Wednesday 13th December 2000 Day 1

It's here!

Day One of the itinerary, which I had painstakingly planned over the last nine months, is now becoming a reality. Now set in motion! The journey down was very pleasant. We left around 7:15am, and stopped at three motorway services along the way. We decided to go down the M40, which was an inspired choice. There was hardly any traffic! It was not at all stressful. The weather helped, as it was good all the way, apart from some rain over Birmingham. (It always seems to rain over Birmingham?) Strangely though, it still doesn't feel quite real yet. It's still just a dream, an excited bubble of anticipation. It did however start to feel like the beginning of our vacation the moment we walked into the Excelsior hotel at Heathrow.

We arrived at the Le Meridien not sure of what to expect. The moment we walked into the foyer we knew that this was far more luxurious that the cheap and cheerful Travel Lodges we were so used to. We couldn't even find the reception desk, as the lobby was so large. We even encountered a concierge for the first time. Now there's posh! Unexpectedly, he was an old London Geezer who was not at all snooty, as his title would suggest. He was very helpful. However the receptionist was a bit arrogant but that may have been his French manner. (I guess Le Meridien is a French company? I wonder if the Meridien in Baan Boran will have a French/Thai flavour to it? France did have a strong presence in Indo-china.) Anyway, we entered our room (No. 4108) to find that it was a suite! How excellent! Loads of space, two rooms with beds, both effectively en-suite with one having a bathroom and the other with a "toilet room". It also had a dressing area with a large walk-in cupboard, then another study area with a desk etc. So basically, it was HUGE!

We popped out and spent an hour in terminal 3 where we found where the check-in desk for Thai Air should be in the morning. We did a little shopping, Boots travel stuff and food to take back to the room because the hotel's restaurants were so expensive! The cheapest main meal would have been £10, no starter, drinks, nor pudding! What made it worse was the adding of 12 ½ % service charge onto the bill automatically! How presumptuous! Apparently it's discretional which means I could have asked them to remove it from the bill but I'm sure that wouldn't have gone down very well. They may even slash our tyres whilst we're away. With style, of course! All joking aside though, (despite the 12 ½ %), we ordered room service for a light snack. Even the guy who answered the phone was French. It felt like we were in Paris! The bill came to £40.19! And I still tipped the 'waiter' £2! Mug! I almost passed out with the shock of paying £6 for two portions of CHIPS! Despite the cost though, the tomato & mozzarella salad, which I'd ordered, was the most delicious salad of mozzarella and tomato I'd ever tasted! Well worth the £8. In fact, I would of gladly paid twice the amount! The pizza was also quality, obviously freshly made. Almost felt like value for money. Although I did leave some chips behind. (At about 10p per chip!)

Later on we watched "There's Only One Jimmy Grimble" on the hotel's video pay-per-view. It cost £8.95, which would have been the price of a cinema I guess. As we were dozing off to sleep, and I had my finger on the on/off button of the remote control, ready to switch the telly off, BBC South East news was reporting from Heathrow airport! A plane had got stuck in the mud whilst taxing from the runway. Julie, who I thought was sleeping by my side, heard the mention of the word aeroplane, and immediately sat up. I fumbled with the remote and switched it TV off before we heard anymore. This was just not what she wanted to hear! Her fear about flying is real and not something to joke about, despite making me laugh when she asked me if the plane was blown off the runway!

Day 2>>

©Copyright 2000 - 2020