Step one of arriving consisted of flying from Manchester to Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Of course, said step one would have been much easier had CdG not had fog, delaying my plane by an hour (the layover between my flights was itself an hour; that's significant). TO be fair, first class is luxurious, and the breakfast was decent, if a tad... well, continentally-sized. Excellent coffee, though.
On arrival I was told I had 17 minutes to change terminal and get through security to my flight. I hit security all of 2 minutes after they stopped fast-tracking people for my flight through, leading to a 6-hour wait in the executive lounge - or, the lap of luxurious comfort and comfortable luxury. Plus, I had a new book - mum slipped Dreams of My Father into my hand luggage before I left, and I started reading it. Obama's a decent writer.
I slept a little on the second plane, but only about an hour; sitting next to a Goan diplomat (when I say diplomat, I mean full-blown diplomatic passport, security fast-tracking, et cetera) who helped me when it came to filling in my customs declaration form that was only stocked in French by a French airline. Surprise, surprise.
On arrival, the immigration process for those with visas is a tad arduous but decently fast - they got through what I estimate at 100 people, using about 8 counters, in about half an hour, which is to my mind pretty impressive, given the extent of security they're putting in place temporarily for the inauguration.
Since when I've met Francesca and Saul (who are both brilliant - we're getting on really well, and long may that continue!) and seen their house (which has a porch at the front and signs in the garden and just looks so typically American in so many ways). After waking up for all of a blurry minute early this morning, I woke at 7:30 - a decent sleep, I did go to bed at around 11 local time, so it seems the whole jetlag thing might just about be being avoided.
So, I'm in DC, and this big grin just won't quit my face. Off, damned grin, off I say! Ay, while my poor face ne'er stop smiling?