11/3/08 & 11/4/08
We are so excited!! We are finally on our way. Dad came to take us to the airport this morning around 8:00am and we left the office about 8:30. When we arrived at the Bentonville airport Continental said they could only print our boarding pass for the first of the three legs of our trip. No problem though. No problem going through security either, not many people there and the TSA agent noticed that I had a bottle of Angle perfume and started a 5 min. conversation on how much she liked it and had a bottle too! Ha When we got down the escalator they were boarding our flight so we didnít even sit down and just walked on the plane. It left right on time and we had a great flight to New York.
Arriving in New York around 2:00pm, it was cloudy so we couldnít see the skyline. When we got off the plane we learned that we would have to leave security in order to get the rest of our boarding passes, but Virgin Atlantic check-in isnít opened until 5:30pm. Since we are flying first class this trip we went straight to the Virgin Clubhouse and stowed our luggage and went outside for a cigarette then back to the lounge to rest, watch TV and had a few cold snacks. We canít go through security here until after 8:30pm so we might as well be in here where everything is free. We did go to a Chiliís for some spinach artichoke dip. We got our boarding passes and came back to the lounge, and you can tell that evening is when things kick off in here. This time we were greeted at the door by a lady in a bright red Virgin Atlantic suit, and she changed our seats so that Tony and I would be facing each other as their ďUpper ClassĒ seating arrangement is different than any other airline. There is an aisle on both sides of each seat.† Two ladies were standing at the food area with bowls of chips, nuts, and pretzels and one followed us to our seat and took a drink order. This time we ordered mixed drinks and took a bowl of the nuts. They had an anti-pasta bar set up that had shrimp, black bean salad, empanadas, chicken wraps and several other things. Soon after that a lady came by with a tray of hot fried green tomatoes and we tried one, but they donít know how to make them at all! Ha We have a TV right beside our two red leather easy chairs and watching the news. Another lady came by with a tiny cup of pumpkin/carrot soup. I loved it, but Tony didnít like it at all and keeps going to the front desk and getting pieces of chocolate. So far itís been very relaxing.
They just announced it was dinner time at 7:30pm. There is a buffet, and I got† beef roast in red wine sauce, broccoli rabe, rigatoni with mushrooms, parsnip and mashed potato, balsamic yellow squash, and Yukon gold fingerling potatoes. It was pretty good, better than fast food. After dinner it was time to head to the plane. Our flight was delayed about an hour. When we boarded the plane, it was so unusual. These pod type of seats where you couldnít see your neighbor, or see out the window. Each seat had an ottoman that served as a seat, if I wanted to go over and have dinner with Tony, I could sit on his ottoman and a table popped up between us. They told us that we were on the longest plane in the world! I believe it too. They loaded that plane with people for over an hour. The name of our plane was ďBubblesĒ Ha I thought the kids would like that name. Each seat had a tv that popped out of the side of the pod and there was electric recline and lumbar. They came by and sat down and explained how to use each seat, and it took several minutes! There were so many gadgets. Then they gave us a bag we could put our shoes in that had all kinds of goodies inside. Then a ďsleep suitĒ which was a full set of navy blue knit pjís inside itís own bag. We didnít use the pjís. We did have a couple of drinks and a cheese plate. They asked us if we wanted dinner but we had just eaten in the lounge so we said no. We watched a movie and then you had to call the steward to make your bed. She came and pushed a few buttons and the chair folded up then turned over and made a flat bed!! She then got out a mattress pad and sheet and a down comforter and pillow. They turned out all the lights so we slept until they came by and woke us up and asked us to let them make the bed back into a chair. Then they brought us breakfast. I had coffee and oj with a croissant, bacon, cut up fresh fruit with yougurt on top. We landed shortly after that, but because we were running late we didnít get to go to the lounge there to take a shower. Shew wee, stinky. We had several turn arounds †(not lost) in the †London airport, and itís huge. Finally made our way to Alitalia and had to leave the secure area again and go back through. Then at the gate they said we would have to check two of our carry on bags. They did a quick check-in of those and when we boarded we were the only ones in first class, so we had no idea why we couldnít bring those bags on like every other flight but we couldnít. It was a 2 Ĺ hour flight from London to Rome and when we first took off we could see the White Cliffs of Dover! †That was cool and I think Tony got a picture. Then we could see the English Channel and France. At the end of the flight we flew right threw a lightning storm! That was fun. Ha I did fine, but I was ready to land. We never did go through customs, and Iím sure we were supposed to, either at London or Rome. Leave it to the Arkies to get around customs!! Ha Many have tried but only we could screw that process up. Ha We are staying at the Airport Hilton as we have an early flight out in the morning to fly to Sicily. We just went downstairs and had a club sandwich that had bacon, lettuce, tomato and a boiled egg. I had never had it that way before and it was good. (For Hotel Food). We have been on the road for about 30 hours now so Iíll shut down for now and try to get this posted the first day we are in Sicily. They want a fortune here just to connect for a little while.