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Day Nine – Florida at last!

Ah yes readers, but not in the home you’re all thinking of. We’re in Florida. And yet again, even though I’m still in the USA, I’m knackered and jet lagged again. Yesterday I was next to the Pacific, now I’m on the Atlantic coast. There’s time difference that my body has eventually recognised. The problem with writing these blogs is that I’m doing them the next morning, and I have to remember what happened the day before. It’s usually first thing over a coffee and a Bloody Mary, but thanks to this time difference it’s now midday and it doesn’t seem right to have a Bloody Mary just yet. Oh go on then…

Scott McKenzie had a few hits in the 60’s singing about San Francisco, but was later confined to a mental institution when doctors looked into his drug addled lyrics, where he remains to this day. If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to have an endless supply of money and speak fluent Mandarin. (Doesn’t have the same ring to it?). Flowers in your hair my arse…

The day started like any other. Our taxi driver, was a nice bloke. He’d been in America since fleeing Vietnam in 1971. Nikki asked what was so bad about Vietnam at that time, and why he chose America. He mentioned something about the CIA, refugee status, relocation program, but to be honest I turned off. Anyway, after telling us about a chilling regime where you were shot if you smiled, and having to send money home so his grandchildren can eat a spoonful of rice every two months, he charged us a paltry four grand for the three mile trip to the airport. This country….

At the airport, we were strip searched to make sure we weren’t packing heat (yep, I’m getting the lingo now – I’ve seen gangster films) and onto the plane. United airlines. Internal flights. I flew United last year, and across the Atlantic they’re great, but the internal flight? Packed in like sardines at a rave, on seats made of gravel, with cabin crew trained by Jack Dee. The pilot was the only good thing. After announcing that he was keeping the seat belt sign on throughout the flight, due to many storms in the Kansas area, I feared the worst. However, he’d obviously been trained in threading needles at pilot school, because outside were the most beautiful clouds he was avoiding with stealth. Thunder all around us, but our flight was as smooth as an eel. Then we landed at home. Florida, for the 52nd time. I’ve spent more than a year and a half of my life here when you add up the weeks….

“What a very starry night” Nikki said as we drove from the airport in our Dodge Grand Caravan. “Look how bright that one is” she said, and pointed skywards. Now, we’re next to the airport, and the star she’s eluding to , is moving. You’re ahead of me here aren’t you? Yep, the North Star she was marvelling at was is fact the 19:55 from Stuttgart. Onto the villa, but not before the annual car rental rant. If you go to Rome, you want to sip coffee and gelato outside the Trevi Fountain. Paris, you need to buy garlic and sit next to the Seine, etc. What car did they try and palm me off with? A Kia. “What’s wrong with the Kia?” Asked Ron. “It’s a Kia” I replied. “What’s wrong with the Kia”. And on it went. I didn’t quite understand what happened next, but Ron said, “Those idiots at the front desk. I volunteered to come to the allocations desk 15 years ago, so they would give me early redundancy, but here I am 15 years later, with my leg, and they still got me sweeping up their crap. This is the eighth time today. You want a Grand Caravan and they give you a Kia. I don’t know what they’re playing at. I should put my white shirt on and go down there and give them a piece. I came here to help and I should be fishing in the Keys, but they just hang onto me, freakin’ morons”. I’ve checked this mornings news, and there’s nothing about a crazed car hire employee going mad with an AK……

We arrived at the villa around stupid o’clock, and decided it would be a good idea to go shopping for essentials…coffee, beer, so out we went. Forgot it was a Sunday night. Came back. Unpacked and slept. Here we are. The sun is shining, the pool is warm, and all we can hear are the relaxing sounds of the air conditioning unit working overtime. Oh, we did manage to buy washing powder readers, so you’ll be glad to know my pant situation has been rectified.

Life and retirement in Florida, so far, is good

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