Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Day 10: Traffic Citations and Missing Flights

Day 10

Wow, what a trip! I can't believe it's over. It seemed to go by so incredibly fast. I decided not to write my day 10 blog yesterday because I didn't get home until about 2:00a.m. this morning. I figured you all wouldn't mind if I caught some sleep.

Yesterday was a series of unfortunate events which I take as a sign from God that I should have just stayed on the islands longer! ;) Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad day, just a long day with some bad luck sprinkled in.

First off, we got up at the crack of dawn to clean up the villa, pack and load up the Suzuki one last time. On our way out of town Dad wanted to drop by the post office and send off a birthday card to my Uncle Rob. There were no parking spots so he "pulled a Ken Tucker" and parked on the side of the road with his flashers on to run in and back out. Joan and I trepidatiously sat in the car, just waiting for a cop to see us illegally parked. Sure as shit, about 5 minutes later a USVI po-po pulls up and starts writing a ticket. Doesn't say a word to us, just starts writing up the citation. So I haul ass into the post office where ONE person is working and poor dad is just standing there in line. I sent him outside to handle the cop and I took care of the mail for him... in hindsight I should have been the one to run in in the first place to save the hassle, but I didn't speak up. Sooo yeah. We got a ticket. Not sure how much it is for. :-/

When we left town with a citation for "impeding traffic" we loaded on to the Roanoke car ferry again (yay, my favorite!) and settled on the upper deck to take one last look at St. John. I kept snapping random photos because I fear it will be years and years before I get down there again. I didn't want to forget a moment of the trip.

When we got over to St. Thomas, we had a few minutes to stop and grab lunch. So much like the very first day I was on the island we stopped at The Greenhouse for lunch. All three of us got their signature Greenhouse burgers and fried plantains.

We thought we were running low on time so we made our way to the airport to get checked in and settled for our 4:45p.m. flight. They do things a little differently at the airport there, so we got there well before 2 hours early fearing a crowd of people like when I got there a week before. However, we got through security and customs in about 20 minutes. Then we waited. And waited. And bought some rum at the Duty-free place and waited. And then we find out our plane is delayed one hour due to crappy weather in Miami. So we waited. A security siren started blaring near us and no one moved to turn it off. It was like the people working there were immune to the noise. In the meantime, the irate tourists who were dreading their treks back to the states were growing more and more uneasy with the pulsating noise of the siren and the staleness of being stationary in those uncomfortable airport seats.

I found out that my connecting flight to Dulles was delayed til 9:50p.m. so I was hopeful that even with our late departure, Dad, Joan and I would be able to sit down at the Cuban restaurant in the Miami airport for some dinner before they left at 9:30p.m. I was wrong. After the flight FINALLY boarded and landed in Miami we parked on the tarmac. And waited. And waited... and waited some more. Because of all the delays, every gate was full and planes were just littered all over the runways and taxi-ways like a bunch of SUVs in a Walmart parking lot on a Saturday. After almost an hour and a half of waiting on the taxi-way, we finally got to our gate... at 9:42p.m. Dad and Joan missed their flight to Norfolk by about five minutes, and of course, it was the last flight of the day there. So they are just now probably landing in Norfolk a day later. :(

I was on the BACK of the plane and had less than 10 minutes to deplane and run down 15 gates to my connecting flight. I was sure I was going to miss it. I really almost did. Dad and Joan ran with me, clearing the way of travelers who obviously have never seen a girl late to her plane before. The announcer crackled final boarding for my flight while I was three gates away, so I swung around and hugged and kissed Dad and Joan quickly and then hauled ass with my 15lb backpack on my back and a case of rum in my hands. They had closed the door, but saw my fat ass charging towards them at full speed, flailing my ticket around like a flag on the 4th, so they let me in, and promptly shut the door behind me.

The girls I sat next to on the flight were young undergrads from VCU who were coming back from a semester abroad trip to Barbados. They were diverted from Reagan to Richmond and then missed that flight, so ended up on my plane to Dulles. So we had a good chat before the headache from the rush of the day set in and I started quietly nodding off, with book in hand.

We landed at Dulles around 12:20a.m. and fear immediately set in as I deplaned and called Kris to get me. I had to run to get to my connecting flight... and they hadn't even open the doors to unload luggage yet. There was NO way my bag made it onto my plane. But still, I held on to a thread of hope as I got to baggage and saw mountains of roller-boards on the carousel. It was wishful thinking. After half an hour, Kris and I gave up looking and I got a number for Baggage claim services for American Air. So we trudged back out to the Jeep in the stagnant stuffy DC air only to find that the parking pass was missing. We feared that instead of a $4 charge for the short term, we'd have to pay the full $36.00 when you lose the ticket. But Kristen put on her sweet southern accent and pleaded with the attendant to help us. Almost 20 minutes later, we left with only a $4 charge on my credit card (good thing because I only have about $33 left to my name until the 16th)!

We pulled in to Lakeside around 2:00 and I promptly squeezed my fatty cat, Arie, and went to bed. When I woke up this morning, I swore I was still in St. John. But when I opened my eyes, I saw our algae filled "lake" out my window and Ariella purring next to me. I'm home. I've certainly missed my own bed, my roommate, my cat, and the ability to call my boyfriend in the mornings. But I also feel the heavy weight of reality start to set in. After a week in paradise, you start to forget what is waiting for you to work on at home.

I think I'll go take the trash out now and call American again about my poor missing bag.

Cheers and Caribbean memories for years!



Fijufic said...

Welcome home. Do your folks live in Norfolk?

Anyhow, I really enjoyed reading these notes. St. John is my favorite place on the planet.

I would like to live there in my retirement and am constantly searching for ways to make it happen...


Mom said...

Sorry, for all the delays. Maybe you were supposed to become REALLY GLAD to get home again. In any case, I'm so happy for you that your vacation turned out adventurous and memorable. I love you , Honey. Glad you had time to be with your Dad.
Love you, Mom