20.05.15 – Texas – Day 20, Austin – Houston

As planned, we headed back into Lockhart this morning to take some pictures before moving on.  A few of the roads were  20150520_100320_HDRclosed off so we had to drive round the edge.  The roads had the usual ‘road closed’ blockades but they were also blocked with a police cruiser. Mum-in-law went to ask the policeman what was going.  He told us that there was a HBO show being filmed, hence the blockades.

It was fascinating to see how the town had been transformed.  There were police cars with ‘Miracle National Park’ on the side of them.  I guessed that Miracle was the fictional town in which the show was set.  There were lots of old cars and a camera rig set up in a crane in the middle of the square.  The show was called ‘The Leftovers‘.  I’ve never heard of it!  I 20150520_100411googled it and was excited to find that Christopher Ecclestone was in it.  Sadly he didn’t make an appearance though 😦

There were lots of other people milling around who we assumed were watching the goings on.  Suddenly somebody from the production team came over to them and started telling them how to act on set, what he wanted them to do etc!  They were actually extras!

We were also wandering around a street market looking at the goods for sale when we realised it was probably part of the set.  We chatted to a stallholder who explained that they were all local artists but were there for the filming!  Fascinating.  I’ve never been on a film set before.

20150520_100715The in-laws wandered off to look at the local library because it had some historical bits that they wanted to look at.  Hubby and I settled for heading back to the car via a Mexican bakery!  I’m not sure what I had but it was delicious!  I asked what it was and the lady told me ‘raspberry’.  It was a deliciously flaky creation.

After we’d finished in Lockhart we headed to Houston via Dollar Tree and Walmart.  I’ve got some 4th July celebrations planned and I was delighted to find decorations, plastic cutlery and American themed paper plates in Dollar Tree.  At least with plastic cutlery and paper plates the washing up will be easy!

I bought a couple of geeky t-shirts and some books in Walmart. The prices are much better than in the UK and  have plenty of room in the cases.

We’d booked into Hampton Inn and Suites.  The rooms we’d booked for our last few nights were a bit special as they were suites.  You got a kitchen, living room and a separate bedroom area.  Honestly, I think think this suite is bigger than the first flat I lived in! Mum-in-law booked the suites in the morning and secured the booking with her credit card.

However, when we got here the receptionist told us that she didn’t have the rooms we booked!  She could offer us a double queen bed room, no suite. Not good enough, we wanted the King bed suites we booked and secured.  The receptionist offered to try another hotel about 3 miles away which she did.  They didn’t have the rooms that we wanted either.  I told her quite firmly that we booked these rooms and we wanted them.  She had to go and see the manager to try and sort something out.

She took about 10 minutes but miraculously when she came back she was able to offer us the rooms we’d booked! I asked her how she’d been able to sort it out and it turned out that they had upgraded Diamond Card members into the rooms we had booked for no extra charge when they had only booked standard accommodation!  So essentially we had been downgraded so that somebody else could be upgraded into the rooms that we booked and secured!  What an appalling business practice!  I was so irritated that I emailed Hilton Central.  So far, I have only been fobbed off with promises of the General Manager contacting me to discuss this.  Nothing so far, despite several follow up emails.

Upgrading somebody is fine if you have availability but it isn’t okay to upgrade them into rooms that paying customers have booked.  Not great customer service!  What annoys me is that they were willing to send us to another hotel in order to 20150520_172948upgrade others.  If I hadn’t kicked up that is exactly what would have happened.  I wonder how many other customers have received this shoddy treatment!

The rooms themselves were very nice and exceeded my expectations.  I don’t know if I would recommend this hotel though because of the situations with the rooms when we arrived.20150520_172931

We decided to have dinner in the room. There was a selection of microwave meals that you could get from a shop area behind reception.  Dinner consisted of chicken parmigiana and mac and cheese.  We only had one microwave so we 20150520_204533had to heat them up one at a time.  It wasn’t a problem though as we’d bought a heatproof bag at Dollar tree so we put one chicken parmigiana in there while we heated up the mac and cheese.  We shared half of that meal while the other meal was heating out.  Perfect solution.  It felt really cosy to eat in the room and to ‘cook’.  It makes me look forward to getting back home and cooking meals for us both again.  An all round perfect evening!

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