Friday, December 31, 2010

Holiday Recap and Pictures

Current Location: Long Island City, NY.

I have gotten some complaints from nearly 20% of my readers (albeit that is only 3 or 4 people) concerning my lack of attention to "Weekend to Weekend"; the name "Month to Month" would seem to be more appropriate! I have found some time during the holidays, however, to add an additional installment regarding my Holiday experience. As a forewarning, I will confess that, like many of my previous posts, the majority of the content will revolve around travel. There is, interestingly, another layer to this post involving a small friend, appropriately named "Kid Rock", that brought a small smile to many of us. To discover those smiles, take a look at the newly added album entitled "2010 Holidays in VT, PR and Tortola".

My parents have recently taken accustom to spending Christmas in Puerto Rico with my grandparents without much concern or question to where I will be spending the holiday; it has been voiced to me that it is desired that I spend the holiday with them in PR, but I don't have to. Unfortunately, my birthday falls on one of the worst possible days of the year ever - December 26 - it is one of the most forgotten days of the year, lost in the wake of hangovers, high hopes and proud or disappointed children receiving the gifts they requested or just tube socks. Needless to say, it's a tough day for me. In an effort to have a decent celebration, I decided to head to Tortola on Christmas day to visit Elliot and a few others that I have befriended through past visits from all over the world, particularly Zimbabwe and Canada.

And so, upon arrival on Christmas, Elliot and I celebrated with many of his African friends, eating and drinking until the night ended. My birthday morning greeted me with Rooster calls and coffee, followed by a relaxing breakfast in the West End. The adventure for the day was to ferry to Virgin Gorda and enjoy the Baths with Brian, Kerry, Steven, Sarah and their daughter Kelly. The trip was exquisite, yet my description and diction will pale in comparison to the pictures in the album.

The following day was spent at Lambert Beach with overwhelming surf and sun during the day, and a small "present" delivered, or left, in the afternoon. While discussing politics, books and overpopulation over beers, Elliot and I were visited by the local herd of goats - about 20 in all - standing outside of his home. One mother was standing closest to the stairs and bleating uncontrollably; Elliot and I were slightly confused by found it amusing initially when we settled on the decision that the goat was merely confused. Their passing came and we followed suit, gearing up to head out for some food. On our walk down the stairs, we heard a higher pitched bleating that could have been mistaken for a Rooster or Hen, and when we investigated, we found a small baby goat, umbilical cord still attached, struggling to get through the alley way that it's mother had traversed a few minutes earlier. Elliot collected the little thing and we attempted to reunite it with it's mother across the road. To our discontent, the mother ran from us and her child, leaving the parental duties to two young men who were lucky enough to have had a good deal of experience with livestock. We placed the goat under the stairs, went for dinner and brought back some Goats milk and a bottle. The kid was waiting patiently for our return and latched on to the nipple of the bottle quickly, making suckling noises of happiness and wagging it's tail uncontrollably.

The next morning came and we decided that we were not fit parents for a kid, especially with my departure looming in the evening. Brian, also quite handy with Animals and a friend to the local shelter, helped me deliver the kid to its new home. During the journey, Brian, although he had warned us not to name the kid in order to prevent any ties from being made, dubbed the kid "Kid Rock" - The puns are plenty although I don't believe they are intentional. The shelter accepted Kid Rock, and my brief parenting stint came to an end.

This entire time, I was completely unaware of the poor status that the northeast airports were in and only until Lunch was I informed - Tortola has a completely different phone service set up and I am essentially removed from the world (usually a great thing). I headed to Brian's and checked into my flight from San Juan to JFK - still on time and projected to be on time. I was to catch a 5:55 flight from Tortola to San Juan and I should have had plenty of time to make the next flight.

Now, some quick back story to properly pose the pending predicament that I was soon to encounter. I had booked two separate return flights - JFK ->SJU and SJU->Tortola because I was staying in Puerto Rico for a few days and it's cheaper. I also booked the flights on different airlines - Delta for the SJU-->JFK return leg and American Eagle for the Tortola -->SJU leg. Knowing that the flights from Tortola are generally delayed due to the Islands disregard of punctuality, I booked a 5:55 flight to get in at 6:30 and left the 7:10 flight as a back up. My flight to JFK was scheduled to leave at 8:10 - if my first flight was canceled, the 7:10 flight should get me there with just enough time to catch the JFK flight.

I am sitting in the airport in Tortola at 5:30 when the incoming flight from SJU lands - this is our aircraft to take back to SJU. I also notice that there are only 7 people near me for a plane that can hold upwards of 40 people. 6:00 rolls around and the attendant tells us, in a very relaxed manner, that our plane had been grounded and is canceled due to electrical problems (although they were currently refueling it as he delivered this message). I tell him that I have a flight to catch to JFK, and he responds with a laugh, saying that all flights to JFK are cancelled and I shouldn't worry about making it. He then puts me on the 7:10 flight and looks up my delta flight to JFK which still projects it to be On Time. He reassures me that the flight will be canceled and I have nothing to worry about. Seeing as though there are no other flights out of Tortola, I hope that the 7:10 flight get's me in on time and wait patiently. I have no cell phone reception and there isn't a Delta counter in Tortola, so I have no way of communicating to SJU.

Naturally, the 7:10 flight is delayed by 30 minutes and I arrive in San Juan at 8:11, hoping that the plane is delayed. I run through customs in record time (4 minutes) and see an agent, ask her where the nearest delta counter is and she directs me to the next terminal. Running, I enter the terminal at 8:15 (it's a small airport) and arrive at the Delta service counter, which is, of course, completely unmanned and unoccupied - the last flight out of SJU on Delta was mine to JFK and it had left, 2 minutes prior to schedule. No one from Delta was in the airport, American wouldn't help me with tickets since they honored their contract to get me to SJU, and I am left to call my grandmother to pick me up. The only flight to get to JFK from SJU that day were two Delta flights - where many people were disturbed that their flights were canceled on December 28th, I was mad that mine was not.

I ended up finding a 1-stop flight to Philadelphia for the next night (sitting in the very back of the plane) connecting in Charlotte. My second leg was delayed but I got into Philly at 12:30 AM on Dec 30th. I spent the night in a Westin (thank you Starwood Points) and took a train in the morning to NYC (thank you Amtrak points). It was an eventful trip, to say the least.

Currently Reading: Just finished "Freedom" by Jonathan Franzen. Ask me about it!
Currently Watching: The Wire.
Notable People Met: Steven, Sarah, Kelly, James, Noku, Kid Rock, and many other friends from Tortola.

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