John Edward Cooper’s Notes

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Sunday 7 April 2013

[Saturday 6 April 2013]

My feet were sore in the night, especially when lying on my back, which hindered sleeping. What’s more, the lesion on the right hip, covered with a dressing, inflamed and exuding somewhat, was just where pressure was put if I lay on my side. In the morning, standing and taking every step were painful. We went for breakfast ca.9.45am. Getting our carry-on luggage to weigh less than 5kg was a major chore! Janet did the packing, leaving out aerosols and other inexpensive items to reduce the weight. I went and sat out on the balcony to keep out of her way. It was just before the deadline 12 noon that we left the room. I gave the chambermaid, who was in the corridor, €5. We checked out, paying the bill. Space in the luggage store-room was compromised by there being two bicycles in there, but we managed to manoeuvre the bags behind them into a rack. Pain had given way to discomfort-only as we walked down to the promenade, and found a bar/restaurant to while away a couple of hours. I had a couple of glasses of San Miguel and a salami pizza, and Janet had a number of rounds of Coca Cola Light. The beer was on draught, and I was served with a large glass. I noticed at least one other drinking beer from a small glass, but he must have asked for that specifically, because I got my large glass by default without specifying the quantity. I noticed that the capacity of the glass was 40cl, so it seems that in Lanzarote, all drinks are served in multiples of 20cl. Janet’s Coke bottles were all 20cl.

12:31:18 Lunch at the Casa Joaquín

12:38:48 Lunch at the Casa Joaquín

13:09:32 Lunch at the Casa Joaquín

We returned to the hotel. At Reception I handed over the magnetic key that had had to be inserted on the inside of the safe door to activate the safe, and the refrigerator door key. I’d forgotten about them earlier when we checked out. We’d paid a deposit for them, so got some money back. Janet wasn’t happy about leaving our luggage in the room to which all and sundry could get hold of the key, so she got the key and retrieved the cases. We sat for a couple of hours in the lobby near the entrance, and watched people come and go.

As instructed on the card that had been pushed under our door the previous night, we went out to await our coach ca.5pm. Janet waited at the door with our cases, while I sat on a seat across from there. A sparrow with brown head and white cheek-markings landed nearby, but I failed to get a photo of him.

17:03:02 Awaiting departure

17:04:32 Awaiting departure

A coach arrived at 5.20pm, and we boarded. There were no pickups from other hotels, so we were taken straight to Arrecife Airport (not “straight”, exactly, because there isn’t an “as the crow flies” road link between Playa Blanca and Arrecife), where we joined one of the long queues to the Thomson desks in the crowded airport.

18:02:38 Arrecife Airport

18:03:10 Arrecife Airport

Janet was very anxious about the weight, but the hold luggage weighed 19.6kg and 20.0kg (hurrah!) and the hand luggage wasn’t weighed.

In theory, one goes through a gap in the check-in desks to a smaller area behind them to queue for security checks situated away to the right; indeed, the party in front of us, a woman, an older woman, and a pre-teen boy, was in the queue there when we got through, but they must have pushed in. For in seeking the tail of the colossal queue, we had to go back out into the main hall to almost beyond the entrance doors; the queue lined three sides of the building. Fortunately that queue was progressing more quickly than the check-in queues. I broke ranks briefly to check my hand-luggage, and I was right to do so, because I found the pair of small scissors that Liz had used to cut out the silver dressing and had added to the supplies she gave me. I discarded them in a litter bin. When we got to the security area, a woman official was jabbering instructions almost incomprehensibly. I forgot to take off my watch, and set off the alarm as I went through the scanner, so had to be frisked. And so we were on the air-side. There was a counter on one side selling sandwiches, snacks and drinks, which we availed ourselves of, and tables and chairs by it in the concourse. Our flight didn’t have a gate number initially, just a “DELAYED” sign. The cause of the delay out of Doncaster was that a couple had under-stated their child’s age, and had consequently found no seat allocated for it. This delayed arrival and boarding for an hour. I had to hobble down several flights of stairs before boarding a shuttle bus to the plane. A woman kindly gave up her seat for me. There were steps up to the plane at front and rear; we initially went to the front, but left the queue there and went to the empty rear. (Our seats were halfway down (or up).) Nevertheless, we couldn’t go straight to the seats because some people heading for rearward seats had entered at the front. Janet found herself next to Jane and David again. There was a party in front of me, with two of its members to my right, father and son perhaps, who shared movies on a tablet computer. I felt mad as hell because fat father-bastard next to me sat rested his arm on the armrest between us with his elbow hanging over into my space. And his left knee transgressed into my space also. He didn’t have a heart attack and die as I was “willing” him to, though! When the drinks trolley came by, I had a “full-fat” Coca Cola and a little tub of Pringles; my first choice of Appletizer and Kettle crisps was out of stock. At the airport, the passport checks were quickly done by friendly officials, then we walked through the “NOTHING TO DECLARE”, acquired our luggage at the carousel, and exited into the cold night. The taxi driver told us that it was a minimum £5 charge, so that’s what he got. (I normally tip 10% or more.) Whether we would have difficulty getting into the hotel at that time of night, ca.2am, had been a source of undisclosed anxiety to me, but the automatic revolving doors whirred into action, and a friendly woman came to the desk. She told us that there were only two pillows in the room, but we could have more; I asked for these because of my inflamed feet, and a man carrying them knocked on our door not long after we’d gone into the room. The room was not prodigally furnished with two double beds as the one in Playa Blanca had been, but was adequately furnished with one double bed. (There was a swivel-chair on castors, so I was able to move around when the pain in my feet was worst in the morning.) Janet was so tired she fell into bed without brushing her teeth, and I followed suit.

[Monday 8 April 2013]

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