Saturday, October 31, 2009

The Brit Is In Florida

The big bald eagle has landed. Ok maybe I'm not as graceful as an eagle but the rest is true enough.

I'm in Florida for the winter and as the temp probe in the lanai/Florida room is currently showing 93F, I'm sure glad we have a/c in the living room.....where it's still 79F.

But enough of such was my trip here is what you want to know ? Don't ya ? Yes you do.

Left home at 9am yesterday (Fri) and got to Manchester airport at 10:25. No problems there.

There were 3 long lines at the Virgin Atlantic Economy check-in desks and as I'd not been able to check-in online, I'd no choice but to join one of them. But which one was moving the fastest ? The classic dilemma. Then a security guy asked if I needed help and I played the confused old man trick. Sadly it seems to come easily to me these days.

He led me to a check-in machine even though I told him it wouldn't work. As my ticket was for 6 months, I knew they wanted me to actually go to the desk to check my visa. But I tried anyway and sure enough it deal. I think he then took pity on me, although my rolling on the floor and crying like a baby might've swung it for me.

In any case he opened up the First Class line for me (which was empty) and're on your own so go ahead. I went ahead and got right to the check-in and was done in about 5 minutes. Woohooooo for the confused old baldy man.

Then it was upstairs to security screening and this was a doddle too. As I'd taken the risk, for the first time ever, to put all the cameras and cables into my checked luggage, my carry on case just contained my medication (see previous blog) and laptop. I was through in seconds.

So I arrived at the departure gate at about 11:15am and my flight wasn't till 1:30pm ! The time passed and we started boarding at 12:45pm and I was in my seat at 12:55pm. At 1:25pm the plane started rolling back from the terminal and we were on the way.

Well not quite. 10 mins later we were back at the gate as we had a 'small electrical problem'. 90 minutes later this 'small' fault was fixed and we were off again. It was 3pm.

It was a really old Jumbo as you had no control over the in flight movies, apart from clicking on one of the 12 channels. The movies just played back to back so if you joined part way in, tough.
Probably only one plane in the entire fleet is like that and I was on it. Still, I managed to watch "The Hurt Locker", quite good, "Terminator : Salvation", ok and most of "Transformers : Revenge Of The Risen" which was as stupid as the first in the series. There were better movies like "Up" and "Ice Age 3" but I'd seen them too recently to want to see them again.

The pilot must've used his turbo lever or 5th gear or something as he made up the time somehow. "English Rose" touched down at Orlando only 5 minutes late.....only to find another plane in our bay ! Don't you hate when that happens ?

Then came the challenge of getting through immigration and customs. I have a history with immigration as basically they don't like me visiting for 6 months at a time even though I'm allowed to with my visa. Things started well as I found a line with only 3 couples ahead of me and in no time I was at the desk. The agent was not only friendly but chatty, two characteristics I'd never seen before. He called me a snowbird and actually welcomed me back - while stamping my passport. Phase 1 had been passed successfully.

Got my luggage and approached customs. Now normally this presents few problems for me but I probably had guilt written all over my face as I'd enough chocolate bars, After Eight mints, orange kit-kats, jaffa cakes and so on to feed a 3rd world country. I'd pretty much emptied the sweetie aisle at Tescos before leaving. With a straight face I told the agent I'd no food and he let me pass.

I was in !!

Deb picked me up and by 3am (UK time) I was at my winter address in Sebring. I'd been travelling for 18 hrs which wasn't bad for my trips here but was tiring nevertheless. I was in bed by 4am and as usually happens, I was wide awake about 5 hrs later and ready for coffee !

So that was it. I'll post more interesting blogs as the days go by (hard to top this one though !!) but it's time to catch up with how Leeds are doing. Ahhhh we're 2-0 up with time for more. It really is a great weekend and as the clocks here go back an hour, it'll last even longer.


Jennyta said...

So pleased all went well for you, Ian. You may be interested to know that here, the weather is balmy, like a summer's day! :)

Milo said...

Am jealous that you're in warm, sunny, tropical climes! It's very mild here, you don't even need a coat! Quite unnerving really, seeing as it's November tomorrow!!

Daphne said...

I think you must have got the same immigration officer we had last winter- Mr Chatty! Of course, because I'd never been before, I assumed all immigration officers want to talk about Tom Jones and Cliff Richard.

rhymeswithplague said...

I thought it felt a little more crowded.

Now that you are here, you must watch our arrogantly named fall classic, he World Series (it's baseball, ducky). This year it's the Yankees (New York) vs. the Phillies (Philadelphia). No red-blooded American man, even a part-timer such as yourself, would miss it.

Deb & Co. will just have to wait.

Silverback said...

Thanks for the comments, guys. Am well settled in now.

Sorry, Bob, but although I have taken US football on board, I cannot do the same for baseball and definitely not for those silly games called basketball and ice hockey. No, no, no. Never.

Come on you Braves. Opps now where did THAT come from ?!

Dylan said...

Welcome back to this side of the pond, sir! Hope the sun is shining!

Now, you're SURE you didn't leave your iron on, right?!

Silverback said...

Of all the household items I may have left powered up, an iron would be my least worry. I think I last used it in 1996.
But thanks for putting such ideas into my head, Dylan. I'm now thinking of OTHER items.......

Most Recent Awards

Most Recent Awards