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.

17/6/14 – Backstreet’s back, alright!

So here I am, doing this whole blogging thing again. I learnt that documenting my last travels was actually good for retaining memories of all the smaller things, so I figured I’d try again. My lazy holidaying life in Crete won’t be anywhere near as exciting as travelling through America, but still more so than my everyday one. So here we are in a new notebook! Seeing as I obliterated my Durarara!! one with my American tales. I feel the cute sleepy puppies on the front of this one are much more symbolic of the laziness of this holiday.

The majority of our travelling was actually rather splendid. Dad dropped us off at the airport and we made a friend on the way whilst stuck in traffic – a guy in a truck in the other lane who was doing some very enthusiastic dancing and getting us to join in. Once we got into duty free we went to visit Amy at Pret รก Manger. She gave me a lovely free hot chocolate with had both hazelnut AND caramel in it, mmmm.

From there me and Mel wanted grub so we went to Burger King too. Our flight on the board then changed from boarding to final call whilst I still had half a giant burger, half my hot chocolate and nearly all of my Fanta left. I had to shove the burger in my bag, down the hot chocolate (not something I’d ever recommend downing) and drink as much of my Fanta as I could on the way to the gate. Luckily we were at the one furthest away (who’d have thought I’d ever say luckily for something that involves more walking?)

The flight was a breeze compared to all the ones we did last year – only three hours and forty-five minutes! As we were taking off there was a weird groaning noise, to which Kel was like, “I think we just killed a whale!” Sky whales; who knew? I got excited when the in-flight movie started with the Disney castle but it turned out to be that Mary Poppins one, so I watched This Is The End on my iPod instead. Best film ever. I ate my leftover burger cold, which was odd to say the least, then listened to an episode of That Anime Show. Terri and Tatum never fail me on long journeys. And Apphia had a lot of love for Batman, which made me have even more love for her.

We got our cases pretty smoothly but then had some trouble finding the right coach for our transfer when the rep tried sending us to the wrong one twice. Thankfully the coach driver of the wrong one helped direct us to the right one. The transfer was only about half an hour as we were the second drop-off, woohoo. We got to Nikos Apartments and were taken straight to our room, which seemed to be the reject one in the corner. The room itself was nice enough but we didn’t have a balcony, which was disappointing. Mel went to ask Van (who was very nice to us when we last stayed ten years ago) if there were any other rooms we could move to. There weren’t, but he promised to check again for us on changeover day.

We decided not to unpack properly until Friday in case we did get lucky and to just wing it for now. Though right now we’re finally here and that’s all that matters. Bring it on, Stalis!

 

Kel was a bit mindblown by the lime green walls…

13/11/13 – Home. We’re coming home again

Up earlyish, mostly so that I could have my last waffle for breakfast. We stayed in the room for as long as we could before checking out, since it was then a day to be spent in the lobby because of our crappy flight times. We holed up in a couple of chairs by the vending machines. My taurine addiction started roaring again so I had to settle for a can of Monster. Eh, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. Though I’d still only use it as a last resort. It was even colder today so we definitely weren’t brave enough to venture outside. Instead I got comfy with the first That Anime Show Halloween special.

Oh man, how have I not listened to these before? They each consist of collections of ghost stories and encounters told by various voice actors. They’re the real deal too – it’s some freaky stuff! Tatum told a totally creepy one about an abandoned cabin, which really freaked me out. Jamie and Jean-Luc shared a re-telling of Jamie’s mother’s story about her old house. It genuinely made my hair stand on end. And then Tia told this gorgeous tale about her last moment with her grandaddy. It made me really tear up. It was just so sweet and, if anything, I was actually really jealous that she got to have a moment like that. I’m still happy for her though.

We broke for lunch and I had another steak and cheese panini, then had to help Kel with her big-ass pizza. That is officially the last pizza I’m ever going to eat. If anyone suggests pizza to me now they’re going to get punched. We migrated to some new, comfier chairs after and I listened to my next Halloween special. Again, more fantastic stories. Tia spoke about an infamously cursed doll that is now in a museum in Florida, eek! Glad we didn’t go to that one! Josh told his story about breaking into an old church and Terri shared about her real-life horror movie stalker. Terrifying!

By this point it was time to get our shuttle to the airport, if we wanted to be on the safe side, so we did. Had a good four hours there with our flight being delayed. Listened to the last Halloween special I had and watched some Durarara!! The first flight and airport stays passed in a blur of Psych, Spirited Away and not-so-great attempts at sleep. It was light again by the time we got to Denmark, but then dark only a few hours later. Way confusing. Did manage to get some crazy cheap Coco Mademoiselle for only twenty-six quid though! (even if it took me a little while to figure out the crazy Danish conversion). I always seem to find good perfume bargains. Then when everyone was boarding our final flight – and last leg of the journey – I had a hairy builder’s crack shoved in my face. Thanks for that, Denmark.

