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.

26/9/15 – I love all inclusive

Got up earlyish again so that we could get ready and head down for breakfast. This time, we knew to hit the better breakfast stuff first, so I ended up with bacon, two kinds of sausage, scrambled eggs with ham and a churro to try because I was curious. It’s odd. It’s kinda like a deep fried savoury donut. I actually had second breakfast and followed it up with peach slices, half a mango, a seriously crumbly chocolate biscuit and a crepe filled with strawberry jam. Well, people always compared me to a hobbit. Gotta live up to it.

We hung around the pool again and finally got the sun we’d been waiting for, so I actually got to get a good session of sunbathing in. I wrote another short story and did some more reading – still making the most of the all inclusive drinks all the while, of course. I’d had two sangrias and a cocktail before it was even midday. That’s just the way you have to roll when you’re on holiday. Joel came round with another game for us. For this one, you had to throw cards into a magician’s hat. I had a go, but only managed two. It didn’t help that it was super windy. Honestly, I was just surprised that the cards didn’t end up in the pool.

We hit the proper buffet for lunch, rather than just the snack bar this time. We definitely missed out yesterday! I had the yummy rice again, another Mexican style pork rice, more garlic potatoes, chips and a slice of a delicious cheese pizza. I’m really not a fan of pizza at all, but this is another thing that most European holiday-making places do right. If it’s not cooked in a clay oven, then I’m not interested. Forget that frozen nonsense. We were pretty hot after lunch, so decided to have my first dip in the pool. Oh my god. Most freezing cold pool in the world – I think that was the briefest lap I’ve ever done, before I swiftly got back out.

When it started to get later and I was feeling nice and cooked by the sun, I popped to a nearby shop to get some Red Bull. For some reason – made even more oblivious by the fact that I must have looked like a right sweaty tramp after sitting in the sun all day – the shop assistant took a shine to me and gave me a Greek eye style bracelet. I wasn’t really sure what to do about that, other than not be rude and just accept it. I really hope this doesn’t mean we’re married in Spanish or something. Though I do actually have a thing for Hispanic men, I don’t really want to bring this one home with me.

I had my Red Bull and read a little in between showering and getting ready, once I was back in the apartment. I quickly learnt that I’d clearly got very carried away with our first bit of sun and basically burnt everywhere. Joy. I wore my Gothic looking red and black dress that Flick got me for my birthday last year and is still one of my top outfits of choice. It hit the worst of my weird burn lines. We then went down for more food. I really do like this all inclusive deal. A lot of the food suggested today was maybe following more of a Mexican theme, but they also had some little samosas, which were nice but a little out of place. I had my usual rices combo, fries, samosas, a type of bolognese pasta, a lamb chop, chicken in a sweet-ish sauce and some sliced potatoes that were almost as thin as crisps and so tasty! Pudding this time was more mousses and more jelly.

We moved into the entertainment area and really started making the most of the all inclusive drinks. I think we each got two more drinks around every half hour. Because why the hell not? I did regret switching from cocktails and sangria to vodka and lemon on my last round though. The guy asked me if he’d poured out enough vodka, which he already had by far, then kept adding more anyway. I know you know English better than that! I ended up with drinks that were more than three quarters full of vodka. Safe to say, I didn’t finish either of them. I like vodka, but I like having more than just an essence of mixer to go with it.

I was, sadly, very excited about the main entertainment for tonight, which was a movie quiz. If my forte is in anything, it’s in movies. The basis for this one was that we were played part of a song and had to pinpoint what movie it was from. Of course, I had to add silly little drawings like a sinking boat for Titanic, a naff ghost for Ghost and then the same naff ghost with a cross through it for Ghostbusters. Some of the questions were quite easy, but I got super excited when they started playing the Public Domain song from Blade. I think that one stumped most people. I clearly had an unfair advantage because I love the hell out of those movies (yes, even two and Trinity – my rule with them is that the storylines get worse, but the guys get hotter!) and had actually been listening to that song whilst I’d been sunbathing! Patrik was hosting again and he showed us a video afterwards that he’d done to that song for some horror event, where he was shirtless, covered in ‘blood’ and doing a choreographed dance with a ‘victim’. When you look like he does, all you really need is the shirtless part.

We had Let It Go and the Circle of Life for the Disney side of things – both of which me and Kel clearly had to sing along very loudly to. Sadly, we missed out on only one point by a song from Desperados, which is definitely one neither of us had seen. It’s a shame too, as I would have nailed the two tiebreaker questions they had for the winning teams – the name of Danny Zuko’s best friend and then identifying a song from The Mask. I was actually amazed myself that I knew the latter. Haven’t seen that film in years!

After the quiz, Patrik said he was heading out to a bar with some of the other guests if we wanted to join, so we happily agreed. There were two German girls, who I don’t think spoke much English so we didn’t even learn their names, but we got along well with the two pairs of Scots – Brenda and Karen, who were a fair bit older, and then Kymm and Kirstie, who were probably several years older than us. Everyone was very funny and very friendly and happy to chat and take stupid selfies. Patrik said he’d show us his office first, which is a little hut type thing that overlooks part of the pool. He showed us his mascot outfit, which is some kind of dolphin or marlin called Panchi, and asked if any of us wanted to try it on. Nobody volunteered, so I took the bullet. I think he was quite happy about it. I didn’t realised I had to wear the very tight blue leggings and the big shoes too. Very awkward to get into in a very short dress and heels with everyone watching. I had to try not to flash anyone in the process. I was grateful it didn’t smell in there, but it was hot and would probably get claustrophobic quickly, so I was equally as grateful to get out of it!

Say hello to Panchi! Oh no, wait, it's just me...

Say hello to Panchi! Oh no, wait, it’s just me…

He then took us to a little shopping centre type complex of clubs, which was a bit like a less fancy version of the Arcadian. We saw Satan on the way too! Joel met us there and we did several rounds of drinks, champagne that Patrik produced from somewhere and some shots that I think were peach schnapps or similar. He came over to me with the bottle at one point and I wasn’t quite sure what he wanted me to do, then realised he wanted to pour an extra shot into my mouth. He didn’t pour too much so that I ended up looking like a dribbling loon, so I was cool with that game. A bit later on, Brenda and Karen were trying to convince him to lose his shirt (I think everyone appreciated the beauty of his vampire video) and he compromised by unbuttoning half of it and then trying to get us all to lick his chest. I settled for kissing it instead. I’ve licked a hot chest before and it is so not pleasant (though in that case there was mayo involved too).

By this point, Kel was clearly hanging onto composure by a thread, so I decided it was time to walk her back. We both ended up walking back carrying out shoes – the bane of wearing heels – and acquired a companion for a short while, who said he was called Brian but so blatantly wasn’t called Brian. Thankfully, we managed to get rid of not-Brian after a while when he kept asking about boyfriends and other inappropriate things. When you’re on holiday and creepy guys ask if you have a boyfriend back home, just say yes. They’ll never know.

Group shot! (Not sure why I always hunch down in photos when I'm drunk... Am I trying to be invisible or something?)

Group shot! (Not sure why I always hunch down in photos when I’m drunk… Am I trying to be invisible or something?)

It all seemed to hit me when we got back to the apartment. I don’t remember a lot of it now, but I kept getting the whirlies whilst I was trying to lie down and I may or may not have (by that, I mean definitely) thrown up over the balcony. Oops. The only consolation is that I was still in a better state than Kel, who hadn’t even realised how bad I was in the process, so maybe I’ll just have to blame it on her. Sshhh.