Tag Archives: Holiday

Chicago 2018 day one

The day finally arrived after an eventful week where Mrs C had been unwell and was off work and I had to had over the UK engineering applications control to my more than capable colleagues in Europe.

The alarm went off at 03:00 for a taxi collection at 04:00. The door bell rang at 03:35 and it was one of Conrad’s drivers advising he was early but would wait outside but by 03:50 we were ready to leave. The drive to Manchester airport was quick but the drop off at T1 was busy. We were first in line at the Aer Lingus desk by 04:30 waiting for it to open at 05:05.

Checked in ok and off through security which was the busiest i’d seen it for a long while. We had a proper jobs-worth on our line who was so rude. We had filled our trays and were making our way through the body scanner when I got called back because the tray was too full, I pointed out that it he had actually been at the tray instead of taking too a colleague he would have been able to explain rather than being as rude as he was! This fell on deaf ears and I was told to just split the items up.

Once through security Mrs C was off shopping in duty free and as soon as she’d got the perfume she wanted and the aftershave for me she was happy.

Mrs C spotted TV chef Simon Rimmer who we know as he’s a friend with a friend of ours. We said hello but he didn’t recognise us – odd. So off we went to the quite lounge. But who should follow us in but Simon, this time he recognised us and we had a quick catch up.

First flight of the day 50 minutes to Dublin quick and simple.

Once in Dublin we went straight through to US immigration and that is where the fun started. Because of last year’s ESTA issue and the need for a full visa I was told I would have to be vetted again back behind the scenes. Mrs C was told she could either go to the gate and wait for me or go with me. She wasn’t letting me out of her sights and came with me. What seemed like ages but no longer than 20 minutes I was told I was ok to proceed. I asked if this would happen on a regular basis and was told maybe!

The extra check meant no Guinness for me so we just waited to board our Chicago flight.

The flight was ok, reasonable food but poor choice of film. I did actually manage to get some sleep which is unusual for me.

Landed in Chicago at 13:50 a little ahead of schedule, grabbed our bags and went to get the hire cars shuttle. Picked the car up ok and drove to Julie’s.

Julie has beaten us back as she had flown in from Canada and landed an hour after us but no bags or car to collect.

Warm and sunny 82 degrees

Pizza and beer and a chilled catch-up with Julie before going to bed at 21:25 a full 24 hours after getting up back in the UK.

We saw Chris briefly but no Elle as she was out but plenty of time for that.

Now let’s see what today has in store.

Mexico day ten – turtle day

Another late start to the day as we only went down for breakfast at 09.00, it’s going to be a struggle when we go back to work in another week but for now we’ll cope!

Last night we had a small lizard/geko in our room which I caught and set free outside, this morning Michele found another one but smaller. Again I caught it and set it free in the sun on the balcony.

Today we settled on the beach and it was another scorcher, 29 degrees or so. I spent the first hour reading while Michele listened to her music. I then got a quick call in to my daughter Sam, Harry and Nancy who had not been back from school long.

Then we went off in search of the elusive turtles again. Still no luck but we did see plenty of fish and a stingray up close in shore. The other fish were the big silver ones and small yellow and black ones I’d seen the other day.

Lunchtime was a quick trip to the beach BBQ, then back to the beach.

I needed to stretch my legs and went off again in search of the turtles, but this time off in the opposite direction. Along the way I came across plenty of Iguana, lizard and geko’s. Then I came across the beach with the turtle nests. Each one protected with a marker and a protective net enclosure. There was even evidence of hatched turtle eggs. They are just like table tennis balls! But still no turtles 🙁

Then again back to the beach to catch Michele up. A couple of mojito’s for me and even a Singapore sling for Michele. Then we had rain, yes rain and not like the 90 seconds worth we had the other day but a 20 minute downpour, so off to our room via the bar but the rain only stopped long enough for us to make it back.

