Since it is the 4th of July and American ‘Independence day” I have decided to blog my daily experiences of my trip to the ‘Big Apple’ from today.
Well it started with FEAR! Yes that’s right, this decision to go to New York on my own was not going down too well with my inner peace. Not one bit. Still, I was ready to go and arrived at Heathrow terminal 5 within plenty of time like a well seasoned traveller, apart from the fact I had zero sleep the night before and was living purely on fear fueled adrenaline. Got to the BA desk to depart with my overstuffed, compact suitcase, my completed e ticket, passport and the iron will to see it through.
“Have you completed an ESTA Madam?”
” A what?”
” An ESTA Madam. Without one you cannot enter the USA and it appears you haven’t got one so you can’t check in. You will need to go online to the Internet cafe and fill one in before you can go”
Great. Just great. Did my iPad get wi-fi to enable this easy procedure? Oh no. Why would one of the worlds largest airports have FREE WI-FI?
Time for helpful intervention. I rang friends and insisted that though this was a journey all about me and my lonesome it was sometimes necessary for a bit of back up, so could you please get on the computer and fill me in an ESTA .. LIKE NOW. After 40 minutes of cursing and expletives from the other end of the phone ( ESTA which stands for electronic system for travel authorisation was apparently a long winded form which kept disappearing from view at each completed section) with team effort we managed to get it done in time and I checked in. My little fat case went disappearing down the conveyer to the big jumbo outside. I’ve got to go now, there’s no way I’m prepared to lose those brand new beautiful zip up up suede sandals from Jones. Not a chance. Made it the several miles via escalator, lift and express train to my departure gate and waited to get on. “Flight BA 1075 is now ready to board” echoed over the tannoy. Yes I felt sick and yes I had to forcibly make my legs keep going forward despite them wanting to run far far away in the opposite direction. Flying is not one of my strong points. I usually need several people talking to me during take off along with hands to squeeze, Bach flower remedy and the calming smell of lavender on a tissue. This time I was all alone. I was pretty sure the French girl seated next to me would not take kindly to me jumping on her lap and giving her a bear hug so I had to be brave. Step one. I have to say, that if nothing else comes of this trip, I managed to take off with a ‘devil- may- care attitude’ looking like I was used to flying with style ( well on the outside anyway, inwardly I was fighting all sorts of issues) and I was most proud of myself until we had to land. The wind coming off the Jersey shores was not good and turned the plane into a roller coaster. I was unable to help the ‘ scream if you wanna go faster’ noises escaping from my mouth and totally ruined my flight credibility. Never mind. I landed and this was it. New York here I come.