I knew this blog post would be lengthy. I knew it would be full of me stopping and sighing because I miss Barbados so much even though it hasn't even been five days since I left. It is rough writing this blog post because I feel like no amount of words can actually express how amazing Cropover 2017 was.
This may have been one of the most incredible weeks of my 30 years of living. I can most definitely say the 24-hours that included going to Foreday and Bliss were top 3 MOST PERFECT days of my life. I accomplished everything I wanted with this trip, if not more. I am content in all things participated in, seen, eaten etc. I am only not content with how fast it flew by. I could have easily spent another week there just to decompress from carnival.
Here is how this magical week went.
Wednesday, August 2nd
This day started at 3:00am for me. I had to get up and make my way to Pearson Airport in the far regions of the west end of Toronto. The day before my friend Stixx's girlfriend had told me that Air Canada was on some bullshit with telling people the flight was oversold so I wanted to get there extra early just in case. I left for the airport at 4:30am with the hopes to be there by 5:30am and my flight was scheduled for 8:15am. My plan was to land at 1:35pm and go grocery shopping before my best friend Jummy's West Jet flight was to land at 2:45pm. This way we could quickly make our way to a fete beginning at 4:00pm. Perfect right? HA! As I got on the bus to the airport, a notification came through that the Air Canada flight was now rescheduled to 9:30am. Not only had I left super early for my initial flight time, now I was going to spend ANOTHER hour and some at the airport for a later flight. Absolutely livid.
I got to the airport almost 4 hours earlier than my newly scheduled flight time. The only thing I could do was go get some of that expensive airport breakfast and wait. None of my friends were even in the same terminal as me. One good point was that now Jummy and I were gonna land at the same time so we could still go get some things done before the fete. WRONG AGAIN. As I finally boarded the Air Canada flight we were told that someone was supposedly having a health emergency. Now, I did not see someone even get up or be attended to on the flight. I have no idea whether this information was true or not, all I knew was that it was now taking even longer for me to fly. Furthermore, once that got cleared up we finally were on our way to the tarmac as the pilot announced, 'we will have to return to the gate, one of the passengers does not have a seat belt.' Are you fucking kidding me? This plane had come in late from another country and delayed us, and in between that time and pushing off from the gate no one had noticed that one of the passengers was missing a whole belt? REALLY? This lead to another 30 minute delay in my already super late flight.
My flight to Barbados finally landed at 3:40pm. This was now two hours after my initial landing time was suppose to be and instead of arriving one hour before Jummy, I had now landed an hour after her. Shit. All shit. I totally fed it to Air Canada via my Twitter account for this nonsense. However, I was finally at my destination and it was time to go party.
Upon arrival we met up with Kenya and Nicholas. Kenya is one of my awesome Twitter followers who helped me get in contact with her boyfriend Nicholas to be our driver for the week. Probably one of the best decisions we made for the trip. Absolutely THEEEEE coolest people ever and he was communicating with us constantly and even went out with us on our final night in Barbados. Jummy and I were truly blessed to have them around us for the week.
We finally made it to our hotel in the St. Lawrence Gap and had to get ready as quick as possible to go to fete #1 - Fyah D Wuk. Luckily there was a convenience store nearby to buy rum punch at for this cooler fete and I had brought my own inflatable cooler to use for the party.
Our hotel though? Wow. We stayed at the Rostrevor Hotel and it was exactly like all the pictures when I booked it. It was clean and beautiful with a perfect location and incredibly nice staff. Our hotel room was on the ground floor that lead out to the pool area and then to their private little stretch of beach. Serenity and bliss for the week.
Nicholas had returned to pick us up and take us to our first event for the week. As we made our way to Fyah D Wuk it began to rain a lot. This usually doesn't worry me much in the Caribbean because I know rain passes quickly all the time. This time? LOTS AND LOTS of rain. We arrived at the cooler fete and met up with the rest of our friends from Toronto finally. My other best friend Stixx was in attendance and he was who I was really excited to see as this was his first international carnival and vacation. We all linked up and began our trek through the muddy grounds. When I tell you it was so muddy that I decided to take my sandals off because it was safer to walk without them in that terrain.
