Last Day

Sunday was our last day in the USA before we headed home (sorry for the delay in posting). We didn’t have much time in Greenville on Sunday am as our flights back started at 2pm. We did however want to have breakfast at IHOP (International House of Pancakes). Every time we are in the US we end up eating there at least once for breakfast. So we found the nearest one to us (about 4 kms away) and drove there.

The menu at IHOP is just ridiculous.  There must be at least 50 different options for breakfast alone. Of course most of them are Combos (pancakes + eggs + bacon/sausage + hash browns etc). They kindly have now put the calories next to each option. Most options started at 650 calories and given most women should eat about 2000 calories per day (and men 2500) that is a fairly sizeable part of your daily allowance (and note I said start at 650!). We came for the pancakes so we all had some option that involved pancakes. I did a combo of pancakes/bacon/egg; Helen had peach cobbler pancakes and Chloe chocolate chocolate chip pancakes. Chloe was disappointed in her choice (we will have to go back next time so she chooses more wisely).

People watching in the IHOP could keep you occupied the whole day. This was genuine Southern territory and the size of some of the people definitely matched the calories on the menu. The accents were also so Southern it was almost as if they were speaking another language. Talking about accents, Chloe has the Southern accent perfected.  Next time you see her get her to bring it out for you … she’s pretty funny.

Back to the hotel to pack up and then head for the airport. We had issues checking in online (in that we couldn’t) so we got to the airport a little earlier to get our boarding passes. You have to check yourself in at the airport even (no check in clerks) but midway through the process it told me to seek help anyway. They needed to verify we had visas for the UK. We finally got our boarding passes and headed for the gates.

Greenville is a pretty small airport and so no real lines at the security. Chloe for some reason is TSA Pre-Check which means she can go through another channel and doesn’t have to take out her laptop or take off her shoes.  Helen and I are not. We have no idea how she managed to get that status (maybe because she is below 18?). Helen’s suitcase was pulled over and unpacked. Apparently it was the choc chips or bake mix or something they didn’t like. Swabbed for explosives and then cleared (fortunately). We had time for some lunch at the only restaurant in terminal (I’m not kidding about it being a small airport).

We had a flight from Greenville to Charlotte, NC. If I had known how close Charlotte is to Greenville I would have driven.  About 150kms. As you can imagine flying that distance takes longer than driving it. At the gate they offered $500 for anyone wanting to fly later because the flight was overbooked … seems to happen on every American Airline flight. We left late, sat on the tarmac just off the runway for 15 minutes because they were switching around the runways at Charlotte and by the time we landed in Charlotte we were probably almost an hour late. Fortunately we had a reasonable time before our flight to London.

The London flight actually left 5 minutes early. I hate the overnight transatlantic flights as they take too little time to enable you to get a proper nights sleep. 7.5 hours of flying time but the flight takes 12.5 hours on the clock. Once you have had dinner (the flight left at 7:55pm), you can only get 3-4 hours of sleep (I got about 3 hours, Helen says she slept 5 hours) because they turn the lights on to serve you breakfast about 1.5 hours before you land. By the time we got to the flat in London I was needing to sleep again and so managed to get another 3 hours.

Helen and Chloe left Monday night for SA and I have stayed in the UK to work. Their flight home was uneventful and they seem to have gotten a good amount of sleep. Seemingly didn’t help the jet lag though as both Helen and I couldn’t fall asleep until 2am (UK time) and 3am (SA time) – and we only discovered that the next day when we were chatting on WhatsApp.

We all really enjoyed the time in the US. Seeing family and catching up is always special. But we also really enjoyed the ease of traveling in the US. Everything is very easy there (I suspect living there you just take it for granted). The short trip has made us want to go back for a longer holiday there again!

Until next time …

P, H & C

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