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Trip Report San Marco At Dusk; Tosca Leapt

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I have pretty much stopped writing trip reports since these days we travel for more or less esoteric interests which many do not share. We also do not travel for the sole purpose of fine dining and a lot of our more recent locations we've been to more thn once.

However, as I sit here in a Paris hotel room after a morning out and wondering if it is really going to rain along with wishing more museums were open on Monday, I decided to "share" a few musings. I realize they aren't nearly as interesting as other topics in the current "Top 25" but nevertheless.

When we fly to Europe, or anywhere for that matter, we usually leave from our "home airport" of Fort Lauderdale. However, the advantage and conveniece of flying non-stop is appealing so for this trip we opted to leave from Miami and fly to Venice via London on British Airways.

Some of the people over on FlyerTalk will tell you while tking a break from counting all their frequent flyer miles, that British is still using those "old" 747's and how the "product" just doesn't measure up. Girding ourselves for "inferior" flatbed seats we set off with a friend who agreed to drop us off.

MIA is about 35 miles from our home and despite the madness which I-95 in South Florida can be, the new Express Lanes made the trip pretty easy and fast. The airport approach was bumper to buper due to the presence of a whole bunch of Miami-Dade police vehicles complete with flashing blue lights and upon first look we began to wonder of some sort of "event" had occurred.

In fact, the police officers were standing on each side of each approach lane and eyeballing every approaching car and we noticed they had pulled several over and had the occupants standing outside of them. What were they looking for? Were they, in fact, profiling people? Looking for people dressed in camo gear with assault rifles at the ready in the front seat? Beats me.

We passed by without being detained and bidding our friend/driver good bye went inside to check in.

I know one reason people like to fly in First and Business is/are those dedicated check in lanes at airport counters and we new we were going to have to show our passports at some point so had not bothered to print out boarding passes at home.

Yes, we had arrived a full three hours prior to departure. No, it did not seem to help since it appeared that everybody else flying on this "legacy" 747 had also arrived early. There was no dedicated check in for anything but First (which was totally deserted since there aren't that many First seats anyway) and we patiently waited which we expected to do.

Over an hour later we got checked in and gave up the checked bags (another reason we like to fly the fewest number of segments possible) and headed to Security.

We were behind folks wih their little dog headed for Boston and he was fun to play with. TSA took a whopping five minutes to complete (we take every possible thing off and stuff it into our carry-on bags but I've had more than one totally empty pocket wanded in the past so who knows?).

Dedicated departure lounge with real booze you poured yourself was nice along with the hot and very bad for you (therefore, delicious) food helped to pass the time.

Mob scene aat the departure gate and despite a flight attendant practically yelling that, "We may be delayed but we have a fast flight plan" I am never reassured. Those public address system "announcements" made "from the podium?" Might as well be in a foreign language and despite this being Miami, the gateway to South America, those announcements continue to be made in English and they are STILL sometimes impossible to understand.

Needless to say, the service aboard in British Airways' 'business class' which they, of course, like to call 'Club World' was fine. The seat was flat so I got some sleep; the food was edible (had my first bacon roll for breakfast, too) and we only arrived an hour late since we were delayed by thunderstorms in Miami which I guess played havoc with that "fast flight plan" but it beats walking.

More coming...

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