Tuesday, April 15, 2008

50 Not Out - Day 0: The Longest Day

It seemed like March 6th went on forever. The flight to Antigua is at the relatively civilised hour of 11:15, so we didn't exactly have to get up in the wee small hours of the night to get to Gatwick on time, although we did have to give ourselves enough time to finalise the packing (Mainly consisting of removing stuff from the bags when we reminded ourselves how little of what we took last time we'd actually worn). AGM provided a very nice Mercedes to take us to the airport. We didn't have to worry about making small talk with the driver, because he barely paused for breath for the whole journey.

The baggage drop and security at Gatwick was relatively painless, apart from the Eastern European couple behind us in the security queue who seemed to have no concept of personal space and were bumping us constantly until I turned round and politely (no, really) told them to back off.

BA get a fair amount of stick these days, but (touch wood) compared to US airlines, they are pretty good. The trip down to Antigua was no exception to the last few BA flights I've taken. The food was OK, the seats comfortable, the attendents not too slow with the booze, and the movie selection broad.

I'm still scratching my head as to how The Coen brothers got so many awards for No Country for Old Men, though. What could have been a great, if violent film, dropped a bunch of threads about three quarters of the way through and sputtered to a pointless halt. But I digress...

We had a fair amount of time to wait in Antigua for our Liat flight to the BVI and so are grateful for "Billionaire Antigua-based Texan financier Alan Stanford"'s grandiose personal cricket ground across the road from the airport and the Sticky Wicket bar and restaurant that it contains. It was a very pleasant place to kill a few hours before returning to the airport.

Back at the airport, Liat were having problems with the aircraft (Not that they initially bothered to tell anybody). Eventually, after a couple of hours delay, they found a smaller aircraft, bounced a bunch of dismayed passengers who were hoping to get to St Martin that night and dropped the scheduled stop on the way to Tortola.

I'd called the taxi company who were meeting us on arrival to tell them we were going to be late, so there wasn't a problem when we arrived, although the fact that the first thing the driver asked was if we'd called the hotel to tell *them* that we'd be late made me worry. When we left the Nanny Cay Hotel at 6:00am on our previous trip, I remembered that the reception was in darkness and we'd slid our key cards under the door of the lobby.

It was 12:15am (4:15am body clock time) when we arrived at the hotel and our hearts sank when we saw that there wasn't a single light on in the place. Fortunately it turns out that there is a 24 hour security guy who saw us on the CCTV and was able to check us in. We had visions of spending our first night on the island sleeping on the beach.

As it was, we were able to crash into bed after being awake for 22 hours. We slept pretty well, oddly enough.

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