9/11 – We Remember

I originally wrote this on 9/11/01…

I, too, was stunned to hear the news this morning and continuing throughout the day.

It was just something unbelievable.  My husband and I were on a Land Rover 4X4 tour of the off-road areas of Barbados when we first got the news.

At first, when we got the very first news, around 9:30 am, I thought that it was some tale that the driver was weaving…and that there would be a punchline.  As the day wore on, more interest was on the radio than on the tour.  Some of the people in our Land Rover were from New York City and they were terrified for friends and family.

What an awful day in history this is, one of those that we’ll always remember where we were when we got the news.

Like the rest of you, I am stunned, absolutely shocked that this could happen, using our own planes, no less.  I cannot imagine the terror of the people on those planes, or in the World Trade Center…or the Pentagon.

The rest of the story:
The year of 911 my mom and my son had been with us for the first week. My son had to be back at college so on Sunday he shepherded my mom through the airport, customs and all and got her back home before he headed back to UMass/Amherst on Monday. Thank goodness they got back before the mayhem started!

On Tuesday we were out on a 4X4 from Island Safari with our favorite guide, Zario. Zario is a fun guy and and very knowledgeable about Barbados and world events. We were very happy to have him again because it was the “luck of the draw” which driver/guide we got.

I remember that morning being kind of stressed already – I was having trouble with one of my contacts and I was just grumpy.

Zario picked us up first, one of the benefits of staying at The Crane – everyone picks us first for everything and drops us off last. Then he picked up another couple from New York City who were staying at Bougainvillea.

The tour started off through the fields, down cliffs as usual. Zario had the radio on in the background. When we got to the first stop he told us that there was a “problem” in New York. That it seemed that a plane had hit a building. We thought that there was going to be a punch line somewhere. There wasn’t.

As the tour went on, the news got worse. The couple from NYC was very worried about relatives.

By the time we got to lunch and met up with the other 4x4s everyone had heard. We were in a little chattal house restaurant, the TV was on CNN and everyone was just watching in silence and horror. Usually this lunch is very festive and fun. Not a care in the world. Not today.

We left the New York people off at their hotel and went “home”. The TV was full of New York news, then Pentagon news. We know people who work at the Pentagon. The news just got worse as we went along.

We were basically stuck in Barbados.  Phones to the US didn’t work well, email was slow to non-existent, all we knew was what we got on CNN, incessantly.  My mother and son had been with us the week before and had just flown back the Saturday before.  I was so glad that they had gotten back home ok, then my son off to college.

We were supposed to fly home on the next Saturday, but if was iffy if that would happen since the airports were closed for the longest time.  We were flying into the DC area. The phone lines to the Barbados airport and to American Airlines were always busy.

Finally, we decided to give it a shot, packed up and went to the airport to see if we could fly out or not.  They could only guarantee the flight as far as Puerto Rico.

The San Juan airport was crowded with Americans trying to get home, flights being canceled due to closed airports, people sleeping all around the airport, using backpacks for pillows.  It was a very difficult time.

We did finally leave for home later that night.  This is what I wrote the next day…

I flew on American Airlines last night (9/14/2001).  We left Barbados on time but the connecting flight, originating out of Aruba was very late, and we waited for a long time in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

After that flight had arrived though, we were all sitting around, hoping they’d board the plane soon.  All of a sudden, there was cheering in the hallway.  We turned to look – our pilot and crew were marching up the hallway with a huge American flag.  He stopped and talked to us.  He explained that the copilot would hang that flag outside his window as we taxied out of Puerto Rico and into Dulles.  The flag was making the rounds of American flights all over the country and that the yellow streamers hanging down were being signed by all the American crew members.  He posed for lots of pictures (I have some I’ll post later, when my eyes are less bleary!), then, as they were going to get the plane ready, he asked us in a loud voice if we were ready to fly to Washington and everyone cheered.

Along the way, he thanked us so much for having faith and flying (like we had any choice!).  The headphones for the movie and the drinks were all free on this flight!  He also told us that there were a lot of fighter planes in the Washington to NY corridor and not to be surprised if we were intercepted by one, who would just be making sure that we were “who we said we were”.  I thought that would be kind of neat to see, but I didn’t see them.  We arrived in Dulles (Washington, DC) with a jet fighter escort.  At the time, that sounded so comforting, but it turned out that they had been there to shoot us down, if we’d made any funny moves.

