Florida – September 2011

T-1 – getting there (part 2)

Sunday 18th September

Ok, so we finally arrived here at the villa and for the first time since setting off nearly 24 hours ago, I feel like I can now relax just a little. I think the transition from ‘stressed’ to ‘relaxed’ will take a few days but at least we’re now well under way. We encountered no ‘major’ problems getting this far and we’re now tucked up safe and sound with full tummies and the kids finally in bed. The holiday has begun.

I had written part 1 of this blog whilst still on the long-haul flight from Sydney to San Francisco. As anticipated, it was every bit the gruelling journey I had feared. Well, maybe that’s just a bit of an exaggeration but I would not want to repeat the experience all too frequently if I had the choice. What’s always problematic for me is that I can’t sleep sitting in a chair – even one as ‘comfortable’ as a budget airline chair. When we had to do a similarly long-haul flight from the UK to Melbourne via Singapore, I managed to get just a little bit of sleep by laying on the floor beneath the centre row of 4 seats that we were assigned but I was constantly badgered by the cabin crew to get up off the floor for safety reasons and so I was somewhat cautious about attempting this again this time. Sleep deprivation will drive a man to desperation and so the time came that I could bare it no longer and squeezed onto the floor to try to get myself horizontal. Despite my keeping half an eye open each time I heard the cabin crew walk past, I actually managed several hours of sleep this time around – although I use the word ‘sleep’ quite wrongly. There’s only so much quality sleep you can get when there are various bits of seating infrastructure jutting into your ribs, hips and back whichever way you attempt to turn or jostle. The kids were doing OK, in that they topped and tailed on three of our four centre seats. Jennifer must have tossed and turned a few times. At least, I think it was Jennifer. I’m judging this by the weight of the object that feel squarely onto my face on at least three separate occasions whilst I was on the floor, each time sending me into a fit of apologies to what I thought was a member of the cabin crew trying to rouse me to get up off the floor.

Having flown through numerous US airports at various times in the past, we had high anticipated that the sufficient time between legs of the journey would allow us to seek out a decent sit down restaurant to get a decent meal. In Melbourne, the one only restaurant on the other side of the security check-point was completely out of bread, eggs and just about anything else useful and the entire airport terminal building was also without running water, to add insult to injury. Our two strollers/buggies/prams were to accompany us throughout this trip and we were to hand them in at the door of each aircraft for collection at the other end of each flight. With two kids and loads of carry-on luggage, these would serve us to either sit the kids in or to carry the luggage with (or both as was the case a few times) but when we arrived at Sydney, it took the ground crew over half an hour to retrieve the damn things and so we lost so much time as to make getting a decent sit down meal impractical. We fared a little better in San Francisco time wise but the only restaurants they had there were of the ‘food court’ variety. Now, we did somewhat anticipate these sorts of issues and so we took loads of sandwiches, drinks and snacks with us. Alas, this backfired just a little, as the security checks forced us to ditch any liquids and fruit and such. Oh well.

The final leg from San Francisco to Orlando went very well. Somewhat unexpectedly, the flight only lasted for just under five of the eight hours that I had thought it would. Either I was mistaken about the expected duration of the flight or the pilot had sopped up with extra premium grade fuel or something. Either way, we arrived in Orlando with minimal fuss, collected the rental car and made our way to Highway 192 for a mid-night feast as Denny’s, which included T-bone steak, eggs, hash-browns, toast, pancakes and an ice-cream Sunday. Yum! We were in the villa shortly there after and we’ve spent the best part of the past hours trying to get the kids to fall asleep.

It’s now Sunday September 18th and local time here is 02:07a.m. I think I’ll call it a night and se just how long it takes for me to get off to sleep. Somehow, I doubt it will take long at all 🙂