Sunday, 24 March 2013

Saturday 23rd March 2013

Anna-ism of the day (commenting to Roderic on the coincidence that our flight number for the first leg of the journey and the second leg were the same): "Well, I suppose there are only so many numbers."

Picture(s) of the day: from Heathrow Airport.

Hellen's Version

[By way of introduction for everyone else, my dear friend and co-author Hellen Riebold is insanely jealous that I’ve gone to Florida, so I said that I would blog each day about what a miserable time we’re having. So Hellen, read just this first section every day. Other, less envious types, feel free to read the main section.]

We arrived at the Travelodge at Heathrow fine but got lost in the car park (don't ask). After four hours' sleep we collected our standard Travelodge boxed breakfasts and headed to the airport parking. The breakfasts were a bad idea. I found myself standing in the falling snow trying to carry four boxes of cornflakes and orange juice while also carrying a holdall, laptop and handbag and trundling a suitcase. Those breakfasts cost £4.80 each and none of us ate much of them: we ended up dumping them in the first bin we could find at the airport.

When we got to airport security I confidently reassured the children that I wouldn't set off the scanners because I wasn't wearing an underwired bra. I double checked this fact at this point. But my watch set off the scanners instead and I was indeed frisked. Not only that, but my handbag and Ceri's rucksack were kept back for searching. I had left my Kindle in my bag (all electronic items have to go separately in a tray) and in Ceri's rucksack was Roderic's birthday present--another Kindle--wrapped up in birthday wrapping paper. For a while it looked as though Roderic would have to open his birthday presents at the security desk at Heathrow watched by an official.

On the first flight my touch-screen TV wasn't working properly. All around me people were watching films I wanted to see (The Muppets, Wreck-it Ralph, Breaking Dawn 2) but I was stuck with a nine hour flight and no entertainment. The second flight was delayed for almost two hours and there wasn't a TV on it at all.

The airport wanted $5 for hire of a luggage tolley (yeah, right, like anyone's going to pay that ever) so we trundled our five huge cases to Hertz where we waited 40 minutes in a queue for the car-hire. At this point our body clocks were telling us it was 2.30 a.m. and Ceri fell asleep on the cases.

When we got to the resort there was absolutely nowhere to park, and our apartment is on the "fourth" (third) floor of a really big, noisy and busy block. Finally got to bed about midnight local time, which is 4 a.m. UK time.

The Everyone Else version

I may not have eaten much of my Travelodge breakfast, but it was that pain au chocolate and orange juice which carried me through to brunch on the plane. And boy, was that the best in-flight meal ever! Seriously, I've had worse at very expensive restaurants. A chicken breast in a rich cheesy sauce served with polenta with peppers, and perfectly cooked greens, all piping hot and with a bread roll, cheese and biscuits, fruit salad and chocolate chip cookie. Don't know why people complain about airline food because I thought it was great. And so was the calzone pizza they served at the end of the flight, and the gelato. 

Because my TV didn't work I was given a £150 voucher for money off a future flight. Win! And I read a whole book on my Kindle (Sarah, I will review Marianne soon, I promise) and swapped seats with Ceri halfway through the flight so that I could watch films. Yes, one of them was Breaking Dawn 2, what of it?

Heathrow is, apparently, the busiest airport in the world. So is Atlanta, although it did qualify that by adding "relative to its size". Much riotous fun and general mirth was had as we waited at the gate: it's lovely being on holiday with friends.

There was that surreal moment when we stepped out of the airport into the outside world, and it was hotter outside than inside. Gwen summed it up when we had to open the car window to pay a toll and a blast of hot air came in through the window. "This country is backwards!" Lovely!

Our apartment (the timeshare we bought last time we were in Florida) is gorgeous! Big enough to sleep all ten of us comfortably and bigger than our house. We've got a  giant Roman jacuzzi bathtub in our ensuite bathroom and two huge balconies overlooking the lake.


Anyone reading this who realises we're on holiday and thus our house is therefore ripe for the burgling, I would advise you that we have both a housesitter and a very big, fierce and noisy dog. That is all. (Thank you Auntie 'Lina!)

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