Check in at Heathrow was a breeze. Got there early, excited for our obligatory Wetherspoons breakfast and pint. Aside from the fact that there is no Wetherspoons in Terminal 3, the breakfast was what we expected – fairly average and over-priced.
Anyway, so fast forward six hours and I’m thousands of feet in the air and four bottles of free miniature wine down. I’ve watched Logan and Passengers and enjoyed a fab free paneer curry. The pillows and blankets are working a treat and there is a great Geordie flight attendant. It’s literally everything you’re promised from the Virgin Atlantic adverts. I’ve even got an empty seat next to me so I can stretch out. I’m living the high-life and loving every minute. I’m a queen.
When we walk out of Miami airport it’s like walking into one of those spa steam rooms – hot and humid. But not to worry, we hail down our free hotel shuttle and get on the road.
The hotel is in the art deco district of South Beach. There is dance music playing in the lobby and the first thing they tell us after checking in is that you get free rum and vodka between 7pm – 8pm.
My initial observation of Miami is that walking down Ocean Drive is like being on sports tour: people in very little clothing drinking obscenely large cocktails while music plays loudly into the warm night.
By the second night we’ve given in. We’ve got our very own large Margarita with two Coronas stuck on top and we just don’t care. Everyone in Miami seems to be friendly and I’ve had countless high fives because my hair is an unusual colour.
The weather is super hot and we couldn’t look any more like tourists with our sunburnt shoulders and noses. We’re indulging a little. After all, the Miami part of our trip is our little holiday – some time to wind down and enjoy a break.
After the three days our mission is accomplished. We’ve had a good go at Miami, which also involved exploring Wynwood (Alex has written a good piece if you want to know more about that) among other areas.
Our last day arrives and it takes us a couple of ours to get to Fort Lauderdale Airport, which isn’t too shabby and we did get to ride on a double decker train.
We check in alright and print our boarding passes. After a bit of a reshuffle (we had a couple of things strapped to the outside of our rucksacks that weren’t allowed to be there, even though it was OK when we flew out with Virgin) our bags are allowed to be processed but the guy does remind us that the straps may cause them to rip in half because of the conveyor belt. No worries there then.
We get to our gate and we’re ready to fly to Lima with JetBlue, which is what I can only assume is America’s version of Ryanair. Our flight is delayed by two hours, meaning we don’t reach Lima until 1am. But that’s not even the best bit.
When we board the flight they start pumping this cold steam into the cabin. I think it’s great because it’s bloody scorching outside. Thing is, they don’t stop. And then you find out you can buy a blanket for $5.
Then I realise, this is the start of my actual travelling experience. I’d been lulled into a false sense of security starting with Virgin Atlantic and Miami. The holiday is over and from tomorrow we will be living on an extremely strict budget. It’s likely that I’ve had my first and last giant margarita of the year. It’s time to embrace my inner basic bitch.