The last flight felt longer than it actually was – likely because it was the very final trip of our adventure. I did manage to get a huge chunk of writing done though, so I was at least pleased about that. We were met at the airport by Auntie Ann and Sarah, still in part of our scheme of telling Mom and Dad that we were coming home a day later than we actually were (we’d given them fake flight times and everything – because we’re sneaky like that). It was so, so nice to see familiar faces in the flesh again! Kel had a little blub and we all had a goss on the way home, after some silly confusion of not being able to get onto the right floor of the car park (of course we couldn’t end our journey without there still being something).

We left all our baggage in the car when we pulled up at home. Auntie Ann went to go drag Mom and Dad outside with some inane excuse whilst me, Kel and Sar hid behind my car on the drive, ready to jump out. It worked a treat. Mom went from a scared scream to a happy scream. We then had our own surprise as we accused them of replacing our dogs, since one had no teeth and one was three times the size as when we’d left! And of course I was starving by this point, so I broke open some of my old traditional Super Noodles. Ah, home sweet home.

So that’s it. It’s been a whirlwind of two months. We’ve seen some fantastic places, done many amazing things, met both new and old people and finally learnt the damn knack to packing and re-packing. Now my only thought is… where to next?

12/11/13 – Braving the cold… and then chickening out

Since we didn’t have any particular plans we got to have a lie-in and a much more relaxed morning of very slowly getting ready. We wanted to Skype the oldies since we wouldn’t have chance after going out, but messenger Sid told us they were at the Harvester. Rude. We decided to wait for them to get back and watched some old videos from when we first got Izzy in the meantime. Aww. I miss my woofies pretty much more than anyone! We then Skyped Mom for a while, and also Dad for a little bit. Told some porkies about only just flying to Chicago today.

We then layered up as much as we could (five layers and three pairs of socks!) and got the shuttle back to the airport. Oh my god… We’d prepared for the worst but it was still way colder than we’d expected at minus something degrees. We had a little wander round the airport to gage the temperature a little before we got the tram downtown. We decided it was just too cold without either of us having coats, so Chicago will have to remain a mystery for this trip. Before leaving we went further into the airport because I was still craving Red Bull. It was ridiculously expensive, but I didn’t even care by this point. We then hopped on the shuttle back to the hotel.

It was a shame, but at least it was warm in our room. I watched a couple of episodes of Psych, Durarara!!, then we both watched a bunch of Whose Line clips. That was pretty much it. It beat being out in the cold though. We’ll have to try and cover Chicago on another trip. Preferably in the summer. I repacked my case so that it was basically ready for tomorrow. Our last night here if you don’t count the one of travelling tomorrow! If I’m honest though I feel I’m ready to go home now. The cold’s put me off more than anything. And I miss my family, my friends and my woofies. Plus I’m dying for some real fish and chips.

This is what happens when we’re stuck in one room for two whole days.

11/11/13 – We were not prepared for this

Painful get-up for half two to get ready and finish packing. We headed to the airport and bid farewell to Klaus! I had a bit of a Psych day and watched an episode whilst waiting in the airport, then another on the plane. I also finished off Jet Lag, my Cobie and Crispin one-shot. The flight to Chicago was about four hours – it was actually our first direct one this whole year. But oh man, were we in for a shock when we landed… I’d been anticipating it would be cooler than the west coast, but I hadn’t expected it to be even colder than back home. And I certainly hadn’t expected it to be snowing! It was really horrific!

Also Chicago, why do you have cling film on your toilets? That’s just a bit weird.

I was worried our hotel wouldn’t be near anything, since I was starving (and certainly didn’t want to go wandering around in the snow!) But amazingly, there was actually a restaurant right in our hotel! So I was happy – I had a steak sandwich for lunch. We lost two hours in the timezone changeover, but it did mean we were only six hours behind home instead. We Skyped Sid for a while and drew on Kel’s chin, which was pretty hilarious. I watched another episode of Psych too. I had a huge Red Bull dilemma, in that there was nowhere for me to get any (the vending machine in the lobby only did Zero, sob!) so I had to break into my Elvis energy drink from Winter Park as an emergency. Hopefully the empty can will still survive the last trip.

