We got up at 8:45 Saturday morning and got our stuff together. It was refreshing to not have to get up at 6am and catch the shared shuttle, because that’s always kind of painful. We rolled our bags up to the front desk to check out just as Champion was walking in. We told him we had to say bye to our friends, and he took the bags to the taxi.
We met them down near the water just so they could show us that it was once again perfect outside, and the sea was calm. SIGH. We said goodbye, and cursed them a little for their extra week in Jamaica. Then we hopped in the cab and were off.
Champion said he had to make a stop to drop something off, which was fine with us. When he pulled into Hedonism 2, the nude resort at the far end of the beach, we were dying of hilarity inside. He dropped off a ‘package’ for one of the guests who came out to meet us, and we were off.
There wasn’t much traffic, so the drive was quick, around 90 minutes. Some of the little towns along the way had flooded roads because of the crazy weather the previous day.
It started raining just as we got to the airport in Montego Bay. We thanked Champion and rolled our bags to the gigantic US Air bag drop. That took forever, and then security also took forever, and finally we were inside the terminal. We walked around a bit looking for food and drinks to bring on the plane, and I grabbed a bottle of water. They announced our flight, and I realized while getting out my boarding pass and passport that my hands were shaking violently. It was 12:30, and I’d kind of forgotten to eat all morning. Luckily, I’d brought a Suncake along.
The exit row in row 9 was awesome. We ended up talking to the flight attendant again, and this guy had previously been in IT and moved into his current career just because of the opportunity for tons of time off with not much seniority. That sounded pretty appealing, really.
Matt had thought that morning that maybe he was getting a cold, and by the time we were in the air, it was clear that he had one. His ears and sinuses were blocked, which made the descent miserable.
We landed in Charlotte and headed to customs and immigration. We were very excited to use our Global Entry privileges for the first time ever, and found the bank of machines empty. My machine wouldn’t scan my passport and didn’t recognize the info I was entering, so I was worried I’d have to get in the giant line. I tried another machine, and while it still wouldn’t scan my passport, the manual entry worked. We got little printout slips with our photos on them that we took to the passport line. That was quick, and so was customs. The downside was that we just had longer to wait for our bags to arrive, but I took that time to go to the bathroom and change into warmer clothing. We were heading back to the cold.
We first went up to the US Airlines lounge, and went in because I had free passes. They had some snacks, but you had to pay for a full meal. They also had free rail drinks, but you had to pay for anything good. I grabbed some crackers and cheese cubes, and we had a cocktail. Then we headed back out, because Matt was badly in need of cold meds and some real food.
We bought Mucinex at a shop, then went to get a table at the Bacardi Rum Bar. They were playing reggae and had shockingly authentic Caribbean food, so it was a welcome return to the Jamaican atmosphere. By the time we were done with dinner, we were both nearly falling asleep on the table. We went to get a quick beer at the Carolina Beer Co, and then headed to the plane. After another exit row, another friendly flight attendant, and another shuttle ride, we were home.
It was -35 windchill in Minneapolis. Our shuttle driver took us right to the parking ramp instead of to the park and ride lot, and earned a $20 tip for that. It was worth it.