16 December 2010

I made it

Wow… what strange zombie like day… I tried to keep up with my journey across America as well as my trip across the pond. But airports and secuirty just made that to hectic to even attempt. I did manage to get a few tweets up… but not much else.

OK… where to start? Let’s see… why not at the beginning. Made to Lincoln airport in plenty of time and faced my last fear on my “pre-trip.” That being my tickets. I did everything on-line so I basically went to the airport with nothing. They swiped my passport and it showed my whole trip… quite intimadating but also very much a relief. So my trip started. As I expected it was a really small commute plane from Lincoln to Chicago… but it was full.

I have told folks that one thing I wanted to see in England was to be on a bus that had a dog or a cat on it. Yes they do let pets on the buses here, well anyway my first flight had a cat on it. Not in the cargo area, but on the plane. In a little mesh carrying case. So that was a first for me.

In Chicago an entire different story. A Boening 777 would carry me to Frankfurt, Germany. In a tweet I mentioned seven rows across, I was wrong, it was nine across. And it was full. As I was bordering there were 216 people on the flight and ten people waiting for standby. It was an 8 ½ hour flight… that actually went faster then I thought.

I watched a couple of movies… one of course was Christmas Story… still laugh at that. And watched the GPS of the plane flight, which for some odd reason made the flight seem to go by faster.

The flight though was behind on schedule due to strong winds, so we landed in Germany about a half hour later then planned. Though I still thought I had plenty of time to make my flight to Manchester. What I was expecting though was another security check. Germany checks all passengers that continue their travels through the European Union and England. And the line was massive.

But I made it with five minutes to spare… AFTER I found the right terminal. Sometime through the night, the loading area was changed… and well I don’t speak German… so I didn’t have a clue. Now that terminal was a first for me. I thought I was loading on the plane, but nope, I was loading onto a shuttle bus. That bus took us to the plane. It was something I have never seen before… riding on a bus while planes are taxing on both sides of us.

We finally got to the right plane, left the bus and bordered the plane. As the sun was coming up, I was heading for Manchester… my final destination. I arrived there and was ready for my vacation to start… that is until I got to customs. This was my first international trip so I was asked a gazillion questions. And I think I would still be sitting there if my host was not there to pick me up. Yes, customs got on the main intercom and asked, “The party that is here to pick up David Harm please gop to information.” Then she was asked a gazillion questions.

Finally I was given a visa and we were on our way. What do I think of England so far? It is awesome… but I will say… it might take me awhile to get used to a car driver on the passenger side of the car… oh heck… the traffic is on the wrong side of the road!!!

Besides that we really didn’t do much. I didn’t sleep at all on the 15th… and I was awake at 6 AM. At 1 PM on the 16th UK time… I finally laid down… that was 7 AM Central time… so I was awake for 25 hours. I laid down for three hours and got up and had an omelette. Now I’m writing this and will probably hit the sack early and hope that I will be back to “normal” tomorrow. My host has a college course tonight so I am at her house with her flatmate… so I should have no problem hitting the sack early.

OK, a side note about this journey. Flying over the Atlantic… it was darker then dark… except for the lights on the wings there was nothing except the brightness of many stars. As we flew over Germany, it was a really strange sense of history of our world. It was still very dark in the sky and clouds below. But below you could see the almost fiery orange lights of the cities through the clouds. And I thought how a WWII bomber saw sights like this over Germany and England… in the darkness just seeing what lied below burning from the bombs.

And one other note. I really feel fortunate to be here. That last flight from Frankfurt to Manchester, the pilot got on the PA and said, “The weather in Manchester is light rain with very strong winds.” And he asked that everyone remain in their seats and buckled up. We bounced that last half hour into Manchester. I was sitting in the last row and watched people’s heads sway from side to side and I think everyone kind of realized this wasn’t “normal” and it got really quiet. And we just bounced and swayed side to side.

I had a window seat and watching us touch down the wings still swaying and we hit the ground and bounced up and came down again… it was a heck of a way to end my journey. That was no ordinary landing… the pilot did an awesome job.

Anyway, my vacation has started…

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