Yesterday we snuck past security, passport control (you need an exit visa), the myriad checks and questions and flew away. The plane was stuffed with fellow escapees and those who had come from further afield.
Tedious and cramped but then we sank down out of the clouds into a gorgeous late afternoon on the tarmac, floating above green fields and hedgerows, suburban roof-tops (sorry for our noise), offices and factories and train lines and trees and more trees and more trees. I am not religious but I do feel like kissing the earth when we land anywhere but the Middle East.
Our first encounter with Terminal 4 - the airline previously used Terminal 3 - and not happy. All bright and shiny, yes, no construction, scaffolding or hoarding, yes, nice big, no huge posters welcoming us to London with open arms, yes. HUGE queue for 'Border control': very definitely NO. We stood in line for ONE HOUR and TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES. There were FOUR passport officers on duty and the best part of ONE THOUSAND passengers. I know there are budget cuts, I know people need to take their tea breaks, I know unions can be pernickety, and many people have had much much worse experiences in airports, but it all seemed so unnecessary. Flights come in all the time. We are here to spend money and invest in the economy, why treat us like sheep?
Now I've got that off my chest ...
breakfast was divine, thank you for asking. It is a beautiful morning and we are about to go for a stroll.
The view from the window: