I sent yesterday’s blog from the flight from London-Philadelphia (the one we were almost kicked off from). I never said anything about the flight though. There are some things that struck me each time I travel on an American airline. First is the age of the cabin crew. The guy serving us was definitely closer to my parents in age than he was to me. If my parents ever run out of money in their retirement they can clearly get a job with any American airline as cabin crew. Only thing is that my parents probably couldn’t be as grumpy as the cabin crew. Given America is so known for their service, it really seems that all the grumpy, non-service orientated people end up as cabin crew.
The flight landed a few minutes early and the international arrivals hall was totally deserted. It seems we were the only international flight landing at the time and so we had no delay at immigration (and the guy was quite friendly too – also unusual). We parked at gate A6 and our connecting flight to Greenville, SC was from F29. We decided to walk to exercise off the 20 hours of flying. 15 minutes later and sweating profusely we got to terminal F. Fortunately we could use the AA lounge. They give you drinks vouchers when you enter because you get nothing for free in AA lounge! Another thing that immediately struck us was that anyone talking on their cellphone did so with an ear piece in. No one just talked on their phone holding their phone to their ear. Worried about brain cancer? Too lazy to hold phone up to their ears?
At the gate for the flight to Greenville they announced the flight was overbooked (another one!) and that they wanted 2 people to give up their seats. $500 voucher for any OneWorld alliance flight and guaranteed seat on the next flight leaving 2 hours later. No takers. Next offer, $750 voucher … was thinking of offering Helen and Chloe at that point! The flight probably only costs around $200 so that is a real profit. I’m sure if you pick carefully you could travel perpetually at the expense of the airline on this basis! We ended up leaving late (waiting it seems for two AA flight crew to join the flight … probably why they needed two seats) and so arrived about 15 minutes late into Greenville. Pretty bumpy flight as well due to the thunderstorm activity around … plane shook like a blender at times (nervous flyers wouldn’t have been happy).
We have rented a car for the time here. First reminder of real American service standards. Show drivers license; give you the keys. Nice big American yank-tank made by Kia (Korean)! Never seen such a big Kia so no doubt made specifically for the USA market. 30 minutes to hotel (caught in rush-hour traffic on 6 lane highway). We are staying at Westin Poinsett in downtown Greenville (http://www.westinpoinsettgreenville.com/). Quick shower to wash off 28 hours of travel and then we headed for dinner at the place my brother, parents and some of the other family were staying (Swamp Rabbit Inn). They booked the whole place. Dinner was Shrimp Boil – basically shrimp, sausage, potato and corn boiled up together and then you just dump the pot contents on the table and everyone just eats with their fingers. It was invented in South Carolina in a place called Frogmore (used to be called Frogmore Boil). My kind of food. Desert was ice cream (cookie dough … our favorite) and cupcakes (including pumpkin cupcakes … see pic). I’m not a cupcake eater but everyone else seemed to really like them and the pumpkin ones were gone first.
By this point we were exhausted (it was about 9:15pm) and so we headed back to the hotel and fell asleep almost immediately. Pretty much slept through until 5am (Helen 5:30am) at which point we were starving. The places for breakfast nearby opened at 7am and we were there pretty soon after that. The hotel recommended the Famous Toastery which was just around the corner from the hotel. The streets were deserted – nobody gets up earlier in Greenville it seems. Another reminder of America – massive portion sizes. French Toast, Egg & Bacon for breakfast (Chloe had flapjack … size of the plate flapjack). Very cheerful & friendly service (what I expect in the South).
After breakfast (given it was just 8am at this point) we decided to walk around the area. The hotel is very near to the Falls Park area and Swamp Rabbit Trail. We did the whole park area and a lot of the trail. It is very beautiful. You can imagine it was just swamp at one point but they have made a lovely park with a running track etc that follows the Reedy River. There are small falls (hence the name Falls Park). The beauty of the area really did strike us and I hope some of the photos capture it for you. Greenville Downtown area is also really quaint and full of character. We already like this place and we have only been here for about 12 hours!
Until tomorrow …
P, H & C