Up at the crack o sparrows, our chauffeur (kurt) picks us up at 05:45 and we’re off to Manchester Airport.
You’ll no doubt be pleased to know that in their never ending drive to inflict the maximum misery and make air travel as unpleasant as possible, terminal 2 Manchester have excelled themselves yet again. This time all the airport lounges are full.
On top of that we have to catch a bus to the plane. That has the advantage of adding 2 extra queues to the process. Sheer ingenuity.
Well I’m fully reconciled to 24 hours of hell. Pity no one comes up with some tablets or even drugs that just switch you off for 24 hours.
Abandon hope all yea who try and defy gravity.
90 minutes in Atlanta to get through immigration and then be rescanned in case we managed to pick up any explosives whilst on the plane. Machines scan our passports and take our finger prints. They’re so good that 50% of the people then have a repeat performance with an immigration officer – pots for rags – but at leasts it’s another innovative and inventive way to increase the misery factor.
When it comes to immigration control (stamp, stamp, stamp and squiggle) and TSA this place feels like some third world country. There’s not a lot of intelligence, common sense or creativity goes into it.
At least the airport lounge at Atlanta isn’t full, surprisingly empty, but very plush, spacious and welcoming. Great food and free drink, but alas I’m driving.
Pick up car from Enterprise – Hertz are getting too greedy. Not quite as slick as Hertz but at least someone explains all the controls on the car and we get a free full sized luxury upgrade. Finally arrive at our new home for the next month at about 05:00 UK time. End of mandatory day from hell.
Up so early. Waiting for the sun to come up and see the surroundings. Our Home exchange is stunning, I’ll let the photos speak for us. A
bungalow in the foothills outside Albuqurque. Also comes with a car – Toyota Prius petrol and battery efficiency. On top of that there’s wifi of course and it’s an Apple home. I’m immersed in the warming comfort of Apple Airport Express, fanning dual band mega Hertz wifi through me, with Apple TV and an iMac. Even have a couple of bikes – awesome.
Drive down to a local restaurant chain, Wecks, for breakfast. They have some tempting Mexican offerings but I settle for French toast with blueberries. Now I know we’re back in America.
Morning unpacking and finding our way around the house. The views into the garden and the hills are great and it’s a veritable cornucopia of birds and wildlife in the garden.
Take the rental car back to the airport and then Wendy gets her weekly fix with a trip to Smiths, the local supermarket. Wendy accuses me sneaking off to Starbucks. Excuse me I didn’t sneak away. I helped get the essentials, wine and coffee, and then went to top up my caffeine and vitamin D levels to help alleviate early onset rickets caused by 6 weeks in Belthorn.
Wot no Walter! Wot no Blue Meth sales executives hawking their wares – do we look too old for such delicacies? Visit to Albuquerque Old Town,
and unlike most American “Old Towns” which are usually 40 years old, this doea at least date back to 1700’s – now there’s some history. Thought we’d never been to Albuqurque, but a tad worrying as when we see the band stand and town plaza we realise we’ve been here before.
Find a Starbucks for a liquid lunch and a banana. I know I’ve really learnt a new language, Starbuck speak, when I can go up to the young girl and ask for a “dirty Chai” and she doesn’t smack me across the face or have me arrested.
Lazy morning as usual.
Plan A spoilt, get to the top of Sandia Peak (10,600 feet) and it’s cold, rain showers and hidden by cloud. Walk abandoned. Plan B, walk in
the sunshine in Elena Gallegos Park 4,000 feet below Sandia Peak. Barely 2 miles but at least we get some exercise.