There’s a lot of things that I like about the Great Exuma, a small island which is the biggest in the Bahamas, except for one incident that makes the island stand out in my book.
It was when I got locked in at
the airport restroom.
Exuma International Airport is very small with just a few counters for the airlines serving the flights to and from the US and the Bahamas. There is a bar/restaurant a few feet away next to a souvenir shop and that’s all there is.
The check-in counter line was long and I decided to use only one common restroom at the check-in area. When I was done, I turned the doorknob and found it stuck. I shook and rattled the knob in all directions but it remained stuck. Panicking, I started to knock on the door.
People usually open doors when someone knocks but it’s a different story when the knocking comes from inside. I couldn’t call my buddy for help because I left my phone in my backpack. I turned and twisted the doorknob and started banging on the door again. It felt like forever before an airport staff finally opened the door from outside and told me the lock was faulty.
I emerged from the stall and found all eyes trained on me after the commotion I created.
I fell in the line trying to recover from the ordeal when two immigration officers headed to the line and approached me. They asked for my passport and boarding pass.
Oh geez, what have I done? Real panic took over and I started shaking.
They checked my documents and stamped them, then moved on to the next person behind me. It turned out they were checking and boarding passes while passengers were in line to help make check-in faster. I just happened to be the first one.
45 MINUTES EARLIER
Prior to checking in, I ventured off to the souvenir shop. It was closed, but I can see through the big glass windows. I travel light and never usually buy anything except fridge magnets to add to my collection. I wasn’t planning to buy anything until I saw this blue printed sarong hanging from a stand. It was love at first sight, and I know I have to have it. 30 minutes later, a woman opened the doors and I went in.
I had the sarong in my hand in no time. It was $15 and I only had $5 Bahamas dollars. The shop wouldn’t accept credit cards.
Saying goodbye to the sarong in silence, I started to put it back and told the woman I didn’t have change and it was time to check in anyway.
She asked what time my flight was and when I told her in 45 minutes, she laughed.
“Sweetie, you will see the plane landing and passengers deplaning. Then you will see them unloading then loading fresh cargo, and if you’re not at the departure area by then, they will scour the airport for you. If they won’t find you at the bar next door, this is the second place they will check next. You got plenty of time.”
I was already in love with that sarong so convincing me was not hard. I fished out a $50 bill I stashed in my wallet and she gave me change, in US dollars, too.
She was right. We saw the Delta Airlines plane rolling to a halt at the runway, and everybody went to check-in. George Town is a cool place to check out if you are yearning for the best tropical experience.