Friday, March 12, 2010

Back To Civilization

Well, believe it or not, we're back from our island paradise and are slipping back into our every day routines, or should I say, sequestering ourselves in them. Something about the warmth and comfort of routines that you have to love.

As I may or may not have mentioned, we had no internet at the place we were at, so I couldn't blog, but in the end, it's probably all for the best, because it would have interfered with our island routine, which consisted of sleeping in, lounging around the house, hitting the beach, playing in the surf, exploring the island, followed by more sleep. How can you beat that?

The trip was originally planned by R as a family getaway, and we would have loved to have had R&J and P&D along, but it was not to be. Realistically, it was a stretch to think everyone could simply drop everything and head on over the islands, especially since they were just over here a couple of months ago, but it was worth a try.

We stayed on an island called, of all things, Long Island, though when we told people this we had to explain that it wasn't LI New York, but LI the Bahamas. Ah, human insecurity, you gotta love it. Long Island is one of the lesser developed islands in the Bahama chain. No big resorts, no casinos, and no shopping, just the way we like it. Lots of local flavor and plenty of time to find your island groove.

Even though the island itself is fairly rustic, the house we stayed in was fabulous. Not quite a mansion, but a really nice house, could have made it into a design magazine. I'm sure there were some professional design touches involved there, and my Mentor would have approved, right down to the slate tiles that covered the entire floor. Don't even want to think about how much that must have cost.

The house was called the Goombay house, and the owner had stocked the fridge with the local beer (tastes like Bud) and a local soft drink called Goombay Punch. Goombay must mean something, have to look into that.

Even though life is mellow on the island, I will say this. There were some of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches I had ever seen, hands down. Right out of a magazine, just fabulous. We spent many hours in the surf, which was rougher than I thought it would be for the Caribbean, not to mention cooler.

We settled into our routines, and had a great time. We had gone for many reasons, but the main one was it was A's birthday, and we wanted to go somewhere special, because she's a pretty special kid. She wanted to be around her grandparents and uncle and aunt, but this time around, it wasn't meant to be. We had fun nonetheless, and I know the beach loving members of this family would have been enamored with the surroundings, while the non-beach loving contingent might not have been as thrilled. Fortunately, all of us are beach loving types. The only thing I would like to have next time is surf-able waves so I can teach the kids to surf. Next time.

We rubbed elbows with the locals, tried to find some local cuisine and failed for the most part, and explored the island. What a great time. At one point, A said it was the best birthday ever, and after hearing that, pretty much nothing else matters. We're glad she had a nice and memorable time.

We arrived back home last night, and I, of course, had loads of anxiety about the trip home, mainly over how to entertain the kids for all those hours. But you know what? They are good travelers, and know how to entertain themselves for the most part, though some of us are better at it than others.

Also, I have to confess, I love JetBlue. What a great airline, preferential seating with families with kids (I know, you're saying all airlines do it, but they don't!), friendly and thorough service (they emailed me confirmations, who ever does that?), and best of all, and the value of this cannot be overstated, but a TV monitor for every seat broadcasting satellite TV. Forget about movies of the week, we had access to Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Animal Planet, etc., all in real time, with your own remote. Say no more, I'm sold, the kids didn't complain a bit during the entire flight.

We had a long day ahead of us on our departure. 8:00 AM flight to Nassau, 11:30 flight to JFK, 4:30 flight to Logan, and then to the hotel to get our car (long term parking), then a 2 hour drive home. How's that for a long day?

While I was stressing about the flights, I figured the drive home part would be the cake walk, but boy was I wrong. The flying went smoothly, we made our connections with time to spare, and the flights were a breeze. The longest one was 2.5 hours, so it really wasn't that bad. The fun part was when we landed in Boston. We took the shuttle back to the hotel where we did park and ride, and sure enough, just as I was worried about in the back of my mind, the battery was dead. Funny how that happens when a car sits for two weeks in the cold.

There was an older couple on the shuttle who were from Minnesota, and the man V wanted to help. He walked over with us and helped me push the car to bump start it, but the two of us couldn't get enough speed. That, and I didn't want the guy to kill himself, he must have been about 70 years old. What a trooper, great guy, he didn't want to give up. He kept saying, "One more try." Meanwhile, I had my AAA card halfway out of my wallet.

It turns out the shuttle driver had a jump box, something I toyed with bringing but didn't want to seem paranoid. Boy was I stupid. I had asked another woman in the parking lot if we could jump off her battery, and she was super nice and agreed, but the driver showed up at the last minute with his box, so we used that.

Once we got it started, we ran into one more problem. The windshield wipers were not working. This happens on occasion, when it gets cold and icy, they freeze up to protect the motor from burning out from excess ice. I'm not sure why they froze this time, but we were bummed, because it was raining, and there was no way that we were going to make it home without wipers. We thought maybe I could drive and R could reach over and squeegee the window now and then, but scrapped that idea. We were on the verge of just getting a hotel room when they magically kicked in, and we were in business.

We burned through an hour and a half by that point, and now we had a long drive home. The kids sacked out (they were secretly lobbying to get a room) while I drove. We got home last night near 11:00, and got the kids into bed, and then could finally relax.

As much as we had a great trip and miss the beach already, it sure is nice to be home. I'll leave it at that. Not sure if I'm going to travel blog this one, it's always hard after the fact, and by then, who really cares?

One final note, the kids started taking pics of their little travel buddies in various locations, and they had this idea of photographing them wherever we travel. What a cool idea.

Until the next time, thanks for reading.

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