On departure day of any vacation, I like to just get up, preferably not at the crack of dawn, have a little bit of time to pack and eat breakfast and then head home. Unfortunately, for Turks & Caicos, there are no morning flights back home as flights from the States arrive throughout the morning and then pick up returning passengers in the afternoon. Our first flight home was scheduled for 3:40, most definitely not ideal.
We had a morning snack on the patio as we said good-bye to our view. Being in a different country meant our communication back home had been a bit disconnected and by that point, I was anxious to return home to the kids.
That's the in-room safe. The concern of theft was of the reasons why my wide angle lens, which was sorely missed, hadn't made the journey with me. Other reasons were its size and weight. I didn't want to lug it around all the time but I didn't want to leave it unattended in the room. Turns out the safe was big enough to hold it. Now I know if there ever is a next time.
We showered, packed up and check out of our room before heading to the beach to walk next door to the Sibonne and Bay Bistro for what I guess you could call brunch.
My view while dining.
My brother-in-law found these while snorkeling between the Sibonne and the Sands.
After another walk along the beach, we hung out in the shade by the pool while waiting for our cab to arrive. We had hired Majestic Taxi to bring us back to the airport. We asked for his advice as to how much time we would need at the airport and he said two hours. If you do any research on Turks & Caicos, you'll read about the airport, which is currently undergoing an expansion. The airport as it is now is tiny. There was no one in line for security but we waited in a very slow line to get our boarding passes. The line itself wasn't long but it was probably the slowest line I've waited in. The boarding area is ridiculously small and not air conditioned. The bathroom contained three stalls (the one I was in had a busted lock) and non of them were handicap accessible. Before this trip, I wondered why no one had pictures of the airport and I had planned to take some. Well, there were signs up stating NO CAMERAS and because I wanted to return home that day, I kept my camera in my bag.
Our flight took off for Charlotte a few minutes late. Motion sickness and I are old acquaintances and by the end of that flight, I was feeling a bit yucky. I was also anxious to land as I was waiting for a text from Grammy letting me know that everyone was home safe and sound. (There was stuff going on that day.) We were supposed to have an hour and ten minute layover but we really thought of it as an hour as the boarding passes stated that doors would shut ten minutes prior to take-off. By the time we taxied up to the gate, we had 50 minutes. It was then announced that they would be holding us on the plane for "a few minutes" because Customs and Immigration were backed up. You've got to be kidding me. Well, a few minutes turned out to be almost fifteen and Rich and I found ourselves at the end of a very long Immigration line. We asked someone monitoring the line if we would be able to make our connecting flight and she responded with, "Mmmm, it's possible." It seems to me that 10-20 years ago, they cared about connecting flights and nowadays, we don't receive updates or any help at all. There were several others around us in the same situation and I heard a guy behind us say that he was expecting them to call passengers for certain flights and move them to the front of the line. That didn't happen.
After we passed through Immigration, we took off running. Others in front of us were doing the same. Luckily, we had all carry-on luggage so we didn't have to wait for/find our luggage before heading to Customs. We passed by an airport employee, and I yelled out, with what little voice I had, "Gate D13? Gate D13?" She pointed the way to the Customs line and called out, "Have the blue paper ready. It will go faster." I waved the blue paper out of my hand to an agent. He scanned it and let us pass through. We were off running again. What I thought was a smart outfit choice turned out to be the opposite. I was wearing a t-shirt dress that ended mid-thigh. I had packed a pair of leggings and a fleece in my Jo Totes. Although it was hot when we left TCI, it would only be 50 degrees in Providence when we landed that night. I wasn't wearing the leggings because it had been warm on the plane. So I found myself running with my Jo Totes pulling up the side of my dress. I tried my best to keep it down but I didn't really have a free hand and I'm pretty certain I flashed someone.
We hadn't thought of or realized that after passing through Immigration and Customs, we had essentially exited the airport and had to go through security, scanners, take your shoes off while I swab your hands for stuff. And then we were off and running again. By this point, the plane should have already taken off but you never know so we ran. We had landed at gate D11 and our next flight was at gate D13. We ran up to find a whole bunch of passengers standing around and yes! the flight had been delayed and they had only called first class passengers. I jokingly said to Rich, "Wouldn't it be funny if this is the same plane we just got off of?" We were the second to last ones to board and there stood the flight attendant from the plane we had just been on. "Welcome back," she said. We went through all of that to get back on the same exact plane. If the kids had been with us, we never would have made that flight.
The girls had been asleep for hours by the time we arrived home so I snuck into their rooms to check on them. They looked like they had grown four inches in our absence. There's no place like home.