It’s a very small world! Just before we left the beach I got talking to another Canadian who asked if I was from the UK and then whereabouts, I said Manchester and he asked if I knew Altrincham? Yes I explained I was a Timperley boy by birth. It appeared he lived in Altrincham for a few years when he was younger before he emigrated to Canada. Small world!

Tonight we are at the steak restaurant and i got over-faced with the surf and turf! A huge piece of salmon, three large shrimp and a piece of tenderloin. Not sure if it was all that, that filled me up or the 3 crab claws i had as a starter but non the less I was full to bursting.

Now sat writing my blog up wondering if I will ever see a word turtle?

Day Five – Tuscany 2015 – A day by the pool

Another sunny day here in Tuscany with hardly a cloud in the sky, the temperature at 08:30 already very warm!

The reason I know the temperature at 08:30 was warm is because I was the first one up and on my way down to the pool area to mark out our territory pending a German/Dutch invasion. Got to the pool area only to find it was locked until 09:00 and no one was waiting to get in, how strange! Rather than return to the caravan with the towels I thought I’d treat the happy campers to croissants from the bakery. Now I realised why there was no queue at the pool – they were all queueing in the bakery! The Europeans don’t queue orderly they are controlled by a ticket system. Ticket in hand I was number 10 but the number on the board read 65, I hoped it would return to 0 after 99! Thankfully it did.

Now back to the pool with the towels, pool now open, 50%+ of the sun loungers already taken! How the hell can that happen in just 15-20 minutes? Lucky though I did find three loungers together and with a parasol. The location I hope will keep Michele happy with sun until about 18:00 tonight, Josh is close enough to the pool and I have shade to read in.

Back to the caravan and oh what a surprise, they were both still asleep. How can you sleep for so long? Sod them I thought I’ll have my croissants with a coffee and read for a while on the decking. I can hear the wood pigeon, I wonder if Michele can too. She was talking yesterday of buying a gun, and that is from an anti-gun girl. Watch out pigeon!!

We spent the day by the pool and Michele set a new personal best of not moving position on her sun lounger for 5hrs. The life guard did come and check her pulse twice in that time as he was worried!! The hottest day so far at 28 degrees. The pool also seemed to be busier today, not too sure how the Brays will cope as they usually have the Caribbean sea to swim in!!

Another bit of excitement to by the pool this afternoon as the red cross who are stationed on site where called into action with their gurney (wheeled stretcher) as some young man about mid twenties has to be wheeled away strapped to it looking very embarrassed as the life guards were blowing their whistles to clear everyone out of the way.

BBQ time again tonight. I think I’ll finish off the draft red wine I bought yesterday. Not the best but at €2.50/litre it’s OK. I was looking to see if it was chianti (Tuscany’s famed red) but I don’t think it is. Maybe when Warren, Dawn and Adam get here we’ll go find a local one for Warren and I to drink. The way the wine works is that you pick up an empty bottle for €0.40 and then dispense your own wine from one of four huge barrels. Two red and two white, no rose though. When you have finished the barrel gives you a receipt for the amount of wine you’ve got which you take to the supermarket tills. The cashier sticks a label on the bottle so next time you use the bottle you don’t get charged for it. Now I know a few ladies that would love the wine dispenser and one in particular that would love the idea of getting Laurent Periere Rose champagne dispensed the same way, but only if they could get the fizz to stay in the bottles. What do you reckon Mrs M?

Since being in the sea on day two I’ve had sand and water in my left ear that I can’t shift. If it’s not gone in a couple of days I’ll see the nurse on site but up until then Michele can sit on my left. I did decide though this afternoon to visit the doctor on site who kindly emptied my wallet of €35 just to look into my ears and confirm that I’ve got sand, water and wax in my east canal that won’t let the water out! Thanks for the diagnosis which I could have told her anyway. But I was given a prescription for some fluid/drops to be administered 3 drops, 4 times per day for 5 days. The pharmacy then emptied my wallet of €15. I beer the excess on my travel insurance will be £50, so no point claiming that back! Thank goodness we have the good old NHS at home.

Can you honestly beat this life?