With the birdseed still dripping from our heads, adorned in our fashionable post-wedding outfits, we waved good-bye and blew kisses to family and friends who spent their day celebrating our love for each other. We held hands as the gentleman swept me away in a limousine to a five-star hotel downtown where we would continue our celebration, hoping to get a slight bit of rest before being magically whisked away to Hawaii early the next morning.
Well…at least that’s what I had HOPED my honeymoon would look like 11 years ago. Best laid plans, eh?
Instead…after what was admittedly a whirlwind of a day, very little of which I remember AT all (it was a “dry” ceremony”, no less) we experienced a slightly subdued version of my “ultimate” honeymoon. Slightly. After a lovely but rather tame reception (which incidentally ended during daylight hours), the gentleman and I did in fact change clothes, however I would say they were more “Kohls-chic” and not entirely uber-fashionable. No limousine was awaiting us curbside, rather we had a decked out, message covered navy blue 1992 Oldsmobile Cutless Ciera. Yeah, that’s right. Be jealous. Instead of the five-star hotel, we thought it more inviting to head to a nearby quaint, crafty town and stay in a bed and breakfast. Sweet. Have you ever stayed in a bed and breakfast? I liken our experience to coming home from college with your boyfriend and sneakily sharing a room in your grandma’s house. We jumped to “hand-check attention” every time we heard the old Victorian floor boards creak. There was, however, a beautiful state park nearby which was a significant draw to the area. Although when it’s only 50 degrees and pouring rain, the park has little to offer. Sigh…
I gripe now, but back then not so much. We were satisfied. We didn’t require much. We were broke and financed the whole shebang ourselves. So…a Brown County bed and breakfast, it was. The random hand-checks kept the weekend exciting, the food was home cooked none of which I had to prepare, and the rain simply meant I didn’t have to exercise…a great reason to simply relax. We didn’t need the fancy honeymoon distractions…the material “stuff”.
Having said that…seven years later, we needed the “stuff”.
Four years ago we were surprised with a bonus check from our health insurance company for having met various preventive care measures within the year. What in the hell are we going to do with this money?? Quick answer…think fast…something fun.
Holy crap, we had NEVER taken a vacation together. The thought of being kid-free for three or so days was enough to inspire cartwheels in my front yard. Leaving the kids like that would be a first…they were still quite young (2, 5 and 6 years old). Buuut I was willing to give it the old college try! We weren’t sure where to start…but eventually we landed on what I’ve been told is the Wal-Mart of resorts…Sandals. It was within our budget, it was all-inclusive, there would be sun, sand and water…no brainer. Sign me up. Honeymoon…take two!
We booked it, secured our passports, made child-care arrangements, bought fun beachwear…we were ready. At that time in my life I was by no means an expert traveler but had been on enough post-911 flights to know what to expect. I couldn’t say the same for my husband. We had no idea how the other would operate on such a trip. I tend to fall slightly on the Type A end of the spectrum. Before traveling I study airport terminal schematics, knowing precisely where my arrivals will land and departures will, well, depart. My goal is to make connections as SMOOTH as possible. I hate feeling like an ignorant tourist, and would rather refer to myself as a nonchalant girl while traveling. You will never see me slack-jawed, with distracted side-to-side glances while meandering to my gate. Won’t happen. The gentleman on the other hand? Sigh.
The flights TO Jamaica were fairly smooth, and any slight mishaps were overlooked by the sheer excitement of soon arriving in paradise. I don’t even recall where our connecting flight occurred on our way to…my preparation kept us on track and cool as cucumbers. As we began to descent into Montego Bay, I set my eyes on the water and fell in love. Okay…we’re here…let’s get checked in, suits on, to the water…GO. Not so fast. You see…we were now on ISLAND time. We were slowly herded through customs, then steered toward the resort waiting area where we would “soon” be picked up by our resort shuttle. In 90 degree heat and 150% humidity, sipping on warm coke, we waited for our shuttle driver to ever-so-slowly load multiple couples’ luggage onto the bus. We finally made our way through what I would safely consider a “no-tourist-zone” to our resort…an oasis among scary armed men. Five minutes later we were dropped at the doors to check in and be escorted to our rooms. Not so fast. Island time, remember? In what was admittedly a very cozy room overlooking the beach we were handed cool towels, the beverage of our choice and some awkward convo with the other couples awaiting room keys. All I could see was a vibrant blue sky meeting the warm blue water. It was all I could do to keep from busting through those doors and nose diving off of the beautiful veranda onto the beach and into the water. The daiquiri helped. We saw endless beautifully tanned people lazily walking by the windows of our “holding cell” sipping mouth-watering beverages, with windblown hair and smiles on their faces. Me! That could be me! That WILL be me! Let me out!
