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USA X-mas 2010 new year 2011

Text: Siw Haugnes
Photo: Siw Haugnes & Arild Burud
Note: Photos without people can be used, as long as source is given. Photos with people may only be used by the people shown.

My husband Arild has tree siblings, living in USA. I've never met them in real life. That's about time; Arild and I have been going together since 1983.

At last we're visiting relatives and we'll try to be tourists as well.

We chose Amsterdam, for an intermediate stop and Memphis, Tennessee as the target. Memphis was cheapest, close to Little Rock (Darcy), not too far away from Kansas City (Dion and April) and New Orleans (sounds interesting).

Memphis made Graceland and Sun Studios possible. What a day we had. The guards didn't have much to do, that early in the morning and spent time talking with us. Among other things, they told us the red drapes we could see now, was only used for Christmas, and was originally a part of the interior design chosen by Elvis' last girl friend.

Photo: S Haugnes - x-mas tree Graceland
Photo: S Haugnes - Park Ave, KC Mo, USA

Photo above: Christmas tree in the main living room, Graceland.

Photo left: Morning light in eastern Kansas City, Missouri, USA

My opinion: It's exciting and a bit thrilling, meeting that much close family I've never met. I was this close to lie about an illness I didn't have...

Arild spent his birthday driving boring highways to Kansas City and April. Dion lives in the same area, as five nephews and nieces do.

I can conclude that it was just wonderful, meeting everybody. Here I tell more from our stay at April's house.

Everybody was sweet and welcoming and very nice. All the children were a bit curious about us - and we at them.

April live in this street with all the porches facing the street. Have I mentioned I've got a crush on this typical architectural style from the Southern States?

Photo: S Haugnes - AB and niecePhoto above: April's street an early morning, with perfect light for the camera. I was not allowed to roam (haha) the street alone. Poor Donique was kicked out of bed to be my companion.

Here New Year Day represents a kind of party with a lot of good food called "soul cooking" and lots of relatives coming over. They told me I was not alone, being scared about this meeting.

Since the Family and Friends was so comfortable being around, we put off New Orleans and settled for Little Rock and a niece. What else? North in Missouri? Middle of Arkansas? Sluices? Mark Twain? We'll see.

Photo: A Burud - Siw & treesPhoto right: Arild and one of his nieces.

Photo left: Arild photographing Siw photographing trees. Our shadows are kind of evident, huh?

After Hannibal (Mark Twain) we chose to drive the long scenic route to Little Rock and visit our niece. After that we planned to drive on one of the minor roads back to Memphis.

Photo: S Haugnes - harmonicas at Rock'n'Soul Museum

Thank God for skipping the highways. On our way to Memphis, in the vicinity of England, we stopped for lunch/power to my camera at a cafe with really tasty food, and passed through several beautiful places we just had to photograph (can anybody teach me a better /simpler word for photographing?).

In other words: To plan your life is nice, but it's wonderful to just let life happen too.

The last day was spent in Memphis, walking in legendary Beale street, a trip through the Rock'n'Soul Museum and a new visit to King's Palace Cafe, with the best spare ribs ever and Oreo peanut butter cheese cake, just the way it was intended. I.e.. fat, good and heavy.

And then there is just a cruelly long flight home. The next time I'll wait until I can afford Business class - I think.

Added Jan. 31. 2011