The Long Trip to Another World

After some difficult goodbyes I set out for my adventure on Sunday January 30th, 2011. 

After a short uneventful trip from Cleveland to Newark (Yeah my flight arrived 45 minutes early) I was able to enjoy the charms of Newark-Liberty Airport.  I sat at the gate and watched the NFL Pro Bowl while I waited for my plane to arrive.  As I sat there I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone would watch that game by choice. 

The plane arrived and we set off on my first trans-Atlantic flight.  I had the entire row of seats to myself as the plane was half empty.  It seems there aren’t a lot of people flying to the UK on a Sunday evening.  I selected “The Social Network” to watch from a collection of 60 movies via the swanky touchscreen on the back of the seat in front of me.  Two hours into the flight the service crew was asking for a doctor since apparently someone passed out from sinus pain.  First trans-Atlantic flight and my first in-air medical emergency, all in the same flight.  Other than those events the flight was relatively uneventful.  I tried to sleep but I think I was only able to maybe put together 2 hours of sleep in 15 minute increments.  As we flew over the UK and on into the airport it was already very clear I was far away from home.  The layout of the land, roads, and even the buildings were all very different. 

We landed at London-Heathrow Airport at about 9:30 AM local time.  I stepped off the plane only to find that Heathrow is basically a huge construction site.  Being tired, disoriented, and in a foreign airport I did what any good American traveller would do.  I got lost.  In fact, I proceeded to the Continental Terminal to go to my connection flight.  After a memorable experience of trying to pass through security with a watch and change in my pocket I was subjected to an extremely thorough pat-down by the security agent whom after finishing he proclaimed in true British fashion “Cheers!” with a smile.  After this jolly good time I found that despite my ticket having Continental written all over it (I booked it through them), my flight was with BMI (British Midland) and I was at the wrong terminal.  The terminals are not connected so I had to take a bus to the correct terminal.  Despite all of the problems it wasn’t a bad experience.  Once I was in the correct place, I was able to find some of the other students in my program (Thanks Facebook!) and we sat and chatted about what is to come. 

After a slight delay,  we set off from London for Amman on a packed airplane.  We get airborne and the movie screens deployed (this plane apparently wasn’t as swanky as my previous flight) and began the in-flight movie.  Today’s movie was…you guessed it: “The Social Network.”  Now, while the movie was pretty decent (Worth a rental I think), I certainly was not in any hurry to see it again less than twelve hours after I saw it the first time.  I used the opportunity to meet my fellow row mates; Another Study Abroad student from a different program, and a former soldier from the British Army.  I spent most of the flight staring out of the window at things like the German/Austrian Alps, and talking to the Brit about his job as a commercial security consultant in Jordan and about the country itself.  I’ll spare the details but it was very enlightening.  The flight got bumpy at times but we arrived without a hitch about 5 hours later. 

After landing at the Queen Alia Airport, we de-planed and proceeded to Immigration for entrance in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  The process was very easy (Get your visa before you go, it makes your life so much easier) and for the first time in my life I got a retinal scan.  After passing through customs (another simple process), I exchanged some Dollars for Jordanian Dinars and gathered with my fellow program members (I think there were about 40 or so on my flight).  The members were split into two groups, those staying in apartments and those staying in homestays.  Once all were there and finished calling their families to inform them of their safe arrival, we headed for our respective hotels.  I’ll be staying in a hotel for two days until we move into our living accommodations.

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 1:24 am  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Im jealous already….just by reading this!!

    • Then do it. Trust me you can find the money. It’s there.

  2. Glad you made it safe. It sounds like you are going to have a blast. Enjoy.

  3. Think of all the wonderful stories you’ll have to tell your niece when you get back. 🙂

  4. This is awesome John! I’m enjoying reading your blog so much! I will be looking forward to this often so keep up =) Great pics too btw! I’m sure the weather is great there compared to here. We’re currently experiencing freezing rain and classes are canceled for tomorrow so- no Arabic for us! =(.. 😀

  5. Nice blog, Johnnycakes! I look forward to reading your further adventures. 🙂

  6. Upon hearing of your impending arrival, the King has disbanded his Cabinet and promised various reforms. We should have sent you earlier!

  7. Oh, man. A blog that isn’t just a random collection of silliness. This is cool. I’ve already put it in my RSS feed. Stay safe. Have fun. Collect some stories.

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