to make pavlova anyway. Still, we were able to find enough at the local Giant Supermarket to satisfy my need to supply something that resembled ‘home made’. It was a great night, lots of laughing and familiness!
One thing that does disturb me about Thanksgiving is the Black Friday shopping (good ‘stuff.co.nz’ article here). In NZ, we associate Black Friday with Friday the 13th’s ‘bad luck’ (unlucky for the Knights Templar – possibly the origins of our BF). In the USA, Black Friday is like NZ’s Boxing Day sales, but to the power of 10 (the BLACK referring to the day when stores go from being in ‘the red’ to in ‘the black’ financially)! There’s been considerable discussion here about stores opening not on the day after Thanksgiving, but now on Thanksgiving night. The big stores such as Macy’s, Sears and Target opened up at varying times between 8pm and midnight – Sears didn’t open on Thanksgiving last year, but did at 8pm this year.
In Macy’s before the day, I overheard a rather angry conversation between two employees who had to work Thanksgiving night. They were not at all happy about having to lose this family time – they felt they had no choice and that Macy’s couldn’t care less about family. I tend to agree and can only see it getting worse…stores that opened at 8pm this TG will open at 6pm next…and so on and so forth until Thanksgiving becomes just another shopping day and the real meaning – enjoying family and friends and reflecting on all that is good in our lives, will be forgotten and replaced with cheap ipads and half priced handbags. I guess the 11,000 people who queued outside Macy’s in New York waiting for it to open will disagree with me.
Philly has an awesome skyline.
- Some of the nicer row houses in South Philadelphia.
Sunday morning saw another early start; getting to the airport from where we were staying was a bit of a mission. After my bag search on the way to Philly, I decided to transfer my hair products into small containers so stopped at the CVS pharmacy to find something suitable…why oh why are these things never as simple as they sound at the planning stage!?
My mish mash of hair products, plus the replacement for my confiscated curl lock.
Containers purchased, I spent the long car ride to the railway station trying to get the gloopy products through the far-too-small openings; succeeding with the shampoo, struggling with the conditioner, and not even bothering with the ‘leave in curl hold’ which was a useless product anyway. The result was a mish-mash of containers, and me smelling like a hair salon. Alas, my efforts were thwarted by the officious woman at TSA security – I DO believe in security, I do NOT respect people in uniforms who are disrespectful and pompous. Another bag search, even though my hair products were in a separate plastic bag (and David had half of them), confiscation of the useless product and much questioning about possible sharp objects in my handbag – even though they were looking for liquids. The sharpest thing I had was my plastic comb…!
Finally, I was on the plane – my carry on bag was in the overhead locker several seats further down the plane even though we were zone 1 boarding (meaning we were first on after all the first class and other ‘important’ people). The flight was quick and uneventful, the scenery was awesome! I could see obvious fault lines, hyrdo dams, tiny cars on long highways…and just how vast the USA actually is!
Runways everywhere – pleased someone knows what they’re doing!
Arriving into Atlanta by air in the daylight, gave me a real appreciation for
Big buildings, but loads of trees.
my little part of the US. It’s clean and green and huge. Hartsfield Jackson airport is enormous and the home of Delta Airways…planes coming and going constantly – I am VERY pleased that there are knowledgeable people controlling the comings and goings!
So, I’m ‘home’. Thanksgiving is done and dusted and another ‘first’ is ticked off my list.
Now to do the laundry and prepare for Christmas!