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.

2/11/13 – Fighting crime like a boss, lol!

Had a pretty lazy wake-up. Lay in bed eating Funyuns whilst watching Justice League and Teen Titans Go. We then went over the road to do the dreaded laundry. It actually wasn’t too bad. I got some writing done whilst waiting. Not to mention I totally wanted to climb in one of the laundry carts and say ‘If you want this cart then you’re gonna have to take me with it!’ Kel wouldn’t let me though. Boo!

After we finished we went for a wander through Ventura for some lunch. I’m still amazed at how ridiculously sunny it is in November – I was even wearing a boob tube top and my tiniest skirt (whilst photos on Facebook show that everyone back home are wearing scarves and woolly hats!) I had some lovely berry cider with lunch too. Perfect for this weather! We had more of a wander afterwards but couldn’t seem to find our way down to the beach. Instead we sat and had some cocktails in one of the bars. Everyone in there was really fun and nice – both the staff and the other customers! Everyone still seems to find what we’re doing really fascinating… Do Americans not travel much or something?

We then got giant ice creams on the way back to the motel. Watched a mix of American Pie 2, Grown-Ups, Men In Black and Scary Movie 2 (as well as some crazy-ass cartoon about what we think were a cat and a goldfish). Mostly just quite a big TV day, shockingly, though I did paint my nails a nice sparkly orange.

If you want this cart then you’re gonna have to take me with it!

1/10/13 – Barbeque on the beach

So October started with some very awkward dreams for me. Yay. Almost had a late start because Kel hadn’t set the alarm properly in her merry state, but thankfully we still managed to be ready in time. Today was a beach day. The beaches here really are gorgeous – the ideal white sands and blue seas. The sand was incredibly soft, but so much so that it was really difficult to walk on and felt like it was giving me a proper workout!

It became a not-so-lazy-feeling day though. The treks back and forth across the sand in the high heat made me really worn out, much more than it should have done. It was just too hot and there was no breeze at all until later on in the day. I think I must have had a touch of sun stroke because I felt faint more than once and was glad when it got to pick-up time – normally you have to drag me in out of the sun! On the way back we stopped off at Walgreen’s, so I grabbed a can of Red Bull. Don’t think I’ve ever downed an energy drink so fast. It had actually been thirteen days since I’d last had one. Not that I was counting or anything… Sshhh.

We were then all in the lift to get to our rooms and I said that I felt like a tramp because of being on the beach all day. Derek seemed to find this really funny and I realised afterwards (thanks primarily to the Little Mermaid of all things) that in America tramp generally means hussy. So I’d just announced to everyone that I felt like a slut. Oops.

Had plenty of time to get ready before tea – I had a gorgeous steak (along with the most monster pile of onion rings!) We talked more about the goings-on of New Orleans and just general topics of music, theatre shows and the like. On the way there we’d been talking about Adam’s ‘friend’ from Newbies. Kel said that she couldn’t realistically have been referred to as a girl and Adam corrected her with “old whore”. I think Derek thinks we’re all mental, especially any time Kenny’s mentioned.

We grabbed some booze on the way back so that we could all reconvene in someone’s room for a little while before finishing packing (Derek had a rain check because of driving and having to have another early start tomorrow). So we all chilled in An’s room for a bit. Kel revealed to everyone else that the creepy/cute motel-like inn we’d stayed at actually backed onto a cemetery. She’d seen it on Google Maps and had very wisely not told me until the following morning. Jayda and Robyn’s reactions were definitely similar to mine. Oh, and apparently I now have the reputation as the heavy drinker of the group. I obviously have no clue where that idea came from (probably not helped by the fact that I admitted I always keep a bottle opener in my makeup bag but hey, I’m just prepared for the worst!)

Kel’s postcard shot (right before we Skyped Mom and Dad – just to rub it in!)

 

24/9/13 – Settling in

Body clock’s out of whack and still on British time, so I ended up getting up crazy early. Watched some more Tsubasa and unpacked our clothes to kill some time. We very slowly got ready and went down to the pool for a couple of hours. Came back up to the room around eleven-ish for our Skype date with Mom! Her camera wasn’t working and the sound was quite temperamental too, but it was still nice to get to talk to her.

Headed back down to Denny’s for lunch and had some loaded fries and then cinnamon pancake puppies. Both very yummy! Then went to the strangest supermarket to grab some pop. They played some bizarre classical music and most of the aisles smelt of hamsters. I did get a small tub of Apple Jacks to try though (which I’ve obviously wanted to do for ages) and they’re so good! I don’t eat cereal because I hate milk, so I just ate them like a bag of crisps!

Went back down to the pool again for another few hours. The sun had disappeared behind the massive hotel opposite, so we chose some sunbeds and waited it out. As soon as the sun did appear it was then swallowed up by the biggest black cloud that had come out of nowhere. Typical. We then had a huge clap of thunder that scared the crap out of Kel and it suddenly started raining. A lot. So we escaped back to our room. Had another quick Skype session with Mom and a longer one with Theresa. Then sat eating Apple Jacks and watching Adventure Time whilst waiting for the rain to stop (James would be proud).

Had tea at Tony Roma’s. Kel pointed out a pineapple cocktail that of course I had to have. Was lovely but I soon discovered it was non-alcoholic! Washed it down with a proper Cosmopolitan though, which made it all better. The manager then gave us two green blocks and the challenge to make a pyramid out of them for a free appetiser. Safe to say we failed. He still gave us the voucher prize though. Win!

On our return to hotel after food. Me “playing up” on the luggage thing!