After the excitement of yesterday we needed a break, I nice restful day, luckily we had just that ahead of us.
Firstly we had to eat breakfast, and even though we were not quite in America, as we were so close to the boarder, clearly their choreography of this meal had hopped over boarder control and taken up residence. There was everything that you could possibly want and more! They had a cue for you to order your own omelette containing the ingredients you wanted, toast, muffins, fruit, yoghurts, cereal and pancakes – I had to sample everything, so two plates were on in order.
After breakfast was consumed we needed to cross into the United State of America, the land of the free. Having said that it was the land of the free, our movements weren’t very free for the first hour as we were consigned to immigration and boarder control. The guys in boarder control were mad, one of them was playing ‘everybody dance now’ on loop, I felt sorry for his colleague who was sitting next to him, however the music mad man was right up my street, had a voice and an opinion!
Our passports were stamped, and we made our way to the airport to collect our car, the car is amazing as well. Air-vents in the back, electric operated doors, GPS, reversing camera and enough room for me to stretch out as far as I wanted. A few hours drive in our car aided by the SatNav (and occasional corrections by mum) we arrived at our Hotel. We clearly seem to be doing a tour of Hilton Hotel Partners, the Embassy Suites were Hilton Partners, the Homewood Suites are also Hilton Partners. Mum and Dad have their own room; David, Rachel and I have another. There is of course the obligatory swimming pool and gym – both of which I used.
After the bags were dropped we went for a walk along a river, the weather was very warm, and it was a nicer heat compared to that in Niagara, as it wasn’t as humid. I don’t mind the heat as much when its dry, I’m just not a fan of humid heat. Having seen Niagara falls, the river was tiny by comparison, however the view was still good.
I needed to get my mobile data sorted, as my credit from my Canadian Rogers SIM had expired (as I had been using it on roaming for a good few hours in USA) so I wanted to get a US SIM. I had several options; AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. I only wanted a Pay As You Go plan. AT&T offered this however said that Apple had done something to their phone that prevented mobile data being used on the Pay As You Go Plan on the iPhone 4. We tried this, and the agent was correct. I really doesn’t sit right tho. Apple was partners with AT&T from the very beginning of the iPhone launch; you would have thought that they would have been able to find a work around. The second option was Verizon, however even though my iPhone 4 was unlocked – UK iPhones work on the GSM frequency, whereas the Verizon network uses CDMA, so that option was out. The last option is T-Mobile; I have looked online and they seem to offer a package that will work, tomorrow we are going back to the Mall to investigate. I really do hope I can find some mobile data, WIFI coverage has been available in all hotels that we have stayed in, however the majority of them are only available in the hotel lobby, and I want to have data in my room, and whilst in the room.
When I was in the pool I spoke to a young man (sorry I don’t remember his name – so if your reading this please do let me know), who was 22 and going to do a PHD at the local university. He told me the in’s and out’s of the US education and health systems. Firstly the education system, his undergraduate degree has so far cost him $240,000 – so quite a lot. However he has been given a scholarship for his PHD allowing him free tuition, and he gets a grant for $27,000 a year. Although he has had to pay, university education is available free for a large number of students, so it would appear that from a students point of view, the US education system is better than that of the UK. The health system shocked me. I knew that it was all private, and that you needed medical insurance, however I didn’t know that if you have medical insurance, and your life is in danger, all a hospital has to do is to stabilise you enough for a certain amount of time. It does seem harsh, especially as this doesn’t cover pre-existing medical conditions. The person who I was speaking to said that his health insurance was $4,000 a year, and that was for a fit, healthy, 22 year old, non-smoking male; can you imagine what it would be like for someone with a pre-existing health condition!!!
Anyway, as you can probably tell, the hotel we are in tonight does have WIFI in the room, hence I have written my blog post on my MacBook Air. I have looked at my website, and it would appear that the blog integration disappears sometimes when the Tumblr servers are down for maintenance. The blog can still be viewed from the original Tumblr page so it may be worth making a note of this link (click here).
Thats it from me this evening, I’m off to watch an episode or two of Only Fools & Horses in bed. Night night.