This is our first trip this year and if it had continued as it began I think it would have been the last!
So March 12th 2014 started for us at 4am and our dear friends Pam & Colin arrived dead on time and whipped us to the airport. Bags checked all the way through to Orlando, great. It was all going too well so BA threw in a 30 minute delay which upset Joan because for her birthday Jamie & Tim had bought her executive lounge access so we wanted to take full advantage of it. We did enjoy a very nice breakfast and sat and read some upmarket magazines and the papers. All very civilised, a thoroughly enjoyable way to fill the waiting time for our Orlando plane.
The flight was very straightforward and we managed to sleep a bit and enjoy a film. About an hour out from Orlando I managed to get a dodgy tummy, not good on an airplane! This was the start of our troubles as upon landing they announced, ok you can switch on your mobile phones now. As mine came on a very scary lady with a gun got on and said DO NOT PUT YOUR MOBILE PHONES ON! It is an offence under USA law. So I frantically tried to put it off. It would NOT go off and worse it started making a noise announcing that it was coming on and was scanning this and that, oh boy. I tried again and it went into sort of melt down mode whereby it kept switching on making a noise then going off. So I frantically whipped the battery out, that stopped it and we proceeded to customs where they take your finger prints and photograph your iris. It is 5.30pm and just a half hour drive to the hotel so we should be there by 6.30 at the latest.
The man then says will you come with me please, firmly but still polite. Joan is now rapidly descending into panic mode, but she had to go and get the cases as if they remain on the carousel they probably blow them up! I am trying to tell her we will be alright but I didn't realise she was worried about driving to find our hotel in the dark. I on the other hand am keeping a weather eye out for anybody coming into the room and pulling a pair of rubber gloves on! Finally after everybody else has left the arrivals hall a chap walks in, says he doesn't know why but apparently somebody in Washington queried my prints and he then stamps my passport, says hope you have a great holiday and let's us go, phew! So we are all set just pick up our pre-paid rented car and we are off.................................NO!
It is now getting very late and we've been up about 20 hours, when the lady at the desk says she is sorry but she can't process our car from the voucher we have although she does have a car in our name waiting? How the hell that works is totally beyond us, but it's ok because we have the confirmation email on our iPad. This says, thank you for your payment of £359 for a Toyota......etc etc. from Avis! No that won't do as we have NO RECORD OF YOUR PAYMENT. So Joan says, which bit of thank you for your payment on your official headed note paper are you having trouble with? Quite politely I thought, considering we've now been up 22 hours.
At this point I get them to agree that if we leave them a credit card payment we can sort it later, yes? Good lets go. No this card is in Joan's name and the booking is in mine and our other credit card is also in her name. Oh boy now I am getting angry. We don't wander abroad with loads of cards we take a special dollar card to America, why? Because they use dollars there. Now the next bit is our fault I admit but Joan has forgotten the pin which is on her mobile...........at home. Sigh.
Finally with the help of the girl, who to be fair has been battling with her manager all along, we get a car. It's enormous, and it's dark out so apparently in Joan's eyes this means I won't be able to drive, especially after 22 hours without sleep. She is in serious panic mode and yes we did miss a turning and have to go back but come on they drive on the same side as they do in France. Plus she seems to forget the 3000 miles I drove when we went to New Orleans! Anyway finally we got to our hotel at 10pm exhausted but fortunately it was very nice with a really comfortable bed.
We knew we would have to eat but we're too blooming tired for very much so just settled for a starter and a beer. Finally to bed, goodnight B&J xxx