We got up, finished packing everything the proper way this time, and rolled our suitcases down to the lobby shortly before the noon checkout time. Matt ran the towels back to the return hut so we weren’t charged $80 apiece, or whatever it was. Since we had plenty of time to kill before our flight, we went to the souvenir shop at the resort. They actually had some really cute stuff, so we picked up a few things (including my new purse).
It took some work getting the new stuff into my suitcase without opening everything up entirely, but I managed. We went to the entrance to get a cab, and one of the guys working there cut off our wristbands and asked if we wanted to keep them as a souvenir. I didn’t really want a souvenir of my time at the generic all-inclusive, but we took them anyway.
Our cab turned out to be one of the vans you usually take to the airport if you pre-book. It was just the two of us this time, though. Our driver asked about what we’d seen in Jamaica, and then told us about how he had friends in California who sent him marijuana seeds. As we arrived at the airport, he took out his phone and started showing us pictures of his crops. Awesome.
The airport was very quiet, and check-in was easy. We got to take the Medallion line to drop the bags, and then headed to security, which was really fast as well. We were there plenty early, so we went to go find lunch (we hadn’t had anything but coffee so far) and of course ended up at Air Margaritaville. Since we’d been there on the previous visit, it was officially a tradition.
We ordered Guinness, and our server told Matt that dudes ordered it because it made them horny. I didn’t want to mention that EVERYTHING seems to make the men horny in Jamaica. Matt got a burger, and I had the veggie wrap. It was at least 70% shredded lettuce, but it was still incredibly appealing just because it was fresh. After our meal, our server told us a long story about how he liked it when it was cold, because then it made his lady want to cuddle up close to him. Oh, Jamaicans.
After lunch, we did a bunch of shopping in the airport. We picked up a huge bottle of Havana Club and some high-end Appleton from the duty-free store, some Marcus Garvey dominoes from a souvenir shop, and got beverages for the flight. We then grabbed seats at the bar near our gate, and Matt went to use up his remaining $J to buy beers. He quickly learned that people don’t often use Jamaican currency at the airport, for some strange reason. We weren’t sure why, because it’s much cheaper that way, and you’re likely to have some left over.
While we were waiting for our flight to board, there was an announcement about one of the other Delta flights to NYC. The guy on the microphone said that the co-pilot was trying to point something out to the pilot on a map on a clipboard, and then there was a bump and his pen fell into the plane’s console. While that was probably harmless, there was the potential that the pen could get stuck in the mechanism that controlled the aircraft’s tail. Therefore they had to tear apart the console to find it, and they were very sorry for the delay. Those of us who were not flying to New York thought that was all incredibly hilarious.
After a while it was time to board, right around the time that Kris and Orsi were likely arriving at the airport from Negril. I was a zone ahead of Matt, so I took the duty-free rum box and boarded first so I could get a good spot in the overhead compartment. We had a two-seat row to ourselves, which was very comfortable indeed. The flight seemed to take forever to board, and we were held up well past our scheduled departure. People kept arriving from other flights, both the (eventually cancelled) New York one and others that were apparently delayed or cancelled due to bad weather in the southeastern US. Finally the plane was packed full, and we were on our way to Atlanta, still somehow close to on time.
Leaving Mobay, I could see the hotel and Scotchie’s from the air. (The hotel is the first large one up on the coast past the sandbar, a little below the middle of the photo. Scotchie’s is just south of the circular drive across the street from the hotel.)
About half an hour into the flight, we passed Cuba again! I could see a lot of detail of the farms from above.
We landed just a little late in Atlanta, and headed as fast as possible towards Customs and Immigration. I was glad to be toward the front of the flight, so we could get there before the rush. It’s about a 400-mile walk from that terminal to Customs, but we arrived to find no wait at all. The surly agent stamped our passports in invisible ink (seriously, I can’t find the stamp), and we headed to baggage claim to get our suitcases.
The bags were all latched shut with an industrial twist-tie, and we’d been instructed not to open them to put duty-free stuff inside. We carried it up to Customs, and I only got a little nervous about the drug dog sniffing around all the luggage, because he was so cute. The Customs guy took our form and didn’t even ask us anything, so we walked away reveling in yet another successful Cuban-contraband-smuggling effort. At the bag drop for connecting flights, one of the baggage handlers showed me how to remove the lock so I could put our rum inside. We sent our bags off with a little prayer that they’d make it to Minneapolis, and headed to the main terminal on the train to find some dinner.
We’d eaten at the Sam Adams Brewpub before, so we headed there and looked at the menu. We didn’t see a single vegetarian item on the list, so we proceeded down the concourse. I was pretty sure we were going to end up with fast food pizza for dinner, but then Matt decided to take a look at the TGI Friday’s menu. The last time I’d been in a TGI Friday’s (several years ago, at least), they also put meat on top of everything, but this menu actually had a few vegetarian items, including a really delicious-looking veggie burger. So we sucked up our pride (how snobby can you be in an airport, anyway?) and got a table.
Our super-awesome server brought us two gigantic mojitos, and then our meals. The veggie burger was indeed amazingly good. The Gophers were playing Indiana on many giant TVs around the restaurant, so we were happy.
I checked Facebook, and Orsi had sent a message that they were still in Montego Bay. We figured we’d be running into them in ATL since they were only an hour behind us, but apparently the storm had bumped everything back several hours. They were sitting around the airport, knowing that they’d be spending the night in Atlanta. We’d gotten really lucky!
We boarded the plane and took our spots in the exit row. My seat didn’t have an armrest, so it was gigantic and comfortable. Matt was stuck between me and a lady who snored, but at least she was nice about it. We couldn’t get ESPN on the seatback TV so we missed seeing the Gophers court storm, and didn’t even hear about it til the next day. Our flight back to MSP was uneventful, and our bags had indeed come along for the journey. I switched to wool socks and Keen sandals from my flipflops, put on a hoodie, and we went out to wait for my parents in the cold.