May 12, 2012: And the Adventure Begins

икона за подаръкWe got up early this morning having gotten way too little sleep and we were out the door around eight.  This is it, we are really off to Europe.  I can’t believe it.  We don’t sleep until we are in our serviced apartment in Nottingham, England!  That is a bizarre thought.  Scary too considering how far away that is in terms of both time and distance.

Dominica, dad and I drove up to the Peppermint Too in Henrietta to meet Dominica’s parents for breakfast.  We ate there and then dad dropped us off at the Rochester airport.

We got into the airport and got our first real taste of just how much work it was going to be to lug so much luggage around (hence the term, I imagine) and it is not going to be fun at all.  Dominica does an amazing job of packing lightly but even so this is no picnic.  We have so much stuff.  Two massive rolling bags, a huge duffle bag, the kid carrier, the backpack that goes onto the kid carrier, Liesl’s bumblebee backpack and the stroller.  Painful is putting it lightly.  There are only the two of us to carry all of that plus carrying the children as well.

Just as we went into the security line I noticed Stacy working at American Airlines’ desk so we stopped over just for a minute to say hi to her.

Security at Rochester went smoothly and we got into the terminal with enough time, but not much extra, before our flight.  We are flying Jet Blue from Rochester to JFK where we will be catching our big flight to London.

The first flight went fine.  The girls were pretty restless but overall it wasn’t bad.  We had a three person row for the four of us so Dominica say by the window, Liesl sat in the middle and I sat on the aisle and Luciana would migrate around among us.

Liesl was an angel not complaining at all and being perfectly behaved.  Luciana did pretty well but when the plane descended into JFK the pressure seems to have been kind of painful and she cried a bit.  But the first flight was definitely as good as we could hope for.  Hopefully a good omen.

After arriving at JFK we had a six hour layover during which we had to figure out how we would keep ourselves going and entertain the children.   We have been dreading this part.

As we landed at JFK and taxied down the runway we happened to go past the NASA Space Shuttle that had just recently been flown in to New York.  It was sitting in a hanger still riding on the back of the 747 that carries it.

We ended up lucking out completely and getting a perfect little spot in an odd hallway at our gate where we had three seats looking out at the plane that we would be taking to London – an older British Airways Boeing 747.  We moved the chairs around and piled up our luggage to corral Luciana in so that she could not casually escape our bunker and we set about collecting food and whatnot to entertain ourselves.

Overall, considering the length of the layover, it went pretty smoothly.  The location was perfect and we even ended up having our own set of power charging outlets so we managed to get the mobile phone charged and ready ahead of the trip.  I posted a lot to Facebook while we were sitting there as well keeping everyone apprised of our status.  I continue to be really disappointed with the way that the Android phones work and even this later model with new hardware and much newer software is still quite painful to use compared to my iPhone and I already know that this is bound to be a long trip simply because I know that I am stuck working from an Android device as my key connection to the outside world for so much of it.

Our plane boarded on time and we got the bulkhead seating for which we had been hoping.  The plane was much older than we would have guessed and we had far less comfortable seats that you would hope for on such a long flight.  The only exciting bit was that after all of these years of flying I have never had a chance to ride in a 747.  When I was really young it was the 727 nearly always that we flew and sometimes the 737.  I’ve ridden in many DC9s and once a DC10.  Even the 757 and 767 and I believe a 777 but for my entire lifetime of flying I have never had the opportunity to fly in the acclaimed “Jumbo Jet” so I was pretty excited to get the change.  British Airways is the world’s largest operator of the massive 747-400 which is fast and huge.

Our flight left Rochester without incident and we set off for our seven and a half hour trans-Atlantic flight.  The early part of the flight, the part that falls into today’s entry, was a rough one for both girls.  Liesl did her best to be well behaved but she was struggling to rest and was constantly having to put up with her very fussy baby sister.  And the video system on the flight was broken so Liesl was effectively unable to watch anything which would have done wonders for passing the time.

Luciana had a terrible time on the flight.  Under the best conditions she does not fall asleep easily and any change in her schedule or location throws everything off.  This was really bad.  She screamed and whined and was just awake and incredibly unhappy for hours.  British Airways did manage to get us a special bulkhead sleeper unit for her but she was pretty unhappy with that.

There is no doubt that this is going to be a very, very long flight and tomorrow is going to be a very difficult day for us because there is no way that any of the four of us are going to be getting any significant amount of rest while on this flight and we have all of the stress and effort of arriving in a new country to deal with and then we have many hours of going from London to Nottingham that we have to deal with as well even after we get into England.

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