Tuesday, November 30, 2010

13:00 - I finally made it to the hotel just shy of 04:00am and the cleaning lady had to bang on a back door for several minutes to wake up the night clerk, who was just as tired as I was. Due to the time shift and long flight, I didn't really sleep but kind of dozed until 7:30am when I showered and headed for the buffet breakfast (I still had that all-inclusive rate that I was trying to make worthwhile), then after a slow morning I'm back at the airport as write this - and LIAT just announced a 30 minute delay due to “operational reasons”, an acronym that means as little as the typical “police situation” in the USA when they block off a road. Ahh well, at least the sun is shining and I am seriously debating having my first Carib beer since before the hurricane season, but it is still pretty early.

I had 2 hours time to catch my connecting flight in St. Martin and as I wasn't interested in shopping I spent most of the time at gate C3 which, although unoccupied, had a big TV screen announcing my flight number departing at 16:25 and status was “on time”. As 16:15 rolled around the screen changed to read “Boarding” but the counter and gate remained unoccupied. Then it changed to “Closing” and finally “Departed“ and I suddenly got a bit worried. I ended up going to the neighbouring counter where I was told “Oh, the displays are wrong and aren't updated. LIAT leaves at gates in A”. Now I was worried, but thought that this was typically Caribbean, as I'd spoken to the same lady an hour before and told her that I was on the flight listed at the gate and if I could use their airline's immigration form (to which she'd said “no”). At that time she didn't tell me that I was at the wrong gate... sigh. Anyway, I rushed off to the other end of the airport and found a lone representative in an almost deserted lounge area. She told me that I should have looked at the gate number on my ticket (which didn't have a gate number, as I was transferring flights) and then informed me that the flight hadn't even arrived yet and was delayed about an hour. Ah well, at least all was not lost.
The good news is that I've been to the BVI often enough that they gave me a “VIP” welcome and I got to sit and drink some cold water while someone ran to immigration to give them my papers and clear me in, also clearing in my luggage! What a great luxury that was and arrival was a comfortable breeze. My rental car was there and before I knew what was happening I was off and away.
I checked into the hotel and then headed to Mulligan's for a burger and one or two cold Carib beers, my first in over 6 months.
Lap of Luxury I upgraded to Premium Economy seating on this trip and the added legroom was a boon.
Lap of Luxury
Punta Carna at midnight After many hours of delay I'm at the airport in Punta Carna instead of in Antigua, as the pilot skipped landing there due to time constraints. After an hour of refueling we continued back to Antigua.
Punta Carna at midnight
The Sticky Wicket, Antigua The term comes from cricket, and this restaurant sits outside of a renowned and pristine Cricket pitch right next to the airport in Antigua.

[17°8'27.07"N 61°47'37.9"W (facing W)]
The Sticky Wicket, Antigua
East coast of Nevis East coast of Nevis

[17°19'33.81"N 62°41'9.96"W (facing NW)]
East coast of Nevis
Final approach St. Martin Final approach St. Martin

[18°2'20.44"N 63°7'25.34"W (facing N)]
Final approach St. Martin
Kimberly at the BVI VIP I was fortunate enough to become a BVI VIP member and when arriving at the airport one is picked up during the walk to the terminal building and gets to wait in this lounge while someone takes your paperwork and bags through customs and immigration!
Kimberly at the BVI VIP

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