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Flying To America – North America – A Visit With The Kids
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Flying to America – North America – A Visit With the Kids

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A trip to the USA arranged by my son-in-law and daughter began ten years ago in the Oliver Tambo airport in South Africa. They had paid the airfare and arranged the dates, we, only required to get the visa's. A travel agent engaged to arrange this for us. The kids would meet us at JFK Airport, so no need for car hire or drivers permits.

All completed and visa's in hand we looked forward to the trip, twenty kilograms baggage weight allowed, no knives, scissors, guns, explosives and all the other paraphernalia I had no intention of taking. As a worrier, panic set in nearing departure time, before leaving the house the suitcase weight, checked ten times, what if their scale differed from mine? Linda, interrogated over her contents was loosing patience with me. Requested to check in four hours before departure time, we arrived five hours before.

“Oh my gosh”, security everywhere, a security check of the cases before check in. Had my Linda lied and sneaked in a pair of scissors? “Polite, be polite” thoughts in my head, a cursory hand here and there and the cases passed inspection, relief “Shoo, so far so good” allowed to continue to check in. Being forewarned of an eighteen hour flight, in coach, I planned a move to hoodwink the airline, a sore knee. I had placed a bandage on my left knee and intended to limp my way to the counter, begging for leg room, I'm not very small. Well the security check, unexpected, had thrown me off guard, and I limped now on the wrong leg.

Luckily this not noticed, but an enquiry said she had seen the sore leg, requesting leg space, she conciliated with the best seats on the plane, in coach that is, leg room aplenty. A window seat and leg room how lucky could we be? Two hours before boarding I moved to the gate, checking with passing attendants that we're in the right place. This was our first trip abroad and I wasn't going to miss the plane, but forgetting that this was my wife’s first flight. She less worried than I, strolled around looking in shops and drinking at different cafés. “Get back here, we are going to miss the call!” I kept telling her. “Come and eat something there’s plenty of time.” her retort, “you're panicking about nothing.”

The flight finally called, plane boarded and into the seats allocated. The wife, next to the window for the view to come. Being a seasoned flier, I gave her the privilege. Taxing to the runway had her grabbing for my hand, “don't worry all those noises are normal” I assured her. I love to fly, that first kick in the back, the power of four jet engines at full throttle, a thrill second to none. I had no idea my wife so strong, my hand would need a surgeon, the little finger had moved to the index area and visa-a-versa. The view lost on her, eyes screwed closed, she missed the take off completely, “look out the window” I pleaded, hoping this would bring relief to the continued grip on my hand. I had forgotten my wife suffered from aero-phobia, she refused, “It isn't like standing on a ladder” had no impact and the take off missed by me.

The flight was long and I could not sleep, walking around the cabin watching others drool on pillows and snore like Lion kept me amused. It was a night flight so looking out the window only showed darkness, and I hadn't boarded to watch TV. We had a landing at “liha do sol” an island in the Atlantic ocean, I assumed for refuelling. Imagine my surprise when we landed, not allowed to disembark just to stay seated. “What now” my thoughts. Enter the security people, armed with AK47s, what were they searching for? Had we managed to load the plane with explosives whilst in the air? Had terrorists boarded, I'd never slept, they could never have entered mid-air without me noticing. Inspection over and another take off. Next stop Kennedy Airport.

Why I chose this moment to begin to worry, unexplainable. Renewed search for passports, visa's (stuck in the passport, I don't know why I thought they could get up and go) all checked fine. An hour out from landing we're handed a card to fill out for customs, panic again, what they're checking for? Surly nothing has changed since South Africa?

The kids had given us an address for the hotel in Manhattan, if we missed each other, we were to take a taxi and they would meet us there. This now became a worry, why would we miss each other? What can go wrong? What if we go out the wrong door and they're not there? Where are the taxi's? Exiting the clouds I expected to see out the window, skyscrapers above our heads, nothing, only houses (we on the wrong side of the plane) “we're landing at the wrong airport!” how could SAA get it so wrong? How will we find the kids? “Bong” the intercom “welcome to Kennedy Airport” the speaker announced, relief “We're at the right airport” I tell the wife, “Where the hell else could we be?” she asks.

Our landing and immigration check completed, “don't cross the yellow line” remembered, our suitcases arriving on the conveyor, where now? An official looking fellow with radio in hand, fitted surgical gloves, indicated to this lost looking soul, “this way”, an internal check expected, the doors opened and the kids there, what a relief, we had arrived and all the worries unfounded. Our trip to the USA began, a bush boy and girl in the big city of New York.


Street Talk

C. Hughes  

Nice missive. Brought many trips of my own to mind. Jet Lag was the killer for me. Never able to adjust to the different time zones before I had to return. Walked around like a zombie the whole trip. Of course, I was traveling for business so there were other stresses too. Thanks for sharing your experience.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks C Hughes more to come hope they grab you too.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Rob, Quite a journey there! I could imagine it unfolding right in front of me. I've been flying since I was 7. Not had your experience! Not that I like flying! Just that I like to get from Point-A to Point-B with as little bumping around as possible. thanks for a new perspective unfolding - blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Cynthia glad you enjoyed.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Look forward to more! This can be your own eBook Rob... blessings, Cynthia

  
  about 1 decade ago

Great Work! Got me hooked on the "Rob goes to New York" Series... I have a million questions like everyone and we wait with baited breath. :-)

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

There are plenty to come it was such a great experience for Linda and I, to see the power of the USA as well as the sights and scenes, wonderful.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Rob, remind me to never fly with you. I am still laughing. Good article.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Shawn hope to go back there one day, so much one wants to see and too little time to do it.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
AJ  

Yay, you made it! Excellent story telling, you had me on the edge of my seat! How did you like NYC?

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

AJ on my new blog, where I am publishing photos I intend to put a few of our trip on there. My wife was continually saying close your mouth, but how can you when you spend your life looking up at magnificent architecture like that in NYC. I have a few more stories as follow up to the first, just so you can get an idea of what a bush boy thinks of your land.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Joan S  

I enjoyed the journey with you. How long did you stay? New york was my home for 24 years. I really miss it, even though I live only an hour and a half away. Hope you had a good visit with your kids, and had fun in the US.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

We enjoyed 3 weeks of visit and my son-in-law went the extra mile to show us as much as possible, It was a time I shall never forget, and the differences in attitude and customs are actually quite different. I was even welcomed in Washington (the wrong side of town I'm told) as a "Brother from another mother" by a friendly African American who found out where we came from. I had such good treatment and good chats with people of diverse back grounds it was wonderful. I just couldn't find a game park like ours so had to come home.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
Joan S  

US has always been a melting pot, but now it's melting even more. We're even getting bi-lingual. Glad it was fun for you. The closest thing we have to a South African game park is Central Park in New York City. There are some good zoos, however. There's a wonderful one in San Diego. I like to see animals roam free, as long as they can't get at me. I'm sure the African Americans were enchanted that you come from Africa. Come back to visit again.

  
  about 1 decade ago

Great narrative. I felt as if I were nearby watching the story unfold. Well done!

Reply
  about 1 decade ago

Thanks Rebecca I appreciate your comments.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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