Phoenix - Knackered Ukes! (Part 2)
Pen No 2 (Marriott Phoenix) meets Pen No 1 (Holiday Inn Gainesville)
Here as promised, is the picture of Pen No 2 (I’m marking out the tour in hotel pens). Pen No 1 has become good friends with Pen No 2 and their friendship serves as an example to us all during these difficult times.
Anyway I digress....................
I’m a bit guilty of not studying our schedule closely enough, I’d glanced at it, thinking it’d be fine: no gig, just some travel - but it turned out to be a very exhausting day. Looking back over old entries, I found that exactly the same thing had happened two years ago - I never learn.
We left Gainesville at nine in the morning (the gig went well) to go back to Orlando with the same lunatic bus driver who drove us the night before, he LOVES to fiddle around with his TWO mobile phones and drive at the same time (its not against the law here, apparently).
It took two hours to get back to Orlando in our cramped minibus (10 peeps plus luggage).
The fresh faced band of happy travellers set off (no thats not a corpse on my left, thats Dave)
Getting on the first plane at Orlando Airport - note Ben's relaxed appearance.
We boarded our plane for Dallas/Fort Worth in Texas only to find it was completely jam packed, I had a middle seat as I checked in late, so I had almost three hours of exquisite hell before we landed.
The first horrible, cramped flight, I spent most of it standing up.
The next flight (2.5 hours) from Dallas to Phoenix was half empty, but very bumpy (I ordered two beers to get over my earlier ordeal). This plane journey took us across our first time zone (Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time).
Changing planes at Dallas/Fort Worth - its raining (can this day get any better?)
I noticed that on both planes, the announcement was made that anyone carrying a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 (the exploding phone) should declare it - I haven’t seen anyone declare one yet.
Arriving in Phoenix - we've played here before.
We crossed into our third time zone (Mountain Standard Time) upon our arrival at Phoenix and just as the sun went down. After a short wait, the most enormous bus arrived to take us on the 15 minute trip to the hotel - I wonder why we couldn't have had a bus that size this morning). This is the same hotel that we stayed at during our 2015 January tour, and if I remember correctly, there was a zombie conference on with lots of college students dressed up - its a surreal place.
Here's Ben again - a few days ago he wrote on Facebook that he was "super excited" to be coming on tour with us.
So after nine hours hard travelling we arrived, pretty exhausted. I noticed immediately that there was a thundering racket going on from the auditorium next door to the hotel and I could feel it shaking the windows as I plunked down my bags in my room on the eigth floor.
It turned out rapper Gucci Mane was doing a show - I wanted to open the window to tell him to 'Shut the Farqhaur Up' but several things prevented me, you can't open the windows in American hotels, they're all temperature controlled. Furthermore, the concert was banging' and Gucci was going down well - he has 8 million 'likes' on Facebook, whereas the Ukes only have a measly 41k.
More pertinently, Gucci has spent extended lengths of time in prison and collaborated with rappers like Lil' Uzi and Young Thug (who I noticed had 1.25M twitter followers).
So I decided to bite my lip and instead went out with the rest of the Ukes to celebrate Leisa's 50th birthday, the poor girl couldn't have had a more gruelling day. I remember celebrating my birthday two years ago on the road in Kansas City airport - that was a bit depressing!
We all trooped out to a Mexican restaurant on the main drag to celebrate, even though we could barely keep our eyes open and had a jolly old time. The proprietor looked exactly like Javier Bardem, the hired assassin in 'No Country for Old Men" so we tipped well.
Walking back to the hotel after the meal, I noticed that the racket had stopped, presumably Gucci had called it a night and gone home to bed - he'll learn that, given enough time, touring will kill us all!
I wonder if Young Thug is looking for a ukulele player.............................