Our flight to Miami was about as pleasant as a red eye can be, with the notable exception of Baron von Kicksalot, who sat behind me, and guaranteed that I didn't sleep for more than thirty minutes at a time. I have this foggy memory of spinning around and snarling at him somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico, after which the kicking stopped, but I could have dreamed the whole thing, so don't hold me to it.
We had a brief moment of panic during our approach, when the pilot aborted just before touch down, and raced into the sky to circle the field. While everyone on the plane wondered if we were all doomed, he told us that the runway had become obscured by fog, there was nothing to worry about, and we'd just need to make a different approach to a safer runway. As we circled Miami, I kept telling Anne, "This looks just like Vice City!" That extra time, added to the 70 minute delay we had before we left LAX, made us miss our connection to Nassau. After another, less brief moment of panic, Anne and I made it onto the very next flight as standbys (and thank gods we did, because if we'd missed it, we'd have been stranded in Miami until at least that evening, and possibly until the following morning.)
The flight to the Bahamas was amazing and nearly-perfect: the skies were clear, the water was sparkling and various shades of blue and green, and I kept feeling like I was watching a giant game of Pirates, but I spared Anne any of the talk like a pirate day lingo I'm so fond of, in favor of whistling the song from Pirates of the Caribbean. Anne is fast earning the title, "dear and patient wife."
We landed, picked up our bags, and had one of the most terrifying taxi rides, ever. We drove through downtown Nassau, which is right near the port, and was swarming with tourists from four different cruise ships. There was terrible traffic, and I learned that taxi drivers here like to do this style of driving called "speed up until your passengers are certain they are going to die in a horrible crash, then slam on the breaks inches before you hit the car in front of you." There is another style of driving they have here called, "change lanes without signaling or looking and honk the horn, man!" Our driver was a master of both.
We arrived at the hotel thirty or so harrowing minutes later, and checked into our room, which was a few stories above and open stage, where a band played covers of songs like "Ladies Night," and "Electric Slide," and the ever-popular "It's Raining Men." I quickly asked for and received a room change to a quieter side of the hotel.
After a quick nap, Anne and I set out to explore Atlantis. WOW. Everywhere you go here, there are aquariums, filled with the most amazing marine life you'll ever see: countless sting rays and reef sharks, huge groupers, manta rays with fifteen-foot wing spans, and schools of tuna and barracuda. This place is huge, too. It takes twenty minutes just to walk from one side to the next, and that's without stopping to stare open-mouthed at one of the aquariums, or to just look around and marvel at how lucky we are to be in such a beautiful place.
We ate dinner in this place called "The Cafe," which is in a huge atrium, with one wall formed by one of the largest aquariums in the resort. I nearly choked on my dinner more than once when a giant shark or manta ray glided through the water just past us.
Though there was much more to see and do after dinner, we made our way back to our room, collapsed into bed around ten, and slept with the windows open for fourteen hours.
More later . . .