In between jobs, I took some time off. The time just happened to coincide with a vacation my husband and I were taking. It was something we had recently reserved once we were no longer a one income household (curse you, recession!). Well, little did we know a month later I would be taking the hit (curse you again, recession!)...but anyway, we planned a vacation.
I won't say we haven't done anything in the past few years. He and our daugter went to England to visit family earlier this year. I've vsited my best friend a few times. We went to California last year for a wedding, and we also did our trek to Vegas. It hasn't been all work and drudgery, but we haven't been to a beachy place with drinks that require mini umbrellas in a long time (okay, four years). Luckily we both love the beach. I know some people don't (yes, it's true), but we do.
Our destination was Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Neither of us have been there but a friend was getting married and it was close to our ten year anniversary (which is actually today, no applause, thank you) so we decided to celebrate with them.
1. Getting there is half the fun
Who came up with thise phrase? I would like to personally beat that person about the head. I can't see how it's even a tenth of the fun unless we're picturing the Hot Chocolate number from the Polar Express, and even that can grate if you're not in the mood for a spontaneous song and dance routine. And don't even talk to me about a cruise. Trapped on a boat on the open seas with a million strangers with only a few hours to hop a through bunch of ports? It sounds like a nightmare. I like to go someplace and stay.
Our flight connected in Miami. My limited experience with this airport was when we flew to the Bahamas for our honeymoon. I remembered that the layout made no sense. We landed and saw that our connecting flight was delayed by 40 minutes. No big deal, I thought, I will grab something to eat and wait it out. Eleven dollars spent, a greasy ham and cheese sandwich and subpar flavored hot water (because I can not bring myself to call it "coffee") consumed, we sat at the gate and waited. The plane was there, they just needed some extra time to clean the bathrooms. Woowee, take your time, I thought, knowing that our seats would be near the back.
When they started offloading bags, I realized this was not something a plunger and Formula 409 could fix. The explanation expanded to include "leaking" and "new plane" and "4 o'clock departure." Then it included "No other flights" and "Ten dollar vouchers." Just looking out of the window revealed a giant puddle beneath the plane's midsection, and the dripping from the belly wasn't exactly a comforting sight. We were off to a great start.
We were relocated to another gate at the far end of the E terminal. This involved getting onto the tram and trucking it the rest of the way. People were sprawled over the seats, napping. There was a little jewelry counter. There was a huge window to look out at all of the planes that would be arriving AND leaving before ours. One of the people at the gates announced that there would be a water salute for a firefighter that died. Have you ever seen one of these? I never have, so I figured, why not?
A bunch of other people watched too. I staked out a space where I could see (this is critical when you're barely 5'3") Not long afterwards, a giant of a man stepped right in front of me.
"Excuse me." I said.
He swerved so he was squarely in front of me.
"Excuse me, I'm standing here." I said.
He glanced down with a look on his face that could best be described as "bemused."
I wanted to punch him, but that's not really appropriate when watching a ceremony that honors someone's life, is it? A few other people ushered me in front of them to shut me up and give me a better view. I am guessing the dude didn't speak English, but rudeness is a universally human thing, isn't it? Most of the time you don't really need to speak the same language to realize when you've done something rude to another person. How can someone stand directly in front of another person and not be sorry? I don't get it. I'll have to add that to the ever growing list of mysteries of the human race. A lot of good my degree in individual psychology did me.
2. Dead Headphone society
I am usually good about packing spare headphones, but this time I only had one set. As luck would have it, this set had lost a speaker. It was the first time this pair had failed me, and I used them daily for my workouts. I twisted it around in the jack and chalked it up to a faulty armrest. Remember when the headphones were specific to the plane? The sound was pushed through a two pronged airhose, and you had to pay for these technological wonders that ONLY worked on planes? What a racket! The first time I watched "Splash," I watched it with my sister on a flight to Italy. We (our dad) did not buy the headphones. Instead, we raised the armrest, turned the volume WAY up, and tilted our heads so we could watch the screen and hear the words. Just paying the two bucks for the headsets would have saved hundreds in chiropractor bills. Just jokes, folks. My back is fine, but my neck...
Anyway, my husband forgot his headphones. During our extended layover at Miami, he bought a pair for the high, high price of $19.99. Yes, they sucked. Yes, we got free ones in the plane. I figured my one sided speaker dilemma (it wasn't a faulty armrest, I tried them in my iPod and they still didn't work) was solved, but as soon as I stuck those freebies in, the plastic casing fell apart and the wee little speaker popped out. Oh well.