Thursday December 25th 2008

We had booked christmas lunch at the Brazilian steakhouse, for the second time. Men stride around with various types of meat on enormous swords, and carve off unlimited amounts until you beg them to stop. We were politely rolled out of the door and waddled down to the subway for the epic trip to JFK.

To get to JFK from Manhattan, you have to take a bumpy subway to Queens and then the grandly named Airtrain to the airport. In theory this is fine, but the plastic seating of the E train means that you become intimately acquainted with each and every vertebra down your spine before you get to Queens.

The Jetblue flight was delayed by an hour so we availed ourselves of the limited delights of Jetblue’s own terminal – tea and free wireless, mostly. When we finally piled onto the plane we were dismayed to be seated next to a very large gentleman. However, he wasn’t much trouble and spent the trip watching the Christian Channel. A far bigger issue was the cabin crew. At least one appeared to be drunk and was unable to construct a coherent sentence over the PA. She sat and chatted to a passenger while the captain was landing the plane, and only took her seat when we were literally 2 seconds from touching the ground. Far from finding her confidence reassuring, we were alarmed. Cabin crew should have authority – we weren’t sure that she would have been able to control a plane full of terrified passengers and evacuate them safely.
Still, we were at Orlando airport in one piece. We collected our rather grubby hire car and set out to the Country Inn and Suites on Astronaut Boulevard.

What I love about the Country Inn and Suites is their eccentricity. From the outside, they appear to be a run of the mill American travel tavern. Inside, however, the lobby contains a large fireplace (ornamental, of course) and shelves of books for you to borrow. Most rooms also have a jacuzzi, usually next to the bed and positioned so you can watch TV in it. The breakfast is also baffling, consisting of prepackaged everything and DIY waffles with the batter in a plastic cup. That night, for our christmas dinner, we had a cold collation of various items which we had purloined from Inn New York.

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