Friday, November 14, 2008

Mathematically Eliminated - The Bahamas Experience, Part IV

(First, I want to take one minute to thank everyone for laughing along with me as I tell the story of this really unbelievable experience. Thanks for humoring me as I work through all of this. Writing about the trip has been theraputic and it has allowed me to put this all in perspective and laugh about it. We will get back to ice cream and optimism after my final blog entry on the Bahamas Experience - a few more posts yet! .....Thanks!)

Fortunately, my crying jag only lasted about 50 minutes, as the flight from Ft. Lauderdale, Florida to Nassau, Bahamas, is mercilessly short.

Our trip through the immigration checkpoint is quick and festive thanks to the “Lou Ralls-esque” lounge singer and his three piece backup band who serenades us through the process with the smooth tones of Harry Belafonte’s “All Day, All Night, Mary Ann”. Were I not an emotional basket case, this would be charming. But, because I am a basket case, it annoys me to no end. I shift my weight from foot to foot, glancing at my watch every two or three minutes: 12:50, 12:52, 12:55…. “What is taking so long???”

The wedding is in 2 hours. I finally have made some peace with the fact that we will never make it to the event. But maybe we can make it in time for the reception. More tears. I can’t even look at P.O.D.

“All day, all night, Mary Ann! Down by the seaside sifting sand,” croons the singer. I am in travel h-e-double hockey-sticks. Finally, we pass the checkpoint and we race to the BahamasAir counter to see when the flight to Treasure Cay leaves. 4 p.m. Cost: $300 each. There are still seats available. P.O.D. and I exchange looks.

But it is not that simple. Through further investigation of the flight itinerary, it is discovered that the 4 p.m. flight will not land until 5:30 p.m. Once we get our luggage and hail a cab to the ferry dock, we will have missed the final ferry out to Green Turtle Cay. Additionally, in order to catch the 8 a.m. flight from Treasure Cay back to Nassau in time to catch our 10 a.m. flight from Nassau to Ft. Lauderdale in order to catch our 1:50 p.m. flight to Atlanta in order to catch our respective flights back to our respective homes, we will have to leave Treasure Cay before the last ferry leaves Green Turtle Cay on Saturday afternoon and stay in a hotel on Treasure Cay on Saturday night. (Feel free to re-read that last sentence about seven times… will eventually be able to do the math.) This will give us ONE night on Green Turtle Cay…and present more logistical decisions yet to be made. We are exhausted.

Time to regroup. We huddle in the terminal for a few minutes to discuss our options. P.O.D. makes the rounds to confirm that, indeed, only one airline flies to Treasure Cay and only one flight option is available to us. I continue to cry – this time because I know that this trip that we have been looking forward to for months has come to a premature and frustrating end. I am convinced that if I do not stop crying soon, that the Bahaman immigration officers will kick me out of the country because I am pretty sure that there is no crying allowed in paradise.

P.O.D. finally deduces that we are “mathematically eliminated” from making our final destination. As he so eloquently put it, “We were screwed yesterday morning – we just didn’t know it.” But here we were in Nassau, with nowhere to go until Sunday morning. We decide that it is time to “make lemonade”.

We make our way out to the terminal lobby, where high-end, all-inclusive hotel resorts are peddling their accommodations to arriving travelers who have made previous arrangements with them or, like us, have been “mathematically eliminated” from their final destinations, as well.

After determining that we need to get out of this with the highest level of comfort at the least amount of expense, I am able to negotiate with the handsome young man at the Wyndham Casino resort kiosk to give me the “rate you would give your sister”. He gives me an ocean-view room for a fraction of the ocean-view room cost. We are thrilled.

One short cab ride later, we arrive at a pleasant, but weary-looking casino hotel (there are only a handful of things that P.O.D. does not enjoy and gambling is one of them). At check-in, P.O.D. glances at the ceiling, “Is that mold?” I try not to look.

The check-in clerk does a double take on our room rate, which makes me smile at the young man who really must have come through on that “sister rate” on our hotel room. Then she asks us to put on resort wrist bands that we have to wear the entire time we are on the property. (Number two on P.O.D.’s list of things he doesn’t enjoy is wearing wrist bands – years in the trade show industry has given him an emotional allergic reaction to wearing anything that identifies him as a “participant” of something).

Turns out, the wrist bands are very important. It seems my “brother” at the casino kiosk back at the airport failed to tell me that the pool was being renovated at the Wyndham and the wristband gave us access to the pool at the Sheraton property, next door.

What we discovered about 10 minutes later was that the pool renovation was occurring 5 floors below our ocean-view balcony. For each day of our stay in paradise, we were serenaded by the sweet sounds of jack hammers and hammering a few hundred feet away. Which makes me wonder: did the woman at the check-in desk give a double take on the room rate or on the fact that any idiot would allow themselves to be booked in a hotel room overlooking a major renovation project during a hotel “off season”.

We will never know.

More to come in Tuesday’s blog…and be patient…..the ice cream and ‘eternal optimist” attitude will return once this all gets vented. I am feeling a little better already….

No comments: