Monday, July 18, 2005

Sea Island, GA -- Part 1

A few months ago, my roommate Will hatched a crazy idea to use up his parents' accrued Southwest frequent flier miles. He suggested that we all take a vacation together to his vacation house in Sea Island, Georgia. We' d all heard a lot about his place at Sea Island -- he always seemed to be going there for some reason or another. He spent almost every Thanksgiving there and all his family reunions were there. I began imagining what it would be like there. The name made it sound like small island off the coast of Georgia with a single house on top with kids running around outside by the crashing waves. I admittedly let my imagination run a bit wild on that one, but it was fun to think about nonetheless.

To Will's pleasure, we roundly praised the idea and began to make plans. Will and I had always joked about how we were swapped at birth and grew up in the wrong states, me among small asian women and he among tall blonde ones. This was our chance to prove our theory correct. After several months of schedule conflicts and aborted attempts, Will, Bill, Kate, Hawk, and I finally departed for the deep south on June 30th, just in time for July 4th weekend.

The flight there was a bit more eventful than we'd hoped. After an hour's delay, we boarded the plane and go under way. A couple hours into the flight, we heard the captain come onto the PA. At first, I figured he was just giving his usual greeting and providing flight information that I think only I care about, like altitude, air temperature, wind speed, etc. But instead, I heard, "There is no cause for alarm." Stop right there, I thought. That is NOT the right way to begin any sentence. Scenes from Airplane flashed through my mind. "There is a problem with the flight control system. We will be landing in Phoenix, Arizona where we will determine if we need to switch aircraft." He then went on to explain that the rudder trim was busted (and compensating in the wrong way to boot) -- a minor problem, but flying in a broken airplane is just a bad idea no matter how benign the problem.

Then we began the fastest decent I'd ever seen a commercial airliner do. Round and round we went as we corkscrewed down towards Phoenix. Finally, the airport came into view and even though I had faith that there really was no cause for alarm, I decided that if we crashed and burned now, I was happy with my life up until now and that dying would be less preferable, but ultimately alright. We made our final approach and landed safely on the airstrip. Far off, I could see at least six bright yellow emergency vehicles with their lights flashing, waiting for us on the tarmac. No cause for alarm, eh?

After stealing another flight's airplane, we were again on our way towards Nashville, and then Jacksonville Florida. By the time we made it to Sea Island, it was 2am and we were all exhausted from the entire day of traveling. We knew all of it was worth it, however, when we pulled up to Will's house and were stunned. In my Californian mind, it was straight out of Gone with the wind, the southern plantation style architecture was something I'd only seen in photos and movies, and just a little in New Orleans. Not only was it gorgeous, but it was big. Really big. It was one of those houses where you ask, "You mean real people live in those?" We got the grand tour -- all five bedrooms plus common areas worth. My favorite room was the spacious living room that had an entire wall of glass doors leading out to the back porch overlooking the marsh. That back porch was my favorite place in all of Sea Island and was to become the focal point for the six days and five nights of our stay.

The next five days were heaven.