Monday, April 26, 2010

Bahamas...Oh Bahamas, We Will Never Forget You

We will never forget you that's for sure. There's no denying we loved your simplicity and laid back nature. Your beaches were lovely and the weather was warmer...BUT we would have really liked to avoid:

-Having our wallet stolen and losing our travel cash
-Having only one, single, solitary sunny day
-Getting super sea sick
-Issues with Scuba companies
-Snorkeling all over the place looking for signs of life
-Way too much time at the airport

And last but not least oh dear Bahamas...we really could have done better without...(you must read further - AHHH HAAA HAAAA - that's my evil nature, I'm going to make you endure the suspense laugh)

First of all, why do people take vacations. Sometimes they seem like so much more work and stress than just staying at home and experiencing day to day life. I might expect to be stressed if I traveled like some people (I'm calling you out Mom ;-). Always something to do, some place to see. I swear my parents had our family vacations planned down to the minute with the exception of two vacations. Thank goodness for Yosemite and the Italian Alps. But Dave and I are pretty easy going. We rarely schedule anything. We go with a place to stay a list of things we could do and then we go from there. Just a nice spontaneous, relaxing vacation. But I got home from this vacation feeling like I needed a vacation from my vacation!
In spite of our plans to make this short little get away a breath of fresh warm air, we had a rough time. Who wants to come home from vacation and say they endured to the end and tried to find some good in it all?

Trouble started the minute (almost) that Dave's sister Sallie dropped us off at the airport. We were standing there trying to scan our boarding bar code looking like total dummies. First we tried the print out with the little bar code in it. Then we tried the confirmation number, next the passports then the credit catch the drift. TROUBLE. Finally Dave realized that we were trying to check in at the Delta kiosk instead of Jet Blue. After all that aggravation we weren't thinking all that clearly and didn't notice Dave's wallet sitting right there on the stand. (unfortunately we were oh-so-cool and used our passports for all the security checks and what not) It wasn't until we were boarding the plane and I asked Dave for two bucks to buy headsets that we noticed the wallet was missing. When I think about what might have been:

Us stuck in the Bahamas with no cash, credit cards, debit cards, bank....

Well we got the wallet back. Some wonderful good Samaritan had returned it. After he kindly removed all of our travel money! We didn't really need it, for sure it wouldn't be missed (sarcasm). What is that? A half way honest person. An, "I'm going to do half a good deed" kind of guy? So we got back the plastic but no cash! Then I endured a grumpy Dave on the long flight to better days.

We got to the Bahamas and a 30 minute taxi ride later we are at the Scuba shop signing in for Dave's dive. No way I'm swimming with sharks. Thank goodness I'm not certified. Dave really likes to experience cool things WITH people. You know, so you can reminisce together. Unfortunately for me he really wanted to experience this not-so-cool but super terrifying event in his life with someone too. Thank you rules and regulations. (I am having so much fun being sarcastic that the crazy trip seems more worth it now) So our rotten luck continued. Even though I have our confirmation print out in my hand, saying he is registered and payed to go. The good people there have no records showing Dave even exists. For who knows what reason they argue about this for several minutes (probably because they don't think they've been paid - we ended up paying again and will wait to see what the credit card statement shows) After they finally agree to write Dave in - how hard was that? They start to take issue with the fact that Dave hasn't been on a recent dive. Well -- I didn't have anymore patience. I know I am never great at these customer service head to heads. Even though I have a serious mean streak I am incapable of using it even in its smallest, "I'm just really going to get my way", form. So I point out to them that not only is this requirement to have a recent dive nowhere on their page's long list of rules when booking your dive that you must read and acknowledge, but that we called twice to make sure everything was good and ready. There was no way that Dave wasn't getting on that boat. Not when we came to this island only to do that and there was nothing else to do except big touristy stuff that we both hate! So we argue. For another 15 minutes. They are holding up the boat for us. I am totally flustered. At long last we get her to call her manager who agrees to let Dave go as long as he signs the liability waiver (that he is going to have to sign anyway). Why do people make things so complicated???
So off we go. I already know at this point that my leisurely boat ride in the sun was a bust. It is overcast and threatening to rain to say nothing of the wind. The poor boat is pitching and rolling and Dave, who gets sea sick, has just eaten a nice big lunch. Recipe for disaster. He got sick, really sick. The kind of sick where you loose all the color that a poor pasty Washington resident has mustered over the years. His eyes told it all. He went from being really excited to looking like this after his first of the two dives. In our 14 years together Dave has never thrown up. He would rather die I think...he came really close that afternoon.He was really excited about all the shraks he saw. There were dozens of them. He got brushed and bumped several times. And the poor guy feeding the sharks actually got bit!
In the end it was all good. He got off the boat and nearly collapsed on the dock. He lay there trying to recover as I looked at the pictures from his dive. Never have I been more grateful to not be scuba certified. I was terrified just looking at the pictures of Dave. He looks pretty terrified too. So even though there was no sun, and his stomach was doing the mambo I think he had a pretty good time.

