Sunday, July 13, 2008

Day 12 (Wednesday)

Unable to sleep well, I woke earlier than normal on our last day on Carriacou. It was sufficiently early to enjoy watching the sunrise over the hills above Hillsborough. The sun was briefly interrupted by a rain shower, only to return brighter and stronger to warm the day. The family got moving a little later and after getting cleaned-up, we were able to pack the last of the bags.

After resting for just a few minutes, it was soon 10:00 a.m. and Philip had his bus, “Patience”, parked outside the door waiting to take us to the airport. On our way, we returned the rental jeep to Barba’s and said goodbye to some of our friends in L’Esterre. Arriving at the airport, we were happy to see that the SVG charter had already arrived and was waiting for us. After working our way through the departure process, it was 11:00 a.m. and time for us to leave Carriacou for Barbados. It was a great day for flying, with clear skies and calm winds. After take-off, we had a great aerial view of Windward and the east side of Carriacou, as well as Petite Martinique, Petite Saint Vincent, Union Island and many of the minor Grenadine cays.

The SVG charter landed in Barbados at 12:00 p.m. with the ground crew waiting to assist us. They promptly carried our baggage through customs and to the American Airlines ticket counter so that we could check in for our next flight. By 1:00 p.m. we were through customs and security, and inside the comfortable Barbados departure terminal. The international airport at Bridgetown has undergone an extensive renovation over the last several years. We believe that it is one of the best airports in the Caribbean at this time. It is well designed and conveniently arranged. The terminal includes a lot of dining and shopping options, and it is very comfortable for the weary traveler. Oh yes, Cable & Wireless provides free WiFi throughout the airport too!

The American Airlines flight left Barbados just before 3:00 p.m. and landed in Miami about three and one-half hours later. The most stressful part of the trip back to the States is being part of the throng of international travelers who need to be processed by immigration. Miami in particular has a lot of international arrivals; mostly from South American countries, but also quite a few Caribbean locations. The queues are usually long and the wait can try your patience. I am always grateful to still be rather relaxed from our holiday when reaching this point, because I’d really be stressed if this process was at the beginning of our trip.

Dining at the Miami airport was a reminder that we were not in Carriacou any longer. The modest sandwich for EC$25 and the EC$10 soda didn’t taste as good, nor was it as economical as a fresh meal from the Lazy Turtle in Tyrrel Bay. The view was not nearly as good either.

The time between our flights in Miami was almost entirely consumed by the immigration process, so our wait for the last leg of our trip was rather short. By 9:30 p.m., we had boarded our plane and we were on our way to Washington, DC. Thunderstorms earlier in the day had passed by and left just a few clouds for the two and one-half hour flight up the East Coast of the United States. When we landed at Reagan National Airport at 12:00 a.m., the terminal was nearly empty and we were able to collect our bags and make our way home in short order. Our holiday was officially over, but the fond memories of our return to Carriacou would last forever.