Friday, November 7, 2008

"Airplanes and Aggravations: The Bahamas Experience - Part II

So, here we are, three and a half hours before we were to settle into our seats on Vintage Props and Jets, Inc. on a flight to Treasure Cay in Abacos, Bahamas, and we find out....we have no flight.

By this time, it is almost 10 a.m. and we haven't had breakfast yet. We arm ourselves with the necessary paperwork, phones, and credit cards and head downstairs to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. P.O.D. decides it is necessary for us to chat with The Cap'n (refer to Tuesday’s blog entry when The Cap’n and Carol are introduced) to get an airline recommendation: BahamasAir. A couple of phone calls are made and it is determined that we have booked passage to the Bahamas, leaving at 5:30 p.m. Because they are purchased “last-minute”, we pay a premium. No matter – we have overcome this obstacle and will only lose a few hours in Green Turtle Cay.

It is now about 10:30 and we are informed that the buffet at the restaurant is now closed. Reluctantly, the wait staff offers us menus, from which they will cook us some breakfast. P.O.D. orders green tea. After some searching and some time, the wait staff announces that they have no green tea - in fact....there seems to be no tea bags on the premises. Slightly irritated, P.O.D. simply orders hot water.

Now, note that due to the state of affairs at this time, the fact that there is no tea, P.O.D. is not feeling well, and I am emotional over all of it, breakfast is very quiet. Aside from my frantic phone calls to my credit card company, who cannot find a purchase to Vintage Props and Jets (when I know I paid for them on my card!), P.O.D. and I are not in the mood for chatting.

After a mediocre breakfast, it is decided that P.O.D. will go back to bed while I venture out to find some good cold medicine. I head downstairs, pay for three extra hours on our room for a late check out, hail a cab ("Robert" from Yugoslavia, now a U.S. citizen and a Democrat who thinks America is no longer the favored nation - it is China. He has voted already. He tells me his views on global politics as he tears out the puzzle page from the Miami Herald, folds it up, and places it in his car visor for safekeeping).

I negotiate a shrewd deal to have Robert provide me with round trip transportation to and from the local drugstore and wait for me for ONLY 2 minutes while I run in to purchase cough drops and cold medicine. We settle on $23 for the ride and the tip.....and the political advice.

Back at the hotel, I am able to medicate my groggy paramour, finally locate and settle my charge dispute to the failed airline and even "Google" the Press Release (in case I need the evidence) which details the company's closing and the fact that they laid off 40 employees (this was included in Tuesday's blog entry for your reading enjoyment).

A few hours later, P.O.D. and I head off to the airport and await our 5:30 p.m. flight. Everything is running fairly smoothly and our spirits are lifted. We were able to make arrangements with The Cap'n to have someone meet us at the ferry dock at 6:45 (because the last ferry from Treasure Cay sails at 5:30) to take us over to the island for those Rum Runners at the "Welcome Reception" which begins at 6 p.m. Now, all we have to do is get there.

If it were that simple.

At 6:00 p.m. (because Bahamans, I discovered, observe a posted departure time for an airplane as only a suggestion), we are finally directed to our airplane - a tiny and tired vessel who creates a bit of concern among its passengers as we climb the stairs to board it. We begin filling out the necessary paperwork (immigration papers which ask the specific reason why you are visiting the islands, where you are staying, and when you plan to remove your sorry self from the island) and, just as we are beginning to gain back our confidence that this trip may actually happen, the beautiful Bahaman airline attendant informs the passengers that the airplane is experiencing mechanical issues (really?? how unexpected!) and we will all be deplaned while the problem is being fixed.

P.O.D. and I exchange glances and head back to the terminal. We call the Cap'n and tell him to inform his contact that we will be late and we will call when we know an approximate arrival time. Carol tells us how sorry she is and insists that, if it becomes necessary, to pull the plug on our travels. They will miss us but they certainly understand. We assure her that we are going to be there. Then we wait.

And wait.

7:45 p.m. and we have heard nothing. The plane still sits in its parking place and there seems to be no real activity going on around it. We are told by the gate attendant that, while they apologize for the delay, we will be kept informed and, if necessary, most everyone can be rebooked onto the 8:40 p.m. flight. P.O.D. and I decide that we really don't want to have to cross an ocean from Treasure Cay to Green Turtle Cay at 10 o’clock at night so we opt to have our luggage pulled from the ailing plane and rebook out on the Thursday 11:30 a.m. flight.

Thursday is the day of Carol and The Cap'n's wedding. Timing will be tight but the wedding is at 3 p.m. and, if all goes well ( it has been going up to this point?), we should make it to Green Turtle Cay with about an hour to spare. Time for one Rum Runner.

Another night in Ft. Lauderdale. Of course, finding a hotel room proves a bit of a challenge, but we are able to secure a room at the Holiday Inn. By this time, we are frazzled and just want to relax with a good dinner at the hotel restaurant, a cocktail, and a good night’s sleep.

The hotel room is dingy, the thermostat is broken and the room temperature holds at a frigid 65 degrees, warming occasionally to a balmy 66 degrees. The hotel restaurant is out of our first menu choices and the bar just ran out of Maker’s Mark bourbon (see Tuesday’s blog entry).

That’s okay. We settle for our second food and beverage choices at the restaurant, pile on an extra blanket in the room and, with the assistance of Nyquil, P.O.D. is able to get a decent night’s sleep.

Do our weary travelers reach their destination in time for the wedding festivities? Will 1SweetMama ever sip a Rum Runner on a Bahaman Beach? Will P.O.D., despite his reassuring 1SweetMama that “Things could be worse,” finally realize that they just might?

Tune in on Tuesday for the next exciting installment of “The Bahamas Experience”!

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