Then, when we arrived at the terminal, the captain said that we were back in “the land of the free, and the home of the brave” and got some more cheers.

It was a memorable flight for someone like me, who is terrified of flying under the best of circumstances.

 

Us, on 9/10. Who knew?

9/14, San Juan Puerto Rico:
After the crew marched down the hallway.

 

The captain, letting others have a chance to fly the flag.

This young woman lead us onto the plane.

MaryOUSAheart

Costa Rica, Day Four: August 18, 2014

Palo Verde National Park.

Awake at 1:00 am to use newly restored iPad hotspot to do church work.

Up with the sun and hiked up the 4 flights of stairs to wait for the bus to pick up up at 7:00 am. We saw lots more damage from rocks falling in the night.

filadeflfiaWe rode for a couple hours until we reached the small town of Filadelfia. We waited outside the park for quite a while for 2 women and a young baby. They would accompany us for the rest of the trip.

On the way to our main event, we passed several soccer games and a LOT of sugar fields. We passed El Viejo Mill (Azucarera El Viejo, S.A), a Costa Rican company dedicated to growing sugar cane and sugar production. The company annually produces 50 thousand tons of sugar in the forms of raw, white, and special; by the industrial processing of half a million tonnes of cane grown by over 500 farmers in the Tempisque Basin. The sugar here in Costa Rica goes mainly to the Coca-Cola Company and for producing energy. I was very surprised that there was no rum production like in Barbados and other sugar-growing countries.

After many dirt roads, we stopped at the Palo Verde Restaurant and had juices and coffee while we waited for others to arrive. Since we were going to Palo Verde, I assumed (you know what they say about assuming!) we were close to beginning our trip. Well, no. Back on the busses. More narrow dirt roads.

Finally, we got to the Temique River and into our small boat. One of the women getting in commented to Michael that she had sat behind him in the plane from New York. Small world.

bats2Right off the bat (no pun intended!) we saw these weird little bats. They line up on a tree and pretend to be a snake, even moving slightly to simulate a snake writhing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

monkeyWe saw lots of white-faced capuchin monkeys – several came right inside the boat. The Capuchin monkey is named after the order of Capuchin friars – the cowls of these friars closely resemble the monkey’s head coloration. I’ll bet those friars are happy to hear this!

 

 

 

jclizardAlso, we saw Jesus Christ lizards, so nicknamed for their ability to run on water at an average speed of 8.4 km/h (or 5.2 mph), for about 10 to 20 meters.

We saw lots and lots of iguanas of various colors, in the trees, on the ground.

 

 

 

 

crocodileWe also saw something that looked like a hawk but were told it was a black vulture. We also saw blue heron, egrets, and of course, crocodiles. The crocks saw we were there and slowly circled our boat.

In the photos below, the guide is showing us a huge grasshopper with red underwings.

After our boat tour, we went back to the Palo Verde Restaurant for what is called a “tipical meal”. We had Casados (black beans and rice) with chicken, beef, salad, fried plantains, white cheese and corn tortilla. Casado, the name referring to the eternal “marriage” of the beans and rice.

A l-o-n-g bus ride and we were home again, ready to rest up for the next day!

My pictures:

 

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Aruba, March 7 ~ Panama Canal Cruise

The description:

Friday, March 7

8:00 AM-7:00 PM

Dutch influence still lingers on this balmy Caribbean island, part of the former Netherlands Antilles until its independence in 1986. Aruba is a contrast: the island’s arid interior is dotted with cactus and windswept divi-divi trees while secluded coves and sandy beaches make up its coast. Aruba’s long and colorful heritage is reflected in its dialect. Called Papiamento, it is a tongue that combines elements of Spanish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, African and English.

