“Dirty Banana” –part 3 of 3

I have posted honeymoon photos. This time, I kept them in the order they came off my camera. And now I will share a few honeymoon stories:

The Air Jamaica story goes like this. Our flight was scheduled for Monday morning, July 11th at 8:30am. We drove back from the wedding in Milwaukee on Sunday and got home around midnight. As we were unpacking and re-packing, James got a telephone call from Air Jamaica (this was around 1:30am) to let us know that our flight had been delayed until 12:50 Monday afternoon. Ok, not the end of the world, right. Although we had no way to delay our arrival at the airport because our ride had to work in the morning after dropping us off. So we get to Baltimore Washington International at around 6am. We get breakfast, drink bad coffee, go to the gate, doze, read, etc. until it’s time to board. We get on the plane, we get in the air, we fly for maybe 10 minutes and begin to turn around. The hell? So the pilot comes on the intercom to tell us that the pressure valves and air conditioning systems are malfunctioning somehow. Apparently, there is one of these systems on each of the engines and NEITHER one was working.

Ok, so we land back at BWI, and they hook up an a/c truck to the plane and the technicians come out and start tinkering around. After an hour or two of looking out the window and watching the technician look a little too confused for my liking, I start getting a little upset, but I try to stay calm as they feed us and show us an episode of “Everybody Loves Raymond.” They can’t use the carts because of regulations having to do with us still being at the gate, so the distribution of food and beverages takes forever. The collection of trash and trays, however, takes even longer. This after more than three and a half hours sitting in a coach seat, in a plane that’s getting progressively hotter and stuffier because the a/c truck is just not cutting the mustard. And now, the tray table is down, making the available space to move around in even tighter. That was the point where I lost it. My heart raced and I broke into a worse sweat, and tears, and couldn’t breathe right. James was my hero and got the staff to let me off the plane and into the jetway, where another recent bride was resting, who had also suffered a panic attack.

Shortly after this, they let everyone off the plane because the valve could not be fixed, but needed replacement. We were going to have to wait for the flight to come in that night and stick our crew on their plane. Of course, that flight was delayed (and after being in the Montego Bay airport, now, I can’t imagine how ANY of the flights out of there would EVER be on time). So we were shuttled over to the Holiday Inn where we got dinner and a chance to rest awhile. Meantime, we spoke with our travel agent and Air Jamaica to get ourselves an extra day in place of the day we were currently missing. We finally got on the new plane at around 2am. Waking up to go and catch the shuttle from the hotel, though, I was so disoriented that I looked right at my husband and said to him, “Where’s James?” I was sleepy, what can I say. Once we got in the air that time, everything went fine, customs and immigration went smoothly enough, and we finally got to the resort at around 8:00 Tuesday morning.

As we checked in with our group, we noticed that their paperwork still had our original departure date on it. When we tried to check up on the situation at that time, one of the hotel staff told us, ya mon, no worries, it’s taken care of. When we tried to check on the same thing later in the week, the person we spoke with on our phone call from the room to the desk couldn’t understand what we were asking about and told us that all of the flights on Thursday were on time because they thought we were concerned about the hurricane. On Sunday morning, our original departure date, the desk called our room to tell us to be there to catch the shuttle to the airport at 10. We said, “No, we’re leaving tomorrow–didn’t you talk to our travel agent?” So we had to go through the whole calling of the travel agent and straightening everything out again with Sandals stuff, but it all turned out okay. Until about 4pm when we were hanging out in the room (…ahem), and we hear a key turn in our lock and the door start to open. We kindly shouted that we still had this room until Monday and the desk was aware of the situation. Ugh.

With regards to Hurricane Emily, she passed well south of us, which didn’t stop anyone from freaking out about it before it actually hit. Well, Saturday came, and it rained pretty much all day, but there were periods of lighter rain where we were able to make it back and forth from the main building to our villa in relative comfort. It was still warm, not very windy, and the rain stopped by dinnertime. After dinner, we even sat outside. Thanks to everyone who prayed that we wouldn’t get smacked by a hurricane on our honeymoon, I’m sure that’s why Emily missed us by so much.

There were butterflies everywhere.

The favorite drink of the week was a concoction called a “Dirty Banana,” which I just asked for because I saw a bartender blend one for someone else and needed to know what it was because it looked so damn good. It was good. We spend the week trying to figure out what was in it and came up with the following ingredients: 1/2 banana, rum cream (which is kind of like Bailey’s), milk, simple syrup, and possibly amaretto, blended with ice. This was the first experience I had with the Dirty Banana, and I certainly hope that it will not be my last.

Jamaicans really do say “Ya, mon.” The word “yes” or “your welcome” do not appear to be at the forefront of their daily vocabularies. But everyone was so nice and even when they didn’t understand what we needed from them, they were always pleasant to deal with and full of smiles.

As for the flight home, after we were sunburned and heat-rashed and itching from mosquito bites and whatever else and just ready to be back at our own place to get on with our lives, there just had to be more drama to end the trip with. Montego Bay airport appears nice on first entrance, though everything is open and you don’t really feel like you’re entering any sort of climate controlled environment. However, after we got through security and immigration, we could feel a little bit of air conditioning, and it was okay. Until the power went out. This was while we were eating lunch at Margaritaville. So, the thing with Montego Bay airport is that they don’t know what gate your flight will be leaving from until the plane actually gets there. The problem with this system is that the intercom sounds like that of a Burger King drive thru, and was that much worse because of the power outage. So our flight was delayed again. And then again. We drank beer. I cried a little bit out of frustration and discomfort (because again I mention, no air conditioning in the crowded airport after the power went out, and only a little bit after it came back on at half-speed). We got herded to a gate that was right next to three other gates with three additional flights leaving all within ten minutes of each other.

And the other thing about the Montego Bay airport is that the gate area is like a long hallway with doors. There’s no place to sit next to each gate, no holding area, if you will, so the passengers on all four of those flights were all crammed into this tiny space all wondering what the hell was going on because nobody was boarding anywhere. Well, we finally got on the plane, and everything else went fine from there. It’s just that the Air Jamaica people couldn’t give anyone a straight answer to save their lives, and I was fed up.

So you see, aside from the Air Jamaica part, the honeymoon was indeed fabulous. Even the Sandals mix-up was more funny than irritating. We didn’t do any sight-seeing, really, just enjoyed each other and spending time together. So there’s not much to tell about the rest of the week. The weather was great, we drank while we swam and ate a whole lot of really great food. We went to karaoke night at Nicole’s disco. I got a wonderful massage. We played cribbage and shuffleboard and chess. We survived Emily. Now it’s back to work. More about the real-life marriage part later.

The end.

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