The next day we headed to the hardly populated island of Eluthera. We rented a perfect little bungalow right on the beach.
That's it in the distance there nestled in the palm trees!
I was so excited! Best of all the sun was shining. It was a wonderful 80 degrees. We were on an island all to ourselves - or so it seemed. And I swear the people of Eluthera are the friendliest people I have ever met. There was the man that rented us our car without having us pay. (Apparently they are on a cash only system on the island and well...we were a little short on cash) He didn't want to strip us of the little cash we had. So he sent us on our way with a promise to pay him when we returned the car after visiting an ATM. Then there was the lady at the local grocery who let us return our milk after we had stoped by earlier to pick up some necessities for our bungalow and then driven 30 minutes to the bungalow only to realize too late that we couldn't check in until 4:00. It was 9:00. So back to the grocer we went with the strange request to put our milk back in the fridge. When we returned at 10:00 way after the shop closed we had no hopes of milk for our breakfast cereal. But there she was inside cleaning. She came to the door, let Dave in and we had milk. The lady we rented our snorkel gear from even came to work an hour early on the day we flew out so we could return our stuff and get our deposit back! Everyone waved, no one was pushy for tips, and it was really wonderful. We enjoyed a beautiful beach, some not-so-great snorkeling (we saw a conch- and that as about it) and then ate delicious food at a resort restaurant all by ourselves wishing we could see the sunset behind all those grey clouds that had rolled in.
That evening I took a bath (I miss baths! We haven't had a tub in our master bedroom ever.) It was second only to a hot tub which I wished they had but didn't. We opened all the sliding doors and fell asleep to the lulling sound of crashing waves right outside our door.

I set the alarm to awake with the sunrise. As I walked over to the window I knew we were not going to have a repeat of the day before. The sunrise was hidden behind a dense bank of clouds and it was raining. Sigh...what were we going to do all day stuck in our little house? We slept in, leisurely ate our cereal under the protection of the porch and then when the rain slowed to a drizzle we went for a walk on the beach. There was no waiting the weather out so we decided to make the most of it and off we went to visit the rest of the beaches on our list in hopes of better snorkeling than the day before. We were enamored with the pink sand beaches. At the end of the vacation it would all be worth it. It would be a really expensive (even though it was supposed to be quite affordable) trip to the Bahamas to collect pink sand for my sand collection. The snorkeling never did wow us. I can't believe how sterile the ocean was. Hardly a hint of life. We found a this nice sea star and others like them, some sand dollars a very few fish and this sting ray. It wasn't that bad, snorkenling in the rain. We were all wet anyway.
Then night came...and it was long and horrible. Here it is...THE NUMBER ONE THING WE COULD HAVE DONE WITHOUT!

BED BUGS!!!!!!!!!

