New York:When I checked in at Heathrow the girl behind the desk told me that I had been upgraded to first class and could use the first class lounge. I happily took my boarding card and went through passport control, had a quick wander around the duty free shops while searching for a sign to the lounge. After half an hour I still hadn’t found it so I texted Dan for help. I followed his amused instructions through a secret alleyway and up an elegant staircase, my boarding card was scrutinised at the entrance and I was allowed inside.
It was an oasis of tranquillity. Hanging basket chairs, chocolate suade sofas, waterfall features, Moroccan style beds and chill out music piped through the air. I helped myself to free magazines and tried to use the free internet, but couldn’t get past the welcome page. I sat back and relaxed in an egg shaped chair then sat bolt upright as I realised that there were no moniters around to let me know when to board the plane.
So I phoned Dan again.
“How do I know when the flight is boarding?” I whispered, not wanting anyone nearby to cotton on to my ignorance.
“Don’t worry, they’ll make an announcement! “ He giggled at me, “get yourself a drink, help yourself to magazines and relax.”
I sat there, flicking through a magazine, peering from under my lashes at the people around, to see if there was anyone famous hanging out there, which is what everybody else seemed to be doing too.
Boarding the plane was a pleasure because I got to turn left instead of right. I found my seat, but it was more like a mini self contained apartment. A big comfy armchair with a foot rest and, storage underneath. A small television with remote control, a glass of champagne and a menu on a small shelf, and at bedtime my armchair was magically converted into a lovely bed complete with proper pillow and duvet.(Crappy blurred photo taken with no flash so as not to annoy other snobby passengers.) I had to force myself to leave when we landed in New York.
As we checked in at the hotel at 2330 local time we got some bad news. We were told that we had to be back at 1430 at the latest for checkout at 1530, which was about 2 hours earlier than we thought it would be. It didn’t leave much time the next day. In the twin room I shared with my brother I tried to sleep through strange dreams about floods and swimming snails, until the alarm woke us at 7.30 am.
We sat on the bed planning our shopping, we had little time so had to be ultra organised. We caught the subway to Canal Street and emerged from its depths just as the first drops of rain started falling. It was still early to shop so we ducked into a café and had a ‘traditional’ American breakfast of pancakes with maple syrup, crispy bacon on the side and instead of the coffee, fruit smoothies which were out of this world.
We then shopped…big time. I had planned on meeting up with a virtual friend, but by the time I reached the area where she worked, I was laden down with bags, dripping wet and probably smelt like a tart with all the perfumes that had been sprayed at me. Not the best first impression to give someone. As I contemplated sending her a text, my phone battery died, so I had no choice. We marched bravely on, battling the crowds, determined to get everything on my list. But the rain fell heavier and there was too much to see and do. We were also both desperate for the bathroom by this time. We grabbed some lunch at Dean and Delucas and took a cab back to the hotel.
Within a few hours I was back on a plane, and soon after I arrived at home, tired, poorer but happy to find Carlo tucked up in bed waiting for me.