Our Tour:

aruba

Semi-Submarine, Shipwreck & Island Drive

Your tour begins when you board the ferry “Stingray” at Palm Pier, on one of Aruba’s best beaches. After a 20-minute transfer, you’ll board the semi-sub. This is a surface vessel where you sit five feet below the waterline, the perfect way to discover the fascinating sea life that lives in these crystal clear Caribbean waters. The semi-sub will head towards the wreck of the “Antilla,” a German freighter that was sunk off the coast of Aruba during World War II. The tour is narrated and you will learn about how this 440-foot-long freighter met its watery end. You will also be able to view coral and the plentiful sea life, before returning to dry land. Here you will board your air-conditioned transportation for the short yet scenic journey to the California Lighthouse for views of Aruba’s windward coast.

The lighthouse is named after the U.S. ship which sunk in 1893, years before the lighthouse was built. Your captivating day then continues as you drive to the Casibari rock formations, where you will have time to browse the gift shop and view the amazing landscape formed by diorite boulders the size of small houses. Energetic guests may wish to climb the 80 rustic steps to the formation’s summit for stunning views of the island. Finally, it’s time to head to Aruba’s rugged north coast, to view the breath-taking Baby Natural Bridge, carved by the surf from solid coral and limestone. You will also be able to view the collapsed original Natural Bridge, and visit the gift shop here. Your route back to the ship takes you past the fascinating ruins of a 19th-century gold mill at Boca Mahos, and at the end of the tour, you will have the option to independently explore Aruba’s capital city Oranjestad. You will then be responsible for your return to the ship, which is a mere five minute walk away.


Our day:

Aruba, 8:00am–6:00pm

Weather Forecast:  Mostly Sunny High 82 / Low 79

Sunrise 6:52 am / Sunset 6:50 pm

From the Navigator:  Overnight Coral Princess maintained a southeasterly course and this morning we will make our final approach to Aruba.  A local pilot will assist in navigating the vessel to our berth in the capital city of Oranjestad.  This afternoon, with all the passengers onboard, we will let go our lines and maneuver out of the harbor, before altering course to starboard and setting westerly courses toward our next port of call, Cartagena.

When we woke up, we could see that we were approaching port.  I watched the process from the balcony, then we went down to deck 7 (Fiesta) to wait in line for disembarkation.

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Arriving at Aruba

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Of course, I checked in at Foursquare :)

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Container ships on the dock. In the distance, near the crane, is the Hooiberg volcano.

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The Freewinds often hosts local functions in the ports it frequents, such as jazz concerts and movie performances in Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao. These events are usually free but often support island charities through entrance fees or suggested donations.[21] Local artists are often showcased. It also caters to different international conferences and events. The ship’s leisure facilities include a restaurant, lounge, cabaret, swimming pool, movie theater and beauty salon.

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More containers

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Arriving at Aruba

Off the ship, we went through the terminal and met our bus.  Turned out, Rosie and Jim were on the same tour.

We rode in the bus for a while as our tour guide mentioned some Aruba facts and showed us some points of interest.  One of the most interesting and pertinent facts for me was that all restrooms on Aruba cost $.50 to use except the Natural Bridge, which was $1.00.  Yuck!

One of the first things we saw was a roundabout with a McDonalds, Wendy’s and other fast food.  I also saw a store called Rat Land which I hope means something in Dutch than in English.

rat-land

Their license plates say “One Happy Island” but people are more happy when it rains.  They get very little rain there.  The island is very desert-like with lots of cacti, like we saw in Phoenix, AZ.

Our first stop was the California Light House.  There were some mini-Stonehenge rocks there.  We couldn’t go in.  This lighthouse was named for the steamship California, which wrecked nearby on September 23, 1891. It was formerly open to the public until a suicide occurred, which prompted authorities to restrict public access to the lighthouse.

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California Lighthouse

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At the California Lighthouse, looking at the sea

In Aruba, they make piles of rocks, similar to those we saw in Iceland.  In Aruba, tourists stack them up and make a wish on each rock they add to the pile.

rockpiles

Back on the bus, we went to DePalma beach.  That was down a path next to the Riu hotel.  All beaches here, like Barbados, are public.  The Riu had a “garden” of big rocks, surrounded by hedges and flowers, complete with a gardner tending these rocks.

Lots of activity there like wind surfing, parasailing, etc.  We walked past the little shops (they had Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin Robbins!) and got on a flat-topped ferry boat for our semi-submersible.

