Eleven and a half hours. Doesn’t sound much, and its less than a day after all, but if you add ‘on a plane’ into the mix then eleven and a half hours sounds a very, very long time. 6,000 miles, okay 5,876 miles, would take quite a bit longer to drive.
We’re all set to go when there’s a big fuss and one of the passengers is led away by the (not exactly butch) steward, Julian, and doesn’t return. Not a criminal or a terrorist suspect, just an old man not feeling well, but they then had to search for and remove his suitcases from the hold, also try and find his hand luggage. This involved taking everything out of the lockers, showing it around and if nobody claims it, must belong to the sickly man.
A nice stewardess tells us a bit later, in a whisper, that the man was too drunk to be allowed to fly. Must have been pretty drunk then as four young lads opposite us are pretty merry, considering it’s half eleven in the morning.
We flew Virgin Atlantic – only booked with them after they had absolutely guaranteed that Richard Branson wouldn’t turn up – and I must say they did their best. They brought lunch out half an hour into the flight,
G wandered off to the back of the plane to stretch his legs, several times, and brought us an ice lolly back each time. Think he may have been chatting up ‘Julian’.
‘Pasty? Steak or cheese and tomato?’ I look at G in case he heard something different, but as he’s told me about ten times he can only hear the engine noise I’m no wiser.
Pasty?’ The nice girl says it again, she does mean a pasty.
‘Two steak, please,’ I say and there they are, two hot pasties in little paper wrappings. I try to open the packaging for ages, then give up and take G’s off him. Annoyingly, he opens mine in about half a second. The young bloke who wandered down from the back somewhere and spread himself over the only empty four seats on the plane ten seconds after take off, can’t open his pasty either. We both finish eating and he’s still struggling. I nod across at him but G ignores me. Offering to help another male with opening a paper bag is obviously not considered appropriate.
Everything has gone swimmingly, hotel last night near airport just fab. Poster said ‘Legends Tonite’ in the lounge and G groaned. Tribute bands!
There was an Elvis who was rubbish. Yes, he did look a bit like Elvis, when Elvis was fat, but not as fat as this man. He had a white sparkly jump suit on and it was so tight he could barely speak never mind sing. He did ‘All Shook Up’ and then said ‘any requests?’ People shouted out Hound Dog, Are you Lonesome Tonight’ and loads more, then he sang ‘In the Ghetto’ very badly, even though nobody had asked for it.
After him came’ Abba’ but there were only two of them and we kept waiting for the others, but they never same. The bloke with the beard forgot the words, twice, but the girl singer was very good. Even though she looked nothing like anyone in Abba.
Brekkie in hotel was gorgeous. Afterward sat in the lounge for a bit and a woman who’d accused me of breaking the toaster (just this once it wasn’t me) came over and said she was sorry as she’d just been pressing the wrong buttons. I don’t remember any buttons on the toaster, but she sat down and wanted to chat.
‘You off on holiday, then? Where are you going?’
I would have liked to have said, ‘to America, for a road trip. We’re going to…’ and then give a list of everywhere we hope to go to, but I need G for that as he does the ‘details’ so I just said, ‘America.’
‘Ooh, wouldn’t get me going there,’ she said, ‘all those fat people.’
Well! She was not exactly Twiggy, so more than a bit of pot calling kettle there.
Parked car at airport without a hitch, got airport bus and off we go. Why do you have to walk for miles with rushy cross people to get to the boarding point? Was singled out along with others to be frisked and body searched, where they rub you up and down. Glad it was quick as I can only hold my stomach in or 30 seconds without going red. Anyway, they didn’t take our stash of wine gums, fruit pastilles and tic-tacs.
Must say Virgin planes are rather lovely. Their aim in life seems to be to feed and water you. So far curry, ice creams and lots of drinks. It must be to keep everybody subdued and dopey. I said to G who can’t tell what anyone is asking, just say yes to everything, except the last question was are you Mr. Randall. It did confuse everybody when G just nodded. They wanted to tell Mr. Randall his daughter had had a baby girl, but they found the right Mr Randall and we all clapped.
Eight hours later now and we’ve just had cheese and chutney sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and a ‘mile high mint.’ Told G this is good practise for when we go into an Old People’s Home, as all you look forward to is the next meal and the one after that. Ooh brownie just arriving.
Arrived at San Francisco, 106 degrees so a bit warm, but because we had set off an hour late, no room for us to park the plane. Hour and a half on the tarmac and that still left us with about a thousand people in the Security lines to get into the US.
It’s now well after midnight, in real terms. Just the car to collect. Two wrong directions, a train ride and then our car was not ready. Have a seat and will call you, they said. Grr!
A sign on the wall says… ‘...Dangerously hot conditions to continue Saturday...
Today is forecast to be the second consecutive day of extreme heat across the entire San Francisco Bay Area and Monterey Bay Area. Widespread high temperatures of 100 degrees or higher are forecast to occur this afternoon. In addition, cooling overnight
has been limited and not sufficient enough to provide significant relief from the heat. Emergency management officials in the city of San Francisco reported excessive numbers of heat related illnesses on Friday and hospitals in the City were overwhelmed.
These are dangerously hot conditions and everyone is encouraged to take action to remain cool and to protect themselves from heat related illnesses.’
Will need lots of ice cream then.
Took them an hour to find us a car. It’s a big Nissan something or other and they gave us a sat nav as well as we’d waited so long. Just as well as we were straight onto. ‘Freeway’ with about ten lanes of traffic packed with Friday rush hour traffic. The sat nav said ‘turn left here’ so we did and it sent us the wrong way in a one way street and every driver in San Francisco tooted their horn at us. Just had to turn round, turn left, and keep on turning left until we got to the hotel.
Hotel is very big, two big beds in room and G is in the bath. He keeps telling me it is half three in the morning in England and he is tired. I say we used to stay out until three in the morning lots of times once and he said ‘yes, but it never involved a drive through San Francisco traffic with a sat nav that hates us and anyway, that was then, not now, and one of us has slept for hours on the plane.’
Wonder if he means me. Better go to bed.