We arrived home today from a week's holiday in Miami Beach: of which more another time. Our return was marred by an irritating and momentarily terrifying diversion. A few hours out from Miami on Saturday night, the pilot announced there was a smell of smoke in the cabin and that we'd be diverting to Halifax, Nova Scotia. Our descent, through fog and driving rain, was distinctly hair-raising. At one point, there was a loud bang and flash of light, and we were convinced the plane had lost an engine. The next half an hour, until our bumpy landing at Halifax, was probably the most frightening of my life. It turned out the explosion had been lightning striking the aircraft: not as serious as we'd thought, but still distinctly disconcerting.
Our fear and relief soon turned to extreme weariness. After an hour waiting on the plane, we were 'de-planed' into a holding area for another hour or so, before being told that repairs would need to be done overnight, so we would be put up in local hotels. In the early hours of Sunday morning we were marched through Canadian immigration, then penned in the arrivals hall until buses could be found to transfer us to downtown hotels - another half hour's journey through driving rain, then queuing for a further hour and a half to check in. Finally, at about 7 local time yesterday morning, we fell into bed for a couple of hours fitful sleep. We woke to a damp, chilly Easter Sunday morning in Halifax, and to these views from our hotel window:
Without wishing to offend my Canadian readers, I'd have to say that Halifax is not a city I'd choose to visit, especially after a week in tropically hot Miami and en route home. We were hugely relieved to hear that our aircraft had been fixed and that we would be flying out on Sunday night, arriving back at Heathrow early on Monday morning. There was one last delay: a couple of inches of snow fell in Nova Scotia yesterday evening, and we spent a good hour on the tarmac, watching the ice being cleared from the plane's wings.
The worst thing about the diversion (leaving aside the temporary but very real fear of our imminent demise) is that it has all but erased the memory of our time in Miami. I'm hoping that a good night's sleep and then uploading my holiday photos to the computer will bring it all back - in which case, I'll tell you all about it in the next post.