Sweet farewell (January 2002)index | prev | next

Like all good things, our time at the castle eventually came to an end. Most were heading back to Kingston by bus, but Eric, Claudia and myself had foolishly scheduled early flights and didn't have time for the bus ride. The spirit of the affair left us no choice but to charter a helicopter and travel back to the airport in style.

As dawn rose over the bay, our bird of transport swept in from over the horizon.

She touched down gracefully on the front lawn in a flurry of wind and noise.

Some of the castle staff was up to see us off. Au revoir mes amis.

The combination of dawn and being five hundred feet in the air made for some great photo opportunities.

We flew over some banana farms and got to listen in as our pilot chatted with some crop dusters that were doing their business in the early morning. While they were surely spraying some vile, carcinogenic chemicals on the bananas, it was fun to watch as they swooped in and dropped their loads.

Turning and heading through the mountains, we caught a glimpse of little villages waking up in the morning fog.

The mountains peeked up through the mist, offering a serene counter point to the nerve-racking experience of hurtling through the sky in a flying fish bowl, bouncing about in the choppy wind.

Eventually the mountains receded to reveal Kingston, in all its crowded, industrial glory.

Arrival at the airport involved being dropped off at the cargo dock and led through a twisty maze of airport passages by a member of the ground crew that took it as a callous affront that his busy schedule of standing around was interrupted by being assigned to shepherd us into the terminal. Fortunately, he managed to retain his composure well enough to inform us that there was an "arrival fee" to be paid directly to him which was, oddly enough, quoted in American dollars.

After taking such great pains to make it to the airport in time for our early morning flight, we were informed by the ticket agent that even though our flight didn't depart for 45 minutes and we had no bags to check, we couldn't possibly make it through the necessary "procedures" in time to board the aircraft. Reluctantly, we rescheduled our trip to Honduras (which now involved staying overnight in Miami), and proceeded through the "procedures" which took all of five minutes.

Fortunately, Eric was able to make his flight, and our new itinerary resulted in our taking the same flight as five of our castle-mates, all of whom were also overnighting in Miami.

On our way to Miami, the clouds cast funny shadows on the sea below.

Our brief adventures in Miami involved braving the coldest weather the city had seen in three decades, packing seven full-sized people in a cab designed to hold five midgets, and wandering through the bitter cold of South Beach in a prolonged restaurant hunt amidst streets that would have confused us even if we weren't faint from hunger and directionally challenged.

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©2002 michael bayne  <mdb@samskivert.com>