Saturday August 26, 2006

Saturday August 26.

I woke up nauseated. What a surprise. The heat and haze was back and I was all a twitter over the upcoming festivities.

Now, I had written a week ago that you have to want to get to St John. The effort is rewarded. Only thing is…you have to go through all the same effort just to leave. And leaving is not fun.

I’d decided that we needed at least an hour from the dock in Cruz Bay until we’d be at the airport. Our flight was at 2:45. I also knew that if you get to the airport the recommended 2 ½ hours early, you’re in for a lot of pain. All the jets arrive at the same time, and leave an hour or 2 later. So the airport has everyone checking in at once. And, the airport is a little rustic and is definitely on Island Time.

I had spotted an 11:00 ferry to town. That would get us there by 11:50 or so. We’d have time to go into town, find a bar, get a drink and some lunch and wait the crowds out at the airport. I thought we could have pushed it and left at noon, but MerlotMan was a little antsy to not be late and we took the 11:00.

We packed up the house and started to town at about 10:00. I say started because this took 2 trips. I had to drop all the people and then go back for the bags. I drove to the rental agency and checked in and told them about the busted blinker. I filled out an accident report and told them I’d be back in an hour.

We walked back to Mongoose Junction to get JewelrySlut her earrings. They’re silver geckos that hang off of her ears. The tails are the post-things and they’re quite fun. ChurchBomber got some other crap and we went back towards the center of town. We did some other last minute shopping and then went to the dock. I got the Jeep, drove to the dock, got hollered at by the cabbies, dropped the bags and went back to the rental agency to get my beating. Bobby, the guy who had patched the tire, was there. The woman behind the counter gave me the speech that they could not close the Amex account until they’d found the extent of the damage. Bobby yelled at her and told her to charge $20. $20! I could have kissed him. It would have cost me more to do it myself. They could have ripped me off, but didn’t. I thanked them profusely and told them I’d be back.

Since I was hot and ready to puke, I treated myself to another smoothie. Mmmmm…smoothie. The crew was at the dock, sweating and waiting. Then the rain started again. Then the 11:00 “ferry” arrived. If you look at the flickr shots of me on the webcam, you’ll see the main ferry. That’s what we’d taken to get to St John. Well, to get to town, there was this tiny orange boat, no larger than a large speedboat. This was going to be fun. I ran through the rain to a store next to JJ’s, grabbed a bottle of rum and a fun shirt for myself and went back to the dock. We only were taking 2 bottles home with us. We were assured that they could box the liquor and it would be fine on the plane. Honestly, I didn’t need the hassle of worrying if it would break. I wrapped the bottle in a suitcase and we got on the SS Minnow. Well, we were expecting a 50-minutue ride. We were pleasantly surprised to realize that a NASCAR reject was driving. We got to town in just over 25 minutes.

We got to St Thomas and again remembered why we don’t like it. Cabbies and merchandise hawkers descended upon us like flies on a steaming turd. We fought through the crowds and found a bar along one of the many crowded alleys. We pulled in with all of our crap and collapsed. Of course, ChurchBomber had picked a place that had just opened and seemed to be run by morons. I was still quite ill-feeling but knew I needed to eat. We all got some beers and had lunch. The owner/waitress just kept talking. All I wanted was to take a nap, but she would not shut up.

Finally, at 1:00, I decided it was time to head out. We got back to the taxi stand, hailed a cab, and were on our way. We arrived at the airport to find it mostly deserted. I’d planned well. Everyone was inside. We checked in, got our boarding passes and got on line to go through security and customs. I had nothing to declare (other than War on Canada), so we breezed through and got on the suitcase line. There, a large woman was yelling at everyone. I think you’re supposed to tell her what flight you’re on and then she decides just how far she throws your bag. ChurchBomber was not confident she’d ever see her bags again. I didn’t care. The food had done its thing and I finally felt well again. Plus, the airport was air conditioned. We got through security and entered the gate room. Holy moley. It was packed. The food counter had a line that was way too long. In 2004, I’d waited for 40 minutes on that line to watch 3 people get served food by a one-handed, one-eyed cook. There had to be 50 people on line. We were VERY happy we’d gone to the Morons’R’Us bar and eaten. It was almost 2:00 at this point, so we settled in and watched the chaos unfold. Finally, we boarded and got on the plane. Since this is a ghetto airport, you have to walk across the tarmac to board. Well, I guess JewelrySlut was not following the rules because as we walked over, a woman with a badge got in her face.

“Walk in the yellow lines! Is there a reason why you’re ignoring me?! I told you to walk in the lines!”

Mind you, there are 5 fully-loaded 757’s within abut 50 feet of us. To say that it’s loud is an understatement. JewelrySlut looked dumbfounded and muttered an apology.

“Why are you ignoring me?!?!” screamed the lovely woman.

I had to make a decision. So I yell back something like “Because you’re black.”? Maybe: “Because you seem to be a bitch.”? JewelrySlut continued to look on dumbfounded and said something about it being really loud and that she wasn’t ignoring her. We were scolded again and walked, within the lines I’ll add, to the plane.

On board, we settled in and got underway. They showed a dreadful movie and served the same horrid snacks. But, the flight was smooth and the plane was air conditioned. For the first time in a week, we were not sweating. It was nice.

We got to Atlanta and had to hustle. JewelrySlut and I had only 40 minutes to connect. And, of course, we were at the last gate on our concourse, and had to go clear across the whole airport to get to our new gate. We scurried to the monorail, got on, said quick goodbyes to ChurchBomber and MerlotMan and got to our gate. We had time enough to pee and change our seat assignment and then it was boarding time.

The flight to Raleigh was very easy and we were back in NC on time. We got our bags, got in the car, hit a supermarket on the way home and went home. We had a drink and a snack and went to bed. It had been a fun week, but it was time to be home.

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