Jamaica Has Never Been LovelierDeparting Dallas in a Drift
As we left Dallas for Jamaica last Wednesday morning, ice covered everything. Looking out my second story window I peered into the soap suds foam of snowy white tree tops. The landscape had the grainy gray toned look of an old black and white film, with my dark gray car frosted with snow and sparkling ice. Cole and I hitched a ride to Signature, a private terminal at Love Field to board our client’s plane. The ice was so thick at the terminal that we were advised to go directly to the hangar to board. Turns out a power outage had stopped the gate to the tarmac and so we went inside the terminal instead, skating over sheets of ice on the sidewalk outside.
Now you would think that flying via private jet to a glamorous destination would be an elegant experience. Not always. When we got inside we discovered the power had been out for over four hours so there was no heat, no coffee and no comfort. Having dressed for Jamaica, I was very chilly! We huddled under blankets and scarves waiting for our client to arrive so we could board the plane. This would be the time that he was delayed at his office due to a conference call... so, two and a half hours later, we were still huddling.
Not the greatest picture, but most Dallas-ites don’t wear fur lined lumberjack hats inside on a regular basis.
The great staff at Signature, concerned about our comfort and also shivering along with us, wrapped us in soft blankets and brought in Starbucks and yummy snacks. They didn't offer hot rock massages or wool socks, though.
At last our client arrived...we were ready to depart. All that was left was to get a lift across the icy runway to the plane. Again, we waited… and waited. Why hadn't the van come to get us? After some hemming and hawing and foot shuffling, the embarrassed staff said that a plane had just come in and all vehicles were tied up dealing with the arrivals. Since we were thinking we had some priority after waiting so long in the unheated terminal, we were very curious about who was so important that we had to wait on them.
Now our client is very active in Democratic Party politics. More than once we have helped him prepare for the president of the United States, the vice president or various senators to visit his home. This client heads a significant firm and is well known. But this was no match for attention for the arriving celebrity. As we all shivered together we waited for this mysterious arriving potentate, Rush Limbaugh and his entourage to slowly de-plane from his fancy jet, taking all the time in the world, as we glared but also voyeuristically tried to catch a glimpse of him. I would have loved to get a picture of him with our client (you so seldom see oil and water together) but this “bigshot” circumvented the terminal... escaping somehow through the very gate that wouldn't open for us. Did they disassemble the security fence to let him out? I wouldn't be surprised. After all the power was still out and that gate was still stuck. Perhaps it is not just his ego that makes him seem to have the power to levitate.
At last we were delivered to our plane and took off without event for a great flight to Jamaica...leaving the ice world of Dallas behind and catching a glance at a snow covered Cowboy Stadium in the distance as we headed toward warmth and the easy going ambiance of the tropics.
Winter in Jamaica (ahhh, now that’s more like it)
Later that night our group was ensconced in the gorgeous Half Moon Resort near Montego Bay and who was seated beside us but Bill O’Reilly!?!?! We were beset with Fox News... the conservatives were haunting our Obama supporting client. It was kind of funny....but we were never able to catch a picture of either one of them with our client!! He is a very smart guy; he was too wily to get near these conservative talk guys. Ha ha.
Jamaica had never been lovelier. The breezes were just soft enough and the temperature just hot enough to lull us into a bunch of mellow tourists, even though we were there for lengthy and complex meetings with the contractors, dealing with significant construction issues and many necessary decisions. The local project manager had a happy surprise the first evening … cocktails on the verandah at the construction site. At last the entire team could experience what this wonderful house will feel like when all the work is done and it is ready for real living. We toasted the sunset over the ocean as the distant breakers reflected the purples and pinks of the setting sun. We chatted and savored the breezy evening, sipping Jamaican rum and counting the stars as they began to appear... losing the count as the stars multiplied and multiplied and ultimately paved the sky.
Architects hard at work before settling in to party.
Left: Duncan Sharp, on-site architect. Right: Cole Smith, FAIA, chief design architect.
Dr. Margaret Kerr, our client’s talented project manager (and party planner).
Our architects and designers deep in conference (over a Red Stripe beer).
Even our client’s normally straight laced financial guy let his hair down.
Mostly Jamaica was green...a sensuous, verdant, twining, layered, tone on tone, with a hundred versions of green sparking with hot corally-orange and pink blossoms... and a fragrance which sort of wafts into your awareness with the breeze. Once in a while, during the construction workers lunch time, another pungently sweet scent would add a new note to the aroma... I really hadn't smelled that since attending a Pink Floyd concert ....but such things just seemed to be part of the Jamaican air. Yeah mon.
So now I am leaving the blueness of the Jamaican beaches, the deep verde tones of the mountain foliage, the charming smiles of the Jamaican people and dazed but happy tourists ( Bill O’Reilly not withstanding)... and I am flying back to the winter storm of the century. The ice that looked so elegant on Cowboys Stadium roof evidently slid off and onto unsuspecting bystanders; I understand some pipes are frozen at my office; our business has been at virtual standstill during the ice age that has entered our sunny city. Oh well... no problem, mon.
I’ll just look back fondly and remember this view.
Wonder what hyper-conservative will be at DFW when we land? Tomorrow is the Super Bowl and I am betting lots of celebrities will be lurking around. Since we are returning via plain old American Airlines to the public airport maybe we won’t see any of them, but at least the ice is melted enough so we can land. Ah... there is no place like home!!! Ice age or not!
And in the end…
We landed without a celebrity to be seen. The super bowl was a great success, not counting some missing seats here and there. Now the Texas sunshine has returned. But wait….the forecast for tomorrow says snow!! Where did the real Dallas go?!!! If this keeps up, maybe we can get in some cross country skiing around here.
Oh heck…I think I’ll just go back to Sonoma in a few days. California here I come!!