In some ways I was actually most looking forward to this part of the trip as it would be far more relaxing than all the other places and give me a taste of American home life. Despite having never met me Ethans five year old daughter Kaylee she was very excited at my arrival and had a host of games and things ready to play with me. I’ve never heard someone use my name as much as she did! I may have a fair bit of experience at teaching and playing with Japanese children but I’m not so used to being with English-speaking kids. However, once I’d gotten used to her way of speaking we had a great time messing around together for three days and in all honesty it was one of the most memorable and enjoyable parts of the whole trip. Tiring though!
The following morning Ethan drove his wife Kaori. Kaylee and me to Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico which was a couple of hours away. It was a nice trip but probably not worth going all that way as at the end of the day caves are caves and when you’ve seen a few you’ve seen them all.
Far more impressive was the mountain which we saw both on the way there and on the return journey (below) before the heavens opened up and the road became flooded in no-time which caused one accident on the other side of the road. On the return journey we stopped for late lunch at a delightful area aptly named White City which played up to my stereotypical image of New Mexico in its appearance. Not quite sure why all the aliens were there. Maybe something to do with Roswell.
Back at the house Ethan got out the water sliding mat thing in the garden for Kaylee to play with though we ended up probably enjoying it more than her! The day before we blew bubbles in the garden which Jack (a huge dog that seemed intent on always getting in my way and given his height in proximity to me it wasn’t always such a pleasant collision!) seemed to enjoy too.
My final day in the States was a fairly relaxed one as the photo above shows! Ethan did that to me while I was passed out on the sofa. We then went to Hooters for lunch which incredibly was my first time to go to the chain famed for its large chested waitresses. The beer and food was good but the service, as it did in most places in the USA, annoyed me with the constant questions and checking-up which is all in the name of a tip. After that we drove up to a lookout point which offered views of Mexico (below) which is very close to El Paso.
Back at Lieutenant Ethan Pointer’s house I tried on his US Army uniform which was a childhood dream realised albeit a very early one before I became a wuss and realised being a soldier was a dangerous job! Ethan and I both put on our green Chang beer t-shirts which we bought on our trip to Phuket in 2008 thinking that we would never wear them together and don’t we look ridiculous dressing the same!