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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:42 PM  
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#21
cornishfrogboy
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Day 19 Home to Penryn by plane & train. Thursday 06 April 2024.. or ‘Crazy Train’ by Ozzy Osborne.



The flight was great! Good premium economy seats and I have a preference for AA/BA in any case. We could get used to this luxury..

The food was certainly rather edible, especially when compared with the normal, economy food served up on long hauls out of the USA. It was also pleasant to eat from Real Plates whilst in using real Cutlery. Inside me there lurks a bit of a snob 😉

Dinner.. Very tender beef with .. other stuff. The Vanilla and Lemon Cheesecake was to die for! The wine (white, even though I know that I should have gone for red), was pretty ok.


Breakfast was also pretty good!

The fruit was extremely fresh and was delicious with Greek Yoghurt, then Granola poured upon it.

And then we were at Heathrow for 1530, waiting for our gate to become available. Some things never change at LHR. This has happened on our last two arrivals.

Immigration and Customs was a straight walkthrough, with Automated Passport Control. I must have an innocent face 😃

Those following may well be aware of our issues over the Bankruptcy of Flybe necessitating Coach travel up and Train travel home from Penryn.
Well, it was a matter of minutes to get to platform 2 under the Terminal and from there a train to Hayes and Harlington, followed by a Reading Train from Platform 3. We were in Reading for 1730. Not bad at all!

We had booked the Prem Inn , Reading Central for the night as there are no late trains available to get to Truro and we must catch one in the morning. Needs must and all that.
A half mile walk from Station to Hotel through the City Centre confirmed my suspicions that it is not only N America that is blighted with Homeless problems.
In addition during that journey, I nimbly manoeuvred my suitcase around 2 lots of puke and one (flattened) faeces. Reading seemingly hasn’t changed a great deal since I was stationed at nearby Arborfield from 1977- 1979! I am guessing that Mandie and I will never be cut out for City life.

The Prem Inn meal deal at £24.99pp is now down our throats (Calamari for appetiser followed by Piripiri Chicken for main… washed down with a delicious pint of Cider).
Rather than bore you with Premier Inn meal shots.. I thought I would model/show off my souvenir T Shirt that I picked up in Oahu. It cost considerably more than I normally pay for T Shirts ($36.99! ), but given my affection for the State Fish of Hawaii, I simply could not leave it there..
it subsequently had its first public debut in the Prem Inn Restaurant just after these images were taken and I never even spilled anything upon it.

Sadly, I have discovered that only Hawaiians call their State Fish a humuhumunukunukuapua'a and I doubt that many Hawaiians can say, yet alone spell it in any case. To the rest of the World, it is simply a Reef Triggerfish.

Anyway, many DIBBERS may prefer it to my earlier image of the Black Leather, Seattle Swimsuit.

It is now 2025 and Mandie is asleep. I had better follow, as I am so tired that I keep hitting the wrong keys on my iPad… Goodnight!

And good morning! I have been up since 0200 as my body clock is all over the place. Our train home is at 1000, so all is clearly not well!

Mandie awoke at 0500 and then it was a wait until 0630 for our Premier Inn Breakfast, where there was rather good news.
You may remember my despair at my previous Prem Inn Breakfast, when some chancer had stolen all the Grapes in the salad bowl? Well this time I was first in the room and it was ‘No more Mr Nice Guy’ as Alice Cooper famously sang….

There were 18 Grapes in this little beauty.. and a Strawberry.

We then walked to the Railway Station to catch the Train to Truro. As we had seats booked in Coach H, we foresaw no problems. We had seats after all!
The train arrived and we could see that in every single Coach, people were crammed in, standing Shoulder to Shoulder like Sardines. The door to Coach H opened and it was immediately apparent that nobody was getting off and that there were at least 10 people rammed inside the door. Somebody shook their head at myself and around a dozen others, standing on the Platform and wanting to board. We moved fast to a door for Coach F as the crowd on the platform was smaller. We were fortunate in that we were able to force our way on, albeit it was akin to the black hole of Calcutta.



