Saturday 12th of May, 2012.
Thirteen hours later we landed in San Francisco. It was an uneventful flight (Which means that, as far as flights go, it was wonderful!) but productive in that Ian and I were able to prepare a number of presentations we had to make throughout the week and also discuss some of those issues that you just never get the time for when you’re working. Important matters, such as why Football is better than Ice Hockey, who we had to speak with over the course of the week and who would be primary driver. Neither of us are a stranger to driving on the wrong side of the road so when Ian said he’d prefer to drive I was quite happy for it. I was even happier after we picked up our rental vehicle, a memory that will be shared in the next blog post.
So having landed on-time we made our way to immigration. This particular phase of visiting the United States of America has improved dramatically over the last few years, certainly the last time I visited the US I flew in to Newark, New York, and it was by far the most unwelcome I had ever felt when hopping over the pond – and I’ve flown in to Texas! This time, however, we were greeted with smiles and courtesy…. eventually. Yes, eventually. After nearly two almost static hours stood queuing to go through the ritual of confirming who you were, what the purpose of your visit was and being granted passage to the land of the free I had a wry smile as I recollected the comments of an American citizen who saw the queue as we waited, turned to his friends and said “God bless America”. Indeed, I hope you’re coming over to the Olympics kind sir because Heathrow is going to turn you over and spit you out the end of a good three hour queue.
At least, that’s what we were told the queues were at the time, in May. As I write these blogs during a spectacular London 2012 it seems that all the naysayers and hecklers either got it all wrong or, more likely, they whined hard enough about it that it got fixed. But at this time I was ignorant of how much different it would make to have 75,000 volunteers contributing to the efficient running of the games so it made me feel slightly better for imagining it. Of course having taken that long to clear immigration we found that our bags had been removed from the carousel for us and placed in a neat area for us to find, grab and go. SuiteWorld, we have arrived – Onwards, to the Skytrain! (if only it was this fast).