THURSDAY 3/2 , TRIP THERE AND ARRIVAL
Richard and I celebrated our tenth anniversary last May. That’s our tenth anniversary of being together, and our fourth anniversary of being married, for those of you who are keeping track. I got Richard a very generous and thoughtful present, a Prince of Wales plaid suit, something he’d been talking about wanting for a few years. He was thrilled. Sometime around September he asked me:
RICHARD: Did I give you anything for our anniversary?
RICHARD: What would you like?
ME: Let me think about it. I’ll get back to you.
I thought it over and thought it would be fun and good for my personal development to go on a trip and have him to all the planning. I wouldn’t even know where we were going. I’m such a control freak, especially when it comes to travel planning, I thought it would be a good experience to let that go. I’ll spoil the suspense right off and say it was a FANTASTIC experience and I was thrilled with the trip he chose.
These were my clues: He wanted to wait to book the trip until after I got my passport renewed. That happened in late January. So I guessed (correctly) that we would be going somewhere international. About a week before we left he told me we were going somewhere warm. To be precise, we were visiting our darling friend Dennis in East Hampton the Sunday before we left - - it was about 38 degrees, we were shivering, waiting for the Hampton Jitney to arrive. Richard looked at his phone, stealthily, and said, “The place we’re going on Thursday? It’s 84 degrees right now.” That sounded pretty marvelous!
I was at work the day before. My boss and my coworkers were all agog over the idea of me going on a trip the next day, but not knowing where. We packed the night before and ordered a car to take us to the airport the next morning.
It arrived at 5:30 AM. We got in the car and Richard handed me a folder with the flight confirmation. We were going to BARBADOS! I never would have guessed that. Who would ever guess Barbados.
We got to the airport pretty swiftly. A brief visit to the It’s A Small World ride: we ran into Ann and David, friends of Jere and Dale, who we see every New Year’s Eve at Jere and Dale’s party in Bronxville. Ann and David were going to Sarasota to see *L’Italiana in Algieri* and *Dialogues of the Carmelites* at Sarasota Opera. I might have been just a teensy bit jealous, but I didn’t know who was singing in these operas, I’ve seen both of them twice, and I was going to Barbados!
Then we were launched into one of the biggest clusterf-cks we’d ever experienced trying to get to our gate. Richard had his boarding pass sent as a text to his phone, also to my phone - - but it never came to me. So we went to a kiosk at the airport, expecting to print out my boarding pass. It wouldn’t let me, because it was expecting the two of us to handle our boarding passes the same way, since the travel had been booked together. So we were sent over to Kiosk Assistance. We waited in line for ten minutes and the agent printed out my boarding pass, it took her about eight seconds. Why wasn’t it so easy for me to do it, is my question.
We were sent to security and waited in that long line for a while. Then we were removed from that line and sent to Expedited Security. Which you’d think would be an upgrade, right? They told us to go over there, no wait - - over THERE. Then to wait at desk 1 - - no, desk 2 would be better. At one point the security agents at all five desks were idle and looking blankly at each other, that was a real treat. Finally we got to an agent, who was kind and told us he was from Barbados and we would have a wonderful time. So that was a treat.
We got to the line for security itself and started placing our bags, wallets, boarding passes, handkerchiefs, passports, coin purses, shoes, and trusses in the plastic bins. This random woman magically appeared out of nowhere with her large rolling bag and stood next to Richard. He smiled at her. She smiled back. He said, “You do realize there’s a line.” She looked behind her, and the ten to fifteen people standing behind us, and she seemed genuinely surprised. “Wow, that came out of nowhere!” was, I believe, her direct quote.
How about some breakfast? I got an apple smoothie, Richard got a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and an orange juice. The sandwich was disappointing because the peanut butter was crunchy (Richard prefers creamy) and the bread was somewhat stale. My smoothie was delicious.
The flight was just over four hours and went by very quickly. We would have watched a movie or two, but had forgotten our earbuds and would you believe they had NONE to sell on the plane. So we read our books and (heavy sigh) talked to each other. And played gin rummy!
This was one of the few times in my life where I actually got to step off a plane onto a stairway and walk to the terminal. It always makes me feel a little like Pat Nixon (thankfully I resist the urge to smile and wave). Immigration was OK. Richard had ordered us a car and the driver was charming.
The hotel was glorious. Richard’s friend Lucille recommended the Hilton Resort in Bridgetown, she’s stayed there and loved it. Richard splurged and got a room with a balcony and an ocean view. Oh dear Lord it was incredible. I had two observations: first, it was amazing that I had been at my desk the day before, and now I was in Barbados looking at the ocean. And second, our friend Bruce, my best friend Karen’s partner, lives in Jamestown, upstate New York. It’s about a seven-hour drive from New York City, we’ve been to visit him a few times. I said to Richard, “You know, if we were going to visit Bruce in Jamestown, we would be on the road for another couple of hours.” Isn’t that bizarre.
Richard splurged and got us a room with a balcony and a view of the ocean:
We changed into shorts and T-shirts and walked down to the ocean, then to the pool. We swam a little bit, soaked up the sun (fret not, I’m always slathered in 90 proof sunblock), lolled about. Divine. Here's my favorite photo from the trip, me in the ocean. I love how you can see my reflection in the water.
Here are a few photos of the pools etc:
We had dinner that night at the Lighthouse Terrace, one of the restaurants at the hotel. We would eat there many times over the next few days. Dinner that night was a Tex Mex buffet. I had a couple of small made-to-order chicken quesadillas, which were fantastic. I went back to the chef before we left and told him how good they were and he was genuinely touched and shook my hand.
Interesting customer service in Barbados: it’s either very good or not very good. Maybe this is the case everywhere? On the bad side, we went to the front desk to ask a question. A young woman was about to ask us what we needed and her boss stopped her and asked her a question. They looked over some paperwork, talked it over for a bit, it didn’t appear to be anything terribly urgent or important. They spoke with each other for probably about a minute, which I realize isn’t very long, but it certainly felt like we were a secondary concern. On the good side, we made a number of trips back and forth to the buffet at dinner, and each time we came back to the table with our dishes cleared and fresh silver laid out. Most impressively, when it was time for dessert, our server had taken the fork and spoon from its station above the plate and moved it to the more handy spot beside the plate. That was a thoughtful touch.
We got back to our room, laid down, and watched a little TV. Richard was asleep at 8 PM, I was able to hold out until 9 PM.