Well, when I heard at the check-in desk that the flight was delayed by an hour, I thought to myself "Oh, here we go". But it seems that this was not the start to something horrible, because once we boarded the plane everything has gone from good to great to fantastic.
To start with, Matt and I were living life large in Business Class. We had two of the best seats in the house on the top deck of our 747 flying Big Blue (KLM) across the Atlantic to San Francisco. Matt had also bought a book on aerobatics and was reading it on the plane and leaving it placed strategically on his lap or chair (secretly hoping one of the pilots would see it). Turns out that on the plane, sitting in the row opposite to us was none other than Sir John Hall, owner of Newcastle United football club. He spotted the book and started asking us about our flying and of course telling us all about his Learjet he used to fly etc. He asked Matt what team he supported and Matt replied "I guess you support Newcastle?", to which Sir John replied "I OWN the Newcastle football club!". Hahahaha. The conversation quickly turned to Newcastle's performance in the league and the price of players today etc. Was quick nice hob-nobbling with the likes of Sir John, even though he did take a privilege is taking the piss out of the only Paddy in biz class....i.e. me!!
Matt and I enjoyed the excellent wine (they had a lovely South African red) and the port etc and tried to get some sleep on the plane. But it didn't really work.
We arrived in San Francisco an hour late but in line with the late departure and we headed off to passport control. Amazingly, that also went without a hitch and we were at the baggage carousel really quickly. Then the bags came out in the first batch. That has to be some kind of record....fastest transit through U.S. immigration. Funnily enough, they didn't have the mini interrogation in Amsterdam the way they used to have.
Matt and I went to pick up the car and had fun with the lady who kept trying to sell us an upgrade and then after we refused that she tried selling us every insurance under the sun. If only she knew what we were embarking she would have realised that we'd never get car insurance if we're willing to risk all to learn how to fly upside-down ;-) But full marks to her for her perseverance.
On the way to the airport we stopped of at Attitude Aviation to find out if we should drop by the next day. We were treated to a wonderful tour of the hanger and their operations. Some of the toys they have in the hanger are GORGEOUS....an L39 Jet (Soviet Fighter Jet Trainer) some old WWII war birds, a couple of Pitt Special aerobatic planes and the nicest Cessna's I've seen in a long time. And they're SO professional....a far cry from those clowns in Anglo in San Diego. The receptionist/office mgr, Natasha was sop friendly, not like Jessica in Anglo, who basically saw everything as a pain in her ass to do.
The night ended with some free food and beer at the hotel we're staying at. So all in all it's been a VERY good start. We'll see if Uncle Sam screws that up for us tomorrow when we go to get our U.S. licence. Keep your fingers and toes crossed.