At the unsightly hour of four in the morning, Ileft the rolling hills of Dorset, having bid farewell to the dogs and done a final panic check for forgotten items. As we sped along the motorway to Heathrow Airport in the newly serviced landrover, listening to Newton Faulkner, I contemplated the long journey ahead, starting with breakfast.
We arrived at the Terminal three short stay car park and spent the next fifteen minutes wandering through badly signed corridors in the hope it would eventually lead to our check-in gate. Up until now, everything was running smoothly but that as all about to change.
The flight centre, with whom we had booked our plane tickets, had failed to inform us we had to purchase a visa for our stopover in Miami at least 72 hours before check-in, despite the fact we were not even going to leave the airport. I was not sure who I was more angry with: the Flight centre for being so lax or the American authorities for charging us money, time, and in this case a side-dish of panic, for sitting in their terrorist-obsessed airport for nine hours. To my absolute fury, having applied for Emma´s visa on my blackberry, the visa waiver website crashed as we were about to make the final payment. we were informed that it could be a while before the website was back up and running and we only had an hour before the check-in desk was to close.
By this point I was absolutely fuming, ready to erupt at any moment, and was sorely tempted to give the Flight Centre a piece of my mind (thankfully I did not as (a) I probably would have been blacklisted and (b) would have felt terribly guilty once everything had been resolved). To my great joy and relief, an angel dressed in flight attendent´s clothing helped Emma apply for the visa online once the website started working again, and we managed to check in eight minutes before DOOM.
One thing I noticed as I reclined (well sort of) on the flight to Miami was the perkiness of the pilot as he welcomed us all aboard the plane through the medium of speakerphone. Not only were we thanked numerous times for blessing him and the rest of the crew with our presence, we were also informed we ould be experiencing the “miracle of flight”. I have to confess this made me giggle. I think even I, who has been described as irritatingly perky at times (thank you Sam Moodie), am far too British to take what he was saying seriously. In fact, it was downright hysterical. This may in part have been because I had not quite yet recovered from this mornings visa hysteria.
We arrived in Miami airport with the horror of a nine-hour wait for our flight to Lima. It took about two hours for us to go through security, where we were interrogated about our intentions in Peru. The airport security man, with a very serious look on his face, seemed highly suspicious about the archaeological dig and started quizzing us on who we were studying and from which dates did they live. Fortunately, we passed the test and went on to collect our plane tickets.
I will not bore you with the details of our stay in Miami airport. It was desperately dull and the flight was delayed for another couple of hours which was joyous. We finally arrived in Lima at about 6:30am, and fortunately, a taxi was waiting for us to take us to the Casa Bella bed and breakfast. Not so fortunately, our timing was so perfect that we hit rush hour in Lima and it took us almost an hour to arrive at our final destination. We then slept for two hours.
That is all!