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Too Hot To Be Cold

Written on: Sunday January 25th, 2009

A journal entry from: Bajan Workstyle

I am going to tell you a story.  Two weeks ago I was asked if I would go to on a business trip in place of my boss to assist our client with a project they had undertaken.  Oh, and by the way, it's in Barbados.  In January.  Having just returned from Italy, where our trip was unexpectedly extended by one day due to massive snow at the airport, I was excited by the opportunity to get some fun in the sun.  Now, if you know me, you know that while I enjoy the beach, I'd just as soon go on a hike in the mountains (or better yet: fly an airplane.  But I digress...).  Still, its another stamp in the passport and it can't be any worse than Destin, right?

So I pack my bags, throw on my coat and scarf (it's still about 30 degrees in Atlanta) and head to the airport.  Katharine and I arrive well early and avail ourselves of the services of the Delta Crown Room on Concourse E.  Katharine, my traveling buddy (and so much more) was, much to my devastation, unable to accompany me to Barbados, heading home to Colorado instead (brrrrrr).  So around comes 9:00 and it's time for me to board the plane.  Upon arriving at the gate I see people deplaning.  Not a good sight, as this means either the flight was delayed or there was a gate change that I had failed to notice.  The ticket clerk breaks the news: Gate Change, now departing gate T-8.  Note above that I said we were on Concourse E.  With less than 15 minutes now until the doors close on my flight it's time to RUN!  At this point Katharine and I have to part ways as my legs are longer and there's no point in her smudging her makeup.  Instead of a drawn-out goodbye all I get is a quick peck before I make like John Heisman.

Dodging and weaving I barrel through the airport with callous disregard for human life.  At one point an entire flock of nuns were knocked down like bowling pins in my efforts to make my flight.  Ok, I made that last part up, but only just.  The worst part was getting on the tram...and...waiting.....for......it.....to........get.......moving.  After what seemed like an several eternities, at least one for each concourse, I arrive at the T concourse and resume the hard drive for the gate.  Fifteen feet out I see the sign above the ticket desk change to "Boarding Completed."   Screaming "Noooooooooo......" I leap head first into the jetway.  It's a photo finish, but to make a long story short (hah!) I made the flight.

On the way south we passed a number of landmarks.  They were the kind that you're gazing aimlessly out the window and you think "Hey, that's a big racetrack.  I wonder if..." (and as you look at the moving map on the screen) "...sure enough, it's Daytona Speedway."  Repeat the entire process three more times, once each for Cape Canaveral, Lake Okeechobee and Miami.  South of Florida I wasn't able to make out any more landmarks, but that's mostly because of my lackluster knowledge of Caribbean geography.

The arrival into BGI, Barbados' Grantley Adams International Airport, features a whole lot of water, a few ships, a bit of land dotted with shacks and roads, then runway.  Landing was uneventful, though deplaning I enjoyed a slightly new experience.  In Barbados you use jet stairs (instead of jetways) and they unload through both doors simultaneously.  So, for fun, I took the back door exit.  Stepping out into the sunshine it's immediately obvious that I won't be needing my coat for at least a week.  It was stereotypically bright and sunny, though not overwhelmingly hot.  It was here that I first started to understand why people call this place, along with some of its Caribbean friends, Paradise.  Clearing Immigration and Customs was easy, and I'm starting to think that all those stories you hear about the terrors and horrors of clearing customs are all fiction.  Not just in Barbados, but in general; everywhere except the USA.  Those stories I would believe.

I've grown quite long-winded in this post.  Later I'll write a bit about my experience driving on the wrong side of the road and first impressions of this island.  Oh, if you want anything from Barbados, ask now.