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 trivia..........how 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 said........no 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 said.....you'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.