20 Apr

A huge thank you to Christina Abt, Paul Wolf, Evan Parker Pierce, Mamacrat, and Robert Harding, who all took turns contributing stuff here over the past week. I greatly appreciate it.

We were on Grand Bahama Island, a rather strange island that was built essentially from scratch beginning in the 50s – it’s run by a private corporation called the Grand Bahama Port Authority. The beaches are wonderful, and the island has a colorful history, but suffers from that 50s design plague of cul-de-sacs and sprawl. When visiting a foreign country, I love to explore a bit. In Freeport, apart from beach-hopping, exploring mostly means going from shopping plaza to shopping plaza. If you’re not in and around Lucaya Harbor, you need a car.

The first day we arrived, the hotel we had booked was pretty run-down, but we were willing to deal with it. After all, they promised to have the AC fixed within a couple of hours. At 9:40, just as I was putting the kids to bed, the fire alarm went off. We were on the 12th floor (the 13th floor, where Howard Hughes spent his final days, is closed), and made for the emergency stairwell.

It was pitch black for most of it, so at floor 6 we had to get out and take the elevator down the rest of the way. When we reached the “lobby”, we had to wade through scalding water pouring out of the ceiling and running down the hall. Interestingly, all day there had been well-dressed, not-touristy looking guys on laptops, using the free wifi, and yelling into headsets in either Spanish or some unidentifiable language. I have a feeling they were up to no good. Maybe I should learn Spanish and whatever the hell other language the guy with the leather flip-flops and oversized sunglasses was wearing.

We mustered in the main lobby and spoke with the other 4-5 rooms’ worth of people who had also evacuated. Every single room – the two Italian couples who had endured 14 hours’ worth of flights and connections to get there, the group of girls on vacation with their parents, and a few more couples in their 50s – none of us stayed in that hotel that night. Some waited around for the hotel to set them up with something different. I just got on the phone and found alternate accommodations that way. I wasn’t going to waste a moment of vacation I didn’t need to. Luckily, we had a car, so it only took 5 trips to get all 6 of us and our stuff completely out of the old room and into the new one. My Tripadvisor review is up and running.

Our alternate accommodation was the Westin at Our Lucaya – a beautiful facility that is well-kept and well-run, was completely relaxing, and across the street from the outdoor pedestrian mall/marina of Port Lucaya Marketplace. After checking in to that Westin, we only had to use our sad little Nissan Almera Classic (which is actually a Renault Samsung production) a couple more times.

One other interesting thing about Grand Bahama is that the car that can’t get sold on a used car lot in the States or Japan could easily end up there. It’s where old Nissans, Hondas, and Toyotas go to die – most of them RHD.

Also – would it kill US Airways to honor seat selections made months in advance, to offer ticket sleeves, pillows, and blankets? The last bunch of times we’ve flown, it’s been JetBlue or Southwest. Anyhow, back to reality.

One Response to “Monday”

  1. Jeremy @ April 21, 2009 at 10:03 pm #

    Just wait until your review disappears, only to be buried by a bunch of 5-star reviews including people suspiciously challenging your motives. Yup, that’s TripAdvisor, and that’s why I don’t trust a damn thing I read there.

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