The day had finally arrived to pack my gear and head off – BR20 tagged obviously! After a very quick journey to the airport and a rather disappointing experience at the Virgin check in desk (the girls on the advert are clearly not those who work behind the desks, I feel cheated!!!), the final farewells to the parents was done and through security. Now this is usually the dullest adventure that one could ever undertake, but I think we had one of the nicest Irishmen you could ever hope to meet. Genuinely interested in where we were going and even gave us recommendations – I was impressed.
A quick tour of the shops later and there was only one thing for it, a drink right? Well yes, obviously, and not the cheap stuff. Why not? This is a once in a lifetime trip.
Several drinks down and with thoughts of what the flight might be like flowing through our heads, a sudden realisation popped into our day dreaming minds. Sh*t, our flight closes in 15 minutes. Slightly embarrassing considering we arrived at the airport a good 2 hours early in order to make sure this didn’t happen. Fortunately, it was just a quick dash across the airport and there we were, gate 13! What was that? Yes, 13!
Theres a first for everything and yes, we were one of the last few onto the plane. All those eyes watching you as if we had held up the entire plane. Wait, I don’t think we had, there was at least one more woman after us. Luggage away and it was time to play. TV screens in the back of the seats, comfy seats and free stuff (only a blanket, pillow and some headphones, but it’s all free right?), I was set. Once allowed to play, I discovered inter-seat chat and oh my this was fun! Didn’t quite allow me to speak to Mary though – perhaps it has a built-in ‘you’re a moron, she is sat next to you’ device?
Film choice was superb and more than enough to keep anyone entertained for the 7 hours of mindlessly sitting in the same place. Furthermore, remember some of my other articles about the importance of customer service? Well, these guys and girls certainly knew how to look after you. Highlights were unlimited drinks and yes, Bloody Mary’s were consumed. Fab ice lollies, GU chocolate pots, afternoon tea and generally just nice and friendly, despite some absolute morons expecting more. Some of the conversations you over-hear are absolutely ridiculous (feel free to ask me if you’d like to listen).
Touch down and we had now been awake for almost 18 hours, 10 of which had been spent travelling. Still, excitement of finally being in the states had set in and as we disembarked I couldn’t wait to get into the city. There was one thing stopping me. Passport control, and before you think it, yes I was allowed in and no, I wasn’t searched (as much as I might look like a terrorist sometimes!). Queues, queues and more queues followed, almost an hour of them. It was like queuing for the most boring theme park ride in the world. Seriously, they should put on some entertainment throughout, or just stop showing warnings of ‘Have you travelled do these (21) countries recently? If so, you probably have Ebola.’ Joyful.
It was finally our turn and we approached the red line. Just imagine by this point, all you want to do is sit in a cold shower and cry. Mary had clearly had enough and defied the red line sign, with a very firm ‘I just don’t give a daaaamn’. I thought to myself ‘Who on earth have I come away with for 3 months? This gal just does what she wants!’. Luckily for us, we weren’t caught on camera, and we proceeded through to speak to a rather odd passport person who couldn’t quite decide whether he wanted to make small talk with us or not. In the end, he tried and failed. His main topic, baseball. Two blank expressions later and several polite nods, we moved on forward to collect our luggage.
One stomach churning cab (yes a yellow cab!) ride later and we had finally arrived in our home for the next 7 days. Seriously, our cab driver was a nutcase. Speed limits clearly didn’t mean anything to him, neither did giving way or just general road sanity. He did seem rather pleased with himself when we got there.
Day 2 agenda, explore, with some cracking segments to come, including my first run in with the NYPD armed response units.
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A photo posted by Chris Robinson (@monkeelulz) on