They say what a difference a day makes, but for me, what a difference 2 weeks make!
This time two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be at around 2600m, having the time of my life, skiing for the first time in around 15 years, with an amazing group of mates.
I’m now sitting on the balcony of our apartment, in a resort in Orlando, Florida, drinking a strong black coffee, waiting for my beautiful family to scupper my recent weight loss by going for a Denny’s breakfast. It’s become a tradition for any holiday in the USA.
Jane, Charlie and I set off yesterday at 6:30 to Manchester T2, to catch a Virgin 747 to Orlando International.
Manchester Airport should be a flagship arrival point for International travellers to showcase what we are all about. Having travelled through it three times in the last couple of months, sadly, I think it’s a shambles.
The parking has become somewhat of a farce, for pickup & drop-off, with inappropriate charges for what is often a sub-5 minute stay. The security section is currently massively under capacity (I know there’s a plan for major investment, but why allow it to get so bad?), and led to a lengthy delay before getting through.
Once through, things didn’t improve. Even the relatively new T2 has capacity issues – no spaces in either of the Exec Lounges (“sorry Sir, unless you’ve pre-booked, we’re not allowing any more in”). There were big queues for all of the eateries, so we ended up Weatherspooning brekky, before boarding.
Flight left on time and although a tad bumpy, the flight was great, decent food, good service and back to back films for me! (First Man, that Spiderverse thingy, Bumblebee & Mortal Engines – all good films).
We arrive a few minutes ahead of schedule but had to wait for 15 mins at the gate before disembarking due to a passenger that had had some sort of medical emergency near the end of the flight (oxygen cylinder and mask, plus cabin crew supervision all helped keep things relatively calm).
A minor queue through very pleasant and courteous customs, and the luggage was already there for collection. Hey, Manchester Airport – look it is possible!
Then came the usual wrangling with the over-pushy Alamo rental car rep, who was insistent that we wouldn’t get all of our luggage in the “mid-sized SUV” and that we really really needed to take out the roadside recovery cover.
“Are you telling me that there is a significant likelihood of the vehicle you’re renting me breaking down? And you’d like me to pay for the privilege?”.
Having collected our eetsy-teatsy, teeny-weeny little microcar, a brand new 2019 Nissan Rogue Sport S SUV (tosser!), we headed off to Orange Couny Resort via a quick supermarket shop.
I’d been looking forward to arriving earlier that previous and going out for tea, but my dearest son made it clear that he wanted tea in the apartment, so pizza, clam chowder & chicken wings became tea! Oh, accompanied by a slightly-too-sweet, but reasonably hoppy Dogfish Head 60 Minute American Pale Ale.
At this stage, we found out that our friends (the “F’s”), who were travelling later and via New York, has missed their connection and so were spending the night in the departure lounge before catching an early morning flight down. Gutted for them.
And so that was the first day done. All settled in. All unpacked. All ready for the traditional first day of Denny’s & shopping malls! 😬
So, I sit here in the morning sunshine, sipping that coffee, and dreading how expensive the trainers that Charlie wants are likely to be!
Off to the Outlet malls for his trainers and a pair of board shorts for me. Can’t be loosing my kecks on a water ride later in the week can I!