29/9/16 – All good things

Final get-up of the trip. Was a little earlier today, since w wanted to make the most of the pool whilst we could. The forecast is… sunny, yay. Got into my bikini, put together my beach bag and down to the pool we went. We found ourselves some sunbeds in the sun and we were well away. It was blisteringly hot.I started off reading and ended up finishing my Kelley Armstrong book, so I then switched to lying on my front so that I could tan my back. Had to take short breaks to go and stand in the shallow end to cool down every now and then.

When the sun disappeared behind the very big hotel, we figured we’d be best to go back to the room. We Skyped Kel, all showered in procession and got the rest of our stuff packed up. We moved everything downstairs and got a shuttle service to the airport. The first thing we wanted once we’d got through customs was food. Went to some little take-out restaurant place. I had what was supposedly Jamaican jerk chicken breast with rice and plantains. It definitely wasn’t jerk anything. Just a grilled chicken breast with a bit of sauce on it. I’m still not entirely sure what plantains are, other than that they’re not nice. It was filling enough though.

After that, we went to check out duty free. Always a good place for restocking our alcohol cupboard and Miami airport didn’t fail us. I got a big, fat 1.75L bottle of Smirnoff for only twenty-three dollars. Sometimes you’re hard pressed to get even a litre for that amount at home. They also had the fancy Belvedere stuff for only thirty-three dollars – again, cheaper than at home. Since I’d never tried it before, I decided to get a pink grapefruit bottle as a birthday present to myself for next week. We also got a refill on Cointreau, since we get through quite a lot of that when we do cocktail nights in.

We went to a little bar afterwards for mimosas, then I ran to grab some drinks from one of the shops before we had to board. Fabby in-flight entertainment once again. I’d watched half of Elvis and Nixon before we’d even taken off. Charming film, though they really couldn’t have got an uglier Elvis. At least Evan Peters kept it up on the eye candy front. Following the same actor theme, once we were up in the air, I decided to rewatch X-Men Apocalypse. I then got distracted by a spectacular electrical storm that we were flying by and managed to get some good photos through the window.

Food then came during X-Men. I forget how weird Air France food is. Bread roll, fine; wheatgerm and shiitake mushroom rice salad, eh; chicken and rice, ropey; apple sauce, okay; chocolate brownie thing, okay. Even the cheese was really weird. I remember Air France being better for the snacks, so maybe we’ll have to wait for that. The one upside was that I got a glass of champagne with my meal, so I guess I can’t complain too much. Unsurprisingly, I felt a little tired after the food and champers, so I decided to go with a movie I knew well, since it meant I wouldn’t have to concentrate too much.

That meant opting for Princess and the Frog, which instead succeeded in waking me up, as it made me want to have a singalong. Like any Disney, it also has its super sad moments. I already felt super emotional about leaving America behind and if I didn’t shed a tear over Princess and the Frog, then I definitely did over Big Hero 6, which I saved till last and watched afterwards. I have a definite love-hate relationship with that movie, very much like with Clannad. Serious adoration for it, but it still breaks my heart every time. Fuck you, Disney. I switched to writing after that and did another couple of flash fictions.

We landed in Paris after the eight hour flight and were now six hours ahead in time. These time zones really are so confusing, especially when you haven’t slept. The flight was then delayed half an hour. That always sucks worse when you’re coming home, because you have nothing to look forward to. By this point, all you want is to get home. Thankfully, the flight itself was only about an hour long. I listened to some music for a bit, watched some Psych and was so tired by that time, that I slept through on and off until landing. I kept doing that whole nodding dog thing, but at one point when I did it, we’d already landed. Guess it worked out to an extent. My ears are usually excruciating when landing, so I was glad I skipped that part.

Baggage claim and passport control were fairly simple and we were outside and in a taxi within twenty-five minutes. Thank god. It had been a long day, made worse by the fact that I’ve never been so depressed to come home. What with the fact that my closest friends don’t live so nearby – two of them technically living overseas – besides Kel and the dog, I really didn’t feel much reason to come back at all. My love affair with America is just far too great and seems to be getting stronger all the time. Maybe now it won’t be so much as saving for the next trip, but saving towards moving there on a more permanent basis. I need to hurry up and start getting my books published.

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Now that’s entertainment.

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30/9/15 – Let me entertain you

Could not get Kel out of bed this morning. I let her sleep in a bit longer, saying we could forego breakfast for brunch instead. I floated around from happy Psych dreams all morning. Read some and started another short story before I convinced Kel to get up properly, saying we needed to make the most of the sun on our last full day. We went straight to brunch as soon as she was ready. Ham and cheese toastie, hot dog, chicken nuggets and chips. Yes, I’m aware I’m very greedy, but that is just my life.

