My Longest Day…..
Good Morning world and thanks for tuning in to another day here on Planet Magnet.
Today we continue with the life story of The Fridge Magnet as I travel on from Auckland N.Z to Maryland U.S.A…..
So I left you last time (apologies for taking so long to get back here) as I was leaving Auckland, New Zealand.
I recall saying my goodbyes to Jean, John and the children at around mid afternoon when I went through to the departure lounge to catch the first leg of my flight across to Maryland. I think it must have been around 8pm when I took off because it is a 9 hour flight and when I landed in Honolulu it was about 7am of the previous day. Yes, that’s right. The previous day!
All because I went through the international dateline and was able to experience how lonely February 14th can be when you have to see it twice….. 😉
So I arrived in Honolulu and was amazed to find that it was effectively 7 hours before I actually took off from Auckland.
That didn’t mess with my head I can tell you…..
So after a wait of a few hours, I finally got a flight to San Francisco. I must have been pretty tired by this time because it was to be the only ever time I slept on the plane. And it was only for the entirety of the take off! I literally sat in my chair, put on my belt and fell asleep waking only when we were leveling off! To be honest I should have tried to extend that 20 minute sleep by several hours because it was to prove to be the only shut eye I would get until the Sunday night…. (that’s Monday night if I had still been in New Zealand…).
With the journey to San Francisco not too long away, I felt I was was making some headway and (if I recall this correctly and am not dreaming it) seeing the Golden Gate Bridge was quite a thing to behold for a lad from a small town in Oxfordshire…. After all, what you have to realise is that up to this point I had only ever seen anything American on the T.V, the bridge included, so it was quite a thing I can tell you.
Eventually it was late afternoon on Saturday when I landed, disembarking into the San Francisco sunshine only to begin yet another wait for my final connecting flight. If I recall correctly this was more than the expected few hours as I don’t think I got my flight until about 10pm! Anyway, the waiting for arrival in D.C was nearly over and as expected the night flight wasn’t too long and was pretty uneventful.
I arrived in D.C at around 6am local time, Sunday 15th February.
I went through customs, security, baggage reclaim and out into the cold weather. This was almost as much of a shock as it had been when landing in Darwin all those months before but in the total opposite direction. Whereas Darwin had felt like suffocation, D.C felt like having my chest ripped open as the cold air belted down into my lungs! Wasting no time I found myself a Cab, jumped in and asked for the Greyhound Station.
The Greyhound Bus Station!
I don’t understand?
The bus terminus where the Greyhound coaches go too and from!
Oh yeah okay….”
Well apparently NOT okay because the guy didn’t know where he was let alone where the bus station was. Eventually I had to get a map out and show him and he STILL didn’t manage to find out! In the end I told him to stop the cab and (stupidly) paid him for the distance I had travelled to that point. I then got out and I started running. With a huge backpack on, carrying a holdall, whilst trying to dodge the ice and snow on the sidewalks….
Not the greatest journey, especially when I got accosted by two undesirable looking guys wanting something from me. I didn’t stop to find out what they wanted, I simply put the hammer down and ran right through them, scattering them like bowling pins.
And then I didn’t stop running till I reached the safety of the counter in the Greyhound Station.
I paid for my ticket, ran outside to my coach and stowed my baggage only to see the two guys come into the terminus, looking mightily annoyed and obviously looking for me…
Fortunately the driver came to my aid. An enormous friendly Black guy told the two fast approaching guys to “sling their hooks” and ushered me on to the Coach and to safety…
So then began the journey up into the Appalachian mountains where the friends I was due to visit were based.
Frostburg in fact.
The University of Frostburg to be precise.
And I know why it is called Frostburg…..
Calling it cold didn’t cut it!
I recall stepping from the bus at the main stop on Main Street and having to walk up the long hill to 170 West Main Street with the cold biting through my clothes as though they were not even there. I recall I walked under a digital temperature readout that spanned the sidewalk and saw that it was minus 10˚ Centigrade or so and with the wind chill, it was even colder. Bear in mind I had just come from the sunny climate of New Zealand where it had been 39˚ Centigrade when I had flown…. You will understand why I felt a little blue (literally) by the time I arrived at my destination at midday on that Sunday….
However, that soon passed when I was greeted warmly by my friends (even though they weren’t expecting me…) and their housemate Rusty. I was taken in, fed, introduced to many more friends and finally ended the day falling asleep on the sofa (which was to become my bed for several months…) at about midnight meaning I had been on the go for some kind of incredible personal record of around 57 hours without sleep…..
I think it is safe to say I was a little tired….
Come back soon to see what entertainment the State of Maryland offered… 😉
Stay out of the fridge.