Posts Tagged ‘jamaica’

Travelling is always an interesting experience.  No matter how many times we go to the same place no two experiences will be the same.  I remarked to a friend the other day that I have been travelling since 1949 when I took my first flight carried  in my mother’s arms.  Of course I don’t remember it at all but to be sure,  the journey changed the course of my life and I have loved travelling ever since then.

Just this past two weeks I travelled to the place I left that July of 1949.  I have returned  numerous times since then using  my favourite love-hate flyer, Air Canada.  Summer is a delightful time to travel but not in the middle of a heat wave to a tropical country.  Talk about sweltering!  Every living salt in my tissues was lost to the flood of water which left my body in waves.  But, why not swelter on a beach in the Caribbean rather than my front verandah which only overlooks numerous other concrete structures in the community where I live.  To see trees laden with Mangoes, flowers blooming all over, and few pesky mosquitos was lovely.

The best part of the travel was a short stint at the Jamaica Inn.  To be honest, the place had, I thought, some unique history with Hollywood but the movie of the same name was based on a book by Daphne duMaurier,  (who I love and admire with all my heart) about a pub in Cornwall.  The resort did have some unique characteristics however.  The ownership has been continuous since the 50’s and the setting has an old world elegance not seen by me for years.  All inclusive hotels are wonderful but for those wanting a relaxing, leisurely vacation without all the mod cons of our fast paced life, this is the place to be.  I was enchanted.

So to follow on from previous complaints about my favourite airline, I have to say that this time they were blameless in the excitement of this flight.  Take off from Jamaica was flawless.  The flight was almost without any turbulence.  We circled lake Ontario in preparation for landing and….we circled again and again until the captain’s resigned voice blared from the speakers.  There was a massive storm over the airport and we couldn’t land.  Circle became the word of the hour.  Running out of gas, we had to make our way to Hamilton Ontario to land.  Hamilton?  Did they have enough space for not one but two or three or more planes all running out of gas.  Apparently they did.  The ground staff looked important as they tried to meet the needs the influx of planes suddenly descending on their small airport.  I had a fleeting thought of how horrible it must have been for some of those small airports to cope during the 911 disaster.  That wasn’t the case here but certainly there would be no deplaning.  Another bag of cashews, some texts and a few phone calls helped the hour to pass.

Ok, we can drive from Hamilton to Toronto in 40 minutes or less.  Are we really going to take off and land in what would amount to a rabbit hop?  After an hour lay over we really did the leap over the storm which was making its way south and west.  The short flight from Hamilton to Toronto was accomplished easily and the pilot landed the craft as smooth as ever on the other side.  Looking down from the window at the blackness of the storm cloud circling below the level of the plane was interesting.  That we could rise above it was the point of the bunny hop I guess.

No point going into details about the chaos at the airport.  Apparently there was a ‘code red’, whatever that means.    What I saw was that planes hanging in the air and planes diverted from Toronto were returning in droves.  The full import of the massive diversion was understood as I waited 20 minutes for a dock to deplane, over an hour for luggage, 45 minutes for a bite to eat at the single Tim Horton’s that was open, and then another 40 minutes for a taxi.  Six hours after the time I should have landed,  I was finally pulling my sorry and tired butt into the house.

None the less, thanks be for the care and control which ensured that no injuries occurred to either humans or planes.  Now we are in the middle of a weather chill.  As I put on my sweater to step outside today, the sweltering beach seems mighty welcome.


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As one would expect, the arrival of the luggage was frought with anxiety and disappointment. I received the long awaited call early on Friday. ‘Your luggage has arrived in Kingston.’  What sweeter words could there be?  I didn’t even want to think about the journey the suitcase had undertaken. The caller gave me a range from today or  tomorrow. I stated unequivocally, tonight please.
Since I had already discovered that the office closes early, I was waiting until the 5 o’clock hour before allowing anxiety to set in.  If the luggage didn’t arrive, there would be no one to call. As the evening wore on, hope faded along with the setting sun. No one does business after dark and driving around the Island with luggage from abroad seemed to be almost asking to be hijacked. By nine, all hope had gone and I resigned myself to a surety on Saturday. Not long after the release of my last sigh, the phone rang. In a house with two women having the same first initial and last name, the call taken by the youngster of the house was precariously handed to the elder. She was probably the best person to answer anyway. The driver was lost. Could he get directions?
We stood at the metal grill, which protects most homes on the island from predators, and waited for the van to arrive. Indeed, he was not long. The young man stood in the pouring rain and unloaded quite a few suitcases in the dark, using a simple flashlight to search for the missing case among many others. Our own special markers helped him to find it quickly.
He was clearly wet and hungry.  He admitted to having many miles to go before he would get his own rest, but we were grateful for his efficiency and good manners.
This is the end of my saga. A happy ending to be sure. Others may not have such luck but in everything I found the manners to be respectful and outstanding, something I miss in the easy going cultural climate of the north.

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One thing I hope to do, this visit, is to be re-acquainted with the area where a part of my story takes place. In book two, “In the Shadow of the Blackbird”, our heroine travels to the island to recoup. It has been quite a few years since I have actually been on the north coast in St. Ann’s Bay. The area has history and is dear to me. Part of my mother’s family originated there and I have had two of the most wonderful vacations in the area.
I hope tobe able to write another story at some future time which will feature the island and its seductive beauty. In the meantime, we are under water and still without luggage.

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