Home!

Hello all,

I’m in the USA! Safe and sound in Pequot Lakes, Minnesota. A little muggy this morning (it is supposed to be nice this week, but the sun has yet to surface today) but I’m very happy to be here…especially after yesterday’s journey.

Oh man, it wasn’t fun at all. It took forever and was just…awful. Here, let me summarize it for you.

Newcastle to Amsterdam

Although we were at Newcastle airport before 4am, there was a lot of people around. Given that Newcastle isn’t exactly a busy place even at its most populous times, this was a little surprising, but thankfully not a problem; closer inspection showed the majority were going to be passengers on the dozen planes heading out to various European resort hotspots that morning, meaning I wouldn’t be sharing my journey with a horde of v-necked duty-free bag-carrying Geordies (not that I’m judging or anything).

As for my flight, that was on time, but to make things exciting, the check in desk for KLM/Air France announced there was a system failure and they couldn’t process us. Yay! After about fifteen minutes of standing around (perhaps more, I was too nervous to jot the times down), they finally sorted it out and I was able to drop off my two suitcases. Both were teetering very close to being over the limit (Big Blue was just 0.1kg under!) but they were accepted without any problem. I wasn’t charged for my second suitcase, which was nice. I don’t know why that was the case, but I’m grateful that I didn’t have to pay the £50 fee. That can go in the Xbox fund instead!

Or you know, pay for groceries or something.

Anyway, once I’d checked in my bags, it was time to proceed to departures. Understandably I won’t say too much about the goodbyes, but at least I didn’t have any hold ups going through security. On the other side I sat around until my gate was called, and once it was, I boarded the plane. Nothing special; the usual routine.

The ride itself was uneventful until we were landing in Amsterdam. There, the pilot hit the brakes a little harder than I’m used to, and my nap was rudely interrupted by the fear of impending doom. Yeah…that was fun…

Amsterdam to Minneapolis

After a brief wait in Schipol (went through security easily enough, nothing exciting happened there), I boarded my second, and final plane of the day. Eight hours was the scheduled journey time, and I’d be spending it in the central aisle, right in the middle of two other people.

*sigh*

Overall, the journey was okay. I watched films (Anchorman 2, Bad Words, Horrible Bosses) and a couple of T.V. shows (Arrested Development, How I Met Your Mother) to pass the time. Tried to avoid fizzy drinks so my stomach didn’t hurt, but I was still uncomfortable. We had four flight meals (well, food at four times) and each one seemed to include cheese. Even the sandwiches, you had the choice of Chicken + Cheese, or just Cheese on its own. What a great choice! You’d think they’d avoid lactose products for those who are intolerant, but no, they decided instead to have it part of every meal. As I was trying to keep my stomach happy, I didn’t eat much.

Once again, the most fun part of the flight was at the end. This time the landing didn’t induce hysteria (people applauded for some reason), but we were then left to wait on the plane for twenty minutes because they weren’t ready for us to board. Yay, restless fidgeting!

And because I was sitting at the back of the plane (seriously, like 4 rows from the end), I had to wait until literally (for once an accurate usage of this word) everybody got off. Woo!

Minneapolis Customs

It took me over an hour to reach the customs desk because the queue for non-US citizens was so damn long. Then once I was through that, I had to go into a room so that my papers could be checked. No questions or anything, but because there was only guy one working, and four people who were already in there before me, it took another hour until I could leave.

*sigh*

I think I’d been in the airport for nearly three hours by the time I was able to collect my suitcases (which made the journey undamaged; they lost the yellow straps but that was it) and reunite with Vanna. The guards were friendly enough and it was a relatively stress-free journey through their checks, but I wish they’d had another dozen about just to quicken things up. It was a lot of waiting and sitting around after an already full day of waiting and sitting around…not exactly what I wanted.

But it is over now, and I’m home again with my wife-to-be. That’s all that matters.

*insert a big smiley picture here; I can’t, so use your imagination*

So, what’s next on the agenda?

Well, at the moment, I’m sorting through my luggage while I wait for Vanna to come home for lunch. We had hoped to go to the beach, but it isn’t looking too great for that. We’ve got plans for tonight however; we’re meeting up with our mutual friend Koda before he is deployed again. Meal in Crosby, followed by some drinks at his…good way to spend a Thursday night, no?

Right, I should go and finish unpacking. I would have written more about the journey (talk about the films etc) in this post but the plug converter for my laptop has disappeared (I’m sure I left it here, but I’ve checked the usual places for it and found nothing) and my battery is just about dead. Not good at all. If I can’t find it in the next…thirty minutes, my laptop will be having an indefinite break until I can buy a new one. So if you don’t hear from me tomorrow, that’s why.

Alex

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