Monday, June 25, 2012

Traveling and Arriving!

24 June 2012

We started out yesterday, Saturday the 23rd of June. After a day at work (which was very chaotic) I came home and still had to pack! Eek! Super nerve racking but I knew in general what I was going to pack and I had already laid out dresses and bathing suits. I mean what more do I need? I am going to Jamaica! I quickly packed my toiletries, some more outfits and my carry on bag and was ready before my whole family! Shocker! Considering I am usually the last one completely packed and out the door! I had about an hour to kill so I watched some tv, packed some snacks for the trip and then helped my mom with some last minute stuff. 

At 445 we headed off to LAX! We hit minor traffic but arrive at the airport a good hour and a half before we ha to even be there for the security check! We headed into Venice Beach to grab dinner. We were going to walk on the beach and check it out but decided against it because it was sketchy. Even though I would have my whole family with me it was still too sketch for me. As we were pulling out of the parking lot we saw a drunk black man come over to a random car and just start peeing! In the middle of the parking lot!! We booked it out of there for sure! 

After the strange experience at the Venice Beach parking lot we went to five guys and had very delicious hamburgers. The fries were okay. I didn't realize how hungry I was until I scarfed down my burger in under 3 minutes! Haha I then thought back on my day an realized I had only had a bagel (from the most amazing bagel shop ever, East Coast Bagels!) and a donut at work! I was so swamped at work that I didn't even have time to think about eating! 

Anyway, after we ate we headed over to the parking lot to finally go to the airport! We parked and took a shuttle to the terminal and let me just tell you this bus driver didn't have much experience... Little did we know this would set a precedent for the other drivers of our trip. 

We went into check into our flight and came across some very nice and some erg rude people. TSA workers and Flight Attendents aren't always the most pleasant.... We had some issues checking in but it was all resolved by a super nice lady who was happy to help us. We then went up to the security line and at first glance it looked like we were going to be in that line for an hour! Which would be cutting it really close! The people in front of us had three dogs they were carrying on too, and we figured out they were on our flight to Miami... This was going to be such a great flight..... 

The security line was then cut in half ad all the sudden we were at the front! Weeooooo! The guy checking passports and boarding passes was quite possibly the nicest checker I have ever come across. He joked at my ridiculous passport picture and told me that my drivers license did me no justice. Such a sweetheart! Then we went through the metal detector and my mom and I were pulled aside. We were wearing maxi skirts and they had to pat us down to make sure we didn't have any guns, weapons or bombs of any kind hiding in our skirts. It was no problem and we were cleared and then headed to our flight! 

Finally at the flight gate I was anxious to just board the plane. We had about 40 minutes to kill so I charged my phone and my family waited patiently. We boarded the FULL plane with no problems and were off! 

I was really nervous that the plane wasn't going to be pressurized enough and so I was dreading my ears not popping during take off and landing. To my surprise the plane was pressurized perfectly! I guess I need to trust in the Lord more! I know he ears my prayers and he answered them and I am so grateful! My biggest fear with flying is always my ears hurting like no other because they don't pop! 

The plane was SO uncomfortable! It was ridiculous. The only good thing was that we got a blanket! It was a red eye too so I really needed to sleep! I got maybe, and I mean MAYBE a good 45 minutes of sleep on the 4&1/2 hour flight. When we landed in Miami it was easy to say that I was exhausted. And so was the rest of my family. We were so blessed to have a 5hour layover. We went directly to our gate and all collapsed on the floor. Did I mention that It was freezing yet? Oh yeah, IT WAS FREEZING! On the airplane, in the airport and it would not warm up! We had brought three of the blankets with us off the airplane and if we hadn't we would have for sure had to buy sweatshirts! We walked the terminal and had to get hot cocoa to warm up and we were still freezing.

After we boarded the connecting flight to Kingston, jamaica from Miami I realized that it was going to be the same situation and the previous flight. SO UNCOMFORTABLE! Again maybe a good 20 minutes of sleep In between trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in. But once again my prayers were answered when the plane was perfectly pressurized! I am seriously so blessed! 

Once we landed in Jamaica it was hot, humid and I was in love. The weather was perfect. It looked like it was freezing outside because it was cloudy but it was really 88 degrees! 

