Day 1

Wednesday 11th November 2009

Woke at 5am; I guess I’m excited about going on holiday. Got up shortly after to update accounts and check I have everything for the trip. Installed latest version of AVG virus software and PC decided to go to blue screen of death, but finally installed OK. Had shower, breakfast and packed cases before setting off for Heathrow. 

Traffic was quite heavy on the way down so we didn’t arrive at the airport until 10.30am. We checked in our bags then made our way through the security and bought a couple of bits for the flight. At 11.20pm we went through the departure lounge and boarded shortly after. 

We were served drinks then I was given my gluten-free meal before everyone else. Watched some films, listened to music and played some games. The flight took around 9.5 hours. 

On arrival at Miami we had to queue at passport control for about 15 minutes where we had our fingerprints and photo taken. We then collected our cases which were ready pretty much as soon as we got through to the baggage claim area. 

We got through customs without a hitch; I was a little concerned about the food I had packed in the case as some foodstuff cannot be brought in to the USA but the official never questioned us. 

We found the Dollar car hire desk but were told to get on a bus to collect the car. After a little wandering around we eventually got on a courtesy bus that took us to the collection point.  It took ages to get served at the rental desk and at first it seemed they couldn’t find my car hire reservation but eventually it was sorted and we were told where to pick the car up from.  

We were given a quick demo of how to take the roof down on the car and then I programmed the hotel address into the sat nav and we set off. The car was a White convertible and Matt was most impressed by the space he had in the front for his legs.

It had been a few years since I drove in America but I was very conscious of driving on the correct side of the road when I set off. The sat nav directed us to a toll road which cost $1.25 to get through. We then proceeded to the hotel which took around 25 minutes. We parked up in a parking meter spot which was right outside the hotel and then checked in without any problems.  

We took our bags to room 703, which although basic, was OK for our needs, with two double beds, air conditioning and a fridge. The room overlooks the seafront although we couldn’t see anything as it was dark at this point.
We unpacked our cases and then decided to go to get something to eat.

We walked for around 15 minutes before finding a restaurant that had food I could eat. The waiter suggested a starter which turned out to be melted mozzarella cheese. We were given some bread and chorizo which I was concerened about eating. I asked the waiter and he confirmed it contained no wheat. I ordered steak and rice whilst Matt went for a burger. The meal arrived, Matt’s being rather large which he struggled to finish. The meal cost $45 with a tip which is about £30 in Sterling.

We walked back to the hotel, stopping off at a shop to buy some drinks for the hotel room.  

As we had been up for a very long day (it was now 2.30am UK time I soon became tired and so got into bed and dropped off to sleep.