May 25th 1981

posted in: Innocents Abroad | 1
Leaving Heathrow

A really long day the first day.  Up at six, brief breakfast, bye-byes and onto the airport with Pete in the car – scared me a little bit.  Good news when we arrived at Heathrow and flight confirmed straight away.  So, checked in, relaxed – coffee and sandwiches.  A couple of pix, bye-bye to Pete, then 4 or 5 hours sitting around.  Finally called to plane – Val making us go through the security scanner twice because she had to go to loo – ho-hum.  Nice meal on plane – salad, beef and mustard sauce, choc gateau, coffee, wine.  Movie – Mirror Crack’d – very silly, but it did kill an hour or two.  Moved to window seat – much better, more like flying – clouds moving away, showing us coastline.  Took pictures as we came lower  – bad on my ears though.

The zappiest time through customs and immigration, without even the barest murmur – about 15 minutes total.  Onto a bus and then train from JFK to Manhattan for a mere $4 each.  Got off the expressway at Greenwich Village, and once again, almost immediately found a hotel from the guide-book – the Hotel Earle.  Guy was going to charge us $30 but for some reason (altruism?) dropped it to $20.  Really excellent – a telly (dreadfully poor, but still), double bed – what more?  Weather really warm, so got changed and strolled around in T-shirt and (for Val) shorts.  Took a look around the village – nice, non-hostile atmosphere, was offered dope twice, but turned it down and bought pizza and beer instead.  Ready to crash now – we’re lying here in shorts and t-shirts – it’s still hot – watching TV.  See you tomorrow.

And so, the journey begins. As you can see, the account is transactional, for the most part – went here, did this, ate that. Pete is Val’s brother, who drove us to the airport in return for us handing over our car – a battered old LH drive Volkswagen Beetle.

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