We went through customs, got our bags and headed to catch our ride. Everyone who helped us was super sweet! The Jamaican people are so kind! 

Our shuttle driver was super cool. When we walked out of the airport it was super windy and very very warm. Typical American we tried to get into the car on our passengers side but it is flipped here! The driver laughed and laughed and said "oh no no, you silly Americans, other side here!" 

My dad sat in the back, brothers in te middle and my mom and I in the front right behind the driver. We don't have seatbelts which was totally foreign and we could see exactly where we wet going out of the front windshield. 

We pulled out of the parking lot and it took me a little while to get used to the idea of driving on the other side of the road. Being so used to driving on the right side it freaked me out to all the sudden be on the left side! So turns out in Jamaica they don't really care about lanes or lane lines for that matter and they swerve without even checking and it's no big deal. Out driver didn't even attempt to stay in a certain lane he just kept changing as we turned corners an swerved to miss the GINORMOUS POT HOLES in the middle of the road! Good thing it wasn't super busy or else we would have been in a lot of trouble. I think my mom and I had a dozen mini heart attacks because of his driving. We were also under the impression that it was going to be a normal road like a freeway that we were taking... Boy were we wrong! A good quarter of the trip was on rural roads that we so badly unkept that it took us twice as long to get through it as it would If it would have been paved. Our driver would get super close to bikers, cut people off really really close and pass cars at the last second! He was also not so great with the gas and brake. We would come to a pot hole and he would SLAM on the brakes! In my head I was thinking "did you not see that a hundred feet go?" 

On the way to the resort we stopped to get gas and have a bathroom break. It was so bizarre at the gas stations! 1. Gas is called petrol. 2. They have pump attendants! 3. They kept the car running while pumping gas! 4. They sold gas by the liter and it was super expensive! There are four liters in a gallon and ONE LITER WAS THE PRICE OF ONE GALLON BACK HOME! Imagine paying $12 for a gallon of gas! That would take a chunk out of your wallet! 

We saw many interesting things on the way to Negril too. Children were bathing on the side of the road, people were walking home from church and a ton were selling fruit! The houses were something different too. It was a really humbling experience to see what I truely have at home and how blessed I am. These people live in shacks or half done houses and bathe in the river. I am so thankful to live where I do in the circumstances that I have. Rarely did you see a new- ish car pass you, they were all from the 90's or earlier. We passed a LDS church and it made me realize that we are extremely blessed to be able to meet in the altisima building and I immediately thought of how I will no longer complain how it is always freezing in out building. These faithful members met in a small shack with plywood walls and a tin roof. Probably not much larger than a school portable. I can't even imagine being in church clothes, walking to and from church and then sitting in classes and sacrament without air conditioning. This was an eye opening experience. I am so blessed. 

FIVE HOURS LATER: we finally arrived at the resort! After that treacherous car ride, leaving a dent in the seat and about to eat my ear I was glad to have finally arrived. "it should only take 4&1/2 hours at the most my butt!" 

When we checked in everyone was so kind! They offered us food and drink but it was a little too out there for me. So even though I was starving and hadn't eaten since five guys yesterday, I passed in the food. 

Taking the resort in was so much fun. There are no elevators, only stairs which is totally different! I love it! My legs are already sore and I have only been here for 6 hours! We settled into our room which is very comfortable to say the least. One king bed, one pull out couch, and one roll away. Oh and only one bathroom... Bummer. But we are just going to have to deal. We aren't even going to be in the room that much anyway right? 

We headed out to get dinner because like me the rest of the family was starving! We ate a nice restaurant and I got the salad bar and BBQ chicken breast. Salad bar was okay, not enough dressing choices and the BBQ chicken was kinda dry. The fries were nasty too cause they were by cooked all the way. I did try out the smoothie bar however and my sweet sixteen smoothie was delicious! Yum yum!

After dinner we went to the concierge but they weren't there, stopped by a mini concert which we couldn't understand and then headed back to the room. The third floor is super cool and we have an amazing ocean view! 

It's now 945 and time for me to hit the hay! I plan on having a crazy amazing day tomorrow and blogging about it tomorrow night! I will be back soon! 

XOXO, 
Maddy
Sent from my iPhone

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