Oh yeah & ermergherrrdddd I learnt to SUP 😀
Visa on arrival is something that has been filling me with dread, I have instructions to push to the front, the queue will not be orderly, must have 2 photos (which are very dark and I am a little worried they might not even accept them) $50 US in cash, might take up to 20 minutes and you must listen very carefully for your name.
The queue is actually very orderly, with very few people in it.
The form is thrust back at me. ‘Wrong form, out of date’ I am given a new form which is almost identical, told I must complete all my family member details including name, address, dob even though they are not travelling with me. So with some rough calculations on birthdays, and my father now living back with my mother for the purpose of this paperwork because I cannot for the life of me think of his actual address right now, I hand the form back, he smiles and tells me to sit down and wait. I am sitting waiting listening to an American man on the phone telling someone they are asking him for over $200 per person and this is putting the fear of god into me as I only have $50 and have no idea where I could get any more in this particular part of the airport. Thankfully this is when my name is called ‘anoooowwww sikawa parrrrr’, I am charged $50 and am allowed to leave and hunt for my luggage, which I soon find with lost and found. Another X-Ray machine and I can finally escape the airport which I do with such glee that I forget to remove my sweatshirt, to apply insect repellent, which I know future me will regret. I am so relieved my driver is already there, I peel off the sopping wet sweatshirt, climb in the back and drift in and out of consciousness until I finally arrive at the Noush Castle…
I think I finally staggered up the stairs to bed at 2:30am, feeling pretty confident that I had packed everything I would need to keep me reasonably sane for the first few months. I suppose it wasn’t quite sleeping more lying in bed restfully with my brain whirring about the imminent adventure.
My alarm went off at 5:10am, I dragged myself out of bed, threw some make up in the general direction of my face whilst JJ loaded the car with my extremely overweight luggage. A very gentle ‘Time to go Noush’ is called from downstairs, I try to say goodbye to Duchess and she runs away, this makes me feel a bit sad, but she knows something is going on.
I climb into the car and when I see it has already got to 5:50am I freak out, my coach (What? Coaches are easy, go to sleep, wake up at airport) is at 6am, and although it doesn’t take 10 minutes to drive there, and there is another one, and if worst came to worst JJ could drive me, I am still panicking.
A lot of people have looked sadly at me when I have said I didn’t want anyone to take me to the airport, but I have seen those people, being waved off by their families, wailing and gibbering at security, and it almost brings me to tears when I see it. I fear that I would have been completely floored if it was people from my life seeing me off, so I chose a quiet singular departure. It’s just a business trip right, a really long business trip….
The coach is sat in it’s bay fully loaded, JJ pulls up in front so it can’t leave; a skillful move perfected by my mother used for stopping the last bus into Bedford when Alicks (or Catface as some of you will know her) and I were youths.
JJ puts my luggage on, mainly so the coach driver doesn’t feel how overweight it is, there is no time for any tearful hysteria, then I am waving goodbye with slightly leaky eyes, soon I am sound asleep.