Saturday, May 07, 2011

Tito and the Small Hope

After spending so much time bouncing around Africa, it is going to be tough to write an interesting blog post about five days at a resort in the Bahamas.  And I am still coming to terms with my new underwater camera so the photos aren’t even any good.  But I hope to get better with the camera, so I just consider this a baseline post. 

Last weekend I took a quick five day sanity check on Andros Island in the Bahamas.  Andros is the largest and probably least developed of the major Bahamian islands, which guaranteed a healthy separation between me and a potentially homicidal situation with cruise ship crowds.  I stayed that the Small Hope Bay Lodge – which is kind of like summer camp for big kids.  (Note to campers everywhere – it takes much less time to get to first base on a hammock if there is an open bar.)  Small Hope is the type of place my sister and brother-in-law would hate – no pool and no TV.  But my cabin was right on the beach, I went diving every day, the chef was excellent, and there was that aforementioned open bar. 

Andros is a bit in the middle of nowhere though.  It is about a 25 minute flight from Nassau in a five seat single engine prop.  I know this because that is how I got back to Nassau to get my connection back to Baltimore.  I had been supposed to take the comparatively luxurious 12 seater commercial flight, although it left at 7 am and would strand me in dangerous proximity to the cruise shippers for six hours.  But there was this guy with a plane – which I was assured by the staff - was immaculately maintained – and he could fly me over to Nassau after lunch as long as I could track down two other passengers to share the ride.  After talking a very nice Californian couple into my scheme, we headed to the airport.  And an immaculately maintained five seater plane pulls up, loads our luggage, and proceeds down the runway just far enough to hit a piece of sharp coral and puncture the nose tire.  That’s game over for us.  The pilot assured me – with my already tight connection in Nassau – that he had a buddy that had a plane and it was all going to be no worries. 

(In the mean time, the departure room had filled up with about 50 cranky Navy and Air force personnel waiting for their ride back to Florida.  The crankiness may or may not have been due to the fact that their transport plane was circling overhead – unable to land without the wash of the much bigger plane flipping our little five seater stuck on the side of the runway.  And do you think that they would agree to drop me off at Andrews?  Even though I asked nicely?  Even though there was plenty of room in their C-23?  Noooo.  Why do I even bother paying my taxes?) 

I was starting to get a bit nervous.  If I wasn’t wheels up in 15 minutes, I was definitely going to miss my flight back to the US.  Then Tito shows up.  You know Tito.  He is the guy that comes to pick you up at the train station when your boyfriend’s car won’t start.  He has a 1989 maroon Cutlass Ciera with duct tape seats on the seats.  Wire is intimately involved with holding the driver side door on.  The engine sounds like someone dumped a full bucket of loose screws and squirrels in it.  Yeah, except in my version of the story, Tito’s hoopty is a plane.  I smile apologetically at the very nice couple from California whom I had talked into this mess, and asked Tito if he could please give it a bit of gas, I had a flight to catch. 

Which I did – after admittedly having to fast talk a selection of airline and ground staff.  And the result of all my efforts?  I am back in DC and back at work.  Lesson learned: next time don’t try so hard.

1 comment:

Raven said...

Hi Kristen!

Nice to meet you! I followed you from Facebook where a post you shared on SHBL's page showed up. I am a Small Hope wanna be...I discovered it a couple years ago but have not yet managed to finagle my way over there.

It may never happen as our main goal is to buy a liveaboard sailboat and cruise the world. We'll see. :)

Anyway, after following the link, I discovered that you have quite a travel blog! I look forward to backtracking and reading your posts. Come check me out at sometime!