Thursday, July 4, 2013

We made it...

You're never on vacation until you get there and the bigger the vacation the bigger the anxiety that all will go right and you'll actually end up on vacation. Any sort of problem could arise, you could sleep in, your car could stall on the way to the airport, forget your passport, North Korea could bomb the U.S. and the list of potential vacation blocker problems goes on and on. 

To me, I just wanted to get to Barbados. Wanted to be in the hotel and make it real. Then kick back. Which is what did happen, thankfully. Everything went according to plan. We got up early, stuff was packed, didn't forget anything and got on the plane and the plane landed. 

The only last bit of work I had to do was on the plane. I've been working on a strategy doc for a while and I needed to finish it. I had a lot of hours into it and a lot more hours thinking about it. Now I had to put it all on paper and I needed to do it before the plane landed. That gave me 5 hours and I knew it was going to be tight. 

I don't mind working on a plane, actually I enjoy it, it makes the time fly by. This was going to be a win-win. Work on the plane, time fly by, work done and we arrive in Barbados, then it's vacation time. 

It kind of went that way, although with some anxiety. I had my traditional aisle seat, I tend to go to the washroom a lot. We were one row behind first class, extra leg room, winning. The minute they let the electronics be used I was off, it was like a race. I already had everything in my head well through out and the order I wanted to present it. It was a mini Jerry McGuire create my vision flight moment, stuff I thought we need to do in the near future. 

The time pressure made me somewhat irritable. The guy in front of me put his seat back and hit my computer. WTF DUDE???? Don't you know you should be more considerate. I don't care how much ore you paid. Ok, he's allowed to move his chair back. My computer did get broken. But it could have. Lets' move on" I said in my head. 

Alice had to get out to go to the washroom, no problem the first time. But then another time, and another? I thought girls can hold it in. Then the guy at the window seat had to go to the restroom.  The lady serving food and drink was taking way to long. Then the coffee and drink go over my computer to Alice and the window seating guy and I have to close the laptop so that nothing can spill on it. Cutting precious seconds from the limited amount of time I had available. All inconvenience's that got me irritated. Don't they know I have a time pressure situation here? I had a deadline and that deadline was "prepare for landing and please turn off all electronics". 

The upside was I got it done, right as they wanted us to close electronics. It was so tight I didn't even have time to proof read it one final time. It turned out being 16 pages of pretty good crap. As the plane landed I looked at Alice and said "I'm free, this is awesome, I'm done. Just send it by email when I get to the hotel and I'm good to go". I then mentioned "the 5 hr flight seemed so short to me, how about you?" She didn't see it the same way, I think when she said she watched two documentaries. then  I realized it must have been a long flight.

First thing we noticed about Barbados was the weather was great and the people super friendly and speak like us, no real accents. They had one of the people from our resort meet us with their little sign and our name. Then she took us to the front of the customs lines and to the bags. Then connected us with the vacations agent, who then got us the driver. First class stuff, loved it. 

Only thing I asked to pass on was the vacations person who wanted to meet with us tomorrow at 9:30 am at our hotel to meet and greet and tell us what we should do while here. I asked if we could pass on that one, I don't want no deadlines. I just want to hang out on the beach and let life figure itself out. 

Other than them driving on the other side of the road it's just like home. The driving on the other side of the road freaked me out a bit even as a passenger. There is NO way I'd rent a car to drive on the left. I'd be in an accident immediately. I find it tough enough to drive on the right side of the road. I told Alice that we have to be super super careful we don't get hit by a car going the wrong way. Not just during regular hours but especially during those "go out an party hours". Years ago I had a customer who died looking the wrong way and getting hit by a car in Australia. I could easily see how that could happen. 

Had a great conversation with the driver, learnt about Barbados and got to the hotel. It's a smaller boutique hotel, 78 rooms, first class service. We didn't even check in normally, they had us sit down, brought us some cold face towels, asked us what we would like to drink and introduced us to our butler. Then the butler took us to our room and went from one end to the other showing us where everything was. It was almost uncomfortable. 

It's also weird when they are calling you Mr and Mrs Payne and talking to you like your older people. In my head I'm still a mature 17 year old and just trying to hold it all together without laughing or being rude. 

Our butlers a nice guy and as he's showing us our room and I'm thinking in my head, "cool, are we done yet? I just want to get on the lounger and hang on the beach" Instead he's showing us how to turn on light, where the temperature controls are, how to look under the bed if we drop something, where to find the toilet paper roll when you need it and all sorts of other stuff I zone out on. I just kept smiling and nodding my head and saying things like "nice, great, perfect, thanks". The only thing I really wanted to know what how to turn the TV channel from the constant playing of "about this hotel" station. 

As he's done I'm not sure if I'm supposed to tip him or not. That's the worst part of going to a new place, understanding the tipping structure. For guys, we don't care about location or amenities we just want to know how much to tip. Not to be generous, but more to not feel like your getting ripped off and some sort of rhubarb.

The place is great. Worth every penny. We are 25 yards from opening our doors until we are in the ocean. 

After they got us settled they brought us a bottle of champagne and we were good to go. Next thing we were sitting outside of our deck and in front of us were some real nice people from Scotland. We talked they learnt we were on our 25th wedding anniversary an then she gave us some awesome advice, "make sure you let all the restaurants know it's your 25th and you'll get the best seats". I loved it. Done. As a matter of fact Alice and I are now going to use that line ALWAYS, even when we got to a McDonald's 3 months from now. 

It gets dark at 6:30 pm, so we had about 2 hours of sunlight. We then went for a great dinner on the ocean. We mentioned it was our 25th and they brought a special desert with it spelled out in chocolate. I love this 25h anniversary thing, I'm going to get a lot of mileage out of it for years and years to come. 

On the way back we stopped at a convenience store. I wanted to get some beers for tomorrow's lounging on the beach. I wasn't so motivated to buy my own based on the $7 per beer they charge on the beach, but rather they serve them in a plastic glass. Yuk. I want my beer in real glass. Plus I'm considerate, I don't want the waitress to get sore feet or pull a muscle walking back and forth from her station to my lounge chair on the beach all day long tomorrow. I'm a giver that way. 

I did notice the only one slight difference from Barbados to North America. And it was ever so slight. They sell steering wheel covers in convenience stores. Interesting. I wouldn't even know how to figure out my size even if I wanted one. 

Instead my plan was to get enough beers that could comfortably sit in my bathroom sink with ice surrounding them. My estimation was 18. 

When we got back to the room we had another bottle of champagne and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us. I was like, wow, this is cool, does the champagne ever stop here? Then I saw it had a card and was from Howard wishing us a happy 25th. I had mixed feelings, on one hand I thought "awe that's nice of Howard", on the other I thought "damn, looks like they don't have an all you can drink champagne policy". 

Day one ended with some food, drink and more calories consumed in one day than I had eaten in the 3 prior. It was like torture putting all that food I ate into my food diary and seeing the final number top 4000.

With that said.....Life is still good...

No comments:

Post a Comment