My Big Trip # 1 From Nara to Washington.

WOW!, Will WOW! suffice, if I just write WOW! Over and over and over will everyone get the jist of just how great my trip was from start to finish? I can’t remember ever having such an exciting, action packed, satisfying on every level trip , ever.

Warning, some names have been changed to protect the innocent.
I had already been travelling 8 hours before I even got on the plane, so i was pretty exhausted, unfortunately that didn’t mean I could sleep, I read some, watched some films and the rest of the time I stressed about immigration once I landed. I have had bad immigration experiences and I didn’t want another to add to my collection.
Also the little map and the info that tells you the time and temperature at your destination wasn’t working so I wasn’t able to while away the hours, calculating and recalculating how many more hours of the flight I had left.
Turns out my fears were ungrounded. The very nice immigration officer asked me if I had taken the time to register with ESTA ( I had) and thanked me for it and asked me if I would ‘spread the word’.
Seriously a a gazillion dollars must have gone into setting up this system and they are hoping to broadcast BY WORD OF MOUTH!
Also I presumed that by entering my passport number it would automactically tell him I had registered.
He then, rubber stamped my entry card, with the wrong date, so X’d it out, did it again then stapled it into my passport, and the poor guy actually said to me, ‘all this technology and I am working with rubber stamps and staplers’
I felt for him, I had real feelings for an immigration officer, my first new experience on foreign soil.

After getting my bags and dashing outside for a fag, and then gripping the wall cos I was all dizzy I made my way to the Starbucks where I was to meet for the first time, the lovely Nicky.
I was gasping for some coffee but didn’t order it because I couldn’t, I was so blown away by the number of choices I had I knew I was not capable of making a decision and the queue was long, so I grabbed and orange juice and a banana and thrust the incomprehensible money at the girl on the till.
I had barely been sitting down a minute, when in came Nicky who immediately embraced me.
I feel in love with her completely.
If one word could some up my entire trip it would be ’embraced’. that is how I felt the whole time, embraced, physically, mentally and emotionally by everyone who was there in our fabulous gang of 16 pizza people.

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