The semi-submersible didn’t submerge at all.  The only “submersing” it did was when we walked down the stairs to take our seats by the portholes.  In some of the photos below, you can see the bottom of our craft on the top of the water.

Even their own website says that they do not submerge at all:

The Seaworld Explorer Semi-Submarine is a state-of-the-art semi-submarine developed in Australia for use on the Great Barrier Reef. This unique vessel does not submerge. You step down into the hull of this cruising underwater observatory and sit in air-conditioned comfort just 5 feet below the water’s surface, viewing amazing Aruba sea life through large clear glass windows.

They should call in non-submersible instead.  There must not have been a reef or anything because all we did was circle the shipwreck, the Antilla.

I was a bit upset by all the divers’ bubbles coming from underneath us.  That couldn’t have been safe for them to be diving under a boat, whether it submerged or not.

Whatever.

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Ferry “Stingray”

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Shipwreck of the Antilla. You can see a diver’s fin in the top of this picture.

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Shipwreck of the Antilla. The jellyfish-looking thing in the upper right is air bubbles from a diver.

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Shipwreck of the Antilla.

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Shipwreck of the Antilla.

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Sergeant major fish

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More divers’ air bubbles

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The bottom of our boat at the top of this picture.

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The bottom of our boat at the top of this picture.

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From there, we drove to the Natural Bridge past Arashi Beach.

The Aruba Natural Bridge was a tourist attraction that was formed naturally out of coral limestone. The landmark collapsed on September 2, 2005.  We saw the newer Natural “Baby” Arch at the northeast shore of Aruba at the same site.

I thought I had a video of this arch but it might be on my other camera.  If/when I find it, I’ll put it here.  :)

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Natural Bridge area

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New or baby Natural Bridge

Everything where we were seemed so dry, so there was a lot of cactus.  We also saw some brown doves (close relative of the North American Mourning Dove) and egrets (a type of heron).

egret

The guide said that many of the beaches were made of coral.  They have a volcano on Aruba called Hooiberg, a Dutch word meaning Haystack.  It is actually a dormant volcano located close to the center of the island. The island of Aruba was formed as a result of volcanic activity.

Off to the Casibari rock formations.  Geologists are uncertain about their origins, but think that a collision of the teutonic plates forced the massive slabs to the surface. The limestone steps surrounding them are signs of the changing water levels of the Caribbean throughout the ages.

Aruba is made of lava quartz diorite and limestone.  There is also granite but it’s protected.

 

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Tom under one of the Casibari rock formations

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Casibari Rock Formations

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Casibari Rock Formations

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Casibari Rock Formations

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Arashi Beach

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A little lizard on the rocks.

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We didn’t get to see the gold mill or downtown Oranjestad but we were happy to head back to the ship.  I was surprised and pleased when the crew gave us cold water and cold towels.

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Oranjestad from our ship balcony.

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Back on board, we took a little nap, went to the library saw the singers and dancers do a show called Motor City, another excellent show.

After dinner in the buffet, we went to the Princess Theater to see Gravity with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney.

http://youtu.be/OiTiKOy59o4

It Seems Like So Long Ago…

…that we left Barbados, but not really.

Yesterday morning I got up really early and took a few last minute sunrise pictures:

This one is my new favorite, though:

Sunrise at The Crane, Barbados

Sunrise at The Crane, Barbados

Then we got packed up and ready to leave by 10, then started reading, texting, just hanging around.  Brenda stopped by and we talked quite a bit while Tom was finalizing his packing shutting down the computer and all.  Brenda’s youngest daughter teaches English in Spain so they only see each other about every 3 years – except on Skype.

I reminded Tom that we didn’t have all the time in the world, that our plane was at 2:30 so we needed to be at the airport by 12:30 so we needed to leave…NOW.

We stopped to check out and ran into Bernice.  She’s the first person I ever really met in Barbados and it’s always special to see her again.  She’s often on holiday at least part of the time we’re there, though.  She’s thinking about her next summer plans – either a 3-week conference or a cruise.  What to do!

Then, Paul stopped by.  He said that Culpepper Island will be partly finished by March and ready for tours when we get back next summer.  I can’t wait to see that.  It seems that we can trade our place for that as an even trade whenever we want.

