As I commented at some length about my own problems in flying to St. Lucia for the Feasts of Tabernacles this week, I figured it would be worthwhile to comment on the problems my mum and stepfather faced. Due at least in part to Tampa’s hurricane problems and the resulting impossibility of getting the exact same routes to St. Lucia, my mother and stepfather went to the airport a couple of days ago with different routes to get to the same place. This is less than ideal. Unfortunately, as seems to be the case with some of us, many aspects of the trip ended up less than idea. Since I was hit with the lengthy and dramatic story as soon as I arrived to the hotel, bleary eyed and exhausted, I figured it was a very Nathanish story to tell, and so I am telling it now.
What makes a nightmarish trip ? Let us recount the ways. First, let us design a situation where a computer problem and failures of communication send my parents going back and forth between two people at the check-in, neither of whom want to help them at all, wasting a great deal of time until they finally realized that there were separate flight paths to separate airports on St. Lucia and the check-in could continue. Then add to that by having the first flight to Miami sit on the tarmac for half an hour while logistics trucks are in the way, endangering the connections that both of them had to different places. At this point they had to wait for a cart to take them to their next gates, which was slow in coming but eventually got them there on time-ish. My mom’s plane was loading when she arrived and she barely got in on time. At this point their paths diverge. This was not for the better.
Let us cover my stepfather’s trip first, because it is shorter and less complicated. He had a nonstop flight from Miami to Vieux Fort, and one would think that this would be a straightforward trip, but no dice. As it happens his flight was delayed for five hours, with delays in one hour increments little by little, because a plane had overshot the runway in Castries and found itself going to the water, which is not a place a plane should be. Until the plane was removed from said position it was impossible for any other planes to land at the tiny airplane. Rushing a few gate to deliver a message to my mother that his flight had been delayed, not an easy thing given that my stepfather cannot move particularly rapidly, he then waited until his flight finally left. When he arrived, as a slow-moving person he was hounded (as I was) by the aggressive taxi drivers of St. Lucia until he was able to find the Smarty Taxi sign for the United Church, after which the taxi drivers scattered and he was able to make it to the hotel at long last.
My mother’s trip had somewhat more drama still. Her first flight from Miami was to Barbados, and when she arrived at Barbados she found that she had to collect her baggage and transfer from American Airlines to Liat, a local airlines that unfortunately was on the other side of the airport that she had to travel along outside in the hot and humid weather, all the while dealing with more pushy West Indian taxi drivers. But her troubles were not over because she was on a flight from Barbados to St. Lucia. Instead, her flight did not provide her with the necessary customs forms to enter St. Lucia, and the airport at Castries also ran out. Being overjoyed at finally filling out the form and passing customs–by no means an easy task for me either because I somehow totally forgot what hotel I was staying in in Rodney Bay and could not remember for the life of me)–my mother then walked straight out of the airport through doors I nearly entered without getting her luggage, which then triggered an alarm when she tried to get her luggage, forcing her to deal with a security guard that thought she was a drug lord/lady, instead of just being someone who is a bit clueless about directions sometimes. Sometimes there is just drama at every step of the way, which make sense why they would want to share it with me and ask me to share them with others, knowing I appreciate such Nathanish tales so highly.
 See, for example: