Pelican's peanut butter
The holiday started well with the joy of not queueing with premium economy and yes, madam would like a bucks fizz thank you very much. Unfortunately, on landing at Miami, the US national paranoia kicked in. After the usual rigmarole of photos and fingerprints, we were then selected for Dept of Agriculture security checks. Yes, really!
No, we hadn't come from a farm, no, we weren't going to a farm and no, we weren't carrying any fruit or vegetables. What was the purpose of our trip? Last time I checked, it was a holiday and not a barn-raising!
Our faces dropped again as we joined the queue at Alamo car rental - it was huge. The first American so far with a smile, greeted us and whisked us away to a automated booking machine as we were Virgin Atlantic customers - bonus! After a bit of jiggery pokery, our booking was confirmed and we were heading off to pick up our 'midsize SUV'. Sadly, so was everyone else!
After a mere 10 mins wait though, more vehicles were delivered and we were off to decipher the gps before hitting the Miami traffic in our VW Tiguan. Mr Fiennes was a tad disappointed as he wanted an American car but you can't have everything!
Lucky the gps was the same as ours back home so we were soon heading out towards the Interstate 75. After the initial terror of driving on the wrong side of the road had passed, we soon discovered that the I75 is possibly the most boring road ever devised. The most exciting thing about it, is it's name - Alligator Alley. The first views of sawgrass and mangrove swamps as far as the eye can see are beautiful and sightings of storks and vultures catch the eye initially, but after mile on mile with no bends or junctions or indeed, any change of scenery at all, it can get a little monotonous to say the least. My head started to nod. Mr Fiennes was in a 'no sleep til bedtime' frame of mind however, so the continued pokes in the ribs put a stop to that. Don't worry, I'll get him back when he's least expecting it.
The week before we flew out, I found that the Space Shuttle Endeavour was due to launch for the last time ever on Friday 29 April. We were gutted we would miss it by such a small margin. As fate would have it, however, the launch was cancelled. A fault was found in Power Unit 1's heater and rescheduled for Monday 2 May if they can fix it in time. My plans for a lazy day tomorrow by the pool have been shelved - it's not every day you get to see something shot into space!
The gps came up trumps and delivered us safe and sound at the villa at around 8pm. After an extremely quick wash and scant brush up, we nipped down the road to Pelican's Bend - a well recommended local restaurant http://www.pelicanbendinc.com/
Oh boy, wouldn't my parent's just adore this place. The ship's wheel and the fish motif would keep them entertained for hours! We were their youngest clientele by a good 20 years. We weren't here for the nightlife though so happily perused the menu with a little help from our host, Captain Mike. I plumper for Coconut shrimp whilst Fiennes went for a good ole Angus burger and fries. It seemed rude not to sample one of their pies too before we left - a key lime and a peanut butter pie which should, strictly speaking, be illegal for it's near stupefying effect on Mr Fiennes. We weren't disappointed to say the least and I dare say we'll be visiting them again before we go home - if only to taste the white roughie which I hope is a fish!
Back at the villa, we got the air con set to our preferred sub-zero climate and crashed out in the superking-sized bed. Turned out to be a memory foam mattress - first impressions feel quite nice but let's see what my back thinks of it in the morning shall we?!