Stet by Ria Bacon

Tuesday, November 08, 2005


(Delayed post because of failed migration to new Web site.

Tip: do not attempt to emigrate both blog and family simultaneously.


As I mentioned previously, on the third night in Jamaica, we were flooded out of our hotel.

It was the fault of Hurricane Wilma, who had teetered back and forth over the Cayman Islands like a wobbly child learning to cycle - she never touched ground in the region (sorry, made land is the term everybody now uses), but as a result of her indecision, Jamaica was subjected to eight days of torrential rain. We were assured that it had never rained so much in living memory. Uh-huh. Just bad timing that we arrive in the middle of it.

We'd already been abandoned at the airport, when our appointed driver failed to show (he'd been given the wrong arrival time) and had had to file ever so slowly up to immigration control. We were last in line and had to shuffle forward for an hour and a half before our "interview". We'd been on the go for almost 24 hours at that point, so forbearance was never more needed. The kids played tag between the queue control poles, thankfully unaware of the delay.

Once through immigration with our temporary two-week visa (which expired ten days ago ...ssshhh!), we found our luggage carefully stacked on a trolley awaiting us. Odd. We pushed it straight through customs where we were met by a bevy of redcapped porters who insisted we couldn't take the trolley any further and that we would have to use their services. The problem was that we didn't have any currency that would interest them. (Our three hour stopover in London during which we had planned on stocking up on duty frees and dollars US and Jamaican had somehow been reduced to a mad dash to make the connection after only a 30-minute lunch.)

The porters domain was a 20-metre covered walkway to the outside, where drivers and taxis were waiting. Yet we were not allowed to push the trolley for those 20 metres. Furthermore, if I went outside to see if the driver was waiting, I wouldn't be allowed back in. One kind porter, sensing our frustration, transferred our cases to his trolley and pushed them outside.

No driver.

So we got in the first taxi and headed into Kingston.

The hotel offered us a crappy room, despite assurance from the office that they had arranged everything as we needed. So we were transferred to a ground floor room by the pool. That was a mistake when the waters began to rise ...

The four of us were sharing a room, two per bed. At 4:30 a.m. my daughter slid out of bed and said she was going to look out the window. I grunted. "Mama, there's water on the floor."

Oh no, I thought, more pee. But when I stood up myself, I realized that there was much much more water on the floor - it was actually flowing from the door and had already covered half the room. I ran to the window and looked out into the blackness. Through the wind and rain lashing the window, I could see the pool area was completely submerged under dark waters.

got to go ... moving out again tomorrow and don't know when I'll be able to get online again ...