01 November, 2009

The journey: part one

I finally feel awake and alive enough to write about our journey here which was long, not fortunately hugely eventful and very very tiring.

So on Friday morning at 6 am we woke and got ready for the drive to Heathrow. Goodbyes were quick and minimal at that hour which I think probably suited me and my mother. Best not to dwell on the distance we were travelling or for how long. We had an easy ride to the airport - Terminal 5 which was handsome enough but mostly filled with lots of opportunities to buy the same designer stuff over and over again. I did splurge on some expensive moisturiser and endured the snooty assistant's horrified gaze at my un-made-up cold-filled up-since-six face as she said in hopeless tones "are you sure there isn't anything I else I can do for you (unsaid addendum "because you need all the help you can get")?". I'm always amazed by how put together some people are at airports. There was an unbelievably ritzy couple checking baggage in just ahead of us. All designer bling bags, highlights, plucked and shaped eyebrows, and that was just the man. I am not like this. Not when flying or indeed ever.

So then we got the plane - four seats together in the middle so no chance of a view either side. Seats were fine but the whole experience was like being put into a large box, shaken about for hours and discharged exhausted at the other end. No sense of a journey or the earth passing beneath. The girls were fine. They are good and quiet and quite static so didn't jump about or shout. Neighbours were probably grateful.

US Immigration was also fine. But God did it take a long time. There were several flights arriving at once. We had two small and by this time completely exhausted children and had to stand in a queue for at least an hour. By the time we had cleared somehow everybody else had vanished and the immigration staff were going off shift. We were the last to leave the building. Not that there was a problem - it just took a very long time. Once through customs we were met by Tom's very charming boss. We've been staying with him and his family for the last two nights in Berkeley. Before that could begin though, we had to get there and forces were against us as the Bay Bridge is closed after a couple of tonnes of metal landed on the freeway (no one seriously hurt). So that was another three hours, though by this stage we were such basketcases that we didn't really notice.

Since then we've been doing battle with jetlag. If we didn't have children we'd be fine but just as we think we're doing all right, one of them (okay Lottie) wakes up at 3 and requires attention and that's it, you're thrown all over again.

to be continued...

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