Friday, January 20, 2012

Jamaica, Mon!

No passport? No problem, mon!

What do you pack when you go on a tropical vacation? Sunblock? Swimsuit? Trashy romance novel?

How about a passport? Whoops...forgot that one.

This was my reality last Thursday night. I had just fought through Cincinnati snow and 8 hours of flight delays to get home to Delaware. The next morning my lovely boyfriend and I were headed to Ochos Rios, Jamaica.

Or so I hoped. I realized with terror as I was having dinner with my parents, little brother, and boyfriend that I left my passport in my apartment in Cincinnati. Immediately Team Stephanie went into action. My wonderful friend Cassie Wissel faxed my passport to me Friday morning (at 7am no less!) and my parents tore the house apart looking for my birth certificate. According to the U.S. Department of State website, you can enter Jamaica with only a photo I.D. and a birth certificate.

No problems, right? Not so much. Lordhamercy!

U.S. Airways stopped me at the gate, saying there was "no way" I was getting to Jamaica. After demanding that they pull up the country exception policy and crying enough to embarrass my boyfriend, we got on the flight. Thought Jamaica was laid-back? Jamaican customs officials claimed there was no birth certificate policy with the U.S., and locked my boyfriend and I in an interrogation room for an hour. After a lot of documents, pleas, and tears...we somehow got in the country. Customs demanded that I FedEx my passport ASAP to Jamaica.

Now...I don't want to sound like Negative Nancy. We got in the country and had a wonderful next five days. We swam, snorkled, sailed, and drank a few too many Jamaican Smiles :) We stayed at Couples Tower Isle in Ochos Rios. The resort hosted the most amazing Jamaican steel drum band and dancers at dinner. But we didn't stay on the resort...we also hiked up the slippery Dunn's river falls in Ochos Rios.

Relaxed yet? I was too...but too soon. Although my passport was supposed to arrive wasn't set to be delivered until Tuesday afternoon...after our flight! I requested that the passport be held in Montego Bay near the airport. A $150 cab ride later and a lot of patience....and we were home bound for America.

The moral of the story is....always remember your passport...and don't believe everything you read online. And relax, mon! Everything will work out fine :)

- Stephanie

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