photo (1)“There goes my Jamaican dream!” That’s all I could say last night, more than R70 000 later, with tears in my eyes as my watch hit 20:20.

Twelve months ago while on holiday in Koh Samui island, Thailand we booked a holiday in Montego Bay, Jamaica for May 2014. We checked out the hotels and resorts and settled for a week at the Secrets Wild Orchid. We have been looking forward to it and in April we bought our tickets online. Since then we have been talking about our dream holiday in Jamaica as something special. So the week arrived.

The time leading to the departure date was hectic at work. So the week arrived and I did not mind the business and the stress at work because I kept dreaming about our Jamaican holiday. Thursday was terribly busy – a photo shoot, back to back meetings, crisis-management, difficult people and tricky situations with labour unions – the day ended with a tough interview on Skype at 20:00. Then after a quick dinner, we started packing for our trip to Jamaica. We love island holidays and packing for an island holiday is fun because everything you pack is light and bright -hats, shorts, bikinis, sarongs (kangas) and flip flops and yes gym clothes for our regular fitness sessions.

Friday came and I was as usual at the plantation at my usual 5:30 to face another punishingly busy day with the first meeting starting at7:00. I was so exhausted that I was sure that if I stopped working and kept quiet for a second I would fall asleep even if I were standing. I left my office at 16:00 and called Mr P to tell him I am in my way. We were scheduled to be at the airport at 17:00 for Mr Parking to collect our car. So realising that I’d be late, I phoned Mr Parking to tell them that we can only be at the airport at 18:00. The traffic was bad so I only got home at 17:00 and we rushed to the airport to find Mr Parking at 18:10 ready to collect our car for storage while we are away. We then faced the queues – at 18:30 it was our turn to check in and so we handed over our documents. The man asked us for details of the address of where we stay in South Africa and where we will be staying in Montego Bay. He then said where are your visas? We explained that South Africans don’t need visas to enter Jamaica. He checked and then admitted that is true. He checked again and then explained that we need a visa for the USA because we will be in transit in New York. Then Mr P suggested that since we have USA visas in our old passport we should go back home to collect them. The man at the counter was not very sure so he asked us to wait while he goes to confirm with his superiors that we really needed USA visas. Then he came back to tell us we definitely need USA visas it was 18:45.

We had two options, buy new tickets for a trip that does not go through the USA or go back home to collect our old passports that have USA visas. So we tried new tickets first because we thought that will be quicker. The only other possible route available was flying to London and the Canada and then Montego Bay, however we’d also need Canadian visas, so we decided to go home. We called Mr Parking to bring back the car, which only arrived at 19:15. As we were driving, Mr P said to me that given that our flight takes off at 20:20 we won’t make it. He also reminded me that we are scheduled to land back from Jamaica on 18 May and he is flying to London for work from Monday, 19 May, so even if we found new tickets to fly to Montego Bay a few days later it would not be worth it. We got home at 19:50 and we gave up on the trip. I was close to tears. While I was agonizing about the amount of money spent on the Jamaican dream, Mr P came up with plan B – he went online and booked a week at the Drakensburg Sun. He told me that money is just money and we should not worry about it. He reminded me of the wonderful hiking trails we have had there and the great and relaxing time we will have there. So I finished the big packet if chips and then threw myself in his arms and fell asleep. It is now Saturday and have made peace with it. Tomorrow morning we drive to the Drakensburg sun.

I have learned that no matter how organized we are sometimes things don’t turn out the way we planned them. We have to be optimistic anyway. Everything happens for a reason. I may not understand why but I must accept that it is for my own good

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