The party itself was really good. Lil' Rick came out to perform and DJ Private Ryan had an awesome set for us as well. We partied hard in that mud and went home absolutely filthy. We were so dirty that the same inflatable cooler I had purchased for that week of use was NOT used again for the rest of the week. It was disgusting. However, the party was lit and I don't care if I partied in the mud - I STILL PARTIED. I didn't come to Barbados to kick my heels up and relax, I did that the last two times I came. It was not time for any of that.
We got back to our hotel area and promptly went to buy a Gap burger and mac pie, as per tradition. If you ever go to Barbados you have to eat these two things in the St. Lawrence Gap. Staple food and even better after a night of drinking.
At this point it was 3:00am and I had been awake for 24 hours. What a great first day in Barbados.
Thursday, August 3rd
After getting some sleep finally we woke up to the wonderful views of a sunny morning in Barbados. We had some time for a nice morning swim and took full advantage of it. And yes, even in that small amount of beach time I did manage to already burn my porcelain skin. Great. We took a bunch of pictures of the area and ourselves and began our tasks for the day. Most importantly, picking up our Kadooment Day costume from Aura.
But before we could do that, we needed nourishment. So we went sauntering through the Worthing area to look for a lady who sold delicious doubles the last time we were there. We were fortunate enough to find her and she had an even bigger stand now. Let me tell you these doubles? Delicious. Quick shout out to Lisa and her doubles stand for that breakfast we had.
Nicholas came to scoop us and we made our way to the Aura band house. We made sure to get there early to avoid the long lineups for costume pickup. If I may say, this band had THE BEST costume and overall band experience I have ever had. They let us in early, they took time to go through every piece in the box with you and explained/answered all the questions. Very professional and prompt. If I ever return to Barbados I would definitely play mas with Aura again.
Following this costume pickup, we went to another place to pick up our Bliss tickets. These were the only tickets we were unable to purchase online and had to get them in person. Another flawless pick up, we were only there maybe 30 minutes.
We returned to the hotel and got ready for fete #2 - Lush. This was another cooler fete and yes, it was pouring again this night as well. We had learned our lesson from the night before and wore our J'ouvert shoes this time instead of sandals so our walking was a bit more stabilized. Unfortunately this party was held on a hilly-type angle so we spent the majority of the night watching people face plant into mud because of how slippery it was. It was a pretty good party nonetheless. We got some entertainment and dancing time out of it.
Most importantly, we had another staple on the way home for food - Chefette. It isn't as good as the mac pie and Gap burger but it is definitely another food place to try if you visit Barbados. When drunk, the chicken is out of this world tasting.
Friday, August 4th
Today we had to wake up a little earlier to get to party #3 - Candy Coated boat ride. After receiving four e-mails from them about arriving for the boat ride on time, we arrived on time and of course the boat still didn't leave on time. Should have known better. Smh.
Luckily, this boat ride ended up being incredible. It was an all inclusive boat ride so food and liquor was included in the price paid. All the staff was really fast at pouring the drinks and serving the food. They had a dish that was fish in fried breadfruit that could potentially change your life. That's how delicious it was. There was also a man cutting fresh coconuts to pour the juice in your Candy Coated cup, which is an awesome way to avoid getting drunk too fast. The one thing I was not prepared for on this boat was that we would actually dock for 30-45 minutes on a beach. I wish I had worn a bathing suit. We docked and there were men on jet skis waiting to take us around and the music from the boat was still blaring. That beach was basically made into a whole party via our mass exodus from the boat. I loved every minute of it.
If I may quickly add - this boat ride was also the moment everyone realized that my pale self applying sunscreen means NOTHING. I brought two kinds of sunscreen on the boat, reapplied both about four times and I still got burned to smithereens. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat. No amount of skin burns will stop me from a boat ride. (Judge me, its fine)
After the boat ride we proceeded to go to Kontact Band mas camp to pick up our Foreday costumes for that evening/morning. It was quick and effortless, we received our t-shirts and bottoms and kept it moving. I love flawless costume ANYTHING.
