I say finally because I thought we were never going to get off the tarmac at Heathrow! There was some problem with the aeroplane which meant that the engineers had to run tests on the engine – to be honest, I might have been happier not knowing that :-(. And then of course we were delayed on the runway because of an earlier incident which had caused a backlog.
What was going to be a 9 hour 50 minute flight turned into nearly 12 hours on the plane. And for me a 4 diazepam flight!
Because of the late departure, the sunset finally caught up with us as we flew over Fargo. Sam managed to capture this unusual photo of the sun peeping out from under the wing. Luckily we were sitting in the cheap seats and had a wonderful view of the magnificent sun set.
And then as darkness fell and we approached Denver it started to get quite turbulent. I was slightly worried as Sam hates turbulence but it can’t have been too bad as despite the seatbelt signs being on, the crew served afternoon tea. Although because of the movement no hot drinks could be served, so afternoon tea came with water instead of Earl Grey.
Finally the movement smoothed out and we started the descent. As we came through the clouds it was exciting to see the lights of Colorado spread out beneath.
Once finally on the ground the first hurdle to overcome was immigration. After hearing horror stories of people spending 3 hours standing in the queue for immigration, I was relived that the queue continued to move, albeit slowly.
As our bodies were thinking it was 2am UK time, I turned my attention to the next challenge – How do we get to the hotel and how much should one tip the shuttle bus driver? I’m sure these are all mundane questions for the experienced traveller, but when you’ve never done anything like this before, the importance of these little questions appears surprisingly magnified.
The lady marshalling the queue, helped me out. This was my first example of the helpful friendliness which pretty much all the Americans we’ve met so far have shown us. She consulted with her colleagues and they decided that tipping was not in fact required in this situation, but if we wanted to, and the driver helped us with the bags, then 1 dollar a bag was appropriate.
And so we were duly finger printed, instructed by the monosyllabic gentleman from Homeland security that were were on holiday, and released into the good ol’ US of A.