Thursday, April 18, 2013


So, I'm Stateside now.  It's been a nice journey, but one that I probably wouldn't want to repeat.  I had three flights - Manchester to Newark, Newark to Chicago and then Chicago to Fayetteville.

Manchester to Newark was fine.  A nice flight during which I watched Skyfall and Taken 2, ate chicken and mushroom sauce and a lovely little chicken and cheese sandwich.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  Getting to the airport and then checks therein, I got a telling off about my resident's permit, but as I've been told at the Immigration Office, there was nothing wrong at all with coming in on it, so it was ok.  I went through another bag check to get to my next gate and waited there.

Newark to Chicago was delayed somewhat, but that's ok.  Most flights take off between 10/20 minutes after they're scheduled to, anyway.  Sat in the 'plane, we were told that we were going to be delayed a little while longer.

No problem.  Even an hour's delay would get me to Chicago on time to get the third flight.

Then we were told that the weather in Chicago was causing a line of 'planes waiting to land and that they didn't want to add to that line until we were given the go-ahead and that there would be room for us to land when we got there.  Half hours turned in to hours and after two on the 'plane, we were all told to get of.  The sign above the check in said "Departing: 1:59.  Now 6:30".  Soon enough, 6:30 became 7:00.  After a while, we were hoping to be setting off at 8:30.  Once the time changed again to 9:00, it was announced that the crew were going home.  So we wouldn't be flying tonight.

After asking customer service about where they're going to put me up for the night, I was met with a smiling answer; "Well, sir, because of the weather being the problem and not the 'plane itself, we're not required to provide a hotel."


He handed me a little brown bag.  It contained such necessities as toothpaste, a toothbrush, shoe polish.  You know.  The usual.

I asked him where the quietest place in Terminal C was and he just smiled and said "Yes."  I don't think he understood my question.

I made a little bag fort and defended it through the night.  There was a guy sat on the other side of my gate, but he seemed preoccupied and so didn't present much of a threat to my castle.  I slept for hour-long intervals and then at 3 am, a voice came on through the speakers.

"This is a special announcement:  don't leave your bags around the airport unattended.  They'll get looked at and damaged or destroyed."  Something like that.  It wasn't a special announcement; which fooled me the first several times I heard it.  I thought there was genuinely going to be something spectacular announced to the masses.  But no.  I think they got the words 'same' and 'special' mixed up.

But that was my cue.  It was being announced because there were people coming in for their early flights.  I figured I had a little while to get spruced up, so I went to a little secluded toilet and rinsed my arms.  It wasn't as refreshing or invigorating as I had dreamed.

I sat down for a while longer and watched a couple more hours of the same news footage about the explosion in Texas.  And explosion so big, in fact, that it hit something like 2.3 on the Richter Scale!  It was a sad event, but I almost became numb to it.  I was in the airport when it happened, so it came on the TV straight away.  For 10 straight hours, we were shown the same three, 20-30 seconds of film and told the same three facts.  It's a tragedy and a terrible thing, but being told 10 hours later that it was still burning and then seeing footage of it burning from 9 hours before sort of took the reality out of it.

But I digress.

I was given a straight flight to Fayetteville; so that was nice.  I like as few flights as possible.  It makes it quicker.  I went to my gate and waited for four hours.  It was nice.  I finished Apache by Ed Macy.  A great read.  I love our troops.

Hopped onto the 'plane, fell asleep and the next thing I knew, I was in Fayetteville.

Picked up by the wonderful Momma G, I was taken to Sonic and fed fantastically.  I am now washed, teeth-brushed and changed and happy and relaxed.

I'll update again sometime.


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