Some things are sent to test you

Yes, given where I’ve just flown back from, you might have worked out what the song is tonight, for the last ‘double’ blog for a while. You might not guess who’s singing it, unless you look though. Thats right, not Albert Hammond!

Yesterday morning, I had a text (well actually they sent me 2, for some reason?) they moved my shuttle time forward by 15 minutes, because we folk who share shuttles tend to have to fit in with others in the area, to save them cost, which is fair enough. Anyway, irony, just as I’m about to shut down the laptop, pack it away, and get ready to go, the phone rang. Yes, you guessed it, the shuttle driver, saying it was actually back to the original time. Yes, stop laughing, there was a good reason, incident on the freeway, or so he told me.

Anyway, at the newly agreed time of 12.30, I’m stood outside, when the shuttle pulls up. That was when the fun started. He’d managed to get hold of me, and warn me, but had no joy with the other 2 he was meant to be picking up, phones not connecting or something, probably given the wrong number? Anyway, as we were heading off in the right direction, his phone rang. Yes, one of them was contacting him, to see where he was. Thing is, we went to the address he’d been given for her, not there. So now, he rang back, and she gave him a totally different address, thankfully not too far away. Even then, she couldnt tell him where she was, as she didnt know the name of the road she was on! We found her, eventually, so one to go…? No joy, no one at the address he had, so off we headed to the airport.

As we were getting close to the airport, his phone rang. Seemingly the woman we’d never found had rung them to find out where he was. Anyway, he got ‘ticked off’ for not telling them, but for whatever reason, he didnt seem to care too much, part of the job I guess? Finally, as he was dropping us off at the airport, he checked for his next job. Now whether this was just the luck of the draw, or someone at head office was feeling vindictive, but apparently it was 66 miles away from the Airport!

I booked in, and was directed to an escalator to get to the security gates. Fine, except when I get there, I get told no, and get directed to the other end of the building! After that, everything went fine, until this morning.

One of the beauties of premium economy flight, is that your case gets a priority tag, so should be one of the first on the baggage carousel at Manchester. Well…It doesnt appear, and when the dreaded sign, delivery completed, comes up, off I head to the rep’s desk, along with a few others, in similar position. However, just when I fear I’m not getting my case today, lo and behold, she finds a few cases that somehow missed the carousel, and were sat out the back. Yes, my case was one of them!

After that, and with the assistance of a lovely lady, with a mobile phone, I firstly warned the taxi driver about the delay, and then sorted out where to meet him. From there, journey home was straightforward, thank goodness.

Oh, one last thing. For September, I had noted that Expedia had a nice price for a Virgin Premium Economy flight into Boston, and back out of JFK was being offered a couple of weeks back. Of course, by the time I’ve got things sorted, back in the country, price has shot up £200! Thankfully, much to my surprise, and delight, Thomas Cook Airlines wasnt as basic as I expected, albeit I was in Premium Economy, but anyway…

To cut a long story short, they have flights to fit, and its about £150 cheaper than the economy Virgin price is now! I know, I’m hoping the leg room in economy is reasonable, but I’ll take my chance, especially as it will be a much shorter flight. In truth, the outbound flight is a better time too, but yes, only some of their flights have premium seats, and this wont be one of them! Ah well… It never rains, but it pours.

Which leads me to the video. Found this Barry Manilow version of said song, and actually, I think I prefer it!

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The insularity of the USA

Before anyone thinks otherwise, this is not about politics! Its about owning credit cards, and phones not registered in the US, and trying to use them over there! I know, I havent got a mobile phone anyway, but…

The first time I discovered this anomaly was a few years back, when I was trying to slyly buy a small thank you gift for Kate, for the way she’d treated me that week. I knew one of her favorite stores, because we’d visited one in a mall, so I had the advantage there, but…I went online to arrange a gift card to be delivered to her home address, only to discover that there was seemingly no way to use a UK credit card on the site, as it rejected firmly a postcode, as a variation on a zip code. So I contacted their customer service, and yes, you’ve guessed it, unless you had a US registered credit card, you couldnt use it!

The next time this faced me, I was trying to top up my little AT&T cell phone over the phone, and the automated system wouldnt accept it without a zip code! Fortunately I managed to get through to a human, and he managed to do it, by using the zip code 00000! So the next time I needed it, to order in food in my LA apartment, I tried that trick, but no go! So I had to ring through the order, and that worked fine!

But yes, this time its not the card thats the issue, its the lack of a US cellphone. Yes, I have one, but the Sim Card expires after 90 days, and its more like 500 days since I last used it. So yes, I’m going to need to get a new one after arrival, but I knew that. Anyway, in the past, I’ve been able to book my shuttle out of LA airport, into town online, with Prime Time Shuttle. Unfortunately, like so many websites, they’ve changed it recently, and now you need a US cellphone number, to get an activation code, to make a booking. Yes, fine, unless you’re an International customer, and then…rolls eyes! I suppose they wont lose that many bookings, because most users are North American, but…thankfully Supershuttle arent as demanding, so I’ll probably book with them. The other option is to be online with my friend in the US, give them her mobile phone number, she pass me the activation code, but seriously…?

USA, there’s a big world out there you know, beyond your shores, though Trump, and his cronies might like to wish otherwise. Well, other than Russia…Sorry, I said no politics, but…yes, frustrating.

Of course, if someone wants to pair up with this old lady, and give her a US address of her own…Just dont tell Donald just yet lol!

Right, video moment. No, absolutely nothing to do with the blog! When I was a teenager, a ‘different’ US group called Sparks burst on the scene, remarkably, over 40 years later, they’re still going strong, and indeed will be issuing a new album shortly, and supposedly doing a world tour. Would I love to see them, especially in LA, their home town, you bet I would. Shame I probably wouldnt be able to use my credit card to do so, even if I got the chance! This will be their new single, as quirky as ever!