Exhibit A: Willemstad, Curacao. Blue skies, 80-something degrees, sandy beaches, foo-foo drinks with little umbrellas in them, scuba diving.
Exhibit B: Philadelphia, PA [by way of Newark, NJ, but that comes later]. Snowing, 27 degrees, realization that it's still only January and that Exhibit B will be my reality for the foreseeable future.
Curacao was very nice. Very relaxing - I read, did some diving, napped, and wandered through town. I didn't find as much to photograph in Willemstad as I had expected, although the architecture was very interesting and colorful. The island itself is rather desert-like, with sparse, scrubby vegetation.
The hotel was great - the staff was so attentive and the beaches were well kept. Finished reading The Two Towers and The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien, as well as a book on the Enigma Code-Breaking in WWII. The dive shop was right on the hotel grounds, so I did a few dives with them. The reefs were in very good condition, and there were more "critters" than I expected. The fish didn't seem as skittish as they do in some other Caribbean spots. All in all, a very pleasant break.
Until Saturday. I got to the airport around 1:30 for my 4:00 Air Jamaica flight to Philly. Checked in, no problem, went to the gate to wait for boarding. Around 2:45, I became curious about the fact that there was no Air Jamaica plane on the ground. Worse, there was no mention of one arriving anywhere on the monitor. After a bit, one of the gate agents announced that the plane had experienced a technical problem and they would be an hour and a half late. . .
[. . . and the layover in Montego Bay is one hour and twenty-two minutes. Hmmm . . . things are not boding as they should.]
The plane arrived around 5:00 and they got it cleaned and turned around quickly - we took off at 5:30. The flight attendant told us that the planes to Philly, Baltimore and JFK were being held in Montego Bay. Yea!
This was, in fact, a true statement. They WERE being held. They stopped being held just as we landed - we had to wait for the Philly-bound flight to leave the gate so we could park. The 30 or so affected passengers went to the service desk and they explained our options - they could either put us up in a hotel in Montego Bay for the night and put us on the next flight out the next day, or they could put us on the flight to Newark and arrange for ground transportation back down to Philly.
Did I mention that it was SNOWING back home at this time? Gee, stay in Jamaica for a day or go to Newark in a snowstorm?
[I'll take what's behind Door Number One, Monty.]
Oops. Air Jamaica doesn't fly to Philly every day, and they weren't sure where they would be able to route me the next day. *sigh* So, grabbed the ticket, dashed for the Newark flight which was being held for us, and wedged myself into the middle seat surrounded by people who were glaring daggers at all of us for delaying their flight. Trust me, folks, I'm no happier than you are.
We landed in Newark in a driving snowstorm. *huzzah* By the time I and the other nine refugees collected all our bags, got through customs, found the   tiny   shuttle van, and loaded all the bags and people, it was 12:15 a.m. We looked like a clown car escaping from the circus, which at that point was a pretty close approximation. We drove down to Philly - I shall spare you the exciting details and exhilaration of counting down the exit numbers on the Jersey Turnpike. I finally got home around 2:45 a.m. But you know, even though the end of the trip was much more grueling than I had expected, the rest of the week more than made up for the inconvenience.
At least I had a couple of days to recover. I emptied the suitcases, washed out all the dive gear and cleaned up the house. I went up to see THE HOUSE - they have all the monitor windows in and the second floor den windows. The big doors for the den/garden wall should be in next week. They also took down the big huge steel beam in the garden that said "No Smoking", and put in the floor insulation in preparation for the hydronics under the kitchen and dining room floors.
I went back to work today and discovered that I am allergic to my office. I've been sneezing, and my eyes are stinging and red. Maybe it was just from wading through all the e-mails and realizing what my work travel schedule will be like for the next few weeks. Ouch.
Just think, I could have been sipping a foo-foo drink in Montego Bay right now...
~ ~ ~
Quote du jour:
"Half the fun of travel
is the esthetic of lostness."
-- Ray Bradbury
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