Thursday, October 14, 2010

USA 2010 Holiday - Getting there [Part 1]

We (and by we, I mean mostly me) had been planning our trip Stateside for a very long time. I'd say we first discussed it two years before we finally went,  back in May 2010. We had been to the States once before for our honeymoon in 2007. It was a fantastic trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco via Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo on the Coast Starlight. We then flew to Las Vegas to finish the trip. Ever since then I had been wanting to go back to the US, this time to the East Coast. It was tough to narrow down exactly what cities we wanted to see, in what order and how long to take doing it. We decided on New YorkBoston and Chicago in that order in just over two weeks. We would have spent longer and probably travelled by train from Boston to Chicago had our budget been healthier. Alas, the worldwide financial meltdown trickled its way down to us, via Government cutbacks in public spending, so a slightly compromised holiday was planned.

Our departure was scheduled for the 17th May 2010 but a few weeks prior Mount Eyjafjallajokull erupted to cause chaos over European airspace. Initially we were not that concerned as we still had a month to go before getting our flight. However, as the weeks went on it became clear that the ashcloud was a serious threat to our plans. The Friday and Saturday before our flight the skies were clear but on Sunday the ashcloud moved in. Later that night our flight was cancelled and I immediately booked us on the next flight out, Tuesday 18th May. We didn't mind missing one day but anymore and we would have had to seriously consider re-arranging everything. It turned out that the ashcloud cleared up on the 17th and the airport opened just after our flight had been due to depart. Our flight would be the last one cancelled out of Dublin Airport due to the ashcloud.

In the run up to the plane journey I had become increasingly worried about the long trip. On our last trip to the US I had felt unwell on the plane and back in December 2009 on a trip to London I didn't feel well either. There were other factors at work in both those cases that probably affected me but I was still worried nonetheless. In the end I needn't have been because I felt fine the whole journey. As an added bonus we actually got to board the plane first and get settled after my wife was picked out for a random search by Homeland Security. I had planned on watching a few movies on the onboard entertainment system, which was I must say very impressive. I soon realised that watching a movie for the first time on a plane, with the ambient noise and small screen is very difficult. I started to watch Fantastic Mr. Fox, Couples Retreat and Monsters vs. Aliens but couldn't finish any of them. It wasn't the quality of the film (well it was with Couples Retreat) but I just wasn't enjoying the movie experience. I found watching things I seen before to be much easier.

We arrived in New York's JFK Airport and after gathering our luggage we went in search of a taxi into the city. We were disappointed by the heavy rain waiting for us but got a taxi quickly enough. The journey to Manhattan felt very long, about 40 minutes I'd say. I'd say if felt longer for my wife who was car sick about 5 minutes into the journey. So my first memory of New York City was dumping a bag of vomit into a waste bin and running back to the taxi. Hopefully, not a sign of things to come I thought to myself.

Part 2

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