The Clarkwell went on an awesome trip this past week to Bermuda. We were joined by Grandpa and Grammy, so you know good times were had by all. You know, when I told people that we were going on a vacation with my in-laws, the response was pretty much unanimously a wide-eyed, open-mouthed, “Oh, really? Wow.” Their faces would kinda get this sad, sympathetic glaze to it. I would reply, “No, it’s okay, really. They’re actually cool to hang out with.” It’s just funny how different in-law—spousal relations can be.
Before I can tell you all about the fantastic fun-times we had, I have to share the pre-game travel stress. Just so you can appreciate the goodness that came thereafter, of course. Our flight out was at 8am, so we had to be at the airport at 6. We bundled the babe up in a blanket, and hauled her to the cab groggy and still in her pajamas. We got to the airport with our 2 suitcases, carseat, backpack, and diaper bag and prepared to check in.
We forgot the passports.
It had been so long since we’d traveled out of the country that it simply wasn’t part of our traveling mindset. Seriously, these days if it wasn’t Indiana or Cleveland we pretty much weren’t going. Poor Jill had to jump back in a cab and jet to the house to retrieve them, while I stayed behind in the airport with Avery and changed her into actual clothes and a fresh diaper. Luckily since we’d gotten there a full 2 hours ahead, like good little international travelers, it worked out and we got to the gate with a little time to spare.
We’d reserved the window and aisle in the hopes that no one would want to take the seat between us. No sooner had we gotten settled than an agent came onboard demanding to see Avery’s ticket. He asked if we’d purchased one for her and we answered no, we hadn’t…because we hadn’t. He told us we had to buy a ticket, so we had to get off the plane and go back to the gate counter.
Now, two things at this point. Firstly, we’d purchased the tickets online, and at that time had indicated that we’d be traveling with a child under 2 years of age. It did not prompt us to buy a ticket, but let us designate her as an “infant-in-arms” passenger—just like countless domestic flights before. That was the first failure of communication from the airline. Secondly, when we checked in at the airport we actually had to talk to an agent because the self check-in wouldn’t let us do it for some reason. So, we actually spoke with an agent, who looked at us all and looked at Jill’s ticket which had INF printed on it (for Avery) and sent us on our merry way, and never said anything about us needing a separate ticket for her. Shenanigans!
We were understandably annoyed (I was actually livid, but what else is new), but the gate agents took care of it, albeit not without a lot of confusion. They too were baffled that the agent who’d checked us in hadn’t caught that. The cost of her ticket was $17 (just taxes and fees or something). For some reason they weren’t able to print out a real ticket, so they literally gave us a dot-matrix style printout with her record locator (I was immediately transported back to my time as a travel agent). I guess they felt bad because there was someone slated to sit in the sit between us, and they shuffled him around so that we retained an empty seat. I mean, they were kinda “look what we did for you” about it, while I was thinking more along the lines of “look what you did to us” but, you know…tomato, tomahto.
On to the good stuff.
We arrived in Bermuda eventually. It was bright and sunny. We got a pleasant taxi ride to the condo that we’d rented with Jill’s folks—a beautiful 2-bedroom dealie with everything we needed to be comfortable in St. George. It was a sleepy, cute little town.
We settled in and had a round of hugs and kisses, and hit the beach. March is kinda off-season for Bermuda, which is sub-tropical anyway, so we weren’t dealing with 90-degree weather or bathtub grade water, but wasn’t stopping us.
Well, it’s not like we dove in or anything. Jill and I stuck our toes in, but Bean was having none of that. Despite our efforts she elected to stay on the nice, dry sand and play with some plastic utensils that Grammy and Grandpa had been given by a proprietor of a store. They’d gone in looking for beach toys and since they didn’t sell anything like that, the lady simply gave them this stuff! How nice was that? You know what else was kinda shocking to our Boston senses? People greeted you, all the time. “Good morning”, “Good afternoon”. Folks driving by raised a hand and waved at you. Bus drivers even! And speaking of bus drivers, do you know that in Bermuda the driver actually waits until you sit down to pull away from the curb?
The next day we bummed around town a little, taking in the local color, checked out an old church, and in the evening we traveled to the capital of Hamilton. Unfortunately because it was later in the day much of the stuff we wanted to see was closed.
The next day we took it easy and stayed in town again. We visited St. Catherine’s Fort and totally interrupted a BBC film crew. We walked in and there was no one at the front desk, so we waited for someone to show up. The nicest lady did and told us that they were actually closed on Saturdays, but she let us go on through and see the exhibits anyway. We then traveled to a quiet little beach that Grammy knew about which had some beautiful rock formations. Unfortunately it also had a rather large dead fish which freaked Bean out. She kept referring to it as a dolphin, and she got so agitated that we had to leave, poor thing. She got to spend the rest of the day though at one of her favorite pastimes: enjoying the patio!
The next day we motivated up and went to visit the Bermuda Aquarium. This place was amazing! It puts may other aquariums I’ve seen to shame. Besides, it’s an aquarium/zoo/natural history museum. We didn’t have time to cover the entire thing, but we saw some amazing aquatic life, an alligator as long as a car, humungous tortoises, beautiful parrots…Bean had a great time exploring. So did Jill!
It was a nice bookend to the vacation. We really got to see and do a little of everything. We explored the town of St. George, partook of their local cuisine (the food in Bermuda is expensive and not all that good though), walked along the side of the road and tried not to get hit by passing vehicles because much of the town lacked sidewalks, enjoyed the beaches and the historical sites, ventured into the city, got caught in the rain, and walked and walked and walked and walked some more. Jill and I probably got more exercise in those few days than we have in months! Grammy and Grandpa also got to spend some good quality time with Bean. Grammy was even able to put her to bed.
The flight back was a treat as well, as we were all booked on the same flight and each had the middle seat empty, so we passed Avery back and forth. She loved being spoiled by her grandparents.
It was a very satisfying family vacation. Of course, when we got back to town it immediately dumped a few inches of snow on us, which made me wish we were back there. Ah well. Till next time.