We ordered Chinese for tea. I don’t know what it is about American ordering systems, but we have a variety of problems every single time we try ordering takeout. Whilst we were waiting I ran down to get some drinks from the bar to bring back to the room. I was glad I wasn’t staying – I got hit on within the first thirty seconds! The Chinese was amazing though. I had lo-mein and fried rice. I just love the novelty of those cute little takeout boxes too. We then watched an awesome episode of South Park that played on superheroes, Totoro and the idea of Kenny having reincarnation powers. “I die over and over again and you assholes never remember anything!” Brilliant! I also got interviewed by a girl on Wattpad. Awesome.

Welcomed with bad weather. Feels like home!

26/10/13 – Bye bye Texas

Up early for re-packing and getting ready. Managed to fit some waffle time in too, of course. We found our way back to Austin airport and bid farewell to Cody – he’d been good to us, even if he was a glutton for petrol. We had a good wait at the airport, so I listened to some more of That Anime Show and giggled over Tatum and Massey talking and singing Disney. Also had a smoked brisket sandwich with honey mustard spicy sauce from the famous Salt Lick – can totally see why; it was gorgeous! I got messy though. Too much sauce, Gaston. The first flight totally didn’t feel worth all the waiting around. We were barely in the air for an hour!

We weren’t at the Dallas airport for long. Which I was relieved by because it was apparently a ‘Pepsi only’ airport, meaning I couldn’t get any Red Bull anywhere! Of course I had a Matt style little huffy and had to make do with Rockstar instead, whilst watching some Psych. The flight was still only a few hours and I managed to get a good chunk of writing done, woohoo!

For the most part though the day was just about travelling. We got to our hotel, showered, then sat in bed watching Friends and eating popcorn. We’d gained two hours in the time zone crossover and at the same time the clocks went back at home. Just when we’d been able to figure it all out…

Super short flight and lots of leg room! I’m feeling spoilt…

23/9/13 – Let’s go on an adventure

So, what with America being such a turning point in my life, I figured I should get my butt in gear and actually keep a journal of it. Kel has the blog but it’s mostly hers (plus we only have her tablet for updating that and I suck with touch screen typing). So I’m keeping my own record of our adventure. Plus it gives me a good use for this lovely Durarara!! notebook I’ve had for over a year now and still haven’t used, since it’s pretty and I’ve been loathed to ruin it with my scrappy writing notes.

Anyway, the adventure started with a long-ass day of travelling. Half two wake-up to have time to straighten hair, last minute getting ready and saying goodbye to Pops and the woofies. Mom and Auntie Ann took us to the airport, which was nice but also bad since we all ended up having a blub. Yup, even me (hey, I felt left out!)

The trip through Birmingham airport was fast and smooth sailing (besides my bag getting searched for god knows what reason). The first flight was lovely and short. An American guy and a well-travelled businessman were sat behind us and we both spent the whole time just listening to their conversation – it was fascinating! (Kinda struggling to write around these characters at the bottom – almost wrote on Izaya there!) **[This is only relevent if you’ve actually seen my notebook, but just an excuse of how distracted I get even when writing!]

So we got to Paris and I then ended up getting searched another two times! Geez… I’ve never been searched before in my life and this time I scored a hat trick! The flight then got delayed and we were sat on the runway for an hour before taking off. Like nine hours isn’t already long enough to be stuck on a plane.

Managed to snooze on and off during the flight, started re-reading my Clive Cussler books, listened to some That Anime Show, watched some of the Tsubasa OVAs… (and was horrified! Poor Fai!) They gave us free packs of pretzels which was good, even more so because Kel doesn’t like them so I got both! That worked out well because the actual meals were weird and way fancy for us. Tried risotto. Didn’t like it. Also ended up eating broccoli because it was all mixed into the mash. What has happened to my life?

Had a fairly long transfer to our hotel, but got to see a bit of Miami. The camera whoring also began. Finally got to some wi-fi once we made it to our room so we could let everyone know we’d arrived safe. Annoyingly, Mom had signed out of Skype just five minutes before we got online! Dozy tart. We ended up Skyping Sid and she texted Dad for us to pass the message along. After that we went out in search of food and found a Denny’s! We visited Denny’s twice last year and both times I had a country fried beef steak thing. Of course I had it again this time. Was lush.

We were then shattered by this point so we came back to the hotel, got into our giant squishy bed (seriously, it’s huge and so comfy!) and put the telly on. Guess what was on? Enchanted. Well hello, Mr. Marsden. I’ve certainly been dreaming of a true love’s kiss after your role as Prince Edward. Happy to say that that was the perfect end to a long but very important day.

Just arrived safe in Miami. The view from our balcony!

Just arrived safe in Miami. The view from our balcony!