Once we got home it was nap time (something that had become a staple in between all the parties we were going to because a full sleep was not going to happen) because we had to meet up with our Foreday band at 10:30pm while all of our other friends didn't have to until 2:00am. About an hour into this nap we were woken up by a phone call from the front desk. Stixx and his girlfriend Sydney had come to visit us prior to all the Foreday shenanigans. I was not going to put pants on so I went and talked to them in my nightgown for couple minutes in the reception area. Stixx had no phone so it was a nice surprise to see them even for a minute before continuing the weekends shenanigans.
Now that Jummy and I we were awake anyways we went to the Gap to get another mac pie, Gap burger and pigtail this time. Happiness. Complete happiness in ones tummy. This was going to be the food we needed to source energy from for a night of gallivanting during Foreday festivities.
Saturday, August 5th
The best part of Cropover for me - FOREDAY MORNING!!! As this was my third time attending Cropover, I knew what to expect for Foreday. Every time I came to Barbados this was my main and most favourite thing to attend/participate in. Many of our friends opted to do AMBush which also looks like an awesome time but Foreday was not missing me. The best way to explain Foreday is to compare it as a cousin of J'ouvert in Grenada and in Trinidad. The event is highly traditional and there are many symbols of Caribbean history and heritage in it. During the event those who participate (Jab Jabs) cover themselves in paint, mud, white powder and even in chocolate. If you want to be clean and fancy - this is NOT the night for you.
Jummy and I went to the meeting grounds for 10:30pm (CRAZY early) and hung around watching the first trucks leave the area. One by one we waited to hear the name Kontact called so we knew when to get in formation behind our truck. We did not leave until midnight from the grounds, which meant I could have slept another hour. Yes, I was a little salty because I should know better than to expect everything to go on time. We finally got moving and the experience was everything I hoped it is every time I attend.
It was now 3:00am, I was in the middle of Barbados covered in paint, dancing with my best friend to my favorite Bajan soca songs and beyond inebriated with rum punch that I couldn't even taste the rum in at this point. How inebriated? At one point we ran into someone we knew on the side of the road and in the midst of my dancing I managed to fall in a ditch. For the record though, I still continued to dance and I somehow didn't injure myself. That's a success story right there.
As the night was turning into morning, Sydney had messaged me informing us to avoid the breakfast as it was a pitiful KFC box. We called Nicholas and he took us straight home so that we could clean ourselves off.
When we arrived back at the hotel, Jummy and I followed our Foreday tradition and ran straight into the sea with all our clothes on. Covered in paint, sweaty, exhausted - the sea was our savior.
At approximately 9:00am we finally went to sleep. Again, not a full sleep was going to happen because we had to be at a next party for 3:00pm. Pace. Pace. Pace.
When Jummy and I got up it was time to go to fete #4 - Bliss. This was a fete we had really been looking forward to as our previous all-inclusive favourite (Beach House) had been cancelled. This was an event we knew we could dress up for and we had very high expectations of. The party was slated to be from 3pm-10pm and it would be the one time this week we made sure to be there as soon as it began.
Perfection, absolute perfection. Bliss was held in this massive open space with about 8 bars or so for alcohol consumption, a food court with about 15 tents, a stage and a dance floor, oh, and did I mention? They had free massages, makeup applications AND two barbers to cut hair in their Bliss Spa. All inclusive took on a whole new meaning for me after being at this fete. They literally included everything.
As we arrived so early we made our way first to the food court area because we knew there would be no lines this early and that all food would definitely be fresh. One after one, we tried almost every single tent. From conch roti to grilled molasses beef, rabbit stir fry and red velvet cake. There was also a stand just for cheese samples! I love cheese. Jummy love cheese. It was a really happy moment for both of our stomachs.
Note to all my readers: PROBABLY not a good idea to wear a fitted dress to this event like I did. Just saying.
After engaging in gluttony, we proceeded to hit the plethora of bars made available to us. There was a Johnny Walker bar, a Ciroc bar, a Stella Artois bar, a bar dedicated just to wine and then two 'main bars' where you could just get whatever your heart desires. Jummy went and got wine and I got my regular rum and coke. I think we did that process a couple of times, but my memory has voids from Barbados due to sun mixed with rum. (I'm trying my best here)
Once it was dancing time the whole dance floor was already packed and we were delighted to see Deejay Puffy on the stage giving us a set. He was a favourite of mine because as a Torontonian, we had made him an official Toronto man because of how much time he spends there. Also, he is an incredible DJ and it definitely made the experience even more perfect.
