“There was a wreck on the island airstrip tonight!”

“What happened?”

“An incoming plane hit a cow.  On the runway.”

D’uh!  Of course it was on the runway!  This became a running joke.  As did references to Honduran hamburger…

We had a grand time Friday night, yukking it up over a cow that had wandered onto the island airstrip.  Fortunately, no one was injured.  Except the cow.  Which was seriously dead.  Possibly serious damage to my liver, as well…

surly bartender

Our final night in Utila, and we were enjoying a barbecue poolside.  Followed by a nekkid pool party.  Well… for some of us…

at the dive shop, the daily sightings board…

As we collected in the lounge the next morning, grabbing breakfast before hopping the pick up trucks that would take us to the airstrip, we realized that perhaps something was amiss.

This is a tiny island.  Eight miles long.  Three miles wide.  It has one airstrip.  There was a dead cow, and a plane that had no landing gear on it.  There is no tow truck.  There were no wheels on the plane.

Our charter flight to the island

But no one whined…

We needed the charter flights to get back to the San Pedro Sula airport – on the mainland – to catch our commercial flights home.  At noon.

But no one complained…. It was pretty clear that there wasn’t much we were going to be able to do about it.

The plane was not moving itself.  The charter flights taking us to the mainland could not get in because of a cow.

Turns out, it was a feral cow.  Seems no one on the island wanted to claim ownership.  Someone was responsible for fixing that plane, and the cow apparently didn’t have insurance.

So we waited.  And we had more coffee.  The resort owner took his backhoe out to the airstrip in an attempt to clear the wrecked plane.

Nope.  Not gonna happen.

It was then that “Plan B” was unveiled.  Always have a “Plan B”, folks!  We were grouped and loaded – luggage and all – onto the small dive boats!  To Roatan!  Another Honduran island, with airports!  The charter flights would meet us there!

One of the “escape” boats, loaded and ready

Two hours, over rather rough seas.  Pissing rain.  A few green passengers, me included.  Racing through swarms of butterflies – migrating through the nasty weather!

Waterspout in progress.  Never touched water.

Comparisons to “The Amazing Race”. With no complaints…

We were met at the docks by transportation – two church buses, prepared to haul us and our luggage to the airport, where the charter flights awaited.  Watching the clock?  We all knew it was almost a lost cause.

What would Jesus drive?

Have i mentioned that the commercial flights from the Honduran mainland only go on Saturday and Thursday?  We pretty much had one shot at getting home, and it was becoming clear that it wasn’t going to happen.
Travel representatives – hired by the resort owner to get us out – met the buses, and explained “Plan C”.  Turns out, it’s also a good idea to have a “Plan C”.  With no time to get back to San Pedro Sula, we would be re-booked on commercial flights from Roatan.

This was not trivial.  There were thirty of us.  As the flights only go on Saturday and Thursday, they were close to filled.  No way in hell there were thirty empty seats.

So we waited.  They just put us all on standby.  Some through Houston, a couple through Dallas.  And about twenty-two of us standby to Atlanta.  It looked grim.

But there were no complaints…

We cheered when the last guy got on the plane!

It is true that you can tell a lot about a person by how he or she reacts to lost luggage, rainy days and travel disruptions.  i will tell you that dive people are fabulous!

Had sent an e-mail to my son, explaining my predicament, and the fact that it was likely i wouldn’t be home as planned.

daisyfae:  We got stuck because of a cow-plane collision.  On the runway.  May not make our flights to Atlanta today.  Will keep you posted.

The Boy:  Assumed it was on the runway.  Unless they have flying cows down there.

46 thoughts on “Moooooove!

  1. Jeeze! You pack a lot into a vacation! Can’t see you on a Bingo tour with Women’s Institute conference delegates!

    And if I’d ever had sprogs I’d hope they were that sassy. 😉

    • that was just the trip HOME! i haven’t really gotten to the other stuff… other than the “scuba nuggets” i already posted! i love my sassy spawn… they make it fun!

      • i was there in 2006 – wondered about any tension between the people of Vietnam and American visitors. turns out, over half the population is < 30 years old, and do not remember a war. even the older folks were absolutely delightful – crossing streets was a particularly harrowing experience, and i had one grandmother grab me by the arm and walk me across a huge intersection! i recommend going! i want to go back and stay awhle…

    • Traveling with me was another friend with terrible travel karma. We believe the only reason we all made it home on schedule is because our double bad karma ‘crossed streams’…. and canceled out!

  2. you bunch of damn pussy’s..put your dive gear on and swim for Atlanta..
    I would have embarrassed you on the boat..I don’t do well with traveling, especially in rough waters.
    Love the boy. Now that flying cow idea could have been plan “D”

  3. amen, sister! i learned long ago that once you started on a journey everything was out of your control. you have to go with the flow and just relax. remind me to tell you about traveling with 4 children under the age of 9 with 20 pieces of luggage out of LAX, switching planes at JFK, then a 4 hour layover at heathrow in the dead of winter on the way to KSA! xoxoxo

    • if i hadn’t been fighting seasickness, i’d have tried to get pictures… we saw HUNDREDS of the butterflies – over open water! miles from shore…. it was astonishing!

      • Every Fall we have Monarch butterflies here in Texas that migrate South. They travel a couple thousand miles into Mexico. Not long ago I watched a documentary about them and all the obstacles they have to go through. I can’t imagine something that fragile surviving all that, but amazingly they do.

      • i’m still trying to identify the butterfly we saw en masse… not really a black swallowtail, but something like that. not a monarch. really wish i’d gotten a picture of one of them… remarkable that they migrate at all! genetic navigation skills! how cool!

  4. Plan D was…..? Glad you all got on a plane to somewhere or other, and eventually home. What an odyssey.

    Remind me that I should only plan to travel with you if I am prepared to be massively flexible…

    • travelogue isn’t my schtick, but this was a very funny 24 hours… from the time we heard the plane hit a cow, until the time we were home was just 24 hours. pretty festive day, methinks! glad you enjoyed it!

  5. Totally awesome! Surprised that they didn’t just build a fire on the runway and set up some stew pots, so that everyone could starting the ensuing adventure on a full stomach. You not only rock, but your vacations rock, as do your accounts of said vacations. Perhaps one should only vacate on single-airstrip islands in which there reside feral cows. Wait, I feel a novel emerging: Lord of the Flystrips, starring Michael Flatley, Halle Berry, an intrepid team of engineers/cow-charmers, and a flock of Swallowtails.

    • hey there, hotstuff! i suspect that the cow did not go to waste. i was a bit disappointed that we didn’t get to the airstrip to see the carnage.

      as for the novel? i’m thinking i would like to assist with the casting… i get to be the cow, and hugh jackman is the plane….

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