Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jamaica Campaign-Installment 1

Welcome to Jamaica Campaign-Installment 1
**A small disclaimer-none of my Jamaica photos were taken with my good camera, I had to leave it at home. If you are a client looking for portfolio pictures, scroll down or look through previous posts to the right.**

I finally have some blog time to start sharing pictures from our Jamaica Campaign 2008. This was my third (I think) campaign and Wesley's sixth. We go with the East Side church of Christ in Cleveland. I will go more in depth in a later post as to what our daily schedule was like, etc.
For now, I am going to tell you about our MARVELOUS trip down there (can you feel the sarcasm in my words?!).

After waking up at 7 a.m. Saturday and photographing Brittney & Tyler's wedding all day, we arrived in Cleveland just in time to go to the church building to leave for Atlanta-midnight Sunday morning. We flew from Atlanta to Miami without any trouble (except being exhausted from being awake for 24 hours). We arrived in Miami only to discover our flight to Kingston, Jamaica had been canceled.
Dean (Wesley's daddy) sat down on the phone to figure out what we were going to do and the photographic journal of our trip began.......
American Airlines was kind enough to cancel our flight (and never told us why)....we waited for about 30-45 minutes for them to figure out how they could get us to Kingston. They offered to put us on two different flights, but we needed to stay together. So, they told us we would have to take a shuttle to Ft. Lauderdale where our plane would leave at 1p.m. At this point, it was about 8:45/9:00 a.m. They told us we would need to go down to baggage claim and get our baggage--get this: where it would be WAITING for us on a cart. Then, we would get on the shuttle.
Before we could do that, we needed to go to a different gate to meet Derrick. Derrick is a Jamaican preacher who currently lives in Canada. He goes on the campaign with us each year. We went and waited at his gate for his flight to arrive. Wesley went right to where the flight was unloading to wait for him. The whole flight unloaded and NO DERRICK. Dean and Wesley talked with the airline people who said Derrick was on the plane, they had him paged over the speakers of the Miami airport, tried calling his cell phone, and searched-no luck.
Susan and Terry took a little nap while we waited for Derrick to appear.
Finally, after close to 45 minutes, Derrick appeared-I still don't know from where, but he apparently just didn't see Wesley when he got off the plane and Wesley didn't see him because he was wearing some special hat (maybe to camoflague himself?!). Anyhow, we finally headed down to baggage claim to get our baggage that was supposedly waiting on a cart for us.
Do you think it was waiting on a cart? Um, no. The nice baggage people said that it would take 1-4 hours for our baggage to appear in Baggage Claim Land. After waiting there for 30 minutes or so, they told us it was too much trouble for us to get our baggage in Miami and they had sent it to Kingston, Jamaica. We had our doubts, but we had to go on to catch our flight in Ft. Lauderdale.
We had to get on two separate shuttles because all 13 of us wouldn't fit on one shuttle and headed to Ft. Lauderdale.
Dean, Wesley, and I were the first ones to check in when we arrived and they told us our flight had been delayed from 1 p.m until 4:25 p.m. Then, the next couple went through and they said the flight had been delayed until 4:45 p.m. Lovely. :)

We became great waiters in Ft. Lauderdale's airport. For the first hour and a half or so, we stood in the aisle ways because there were no seats. So many people were standing in the aisle ways that you could barely walk through them. It was crowded.
Finally, a flight left and we scurried over to grab seats for our group. And there we stayed for several long, lovely hours.
Here are Wesley, Lindsey, and I hanging out in Ft. Lauderdale.
A storm came through and delayed all flights for one hour. Then, the flight ahead of us (going to Montego Bay), was delayed for a LONG time because they didn't have a flight crew. Nice....
Our plane was ready (they assured us several times), but we had to wait for the other flight to leave first.
Terra summed up how everyone was feeling.

Here is our group waiting patiently. Wesley stole Lindsey's Word Search book and worked way too many word searches.....

Just a shot to show you how CROWDED it was.

We all took some small naps, but you can't rest too well in airport chairs.
(Please notice my nice new shoes that I had to buy the week before because I left mine in East Tennessee!)

I called Kristy hoping to get some sympathy about our trip and she said we should hold hands and sing "Teach Me Lord to Wait." Thanks, Kristy, that was so helpful. :)
Finally, they pulled the Montego Bay plane away from the gate and our plane appeared.
They told us we could board and leave first because they were still waiting on a crew for the other flight.
Everyone was SO happy. We clapped and cheered........ :)
Then, our plan pulled away from the gate and the other plane came back. :(
Finally, at 7 p.m., we left Ft. Lauderdale on our flight to Kingston.
We arrived in Kingston safely and-get this-OUR BAGGAGE was THERE! God was watching out for us! Bro. Rupert Kelly, the preacher at the Hope Bay congregation where we worked, met us at the airport and drove us over the mountains to where we were staying.
We stopped at a gas station in Kingston where I had to take a picture of this sign.

Bro. Kelly delivered us safely over the mountain. We were very thankful for him because we were EXHAUSTED, and I really don't think we could have made it by ourselves. The road conditions in Jamaica leave a lot to be desired (more on that in a later post), but let's just say that several of us almost got very carsick on the way there. I think a lot of it had to do with how tired we were!
We finally arrived at the Rio Vista Villas at 2 a.m. on Monday morning.
We had been traveling for well over 24 hours.
Wesley and I had been awake (with a few naps here and there) for 43 hours (?!!).
Dean decided we should sleep in until 9 and have breakfast at 10 (instead of 7).
We were thankful for the extra hours of sleep, but it was probably Wednesday before I was feeling normal.

Here are Terra and I on Monday, ready to go!

This is the villa where Wesley and I stayed (up top). I didn't take any pictures of the inside...oops! We really have wonderful accomodations when we stay in this area. Each year that I have gone, we have stayed at the Rio Vista.

Monday night's meal. YUMMY! It was SOOOOOOOOO good! I can taste it just looking at it.
The drink is Limeade. I love Jamaican Limeade.
When I got home, I decided I would get some Simply Limeade (the same line as Simply Apple, etc.) at the grocery store, but I was very disappointed. I can't even bring myself to drink it.
Oh well.

Here are the girls from the first week.
Lindsey, Sharon, Susan, Natalie, Jenna, Terra, and myself.

And here's the whole group from the first week:
Starting with the front row: Jenna, Natalie, Sharon, myself, Terry, Susan, Lindsey, Terra, Chris, Dave L, Dean, John, Johnny (preacher at Ythanside), Derrick, Wesley, Dave S, Dean, and Sam.

Dave S, Chris, and Jenna came from the Florence Boulevard church of Christ in Florence, Alabama.

And now you have heard about our trip TO Jamaica! It is NOT usually like that. That is the first time we have ever had any trouble when I have gone. I have several more "installments" of our campaign and I promise they won't be as long as this one!!
I just really thought everyone should know about our trip there. CRAZY!
I have a little album on my Facebook of our Travel, Lodging and Fun. Check it out for more pictures!

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