Well the first day of the tour to the USA with Godfrey is drawing to a close. It's 9:30 here so my body thinks it's 2:30am on Sunday morning. A bit of a crazy day but more good than bad. We set off at 6:30 to Manchester Airport and experienced some great favour when we got unexpectedly 'fast-tracked' through the all security checks and passport controls and jumped the HUGE queue completely. The plane took off more-or-less on time with a female pilot and two male co-pilots at the controls. This should encourage my daughter who really wants to be an airline pilot - but they must be few and far between as this is the first time I've heard a woman's voice from the flight deck welcoming me on board. The flight was pretty bumpy and occasionally very bumpy. They postponed serving food for over an hour as there was too much turbulence to do it safely and we had the 'seat-belt' light on for over half the trip. After three dreadful movies (I only watched the middle one and that was a waste of time) we finally landed in Atlanta at 2pm local time. The female captain told us she was going to try for a super-smooth landing despite the cross winds as her husband was on board. She failed only 6 out of 10 for the landing. Then the madness started.
We did the passport control OK (my border guard was particularly bored, rude and grumpy) but then after the baggage claim was done and we thought we were done and heading for the car rental we discovered all passengers, not just those transiting to additional flights, had to re-check their hold luggage and go through a whole additional full security check. The chaos of this was a site to behold, four or five flight loads of people all trying to drop off hold luggage at three conveyors then having to re-queue up to be scanned, x-rayed and frisked just to LEAVE the airport in a country where you can buy ammo for your gun in Wal-Mart and a semi-automatic assault rifle is considered 'personal protection'! Once through the second, paranoia-fueled, security you needed to get a train over ½ a mile to another baggage claim area and collect your luggage again! Both times Godfrey’s guitar had to be dropped off and then picked up in a completely different place to the suitcases! We got a different train to the Car Rental Zone and arrived there at about 4pm. Both of us pretty ratty and frazzled and utterly bewildered by the climate of fear that seems to have gripped certain parts of this nation. We could browse a wide range of cars in cars in our ‘class’ and pick one we liked but sadly Godfrey’s going to have to do all the driving to add me to the insurance would have cost an extra $200! We’re in a big Ford Edge 4x4 – it’s great.
The SatNav took us to an industrial estate a few miles from the airport (right road and number, wrong district of the town!) then froze, crashed and needed some time to reboot. We couldn't contact our hosts to get the correct address for a while but at least got the district so headed in that direction. We missed them once more but only by half a mile or so and received a delightful warm welcome and an English meal of Shepherd's Pie, and my personal highlight a decent mug of tea! Awesome.
We the went out to meet the bass and keyboard players and let Godfrey run through the songs with them at the O.M. base where our host works. They picked up the songs really quick, but sadly there was no kit for me to join in on for tonight. I'm promised one for tomorrow at Bethel Atlanta - but they were all teasing me about how cheap and nasty it's going to be. I bet it isn't but you like I will have to wait until tomorrow to find out! I think tomorrow is going to be fantastic - there was already a real worship 'vibe' as we did the run through. It's SO good to be focused on Jesus.
After returning to our lovely hosts I was supplied with more tea and a fabulous bedroom with a lovely comfy double bed all to myself. And with that I'm off to sleep. Night all.