The sun was shining, it was about 80 degrees, and the water was a very deep blue. We spent the next week sleeping in, swimming and relaxing by the pool, and staying up late. Because this place was an all inclusive resort it was all you could eat and drink. I drank so many Pina Coladas I could have puked. We did run into Ganja Man and Crack Hoe a few times during the week, however we did our best to keep the run-ins very short. The week was full of doing nothing, having nowhere to go except for the couples massage and nightly dinners we had scheduled. My wife and I had forgotten what it was like to be without the kids for more than a few hours. Although we did miss them everyday, we were both taking full advantage of the time away. As the week was drawing to a close, we began thinking more of home and the kids…we were ready to go home. What we didn’t know was that was going to be a bit more difficult that we would have expected it to be. First sign of trouble came at around 6:30 pm as my wife and I lounged in our room before we had to get ready for a later dinner. The screech of the fire alarm sent me flying off the edge of my chair. As I picked myself up off the floor, my wife came flying out of the bathroom. My first thought was, get the documentation out of the safe needed to get out of the country and get home. We grabbed the stuff we needed and headed for the stairs. I will tell you something, during times of crisis you really see the true spirit of human nature. As people were coming out of their rooms I saw; people running over other people to get down the hall, others stood in the hall completely stupefied as to what to do, a few were helping guide people to the stairs, others were heading for the elevators, and some just walked back into their rooms and closed the door. Me, I was heading down the stairs..ain’t no way I was gonna fry in a Jamaican resort. The alarm turned out to be a false one. The rest of the night was uneventful and my wife and I turned in a bit early to get up in the morning and head back to the states.
The next morning, we checked out of our room and waited for the bus. The bus was on time and soon we were on our way. A quick stop to pick up two other couples at the next resort down the road and we were free and clear to the airport. Or so I thought…
Yep…a damn flat tire in the middle of nowhere Jamaica. The driver of the bus had us all get out of the bus. As he walked by me I heard him mention that he hoped he had remembered the jack and spare. My heart sank upon hearing him say that. Luckily, the jack and the spare were there. When we removed the flat tire, the driver rolled the new tire from behind the bus. The spare looked worse than the flat did as I could barely make out the tread pattern due to the baldness of the spare. As bad as it looked, we mounted the spare tire and were on our way. Every bump and pot hole we hit from there on in, we all held our breath.
We eventually made it to the airport, got checked in and made it to the gate where we found out that the flight had been delayed from the states pushing back our departure. Now I fly quite a bit for my work, and if there is one thing a business traveler doesn’t want top hear is that the flight has been delayed particularly when you have a connection involved in your travel plans. We had just that, a connection through Memphis that wasn’t that long to begin with.
Our flight left late as we have been told and they were expecting some weather once we were a bit north of Florida. They were not kidding, were flying just east of the storms that blew through the Carolina's tearing up the country side and killing at least 12 people before it was done. That plane was bouncing all over the place. The late departure and the weather delayed us enough that when we landed, we had less that 45 minutes to taxi to the gate and get to our next flight. That may not sound so bad, however what we didn’t know is that two other international flights had just arrived prior to ours, one from Amsterdam, and the other from Cancun. As we were ready to deplane, the gate agent informed all of us that the customs level was jam packed full and we would have to wait for 5-10 minutes before we could get off the plane. That would mean that we would have 35 minutes to get to our next flight. What I didn’t know is that since 9-11, international flights were treated as bit differently than I had been used to. Seems we had to be processed through Customs which had lines hundreds of people long as we can down the escalator into purgatory, get our luggage, declare, re-check our luggage, go back through security, then fly like the wind and try to get to our connection. Keep in mind that after we stood in line for 20 minutes, we now had 15 minutes to do all of the above. My wife and I were finally at the front of the line when another bomb was dropped on us from our friendly neighborhood gate agent. Because the other two flights had over run the customs area, our bags had not even been unloaded off the plane yet…t-minus 10 until our connection departs. As my mind began thinking about where to stay in the lovely city of Memphis our bags finally came down the carousel. We grabbed them and headed for the bag check where we were herded into one line, and then another only to see other people our flight passing us in the line we were told to move out of…t-minus 5. We checked our bags and headed for the security lines that were already backing up….t-minus 0, our flight was leaving without us. My blood pressure was much to high for my own good and I was ready to throw down and bust somebody in the mush when we discovered that our connections flight had been delayed and we had literally seconds to make it. As we moved through security my wife grabbed everything out of the trays on the other side of the metal detector and I found myself running up the escalator and down the terminal like OJ freakin Simpson prior to his murderous years without my shoes or belt. We made the flight with 2 minutes to spare. We found our seats, sat down, and I got dressed. That is the closest I have ever come to missing a flight. Not gonna do it again.
Just typing about the trip has left me spent…until next time.
Muppy Mup people….