It turned into another very hot day again, yay. Finished my short story and wrote another whilst sitting in the sun. Also read more and then spent time trying to even up the tan on my back more. My front always gets tanned more because I spend my time in the sun reading and writing whilst sat up, whereas I don’t do anything lying on my front and I tend to get bored quickly that way. I like to feel more productive. In this case though, I ended up having a little snooze whilst I was sunbathing. Oops. We’d had to grab sunbeds on a different side of the complex, as all the ones on and around the decking had already been taken, so this time we had a different pool to go and dip in. We still stuck to the balcony part of it and ended up talking to an older couple from Cambridge. The woman was some kind of PA and the man was a retired police officer. Told you; interesting jobs!

This pool didn’t seem as incredibly cold as all the others, so it was easily our longest stint of chilling in the water. We eventually got out though, so we could dry off before going into the food hall. Rice, garlic potatoes, lasagne and some creamy stroganoff. Still unsure if I liked the latter or not. After lunch, I had an hour or so of having to switch between sun, shade and dipping in the pool. It was just so hot. After about four o’clock though, it died down enough to stay sitting in it comfortably. Of course, I soon reached my point of needing Red Bull, so I broke back to the apartment for the usual.

After showering, I wore my light pineapple skater dress. I always leave this one towards the end of my holiday, because it has a large cut out in the middle, so it looks really odd with a white belly. Thankfully, my belly isn’t too red anymore either, so it worked out nicely. Food was rice, pizza, chips, the sliced potatoes were back (yay), a creamy type of paste that tasted like lasagne without the meat, another kind of stroganoff that was less creamy and much nicer than the one at lunch, then some croquettes that were apparently made with chicken. The inside was very creamy and mushy and kinda like the filling you get in a vol-au-vent, but it definitely didn’t taste like chicken. Still liked them though.

Grabbed more drinks and moved next door for our best entertainment yet. It was a participation event, aimed to find the Mr. IFA Continental. They managed to get five guys to volunteer and then gave them various tasks to complete to win, like how many press-ups they could do in a minute. Three of them were Brits, all of whom we’d seen around the complex already – this included crazy Steve, who is actually the older Curt Smith I spotted early on – an Irish man and a German guy. All of them were clearly very much up for a laugh, which is exactly what you want from your entertainment and also just from people in general. Though maybe that’s just me.

One game involved twenty-five balloons being handed out to us in the audience. We had to just wave them around and the guys had to see how many they could grab before time was up. As one of them ran past, it knocked the balloon out of my hands and onto the table next to me, where an old German woman was sat. I apologised as she picked the balloon up, thinking she’d just give it back, but instead she dug all her fingers in and burst it right in front of me. Fucking miserable bag clearly doesn’t have a sense of fun in life. For the next game, the guys had to stand in a line and each sing part of a song in turn. They had to do at least three lines and each person had to sing a completely different song to the last person, no repetitions. For the most brilliant start, the first song was Barbie Girl, followed by Country Roads, then Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. You can’t knock the variation.

Another game was like a kind of Simon Says. They all stood in a line again. Patrik would call out various terms and they’d have to do the appropriate action and obviously get it right or they’d be out. Fanta meant arms up above your head, Cola was arms out straight like a scarecrow, Sprite was arms down at your sides, toilet meant squat, chihuahua meant do a pawing type move and bark, then chicky-chicky was a rompy-pompy type hip thrust and a pant. The hilarious thing was that most of the guys’ noises for chihuahua and chicky-chicky ended up sounding the same. Maybe we should be concerned for their girlfriends.

The last game was set up like a dating show. A German woman was pulled from the audience to play the bachelorette. The guys all had to sit with their backs to the stage so they couldn’t see what the others did. A box of various props was left out for them. Each guy in turn could pick two props, then the lights went red, the Righteous Brothers started playing and they had a few minutes to try and get their wooing across via the props and what also seemed to be interpretive dance in most of their cases. My favourite was one of the English guys, who chose a caveman’s club and a duck puppet, dramatically killed the duck with the club and then offered it up to the woman like a gift. Very amusing! Sadly, the Irish man won. I hadn’t felt as strongly about him as the others, but he clearly had a lot of friends in the audience rooting for him.

Cath and Jamie came to join us after the entertainment, so we had another good chat along with our more drinks. Talked about the various work, travel, cars, etc. It turns out Jamie is a big car guy. He has quite a collection, from the sounds of it, including a couple of Austins. He was impressed with my baby, Gus, as he’s an MX-5 fan too. After however many years of being a petrolhead, I now have a car that I can really show off and impress people with. It’s awesome. Even if you’re not a car person, Gus is just too pretty to resist.

After Cath and Jamie broke for their room, we decided to do the same as we needed to get most of our stuff packed up tonight before check-out tomorrow. We got the good majority done, then hung out on the balcony for a while singing 99 Luftballons back to the Germans, who we could hear whistling. Kel put the telly on for the first time since we’d been there when we went back in. I watched some of Big Hero 6 on my iPod instead before bed. Sorry Spiderman, but you just do not compete.

Delicious flavour is basically the theme of most of my summer wardrobe.

Delicious flavour is basically the theme of most of my summer wardrobe.