Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Adventures in honeymooning

Ah.... New Jersey. Believe it or not - it's good to be back; even though it's back to actual, factual work tomorrow morning...

That's not to say that it was a poor week away. Quite the contrary, it was a splendid week in magnificent surroundings: Atlantis, on the aptly-named Paradise Island, Bahamas. Of course, we nearly didn't get there.

Our outbound flight was at 8:20 am on Tuesday, which gave us a day to recover from actually getting married, treat our out-of-towners to a Monday morning going-away breakfast, pack like madmen, and take care of dozens of niggling details before winging away. The catch was getting up at oh-dark-thirty (as the Spider would call it) to catch the plane. We got up at more like oh-dark-fifty or so, scrambled to make sure everything was in the trunk (including passports and such), and got to the airport about 75 minutes before the flight was due to depart.

We managed - mostly by sprinting everywhere as if chased. We didn't even bother to put our shoes back on at the security checkpoint. I simply dumped all the stuff from the little bucket into an open carry-on and took off after my Ladybug like a Kenyan miler.

On the way, the captain came on over the PA for an announcement. Half of our fellow passengers were on their way to a different resort for a destination wedding on Friday. (Hopefully they stayed there for the honeymoon rather than flying off to Nebraska or something.)

Once we got there, things went smoothly every step of the way. The first thing you do when arriving at Lyndon Pindling International Airport is march down a long, hot hallway to a T-intersection, and turn right, towards the baggage claim. (The left turn, as we found out, feeds outgoing passengers into the long hot hallway.) Then you wait in a large room with hundreds of other tourists for the customs and immigration folks to check you out. Stand behind the yellow line, wait for the next agent to call, and step up to get your visa stamp and hand in the small, two-sided form. They keep the original and hand you back a carbonless copy, instructing you to take no gainful employment while visiting the Islands and to fill out and hand in the reverse when you depart - and have a fine stay!

Returning residents and citizens have a separate line off to the right, and presumably a different procedure, but everyone gets dumped into the same area afterward: baggage claim. The first thing you see in baggage claim is not, however, the carousels, but a guy at a bar stand handing out small samples of the drink of the day. No charge, except for whatever tip you wish to part with. Thus fortified, you swagger into a madhouse of fellow travelers, surrounding four carousels with no hint whatsoever to which of them will spit out your bags.

Someone tagged Ladybug on the shoulder and pointed out the nearest of the four. It seemed that every arriving flight was sending its luggage here. Bags slid from the chute and landed on the previous layer, threatening to spill over the side. Nobody seemed to be upset at this. We found our stuff, wormed our way past the throng, and made our way outside. As part of the honeymoon package, there was a car waiting. Thus we were safely on our way across New Providence Island, into Nassau proper, and then over the bridge to Paradise Island.

I will post pictures after they're developed. That's right, the one item we left behind in our haste was the digital camera. Remembered the camcorder, however. Hopefully I can figure out a way to get the clips onto the PC and then find a suitable way to host them. (YouTube is out of the question for something like this. Last thing we need are 12-year-old idiots mocking my narrating skills. I'll let you guys do that in comments.)

Many thanks again to our guests, and to the Barking Spider for keeping things going here in my absence - but much more, of course, for being in the wedding party. And thank you to the many people patiently following along as this turns into Wedding Month on the blog. I promise more variety, especially as we get into the travelogue bits.

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