Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Tortola (BVI) Vacation: Day Ten--the long ride home...

As I mentioned previously, the schedule for the inter-island ferry seemed to be more of an approximation than something to depend on. As predicted, the 7am ferry from Tortola to St. Thomas didn't happen. The 10am ferry would get me to St. Thomas by about 11, then I'd have to get to the airport, which wasn't too far away, and I'd presumably be at the airport the pre-requisite 2hrs early for international flights. Ah, if only...
I had to get down to the ferry early--I had heard that sometimes they sold out. Jean and I were the at 8, for the 10am ferry. She was actually staying in Tortola for a couple of more days with her parents, but she hung around for a while. Ultimately, she went back to the vacation villa, and I waited for the ferry. For some reason, a reason that was never given, the 10am ferry approached the dock, then took off towards Road Town. Apparently, it was "circumstances beyond our control," but the ferry went to Road Town, and then came back to us. That set us back an hour. I was bored, so I sat around and took pictures of all of the people waiting.

So, with the ferry delayed an hour, I was now running an hour behind schedule. A little tight, but still do-able, right?

When the ferry finally docked in St. Thomas, we weren't allowed to get off until all of the luggage was taken off. Must be a customs thing... Once off the ferry, there was a LONG line to get through customs. Fun. The best part was that we were standing outside, next to the ferry, breathing diesel exhaust. Mmmmmm, can you smell the carcinogens?

The customs line took longer than I had hoped, and my schedule was getting tighter and tighter..

Once through customs, I schlepped my stuff outside to find a taxi to take me to the airport. Fortunately, the driver was interested in setting a land speed record, so we got to the airport lickety split.

When I saw the line to get to the American Airlines check in counter, I really thought there was no way I'd make the flight. It was back and forth, back and forth and out to the curb. Uh oh. After about 20 minutes I went to the First Class/Business Class line (which was empty), and played ignorant (I'm good at it), thinking that because I somehow had business class seats to St. Thomas, I MUST have business class seats on the way home. That wasn't the case, but I was able to get checked in. Whew!

The schedule was still getting tighter and tighter I was getting closer!

Then I turned to corner to learn that I had to go through customs again. WTF? I had already waited in a line to do this! Okay, whatever, I filled out another form and waited in another long line. Argh!

I should note that at this point I was really hating the fact that I had brought my bike. I can travel very light when I need to, but with the bike, I've already got one largish bag at just under 50lbs, and the other bag will have tools, cycling shoes, helmet, and some other cycling gear, making my second bag largish and heavy. Add to this, my two carry-on bags with heavy electronic gear, and I was probably carrying about 150lbs of stuff. That was my work-out for the day. I was so covered in sweat by the time I finally got through the check-in process, customs, and THEN regular TSA security, that I had to change clothes before I got on the plane, but I get ahead of myself.

Yeah, the American Airlines check-in line was long, the customs line was long, and the TSA security line was long. Oy, I was really started to wonder if I'd make the flight. As mentioned above, I was soaked with sweat from the heat, the stress, and carrying all my crap, so I pulled an extra set of clothes out of my duffel bag.

Once finally through all of the lines, I literally had enough time to get in to the terminal, change clothes in the Men's room, grab a crappy burger, and they were boarding the plane. I had made it.

But wait, what's this? A message from the shuttle that's supposed to be picking me up at Logan? Hmmm, seems that my flight is getting in about 8:30 rather than 9:30pm. That's cool, but how's that going to work?

Somehow, my return flight had changed. My flight from St.Thomas to Miami was the same, but the Miami to Boston flight was different--now it's about an hour earlier. That's cool but my connection was looking kind of sketchy...

My tight luck continued though. Usually, when I have a connecting flight, I land in something like Terminal A, Gate 2, and I have to get to Terminal W, Gate 74, taking a shuttle, tram, and walking something like seven miles between the two. This time, however, the fates took pity on me. I landed at Gate D47 and departed from Gate D51. How tight was my connection? I landed, walked out of Gate D47, turned left, walked past Gate D49, and walked right on to the plane at D51. Not a minute to spare.

The rest of the journey was without complications. I landed, my luggage miraculously made the connection too, got my shuttle home and crashed asleep. Back to work in the morning!

I've got more "good" photos coming (these have been the "okay" photos), and make sure you check out the video!

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