Unlike the other groups of friends we saw there who didn't arrive until 6-7pm, myself and Jummy decided to leave at 9:00pm from Bliss because of course, we had another event to attend.
Nicholas came and got us and we got home about 10:00pm with just about enough time to take a two-hour nap before the next party. Incredible 24 hours at that point between Foreday and Bliss.
Sunday, August 6th
Two hour nap? Yeah right. We barely slept. Do you know how hard it is to nap after an event like Bliss? All your adrenaline is sky-high and you're smiling like a jackass. Lets say we slept 30 minutes, maybe.
Jummy woke me up at midnight and we got ready for fete #5 - Jalapeno Sunrise.
This was a boat ride we had bought tickets for on the recommendation of my friend Shurly many months before Cropover. Deejay Puffy was suppose to play and the notion of a being on a boat as the sun rises in Barbados seemed brilliant at the time. Let me tell you, it didn't feel so brilliant after only 30 minutes of sleep.
The boat ride was an all-white dress code and it was going from 2am-6am. We got there at exactly 2:00am and were able to get on with no problem. Sadly for some other ticket holders, the boat left at 2:20am while they were still standing on the dock. Naturally, there had to be ONE time during carnival an event actually took their advertised start time seriously.
The Jolly Roger is a well known party boat in Barbados so I was really excited to board it and have the time of my exhausted life. However, the party ended up just being OK. Deejay Puffy had been called away to another event and did not play and the DJ's that were on the boat couldn't mix coffee and milk if it was a requirement for saving their lives. We did get to see Marzville perform my FAVE song from Cropover, along with Hypasounds and an impromptu 'Split in the Middle' contest. It seemed most of the people on the boat ride were feeling the effects of carnival like the rest of us, we had seen numerous people sleeping on the sides of the boat.
Jummy and I opted not to sleep on the boat and just made the best of it. A random surprise on the boat was that P.K. Subban was on it. As a Torontonian and avid hater of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team - I knew exactly who he was. I won't get into too many details but for the record, P.K has a REALLY nice hockey bum and he can dance. The end.
Sunrise came and we got off the boat to nap, again. We still had one more fete left later in the afternoon.
Oh look, it's now 3:00pm, I guess we should get up. - Jummy
Fuck. I'm tired. - Me
Time for fete #6 - Soca Brainwash.
I am a big fan of DJ Private Ryan. I have not been to Trinidad carnival (yet?) so I never got the chance to take in this big event of his and had been waiting a long time to finally do so. A day does not go by without me listening to one of his soca mixes. It was the final pump and we were ready for it.
We got to some bush area out in the middle of Barbados for this event. It had not rained yet, but the incline of the path to get up to it was reminiscent of the ones from Wednesday and Thursdays events. I knew if it rained we would be risking our legs again trying to get down it.
The fete was amazing. It was myself, Jummy, our friend KJ had come in from Toronto finally, my friends Stixx and Sydney, and our friend Nessa who was there with her cool aunties. It was a really good time. The rain began pouring down pretty viciously at one point but it didn't even matter. We had made it. This grueling week of fete, nap, fete, nap, fete, nap was finishing. This was the final event to close out this incredible week of slackness. I felt fulfilled. I was indescribably happy. Once we made it down the hill in the mud without injury, I was even happier. I knew the Monday was going to require all the stamina I had remaining.
Monday, August 7th
Now let me quickly explain MY history with this day.
I had done Kadooment twice before and I had never made it to the end. I went 0/2 like Patriots vs. Giants in the Super Bowl. The first time, I had a freshly injured ankle that I stupidly did not bring a brace for, so it gave out half way through the day. The second time, our crappy band had run out of water so Jummy almost passed out and we took her home out of fear for her health.
This shit was NOT happening to me this time. I was determined. I even began playing basketball 6 months ahead so I could build up stamina to make it to Spring Garden on Kadooment Day. I also only drank one alcoholic drink for the entire day, opting to drink coconut water instead.
