zondag 26 mei 2013

May 25th: Amsterdam - TEXAS - LA - Barstow

***In the plane***
With Fogerty in my ears (Blue Ridge Rangers 2!) trying to get something on “paper”… glad I now have a mini laptop. The guy in front of me is bouncing in his chair like a madman, and Roberts neighbour is whisteling out loud, but other than that, everything is fine.
I have to confess… when I had that epiphany on my way to work last week, the realisation that I wanted to join Robert, my first and most overwhelming thought was “I wanna go to America!!” and now here I am, on my way to my 10th (ten, as in TEN) USA trip! I’m not sure how that ever happened, but it is. I developed a deep love for traveling to the States. As we speak, I’m allready planning trip 11 and 12. I’m not sure if I am able to put the money away, but I’m sure gonna try. (who needs new bikes, clothes, visits to Paris!)
I’m glad we’re in the plane (although I still hate flying ;-) the things we worried about went perfect, but some other (small) obstacles appeared.
At 5 am we were in Eindhoven, as planned. Now we had to get the 6 of us in our car (we dont have our big Nigel anymore) but it worked! Anne ended up on top of the other 3 on the backseat, but we all fit in. And we were not stopped by the police. (hey, bouncing guy in front of me, can you please get that pepper out of your @ss and sit still for ONE WHOLE MINUTE?!)
New problem: a detour on the highway! It was easy to do, but it was quite a big one, and on top of it, we would arrive from a different direction, and we didnt bring the GPS.

(I see CANADA when I look outside! )
We found our way to the airport ok, but the directions to the cheap carpark (on our paper) were totally unclear, and to make things worse, there were roadworks everywhere, and the streets didnt have names.. After driving around in cargo area (we didnt have a clue what we were doing) we got pretty nervous. We just had to try all streets, we were driving around clueless, the idea came to mind to just park on the normal parking ($$$) but we didnt have a clue where we were, where to go and were the airport was, so that wasnt an option either. Just when I was convinced we were screwed, we found a street that was also on the paper. Totally by accident we ended up in the right neighbourhood and found the carparking. It was very difficult to get in, and we were cursing and everything and when we were finally inside, we realised we just went in through the EXIT hahahaha!!
From there it was just a short shuttle ride to the airport. Check in and everything went fine, we went to the gate, way to early, went back to have a drink at Starbucks, where Micio and Anne all of a sudden got new names :-D Before the coffee I was very tired, and after the coffee I was very tired, and very chatty. I warned you guys….

The security check was right at the gate (how cool to stand in line at a gate that says HOUSTON!!) and the guy asked Robert and me “are you together?” and I went “we’re together, they (a+a) are married, they (Marja Liisa and Osmo) are married, and they are her parents, but not related to us!” the guy looked at me going “?!” and decided to talk to Robert and me first. Robert heard them say something like “they are married but not to eachother, they’re special” :-) We just got some basic questions, but the Finns and the Dutch Italian guy living in Finland, raised some more questions :-)
And now we’re in the plane. So far, so good. There was this weird smell and I asked Robert “is that food, or a fart?” turned out to be the beefstew that I had on my plate later. It tasted better than it smelled.
Every now and then we went up to walk a bit etc and I was on my way to the toilet when I stopped by the Finns (in the back) to chat, and 10 minutes later when I wanted to go to the toilet, the airplane started bouncing and we had to go to our seats. It was quite the “grab something not to fall” bouncing and I was glad when I was back at my seat. (and not on the toilet!!!) Later I had a conversation with oe of the crew, who looked like Betty Lou’s twinsister! She was very funny and her coworkers were making fun of her and it was a fun intermezzo.
12.30 “local” time OH MY GOOD GREAT GOODNESS we just totally, extremely, fantasticly, flew over NASHVILLE TN, as in NASHVILLE!!!!!!!!! I was hoping that we would, but the map wasnt really clear, so I just kept looking out of the window, and then there was this big city with a river and I kept looking at it, looking for a familiar point and then I just totally saw the Titans stadium and the bridges and a building that I recognized (maybe state capitol buidling or something)!!!!!” man I feel great right now, its the stuff like that, those extra’s!! wow!!  I even feel double happy; the fact that we flew over it and the fact that I recognized it. Now I’m singing songs out loud so I better keep my self together. We’re “almost” there by the way. And we’re not going to San Antone, or Phoenix Arizona. ;-)
(yawn) Hello from Texas! Woohoo, thats quite the shock for us, coming from the cold and dark and grey Europe: leaving the plane was like stepping in a hot, oxygenless  oven! “Only” 28°C, but thats twice as much as at home. The transit went just fine. To be honest, we heard such horrorstories about this airport, but in end, nothing to worry about. Immigrations went fast; maybe 40 minutes. Waiting inline, Robert and I made up stuff NOT to say. The guy looked like someone from Police Academy. “heeyyy, you’re that guy from Police Academy! Can we have your autograph?” or “why dont you smile a bit?” or “Howdy cowboy”  the guy was a bit grumpy but hey. We did have to wear a hat AND sit on a horse when they took our picture.(Guessy!!) he asked “are you on a holiday?” and we said “yes!” and that was it. Nothing else. Next stop: photo with a big sign that said Houston! Then i had to pick up my bag (the only one with a check in bag), go through customs… i was a bit worried about the soymilk i brought from home, but the guy didnt even look at the paper and that was it. Ha! Then back through security…OH DEAR! A long, long, long line, but even that went fine in the end. Walking to our gate was quite the exercise, esp after sitting on your butt for 10 hrs. I went souvenirhunting with Anne, another long walk, but *yay* i got two magnets, AND a cute t-shirt. Back in the plane it was at least 40°c so the crew put on all the airco they had, and now its freezing cold. Perfect way to get sick! Oh and we got a free update to economy plus! Lots and lots of room for your legs! They warned us for “heavy showers and turbulence and bumping” but nothing yet, but now we have to fasten  the seatbelts again. Yep, there we go... :-S
I cant see anything now but flying into Houston we had a nice sight on Texas. (ha,ha, I was in Texas!) first it looked like Scandinavia with a lot of trees, and then it looked like Holland, very green. But when we started to get down, we noticed it looked very dry, we saw dried out rivers and such. On the airport I saw ONE guy with a hat ... (I want my money back!)
Oh and one more thing right now... PUBLIC TOILETS, Americans! Whats up with the see-through doors?? Every time and everywhere! At least by now I got used to it, yeah, they can see you sitting, but they can see everyone sitting so whatever....
7 pm, Californiaaaa, local time.
Once again, California just feels right from the moment I walk out of the terminal. The thing I see is a Californian plate on a car, oh yeah, California, again,we’re here! The sun is out and it’s a beautifull summer evening feeling, not the walk in oven in Texas. We found the shuttle to Dollar Car pretty quick, and after a short ride, once again, we’re... in line. And once again no clocks on the wall, they do that on purpose we think, to hope you dont get mad because you’re inline so long. It’s early morning at home now, I’m tired but excited, not exhausted yet. While I type this, I see several bicyclists on the street... really wanna try that one day, but on the other hand, I have the idea that cardrivers hate bicyclists over here (Usa) and I dont wanna get run over. Or ride on the sidewalk.
Anyway, plans for the rest of the day; drive to Barstow, CA, for our motel for the night. (located on the old route 66!)

We're in Barstow, California now, everything went ok, the van is nice (Dodge Caravan) motelroom is nice, we saw some signs for route 66, I saw a Greyhound from the corner of my eye, I saw but didnt hear a train aaand, I'm in California.

(sorry for the typing errors)

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