Tuesday morning found us, in Waterloville, up at the ungodly hour of 05:30. Preparing for the taxi that was due to pick us up within the hour. The temperature outside, according to the app on my phone, was -4 degC. This was a small price to pay as we were on our way to Antigua where, all the weather sites told us, the temperatures were going to be around 30 degC.
The taxi duly arrived, carrying the friends that were to accompany us on our latest adventure. We, and our luggage, were soon loaded to the taxi and we were on our way to Gatwick, South Terminal. A bite to eat for breakfast, some retail therapy and we were soon sitting aboard one of Sir Richards finest, a glass of prosecco in hand, waiting for the off. We were soon wheels up and on our way. I have to say that crossing the atlantic is a lot easier than flying down to Oz
After an uneventful flight we arrived in Antigua and what a shock the temperature difference was. As soon as we exited the plane into the jetway all of the thirty plus degrees made their presence felt. So far so good. All we had to do was navigate our way through customs and immigration and then find our taxi for the journey to the villa.
Let me say right now, the Antiguan immigration process is not the slickest. One does wonder in this technological age why it is necessary to provide all the same information multiple times at both ends of a journey. We spent 30-40 minutes in a mind numbingly boring serpentine queue, then out through customs to locate our driver.
Of course we arrived just as the home-time traffic was building, so our journey to the villa was quite slow. It gave us time to absorb our new surroundings and for our driver to impart some local information. It soon became obvious that the driving rules here are very different from the UK. Road position and actions at road junctions are not as disciplined as back home. There is also much tooting of horns which seems to be a weird kind of communication. Our driver seemed to sound his horn at the most random of times.
We safely arrived at the villa where we noted that the hire car had already been delivered. Shortly after we had unloaded the taxi and taken up residence Iris, the car hire rep, arrived to complete the paper work. Visitors to Antigua have to have an Antiguan Drivers License. No test required but does require some form filling and the handing over of some cash.
A quick trip to the supermarket and we were formally on holiday.
More to follow in the coming two weeks.