Jummy and I woke up at 6:00am to get ready. Our costumes were perfect, the weather was hot and I knew we were going to finish this damn parade today. I was going to do the parade in my Nike Frees because I didn't want any ankle issues to hinder me, while Jummy's crazy ass decided to do it in wedge boots. While you take a moment to laugh at her with me, yes, she did the whole route and yes her foot was messed up after it finished. Love you Jummy!
The entire Toronto squad was on the road together. We would see each other in bits and pieces, but because we were all with the same band it was inevitable that we would end up constantly running into each other. Awesome. It was an awesome day. All my friends looked beautiful in their costumes. Some of them even kept all their pieces for the entirety of the day unlike myself who crossed the stage and threw away everything that didn't cover a private part.
One of my favorite points was seeing my best friend Stixx revel in the grandiose event. He had only experienced Caribana (this is not a slight AT Caribana, but in comparison to the carnival in the West Indies it isn't anything close) so being privy to him experiencing this was a joy on its own. He wrote his own piece on Cropover that I suggest all of you check out here.
I had three goals before coming to Cropover 2017.
1) Make it to Spring Garden
2) See Rihanna
3) Dance on Scrilla
On the day of Kadooment I crossed off two of those goals. Not only did I dance my way to the end of the parade, I got to see Rihanna! She played in the same band as us #AuraFaCropova - and we got to see her in the flesh. Seeing her was such a great feat that a picture my friend Stixx took of her and posted was stolen by numerous media sites. (shade, much shade) Jummy also got a whole video of her walking through the crowd. Both of them really risked their lives for these pictures and videos because Rih's security was no joke.
We made it to the end. All of us together. In that crazy heat, we wukked, jonesed, split in the middle, asked what type of wood people wanted.... we made it. The only unfortunate part of the day was us getting lost at the end when we tried to find where food was. After a long day of dancing in the heat we continued walking all the way through Bridgetown Market towards Kensington Oval. We never found the food place for Aura. Big fail.
Everyone separated then and went back to their respective hotels and AirBnB's tired from the day. It was a long one, but it was successful.
To top it off - that night we got to witness the most amazing full moon in Barbados. It was so big and bright that we saw people in our hotel taking out those big professional cameras to photograph it. Beautiful. Proving this island was not only gorgeous during the day but at night as well.
Tuesday, August 8th
The day after Kadooment had been planned for months.
I knew my week would be nonstop fetes and napping so I left this Tuesday as a relaxation day for myself, Jummy, Stixx and Sydney. This would be the day to decompress and just be beach bums. And did we beach bum. Oh yes we did.
Jummy and I were up at 9:00am to start this day and were in the water by 10:00am. Stixx and Sydney checked out of their hotel and came to ours about noon. We spent hours in the water. We soaked up any and every second we had left in Barbados.
At one point we also went to go get food, important. Sydney and Stixx had been to this place at the beginning of the Gap and it was delicious. Really good mahi mahi with an even better view. Perfection.
Then we all returned to the hotel so they could check in, and yes, we went right back to the beach. Our bodies all needed it and it felt so good. We did not leave the beach and water until sunset it felt like. Just cracking jokes and reminiscing about the week we had.
Now, I bet you thought this would end with 'after this perfect beach day, we packed and got a great night of sleep because we had to be at the airport for 6:40am on Wednesday'....
HA! You thought. No chance in hell. It was Tuesday, means it was Models and Bottles time at The Cove. Unlike regular humans, Jummy and I did not come to relax, we came to squeeze every second out of this trip into doing something awesome.
After the beach day with Stixx and Sydney we had to pack for the following day. Our flight was scheduled to leave at 6:40am and we were definitely about to go out without any regard for our bodies.
Nicholas and Kenya came through to party with us at The Cove. This was going to be our last skin out night for Cropover 2017. I went to the bar and ordered four rum and cokes, $14 BBD.
What? Did he just say?... wait. $14 BBD is $8.88 Canadian. FOUR RUM AND COKES ARE UNDER $9??? OOOOMG. - Me, to the bartender
I'm not sure how many rum and cokes I purchased by the end of the night, but just know, I probably still didn't spend over $40 Canadian for the entire night.
