Friday, November 12, 2010

The Trip Home

In the hotel on Friday night, we finished packing up our stuff- we had bought an extra bag the day before (at Primark LOL) and used it well.  Luckily for us, we had taken only 3 bags, so we knew that the 4th would be fine ;)
No-one went to sleep early, which was a shame.  We had to get up at 3:30am for our car which was to arrive at 4:30am.  Why so early when our plane was due at 9am?  Heaven knows!  It was a plane from Gatwick- which meant the trip was a little longer than the one from Heathrow, but at that time in the morning it still doesn't take long!
So I barely slept a wink, waking about once an hour.
Then we were up at 3:30am, which is about 10:30pm Eastern Daylight time.  The time back home.
Up, shower, dress.  Pack the PJ's, drink as much of the sodas as we had left.
Check out, wait for our driver.
He arrived on time, and we put our suitcases in the car. He did not do a very good job here at all- he could barely lift the cases, which were all below the weight limit :)
He got us to Gatwick around 5:15am. 
When taking our cases out of the car- he DROPS mine- and scuffs it all up!  It was brand new before our trip there!
We figure out where to go to get checked onto our flight.  This was not easy, since the Delta computer system was down.  Which meant *I* had a problem because my 'Permanent Resident' status always causes the computer issues!
Finally booked in, we go through security.  I set off the alarms, and am searched again.  It was my hair clip.
DS sets off the alarms and is searched.  DH and DD get through just fine!
Then we roam the airport, before buying some snacks.  We eat those and DH buys touristy stuff too.
Finally we can go to the boarding area to get ready to board the flight.
By now, the sun is rising.

Our plane was sitting in front of us, so we watched it get cleaned and catered.  And were told it would be running 20 minutes late.  I started getting antsy- what about our connecting flight?

So we wait, and wait and wait.  We boarded rather later than 20 minutes...

Luckily we had some supplies with us :) Papers and drinks...
Then we sat on the tarmac for an hour.  Well 45 minutes, but it might as well have been an hour!  Now I am really anxious about our connection.
It's OK, the pilate tells us.  We'll make it.

So he flies far slower than our first pilate.  Our 9 hour flight took- 9 hours!  Here you can see a circular rainbow on the clouds :)  In fact, we saw an actual rainbow at one point too- but my camera was away at that point.  Beautiful!
We flew over Greenland at one point.  This place is stunningly beautiful and covered in snow and mountains!

It is also HUGE.

It made me think of a map.  Such a beautiful sight, I will never forget it.

After Greenland, we flew over Canada, and then down the East coast to Atlanta.  It was cloudy most of the way, until we reached the Appalachians and West Virginia.
By this point, I realised we will miss our connecting flight.

So I enjoy the appalachians.  In Atlanta, we have a terrible time.  We have to go through customs, get our baggage, take it and re-check it.
So as we get off the plane (which we are allowed to leave quickly because of our connecting flight) DS is sick.  I mean, he throws up.  Great!
We dash to customs.  I get a place in line.  DH and DS come along after- and are sent off somewhere else.
When I get to the front of the line I am told to get a new customs card- DH had ours.  And they sent him off.  The customs agent told me off for getting separated- Hey DODO- it was YOU LOT who did it!
Back to the back I go, fill out the form and get back into the line.  At one point some rude woman asks me if I realise this is the US line.  Yes, I am a Permanent Resident I told her.
We get to the front, where I have to have all my fingerprints taken and my photo taken (I am SO getting Citizenship- honestly there is MORE fuss from the USA border than ANY other!!!), before going down to meet DH.
Our bags come around, and we sit there waiting for the rest while a cute drug dog sniffs us all.  I don't really mind that, but I do mind them coming and asking me questions.  Do I really look suspicious?
We go and rebook flights- luckily for us Delta took care of it.  Then we re-check the bags- where the men doing it, throw our bags onto the conveyor belt, before going through this stupid line before going through security again.  hello?  I haven't been outside secure areas!
So going through this wiggly line, DS is sick, again.  No help from the TSA, we have to go backwards through all that stuff- no toilets either.  So he uses a trash can.  Then back into the lines.
And we have to go through security again.  This time I managed not to get searched, but they were just not helpful- and we were redirected to the longest line!
After this, DH and I swear off of Atlanta for life.  NY is a much better place to go through!  I kind of liked JFK!
Into our area we go to await our new flight.  And we wait, and wait.  This flight too is delayed.  We finally board it around 6pm Eastern.  Everyone (except DD who had a good nap on the plane) is exhausted.
As the plane taxis off, it squeals.  Horribly.  There is a BANG! as we take off.  People begin to look uneasy.
The crew isn't even in standard uniform.  We figure they got out an old aeroplane (which had just come back from repairs the pilot tells us) and put inexperienced pilot and reserve crew into action because of the missed flight.  Maybe.  But it was odd anyway ;)
As we took off, the sun is setting.  Wow- we saw it rise and set today!

The plane turns away from the setting sun, casting an orange glow everywhere.

I loved how it made the parts of the plane look as though they were glowing :)

And back over the appalachians we go again.

Misty blue hills...

And cities and towns nestled into them...

Soon the sun is set, and it is night.  We doze a little, before the plane comes into Richmond.
The airport is deserted, it is 8pm, and everything is closed.  We wait for baggage at the carousel, before catching a shuttle to our car park.   Our bags are terribly battered.  Both mine and DH's have lost their labels (thanks to the cab driver and the airport staff).  Strangely enough, these are the two most expensive suitcases.  Wonder if that has anything to do with it.
The shuttle driver is friendly, and offers to stop by each persons car :)  She is also very strong- and has no problems lifting our bags (unlike the cabbie).  We find our car, load it up, pay the extortionate parking fee (no weekly rates here) and drive home. We pick up a drive through meal at Chick-Fil-A to eat.
In the house, we grab the bags, and take them in and eat our Chick-Fil-A.  We get the kids washed and ready for bed...

But at least one doesn't quite make it TO bed :)  He was counting his English money and fell asleep.  Kids into bed, asleep and we go get in bed too.  After I post on Facebook to let family know we arrived.  But the internet is not working- *sigh*.
24 hours after I got up, I managed to get to bed.  DH ran a little later.  Thank goodness the following day was Sunday.  Hallowe'en.

It is a quiet day at the house.  I wake up early- I am still half on London time at this point.
I do loads of laundry, and unpack bags.  I wear my mourning for England clothes :)

A memory from Greenwich :)  My garden is lovely, the house and neighbourhood are so quiet and we miss the hustle and bustle of London.
In fact, we still miss it :)  And the fact family was close.
It was a lovely vacation- I hope you enjoyed my pictures and narrations!


  1. I enjoyed it very much! My they did make you suffer to come back in didn't they??

  2. Who- the kids or the TSA? LOL
    Yeah, everyone is complaining about the TSA right now because of those stupid courier bombs. We caught the very start of it all, and they are being a LOT ott!


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