Why Go To The Caribbean?

Mar 26

BeachGAlley_Bay 

Why not?

At your next social event, you could prattle on forever (you’ll have to be more succinct on Twitter) about the silky sands, the incredible turquoise water and the amazing cloud formations, all of which look just like the travel brochures even when you just snap a quick photo with your iPhone.

 

As for the pleasure of reading on the beach, this cartoon from  Dreamstime so mimicked my actual experience that I just had to include it. Sometimes art sure as hell imitates life.ReadingOnThe_Beach

 

 

 

LouReadingOnTheBeach

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this one, of Lou, kind of says it all.

 

On the other hand. . . telling the world about your perfect vacation is sooo boring. So let’s talk about the bad part for a while: the horror show called (Gasp!) Air Travel.

I HATE AIRPORTS!

Anybody remember the OJ Simpson commercial for where he dashed through the airport to catch a plane? Okay, you have other, more disturbing memories of the man, but bear with me a minute. The point is that once upon a time you actually could do some version of that last-minute sprint, although you probably had more luggage and less agility and than he did and merely hurried to the gate a few minutes before departure.

Really, I’m not making this up. Air travel used to be. . . (dramatic music here). . . fun!

TIMES SURE HAVE CHANGED
AirportSecurityLine

Okay, okay, we need more security in these troubled times, and you’d rather take your sneakers off and put them in that stupid plastic tray than sit next to a person with a bomb in his shoes. Point taken. But having to get to the airport at least  two hours before the flight seems to be cruel and unusual punishment. For what? For saving up the money and making the time to take a trip once in a while?

The $14 Slice

So after you’ve made it through all the lines (baggage check, security, immigration, whatever) you get to sit around and eat overpriced food in hokey theme restaurants. If you’re lucky. Leaving Antigua, the lovely island you can see here, and forced to do the 2-hour-before-your-plane-may-or-may-not-depart deal, we found ourselves in a small waiting room with one snack bar where the pizza cost $14. A slice! Not the pie, the slice!

Harrumph. It was lunch time, we had left the resort at 11:30 (to be at the airport like good little travelers for the 2 PM flight) and we were desperate. Seeing some people eating pizza, I asked it if was any good. One of them said that it wasn’t terrible, and that was all the encouragement I needed. I got some. It was terrible. The person who said it wasn’t was obviously not from the New York Area, where we know from pizza, and so, after a few bites, on the way to the garbage can, I offered to sell the rest of the slice to him for 5 bucks. Four? No deal. Talk about throwing money away.

I’ve heard that airports around the world are starting to become like malls, with services like nail and hair salons and even health care services, but this news has not reached the Caribbean and probably won’t in our lifetime.

AND THEN THERE’S THE PLANE . . .

 

I bought the lousy $14 slice of pizza because I knew we wouldn’t get anything good (or anything) to eat on the plane. We used to complain about the meals on board, but at least they were meals, or meal-like equivalents. Now, our sole choice was a Snack Pack containing everything your cardiologist warns you about: excess salt, sugar and carbs, with maybe a slice of apple thrown in to assuage somebody’s conscience.

Does anyone connected with any of this actually have a conscience? I think not.

PAN AM

Did you catch the short-lived show PamAm on ABC last year? Okay, the plots were pretty weird, but the actors were good looking (love Cristina Ricci) and there was lots of great nostalgia about air travel in the ’60s. Sigh. People dressed up. They wore shoes, not flip flops. Hats even. Think Mad Men at 30,000 feet. The flight attendants (nobody called them that then) were stewardesses and damn it, they were good looking and had been instructed on how to be pleasant and courteous to the passengers. Pleasant! Courteous! What a concept!

I get that it was sexist and unfair to older, less attractive women (and now men) to choose only the youngest and best looking among us, but it was nice to be pampered by stewardesses who acted liked they cared. Okay, you get better choices for movies these days, not to mention your own private screen, but you have to beg for a packet of peanuts and better bring your own blankie.

 

BaggageHandlerEventually, you get off the plane. The taxiing on the runway sometimes seems longer than the flight because you’re cranky from having to beg for peanuts while trapped in a sardine can, although you can use this time to look out the window and wonder if that baggage handler has lost your luggage.

IS THIS CUSTOMARY?

Once off the plane you get to go through . . . customs!

I’m amazed at the lines at customs at small airports. Don’t they know that three planes are landing at the same time? Can’t they use ALL the booths and speed it up a little when the line snakes out of the building and practically back to the plane? Is this the price we pay for 7 days of sunshine when it’s snowing back home?

I guess so.

Sigh.

SailboatGalley_BayHowever much I complain about airports, planes and those eternal lines, come next winter, when it’s cold and bleak here in the North, I’ll get that hankering for the turquoise sea, the silvery sands, and all those exotic tropical drinks— you know, like vodka martinis.
TropicalDrinking

Perfect, huh?

 

Scotty: Are you sure you can’t beam me up? I mean down. To the Caribbean. The next time I need a vacation, which is actually right now because I need to recover from all that stressful Air Travel.

Hmm. No response. Try him later. Meanwhile, guess I’ll have to settle for a martini. Extra dry with lots of olives. Life goes on, even without the turquoise sea.

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