I panicked a little. I had wanted to leave the house no later than 5:30 am. As the minutes ticked away, I felt a nervous twitter rise in my throat. “C’mon baby, we really should be on the road.”
We pulled out of the parking lot only 15 minutes behind schedule, so I drove a little faster and made up most of the difference. Everything from that point was unbelievably smooth sailing. We pulled into the park and ride, and by the time we had pulled our bags out of the car, the bus arrived. We were two of 4 people on the thing, so we made it quickly to the terminal. There was no line at our flight check-in, so we stepped right up, checked our luggage, and headed along our merry way. No snafus at security, no trouble finding the gate, we even had time to take out some cash while they loaded the first class passengers for our short connecting flight to Atlanta, GA.
And then it all went fantastically to pieces.
A bird hit the plane the night before. Rather than completing the paperwork then, they left it until the morning. While we all sat on the plane. Our hour and a half layover was rapidly disappearing, and in fact, disappeared by the time we took off. I cried. Wonderful start to the honeymoon, I thought. We haven’t even taken off and I’m already crying.
The pilot did what he could for the passengers. He kept us well informed every step of the way. When we taxied in, he made us show our hands if we had a quick connection so all could see and let us off the plane first. He assured us that the ground teams all knew we were late and would do their best to hold our connections for us, but they had already re-booked most of us onto the next flights just in case.
Our connection to St. Lucia took off out of gate 16, terminal E at 9:54 am. We landed, taxied, and had the doors to the plane opened at 9:40 in terminal B. I looked sadly into the eyes of the Huz, asked him if he would rush with me. He said yes, and we ran through the Atlanta airport.
Our flight to St. Lucia had already been closed up. The bridge had been removed and the plane was getting ready to back-up. My brain exploded, my heart shattered, I almost fell to the ground too depressed to move. But what? What’s this?
“They’re reconnecting the bridge. Quickly quickly get your passports out. What are your names?”
There were 7 of us total. 7 tired, out of breath, barely existing people standing in front of this savior of a ground operator shouting our names and tearing our passports from our carry-ons. We ran down the bridge, through the open doors to cheers from the boarded passengers, and dropped ourselves into any open seat with huge sighs of relief and one tiny tear.
We made the plane. Our luggage, of course, did not.
I have had my luggage lost once before. But even before then, had an enlightening conversation with a frequent traveler who had shared with me some (honeymoon saving) advice. “You never know!” She had said. ” Which is why I always pack a change of underwear in my carry-on.” Not only had I packed us both a change of drawers, but also a bathing suit (we were headed to the beach, after all). Our carry-ons also included our toothbrushes, a shirt for Shoobs, some snacks, cash, cards, the iPad, and books. We could survive for a day. Our conversation went much more smoothly than the couple beside us at the claims desk. She was not a smart wife. She did not pack the carry-ons wisely. And she was left to explain to her Huz why they had not medications nor toothbrushes nor shaving gel through angered shouts at the baggage team and the walls.
We took our hour taxi ride through colorful village after colorful village. The houses were simple yet beautiful. Many of them were in some state of personal decay or renovation, hard to tell which, as whole rooms stood gutted and exposed to the road for all to see. The roads themselves were pretty bad as well. Most travel on the island is either done by foot, or by boat. So what probably could have been a 20 minutes journey took almost an hour. But it was beautiful. The road mostly followed the coastline. As we traveled further up the mountain, we had stunning views of tropical rainforest disappearing into colorful fishing villages leading to white sand beaches and crystal clear oceans.
And then we arrived at Jalousie. Our taxi took us straight to our room where our butler met us with cool towels and fresh rum punch. Our room had been decorated for our arrival.
And one quick glimpse of our stunning view…