Before we departed we said one last ‘Farewell’ to our friend Cheryl who joined us for drinks at the LAX Hilton. She took this photo of us and all of our gear – she also bought the drinks – thanks Cheryl!
We were a little nervous about flying on Norwegian Airlines. They are a budget airline similar to Spirit or Southwest in the U.S. and we had heard that they charge for EVERYTHING. We ended up booking their LowFare Plus ticket which included a checked bag, seat selection and two meals (one of which came with an adult beverage). Even with the upgrade the flight was a steal at $375! On top of it all – we were on a brand new Dreamliner – it ended up being a very comfortable 10 hour flight.
While we waited in line for immigration I noticed that several people were put in a ‘holding area’ and I was a little scared that we might be put there too since we don’t yet have tickets back to the U.S. My fears increased with the questions we received from the immigration officer. The first was expected – ‘how long do you plan to stay in the U.K.?’ and my response was ’12 days,’ the next one got more interesting ‘do you go anywhere after that before returning home?’ and my response was ‘yes we are going to Dublin’ but that did not satisfy him and he probed some more ‘anywhere after that?’ with which I responded ‘we will be traveling through Europe and Southeast Asia’ and then his questions got a little more pointed:
I.O.: ‘do you have a flight back to the U.S. booked yet?’
I.O.: ‘do you have jobs or did you have to quit?’
Me: ‘I was able to take a personal leave of absence’
I.O.: ‘What do you do?’
Me: ‘I’m a Program Manager at Intuit and we build tax software’
I.O.: ‘How long is your trip?’
Me: 6 months
And then that was it – he stamped our passports and let us through – whew! We were able to easily catch the train into London and find our flat as the British say. We are staying in Chelsea which our British friend Natalie called ‘posh’ however the flat is probably less than 200 square feet so I definitely wouldn’t call it posh! The location is great though. Our final goal of the day was to get some food and since it was too late for lunch and too early for dinner we opted for some traditional English Bar Food. I had a beet root and cheese open pie and Drew went for some sausage and mash and we both had a local brew – perfect way to end our first travel day!