Monday, September 9, 2013

A Chronicle of The Maiden America Tour

The trip that Deborah and I made to America was the best and longest vacation that I remember since grade school. We were repeatedly permitted to sleep-in by generous friends and family. Deborah commented more than once that she was amazed at her own ability to sleep in every manner of bed from the inflatable mattress to the futon with a mountain in the middle to the too-soft bed of fluff to the couch in the middle of a NYC 21st floor apartment's living room.

I took a few pictures on Deborah's camera, but I wanted to see what she noticed. Reviewing the more than 1,000 photos that she took, I found that she has a fetish for American trash cans and recycling bins. She also took a picture of each new brand of petrol that we saw so there are a huge number of gas stations in her collection. 

Finally, there are a lot of shots of plates loaded to the gills with food. I made sure she had a quarter-pounder at a drive-thru MacDonalds, a heaping plate of chicken at Cracker Barrel, a #4 Breakfast Special at Dunkin' Donuts, and a lot of healthier, traditional fare, such as soft-shell crabs in Baltimore and schrod with clam chowder and a side of baked beans as her first meal in Boston's Durgin Park. I woke up and made tomato sauce with Tom Cornell at the Peter Maurin Farm (A Catholic Worker community) and, outside of lobster, this huge pot of his famous concoction was the most-discussed and favorite culinary delight of the trip.

Tom's Tomato Sauce
Deborah and I helped harvest some early radishes at the Peter Maurin Farm. The dogs came with us for company.

We had lobsters and clams in Maine at a clambake (first for me, too), Red Lobster in Times Square (another first), and lobster salad with blueberry muffins in Cohasset. 

She loved our pineapple juice and seemed to enjoy her ham 'n cheese croissant, as well. She had Mexican with me at Dos Amigos (Concord, NH), Hermanos (Concord, NH), and Lauriol Plaza (DC). We had oysters from PEI and I had a Bloody Mary at Old Ebbitt Grille, Washington's oldest saloon. 

There were several other firsts for me, as well. For instance, we skipped Philadelphia, originally on the itinerary, and went instead to Washington Crossing, PA, en route to friends in Doylestown. It was exhilarating to see where a band of Marblehead fishermen helped sneak the Continental Army across the river on Christmas, to attack the arrogant, sleeping Hessians at Trenton. 

Finished with lunch in Wellesley and not due for dinner in Lincoln, MA, until 6:15, we also went to the Minute Man National Park on our last full day in America. I had never been there and was shocked to learn that it was just a couple miles up Bedford Road from my uncle's house. 

Uncharacteristically, I made only a few driving mistakes, the biggest being that we crossed the George Washington Bridge instead of the Tappan Zee, because I lost heart at the turn-off for Route 80 East and so headed back to NYC instead of continuing on I-287.

I learned a lesson on the rental car. Let somebody insured rent it and then have you added as the second driver. Quoted a mere $555 for 17 days, it ended up after insurance and gas being about $100 a day! We wanted to pick it up on Monday morning instead of Sunday night, but that was going to raise the cost by a lot...which makes no sense to me. We wanted to turn it in at Logan Airport instead of Manchester, NH, but that was going to raise the cost by $600 so we took a $70 full-sized van with only four passengers in it to Logan from MHT. It was worth it environmentally and economically to rent their EZPass. We traveled in style, listening to Secretary John Kerry preach war on NPR, operating cruise control from buttons on the steering wheel, and incessantly forgetting the keys in our press-the-button-to-start Nissan.

We are incredibly grateful to all of the people who put us up, especially my parents, Arnie Arnesen & Marty Capodice, The Peter Maurin Farm, and Randi Cecchine/Michiele, who all took us for multiple nights. This was an incredible introduction to America for a Chinese woman who has never traveled outside of China and a great chance to see so many wonderful people for me. I think Deborah met so many people that you might be referred to hereinafter as "the person with the crazy dog" or "the one with the cute child." 

Deborah got to see many iconic things and to go half way up the Statue of Liberty. I took this picture of the pulpit at St. Patrick's Cathedral, which is undergoing a glorious renovation.

We saw the George Washington Bridge and the Lincoln Memorial, as well as the National Museum of the American Indian in both New York and DC. Here is a sampling of the places we saw. The sun on the scaffolding surrounding the Washington Monument was dreamy. 

The irony of using the George Gustav Heye Customs Building
as a home for the National Museum of the American Indian
with its fancy dome featuring most of America's most
famous early European explorers strikes me every time.
We had a really touching experience when, with typical brashness, I asked a man emerging from a fire station if he was a fireman. He said that he was, disappeared back inside, and emerged again, asking whether we would like to see the inside. He opened the main door, but let us in through the side door. To the side of the single engine, was a display from the wreckage of September 11. They lost a man and the pieces you see in this picture are all that were salvaged.

Deborah Zhang & Alexander Lee’s
Maiden America Tour (
Made in China)

Thursday, August 15
Thu, Aug 15, 2013

Depart: 04:40 pm
Arrive: 09:10 pm
Beijing, China (PEK)
Tokyo, Japan (HND)
Japan Airlines, Flight 22
Economy   Class 

1 Stop - change planes in Tokyo, Terminal 1, (HND)
Connection Time: 9 hrs 45 mins 
Depart: 06:55 am
Arrive: 06:35 am
Tokyo, Japan (HND)
New York, NY (JFK)
American Airlines, Flight 134
Economy   Class 

1 Stop - change planes in New York, (JFK)
Connection Time: 1 hr 55 mins 
Depart: 08:30 am
Arrive: 09:50 am 

Next day
New York, NY (JFK)
Boston, MA (BOS)
American Airlines, Flight 1838
Economy   Class 
Total Travel Time: 29 hrs 10 mins

Hotel in Japan…

Friday, August 16
459 us towards Downtown Crossing via Central Square & Logan Airport (Express) from Terminal C-Departures
12 PM- Lunch at Faneuil Hall & Quincy Market area
1:30 PM- The New England Aquarium
4:00 PM- Get iPhone fixed at: Apple Store (Genius Bar), Boylston Street, 815 Boylston Street; (617) 385-9400.
6 PM- Meet George & Catherine Gregory at Rattlesnake Bar
Stay at Chris Hoag’s house in Chelsea, MA

Saturday, August 17
Chris drives us to New Hampshire!
10:30 AM- Breakfast with Christine Hamm
2:30 PM- Arrive at Arnie’s house
3:15 PM- Go pick up book at Gibson’s
4PM- Tea Party with Bruce, Liza, Eli, and Audrey
6PM- Dinner at Chenyangli ( in Bow, NH, with Bruce, Liza and children (reservation is for 20)
Stay at Deborah Arnie Arnesen & Marty Capodice’s

Sunday, August 18
10 AM- Catholic Mass at Sacred Heart
11:30 AM- Unscheduled time till 2 PM lunch
2 PM- Late lunch with Dr. Travis Harker, President, NH Medical Society (and my physcian) at Hermano’s Cucina
3:30- Meet Rebecca Foulkes at Audubon Center for a walk
Enterprise Rental Clusterf**k
6:30 PM- Drinks and Burgers on the deck with Meredith and Craig
Stay at Deborah Arnie Arnesen & Marty Capodice’s

Monday, August 19
7 AM or after- Pick up car at MHT Enterprise
10 AM- Breakfast at the Friendly Toast with Bud & Barbara James
12 PM- Day hike at Bradbury Mt. State Park with Bryan Wentzell
4 PM- Clambake in Boothbay with Gabrielle DiPerri, Martina M. and Roger Duncan at "The Manse"
Stay in Portland, Maine, with J. Bryan Wentzell and Anna Fincke

Tuesday, August 20
Drive to Blue Goose Lodge in time for lunch
Boat ride
Walked to main beach
Stay at Blue Goose Lodge

Wednesday, August 21
1:30 PM- Castle in the Clouds
Afternoon Swimming
7:30 PM- Mise en Place

