Royals. They are the worst cigarettes ever.

Day 7

More cake for breakfast – could get used to this. Then off to the zoo, with another very useful map to guide us there. Was very hot and sunny – over 30 degrees celsius. I should really have learned from before and worn a hat/sunscreen, but no, I got burnt again.

Lots to see at the zoo altho the giraffes weren’t in, much to my disappointment. We did see a very cute baby gorilla tho, and some very sad looking penguins. The polar bear doing the back stroke was also quite a sight.

In the afternoon we went to Kenwood Towne, another shopping place. There is a fascination in this area with adding a superfluous e to the end of words, towne, shoppe, etc. I don’t get it. Kenwood has some fancy shops, but also the only Sephora in the area, so we had made a special trip to stock up on make up. I had a long and varied list, but limited time so couldn’t get everyone’s goodies (sorry!), but did manage to get the bare essentials of my Bare Escentuals (arf arf). Lee bought lots of clothes from the PacSun there – they had a sale on their already discounted items, meaning some things were 70% off the sale prices and ended up costing £1.75 for a shirt which might usually cost about £40 – £50 at home. He was very pleased, needless to say.

In the evening, we cooked out again – steak, mushrooms, cous cous and the ubiquitous frozen margarita. We caught up with Anne, Jim and Mack and had another lovely evening outside. Could definitely get used to this!

Day 8

Up early again – there seems to be a pattern emerging. Off to Newport on the Levee today, which is a kind of entertainment centre – cinema, aquarium, some shops, cafes, etc. It’s set on the river, and as it was a nice day, was a good morning for a stroll around. We walked halfway across the Purple People Bridge – only halfway as Lee got too scared by the height to go any futher 😉 (ok, I was also glad!).

Back across the bridge in the car this time to drive down town to meet Jim for our appointment with the immigration lawyer. She had some good advice for us, about our goal of living in the US one day and it might not be as absolutely impossible as we once thought. Lots to think about!

After our meeting, we had a browse around Cappells, the shop that is our craft/stationery wet dream. I made quite a few purchases for Miso Funky but had to restrain myself from buying EVERYTHING! If you are ever in Cincinnati and planning a party, it’s THE place to go, fo sho. After my splurge, we went across the street to a bar for some lunch – an enormous soft pretzel with steak and cheese (of course) – it was quite the best thing I’d tasted at that moment in time. Our plan after that was to go to the Titanic exhibit a the museum centre, but after a bit of a mishap with mistaken road names and ending up practically in Canada, we gave it a miss and headed home.

Once back, we got changed and managed to catch some football on TV, I can’t remember what it was, but Liverpool won. Anne and Jim came home and declared it was wings and beer night – sounds good to me! We went to the local wings place which had the biggest selection of chicken wing sauces I’ve ever seen (and I’ve seen more than you might think). We had a great evening and discussed how sad it was that time was running out and there was still so much to do!

Day 9

Yes .. you’ve guessed it .. another early rise, but this time there was good cause, as we had a long journey ahead of us. First stop, IHOP for pancakes for breakfast – definitely recommended! Then off to Cleveland! It is about a 4 hour drive from Cincinnati to Cleveland, so armed with a map, an atlas and instructions on where the clean toilets were, we set off.

We had a sneaky stop at the outlet mall on the way there to collect snacks and fueloleum and then got all the way to Cleveland without so much as a single wrong turn. Anne had very kindly booked us into the Hilton Suites, which was posh, but a bit faded round the edges.

Our living room was roughly the size of Denmark and contained a sofa and a huge TV at one end of the barn-like hall and a table at the other – you could literally have parked a couple of cars in there comfortably. The bedroom tho, had an enormous bed in it with a kajillion pillows and was so comfortable, I could have stayed there forever. No time to waste, so we dumped our stuff and headed back downstairs, only to be greeted by a nice workman in the lifts who directed us to the free minibus to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! Now that’s service.

A nice man drove us down to the RRHOF which is situated by the side of Lake Erie. Which means it was colder than a witches teat, as Groundskeeper Willie says. So we quickly got inside, unfortunately just behind a very annoying group of Canadian schoolkids. Thankfully we managed to lose them right after Tom Petty.

We had a great time wandering round, looking at all the stage outfits, instruments and other paraphanalia, including John Lennon’s school report cards amongst other things. We also saw a few films and some special exhibits, including one very boring one about The Clash, who I hate, which was up a very scary staircase. There was also an enormous Pink Floyd wall thing, which had security not been so tight, I may have been tempted to try to knock over as everyone knows I hate Pink Floyd more than I hate paedophiles and lollipop ladies.

Anyway! After all that, we had a stroll round town and discovered that Cleveland is, would you believe, duller than ditchwater (but not quite as dull as Hull, which is very dull indeed). It is a city of road works and abandoned buildings it seemed, altho maybe we were just in the wrong part of town.

We wandered around for a while and eventually happened on a small street with some bars and restaurants on (after we stumbled thru downtown Hobosville), where we found the House of Blues. There was a baseball game on that nite, which we had thought of going to, but as we know zero about baseball, we thought we’d save that for when A & J could come with us and tell us what the hell was going on. Dinner was fabulous – have the meatloaf! I did of course have a margarita which almost knocked my socks off and after dinner we wandered leisurely back in the direction of the hotel hoping to find some entertainment on the way – but there was none. We spent the rest of our evening eating ice cream cookies and watching a TV show about a scary prison in Ohio.

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