Thursday, June 28, 2007

Day 30

The Bitterness Of The Parrot Lady

I woke up this morning very early. Ridiculously early. Before the sun came up early. Why? I wanted to watch the sunrise from the beach next to Aglin Pier. I had seen that the 70 something year old pier provided excellent views to the east and the sunrises were magnificent. Well, except for this day. I woke up to rain and overcast skies. Still, I drove to the pier hoping for the best. But it wasn't to be. The sun never came out and there was still a charge to go out on the pier, even at this hour. I sat on a bench and watched as the sky grew a bit brighter. Then I went back to the hotel for a bit of wifi.

Paulo woke up, we packed up and set off on our way. Back to Orlando. We had a date with Dollar to return the Dodgy Dodge and after the series of phone calls on Monday we thought that things had been sorted. Paulo's connections in the US and UK had managed to speed the process up for us and had mailed him a voucher for the next month's rental. Happy days, or so we thought...

The drive back up was pretty uneventful. A bit boring even. We had seen all the roads before. But we arrived at Orlando Airport at about 2:30. Things went a bit pear shaped right from the start. We tried to explain to an attendant in the carpark that we wanted to leave our things in the car, while we tried to rent it again. He thought we were crazy. He didn't know what the hell we were on about. But he let us go. Into the arrivals departure and into the queue.

Fortunately, we were waited on by a nice girl called Iris. She was empathetic to our situation but when Paulo produced the voucher, she started having doubts about our rental agreement. When the corporate account that we had paid into and were trying to use to pay Dollar for the car had been closed, we knew we were in a spot of bother.

Unfortunately, Iris's boss Becky was having none of it. Not a sizzling. She sounded like a broken record because her response to everything we said was "I need a voucher." We tried to point out that we had a voucher, that it had worked last time, that we had talked to so & so in the US and so & so in the UK. Every time she replied, "I need a voucher."

After a while, I got so annoyed I had to walk away for a few minutes. Paulo was suffering from severe hunger but he hung in there and remained diplomatic. Iris was great. She chatted with us, made jokes and even gave Paulo a banana. In the end after several phone calls, Becky returned. This time she said, "In 17 years, I have never seen this situation before. I need a voucher..."

We got another Dodgy Dodge but took the car after paying the full rate because Dollar wouldn't give us the internet rate until they received a fucking voucher. But we were able to leave it between Sky Cars and Dollar to sort out.

We headed back to International Drive and stumbled into Bennigan's barely able to walk from the weakness of hunger pangs. We were greeted by Lisa, who was our server and talked at about a volume of 11 on dial up to 10. She asked if we would like a drink, as it was happy hour. I replied by asking for a pint. Her response was to ask me for ID. The usual...

During the meal I phoned my mother and sorted our digs out for the night. We drove east to Palm Harbor, passing Tampa along the way. The city looked great in the soft light of the sunset.

We pulled in to a U Save for some Coronas and then made our way to my parents gaff. We relaxed for a few hours with them, chatting and drinking a few beers. When 11:30 rolled around, we were ready to hit the scratcher.

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