Deerfield Beach, Florida USA
Ok, so its like ten days before I'm due to go to Miami and along comes Hurricane Wilma with its path going directly over the area I'm due to stay in, I mean How Rude! I was in regular contact with fellow Vt'er Lucy who I was going to stay with and then all contact broke down... The hurricane had hit Miami and its surrounding areas badly!
Not being one to panic I weighed up the pros and cons to the trip I had been planning all year, a couple of days before I was due to set off I heard from Lucy, her home and herself had only suffered minor damage and I was still ok to come, at that point she still had no electricity but it was planned to be reinstated soon, so I thought what the heck and I packed mine and Amy's gear up.
We flew to Gatwick London, as the Isle of Man does not fly directly to Heathrow. I had thought there would be a train to Hetahrow from Gatwick but i was wrong the best way to get there was to take the National Express £18.00 for myself and Amy which took a good two hours to get to Heathrow where we were to stay overnight ready for the long flight. (I recommend staying at one of the hotels in the surrounding areas but would suggest you searcjh on the net for the cheapest deals). I stayed at The Quality Hotel which is just in Slough it was very reasonable the rooms were nice and the food was great and not too expensive. The next morning we got the Hoppa service again to Heathrow and went to wait for our plane, preparing for the long flight to Miami.
We had prebooked two window seats but unfortunately you have to go back onto online checkin to confimr these 24 hours beforehand something i had not realised so we were given two seats in the centre aisle between two other passengers I mean Come on Airlines what are you thinking! My Daughter is three! I advise dthe cabin crew as soon as possible that it would not be suitablt to have a child sat there for the whole journey as every parent with a youngster knows children have an obsession with bathrooms from an early age and I would not liek to put any other traveller out by climbing across them every fifteen monutes or so. Luckily enough we managed to swap seats which was such a relif to me and I'm sure to my fellow passengers. Amy was quite well behaved on the plane except for the fact she scribbled in felt tip on one of the folding tables I almost died when I realised I could not wash it off. (Sorry Mr Branson!)
Anyway the kids pack she was given was not what I had expected, in fact it was pretty poor. She did enjoy the movies which helped as did I. On arriving at Miami Airport we had to go through immigrations. A tip to travellers if they ask you to move to another queue and you think...'I'll stay here I'm queueing now I'll be at the front soon. Just move. I queued for about half an hour until I realised that those who just moved to one of the other queues were gettinmg through quicker.
Shock Horror my thumbprint wouldn't go through, more dramas I was trying to remember what previous criminal activities I may have been a part of which would stop me from entering the country and I could feel a bead of sweat start to cross my brow when luckily for me it was accepted the second time. Finding the baggage was a breeze after that and then at the glass windows I saw Lucy's big smile as she waved frantically through the glass at me. I was so relived to see her there looking so friendly and welcoming after the eight hour flight with Amy.