Pre-clearance

Arrived in Chicago last night after a reas­on­ably stress-free jour­ney. The sys­tem in Dublin is that you get grilled and fin­ger­prin­ted in “US Pre-clearance”. We thought this just meant the first stage of the pro­cess, but actu­ally when we go here, we found that we had already cleared cus­toms and immig­ra­tion, and that it was actu­ally treated as a domestic flight. It makes sense I sup­pose — bet­ter than fly­ing people across the Atlantic if you’re not going to let them in. It was a bit odd to see Obama’s pic up on the wall in Dublin air­port though.

So we got out of the air­port quite quickly, and found the place where the shuttle minibuses to take you to hotels were. We spot­ted the one for Comfort Inns and jumped in and a friendly driver with an incom­pre­hens­ible accent whisked us to a hotel. The only prob­lem was that it was the wrong hotel — we ought to have been at the Comfort Suites. It seems that like domain names, names for hotels are in short sup­ply. Nobody wants to be Heartbreak Hotel, Irritation Inn or even Mild Annoyance Motel (though I have stayed in some of those places, believe me).

Mike came to res­cue us any­way and we were soon cor­rectly installed. Nature encountered so far includes poison ivy (seen but not touched!) and fire­flies on sub­urban lawns, which are a delight.