Now as I mentioned earlier, I did have THREE goals for Cropover and that I had accomplished only two of them. It was time for the final one. I caught a glimpse of Scrilla performing on stage at this party and I knew it was now or never. So I walked up to him and showed him my goals list. He promptly obliged and I got my wine! I did it. I went 3/3 for my Cropover goals. To add to this story, later in the night I walked over to him to get a video for my Snapchat. There had been a girl around him the entire night, and I wasn't going to impose on anyone's man. Naturally, in my drunk state, I thought it would be proper for me to walk over to her and ask her if it's cool for me to take a picture with him. As I walked over and went to tap her shoulder, I accidentally grazed her hand and she spilled a drop of liquor on her shoe. Of course I apologized, but this girl was really not trying to hear from me in that moment. Welp. If you're reading this, my bad. I was trying to do the right thing, but that shit went south quick.
I still got my video with Scrilla and apologized again to him for his girl getting liquor on her shoe. Shit happens, I guess.
We finished the night off dancing and went outside to just lime. Jummy, myself, Nicholas, Kenya + my friend Russell who lives in Barbados that I had the pleasure of meeting years back during Cropover. We all just hung out outside and if I recall properly I got into an argument with a couple of Arsenal fans from the UK who then proceeded to look me in my face and say 'you know, your friend is one big stinkin' cunt!'
Ah. Good times. I live for random moments like that.
Wednesday, August 9th
It was now 3:30am. Jummy and I had time to go shower, grab our things, and head for the airport. Instead of sleeping and being well rested for this day trip to St. Lucia - she went dancing and I was completely intoxicated.
We got to the airport at 4:30am and said our goodbyes to Kenya and Nicholas. It was time to catch this Liat flight to St, Lucia. We had been worried about this specific flight because Liat was not known for its punctuality and was notorious for losing luggage. This is why Jummy and I both went only with carry-ons for the entirety of this trip. Much to our surprise, our flight was perfect. We took off on time and even landed earlier than we were suppose to. In the long run, this probably jinxed us for the nonsense that happened later in the day.
All of our friends took the normal route back to Toronto, flying directly via West Jet or Air Canada. Jummy and I opted to go through St. Lucia because a return flight was like $1300 one way on these airlines while if we went through St. Lucia it was almost $600 less. Plus, we would get to spend the whole day seeing another island. Win-Win.
Jummy got to see country #15 for her and I got my country #26.
I had prearranged this private tour for the two of us as a gift for Jummy's birthday the week before. We had a private driver to take us around the island and to drop us off at the airport on the other side of St. Lucia for our flight to Atlanta.
We had the coolest driver ever! Quick shout out to Isaac from Real St. Lucia Tours. When we landed he was waiting for us with bake and saltfish in hand. For two people who had been awake since 9:00am the previous day and were filled with rum and coke at the time, there was no better food to receive.
Isaac drove us through St. Lucia so fluidly. With all the curves and hills it was a picturesque tour. He would stop along the way so we could take pictures from various heights of the island, then we went to Tortaille Waterfall. This waterfall was so cold, but when you are exhausted, it's hot and you are still partially drunk - it did the trick. We perked up so fast running under this waterfall. Really refreshing.
After this we went to the volcano and also did the mud bath there. I will be honest, I couldn't put my body into the hot lava water that everyone else did. I put a leg in and it was an absolute NO for me. My skin was burnt enough from Barbados that going into hot water was just not going to happen. Jummy submersed herself in the water and then we both covered each other in mud. It was a pretty cool feeling. Once the mud hardened we both washed it all off and our skin felt renewed. Very much worth getting dirty for how your skin feels after.
Then we went to another part of the tour that required us to do a long hike to see some incredible views. The hike was definitely worth the views, however, I don't know what the hell Jummy and I were thinking doing it in sandals. The people on the hike with us had hiking shoes on and they tripped and fell, Jummy and I luckily did not. Walking through all that mud in Barbados had made our balance superior clearly.
During this hike was when I got the text message. 'Delta Airlines Flight, St. Lucia to Atlanta is delayed by an hour and a half.'
