Amazing how many days I let this go by when I'm not reading each day...
I'm writing this in the airport, while waiting for our flight from Jamaica to Miami.
So, backing my vacation up a day at a time:
We had about 5 hours to kill after seeing Knight and Gaucha to their flight. It seems that Delta was right -- Air Jamaica cancelled flights 30 and 25 which were taking us from Montego Bay to Miami via Kingston. And this was the earliest flight they could book us on. Knight's schedule was so munged up, and his was a paying ticket, so they moved him onto an American Airline flight. Gaucha's flight, to be exact. A nice surprise. My recommendation? Avoid Delta and Air Jamaica in the future. They were most definitely the unhelpful airlines on this trip.
We rode to the bus from the resort together so that we could say goodbye to Gaucha and Knight, and have time for shopping with them before they left. When we arrived at the airport, we were met with incompetence and inconvenience. Air Jamaica has recently changed computer systems, and none of their employees seems to know how to operate the new system. How many AJ employees does it take to screw in a lightbulb? Can't be done -- they're all clustered around one computer terminal, trying to figure out how to check in one couple of passengers. At first, they refused to check us in at all: we were there more than four hours before our flight time, so they didn't want to process our checked baggage. After repeating the same inane phrase about FAA regulations to us, they magically found a way to accept our bags, after all. That is, after we marked up our baggage tags with exactly the names that appear on our passports, and removed extraneous ones. Sigh. Flar goes by his middle name and had to add the first name to his tags. I've dropped the ambiguously spelled portion of my name, as I'm tired of having it spelled improperly, so I had to add the two letters.
Note. American Airlines did NOT require Knight to change his tags to read his legal first name.
With our bags finally checked in, we were free to shop the duty free area. I found a tam that I liked much better than the ones at the market in Ocho Rios, and a colorful straw hat for my mom, and some little things for various folks. Knight found some cute gifts as well, and we had a bit of time to sit before it was time to walk them to their gate.
After that, Flar and I headed to the airport branch of Margaritaville. We had a yummy lunch of Cheeseburgers in Paradise and conch fritters and a brownie sundae and I had a tangerine daiquiri. Yum. After whiling away a bunch of time there, we finished out our duty free shopping. The closest port that stocks Mozart liqueur -- we've now restocked. Flar bought a cigar and headed up to the cigar lounge while I took this opportunity to bring my journal up-to-date.
By the time we get to Miami, Knight will have picked up a rental car, checked us into a hotel in Ft Lauderdale, and will be close by to pick us up after we get through customs. We're planning dinner at a Chinese restaurant and I Spy at a theatre, if there are reasonable times.
Friday I had the kind of nagging headache that dis-motivates, but doesn't really dis-able. Kind of like the pressure inside my head was just not right compared to that outside my head.
We stayed in the room for most of the day, napping and watching movies. I'd wanted a quiet picnic lunch of grilled cheese by the clothing optional pool, but a combination of the weather (light sprinkles off and on), misunderstandings over phone calls, and the wet tee-shirt contest intervened. Flar did get the chef to make me grilled cheese at the main dining room, though, so at least I got what I wanted to eat. But the loud music accompanying the wet tee-shirt contest, I could have done without. I could have left, but Flar convinced Gaucha to participate, and I wanted to stay and cheer her on. I think she was quite brave to get up there, not being able to understand most of the English instructions, and all. She didn't win -- but that was because there was a Very Accomplished Show-off in the contest. The secret to winning a wet tee-shirt contest is in really strutting your stuff, and this woman was great at it. When we went to pick up pictures this morning, there were some great ones of Gaucha, and Knight bought two for Flar.
It was after lunch that Knight and I slept most of the afternoon away. We got up in time to "help" Flar and Gaucha get ready for the fashion show. They really had everything in hand; we just kept them company and listened to our part in it. I sat at the dinner table with brochures and price sheets for people to pick up, and Knight took pictures. Gaucha and another woman modeled while Flar did traffic control back stage. The entertainment staff provided great commentary for the show, and I think it was a wonderful success. Flar and Gaucha then had to stay up hours later, talking to potential customers and reps who came to their room to discuss details. Besides the casual selling that we've been working on through the week, this night definitely served to make this a business trip for Erosul. If even half of the prospective orders come through, it will have been well worth the efforts.
Oh, did I mention that I hate packing? And that my suitcase holds the leather on the bottom, since it's heavy, and my suitcase has wheels? At the end of a headache-y day I was very cranky, waiting around for a suitcase to fill with all the clothes that I carefully folded onto the bed, thereby having no place to be while waiting, except a chair. But Flar finally came and got my suitcase and then returned it, half-full, so I was able to pack up everything except the stuff I would be using in the morning. I think Knight said it was about 3am when we finally went to sleep.
Okay, now the days are starting to fuzz together...
I think that Thursday was the day we played pool in the pool, after fooling around with a beach ball in the clothing optional pool. Which means it was Friday that we played Bowling Dice and probably Wednesday that we played regular pool, after dinner. It was the first time that Gaucha ever played, and she was pretty good. She sank some difficult long shots.
Thursday was the day that the party in the Disco was a toga party. I got up on stage after lunch and let them drape a toga on me -- thus scoring a showy piece of lavendar satin for my toga. Now mind you -- we dressed for the Disco party theme, but never made it to the disco: we showed off our costumes at dinner.
Wednesday was retro night, and my flowing rainbow caftan was overshadowed by some enormous afros and peace beads. I also found out that I suck on knowing the artist, but I can usually guess the 60s song. I still think I remember Little Richard performing Shout! Oh well.
Monday night we ate at the Japanese grill: Munahana. It was tasty but the show is better at Yamamoto's. Tuesday night, we ate at Pastafari, the Italian restaurant. I wasn't impressed with the alfredo sauce.
Tuesday, we climbed Dunn's River falls. It was much less strenuous than I'd feared, and the water felt great rushing against us. The guide was amazing -- at the hard parts, he'd practically lift you up the rocks, giving you a hand up. I really disliked the market that we walked through after the falls, though. The items for sale seemed very high priced, and the vendors were like sharks. I now understand why the calm looking people were those who were walking through ignoring all calls, as if they were deaf. I somehow found myself separated from Flar early on, then Knight came to find me, and I ended up buying something I really didn't want for the price. Amazing. Me, for whom shopping is ordinarily a treat. My experience at the airport made up for it, though. Mind you, I think you're supposed to haggle in the market, and not here at the airport, and I hate haggling.
I think that sums up the trip. Lots of napping against sun or light or noise induced headaches. Lots of movie watching and hiding from the sun
And no sunburn.
I'll call it a success. But I feel no urge to return.
And I'm so looking forward to getting home. Where I can use my cell phone and read email and live journal and (ugh) catch up on mail and bills and housecleaning et al.
Oh, did I mention that Gaucha brought me my elf boots? They're absolutely gorgeous! And I can get more made in any color for cheap, cause now they've got the last made. Whee! Dance of joy. :)
And lest I forget to mention it here, very publicly and explicitly... Gaucha is a wonderful, dear, sweet, adorable, cute, impish, saintly (For putting up with Flar, at times) and delightful person. I am very pleased to have been able to meet her, and would do it all again (except for maybe the nude pool, where I kept getting hassled) just to see her. I hope that we're able to work out a way for her to come to the states. And Knight thinks he's run down a Portuguese language class in the Lexington area, so next time I'll be able to talk to her more.
Tomorrow I find out if our little gecko from the room followed me home in my luggage. I'm pretty sure he didn't, but he was awfully persistent.