Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Back in the groove

The plane trips from Tampa to Miami, and Miami to George Town have been as suspenseful as any Brad Pitt movie that I have ever seen. We made each flight without a minute to spare. From the ticketing agents came "Why are you so late?". It still rings in my head. "Its' my luggage!" I would answer while pointing to my wife and kids. They didn't get it. One particular check-in clerk in Miami was our champion. He was on curb side check in, and when he assessed our situation and all the bags that I had laid at his feet he said "Alabado" (That's like, Oh my God). We each had 2 carry-ons, and 2 check-ins. The profile that the baggage made when they all laid in a pile was impressive. Well my guess was that his girlfriend must have been really nice to him the night before because this guy would be daunted by nothing. He said "My computer won't accept all this out here so lets go inside". And he ran in with all our passports and papers flapping in his hands. I told Marie to stay with the luggage as I sprinted off behind him. He went up to one of the inside ticketing agents, a girl, and hugged her and kissed her. Who am I to question his methods? In any case her computer could do anything short of waxing the plane. He got her working on our tickets, and told me to wait there while he went for the luggage. So, he left me there with this cute little agent who the minute earlier was just an endless source sunshine, but now had morphosed into a pit bull upon his departure. She snapped and growled at me, but I just stood there like when a dogs owner tells you to "just be still and it will all be alright". I had faith in this guy, maybe for lack of choice. My new best friend got back with all the bags and my luggage. He loaded them one at a time on the scale, they were all close to maximum, but I had weighed each bag over and again as I packed so they were all on the money. Still they charged us for the second bags, $40 each, ouch! Boarding passes in hand we ran to catch our "now boarding" plane with ridiculous over-sized carry-on bags, 2 each. Thank God for the wheel and axle, this was a prime example of how we bend the laws of nature. At the security check point we just bogged down a lane. Thankfully I had not forgotten any of my knives as I have countless times before (another story), we were clean. We arrived at our plane to find that the crew was late. They were arriving on another flight that was running late.  The flight to George Town itself was great. Eva swears she saw dolphins swimming...and you though her daddy told stories? As we approached George Town, the plane started to circle the island, over and over, through heavy cloud cover. About a half hour transpired, and the passengers were starting to feel queasy when the pilot finally decided that it was safe to land. We where not told anything that was going on, I thought that the airport was just busy. I later heard from the cab driver that the pilot was about to return to Miami due to weather.
Getting through Bahamian customs was still ahead of us. We gathered all of our bags and got in line, it was only us. He called us forward, they take this very seriously. We stepped up to the counter, and began our Porky Pig impersonation. Do you have any of this or that? Duh-duh-duh, I have boat parts. What kind of boat parts? Duh-duh-duh, an anchor line, and some other parts...impellers. We were told to show receipts , so we pull out some receipts, enough to be somewhat believable, but still it was a thousand dollars. This guy tells us that we will need to pay 45% duty fees and get an agent to import the stuff. I think my blood pressure went to 300 over 200...or something like that. I began to present an argument, "I was under the understanding that boat parts did not pay duty?". I think this guy saw the whining session that was coming his way, and realized I was the only thing between him and going home, and he just changed his tune. "I don't want you to go through that, no. I'll just let you go by saying it's under $100." What the hell just happened? Oh well, out the door we go. Our prearranged cab was there waiting, the only thing that went as planned. I felt embarrassed as I began to load this ladies car with luggage. The Bahamas doesn't really have taxi cabs per se, it's just a car, in this case a Cadillac SUV, that the owner just decides to drive you around in for a fee.
It felt great to be back home...home is where our boat is.

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