A Gastronomic Treat, or two
15.05.2012 - 16.05.2012 21 °C
It seems like several thousand miles ago since we were in Madrid. Hang on it was.
So here was Bob in the Iberia lounge in the Satellite terminal of Madrid airport. And we had more than 2 hours more in that lounge, down to the delay of the incoming flight which was diverted to the Azores when a passenger was taken ill. We got off about 2.5 hours late.
But the excellent crew on our American Airlines 767 made up for it with really excellent service and food.
John had the beef...
and Bob had the chicken...
On these smaller planes, they hand out Samsung tablet PCs along with the usual Bose noise-cancelling headphones to access the entertainment system. Not allowed to keep them though.
During the afternoon, we were forced to eat a pizza each.
Despite the threat of tropical storms, these were further up the coast and we had a clear view of Miami beach.
When we made our reservations, there was an offer to try a new service offered by the airline. Called 5 Star service, you're met off the plane by an airline rep who puts you on a cart, where a nice young Hispanic is waiting to....
... drive you to Immigration. There the rep whisks you through the shortest queue then on to baggage claim, through customs and out to your hotel courtesy bus. For Miami, which is renowned for being chaotic, this was a dream (come true). The driver was not allowed to go all the way.... but he went as far as he dare (yep, we had to walk a little).
We had a bit of a wait for the bus, but, pretty soon, we were settling in to a nice room at our Miami airport hotel.
Next morning, when the 5 star service continued, our driver was a different shape, size.... and gender
but very helpful, nevertheless.
Onboard the 777 to Los Angeles, there was breakfast to come
and Bob's cereal
It was cloudy as we went up the Gulf coast but cleared in time for a great view of the Grand Canyon.
No hassle picking up our rental car, a big red Nissan Pathfinder. At the gate, the attendant was very happy to take my International Drivers Permit. (Those in the know about John losing his Driving Licence will wish to note). Pulling out into the swirling LA traffic was pretty nerve-racking but we soon calmed down and began to enjoy being part of the tide of cars that flows round this massive metropolis.
Found our hotel in Santa Monica but had to wait an hour or so before our room was ready. It was rather like the previous day, waiting for our flight but this time, no free food and drinks!
As mentioned, soon after we go into our room, there was a knock at the door and two huge slices of chocolate cake appeared and under them, a small Hispanic waiter. It had leaked out that it was someone's birthday sometime this year!
It's only a 10 minutes stroll down to the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica pier, full of America's finest.
The pier also marks the end of that most famous of all American roads (a section of whcih we will be travelling later in this trip).
Incidentally, apart from the traffic, it just like being at home, if only because most people both here in LA and even more so in Miami, are speaking Spanish!
More soon, amigos.