Thursday, 29 September 2011

Safe and sound

So, yes, here we are safe and sound.

Yesterday began with my saying goodbye to the garden and the house with a mini-snivel; seriously, I swear I'm getting dafter as I get older.  It was really hard for me to leave.  Good job they aren't thoughts I share (too much) with Ken or he'd have me locked in the attic and banned from lighting candles.

Trip to the airport was a bit of a drag as it took the best part of an hour, so we lost some of our planned time.  That said, I'm always secretly happy with that as we really didn't seem to spend any waiting time in the airport.  The security check was an absolute doddle - through the fast lane - and it certainly was - just a straight walk through.  My iPad had to go through twice for some reason.  It is just part of the world-wide conspiracy at all customs points to look out for me..... it is always me.  Any way, up, up and away and two films and some games on my iPad (8hrs 18mns) later there we were in the U S of A.

Make mental note for future trips - I requested low fat food and it was sooo much better than the usual stuff, especially as I didn't get the horrid snack thing they do - I think it was a yuck pizza slice.  Actually Ken was even better off - he did low sodium which meant he could have an ice cream whereas I couldn't.

We de-planed and joined the immigration queue and proceeded to shuffle at the giddy speed of one inch and hour to the man in the box.  Every single time (this is not an exaggeration) I have a problem with the finger scan.  It always gets repeated endlessly.  The machine gets wiped, my hands get wiped, the computer is fiddled with and finally I have to do all the digits on my left and right hand which still seems to leave the officer with furrowed brows.  Yesterday I managed to do even better - I broke his computer!  I put my four fingers on the screen as requested and he said everything froze.  Several phone calls, lots of faffing with the computer and some actual throwing of bits of stuff around in a temper, including the phone (seriously scary!) and some minutes later we tried again.  As always it wasn't a good result and I did the usual both hands and thumbs and was allowed to go even though he still looked perplexed. I also often get my baggage opened and checked and I have been through the iris scan a couple of times a year for four years and it has never worked for me a single time.  Me .... paranoid??  I think not though I am concerned there is some racism going on here.  They mark me out for this treatment just because I am from the planet Krypton.

Off to recheck baggage and get the next plane out of Atlanta to Fort Myers.  We had just enough time to do it comfortably  without any sitting around.  I did have time to register the high number of eateries there are and the all-pervading smell of Cinnabons and burgers and Pizza - the smell of America? or just Atlanta airport?  No wonder these places proliferate - you can eat a couple of burgers for a dollar each or buy a Wolfgang Puck healthier sandwich (from a kiosk) for $8.97 each.  It is a bit of a no-brainer as to why America runs on high fat, high sugar, high salt.

On board our next flight out of Atlanta we had an announcement from the pilot which I've never encountered on board before - "we are looking for three people to volunteer to get the 10 pm flight (we were on the 4.10 pm) for $600 each and flying first class".  Four (!) people were there before the sentence was finished.  Darn it - sounded like a bargain to Ken and I.  I think old people at the back of the plane should be given a head start before these youngsters.

Something else we encountered as a first for me was being asked by the pilot to lower the window shades and turn the cool air vents on when we landed in Fort Myers as it helped keep the plane cool while it was on the ground.  We understood why when we exited the airport at 6.30pm into an outside temperature of 88 degrees F.  Smells again came to the fore...  I always love the wonderful spicy, damp smell of Florida when we arrive.  I try to savour it before we get used to it.

Today we've been out and about shopping and returning the hire car in a temperature of 91, so it is still their summer weather here. We'll have to try to get to the beach as often as we can so we can "use" the sea while it is still warm.

I'm also grateful for the excessive good manners and customer service, as always, and the lovely empty roads before the season kicks in.  Even I managed to drive on them today without the colly-wobbles. 

A bit more scrubbing and sorting tomorrow and we will be ready to just get on with living here until next Spring.

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