We got a taxi for the quick trip to Grantley Adams Airport and were there by 11:30.  We found out that our 2:30 plane had been changed to 3:15.  <sigh>

Tom texting at the airport

Tom texting at the airport

I think I have picture or Tom texting, calling, using his phone everywhere!

We were to leave from Gate 12.  Then they said Gate 13 so we went there and went to board.  Unfortunately, the shuttle was outside Gate 12 so we walked outside to the shuttle, got on and rode back past Gate 13.

Luckily there weren’t too many people on the flight to Miami so we were able to stretch out a bit.

We got to Miami about 15 minutes early so had to wait for a gate.  Finally off the plane and going for the l-o-n-g walk to Immigrations and Customs.

The line for Immigrations was really long and moved slowly.  We got near the front and were informed that we were not US residents, we were US citizens and needed to be in a different line, further away.  The woman who told us that said we could get near the beginning of the other line.  Of course, the official at that line said we couldn’t and Tom had some words with her.  Luckily, we weren’t denied admission!

Finally through that and on to get luggage and on to Customs.  That went pretty quickly and dropped off luggage so they could put that back on the plane.

We next had to wait in line for security – again – then a Sky Train to our real gate.  This process took about 2 and a half hours.  Last year doing the same process, we had time to get dinner at TGI Friday’s.  We were the last ones on the plane, just made it before they closed the doors.

Whew!

We got to Dulles just before midnight.  I called my mom and she said that the power was out in most of our neighborhood due to a tornado that had touched down in the afternoon.

Our luggage was the last off the plane.  It even had a tag on it that said “Last Bag”.  Who knew?

Another taxi and finally, home!  We were lucky and had power.

My plan for Sunday was that Tom would go to a meeting and pick Mimi up on the way back.  I would call Mom and we would go to Kick Off Sunday at church.

What really happened was Tom woke up for his meeting and accidentally got shaving cream in his eye.  He told me he was going to the emergency room.  I asked if he wanted me to take him but he thought it would be better if I picked up Mimi. OK

Off he went…then came back and said he had a flat tire.  By now, I was definitely awake.

I emailed Thia to let her know I could pick up Mimi any time and said I’d call after 9.  She emailed back to ask if I was home.  I was going to respond since obviously she was awake but Tom called first.  He was at the ER and they were going to hold him for a few hours to get the acid (who knew shaving cream had acid in it?) all out.

Just as I hung up from him, Thia and Mimi appeared at the door.  Thia was on her way to church and they were going to her Mother-in Law’s afterwards and figured we’d want Mimi back before that.

Mimi comes home

Mimi comes home

I’m not sure Mimi was happy to be here with just me.  At Thia’s there are a couple kids to play with as well as a cat and Mimi’s sister, Penny.  I’m pretty boring, especially because I was more interested in napping than playing. I gave her a Frosty Paws and that helped for about 2 minutes.

Eventually Tom got home with antibiotics, eye washes and other stuff.  Mimi was delighted to see him!

I’m glad I cancelled students tomorrow.  The Piano Room needs a LOT of work before I can teach again.  And laundry needs to be done…

 

Ultra Modern Cruise facility for Barbados

We just saw this ship in Barbados harbor last Wednesday! Several folks on our Cool Runnings catamaran had come off this ship to sail with us.

Carnival-victory

From Totally Barbados

Barbados has unveiled plans to construct an ultra-modern cruise facility, in the capital city of Bridgetown. 

Totally Barbados has been informed that, when completed, the Barbados Sugar Point Cruise Facility will allow the tourism-driven country to welcome some of the largest cruise ships in the world. 

Another advantage of the facility is that it will in effect separate cruise and cargo activities, thereby addressing complaints about the two competing for limited space within the port. 

The development will take place along Trevor’s Way and involve reclaiming 15 acres of land from the sea, 100,000 square feet of which will be provided for commercial activity. Dredging is slated to begin in November 2012. 

Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson said the project will be done in two phases, the first of which is estimated to cost 300 million dollars. He said the initial stage will include two cruise piers, arrival and departure facilities, along with parking lots. 

