Tuesday, March 10, 2009

2009 USA Tour : from Dublin to JAX FL

Dublin depart


A very pleasant start. Taxi cab was early from Claire’s South Dublin home. It was a brisk clear sunny day. Lounge at Dublin airport was quite and pleasant. I do like the idea of USA immigration being cleared in Dublin. It does mean having to be even more earlier but does help to speed things up when arriving in the USA.


Our plane was spanking new, on only its second commercial flight. Named St. Ronan was calming as we live near Cill Ronan mountain, where by legend the Tuatha De Dannan arrived, before it was called Cill Ronan. Harper bard, Turlough O’Carolan is buried below Cill Ronan mountain in the grounds of the ancient Cill Roman Abbey.


There was good leg room from the seats.


Though there was comprehensive in flight entertainment neither of us bothered with that. I had a brandy and ginger and the writing inspiration flowed. All folk drama plans I had are thrown away in preference for the new material I wrote. I hope I can learn it in time. Its a huge folk drama development of the “X Marks The Spot” story I tell. When I say huge, it does not mean I perform and epic but what I hope audiences may enjoy as a weaving of some of Claire’s songs for the first set.


As usual, Aer Lingus staff provided very warm attentive service. The only downside was their meals have lowered in quality, obviously to cut costs, but there’s heavy emphasis on “stodge”, pasta, rolls, rice, potato, all in one meal. Coffee not bad, though. That used to be awful.


I enjoyed looking out of the window below as we flew over Greenland and Newfoundland, so so clear looking at the glaciers and iced seas. At one point I saw a full circle rainbow. Wish I got a photo of that. Stunning?


New York JFK Airport


Arriving here it was cold, windy and wet, a bit like the people serving here. Quite a culture shock to arrive into a world of cold, “why should I serve you”, “let me explain, no I’ll just shout at you, about what you cannot do rather than what you can do”, well manicured rudeness.


No matter where you go in JFK airport its noise, noise, noise, all competing for attention, televisions everywhere broadcasting multiple channels, Judge Judy, Dr Phil, frustrated citizens on reality shows talking about trying to pay bills while their partners cheat on them, and then there’s “lets see who talk the loudest on the cell phone competitions”, add to that the jolly tannoy voices telling us with delight why planes are delayed with absolute glee as they know they are louder than everybody. 


We were stuck here for 8 hours of sensory torture !!


I think there’s a rumour that Obama is closing Guantanamo Bay and sending the prisoners to stay chained into the JFK waiting area.


One oasis was a wonderful meal in a Tex Mex restaurant here called Reflecion, and that’s the spelling. The food was a delight, waiter so, so good, ambient candlelit tables ….. but still no escape from noise.


I would like to wrap up all these people here and send them off to our Labyrinth Garden in Ireland for the day, but the noise deprivation and delighting of the soul may just have the same impact as a tornado.


Its an unfair reflection on New York though as we do have several good friends here and they give us an idea of what New York really could be. Its sad that we could not have the spare time, quality time, to experience New York, hopefully next USA tour.


Jacksonville FL


Jet Blue flight was quite good. Comfortable spacious plane, only half full from JFK to Jacksonville Beach. The steward staff was all men , first time I have experienced that, in a friendly casual uniform, blue check shirts. No meals, just a 2.5 hours flight. Bag of blue chips and a soda drink was our ration but we were not hungry. it worked. Too tired to play with the entertainment system but that seemed good. 


I think we were the last to arrive in Jacksonville Airport, very quiet, just the folks from this plane, with almost everything closed. Getting baggage was quick. The Hertz car rental office right next to baggage claim, rental admin was fast and walking to the car was nearby. All very welcome at 1:00 am and being awake for 24 hours. Hertz had upgraded us from the small van booked to a large swanky metallic red Mercury 4 x 4. Not exactly a green choice but we welcomed the comfort and ease of driving.


Maude, the sat-nav got us to the Jacksonville Beach, well Ponte Vedra Beach Inn in a breeze. Like last staff the staff welcoming and help here was superb and even somewhat healing. Here we have a lovely beachside apartment for a couple of days. Despite being 1:30 AM Claire and I dumped our luggage, through open the beach door, through off our shoes, and ran over the beach to the sea in joyful gratitude of arriving safe and just being here.


 


 

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