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Today it was finally time to head out again. I had just completed some work in Newcastle upon Tyne so I departed from there for the Caribbean. It was a very long day, starting with a wake-up buzzer at 04:00am which would let me shower and get to the airport for 05:00 so that I would have plenty of time to get my boarding pass and check my luggage in for the 05:50am flight from Newcastle to Schiphol airport in Amsterdam. I had a lengthy layover there, but the only alternative was a flight via Charles de Gaulle with only 1 hour to connect and since that airport is notorious for labyrinthine walks and repeated entries into and exits from secure zones I opted not to risk that. Our flight was delayed for an hour due to fog but we made up that time en route to St. Martin; where I had a couple of hours time to wait for my connecting flight to Beef Island in the BVI.
The LIAT flight was, surprisingly, on time and I was at the tail end of the 35 or so people who were queued for customs and immigration. The airline had run out of immigration forms when I'd arrived, so I had to fill in the form at the airport and that actually put me at the end of the waiting line. I'll keep this part short - it took over an hour for me to get to the counter. Welcome to “Island Time”.
The rental car that I'd arranged to have waiting for me at the airport was noticeably absent. Luckily a friendly lady at the Hertz counter managed to find an out-of-hours for the rental company and we called. They said that they would call back but I paced around the airport for another 40 minutes in order to stay awake and when the call finally arrived they told me that they'd booked the rental for the next month. They did say that they would deliver a car to my place of residence the next day and I wouldn't have to pay the airport delivery fee or for the day-that-I-didn't-have-my-car. Considering I had little choice I agreed and proceeded to take a cab to Apple Bay. For those who don't know the BVI, the taxis are incredibly expensive and the taxi driver association practically controls the government. So, a short taxi drive and $58 later, I was at Apple Bay and Malcolm had kindly left two beers in the fridge for me and I put them to good use.