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Published: February 2nd 2017
Slept well. Up nice and early to tidy the house and make final preparations for the leaving the house for a month.
Easyjet app advised of a delay on the inbound leg of the plane and that there would be a half hour delay on my departure.
Case at top of the drive by 11.15 to await arrival of Leo and Paula for lift to the airport.
They arrived in good time and the trip to the airport was uneventful, dropping Paula off at Alison's on the way, for her to get her hair done for her upcoming holiday.
Leo and Paula off to Thailand tomorrow, so they are excited to be going away as well.
Main case was checked in and they asked if I wanted to check in the other bag, which was fine.
Went through security and wandered around the airport and passed the time. The plane seemed to land before it was due and we take off only slightly delayed.
My seat was 22C and although the plane was almost full, I ended up sitting in three seats on my own. Very pleasant.
Arrived LGW at the original arrival time anyway. Picked up luggage from the carousel and through to arrivals and Pat waiting for me.
Pat had driven up from Felixstowe, returned the hire car and checked in to the Premier Inn, North Terminal, which is where I then arrived.
After our happy greeting, we went to the room to rearrange the luggage.
Our flight to Barbados was 1005 Tuesday 31 Jan. We had not yet checked in and understood that we could check in our hold luggage this evening.
So, we popped back over the road and made our way to the Virgin Airways desks.
The place was nice and quiet so we got to a desk straight away. The luggage was checked in and he issued our boarding passes. As he was printing them he asked if we had chosen the seats, which we hadn't. So he looked in the system and asked if we wanted to be on the upper deck as we were flying on Jumbo. That sounded good to us, so we were then allocated seats 76C and 76 H. Two aisle seats, which we prefer to do.
Our next task was to get something to eat. Most restaurants are airside, but there was a restaurant called Nicolas Culpeper, which looked ok to us. We went to the upstairs section. Pat noticed the cocktails menu and spotted the Culpepper G&T. They make their own gin apparently!
Pat ordered the goat's cheese and beetroot salad and I had the Pandang chicken curry.
We took advantage of the free airport Wi-Fi, while we waited.
Drinks and food duly arrived and we succeeded in being fed and watered.
Then back across the road to the hotel and an early ish night.
Up at 7.15 as we planned to get a little breakfast before flying.
Door key cards handed in and across the road to security. There weren't many people, so we were through in reasonable time.
We had about an hour to spare and looked for a restaurant. We ended up in a Lebanese place. We had coffee, croissants and a scrambled egg on sourdough toast.
Off to Boots for a couple of last minute items and then headed off to gate 571.
We headed straight through with only small queues, no waiting in any lounges and up into the aircraft.
So, a first for both of us to fly in an upper deck of a jumbo. I should perhaps point out that we were not upgraded, they were the same class seats, but just in the upper part. As it turned out no one was next to me, so I could stretch out a little.
The plan had 233 passengers, 14 cabin crew and 2 aircrew, so they told us.
The flight was due to be 8 hours and 17 minutes. We were away more or less on time.
The entertainment system was good and I watched three films over the course of the flight.
Drinks and food came round at regular intervals and I thought Virgin did a very good job. Much better than our Emirates experience last year.
We had landing and Customs forms to fill in, which we did on the plane.
On leaving the plane we walked down the steps and to the tarmac and a much wanted higher temperature.
Unfortunately we landed at the same time as an American airlines plane, so there was a lengthy queue, but it did move along steadily and we proceeded through the formalities with no issue.
Our luggage was on the carousel by the time we got there and collected it straight away.
On next step was to hopefully find our prearranged transfer and as we made our way out we spotted him with our name straight away.
He popped off and got his car. At this point we were approached by a Police Officer who was actually trying to help us make sure we weren't being picked up by a rogue taxi. After wondering initially what his angle was and making sure we didn't get anyone in trouble.
Jarvid our driver returned and we loaded up and away.
A drive of about 30 minutes to Speightstown, our apartment and home for the next three weeks. Jarvid was not overly talkative but we found out a few local things on the way. The fare was prearranged at Barbarian dollars (B$) 90, which we paid. We took his number in case needed.
We were met at the apartment by Fidel - the owners nephew, given the keys and shown around. He informed us about internet access, there is WiFi, but it turns out we need to pay for it at Digicell!
The place is run down and tired.
We were going to need a few essential items. Local time was about 5 pm, so we chucked things out of the case, changed into more appropriate clothes - shorts - and headed off in the given directions to find some shops.
We found the local shops a short distance away, but more importantly a bar. The fisherman's pub overlooking the beach and had a local beer - Banks - and a coke light. Some free WiFi and watching the sun go down.
We realised that if the sun was going down it was going to get dark and we were not overlay familiar with the lay of the land. So we headed off to the shops and purchased water, milk, biscuits to get us through the night.
We pottered back to the apartment and settled in for the night.
There were a number of locals out and about and there was no intimidating feeling or anything. The main language is British which helps us tremendously.
There are yappy little dogs nearby, which are a pain and the local noises to get used to, but with the time difference and flight exhaustion we both slept fairly well.
We stirred about 6.45 and had our first coffee of the day.
Plan for today, exploring, shopping and sorting out the apartment internet.
The gardener turned up about 9 am strimming the lawn and tidying outside.
We pottered around finishing the unpacking and shuffling things around.
After showering we left about 11 am and headed off to explore.
We went towards the sea and found the nearby beach. There are signs for turtles.
Then more into the town than we did yesterday and found the Digicell shop to sort out the apartment internet dongle.
We paid for a 30 day package as it seemed the best deal at B$60, seemed a good deal.
To cut a long story short I didn't work. She spoke to Fidel by phone and explained that we needed to visit a different shop to sort things out. He suggested to the shop lady that we get a taxi and go and sort it.
We left the shop to ring Fidel ourselves.
Pat suggested a coffee and sit down, we spotted a restaurant and went up and through to the beach bit. A lovely place called Jumas.
Initially we ordered drinks, but I spoke to Fidel and expressed our displeasure about his suggestion for us getting a taxi to the shop. He said “we” had to go and he could take us this afternoon. I said fine what time and he said after 2. I said we would be back at the apartment by that time.
Following the call and because of our new schedule we decided to eat at Jumas.
Pat ordered the bacon baguette and I had the Prawn with Marie Rose sauce salad.
We investigated some more shops after lunch and found a bigger supermarket called Jordan's. We purchased a few items and headed back.
We ambled back and were home at 1.15 pm. Fidel had said he would be there after 2pm, and I wasn't sure how much Barbados time was going to come into play here. He turned up about 2.30 which was ok.
We hopped in the car and headed off. Fidel acted as tour guide along the way and we learnt a number of things. We went to the office he had been directed to and they said he needed to be somewhere else. So we set off again a further short distance. This time they managed to sort out the dongle and it came alive. We now have internet access in the apartment.
Fidel returned us to the apartment about 4 pm and we rested.
Pat suggested we try the Chefetee - the Barbadian McDonald equivalent - for our tea, as we had splashed out earlier, on our lunch.
It rained a little through the afternoon but it's warm rain so no problem,
At 5.30 pm we set off for tea. The Chefetee is about 15 minutes walk away.
Pat ordered the Chicken dinner and I had the burger dinner pak. Not the best, not the worst.
Tiredness was beginning to set in as we haven't fully adjusted to the time difference yet, so although we originally had plans to go for a drink, we went home instead and had a quiet evening.
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