After giving us a blow by beautiful blow description of what to expect at our resort, we were finally escorted to our rooms. I shit you not, as SOON as our key hit the door the clouds came. And why wouldn’t they? The gentleman had been yawning for the previous hour or so…hinting at the need for a nap. As our bags hit the floor, his ass hit the bed. Really?? We have three days in this paradise…there is NO room-napping in Jamaica. I glanced outside as I berated his need for sleep and could see more clouds rolling in. Fine. Rest and I’m getting into my swimsuit and cover-up…and doing my hair. After tying the strings on my fabulous new hot pink little cover-up and applying a generous amount of sunscreen all over, I was ready to hit the beach. Clouds or sun, we’re going. Ah, look at that. Asleep. No shit. Fine…it’s raining anyway. With a pouty face, and that lip quiver that is so hard to control, I grabbed my book and decided to wait out the rain on our little private porch facing the water. This isn’t so bad, right? It’s beautiful here…we still have plenty of time to…wait. Do I smell…is that…weed?? Of course it is, dumbass, you’re in Jamaica, mon. Well, maybe if I take a few deep breathes I’ll reap the benefits of our upstairs neighbors’ fun. Keep reading. It’s humid and the clouds are starting to part…I think I see the sun coming…wait. What is that sound? Are they...uh…doing it??? Jesus. I am in God-bless-ed paradise where people are getting high and screwing…and I’m reading The Count of Monte Cristo on my G-D lanai. Fuck this.
The sweat dripping from my forehead soon mixed with the hefty layer of sunscreen applied to my face and slowly cascaded into my eyes…intensifying my already overwhelming tears. Get UP! You are NOT napping in Jamaica. Get dressed, get lubed, and let’s go get our rum on! And we did. We actually had a fairly enjoyable evening, soon correcting our sore start. Until of course…the allergic reaction to seaweed. You’ll soon find that my husband does not travel well. At all. We’ve taken two vacations ever and both trips resulted in some sort of ailment or injury. In this case, sunburn mixed with an allergic reaction on his feet and legs spelled disaster. He spent the next night laying in hotel our bed shivering of cold. COLD…in Jamaica. To this day when one of us complains of a chill, we suggest that “it’s as cold as Jamaica in here”.
We made it through our last day on the resort in one piece and having a good time along the way. I wanted to savor every moment, bottle it up, and take it home with me. While some scoffed at the idea of a Sandals stay, I was actually pleased…had a great time, no worries about needing cash, and it was close to the airport. No three hour donkey ride to the resort required. But our trip was indeed over and it was time to hit the airport. Again.
Departure was ridiculous. A two hour wait in line to check in followed by an hour delay on the tarmac due to Island Time luggage loaders. Guess where our connection was? None other than ATL. Dear God. Have you no love for us?
Naturally a late arrival at ATL means missed gate and another long wait for a new assignment. Wait! No! I already knew where we were supposed to land in relation to where we were departing! This doesn’t work for me. As many of you may know in Atlanta, there are ohhh…five parallel terminals connected by an underground train of sorts. We landed in E…and by the time we exited the plane, we had 45 minutes to get our luggage, get through customs and to terminal B. Yep. B. Now, I’m a speed walker from way back. The hubs, not so much. In fact, he’s more of a grumpy old man walker. Seen those? Yeah. That kind of walking is NOT conducive to getting to connecting flight on time. At all. I nearly ran over an old couple, cussed out a woman who had no clue what she needed to remove to get through security resulting in three trips through the metal detector, huffed endlessly at the hubs to pick up the pace…and finally, FINALLY made it to our plane. Needless to say he was not happy with my uglies…nor I with his relax-ed-ness. We sat silent in the back of the plane, not speaking a word until we got to our car. We made it. We still loved each other. Had a new respect for each other (in his case, a slight fear). And we knew someday if given the chance we would take that trip again in a heartbeat.
Here we are four years later. Haven’t taken a trip by ourselves since. We’ve talked endlessly about going again but never made the commitment. Until last weekend. That’s right…the gentleman insists.
We’re going to Jamaica, mon! This Christmas we will clean up the paper and bows, put away our new toys, kiss our babies good-bye and we are heading south for FOUR full days this time. Hell, high water, slow hubby or allergic reactions…we’re going. And that’s that. Honeymoon…take three!