Thursday, September 20, 2007

Day 2: Zombie Flight

I guess this is still technically part of Day 1, but who cares? We get to the airport and arrive at our gate which is absolutely packed. There aren't even any seats in the waiting area. We go up to the desk and tell them we have standby tickets. The unnamed and misshaped woman with a man's haircut looks at us and says "The flight is full, there are no seats," in a tone that would make Ghandi resort to fisticuffs. So we sit down, and hope that we can either upgrade to first class or some poor sucker dies on the way to the airport.

We wait.. zones are being called for boarding, people look excited that they are getting on a plane, and we are imagining being stuck in Philadelphia for even longer. Sitting next to some annoying looking 20-somethings from Denmark wearing way too much cologne, I was jealous of their confirmed seats. After about 30 minutes, the other desk girl called our names. We walked up and without a word she handed us two tickets. We were beaming.

I was tired, really tired, and fell asleep almost right away. The odd thing about this flight is that it is a six hour flight, and Manchester is 6 hours later than home, so after sleeping what felt like 10 minutes, being randomly awoken by vomiting, a meal landing in my lap, and trying to get comfortable on a postage stamp sized pillow, the sun came up.

After we landed, we were immediately corraled into a huge line right off of the boarding gate. It didn't look that bad, but customs took 2 hours. You are required to fill out an arrival card with some personal information upon arrival to the UK. One of the lines was for the address of where you will be staying. I did not know Jason and Helen's address so we left it blank. At the customs desk Steve and I both were harrassed and made to feel stupid for not knowing this ahead of time. The woman at Steve's desk told him to "go sit down and think about it" like a misbehaving 8 year old. But they let us through anyway.

I felt really bad for my friend Jason, he had been there since 8:30 and we didn't even see him until 10:30. But he was cheerful and friendly nonetheless as he greeted us.

The drive from Manchester to Hull is about 1.5 hours, and absolutely beautiful. It is filled with pastures and farm land of rolling hills. It felt really good to get to the Fanthorpes and sit down in a normal and relaxing setting. Their home is part of a quaint 100 year old building of many units of the size. They have done it up very nice and their bathroom looks like it came out of a magazine.

Jason called his friend "Jimbo" and we went and played ping-pong in a used car lot office surrounded by old MGs and motorcycles. It was very dream like at this point, I could barely keep my eyes open and kept falling asleep every time I sat down.


Laurel Mills said...

I had a similar experience when I went to Japan. They handed out the customs card on the plane, and I had a sinking feeling when I saw the "address of quarters" or whatever line on the form. I was staying with a friend too and had no idea where he lived. And, since my knowledge of Japanese is non-existent, I was pretty sure I was going to be dropped in the middle of the Pacific Ocean for my ignorance. I wrote down the friend's cell phone number instead. I didn't have a problem when I actually got to customs, but I think that's because I have girl parts and not because of the cell phone number ruse.

I'm glad you're having a great time!

sarah byrd said...

yes, the fact that the flights to manchester are always booked never fails to boggle me.. they are hellish, at best.. memories of sitting directly beside the roaring engine of what sounded like a recycled B-52 bomber for 7 hours still haunt me.. i recommend an O.D. on benadryl for the undoubtedly longer flight home (no tailwind!!).. but glad you made it!! hope the jetlag has worn off and you are having fun by now.
oh, also, ..your plant is flourishing in autumnal glory back home... ok, actually i haven't been over there yet.. i know i'm the worst neighbor ever. but if it dies you can have mine because i can't remember to water it either. ;) cheery-o lads!