Today was one very long day. We started at 4am from our hotel at Heathrow airport. Our flight to the States left early so we checked in to the Crowne Plaza and we can park there for 2 weeks at rates comparable to the car parks.
Before boarding, guess where we went? The heavily branded wrappers are a bit of a clue! I had a small skinny latte and toasted fruit bread. I am not really a Starbucks fan as their coffee is so insipid but I really like their fruit bread.
We flew with American Airlines and they were perfectly adequate. Our first flight was 8.5 hours to Chicago and they served a brunch of omelette with potato hash, fruit bowl, croissant with jam, crackers and cheese spread, cheese snax and a mini Toblerone. With as much juice, tea and coffee as you required.
The omelette and potato hash was ok.
This fruit bowl was sweet, juicy and refreshing.
I dislike flying but compared to work recently, which has been so hectic and involved many long hours, it was actually rather enjoyable being able to sit and watch some films, read my Kindle and play backgammon. I was impressed by American Airlines’ entertainment facilities on the back of the seat in front of you.
Later on in the flight they served a simple but stodgy meal of pizza, pasta salad and a cookie. It was ok but too many carbs.
At Chicago we changed on to a smaller plane for a 3 hour flight to Miami which we only just caught. We went through immigration at Chicago which took ages. The queues did not seem too long initially, certainly not compared to Heathrow! But the customs process is so slow. They ask questions, you have to provide fingerprints and a photo. To make matters worse, the customs officer we were queueing for marched off the person in front of us and was gone for ages which was really stressful. We only just made our Miami flight and were scolded by the AA staff at the gate for being so late. They were rewarded with one of my most displeased and unimpressed glares I have managed to pull off in a long time!
Finally we made it to Miami We are starting off in a luxury hotel of my choice. The lobby was impressive. I am really looking forward to being in this hotel which has a very interesting history which I intend to share over the next couple of days, but not tonight.
Our room faces out from the front of the hotel which looks how I expected manicured Florida to look. I have never been to Florida before but so far it is as I expected, visually.
Once we had checked in we sat down and enjoyed an ice cold beer and some nuts in the hotel bar.
Having relaxed with a couple of beers we enjoyed an early evening swim in the hotel pool. It was heavenly to cool down and begin to relax. We swam around this lovely pool (apparently the largest of any hotel in USA) until it was dark. We strolled around a little and enjoyed watching the lizards racing off the path as we walked towards them and in to the bushes plus we watched the beginning of a wedding. The bride wore white but the guests were all dressed up in black tie. I wonder if that is common in USA.
We were going to order room service and watch a movie but actually none of us are hungry. So we are watching tv for simpletons and struggling to stay awake. I have now been awake nearly 22 hours and am knackered. But glad to be here and excited about the next 2 weeks.