We tossed and turned all night. Then awoke to feeling like our skin was on fire. No amount of itching brought relief. I counted the bites on just one arm - 50! And it was equally bad everywhere else. I had a bite on my eye lid, bites on my ears, little buggies had crawled on my face and bitten me here and there. Every knuckle of my fingers. I had bites on top of bites. Even Dave who is pretty resistant to bug bite itchiness (is that a word?) was itching. I was writhing. I would endure one plane flight of trying to sit still and not look like a total freak only to disembark, run for the bathroom, strip and scratch until my whole body was red enough to looked sunburned only to get back on another plane. Once we got to the states the first order of business was to find an airport shop that carried Benadryl. I don't know if I have ever been more thankful for modern medicine. Once we got home we threw everything in the wash. If I could have boiled all of our stuff I would have. I was so grossed out. Then the paranoia set in as I read about the obnoxious critters on the Internet. Had I brought this vermin into my own bug free home? We didn't sleep on our own bed for three nights. Every morning I woke up freaking out as I tried to determine if a particular bite was new or just suddenly itchy. There were just so many bites it was hard to tell if one might be new. I am going to have permanent memories of our little Bahama trip. Many little scars from compulsive itching. I have just now relaxed. We are pretty certain we haven't brought any critters into our home, the bites are just now stopping to drive me crazy and soon my face will look more normal (I didn't go to church on Sunday - the bites were the real reason - but I was grateful for Sara's runny nose to give me cover)
So all in all it was great to get away from the kids. Even better to have some good one-on-one time with Dave. I am supper excited to add some new sand to our collection. The kids had a vacation of their own with Grandma and Aunt Sallie who were awesome to them. And as evidenced by this beautiful welcome home sign they made us, were actually happy to see us again. And I have just laughed through a very lengthy documentation about a trip that went awry and packed a punch but was all worth it in the end.


The Seaquist Family said...

Can I just say that is the saddest funniest thing I have ever heard. Your bed bugs sounds like me last year with the poison oak/ivy. I can't believe that happened. And all the rain and dreary...that is what you left behind. Love the under water pictures. How in the world did you get those. Glad to hear you blogging reality. Love you Jen.

Sarah said...

What a great trip--bed bugs and all!

Our honeymoon hotel in Tahoe was such a sleazy dive (although it looked pretty good online when we booked it), I told Gavin we were only going up from there!

So just think--your NEXT Bahamas getaway will be much improved after all you've learned. But you still made the most of it and had a great time!

Stephanie Saunders said...

Okay, I was totally excited about someday going to the Bahamas... until I read your post ;)

Anonymous said...

Well, who else has a story even remotely close to your experience, welcome to the club of interesting fun telling stories.

Familia Bethers said...

Jen, you write so well! I enjoyed reading this. (Not your mishaps, sorry to hear that!) Now I am second guessing a trip I am trying to plan with John! (Ever want to meet up just couples???) No scuba for me ... but John will be envious of Dave's shark dive for sure!

Andrea said...

Sounds and looks gorgeous and insane at the same time. Sharks? I don't think so. Never would have done that. Bed bugs!AAAAAAAhhH!!!!! I feel your worries and anxiety. Had an experience where the kids had just read about them in their weekly reader and I had recently picked up an upholstered chair off the curb. Willie woke up with strange bites and as I put it all together, I freaked! I practically boiled everything in the house. Checked my bed constantly and changed everyone's sheets every day for over a week. Another reason I freaked is cuz I saw some bugs under the upholstery of that chair. They turned out to be carpet beetles and all was good, but I chucked the chair before I could find out. Crazy!
Glad you had the time together again from kids though! So nice of DEEDee and Sallie.

Anonymous said...

Hey, who said traveling to new and exotic places is always a piece of cake. When you look back, just remember what Kenya did to your poor Dad. Glad that Dad is still with us. THOSE ARE SOME BIG FISH!!!
Tucson Grandpa

Anonymous said...

I finally got to see the shark pix-I was beginning to think it was all just a big fish story!

Mimi said...

Oh my goodness lady!!! What a story!

I loved it all... you will look back and laugh and laugh and laugh! Despite the run in with well... all of that junk- the bed bugs would have been the worst!! You got some amazing pics!