Traveling (mis)Adventures

Traveling brings about quite possibly some of the most interesting stories of any beach player’s week. Whether it’s due to our hunt to always find flights that will do the least damage to our wallet, or because we’re often so tired that stories get a little embellished, it always seems that on travel days, Murphy’s Law is ever present. On our trip to the Cayman Islands especially, what could go wrong, certainly did go wrong. And keep in mind, this is just my part of the story, Maverick’s is even worse, if possible.

First I’ll give the background story. Since my regular partner, Jessi Lelliott (remember that name, it’s likely to appear in future blogs) is taking a few classes at the University of Toronto, and won’t be done exams until the first week of April. One of my roommates, and fellow national team member, Maverick Hatch, approached me and asked if I would play with him for the event in the Caymans. As far as I’m concerned, any chance I can get to play high level volleyball is a good opportunity to get better. Not to mention, the Cayman Islands! Need I explain further? So we immediately registered and booked our tickets through Expedia. Since we are poor athletes, we immediately chose the cheapest route, even though it consisted of 3 flights to get there, and 2 to get back, including an overnight stay at the New York airport.

Now here is where Murphy’s Law comes into effect. As we are standing in line for customs, Maverick asks me: “So when do we get into JFK?” to which I promptly reply, “We aren’t going to JFK, we’re going to LaGuardia.” Apparently we managed to book two different routes of the same price and identical flight times, with different first and second legs. A quick laugh, “Well, I’ll see you in Miami.”

Things only got worse from there. After passing through customs and security, we find out there is a very large amount of traffic flying through New York and so flights to JFK have been completely cancelled, and flights to LaGuardia delayed for hours. Maverick and I part ways so he can figure out his flight, and I learn that we will board my plane shortly. I’m excited, that didn’t take hours at all, when in fact, they are just going to board the plane in case they get the call to fly out earlier than the expected delay. They do! Instead of waiting on the plane with my 6’7” body crammed into a tiny airplane seat for 2 hours before takeoff, it only takes 1 hour and 54 minutes. Joy! It would have been better just to sit in the airport for that long.

Next comes the LaGuardia airport. I got in just after midnight, so the majority of the airport is already shut down, and all the comfy couches are already taken by others spending the night in the New York airport. Fortunately, there were several spaces of tiled floor available for me to curl up on. After about 10 minutes of freezing cold discomfort, I gave up all attempts, and decided to wait it out until my next flight at 6 am. Spent my time writing my first blog, reading about King Arthur, and grumbling about my lack of sleep. Around 5 am, some shops started opening up, so I grabbed some oatmeal and some OJ, which, immediately after sitting down, gets spilled all over me, by another travellers backpack. At least he was gracious enough to replace my spilled beverage. I don’t however have a change of clothes in my carry on, so I’m stuck with what I got till I get in.

Hoping to catch a bit of sleep on my 3 hour flight to Miami was not a good idea. I should not have gotten my hopes up like that. The seats were closer together than normal, and the head rest was not adjustable, leaving the top of my seat slightly below my neck level. Is sleeping while sitting straight up without any support for your head and neck even possible? If so, I would like to see it done. Not to mention the fact that my leg got banged by the drink cart every time I came even close to accomplishing the feat. To top it all off, my bags didn’t make it all the way through, so I was stuck with the same OJ soaked pants until my bag got in that evening. I can only imagine how Maverick managed on his trip.

But if you think about it, I am now in the beautiful Cayman Islands, where it doesn’t go below 25
degrees. The organizer is a great guy who’s been helping us out hugely. Everything is now catered to us, and we’ve even managed to get rooms in the tournament hotel (though I’m on a fold out bed, and Mav’s on a cot). Not to mention the tournament, the reason we came out here in the first place, starts on Friday and there is a huge Canadian population on the Islands, aka. Large fan base. So as bad as the travel gets sometimes, it’s always all worth it in the end.

Ben Jammin

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