16th April: Manchester, Chicago and San Diego

Trip Start Apr 16, 2005
Trip End May 01, 2005

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, April 18, 2005

We rose at Dawn and exchanged our bedding for sheets of ice and a blanket of snow.  And a lovely fluffy eiderdown of fog.  By 6.30 we were gathered outside Aunty Margaret's house where a minibus was waiting to take us to Manchester airport.

After a hearty airport breakfast (and a quick visit to duty free, where a small lost lamb attached Itself to Xander) we first discovered the perks of flying AA with a two-year old: You get to jump the queue and get on the plane first!  (And lamb got a Special tag).  

I don't know what exactly we filled 7 hours and 45 minutes of toddler-time with (apart from 40 minutes of sleep and a ten-minute Screaming Ab-Dab), but anyone within 5 rows of us ended up wearing a sticker of a bat or pumpkin or spider or something, regardless of whether or not we knew them.
By the end of the flight he was an experienced international jet-setter.

A lot of people have expressed concerns and displeasure at the delays that the new US immigration procedures incur. Having now experienced this first-hand, I can pass on a handy hint that will save a lot of time: take a two-year-old! We got fast-tracked straight past a very long queue.  Of course, the downside is that you end up man-handling the whole party's luggage off the carousel, but with an eager Xander "helping" that just meant more fun and silliness.

Our Second flight (Chicago to San Diego) was somewhat less exciting and just shy of 4 hours, the latter half of which - thankfully - we finally managed to get X to sleep for.

The Sheraton hotel in SD is just fabulous.  A fantastic view across San Diego Bay, lovely atmosphere, very helpful staff.
We were given a huge twin-bed room - twin double beds! When we told Xander that one of them was his, he immediately said "No hippo!" [1] and headed straight for the door.  But we coaxed him back with the aforementioned lamb.

It's 9:30pm (PST) now, and I'm writing this on the patio by the marina, with only a cold beer, the splashing of the whale fountain and the twinkling lights of San Diego Bay for company. Nice.
I'm going to have to admit to myself that even the industrial-strength toothpicks they have here would be able to keep my eyes open much longer, and go to bed. But then it's 5am in blighty-time and I've been up for 25 hours.

Night all. Or morning or afternoon or whatever it is over there.


[1] For those not aware, he has chosen himself a new bed for when we get back. It's a SilentNight "My First Bed". And yes, it has a hippo on it. And hippo feet.
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