Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Seattle Day 1 (Monday): Longest Day of My Life

Yesterday, I flew across the Irish Sea and Atlantic Ocean to Seattle to begin my all-expenses-paid holiday courtesy of Intellectual Ventures. As I'd never been to America before, it was very exciting. But by the time I got settled in the hotel, around 7 pm Seattle time, it was 3 am in home time. Trying to adjust my body clock, I stayed up until 9 pm (5 am) but sadly did not get a blog post done. So I'm writing yesterday's now and will backdate it. Literally the longest day of my life, at 32 hours. 

The first leg of my journey was Dublin to London. Slightly before 7 am, Mam and I were collected from our house by taxi and brought to the airport, where Karen met us with our tickets. We checked our bags through to Seattle then, and it was very funny when the woman checking our bags through didn't believe we were business class and gave us this look. 'You're only allowed one bag,' she said smugly, not believing my saying 'No, it's three each plus carry on.' The surprise on her face when she saw that we were business class was fabulous. We then went through security. I went through the metal detector just fine but a bottle of water I'd accidentally left in my bag set off an alarm so we had to wait while they threw that out (no idea what they have against water). We went up to the duty free and I bought Fanta, then we found our gate and got onto the plane in plenty of time. It was on the runway for ages, and I was so excited at takeoff. 

The flight to London was alright, not exactly comfortable but grand since I was reading Earth Girl, one of my favourite books. 

At Heathrow, we did lots of transferring places. They have this really cool bus to take you between terminals, it's all purple. We went through security again and I'd somehow managed to forget about a drink in my bag again, but the security woman was nice and let me drink the rest of the Fanta before she threw it out. That was the reason my red bag got shuffled into a different lane behind a barrier, but at the time I didn't know so I went around the counters and walked through this perfectly open space to go get it or ask what was happening. And they had this ridiculous reaction, all the guards freezing and putting their hands up in my direction. Guys. Chill. Be nice. 

What is this? No idea. Looks like a big toothbrush. 

After all our security stuff was done, we went to the exclusive BA Business class lounge. It was very, very fancy, and had good wifi, sofas, newspapers and lots of free food. We hung out there for ages. 

We made it onto the flight okay thanks to the lovely crew, and that's where the real fun began. Business class is amazing. I've never flown transatlantic in economy class so I can't really compare, but together Mam and I had about a queen bed's worth of space. Each of us also got a four-course meal, hundreds or thousands of books, movies and games to choose from, soundproof earphones, comfy chairs that reclined into beds with cool controls, complimentary gift bags, and probably more that I can't remember. I really should say more, like about the hot towels they gave us to freshen ourselves up, or tons of other things, but I'm writing this on iPad so no. Look how exciting I am with the hot towel, I thought the luxury was just so absurd. I know I look ridiculous but it's a funny photo. 

We also met Suzanne beside us, who was absolutely lovely and explained everything to us. 

I watched X + Y starring Asa Butterfield for the first two hours (and cried), ate, and read my book while listening to some albums (Lily Allen, Rudimental, Ed Sheeran, David Guetta, Clean Bandit if I recall correctly). I had just started listening to a Roald Dahl audiobook when I fell asleep for an hour nearing the end of the flight. The boredom really did hit me two hours before the end (I know how long was left very precisely, because our little screens did a countdown). That was a bad time to sleep though, because I woke up 30 minutes before landing when we were being told to gather up our stuff, which panicked me. Anyway, it was alright. I don't think I left anything behind, and the crew were very helpful. Such a comfortable flight. 

That's Canada!

I really overestimated how gruelling US airport security would be. We just went up to this one guy and chatted, did fingerprint scans and a photo then moved on to collect our bags. After that, this guy was waiting for us, making us feel important. 

He drove us to the hotel in a fancy black sedan (hotel town car). We were welcomed in, though we had to show ID first (I'm pretty inexperienced with hotels). It was so hot outside. We loved our room and settled in quickly. Only problem is we can't work the shower, so last night I pretty much flicked the water at myself because it was too hot to stand under. 

I then went down for some dinner at one of the restaurants, Splash. The strawberry milkshake was amazing. 

I didn't know what to tip so I just gave them around 25%, but hey it was a learning experience. Everything was expensed to the room. 

After that, I got into bed and tried successfully to stay awake until at least 9 pm local time (5 am at home). Jerry was a darling and stayed up. 

And then, in my huge bed, I slept. Good day! 

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