The two-year project will be spearheaded by Barbados Port Incorporated in a joint venture with a consortium comprising Barbadian company SMI Infrastructure Solutions Incorporated and Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited, the world’s second largest cruise operator. 

Project to bring Jobs to Barbados 

A minimum of 200 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase, with 500 more added through related commercial activities. 

Once completed, the facility is also expected to feature Barbados rum and sugar culture as a major theme throughout. 

Minister Hutson said the Barbados government is banking on the new facility to attract more cruise ships, with a view to increasing the revenue generated from their passengers. 

He pointed out that for Barbados to effectively compete with new and emerging tourism markets, it must improve the customer experience and satisfaction. 

It is with that in mind, that the new facility will be constructed in such a manner as to offer the opportunity to experience Barbados cuisine, local music and even see local artisans prepare their products for sale. 

Barbados wants to be Cruise Hub 

The facility will bring Bridgetown to cruise passengers, the minister said. He also said that the development would assist Barbados’ efforts to become a hub for cruise tourism. 

Cruise tourism in Barbados has grown from just over 127,000 in 1985 to 726,543 last year. The highest number of cruise passengers 812, 863 was recorded in 2004. 

According to the latest Central Bank of Barbados figures, which are for the first half of this year, the number of cruise passengers rose slightly, by 2.5 percent, although 21 fewer cruise ships visited. 

The effort by the government to boost the intake from cruise tourism is in keeping with recommendations from the central bank, which has stressed that Barbados needs to earn more foreign exchange to register sustainable growth. 

 

 

It Seems Like So Long Ago…

…that we left Barbados, but not really.

Yesterday morning I got up really early and took a few last minute sunrise pictures:

This one is my new favorite, though:

Sunrise at The Crane, Barbados

Sunrise at The Crane, Barbados

Then we got packed up and ready to leave by 10, then started reading, texting, just hanging around.  Brenda stopped by and we talked quite a bit while Tom was finalizing his packing shutting down the computer and all.  Brenda’s youngest daughter teaches English in Spain so they only see each other about every 3 years – except on Skype.

I reminded Tom that we didn’t have all the time in the world, that our plane was at 2:30 so we needed to be at the airport by 12:30 so we needed to leave…NOW.

We stopped to check out and ran into Bernice.  She’s the first person I ever really met in Barbados and it’s always special to see her again.  She’s often on holiday at least part of the time we’re there, though.  She’s thinking about her next summer plans – either a 3-week conference or a cruise.  What to do!

Then, Paul stopped by.  He said that Culpepper Island will be partly finished by March and ready for tours when we get back next summer.  I can’t wait to see that.  It seems that we can trade our place for that as an even trade whenever we want.

We got a taxi for the quick trip to Grantley Adams Airport and were there by 11:30.  We found out that our 2:30 plane had been changed to 3:15.  <sigh>

Tom texting at the airport

Tom texting at the airport

I think I have picture or Tom texting, calling, using his phone everywhere!

We were to leave from Gate 12.  Then they said Gate 13 so we went there and went to board.  Unfortunately, the shuttle was outside Gate 12 so we walked outside to the shuttle, got on and rode back past Gate 13.

Luckily there weren’t too many people on the flight to Miami so we were able to stretch out a bit.

We got to Miami about 15 minutes early so had to wait for a gate.  Finally off the plane and going for the l-o-n-g walk to Immigrations and Customs.

The line for Immigrations was really long and moved slowly.  We got near the front and were informed that we were not US residents, we were US citizens and needed to be in a different line, further away.  The woman who told us that said we could get near the beginning of the other line.  Of course, the official at that line said we couldn’t and Tom had some words with her.  Luckily, we weren’t denied admission!

Finally through that and on to get luggage and on to Customs.  That went pretty quickly and dropped off luggage so they could put that back on the plane.

We next had to wait in line for security – again – then a Sky Train to our real gate.  This process took about 2 and a half hours.  Last year doing the same process, we had time to get dinner at TGI Friday’s.  We were the last ones on the plane, just made it before they closed the doors.

Whew!

We got to Dulles just before midnight.  I called my mom and she said that the power was out in most of our neighborhood due to a tornado that had touched down in the afternoon.

