Commentary and pictures from our trip to the UK.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A long, long road to travel...

Long trips are tough on kids. Heck, they're tough on adults. Everyone always starts off in a really positive mood. As the miles and, more importantly, hours accumulate, moods turn sour.

We checked in at the Charlotte airport around 6:00 PM on June 28th. We made quick progress through the ticket counter and through security. For the first time in recent memory, I wasn't "randomly" selected for the additional search before boarding. They must have abandoned the practice as I was previously at 100% for the "random" selections, and had the searches still been going on, I would no doubt have been selected again.

Once inside, I waited in a nightmarish Burger King line for a family meal. I've never seen such ineptitude. I do actually believe they could hire better staff even if the pay is minimum wage. The food was edible, but waiting in line to be seated at the slow food restaurants would have been better (and not much more expensive) than this supposed fast food restaurant.

After supper, we browsed the duty free shop for a new, black purse for my wife. We'd identified yet another hole in her wardrobe that we thought should be filled for our travels. It was nice and not terribly expensive, though I doubt the savings were extraordinary.

The kids played in the gate area while Shireen and I shifted about nervously. It is a big, long trip to live in another country for quite a while, after all. I franticly played with my Blackberry knowing that in a few hours it would cease to function as the hub of my mobile, digital world. Shireen sifted over and again through her documents.

We finally boarded and left the ground around 8:30 PM on June 28th. The flight was uneventful. At least I think it was. I've found that having a few adult drinks helps me deal the stress of travel. The kids were thoroughly unimpressed with air travel. I think they were expecting something on the order or a rocketship. Modern airliners endeavor not to provide that sort of thrill.

We landed around 8:00 AM on June 29th at London's Gatwick airport. We made our way through the passport lines and to baggage claim. We waited for our bags. And we waited for our bags some more. Finally, familiar luggage came down the converyor belt. Unfortunately, not all of the familiar luggage came down the belt. Shireen's suitcase full of all of her clothes was missing. We filed our claim at the service desk and found the driver waiting for us.

The drive to Cambridge was not too bad. It was stifling hot around London (most cars and buildings don't have air conditioning, which is always hard for us southerners to fathom). Fortunately, we were only passing through as we made our way to Cambridge with its milder climate.

Once in Cambridge, we found our flat. It's posh by British standards. It must be 1100 square feet. We then ventured into Cambridge's historic City Centre for a look around, a bite of food (pizza, of course), and some provisions for the flat.

It's going to be an interesting time here.


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