Welcome to Jamaica

I have never been able to sleep before traveling so I stayed up all night….watching Star Wars. A cold shower and 12 ounces of deliciously bottled goodness (Starbucks Mocha Frapachino), helped me stay awake in the wee hours of the morning. We left the house at 4am and flew out of Orlando around 7am….and then, as the flight attendant said, “Welcome to Jamaica…Queens.”
And then there was JFK. It might as well have been Jamaica – Talk about overwhelming, hot, unaccommodating, and bizarre. The a/c was off in the exact terminals we were in which is totally not conducive for lugging 4 bags around an airport the size of New Jersey (…and I know you’re making Jersey jokes right now).
And while going through security, Walter’s carry-on suitcase was flagged, had to be opened and then wiped down thoroughly with a wipe to be tested. The problem is, we closed that suitcase using a small elephant as pressure on the lid, so me and two other TSA agents had to zip it up together. Thankfully, nothing was taken from us and we had no residue for something potentially harmless in our bag. Oh! And did I mention my pat-down? I don’t know why but I was pulled to the side and this TSA lady patted my armpits….it was really weird. I’m not sure exactly what she was hoping to find.
My father-in-law was generous enough to purchase us a day pass to the Admirals Club in the International Travelers Lounge (which sounds so amazing – you can take showers there and they feed you….you know, actual food) but….apparently the check-in for Air Berlin doesn’t open until 2pm…and we arrived at the airport around 10am….so, at least 4 very long hours to kill. It is a bit frustrating since we had to go out of security to get our checked bags but we couldn’t go back in until after someone checked us in…And guess what is located past those TSA agents and their overdeveloped sense of paranoia? Yes, that beautiful haven of a/c and wifi and food….
An older gentleman with a 5-hair combover and a Brooklyn accent told us about our many inconveniences:
“Now, I have been working here for 3 years and I can tell you that you have very limited options. The first is to sit here (he motions to the steel-looking window seat behind us) or you can go downstairs where they have some seats…or you can try to find some food.”
Insert about 20 somewhat painful minutes about the reasonableness of certain restaurants in the airport – “not reasonable in price, mind you!” he would say over and over…and he told us that the best food this side of security – the “UnSterile Zone” as he called it – would be back in Terminal 4….which was pretty much where we had come from….on the other side of the airport (sigh)…
“There are plenty of decent food options…you know, for dogs. But for humans…have you ever been to the Hampton’s on Long Island?”
“No.”
“Have you ever heard of it?”
“Yes.”
“Well, there is this restaurant there owned by a famous chef and he has one of those restaurants here at the airport…and well, of course it would be good for humans but that doesn’t make it reasonable, mind you. Reasonable in price, mind you. This is an airport and nothing is really reasonable which is why I haven’t even gone near that restaurant for fear of the prices….which are definitely not reasonable.”
He also was very adamant about not leaving our luggage unattended.
“I just met you and you seem like lovely people…but I would give you five minutes before I would call the police about your bag. I don’t like getting fired.”
“Well, of course not.”
“There was this one time a man turned his back to get his food and the police came and one of them stood staring at the bag…and the other went and got the dawg. Of course they didn’t find anything but he was still in big trouble.” He wagged his finger as if he was reprimanding a “dawg”.
He walked away momentarily to help advise someone else of some unavoidable inconvenience they have now just encountered, giving us a moment to gather our thoughts and access what to do…so we decided to opt out of the steel bench. He returned as we were moving to leave.
“I think we are going to try downstairs…”
“What? You are leaving me?” (awkward pause)
“Yes, we would like to try for those chairs, the possibility of a/c and wifi….”
“Wifi?” He laughed pretty loudly in a mocking kind of way. “The only wifi you will be able to find is what you will have to pay for.”
Which then led to us sitting in uncomfortable comfy-looking chairs, twiddling our thumbs, and eating really expensive airport food for four hours.
(See? They deceived us, too)
(…and the really expensive airport food)
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