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Bahamas Week part one

J. and I left our apartment at about 0730h. on Saturday morning to drive to my parents' home. About halfway there she realized that she had forgotten to pack our camera and (being a photography major and enthusiast) was very upset. It was too late to turn back or even stop to buy a disposable camera, so I did my best to console her, but she was near tears when we pulled up in the driveway. I ran in the house and got my brother to lend us his nice digital camera. This cheered her up somewhat.

My college-aged brother drove us all down to the airport and dropped us off at the terminal and said goodbye. Our youngest brother, my parents, my wife and I checked in our luggage with Northwest and had a hassle-free flight down to Indianapolis and from there to Fort Lauderdale, FL. I got started on reading my book, Infinite Jest. I'll have a lot to say about this book, but just to give you an idea of the scale of the thing, it clocks out at over 1,000 pages with so many words squeezed into each one that it could easily have been formatted at 1,300 or more. Don't even get me started on the footnotes.

And but so I started reading Infinite Jest in the airport and got swept up into it right away even though I had no idea for the first few hundred pages what it was about or what kind of book I was really reading. My initial reaction was delighted confusion. Tonnes of different characters & storylines & tidbits, non-chronological, with a system of year-naming that is not elucidated until about halfway through the book. Great writing. I read maybe a hundred pages or so that day. In Florida we took a cab out to our hotel, which was expensive with small crappy rooms but an excellent pool in the back. We elected for dinner at the nearest place, which was a Denny's across the street.

This was a very bad idea. The restaurant was packed and severely understaffed, filled with kids and one cranky waitress. We were ready to order dessert by the time she finally got around to our table for the first time. The food was crappy but we didn't bother to complain, except for my mom who couldn't help herself. The other tables were trashed with food all over them; I felt bad for the people working there. Chalk up one more bad experience at Denny's, maybe the worst restaurant of all time.

My mom attempted to avoid buying an expensive breakfast in the hotel restaurant by taking a cab to buy groceries, but the ride cost $18 and so her plan sort of backfired. This hotel sucked. There was no hot water in the shower. The courtesy van they sent us had no trailer and we couldn't fit all our luggage inside. "We'll have one here in say five minutes," the driver promised us.

"I don't know why he said that," a hotel employee told us a half hour later. "It's not true. But one should be arriving soon."

So we were late to the airport and there was a problem with our scheduled flight on Bahamasair. The plane broke. "No worries," said the Bahamasair man, "plenty of room on a Continental flight. You're all booked for it." We tear-assed down to the opposite side of the airport with all our luggage. Of course, we weren't booked on the flight and they had only two available seats. Damn you Bahamasair! That's what we get for trying to save money by using a government-owned airline.

Anyway, my mom and wife were permitted to board and my dad and brother and self were put on standby. We checked our baggage and got special treatment at the security checkpoint, which means we went to the front of the line and got searched extra-carefully. Lost track of the women. When we arrived at the gate, the door was closed and a very unhelpful woman told us we were out of luck. "Nope, you're on standby," was all she would say. "You're not getting on the plane."*

"What about our luggage?" my dad asked. "It's been loaded already." She suggested we try the baggage services office.

After a big fuss at the office they managed to get some of our luggage off the plane and delivered back to us at the terminal. Only one problem: it was our wives' luggage. We returned to Bahamasair and updated them on the situation. They got us a new flight and a taxi voucher. We told them to please pass along the message to inform our wives, when they arrived in the Bahamas, that we had their bags and they should retrieve ours, and that we would be arriving that night. So with the girls' bags in tow, we took a cab down to Miami and took an American Eagle flight down to Great Exuma at last. Above please enjoy a photo of our view on the way there.

Next time: we arrive in the Bahamas and hijinks ensue.

*It turned out that at the same time all this was going on, there was a problem passenger making a big fuss on the plane that J. and my mom were on. Long story short, he and his wife got booted from the flight, which means that at least two of us could have boarded and flown down together (and actually all three of us could have, since J. saw other available seats). This of course only could have happened if the woman at the gate had been helpful in any way, which she was not. Damn you too, Continental. I hate you all.

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