Journal Entry
May 31- June 1, 2001

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Getting to London


    Thursday, May 31, 2001 – the day before we depart for London.

    Since May 25th, having worked with two separate moving companies (one for permanent and one for temporary storage), we had only to wait for the 3rd moving company to arrive today to pack and load our express shipment (we’d receive in about two weeks).

    All our linens, etc. had been packed out first, so we had been staying in a motel and returning to the apartment to clean and wait for the other packers and loaders. Unfortunately, the loaders yesterday were four hours late, so we were delayed in finishing the final apartment cleaning. But we did finish it last night and are having the walk-through at noon today. Both Tim and I were pleased at how smooth it is going.

    Today’s packers are due today between 8 AM and Noon, so Tim and I arrived at 7:30 AM and waited for them outside the apartment in the car . About 10 AM Tim left to finish checking out at work and to attend a luncheon his co-workers had planned. Since there was nothing left in the clean apartment (we had moved the items for the express shipment into the garage the night before), I opened the garage and waited for the packers.
j0185648.wmf (2076 bytes)    Noon came and went, so I dug through stuff to locate the shipper’s telephone number, then took a phone we had in the garage, plugged it in at the apartment and called them. They were running a little late, so I left a message for Tim at work to go ahead and finish some errands before rejoining me at the apartment.

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    The shipper arrived about 12:45 and finished the job about 1:30. However, the apartment inspector didn’t come by until around 2:00 to do the walk-through. (There were some neighbors who walked by as I sat in the garage with our check-in and carry-on luggage offering me a chair, a cold drink, a ride, use of a telephone, etc. Most of these neighbors and I had never spoken before, so it was very nice that they were concerned. However, I was sure Tim would be by any minute and, being the martyr that I am, I declined their considerate offers.)

    Very concerned about my welfare, Tim arrived about 3 PM bringing me fruits and taking us to get bottled water. We then did some last minute errands, had dinner with Nils, then drove to Elizabeth’s house to pick her up for our trip to the Best Western near SeaTac, and say our farewells to Taylor and Justin.

    We checked into the Best Western around 8:15 P.M., said goodbye to Elizabeth, handed her the keys to the car she is buying from us, and took our luggage to the room. About 8:30, as planned, Erin, Juan and Britt arrived to say farewell, and Kerry, Jeff, and Hannah showed up a little while after that to join in the farewell. During our visit, Tim realized we had left our digital camera under the front seat of the car. I contacted Elizabeth and Nils…they’ll mail it to us Monday.

Friday, June 1, 2001 BD05680_.wmf (24348 bytes)
The day we depart for London.

    I realized this morning that I had misplaced my distance glasses somewhere (I still had prescription sunglasses with me though). Additionally, we had difficulty reaching the driver who was to meet us at Heathrow in London to be sure he had the latest flight information. Tim ended up contacting the office in London to ask them to get the information to the driver (Tim’s sponsor in London would not be returning to London until June 2nd after a trip to Prague).

 TN01252_.wmf (18512 bytes)We left in the hotel shuttle a little after 10 AM for SeaTac airport. It was a surprise to learn that the shuttles now drop you off some distance from the check-in with no carts in sight.

PE07230_.wmf (17820 bytes)We hauled our bags to the elevator, across the skywalk and up two escalators to the American Airlines counter and checked in. We wouldn’t be boarding until 12:15, so we walked around for awhile before going to the departure gate. Everything was going smoothly. We boarded the plane early and I started to get gum out of my purse before we took off when I realized I didn’t have my purse! I worked my way off the plane (people were still boarding) and, much to my surprise and relief, found my purse still in the waiting area chair! (Tim says he knew I was getting frazzled because I never leave my purse anywhere.) I can only imagine my stress level if, in addition to my glasses, I had lost my purse too.

    Taking off on time, we arrived at JFK in New York 5-1/2 hours later, as scheduled. We had a two-hour layover in New York before boarding an American Airline’s airbus, so we sat outside the baggage claim and watched (and listened to) the New Yorkers.

    We boarded the plane (airbus) and our flight from hell began…

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Note: an airbus is a wider bodied airplane than a Boeing 737 – there are approximately 40 rows of seats in coach; two seats on each side of the plane, divided by an aisleway, and four seats in the middle. ( The first class section was very impressive.) Also, each seat had a monitor where you could select a television program, play games, view the route the plane was on and it’s progress, as well as the altitude and rate of speed.(The airbus is Boeing’s competition, developed by the French and British.)

    I should preface the following narrative with some additional information before any of our potential visitors get disillusioned about visiting us. We had no options concerning our travel arrangements. We highly recommend that anyone flying over here take a direct flight from Seattle to London. What could have taken us only about 8 hours of air travel time, ended up being about 15 hours (not including layovers, etc.).

    The airbus was not the problem…leaving JFK International, however, proved to be a comedy of errors. First, the plane did not have enough fuel for the flight. More fuel was brought out to the plane; however, they still hadn’t brought enough, so a larger fuel truck came out…the fueling fiasco took more than an hour to resolve. Then we taxied to the runway, but had to taxi to the other side of the field to take off from a different runway because of a problem with the wind. All in all, our take-off was two hours late. (The pilot and crew were very good and also not pleased with the delays to our take-off.)

    By the time we took off, Tim and I had been traveling for more than 12 hours, so sitting on the plane for the scheduled 7-hour flight from New York to England was, for almost everyone, the flight from hell.

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