Sunday, 3 May 2015

In Cleveland, Ohio

Yesterday, as I wandered around Heathrow Terminal Five waiting for the 1120hrs BA295 to Chicago I spotted Jimmy Somerville watching the board for whatever flight he was due to take; it's funny as he's the second 'celeb' I've seen at T5, the other being Miranda Hart. Still, celebs are allowed to use the airports so it's nothing out of the ordinary, although I guess Somerville wouldn't take kindly to being described as a 'celeb' and who would blame him? I wouldn't want to be viewed as part the same clan that appear on I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

After a bit of faffing around, the plane took off and headed West, out across Northern Ireland and then skimming the coast of Greenland before turning left, or heading in a South Westerly direction, over Canada then Lake Michigan and into O'Hare airport where, I discovered, I had a long wait ahead of me. We landed around 1.30pm US time and when I found myself at Romano's Macaroni Grill it was 7.30pm in the UK and, therefore, time for something to eat. It was roughly 2.30pm Chicago time and my connecting flight didn't leave until 6.30pm. This meant that I could sit and read the newspaper and catch up with editorial comment on the General Election 'back home' – for the first time in history I've made a postal vote.

The reason I was feeling so chipper? Not really sure. I can only put it down to a fairly 'easy' and relaxed flight during which I read Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged and dipped in to the newspapers. I tried to watch Birdman with Michael Keaton, but a mixture of the small screen, the noise of plane and the fact that, it seemed to me at any rate, all the actors in the movie were just shouting at one another and Keaton's character seemed to live back stage made it not a good movie to watch. That's my view. I'm sure if I sat and watched it at home I'd enjoy it, but there you go. I was going to watch Nightcrawler but, oddly, there was a warning issued that the movie contained scenes of a plane in distress so, being at 38,000 feet over the North Atlantic I decided not to bother.

An incredibly boring shot taken at Chicago O'Hare yesterday
The flight was smooth. Very smooth. The plane was a jumbo jet and my only criticism would be that they really cram in the passengers. I'd chosen an aisle seat – 45C as these days I'm not fussed about having a window seat. What's the point? It means I'm pinned against the wall and have to ask for permission to go to the washrooms. An aisle seat means no real restrictions and there's an opportunity to stretch my right leg, albeit at risk to those passing by. Fortunately, after reading, I did manage to wander about and stretch my legs, not to mention meet my colleague who had originally booked with American Airlines but the flight was cancelled. As a result, he was given a decent seat on the BA flight. We stood and chatted for a good 45 minutes in the galley area of the plane so all was well. Likewise the connecting flight with American Airlines was good and I arrived at Cleveland at 2030, roughly 0130hrs UK time.

Thankfully the taxis accepted credit cards and the ride from the airport to the downtown was brief. The check-in was good – I was given two complimentary cookies, one of which I've eaten, the other is going in the bin. I've noticed that my general intake of biscuits is on the increase and while I've always limited myself to two per day during working hours, it's got to stop as of now, although, as I write this, that remaining cookie is still in its wrapping and resting on the television cabinet to my left. Still, it's going in the bin. I've got to watch my diet as I've noticed that 'crap' is creeping in a little bit, possibly because I'm compensating for generally not eating that much. Not that I'm pigging myself. This morning I had All Bran, tea and a slice of toast. When I'd cleared security at T5 I had a cup of tea and, unfortunately, a Nutella cookie. I should have known. I thought it was just a cookie with a few nuts, but it turns out to be a cookie with a Nutella filling. I resolved to eat nothing more until the inflight meal was served.

Romano's Macaroni Grill at O'Hare
I love airline food and on today's menu was chicken tikka masala plus one of those little chocolate desserts, which I should have left well alone but I figured you never know what might happen at 38,000 feet and I wouldn't want anybody thinking I left the world yearning for a chocolate dessert, not that anybody would ever learn about my dilemma had the plane not made it. Those small bottles of red wine plus a bread roll made up lunch and I didn't eat again until I reached the aforementioned Romano's Macaroni Grill where I enjoyed Pollo Caprese and a glass of Merlot – but no dessert.

The Hilton Doubletree Downtown is alright, so far. There's a pool, but there's always a pool and I never use it, although I always bring my trunks. Perhaps I ought to get down there and swim off the cookies. But then there's the streets of Cleveland and the possibility of hiring a bicycle. I know that there's a 10-mile cycle ride around town today (Sunday) but who the hell am I kidding? I've worn myself out flying across the Atlantic to be here, the last thing I'm going to do is find a bike and ride in a 10-miler. No, I'm going to abort on that one, lads. But I might find a bike later, if there's a bike share scheme and I know there is because I read about it online. Perhaps a bike to the convention instead of a taxi, but first I need to find out where the convention is being held and to be honest I'm not doing anything until I've had a decent breakfast.

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