The Train moved off and speaking with others, it very clear that GWR had sold tickets many times in excess of the capacity of the Train and in doing this, surely they were jeopardising the safety of their passengers?
One recounted that things had been even worse on the Platform at Paddington, where many had been unable to get on board, even though they were shouting that they had Seats allocated. It was notable on looking into the Cabins that all seats now had green lights showing above them, indicating that they were available to all.
Our own seats were 20 yards or more away and there was not the remotest possibility of reaching them (and they would no longer be reserved in any case). As the Train began moving, one girl occupied one of the two Toilets and invited others to pass their luggage in, reasoning that we could get by with just the one Toilet opposite. She stowed luggage all around her and even on the Toilet, up and towards the roof.
If GWR cannot run a safe and efficient service, then surely they should have their contract ripped up? This was utterly ludicrous.
As the train travelled West, there was an announcement that two of the stops were being omitted due to the overcrowding and that Pax would have to get off at earlier Stations and wait for alternative Trains that would take them on to their destinations in more comfort. A wiser and more experienced passenger confided that they were inevitably doing this as the Train was running late and that GWR would be seeking to make up time in order to avoid Penalty Payments to Passengers by cutting stops.
Eventually after 4 hours and at Plymouth, Mandie and I managed to get seats, albeit nowhere near each other and following this, we arrived in Truro, 32 minutes late. This means that we will get half our fare refunded.
We had missed our connection to Penryn and eventually got there on a later Train and 48 minutes late (Still 50% refund as it was less than a full hour).

We are home now and I am still seething at the shear incompetence of GWR. I spoke with a former Colleague and current employee of GWR on Truro Platform. He informed that this happened most Bank Holidays as GWR did not have sufficient Staff on the Platforms to ensure an orderly loading and that those with seats, actually got to sit in the Train that they had specifically reserved.
The problem he said, was that many possessed open tickets and could thus get on any Train that they liked!

Well, that is my experience of GWR, my only option if choosing to get to or from LHR, if using Public Transport other than a Coach. In future I will drive and to be honest, would sooner walk than place faith in GWR again.

6975 Steps yesterday.
2399 Steps today.

Edited at 09:08 PM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:43 PM  
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#22
cornishfrogboy
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Thoughts, opinions and a full cost breakdown for the vacation.

Thoughts and opinions.

This has been a great vacation and hopefully it had plenty in it for Mandie, as well as myself.

Vancouver
Vancouver was better by a million miles than even I, the eternal optimist could have hoped it would be. 34 years since I had last seen Bill and Jen simply rolled away as it only can when real, genuine friends are involved.
The pair had been the most fantastic hosts, catering for our every need throughout from the moment that we cleared immigration to the moment that we re entered Vancouver Airport. Their generosity and kindness was simply overwhelming and Mandie later confided to me that she felt she had met two new and likely lifelong friends!
Bill and Jen intend visiting the U.K. for practically a year upon Jen’s retirement in 2 years in order to base there and see Europe. Needless to say that they now have every intention of coming down to Cornwall and we have every intention of returning their Hospitality. Mandie and I are already making plans!
The Vancouver area was interesting, clearly a stunning place to live and we got a real feel of the place from the viewpoints and opinions of Local People.
The Harbour and watersides of Vancouver even compared well with San Francisco or San Diego bays.. stunning, but with more intimacy as befits a very much smaller area.
In seeing a Hockey game, Mandie delightedly ticked off something on her bucket list.
I have endeavoured to in my usual way, provide information of value to researching DIBBERS, but given the very personal nature of our visit, this has proven difficult.

Waikiki
Again, this was very much what we expected.
The Hotel was by Waikiki standards a budget option, but upgraded in price by Location, Balcony, Ocean View and Breakfast, all expensive additions in this City. We got a bargain at £250/night and in addition, Ryan the Porter added a wonderful gloss with his assistance.
The City is big, very big and not without Social problems. It is also a working City with its large, port area. Waikiki and it’s Beach did live up to expectation in every way.. as long as you don’t include the Honolulu areas. It truly is the home of Surfing.
Waikiki/Hawaii is struck off Mandie’s bucket list.

Pearl Harbour? What can I say? Amazingly and poignantly presented in every way.

We were right to not have a car whilst in the city and right in our selection of a pick up point close to the City Eastern Boundary.

I would have done absolutely nothing different, other than choosing a different Luau. Ours was lousy.

North Shore.
My kinda place and we both very much preferred it to Waikiki.
We had the right accommodation
We found some great things to do.
We met some very nice, helpful people.
We balanced our food budget well.
Again, I would have done absolutely nothing different at all.

Seattle.
I have now seen it and seen enough to form an opinion. My opinion may be a little clouded by fatigue and tiredness.
We chose the the right Hotel.
We got the transportation choices right.
We got the food right
We are not into Art or Culture. We never will be.
The Boeing Museum is World Class.
Other than maybe Pikes Market, there is absolutely nothing that I ever want to see again. I wouldn’t travel that far to see (briefly) Flying Fish.

Flights.
I regret spending £800 on an Exit Row pairing and 3 lots of Prem Economy Seating, but boy did we enjoy it.
BA out an AA back.. exactly the quality and reliability that I expect, albeit I don’t like having flight times changed on me.
Air Canada.. Really impressed with the flight and the 737 Max.
Alaska Air.. I felt messed around by the delays and the Prem Economy was not as described. Again, I liked the 737 Max.

