Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I AM HERE!!!
The adventure began January 6 as my wonderful mother and I departed for the Newark, New Jersey International Airport. We made a couple of necessary stops along the way (most important one being that we stopped at costco to buy me my own box of 48 sweet and salty bars) then we continued on to the wonderful state of New Jersey. Sorry to anyone who is from there or who feels affectionately about the place but they are horrible freeway markers. Hands down, the worst "signage" that mom and I had ever seen. So to make a horribly long drive a little bit shorter (or the tale of the drive) we ended up in downtown Newark- lovely city, dirty, run down and all in all, a little bit frightening. Here is a little bit of what conversation sounded like in Newark-
Mary- "I would roll down the window and ask someone for directions but I am a little nervous to look at people, let alone talk to them..."
Mom- "There's a guy in a Verizon truck, he has got to be safe... Besides, I work around these people all the time, I am not afraid.
.... A couple minutes later.....
Mom- "I think next time I go somewhere I will put the GPS that dad got me for my birthday in the car so this doesn't happen."
So the two most important thing we gleened from the car trip are, downtown Newark is not the most desireable vacation spot and mom is now going to use the GPS to get to the grocery store.
Checking in with Air India was a very cultural experience. I was the minority for sure and I discovered that the last name Patel in India is the equivalent to the last name Smith in America- just to throw that out there. So I got checked in with pretty much no problem and then mom walked me to the security check point. I hugged her goodbye there after taking a couple of pictures but I couldn't talk to her because I knew if I opened my mouth that I would start crying. So I let my tears out when I was on my way to security and got that all out of the way. Security was a breeze except for having to get half undressed but that is nothing new really.
Flying on Air India is an experience in itself. If you ever have the urge to go to India but can't get up the nerve to fly yourself all the way there just fly on Air India to somewhere else like London. The life saving procedures were given in Indian so it was a good thing that I am well versed in where my life vest is and how to wear my oxygen mask or I would have been out of luck. The highlights of the experience included watching Jingle All The Way in Indian, eating curry and getting glared at by the overly aggitated stewardess- it was great!
Customs was really fun. I got a pretty easy officer, he asked me a couple of questions and then stamped my passport. I got my bags without a whole lot of incident and then proceeded toward the exit. Luckily I ran into the girl that I was supposed to be sharing a shuttle with so that was way good because then we were able to go and check in for that together. (It is great how God provides little miracles every day like finding someone you don't even know in the biggest airport in the world!) The shuttle was the nicest vehicle I have ever ridden in. I sat in the back at a table, that's right, there were tables in the shuttle, it was pretty sweet! All the way to the centre (that's how they spell center in Brittish :) I just stared out the window and tried to take in all the scenery.
Arriving at the centre was really exciting. It is beautiful here! I think I am really going to like it. I made my bed and should now probably work on unpacking my clothing, or napping, they are both pretty high on my priority list right now.