Got up around 4:45 to catch a bus and then train to Gatwick. TP got up and had a cuppa with me before I left. I was contemplating whether to take my big coat and boots but when I saw it was going to be -7 at the time I planned to visit the Grand Canyon I thought I would!
There was ice on the car windows as I walked to the bus stop but very still so it didn’t seem too bad. Bus plane on time and dropped me at Blackfriars. Found my way to the platform up heaps of stairs. I am glad I travel reasonably lightly although there must have been a lift somewhere as it’s a new station.
I had checked in online so just went to bag drop but my ticket was “inconsistent” I think they said and I had to go to another desk. After making a phone call she said that it was ok and I could check in. She said the problem was that my return ticket wasn’t showing up but assured me I would be able to get home!
I hadn’t cleaned my boots from our foray into the Norfolk country side so I thought I had better do that as they were covered in mud. I had picked up a stick on the way to the bus to facilitate this task. I didn’t think the US would want UK mud really.
Resisted the temptation to have a yummy crusty baguette at Pret a Manger and just had a tes while waiting for my gate to show.
Once it showed I went to the gate, through into the waiting lounge and straight onto the plane. I was one seat from the back where there were toilets and just as well as it turned out. I was up and down all flight. not to use the facility but to get more tissues! As the flight progress my not running at all nose turned into a veritable running tap!
Everything was go at 10:05 , take off time but we didn’t actually go until around an hr later. They had to deice the plane before we could go even though the sun was shining. Was quite amusing because as soon as the seat belt sign went out there was a mad rush for the toilets.
Little bit of turbulence but not much. We had a meal which was quite palatable; I had the curry and there were 2 other options with a yummy chocolate mouse for desert. They bought an ice lolly, pasty and drinks around during the flight with a cheese and pickle sandwich, chocolate caramel sweet and crisps for afternoon tea.
Slow progress through passport control but no delays through customs. The guy in front of me only had a small carry on and he was staying 10 days with £400 cash. The official was obviously suspicious and sent him for further scrutiny.
I was going to get a sim card before I left the airport but there were no shop, in fact no facilities whatsoever except a money change place so that plan failed!
I had a rental car and there was a shuttle to the rental place so I got on that. One was full so had to wait about 15 mins and then it was about a 15 min drive.
The young man at the desk was very helpful. I answered his questions as well as I could between complaining about my cold and blowing my nose. He was a well travel guy. Of Canadian/ Japanese extraction and had lived in both places and obviously was now living in Vegas.
I had chosen a surprise car because it was the cheapest (of course!) He said the surprise was that it was a small town car. I didn’t mind but he then asked where I was planning to go. When I said the Grand Canyon he was a bit concerned as he said it wasn’t suitable for that. I think he upgraded it because when I went to get the car I picked a Ford Focus, mainly because it was red! I didn’t realise what it was until I got in, in the passenger side to begin with! Must remember to drive on the right/correct side!
The car we had to go away for Christmas was also a ford focus. At least I didn’t have to work out where everything was, just transpose it to the other side.
They didn’t show me to the car and explain how it worked. No, they just said, “Pick any car from bays 5 and 6!)
Anyway, back to the desk. He wanted to check my insurance but my phone wouldn’t connect to the free internet. Never fear I said, I’ll try the computer. The single page I had didn’t provide enough information. The computer connected, I found the document and he was very happy. He said it was very comprehensive insurance.
He also said that it would cost me a fortune for data if I bought a pay as you go sim. $US30 per gig. He said he would give me a GPS for a discounted $US20 which had unlimited and that it would work out cheaper because maps uses so much data.
He said he used to sell mobile phones before his current job. I decided to go with the GPS because I had to find my way to the accommodation for one thing and I know using maps does use heaps of data. It is like a phone and provides a limited amount of phone calls, messages, and apps. He said I could make international calls if I wanted to!
So, I tried to put the GPD into the holder they gave me but gave up and used the one TP had lent me. Then I decided my big boots were probably not the best to drive in so I got out and riffled through my ase again and got some other shoes. Ready now, I think so , seat adjusted, mirrors adjust, just have to keep the brain adjusted to drive on the “wrong” side of the road.
Feeling pretty terrible after a long, mainly sleepless flight and dealing with a tap for a nose so I kept reminding myself to stay on the right!
The nice lady on the GPS guided me in the correct direction. Went via a couple of multi lane freeways. They are Ok as you can’t go on the wrong side once you are on them. It felt really weird, and I am glad there was a car in front to follow, when I got off as I had to go across 5 lanes at a strange angle to get to right road.
Found my accommodation. Not my best choice. When I booked it and checked on Google Maps, I am sure it was 30 mins walk to The Strip. It isn’t, it’s more like 2 hrs so just as well I booked the car for the whole week. I Certainly stuffed that one up!
The accommodation is not crash hot either. It looked really nice in the pics. I had to ask for an extra lamp as I could see with the overhead light. There is a huge array of breakfast cereal but there was no milk. No comfortable chair but the bed is fine, I can sit on that. There is no chair at all as such, just 2 stools against the table and a bar stool. It does have a microwave to boil water for my tea. It’s obviously a coffee place as it has a coffee maker!
There is also a big bowl of sweets and another of snacks but I won’t be tempted by them as they are not chocolate.
AND most importantly there was a box of tissue which I think will be empty within 24 hrs.
First job was to go and get some milk for my tea and while I was there I also bought some bread, butter and soup for dinner. I drove even though it was only a couple of blocks so I had to make sure I stayed on the correct side. I managed it. The main roads around here have 2 and 3 lanes each way plus another which seems like a parking lane although I’m not sure about that yet!
Where I am staying has one lane and what I think is a parking lane.
I took some packets of cereal out of a bowl to heat my soup up as there are only 3 plates other than that. I don’t expect people really eat at home when they are on holiday but I didn’t feel like going anywhere!
The hostess, Anastasia, is really nice. She is Russian. When I went and asked for the internet code and more light, she also brought me some medicine for my cold which was really thoughtful of her. She told me she used to be a pharmacist.
Had my soup, watched the goggle box for a while, w
hile sorting out all my electronic stuff with internet, charging etc. Tried to write a bit but couldn’t keep my eyes open so went to sleep around 9. At least I didn’t have to blow my nose while asleep!