Five in the morning is an evil time. Especially when the alarm clock goes down to tell you to get up, get showered, dressed and pack the darn luggage into the car to drive to the airport.
For some reason I had a harder time this year to get into the ‘yay, I am on vacation’ spirit. But, hey, we arrived in time to drop off our luggage, pass security (Terminal C in Dusseldorf sucks. You notice the difference between the Lufthansa terminal and all others rather obviously, quality of service is quite a bit different there…) and finally end up waiting at the gate.
Boarding began one hour before take-off. We opted for Economy Plus with Delta, at least four inches more legspace, new seats with 50% more pitch and HBO personal entertainment…at least that’s what the website said.
Unfortunately the bird we were boarding was an older 767-300 ER, entertainment consisted of CRT monitors hanging from the ceiling, but the additional leg room was…amazing. Ok, so the seats weren’t of the new variety, but so what, I actually managed to sleep for about half the flight, something I never, ever, managed before in economy, so…yay, Delta…even though you didn’t make as many watering rounds as we were used to from other flights, ah well.
Facing immigrations and customs had us a tad concerned this time. We gave up our greencards end of July and didn’t have the confirmation in the mail yet, so we wondered if it a) was already in the system and b) if we’d get some nagging or whatever from the border guys….but? Nothing. Rather to the contrary, the immigrations person was super nice, told us it was maybe not emotionally the easiest decision but certainly the best thing we could do with the economy being at what it is presently…and told us that we might have a chance to simply reclaim our residency, there are forms for that. Granted, chances would have been better if we would have claimed residency to begin with but still, even a slim chance is better than none, so, who knows what the future will bring?
Atlanta airport though? Geeeeeeez. Once you pass through Immigrations, you pick up your luggage and go through customs. Not a problem. But THEN you have to hand over your luggage AGAIN, pass through ANOTHER security check…and have to go ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE WHOLE DARN AIRPORT from Terminal D through C, B, A, T to the central location where you pick up your luggage AGAIN from a carousel…once you waited for at least another ten minutes (we cheated, after realizing after the first trainstop that we had to go ALL. THE. WAY (yes, I’ve been watching ESPN again with Boomner….sue me), we boarded the train (which took 8 minutes) instead of walking. Have I mentioned that it’s HOT in Atlanta? 34C/93F FTW! Quite a few of tunnels to walk through are without A/C or only partially, so…it’s not as pleasant as it could be, politely said.
Alamo though was a breeze. We had a full size reserved for a bargain prize through Mel’s company with a second driver, additional insurance and what not. Should have been a Chevy Impala. They offered us an upgrade to a standard SUV for 10 bucks a day though…which we took…and now hold the keys to is a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo. With Sirius satellite radio. I am in love. Seriously. Suuuuuch a nice car I get to drive the whole way up to Gatlinburg on Sunday as tomorrow Mel’s doing the short trips to Walmart and the Atlanta Zoo.
Enough for now, those six hours time difference and not full night of sleep rear their ugly head, despite my sleeping on the flight. Really looking forward to the Zoo tomorrow!