I will write about the rest of my Stateside exploits once I go through the several hundred photographs from the trip and trim them down into something more manageable (hopefully without the Gallery glitch that plagued my last USA trip and I never actually solved). For now I will just discuss the fairly painless trip back.
Although they were keen to carefully rescan the Nintendo DS Lite I bought Kirsten as a birthday present (the dual coloured ones are very sleek with a matt black interior and back, clearly designed more for business executives than younger gamers), American security surprisingly gave me less hassle than their British counterparts. On the other hand most of the security was at the quaintly parochial Baton Rouge airport, with all of ten gates (a substantial rise, I am told, from its original four).
Jenna brought me to the airport with Karleigh and Clark so, several dozen photographs later, it was pretty hard to tear myself away. Things improved at Bush Intercontinental in Houston as I had a couple of hours to kill drinking martinis in a bar and chatting to a pleasant LA resident who was in town for a radiotherapy trade show. With his girlfriend working in “the industry” (she was a set designer on the short-lived Joey) we discussed the risk of an impending actors’ strike in the coming month. That for me is what travelling alone is really about, and the essence of what Frank Moorhouse meant in describing the martini as a travelling drink.
I also stumbled across a store that was demoing Shure earphones, specifically the SE310s that I have been eyeing for a while, allowing me to try them with my own music. In short they are exactly the revelatory aural experience that I had heard and have suddenly jumped from merely desirable to a must-have purchase. I didn’t dare try the SE530s for fear that their £250 price tag might start to look appealling. The 310s will be more than enough for now. My only concern is that with the foam earbuds (not the rubber ones pictured here) expanding further into the ear canal than I had realised, providing a great sound isolating seal, they may become dangerous for use when walking around the City. That would mean I’d need to carry two pairs of earphones which is cumbersome. Real world testing will be the only way to find out I suppose…