Shit. This meant that instead of flying at 3:15pm, we were not going to take off until about 4:30pm-4:45pm. I usually would be very excited at the thought of more time on an island but, I knew where our layover was and that this would be a big problem.
We finished up the tour with Isaac at a nice beach by the second airport and thanked him for his services. At this moment we did the most disgusting thing, I felt, for the entire trip.
Changing out of our wet, sweaty clothes from this day tour into our clothes that we were going to fly back to Toronto in. When I tell you that the bathroom in this airport had no fan or air conditioning, horrible. Probably the most difficult time I ever had trying to take clothes off and put new ones on.
When we finally finished changing, we went to the Delta counter to discuss what was going on with this delay. Initially, our landing would have given us about 2 and a half hours to layover in Atlanta's airport. If you haven't been there, you should know it's a massive airport. So those 2+ hours would have been perfect. With this delay now, I knew we would have an issue.
In speaking with the lady at the Delta counter we were told that if we didn't make the connection in Atlanta, they would put us up in a hotel and just send us home the next day. Neither of us wanted that. We wanted to get back to Toronto that night, as it was suppose to be.
Now we get to the actual boarding of the plane, absolute chaos. There was a group of four people who had been assigned the same seats. By the time the Delta staff sorted that out and everyone was in their proper seats, I think it was already 5:00pm.
We took off and in speaking with everyone sitting around me, looked like Jummy and I were not the only ones about to miss our flights. The people next to me were heading back to the west coast, the people in front of me to London, England etc. I was there thinking about how we would land at 9:00pm, and since we were coming into the international terminal we would be maybe able to make it since we were flying back out via international as well. Wrong. Very wrong.
The staff at Atlanta's airport was incredibly disappointing. Delta at least did everything to accommodate us for their mistake, however, Atlanta's airport could have done a lot more.
Although Pearson airport in Toronto is not perfect, I have personally seen them rush folks through customs and even on those scooters to help them make their flight on time. Atlanta? Nothing. We must have told six people that our flight was departing 45 minutes after we landed and no one cared.
Even worse, we actually still had to go through customs. Made no damn sense at all. Why would coming in from international require me to go through customs when technically I was not entering America? I was just transiting to a next country. We ended up in two different customs lines for a total of 40 minutes of waiting. By the time we got out, our plane boarding was closed.
Awful. Awful feeling when you miss a flight.
We had been awake since the Tuesday at 9:00am and now it was Wednesday at 10:00pm and we were not going home.
Delta gave us vouchers to go to the nearby Hilton for the night and unfortunately scheduled us for the first flight in the morning, so we would need to be back for 5:30am. We took the shuttles to the airport, ordered some pizza and went to sleep for about 4 hours.
At least the hotel was nice and the shuttle made things a bit less complicated. We tried to make the best of the situation. Jummy let her family know she was coming home next day. I let my family and work know I would not be in Thursday morning.
Our flight to Toronto finally took off at 7:30am, and we landed at 9:50am. Home. At last.
Cropover 2017 was definitely filled with some random occurrences that I could have done without. Specifically the bullshit I had to deal with both ways with flights. However, it was still the best experience ever.
I wrote about having carnival anxiety before this trip and how it was super expensive but all-in-all it was worth every dollar and every piece of anxiety. I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up right back at Cropover next year just to go to Candy Coated, Foreday and Bliss.
I feel carnival tabanca already. I have no interest in hearing Bajan soca because I am genuinely worried I'd break out crying from how much I'm saddened that it is all over.
The week went by too fast. I could have easily spent another week in Barbados.
Between my Twitter posts and Snapchat posts I feel like everyone got to do this trip with me. Not only those who were there with me, but all my readers and followers. I hope this blog post explained some things a little better and more coherently.
I'd just like to take a moment and thank the people of Barbados for hosting us again. The island is full of such nice and gracious people that welcome you like an old friend they just haven't seen for a while. From the good mornings and good nights from complete strangers, to our driver Nicholas and our favourite new friend Kenya - I cannot thank you enough. I love your island and I love the people there.
When I do return for a fourth time (and I'm sure I will) - I hope to see all of you again. I want to relive this past week over and over again not just in my memories but in reality as well.