This mini-travel diary covers my 4-day jaunt to Grand Cayman with my mum for her birthday. The past year had been a mental and emotional rollercoaster and I decided that we deserved to escape from the rat race of NYC for a wee bit. So, without further ado, here goes.
June 20, 2017
Alarm goes off for us to get up to do last minute box arrangements, shower, and ready ourselves for the 4.00 am scheduled Uber for the 7.00 am flight from LaGuardia to Georgetown, Cayman, via Atlanta. I had barely slept as I was out the night before. I hardly ever sleep the day before I travel. Excitement, nerves…who knows?
4 -7 am
Uber arrives on time and we’re off! It was my second time to the Caribbean, the first being Cuba, and I was as pleased as Punch. We arrive LaGuardia, check into our Atlanta flight and prepare for take-off.
The plane leaves the gate and begins to taxi towards the runway. I’m in a middle seat with my mum on the aisle and an elderly oyinbo woman at the window. Meanwhile, there’d been a whirring, wheezing and grunting sound coming from the bowels of the plane and I just dismissed it as baggage being put in, wheels being aligned, we were being towed out, whatever…I don’t know. We were taxiing and the noises were still carrying on. At this time, I began a silent prayer. I love travelling but I’m such a nervous flyer especially in these modern times we live in with craze people and all what not. I jump at every sound. Suddenly, the plane stopped and we were motionless for about 10 minutes. The next thing we hear is the pilot saying, “Ladies and gentlemen. When it rains, it pours.” I remember the exact quote and my heart began racing. He then went on to say that his software had malfunctioned and needed to be re-booted; it would take about 20 minutes to fix but that we would arrive Atlanta an hour later at 10.30 am. At this point, my mum said out loud, “Take your time oo. Don’t rush, abeg”. We had a connecting flight at 11 am and I wasn’t even fussed. I started having tummy issues.
We leave the gate for the second time and I promise you that mum and I were the only ones fervently praying. Everyone else was reading, had headphones on etc. What feverish thoughts didn’t go through my mind, eh? I thought of MH370 still missing 2 years on with speculations of a mid-air electrical fault. Hayyy God! Is this it?? Instead of me to choose staycation in the Hamptons, I chose an airplane destination. “Tufiakwa, Kemi”, I scolded myself. Think positive thoughts. As if the Universe wasn’t done toying with my already fragile sanity and emotions, some idiot’s phone rang! We were queueing for take-off and his phone was not on airplane mode or off. Hah! I silently swore for him. Mumu! *hiss*.
We take-off and I hold my breath, praying. I still hear those grunting noises from the plane’s bowels (or it could’ve been mine; at this point my insides are all awry, dancing shoki) and common sense said that the wheels were going in, but Madam Panic didn’t listen. We’re still ascending when all of a sudden, we hear heavy footfalls coming from the back of the plane. At a time when the seatbelt signs were still on, a man was walking towards the front of the plane carrying two bags. He walks past us and my mom and a lady on the aisle seat opposite her, looked at each other, and looked towards the front of the plane. I was in the middle seat and couldn’t see much but honestly, I didn’t want to see. My insides were on a rollercoaster! On top of mechanical issues giving me stress, you want to add craze pesin to the mix?? I’ve read of horror stories of passengers tackling crazy or dangerous people mid-flight and I always prayed never to experience such a situation. Was this it?? Who have we offended, eh, God? I kept waiting for a scuffle or something but nothing came. My mum then said that a male steward had stood up and blocked the guy from going further, so he had to sit in an empty seat. Sooo, it was during ascent he realized that he didn’t have overhead space for his carry-on, abi? God has foiled whatever plans he had, I hissed. My mum and I look at each other and just laugh at these series of events. “Kai! These people are just like Arik. Confusion everywhere. Please, don’t speed oo, we’re not rushing anywhere”, she said. It really felt like we were speeding (jet streams, I know) because a lot of people were pissed about missing connecting flights. One couple had already missed their Havana flight. I felt for them.
We land in Atlanta (Haaaallelujah!) and scramble to our gate for the Cayman flight. We see on the screen that the flight had been delayed for 30 minutes. I believe they knew we were on the delayed NYC flight and gave us grace. Hallelu! I just used this delay to visit the loo. My tummy was stressed out fully. On top holiday. Haba!
We board our flight to Georgetown and are off! To be continued…