Airports.
LHR. T5 going out and T3 on return both worked out really well. I have used LHR and it’s Hotels, Transportation links many times and thus it always works well for us.
Vancouver, really efficient both in and out.
Honolulu, OK
Seatac. Never want to be there again. I really didn’t like it, shabby, understaffed and confusing.

Avis Car Hire.
Check your tyres!

Overall.
A brilliant vacation, other than the third world UK. links between Penryn and the Airport.

Now for the next one!

COSTS.
Below will appear a Spreadsheet dealing with every expenditure. Only in this way can a totally honest appraisal of the cost of a vacation be given. It is simply not enough to simply add Flights + Accommodation + Tickets + Car Hire and then claim that this is the full cost of a Vacation.. unless you spend absolutely nothing else.
There will be no costings of the Vancouver part as they would in no way be relevant for research purposes for reasons already covered.




That cost may at first glance, seem high. However, closer examination will show that the list is just about as comprehensive as such a list can be. It must also be born in mind that I spent £800 on flight upgrades and a further £160 on Souvenir’s, Clothing etc.

I have not included the horrendous train journey home as I am absolutely certain that I can get 50% returned as we were 51 minutes late. I actually intend getting all of it, given that they failed to fulfill our contract in that I had no Seat, given that they had ‘greened’ all seats as available to anybody. My complaint is already in.

The Tiki Mask. Mandie was very determined to buy one! Perhaps I can use it to deter Jehovah’s Witnesses from my Doorstep?



All that remained was to tidy up on the momento’s and stuff..


The photos are returned and in the 50th birthday (or Disney 50th) Anniversary Album.


Mandie has all but finished her Scrapbook.


The photo frame has now joined the others on the wall.


A bowl has been commissioned with my very close and former Army Colleague, Graham Lavis of ‘Lavis Woodturning’. This bowl took two weeks to build from an ash base with the remainder being resin infused with Pine Cones and then turned as well as polished.
It has now been received by Bill and Jen as a thankyou for their fantastic hospitality in Vancouver.

All that now remains is to book the next vacation… Burbank, Barstow, Vegas, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Casa Verde, Petrified Forest, Tucson, Tombstone, Tampa, Orlando…. Now will this trip report best fit in West Coast, Florida or General?

Edited at 09:02 PM.
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:43 PM  
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cornishfrogboy
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Originally Posted by Pumpkin Pie View Post
You are very organised (March 3023)!

Have a great trip. Looking forward to the report.
All corrected and Thankyou!
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:45 PM  
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smithlane
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Cannot wait for this CFB, will be making lots of notes for our Hawaii holiday next year! Have a safe flight 😀
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:46 PM  
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cornishfrogboy
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Originally Posted by smithlane View Post
Cannot wait for this CFB, will be taking lots of notes for our Hawaii holiday next year! Have a safe flight
Thankyou for that.. you can rest assured that there will be plenty of detail appropriate to your own love of food. There may even be photo’s of food!

Your own advice re California/Nevada/ Arizona last November was very helpful indeed!
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Old 6 Mar 23, 09:53 PM  
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snowbelle
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Yay, the CFB family are on their travels again !

Looking forward to your trip reports and Happy Birthday to Mrs CFB (Mandie feels a bit too personal
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Old 6 Mar 23, 10:00 PM  
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cornishfrogboy
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Originally Posted by snowbelle View Post
Yay, the CFB family are on their travels again !

Looking forward to your trip reports and Happy Birthday to Mrs CFB (Mandie feels a bit too personal
Looking forward to this one.. there are a few unusual bits in it… and others that my friends may not have told me about!
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Old 6 Mar 23, 10:03 PM  
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snowbelle
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Originally Posted by cornishfrogboy View Post
Looking forward to this one.. there are a few unusual bits in it… and others that my friends may not have told me about!
A quick travel tip , do not sit on the harbour in Vancouver eating a bap , you may or not get an overhead present from a seagull on the only pair of jeans you brought with you...
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Old 6 Mar 23, 10:07 PM  
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SuziQz
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Sounds like a great trip. Especially looking forward to the Vancouver bit as we’ve got a few days there before our Alaska cruise in August.

Have a lovely time
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Old 6 Mar 23, 10:13 PM  
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smithlane
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Originally Posted by cornishfrogboy View Post
Thankyou for that.. you can rest assured that there will be plenty of detail appropriate to your own love of food. There may even be photo’s of food!

Your own advice re California/Nevada/ Arizona last November was very helpful indeed!
Ooh thank you, you know I love to see what people eat to narrow down my choices on where to go for food 😁
I’m glad my past reports have helped in your planning!
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