Our luggage was the last off the plane.  It even had a tag on it that said “Last Bag”.  Who knew?

Another taxi and finally, home!  We were lucky and had power.

My plan for Sunday was that Tom would go to a meeting and pick Mimi up on the way back.  I would call Mom and we would go to Kick Off Sunday at church.

What really happened was Tom woke up for his meeting and accidentally got shaving cream in his eye.  He told me he was going to the emergency room.  I asked if he wanted me to take him but he thought it would be better if I picked up Mimi. OK

Off he went…then came back and said he had a flat tire.  By now, I was definitely awake.

I emailed Thia to let her know I could pick up Mimi any time and said I’d call after 9.  She emailed back to ask if I was home.  I was going to respond since obviously she was awake but Tom called first.  He was at the ER and they were going to hold him for a few hours to get the acid (who knew shaving cream had acid in it?) all out.

Just as I hung up from him, Thia and Mimi appeared at the door.  Thia was on her way to church and they were going to her Mother-in Law’s afterwards and figured we’d want Mimi back before that.

Mimi comes home

Mimi comes home

I’m not sure Mimi was happy to be here with just me.  At Thia’s there are a couple kids to play with as well as a cat and Mimi’s sister, Penny.  I’m pretty boring, especially because I was more interested in napping than playing. I gave her a Frosty Paws and that helped for about 2 minutes.

Eventually Tom got home with antibiotics, eye washes and other stuff.  Mimi was delighted to see him!

I’m glad I cancelled students tomorrow.  The Piano Room needs a LOT of work before I can teach again.  And laundry needs to be done…

Ultra Modern Cruise facility for Barbados

We just saw this ship in Barbados harbor last Wednesday! Several folks on our Cool Runnings catamaran had come off this ship to sail with us.

Carnival Victory

We saw the Carnival Victory from our Cool Runnings catamaran

 

From Totally Barbados

Barbados has unveiled plans to construct an ultra-modern cruise facility, in the capital city of Bridgetown.

Totally Barbados has been informed that, when completed, the Barbados Sugar Point Cruise Facility will allow the tourism-driven country to welcome some of the largest cruise ships in the world.

Another advantage of the facility is that it will in effect separate cruise and cargo activities, thereby addressing complaints about the two competing for limited space within the port.

The development will take place along Trevor’s Way and involve reclaiming 15 acres of land from the sea, 100,000 square feet of which will be provided for commercial activity. Dredging is slated to begin in November 2012.

Minister of International Business and International Transport George Hutson said the project will be done in two phases, the first of which is estimated to cost 300 million dollars. He said the initial stage will include two cruise piers, arrival and departure facilities, along with parking lots.

The two-year project will be spearheaded by Barbados Port Incorporated in a joint venture with a consortium comprising Barbadian company SMI Infrastructure Solutions Incorporated and Royal Caribbean Cruise Limited, the world’s second largest cruise operator.

Project to bring Jobs to Barbados

A minimum of 200 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase, with 500 more added through related commercial activities.

Once completed, the facility is also expected to feature Barbados rum and sugar culture as a major theme throughout.

Minister Hutson said the Barbados government is banking on the new facility to attract more cruise ships, with a view to increasing the revenue generated from their passengers.

He pointed out that for Barbados to effectively compete with new and emerging tourism markets, it must improve the customer experience and satisfaction.

It is with that in mind, that the new facility will be constructed in such a manner as to offer the opportunity to experience Barbados cuisine, local music and even see local artisans prepare their products for sale.

Barbados wants to be Cruise Hub 

The facility will bring Bridgetown to cruise passengers, the minister said. He also said that the development would assist Barbados’ efforts to become a hub for cruise tourism.

Cruise tourism in Barbados has grown from just over 127,000 in 1985 to 726,543 last year. The highest number of cruise passengers 812, 863 was recorded in 2004.

According to the latest Central Bank of Barbados figures, which are for the first half of this year, the number of cruise passengers rose slightly, by 2.5 percent, although 21 fewer cruise ships visited.

The effort by the government to boost the intake from cruise tourism is in keeping with recommendations from the central bank, which has stressed that Barbados needs to earn more foreign exchange to register sustainable growth.