Friday, July 1, 2011

My favorite Trini get's married & Photo Friday: Wilderness

Last week to weekend, Steven and I visited Trinidad. This was quite the adventure. Please allow me to recant our trip. 

Let me start off by saying, Steven and I are cursed travelers. Or at least we thought so on Wednesday of last week. (Background : the last time we traveled for a friends wedding was in January of this year. We were stuck in the Atlanta airport for 3 days because of the weather. Let me tell you: that was fun.We swore off Delta that trip.) We arrived at RDU on time, parked our cheerful selves at the gate with plenty of time to spare, only to be loaded on the plane and then stalled on the tarmac because apparently: Charlotte Airport was inundated and the pilot was told to give them a breather. Ok, we don't care, we have plenty of layover in Charlotte as well as Miami.

We get to the Charlotte airport, get some coffee and find our next gate. Then we start noticing the delays showing up on the "departure" screen. Finally we're told that the plane we were scheduled to be on is stuck where it last landed for a 3 hour repair. BUT, not to worry, they had a new plane and it was landing shortly. Awesome, no skin off our back, we had a nice long layover to burn. Our 2nd plane lands, disembarks and yet we sit there. It turns out (as the nice person over the intercom tells us) that plane also had a mechanical issue and it would take 3 hours to fix. Our nice long layover is dwindling at this point. Frantically, Steven and I attempt to find another way to Miami (we're having flashbacks of January). I'm on the phone waiting on a customer service person who I likely won't be able to understand and Steven is in line at the counter waiting to talk to the nice intercom person. Right as it was Steven turn and I get off hold, the nice intercom person announces that they have indeed found us a new plane (hurray!) that is now taxing to the gate right next to us. 

Recap, this is plane 3 now and our layover is now cutting it very close. We get on that plane, sit, and wait only to discover it also needs a repair. They (the intercom people) thought that it was already finished by the time they loaded us but would take another 45 mins. Layover, what layover? Immediately, I'm on the phone with Caribbean Airlines, our connecting flight in Miami. It was then that I find out they have a minimum checkin time of 3-36 hours before the flight. This was not mentioned on their website, nor on my itinerary and this was the first time Steven or I had ever flown international. Essentially, we were new...we didn't know what to do. We frantically tried to check in online through our phones or the wireless in the airport but both services sucked and we couldn't get passed the 1st page. Thankfully the nice intercom people were kind enough to book us on a backup flight with American Airlines that would put us in Trinidad at 11:30pm. A solid 5 hours later than we were supposed to arrive and a total travel day of 16 hours.

Finally exactly 2 hours before our Caribbean Airlines flight was to take off in Miami we left Charlotte (it's a 2 hour flight). Yes at this point, we still had hope. Somewhere in the air I said, "If we get there in time just to see our plane leave, I might lose it". When we land in Charlotte and taxi to our gate, I spy a Caribbean Airlines plan 3 gates down from us. We disembark faster than I have ever before and run to the gate. We get there just as they close the jetway; it is indeed our flight. We commence the begging. Pleading, "PLEASE put us on that flight!". To no avail. They had already submitted their manifest to the government and could not resubmit it now. So we watched our flight taxi off to the runway. 

I might have cried a little.We promptly got a beer. 

Fast forward 5 hours and we're sitting on the American Airlines flight to Trinidad. And we're sitting and we're waiting. We sat, loaded on the plane for an hour. You may notice at this point that every single one of the flights we were on was delayed. Luckily, that was as exciting as it got for that flight. We took off and made up the hour in the air. We landed in Trinidad with a nice big thump and got our first passport stamp! Ah, success.

Ok, I know you only read this blog to see pics so I'll skip to the good bits. We (the foreigners) were marooned on Kate's husband's family's island house for 2.5 days. It was torture. Nothing but the water, the fresh air, as much food as we could possible eat, tons of beer and liquor. I don't know how I made it out alive (or sober for that matter).

Now the good part...Saturday, June 25th. Kate, one of the nicest girls I have ever met married Rob, one of the nicest guys I have ever met. Kate made a beautiful bride.

Their ceremony was short and sweet. Filled with love and lots of talk about wine and stone vessels and it ended with Mr and Mrs. Stone!

The reception was everything I could ever picture a Trini reception to be. It was a huge party. It started off with heartfelt speeches (put my "best-person" speech to shame) and the special dances. I don't recall the name of Kate and Rob's first dance. I was too preoccupied with how great they looked together all dressed and everything. However, I clearly recall the name of the Father/Daughter dance.

"Wagon Wheel". Why do I know this song so well? My brother played it no less than 100 times during his bachelor party. 

It was a heart wrenching goodbye. There's no next trip to look forward to. No idea when we'll see our favorite Trinis again (yeah, plural now. You guys are just cool).

Our flights back to Raleigh were thankfully less eventful. We made our Caribbean Airlines flight (checked in early online this time) and nothing was delayed, broken down or otherwise crappy. We arrived in Raleigh around 7pm on Sunday, collected our dogs from our friends, that Dardens (thanks agian!) and returned to an empty home (no more roommate). Thus concluded our trip to Trinidad. 

The Photo Friday challenge for today is Wilderness. There was plenty of wilderness on the island where we stayed for 2.5 days. But I thought this picture was the most appropriate. 

That is nature at its finest. That is a plant growing inside a drainage pipe of an abandoned retaining wall. I thought this was most appropriate for its message. When we're gone, the wilderness will take back what was originally its own. Kinda makes you feel tiny in the scheme of things. As if your footprints on this earth can be washed away like footprints on the sand. Thus concludes my deep thought for the morning. 
I hope you all are planning an epic weekend for the 4th of July. I am sure to be hung over. Stay tuned for Nikki and Travis's photo teasers, their engagement photo shoot in this weekend!

Thanks for reading (especially this one since it was so long)!

-Liz DiNatale

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