Thursday, August 22
Stay at Blue Goose Lodge
10 AM- Wolfeboro Diner and The Art Place
1 PM- Wolfeboro Farmer’s Market, The Country Bookseller, and Dean and Lise Richardson’s
4:00- Visit Susie and Peter Walker
4:30 PM- Buckey’s for miniature golf and dinner
7:30 PM- See An Unexpected Guest at The Barnstormer’s Summer Theatre, Tamworth, NH

Friday, August 23
Noon- Depart for Middlebury, VT, via Concord, NH
11:50 AM- Secretary of State Office in Concord
1:30 PM- Lunch at The Lebanon Diner
3:15 PM- Tea in South Royalton with Christine Hamm, Yang Chenfang, and Jamie Thaxton
5 PM- Quick walk at Texas Falls in Hancock, VT
6 PM- Dinner at Mr. Ups with Heidi Willis and Seth Gibson, Randy & Polly Wilson
Stay with Heidi Willis

Saturday, August 24
9 AM- Rosie’s for breakfast with Wright Hartman and Charlie Lee
Before lunch- Shelburne Farms
1 PM- Lunch with Margaret Strouse and Christopher Middings at Leunig’s Bistro
5 PM- Arrive in Bristol
Stay with John & Rita Elder

Sunday, August 25
Depart for CW
Stay at Peter Maurin Farm

Monday, August 26
Work in the garden and eat great food
Cook dinner of di san qian for eight
Stay at Peter Maurin Farm

Tuesday, August 27
Drive to Theresa Maier’s in New Jersey and park car
Arrive Penn Station
Walk waterfront on Hudson down to Patty Heffley’s house and past Port Authority
Dinner at Red Lobster in Times Square after visiting Times Square Museum (free) and Rockefeller Center
Stay in NYC with Randi Cechinne at 365 West 25th Street in Chelsea

Wednesday, August 28
10 AM- Metropolitan Museum of Art and Central Park
1.     Brooklyn Bridge
2.     Chinatown & Little Italy
3.     Wall Street & The Bowery
Stay in NYC with Randi Cechinne

Thursday, August 29
1.     Empire State Building
2.     St. Patrick’s Cathedral (under renovation)
3.     New York Public Library
4 PM- Visit the Alan, Brooke, and Ben Phillips and Linda Zhang on Upper West Side
Stay in NYC with Randi Cechinne

Friday, August 30
3:15 PM- Thompson-Neely House
4 PM- Washington Crossing Visitors Center
Stay with Gary & Gayle Sutterlin in Doylestown, PA

Saturday, August 31
Stay in Arlington, VA, with Shari Lewis

Sunday, September 1
Lunch of soft-shell crab sandwich at Phillips in Baltimore
Stay with Jake Sargent

Monday, September 2
1:35- Red Sox vs. Tigers baseball game (special thanks to Tom Duca and Avery Meyer for making this possible), Section: G19; Row: 13; Seats: 9-10, go to Will Call window A or D around noon (Account # 5748290); goody bag for first timer at fan services desk
5:30 PM- Aunt Kathy & Uncle Ross for lobster salad and blueberry muffins
Stay with Aunt Kathy & Uncle Ross

Tuesday, September 3
10 AM- Marian Dioguardi
Lunch with Cousin Charlotte and Aunt Madeline
6:15 PM- Uncle Bob and Mary
Stay with Meredith Hatfield

Wednesday, September 4- Wave to “The Windy City”
8:30 AM- Bagel Works with Suzanne Harvey
10:15 AM- Secretary of State's Office
11:10 AM- Oath of office administered by Judge Macnamara at the Court House
11:50 AM- Enterprise at MHT

Wed, Sep 4, 2013

Depart: 03:50 pm
Arrive: 09:45 pm 

Next day
Boston, MA (BOS)
Beijing, China (PEK)
American Airlines, Flight 187
Economy   Class 
1 Stop - change planes in Chicago, IL (ORD) 
Total Travel Time: 17 hrs 55 mins

Thursday, September 5, 2013
10:15 PM- Arrive Beijing International Airport

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