"...Passengers may disembark using the rearward door at their own risk."
Having been cooped up in this cigar tube for far too long already, we jumped at the chance to escape even a few seconds sooner. As we stepped out of the stale air into the ocean breeze and azure blue sky we knew our Caribbean honeymoon had finally begun.
Of course getting to this point in time was not such a smooth ride. The wedding had gone wonderfully, and we got home in time to open all the cards and read the kind words that so many people had written. Finally we began to come down from the excitement of the day and the tiredness crept in. Just before drifting off I drowsily programmed an alarm on my phone. The next thing we knew, my parents were knocking at the door to take us to the airport. It was 4.30am and I'd set the alarm for the afternoon! Luckily the packing was almost complete, so we threw some clothes on and hurried out the door. I hardly even bothered to wake up as I was confident we would soon be on a plane to Newark and I could catch a few z's.
Five hours later we were preparing to board a plane to Charlotte! Unfortunately our plane to Newark had suffered an incurable mechanical difficulty so we were re-routed on another airline. Thankfully US Airways took good care of us, even serving us an unexpected lunch on the flight down to St Thomas. Soon we were making our final approach over the deep blue waves and dark green hillsides of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Our delays of course threw the rest of the days schedule off a little. The airport in St Thomas is like no other I have been to. Small, of course but insanely busy and bursting with tropical color and heat. When we got to the baggage claim the crowd around the carousel was three bodies deep and there was no indication of which flight's luggage had arrived. Surely all these people couldn't have come on our plane an the one other aircraft parked at the gates?
I located a payphone before I plunged into the baggage collection melee, and got in contact with Juancito, our substitute taxi driver on St Thomas. He was right outside and came into meet me. It actually didn't take long for our bags to appear and we were led to our awaiting chariot. All the tourists ride around in these converted pickup trucks with open safari-style awnings bolted to the bed and bench seats. It wasn't the most luxurious ride, but like being on a motorcycle it was a good way to connect with our new surroundings. Our route to the ferry took us along the St Thomas Bay shoreline and then up into the mountain roads to get to the East End and the Red Hook ferry port.
We had just missed a ferry and they departed hourly. That gave us just enough time to enjoy a well-earned island drink before boarding yet another form of tranport for the final leg of our journey to St John.