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Sunday, February 08, 2004

I'm in the Virgin Clubhouse at Heathrow airport, en route to Texas with a big sister and her big wallet. I've eaten more free bacon rolls than is probably healthy, drunk an entire month's recommended fruit intake in the form of free smoothies, and now I've found there's free broadband internet access too. Did I mention we've been upgraded to first class?

Last night was spent at the Sheraton Skyline Hotel, which at four stars, is roughly four more stars than I'm used to. I'm not saying I'm unaccustomed to luxury, but I did get quite excited to find I had an executive trouser press in my room. I was slightly less excited to discover that the mini bar expected me to pay £1.60 for a Mars bar and £2.70 for a can of coke. But on the plus side, my bed was so wide that you could barely see from one side to the other, due to the natural curvature of the Earth's surface.

My room was remarkably warm (I suspect the people below were furiously pressing the entire contents of their suitcase. I know I was), so I opened the window and drifted off to sleep around midnight. Whereupon I was rudely awoken at 12:10am by a car alarm going off outside my window, which then proceeded to chime merrily every two minutes, until at 12:30am I finally got up, closed the window, and elected to sweat into my luxury bed linen instead. I wouldn't mind, but for £78 a night, I feel the least I should be able to expect is a porter with a sledgehammer to put the offending vehicle out of its misery.

By 1:00am I'd given up on sleep, so I chose instead to make good use of my time by devising a set of aliases for use in America, utilising the age-old formulae handed down through the generations:

EXOTIC FOREIGNER ALIAS (Favorite Spice + Last Foreign Vacation Spot)
~ Paprika Munich

SOCIALITE ALIAS (Silliest Childhood Nickname + Town Where You First Partied)
~ Boris Basildon

DIVA ALIAS (Something Sweet Within Sight + Any Liquid in Kitchen)
~ Ribena Flash

GIRL DETECTIVE ALIAS (Favorite Baby Animal + Where You Last Went to School)
~ Kitten Woodlands

BARFLY ALIAS (Last Snack Food You Ate + Your Favourite Drink)
~ Thai Bites Bacardi

SOAP OPERA ALIAS (Middle Name + Street Where You First Lived)
~ David Downs

PORN STAR ALIAS (First Pet's Name + Street You Grew Up On)
~ Snowy Clay-Hill

JEDI NAME (First 3 letters of your last name + first 2 letters of your first name, First 2 letters of your mother's maiden name + the first 3 letters of your hometown)
~ Garph Hosho

That done, I conspired to book the taxi for the morning in the name of Ribena Flash, only to find my sister had got there first and unforgivably used her real name. She's just not entering into the spirit of this trip.

Right, Big Sis's luxury massage will be finished shortly, so I'd better go and find some more free food before we leave the country. I also need to complain about the lack of virgins in this clubhouse. There's such a thing as false advertising.