We nearly didn’t make it in time.
Much like the days when steamships took days to cross the Atlantic, our door to door journey from Amsterdam to the hotel on the first stop of our American road trip took a longer than usual turn. Deciding to take connecting rather than direct flights – the budget route – was perhaps not the best thing. It could be due perhaps to flying an American carrier, in this case Delta Airlines, something I maybe subconsciously avoided and haven’t done in over a decade, or stopping in Atlanta, definitely not one of America’s shining examples of efficiency – or both! We actually missed our connecting flight because Atlanta Airport immigration – the busiest airport in the country – had at most two people manning the booths, and even with 10 minutes to spare our last minute sprint to the gate at the farthest end of the terminal – of course it had to be the farthest one! – proved useless. Not only was it pointless, it also showed how out of shape I was that I was knocking on heaven’s door soon after.
In any case, we nervously got waitlisted on the next flight out 3 hours later, lucked out and both got seated – in my case a middle seat next to the black version of Andre the Giant. After the endless 4-hour flight, arrived in McCarran Airport to see our luggage luckily made it as well, grabbed our rental but only after trying out three different SUVs, got to the hotel and checked into an upgraded room that had no linens on the bed – until finally getting upgraded again to one with a view of the Strip. Only 24 hours later.
Was it worth it? So far, yes. It’s strange and familiar to be back in America and thankfully my worst nightmares didn’t come true – watching too many episodes and different variations of Border Patrol, coupled with harrowing stories about recent treatment of airline passengers and harassment by immigration officers tends to do that. But boy, Americans sure are a healthy bunch.