What I Did on my Summer Vacation (Part 1)

First of all, let me say that I was thrilled to come home and find that I had responses to my previous post – and they weren’t negative!!!! Thank you so much for reading and responding you guys! I have so many questions about my new home and love to learn about life here.

On to my requisite summer vacation paper….. (which I never had to do when I was in school, did you?)

We decided to not sleep the night before our flight left Dubai since we were still packing at 2 AM and needed to leave at 3 AM to be in Dubai by 5 AM so we could catch our flight by 8 AM. Did you catch all that? We get to Dubai airport and find a stellar parking spot which was a great beginning to the vacation. Since we are experienced travelers, we only had 3 (count them…THREE) bags so getting from the parking lot to the check in counter was no big deal except we all had to pee really bad! After we did our business, we checked in at the ticket counter and off we went to get some breakfast. Let me pause here and compliment Dubai Airport for having an excellent eating area with a wide selection of foods available. It was pleasant to be able to sit and watch the planes go out and come in while scarfing down my DQ pancakes and eggs and inhaling my coffee.

We flew Emirates air direct to New York’s JFK air port. The flight was hella long and some dude a few isles back from us was snoring so loud that barely anyone else in the area got any sleep, so we were mostly cranky airport people. After we got off the plane, we went to get our luggage. Our luggage was the first onto the air plane, therefore, it was the last off….. We collect one bag, then two, then a wheel comes rolling off the belt, then the side of our bag, then finally what is left of the bag, comes tumbling down the conveyer belt and crashes onto the floor just under the drop shoot. I was mortified! This was a $100 hard sided suitcase at one point! This was the second time we used it!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe mortified isn’t the right word. I was PISSED!!!! So here I go to stand in line at the “baggage claims and complaints” counter where I was behind a girl whose luggage had not been put on the correct flight. She is about 19 and will not shut up! She is talking about her bag and how she bought it at an army thrift shop and something about people thinking she is in the service and blah blah blah. I was about to peg her in the back of the head when the nice gentleman behind the counter rolls his eyes at her and says “NEXT!”. I took one step toward him, my eyes on fire and my hair all wild and all I did was show him my suit case. He broke eye contact, asked for my plane ticket and ID and proceeded to print a voucher for new luggage. In the mean time, I start thinking…. (I know, it is a dangerous situation…) “how the hell am I going to get this stuff to Florida with a God damn voucher?” See, I just thought I was thinking that, but it actually came out of my mouth which is very uncharacteristic of me. The poor kid just shrugs and says he can get his manager if I need to work it out with her. Just as I am about to say “hell yes!”, the Major taps me on the shoulder and says we have 1 hour to get through customs, check in with Delta, recheck our bags and get over to terminal 3 before the flight leaves. I grabbed my voucher, said “thanks for nothing” and walk away with what’s left of my suitcase.

Here comes the good part…..

CUSTOMS… We are herded into queues (lines) and ten told which agent to go to by someone manning the front of the queue. The Major and the boys are told to go to number 27 and Little bit and I are told to go to 21. Well, the Major has all my paper work, so I follow him. To hell with what this rent a cop tells me! That gets the customs agent’s panties in a wad and he yells at me to follow directions to which I snap at him that “we are all together and I am going with my HUSBAND!”. The the agent behind the counter we ended up at says to the Major that “{He} really doesn’t give a rat’s ass what {we} do. {We} can stand in line all day for all he cares.” This whole time I am thinking “Welcome to fucking New York”. Next we have to go through passport control and the same thing happens again except this time the fucking officer actually grabs me by the arm and gets in my face. See, we approached his counter as a family, the Major handed him all our passports and paperwork and he stamps them and says go on through. The Major and the boys breeze by and as Little bit and I go past, I get three steps past him and he grabs me by the arm and says “Where do you think you’re going?” I am dumbfounded and just stand there gripping Little bit by the arm with my jaw hanging open gesturing toward the Major who is already around the corner and heading for home base! I meekly say “I’m with him” and point toward the fading figure of my husband then I yell the Major’s name at the top of my lungs to alert him to the fact that his daughter and wife are about to be arrested! The passport agent asks me what flight number I was on and hell if I know! I say “I don’t know” and he gets in my face and says “You were just on a flight and you don;t know what number it is?” Well, then I start crying. I mean really, who the hell takes a 15 hour flight without sleeping in 2 days and can actually remember the fucking flight number? I never knew it to begin with….that’s why I was traveling with my HUSBAND!!!!!!! I am crying, the Major is pissed and this passport agent is turning soft right there in front of me. I am mumbling about what a shitty day it has been already and how it is my anniversary and how New York has been nothing but mishaps and rudeness and blah bah blah….. The passport agent looks over our paperwork, explains to the Major what the problem is (apparently the customs agent didn’t fill something in correctly) and then he lets me go.

AAAAHHHHHHH, a sigh of relief, you say? No WAY!!! Have you ever been to JFK air port? Let me tell you, it is the worst laid out most crappy labeled least user friendly air port I have ever been in in my entire life! There are no signs telling you where to go for anything. You have to ride a tram to get anywhere in the airport and the trams are NOT LABELED…. Then, you have to go up stairs just to be sent to the end of a hallway then just to be sent back down stair basically exactly where you started! The evelators were out of order, the air conditioner didn’t work and the security scanners were jammed into a construction area that was a natural bottle neck in the hall way and it was a general pain in the ass! But we made it to the connecting flight in time to be seated. Little bit and I were in the front of the plane and the Major and the boys were in the back. I slept…. I think I snored too!

In Florida, we were met by a wonderful limo driver who took us over to collect our luggage. After the Major collected our two bags that weren’t damaged, we hear his name being called on the loud speaker to come to baggage office. He goes and finds that our damaged bag has disintegrated and Delta airlines is providing us with a brand spanking new bag! It wasn’t even their fault! Now, why could they have not done that in New York? I am sending a letter to Emirates, believe me! So we head outside to the limo which ends up being one of those huge limos that seats 18 people. Good thing too, because the kids were crashed out! It was a 30 minute drive to the resort and once we got the the resort, we got totally lost! It was ok though because the driver was British and he talked funny and was listening to a hilarious radio station. He finally found our apartment and we bailed out of the car. Once we get in, the Major informs me that there is a problem with his Visa and Master Cards and that he was unable to officially reserve the apartment because the cards are reading “insufficient funds”. How do you get that kind of error on a CREDIT card? Because of the credit card mess, we could not make long distance calls which made it kind of difficult to call the UAE and get the mess cleaned up. Luckily, there was a nice lady at the front desk who told us about phone cards that we could buy at the general store just across the street, so we headed out to buy some cards. The Major called ADNB and got everything cleared away. Think maybe the system was down or something because the girl showed that we had a zero balance on both cards. That was fixed, so now all we could do was wait for the rest of the family to show up.

With that, I will go to bed now and leave the rest for tomorrow.

~JAM

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