England Day 10

Picture taken from our balcony our last
morning - sunrise over the River Thames.
Got up at 4:00 as we had to finish packing, get checked out of the hotel and be picked up by the car service at 5:15. While reviewing the invoice during check out, I discovered they had charged us for an extra night, plus they had added a 1 Pound charge 5 times for a contribution to "Make A Difference," a local charity. Company won't pay for that and it pissed me off they added it without asking so I had them take it off along with the erroneous extra night. They even charged 30 pence (about 48 cents American) for a room-to-room call one of the guys had made! I'm surprised they didn't add 50 pence every time somebody flushed a toilet. It was a nice hotel, but unless you are made of money, my advice would be to find somewhere other than The Compleat Angler in Marlow, UK.

At the airport, they checked our passports at the ticket counter. Then, they were checked again while waiting in line to get our passports checked (that made a lot of sense) plus we were asked a lot of questions about why we had been in the country, what we had done there, if we packed our own bags, etc. Next we got to the desk where they check your passport and they were checked again. I was in front of the wife and Youngest-daughter with our passports, the security guard checked all our passports and airline tickets, asked the same questions we had just been asked by the previous guard, and waved us on through. As I walked away, I heard him say, "Wait a minute." He evidently had glanced in the wife's handbag and saw a couple of apples she had brought as a snack. No fruit allowed. Now we all had to go to a security checkpoint where they checked our passports and all of our carry-on luggage. Threw away the apples. Walked for what seemed a mile to get to our gate. But before we could go in, we had to go through another security station where they checked our passports and again x-rayed our luggage. Youngest-daughter and I passed on through, but the wife got busted again - she had a bottle of water. How had nobody caught this before now? Had to wait again while they threw away the water and went through all of her luggage.

The big silver bird that will whisk us
back home.
After all the security checks, which I actually didn't mind all that much, we made it to the duty free shopping area and bought a couple of t-shirts. Can't go on a trip like that and not get a t-shirt! Arrived at the gate and only had to wait about 10 minutes before boarding.

A long flight, but fairly comfortable. Each seat had it's own individual screen with plenty of choices of movies, TV shows, and music videos to watch. You could also look at a screen which showed our position, speed, etc. And again we were fed 2 meals, snacks, and beverages.

Shortly before landing, I filled out the little card stating we were not bringing back over $600 worth of personal goods and nothing that would be commercially resold. The wife wanted to know what I was filling out so I handed it to her. Apparently unnerved by her recent security experience, she marked through the check I had placed next to "No" and checked that we were bringing back some food. We had a nice little chat which started with me saying, "Why in the world did you do that? They don't care that we have a couple of boxes of chocolate covered shortbread cookies!" Landed at O'Hare and had to go through security where they checked our passports again. As we were being waved through, once again I heard, "Wait a minute." Uh-oh. "You checked that you are bringing in food so you have to go over there in that other line and get your bags checked." Wonderful, just wonderful. After once again having our carry-on checked (they didn't care at all that we had a couple of sealed boxes of chocolate covered cookies), we had to retrieve our checked luggage, get to another terminal, check in our luggage and go through security again. Since the wife had been relieved of all her contraband, we all made it through OK this time. Good thing we breezed through because we barely made it to our gate in time.

Landed in Little Rock, Arkansas 5 minutes ahead of schedule. A bit weird to leave London at 7:00 AM, travel for 12 1/2 hours and arrive home at 1:30 PM. After retrieving "Little Black Dog" from the kennel, we pulled into our driveway a few minutes before 3:00. I made it until 7:00, when my body was screaming, "It's 1:00 AM fool and you've only had 4 hours of sleep in almost 2 days!" and passed out on the couch. Woke up at 8:30 only to crawl straight into bed and immediately crash again. So tired I slept all the way to 3:30! It's gonna take a couple of days to get the body clock right again, but we had survived another great adventure.