Only Quarter Mile to My Destination
My flight with LIAT to my destination was uneventful. The flights were on time. I had no problems with luggage because I only had my handbag and my carry on. Everything was just the way I imagined. Except for one thing, I did not get the opportunity to make any travel friends. The plane had just landed to pick up passengers in St. Kitts, and we were on our way to beautiful St. Maarten.
I was not the kind of person to sit quietly on a plane. I loved chatting with strangers. It helped me to develop
my people skills and in this instance, get my mind off how I was going to get to the first place I had on my list to visit. One of the passengers, who boarded the plane in St. Kitts, was sitting beside me. In an attempt to get her in to a conversation, I looked at her hands and told her that she had hands like mine. She looked at me puzzled. I explained to her that her hands looked like she used them to work regularly. She smiled and told me she was a teacher. I smiled at her and introduced myself. We chatted for a while, then some silence.
It turned out that Lynn, which is not her real name, had lost a loved one and was going to St. Thomas to attend the funeral. I looked at her, I knew she was hiding what she really felt and trying to appear strong.
I heard the pilot announced to prepare the plane for landing. I turned my attention to the matter at hand and I looked down at the beach as the plane approached the Princess Juliana International Airport for landing. The plane swooped low over the beach and I laughed at the memory of me back in 2005 when I ran for cover. I was sitting on the beach completely unaware until the plane was almost up on me. After the initial alarm, I made a mental note never to go to that end of the beach if I ever visited the island again. Need more exciting travel stories then visit journeys are made @ Gapyear.com.
It was not long before we were on our last leg of the journey to our final destination, St. Thomas. A few passengers had boarded, but none seemed familiar. I felt a twang of disappointment, as I was hoping for a tour guide. What fun will it be to have this adventure all alone? Nevertheless, my hopes were still up. I still had time to find myself a tour guide in the customs area.
The lines through customs were long. As I waited, the man in front of me looked back and started to chat. He said he was on the island to sort out some legal issues so he can get his pension. He had lived here a long time ago and was back for good. I felt a glimmer of hope, not for his pension, but as a potential tour guide. It was his turn to go to the immigration officer, so he motioned he will wait for me outside.
There were some issues with the immigration documentation system, so it took me longer to get through customs. It was as if someone had deliberately thwarted my rendezvous with my potential tour guide. By the time I got outside, he was nowhere in sight. There goes my potential tour guide. I looked around me and thought to myself, what a day! I needed time to think so I went to the bathroom to freshen up.
I took a deep breath then with a smile on my face I strutted out of there as if I had been there a million times. I told myself that if I had gone to big cities like Chicago and lived to tell the tale, then surviving on this small piece of rock should not be too difficult. Now I was not one for following directions or understanding maps. Therefore, I had made it a point to study the locations of the places I wanted to go from the airport. It was too early to check in and I wanted to use the time to visit Nisky Shopping Center.
I could have taken a taxi to my destination, but the map said the center was .25 miles from the airport. That sounded like walking distance to me, so I decided I would take the walk and experience a little bit of the island life. To make sure I was heading in the right direction, I asked a young man who had just came out of his vehicle. He looked at me doubtfully when I told him I wanted to walk to the center. I guess he thought I was looking too fancy for the task. Without waiting for him to discourage me from my adventure, I told him I was accustomed to walking.
Whew! I was sitting in the front seat of a black jeep in a matter of minutes. The young man was not convinced that I was capable of walking .25 miles, so he offered me a ride. He had gone inside and left me in his jeep. My intuition told me I could trust him. After all, he trusted me to wait for him. It occurred to me that I could have driven off with his expensive looking vehicle. However, I was not feeling in the mood for a high-speed police chase. Instead, I relaxed and waited for him to return.
After only a short wait, we left the airport and headed in the direction of the Nisky Shopping Center. I began to see why the young man offered to take me: I had never seen a quarter mile so long in my whole life. It looked longer than the same distance I traveled when I lived in Cayman Brac. I looked out of the window expectantly. I was hoping to see my hitchhiker friend who was supposed to be waiting outside for me. My plan was to wave at him and smile, but he seemed to have disappeared in to thin air.
We arrived at the Shopping Center and the driver helped me with locating the services I needed. It only took a few minutes before we were on our way back to the airport. The driver was expecting a passenger on a flight and needed to get there in time. I was intent on catching a taxi to the Windward Passage Hotel, but the driver was not entertaining me. He must have looked at my petite frame and thought I needed protection. He had no idea that I was meaner than I looked.
We had picked up the passenger and went on our way to the my final destination in minutes. I thought the passenger looked like someone I knew. Almost like Jackie Chan. Except that I had only seen Jackie in the movies and was not sure I would recognize him in real life. It was not until much later that I realized that the passenger was a famous reporter from DC and his name was not Chang. He was Wang.
It took less than ten minutes from the airport to the Windward Passage Hotel. I said goodbye to the driver and his passenger. I had arrived in one piece at my final destination. I was happy I found great people. It goes to show how mysterious life can be. One minute you think you are getting one thing and the next minute life throws you something else. My experience today was like me asking for pelau but instead I received lasagna.
The hotel looked huge from the outside. A pleasant looking woman sat at the counter. I approached her with a smile and she smiled back. I filled out the necessary forms and was on my way in a matter of minutes. My room was on the fourth floor looking over part of the street, a basketball court and a bit of the ocean. I soaked in the view. The sun setting in the distance had turned the sky an orange hue. The bed looked inviting. Nevertheless, my belly rejected the idea. I wished I could have that lasagna that life offered me today, only it was not edible. I tidied up and went in search of food…