Sunday August 1

We all woke up early. I hadn’t slept well and was feeling nauseous. Nothing special; just the last day of vacation jitters. It happens to me no matter where I go. In any event, we weren’t meeting MerlotMan and ChurchBomber until 9:00 to go to breakfast, so the 3 of us took a walk.

We walked down to the Morningstar and I wondered how much better our evening would have been if we’d sprung for the room upgrade. Alas, I was too damned cheap to do so. The rest of the resort isn’t bad; in fact the Morningstar is quite nice. But, that’s not where we were staying.

We met at 9:00 and made our way to breakfast. The hotel had a lovely buffet set up (it wasn’t that lovely) and we all ate. Shmuppie, naturally, consumed her weight in bacon. When the bill came, ChurchBomber wanted to pay. I had to sign for it and we all choked when we saw the total: over $100 for 4 adults and one child to eat breakfast. Since I wasn’t done with my bitching at the hotel, I took my camera back to the front desk to seek out something…

The woman I saw was none too pleased by the photos. I explained, oh so calmly, that I was VERY disappointed in the hotel, not just as a gold Member but as a human being. When I explained that I had spoken to someone the night before she asked what compensation I had been offered. When I told her that I was disappointed to say that none had been offered, she wiped my tab clean. There went the overpriced beer and breakfast. I was somewhat pleased with the hotel. I was not done yet. But, I got all I could while on the grounds. Anything else would have to come once I got home.

Yes…I am that kind of person. But, I used to be a VERY loyal Marriott customer and wanted my pound of flesh from them.

We split up, the 3 of us to the pool and MerlotMan and ChurchBomber to their room. They had a 2:30 flight and didn’t want to go to the pool, sweat and then have to rush and shower to get to the airport. We checked our bags at the not-secure bag drop and had a soak in the sun. Shmuppie spent most of the time playing foosball. I can’t explain the kid. Big pool…sunny Caribbean day…she plays foosball…against herself.

JewelrySlut and I sunned and people watched. What a horror show.

At 11:45, we bid farewell to ChurchBomber and MerlotMan and then went back for more sun and some rum and Cokes. I mean…I had the supplies on me still…why not use them?

At about 1:30, we went to the Fitness Center, showered and got a cab to the airport. Our flight was at 4:40, but we wanted to give plenty of time. I had a feeling the airport would be easy. There are 3-4 flights that all leave between 2-3, so the airport is usually a mob scene between Noon and 1. We were behind the rush.

We checked in, went through Customs…only after explaining very simply to Shmuppie to keep her yap shut. We were bringing the remaining genips home and didn’t need her babbling about it. We were through security in no time and settled in at the bar to wait. We had one last Carib, did some duty free booze shopping and waited for our flight. When it was time they called First Class passengers. We got up.
That’s right, baby. No crackers for us! First Class BABY! Delta had done their usual bullshit on the return flight and it was cheaper to fly up front than with the peasants. So, we sat up front. Shmuppie was quite pleased. She and I sat together and JewelrySlut sat across the aisle from me. We boarded, had a little vino and got ready to take off.

We were off on time and arcing over Charlotte Amalie in no time. The plane had seat back monitors, so Shmuppie was glued to the screen as soon as we hit 10,000 feet. Some more wine eased JewelrySlut and I into the flight. A little while later, it was meal time. Before we took off the Flight Attendant came to our seats and confirmed that Shmuppie was who he thought she was. I had planned a surprise for her.

While the adults got was supposed to be Caribbean chicken with coconut rice (5 pieces of overcooked white meat in an orange sauce…with mashed potatoes), Shmuppie got a kid’s meal. I’d planned this little surprise months in advance as one last surprise for her. She got carrots, fruit salad, cookies, chicken fingers and steak fries. She was over the moon.

The flight was lovely and we watched movies and relaxed. First Class really is a lot better. A LOT.

Upon landing in ATL, I got on my phone and checked. Surprisingly, we were delayed into RDU. Our 10:45 flight was now showing 11:20. We had a long night in front of us. It was barely 8:00 and we now were facing a 3+ hour layover. As we walked through the terminal, I spotted the big board. I told the ladies to walk ahead while I checked something. I had a hunch.

See…if we were late going out due to weather, maybe everyone else was. “AH-HA! I love it when I’m right!”

I caught up to the girls and told them to pick up the pace and follow me to gate 27. I had a plan. I arrived at gate 27 as they were boarding…a flight to RDU. There was a sliver of hope that we could get on the flight. I knew the odds were slim, but it was worth the try. They were clearing standby’s as I arrived. That made me sad. Then someone said there were 21 empty seats and 14 standby passengers. That made me happy! I got to the counter and explained that we’d just landed. Could we get on this flight?

“Did you check bags in St Thomas?”
“Yes…but I’ll go to RDU in the morning to get them!”
“I’m sure you would, but the TSA won’t allow you to fly without your bags” (As an aside, I’ve flown without my bags before…I just didn’t know at the time I was doing so…)

SHIT!
I was so close. If only we didn’t need 50 hot dogs, 16 chicken breasts, steak, breakfast etc. You know the drill. My luggage had nabbed me. So, we settled in for a long wait. I read for a while and the ladies slept. At about 11:00, the moved us to a new gate. At 11:20. They told us we’d leave at 11:45. At 11:45, we finally boarded. We sat down, pulled blankets on ourselves and immediately went to sleep. I can’t tell you how the flight went. I woke up on final to RDU.

We landed, got our bags after an interminable wait and finally got home at about 2:15AM. It had been a long-ass day. Kinda like the one we’d had 8 days before. Only, this time we weren’t arriving in paradise. On a positive note, we’d see Chicken soon.

We’d made it. We had our bags and our sanity. We were speaking to each other. It had been, in my opinion, the best trip to St John yet.

I can only hope to exceed it in 2012.

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