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Old 05-27-2012, 08:38 AM   #1
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
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Taking Stitch to Hawaii and NOT Leaving Him There

Day 1

Finally the day I was waiting for had arrived. We were finally on holiday. I had an airport car service pick me up from the office and take me to the Crowne Plaza at Manchester Airport.



I had upgraded us to a Club Room earlier in the week. Check in was very smooth and after I had taken my luggage to our room, I went to the Club Lounge to check my emails and Facebook and to have my first J2O. They only had raspberry and apple, but that was rather pleasant.







I figured that I better check if Graham had arrived. We had both aimed to get to the hotel between 16:00 and 16:30, but I had got there a little earlier. I could not see him at first and was just about heading back to the club lounge when I spotted him near the screens showing the arrivals and departures. We took his stuff up to the room and just relaxed for a bit.

We decided to head back to the club lounge. We both had a soft drink and I took care of a number of things online. I made another attempt to check in online for our flights the next day. I had tried earlier on at work and could not get it to work at all. This time round, it was quite willing to check in Graham, but gave an error message for me saying that my passport had expired. My passport is still valid until July 2014 so I don't know what was going on there. I considered for a minute or two to just check in Graham, but figured that it would just complicate things the following morning. So I left it and we would both check in at the airport.











At some stage, Graham had gone back up to the room. From 18:00 to 20:00, they serve alcoholic drinks and canapés in the club lounge. I decided to go and got him. Graham had a Newcastle Brown Ale and I had a Gin and Tonic. I also had some gorgeous canapés with hummus and grilled peppers and a couple of spring rolls. I had a pretty busy day at work and had not eaten much so I needed something to soak up the alcohol.

Once we had finished our drinks, we headed over to the restaurant. They have a fabulous oriental restaurant called Sampans in this hotel that easily makes my top 5. When we got there, it was still really quiet. They had a new set menu and we decided to go with this. We had prawn crackers, chicken satay and sesame prawn toast for our starter, which came with three different dips including a gorgeous peanut sauce. Next up was chicken and sweetcorn soup. For our main courses we got Chicken Massaman Curry, Beef in Black Bean Sauce and King Prawns Kung Po. We also got a bowl of egg fried rice. Everything was delicious even though the Chicken Massaman Curry was a little bit on the salty side. Once we had finished this, we were offered tea or coffee. I had some Chinese tea and Graham went with a filter coffee.

I had the best intentions to head back to the club lounge for a post dinner liqueur, but by the time we had finished dinner, I was both stuffed and tired and this no longer appealed. Graham was tired, too, so we headed back to the room. We got ready for bed and then had an early night.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:11 AM   #2
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I'm here for the excitement must come back and read but wanted to subscribe.
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Old 05-27-2012, 10:56 AM   #3
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I'm here! Great start!
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Old 05-27-2012, 11:48 AM   #4
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yay a TR..
Loving the great start.
The club level looks just like the one at the Gatwick Hilton.
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:30 PM   #5
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I am really looking forward to your view of the cruise with a young couple from the UK's eyes.....each family sees the cruises in a different way!
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Old 05-27-2012, 12:33 PM   #6
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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I am really looking forward to your view of the cruise with a young couple from the UK's eyes.....each family sees the cruises in a different way!
Definitely. We had an absolutely amazing time. I can't wait to relive it all through this trip report.

Corinna
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:00 PM   #7
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Hello! Lovely start! It sounds so nice to stay so close to the airport.
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:08 PM   #8
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I am here!!!! Late but here!
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Old 05-28-2012, 02:32 PM   #9
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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I am here!!!! Late but here!
Plenty of time. I am going to take this nice and slowly. I am crazy busy at work at the moment as I will start my jury duty a week on Wednesday and I don't know what this will bring either.

Corinna
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Old 05-28-2012, 03:33 PM   #10
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Plenty of time. I am going to take this nice and slowly. I am crazy busy at work at the moment as I will start my jury duty a week on Wednesday and I don't know what this will bring either.

Corinna
no problem for me... I am so behind on everyone's TRs that I will enjoy the break! haha... Looking forward to the read, but take your time and enjoy it!
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Old 05-29-2012, 06:02 AM   #11
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Great start, looking forward to the rest
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Old 05-29-2012, 01:50 PM   #12
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YaY! A TR, you always do lovely trip reports! Looking forward to reading more xx
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Old 05-31-2012, 03:07 PM   #13
dolphingirl47
I will post my goodies once I am back
I have always been too worried to use the pillowcase
 
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Day 2

We were up bright and early this morning. I had been on a run of early shifts so getting up at 5:30 seemed pretty normal. We got up and got showered and dressed. I reorganised my hand luggage a bit as I wanted my cameras in my handbag. Once Graham was ready as well and we had packed the few things that we had needed, we took our luggage and headed down to the club lounge where they serve a continental breakfast in the morning.

We actually got to the club lounge before they were ready. Graham had some coffee and we both had some juice. Once they had finished setting up, Graham had some fruit and a croissant and I had a Pain Au Chocolat. Once we had finished our breakfast, we checked out. There was no line and the shuttle was already waiting in front of the hotel.

Because everything had gone so smoothly, we got to the check in before they were even open. It was interesting to watch how they were reorganizing the check in area. When the check in opened, we were first in line. My German passport caused the usual interest, but even though we ended up playing 20 questions again, the person checking it was pretty nice about it so it was not a problem. The rest of check in went smoothly. My suitcase was a little overweight, but they just waved it through. Security also went pretty smoothly even though my hand luggage was selected for manual screening. I think the door magnets that I had in there may have had something to do with this.

Once we had cleared all the formalities, we headed through to the departure lounge. When I had been there at the beginning of March for a day trip to the Airbus factory, I had seen a lovely shade of lip gloss that I was planning on getting this time round. Unfortunately this was a limited edition and they no longer had it. Still, I got two other lip glosses that I really like. With the shopping out of the way, we found ourselves a seat near the windows and watched the world go by. Soon it was time to head to the gate. Our plane was at a remote stand so we had to go on buses, but the whole process was pretty painless.







The flight to Atlanta went pretty smoothly. We had some brief periods of turbulence and at one point the captain even asked the cabin crew to sit down, but the periods of turbulence were extremely short. We spent a good part of the flight napping. Lunch was pleasant. We both had Chicken Breast with a Spinach Risotto and Red Peppers in a nice sauce. The wine that came with this was also pretty pleasant even though it came out of a cardboard box. After lunch, Graham watched two films: The Big Year and Mr Popper's Penguins. I started to read the latest installment of Kingdom Keepers, which is actually set on the Disney Dream. This was a nice introduction for the holiday.

When we were about 90 minutes from Atlanta, they served a snack, which consisted of Calzone and a tub of ice cream. I did not fancy the Calzone, but I had Graham's ice cream. By the time everybody had finished their snacks and they had collected all the rubbish, we started to descent into Atlanta.

We arrived into Atlanta in time and had three hours to play with. However, he encountered the longest lines that I have ever seen in Atlanta. It took us over an hour to clear immigration. Our luggage was already waiting for us and we breezed through customs and the baggage drop. Security was another matter. The line for this looked like we had arrived at Disneyland on a busy day. They line was well organised and they kept it moving, but it took some time until we had arrived at the front of the line. Once we had cleared security, I checked the screens for the gate for our connecting flight. Fortunately it was in the same terminal. We went to find the gate and then I found a Starbucks for my first Green Tea Frappuccino. I got Graham a Pomegranate Lemonade. By the time we had our drinks, we were called for boarding.

The next flight was operated on a Boeing 777-200, which was a lot more spacious then the planes that we had preciously encountered on domestic flights. By the time we had taken off again, I was definitely ready for my bed and I was sleeping for most of the flight with only occasionally waking up to check our position on the moving map. Again, we had some turbulence, but I slept through it.

We arrived in Los Angeles on time. We quickly used the bathroom and within seconds of us arriving in the baggage hall, I had both of our suitcases. The next part of the adventure was finding a phone to arrange pick up with the transfer company. I had been provided with a toll free number to ring once we had claimed our baggage. This worked a charm. When I called them, they advised that the driver would be with us within 5 to 10 minutes and gave me a description of the car. They were as good as their word. The company providing the transfers is a sister company of Supershuttle. It was nice that we did not have to wait for other people and that we were taken straight where we wanted to go without stopping anywhere else first. The driver pointed out various landmarks and soon we were in Seal Beach.

Our friends live in a gated community and we had been given instructions of how to get access. When we pulled up to the house, one of our friends was already waiting for us. We said " hi" and settled down in the living room with some "local" beer from Oregon. By this time we were quite hungry and our friend offered to put a pizza in the oven, which was very welcome. Once our other friend arrived home, we got the a grand guided tour of the house. I use the term house lightly. This is a mansion with 6 bed rooms and 6 bathrooms and too many reception rooms to count. Our room was off the kitchen and had its own bathroom.

By the time we finished the grand tour, our dinner was ready and we had pizza and garlic bread. We were equipped with a spare key, log in details for their wireless Internet and mobile phone numbers and then we said good night and headed to bed.
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Old 05-31-2012, 07:53 PM   #14
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Anotherr nice installment! Thank you, Corinna!
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Old 05-31-2012, 09:06 PM   #15
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I'm glad you had that three hour layover so you could get through everything without the stress of missing your next flight.

That was a full day of traveling, whew!
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