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Published: June 17th 2017
Geo: 53.4807, -2.23451
Stage 1 - Manchester to Orlando
Wide awake at 3am. Why? We don't need to leave until 7.30 for our 10.50 flight. No worries, just roll over and go back to sleep.
Little voice in head.
"Did you remember to pack that thing"?
"Yes, shush now".
"What about that other thing".
"What other thing"?
"The thingamajiggy you need to use the other whatchamacallit"?
"Oh that thing, yes I did...at least I think I did".
And so on for the next hour or so.
We left a little after 7.30. As it was Friday there was rush hour traffic to contend with but we were soon at Terminal 2, Meet and Greet Valet Parking. Arrived at Terminal 2 to a sea of people all stood outside. An emergency evacuation was in process but no one could say why. 10 minutes later and we were allowed in. Quick check in process, fastpass through security and we were airside. That's when you can relax a little.
We enjoyed breakfast at Frankie and Bennys and soon enough our flight showed as boarding from Gate 300. Peter knew that this meant we would be bused out to the aircraft which is unusual for Terminal 2. We waited at the gate for ages. Staff
kept saying the aircraft was being cleaned. I mean, how dirty was it? The natives were starting to get restless, they just wanted to be on their way. Finally we boarded the buses an whisked out to the far side of the apron where our First Choice Boeing 767-300 waited for us. Disappointed that it wasn't the brand new 787 Dreamliner but with all the teething problems and battery packs catching fire perhaps it was a good thing. We were compensated nicely as we'll for the change of aircraft.
Once on board and seated in the Premium Cabin we were ready for the off. Our Captain, a nice portly, older gentleman with a kindly face and quick smile even came out of the cockpit (almost unheard of these days) to speak to us and explain reasons for delay. Something to do with fuel, catering and cleaning. Still never mind we would be off once doors closed...or not. Commotion. Lots of cabin crew moving to the back of airplane and back again. Captain out of cockpit again. The stairs to the aircraft were moved back into place again. This wasn't looking good. Turns out that a family (one with a medical problem)
had to be unloaded from the aircraft which seemed to take for ages as their bags had to be found as well. Captain walking through the cabin talking to people and re-assuring would be off soon. And we were...2 hours later.
After take off we were soon skimming above the clouds into the blue yonder and all the debacle of departure forgotten, well except for one guy a couple of rows ahead of us who seemed to take very opportunity to complain to staff about the delay. The pained expression on his poor wife's face told a tale of familiarity and that he liked to vocalise his concerns at every opportunity. I wanted to vocalise S.T.F.U. But felt it would not be conducive to a harmonious cabin atmosphere.
Drinks were served, and after a couple of JD and cokes (Bombay for Peter) we really began to relax. Well I would have done but I was already getting numb-bum from the seat which didn't bode well for the next 8 hours 50 mins. Not much to watch on the in-flight entertainment system. Most of the same films as we're on our recent trip to Vegas, a minor downside to frequent travel. Dinner was
then served and was delicious. A pasta salad starter followed by a Red Thai Chicken Curry for me, Herb Crusted Salmon for Peter. Gorgeous little dessert pots after that and brandy and coffee to finish. The aircraft might be ageing but the staff, service and food were excellent.
Oh I forgot to mention the turbulence. Captain. "this will last about 15mins". An hour and 10 later were we're still rock and rolling like bucking broncos. Finally he descends 5,000 feet, nice and smooth, ummm why not do that earlier? Not good.
We landed shortly before 5pm (11pm uk) to gorgeous 30 degree heat. Picked up our massive Nissan Pathfinder from Hertz. We learnt long ago that American cars, especially compacts, tend to have quite small boots (trunks). This was evidenced by the multitude of puzzled faces of people from our flight trying to figure out how to get their oversized suitcases into a space not much bigger than a microwave oven.
Peter had brought his satnav which was loaded with a map for Florida and we were soon whizzing off down the 428 toward Orlando. Silly satnav then took us on a toll road where the only option to pay at the 'automated' paystation was with coins or an e-pass. We only had dollar bills and so Peter was forced to drive through without paying as we could not reverse out. Some bells went off so I told him to floor it before we're captured and deported.
Arrived at our hotel for the night, the Hyatt Place, on International Drive and after a quick check it we we off to dinner. UK time was now after midnight so we knew we would soon hit that wall of tiredness and fatigue from the early start and travel. The Olive Garden was just over the road and one of the reasons we choose this hotel. food is always good along with the service. Portions are huge. I had a Lasagna and Peter had Chicken Alfredo which he could not finish.
Back to room and to sleep at 8.30 local.
Tot: 0.727s; Tpl: 0.045s; cc: 10; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0274s; 1; m:saturn w:www (220.127.116.11); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb