Alliouagana Festival of the Word in Montserrat: Day One

I was so honored to be asked to speak at the Alliouagana Festival of the Word in Montserrat. I was worried that with classes on Thursdays, I wouldn’t be able to get there in time to participate in everything and see the island. I was told ahead of time that just getting to Montserrat would take the entire day.

Related Post: Alliouagana Festival of the Word in Montserrat November 10-13

This was a true statement.  While I was a bit disappointed that I missed the goat water on Thursday, I was relieved that I would still make reception the hosted by Her Excellency the Governor, Elizabeth Carriere.

I put on what I was going to wear to the reception and slipped a sweatshirt over it.  It made for a pretty interesting outfit with my hair still twisted and flip flops, but luckily, when I arrived at the airport, no one was dressed to impress. My Friday morning flight out of Reagan National Airport was scheduled to leave at 6:00 am, so I had to be there at 4:00 am.  I was surprised by how many people flew out that early.  

I arrived in Miami around 8:45 am, and was back in the air by 9:50 headed to Antigua.  That gave me time to sleep, get my makeup on, and take my twists out.  I arrived in Antigua at little after 2:00 pm (1:00 pm our time). 

The airport is new and really beautiful.  My flight didn’t leave Antigua until 5, so the airport staff suggested I eat and relax at the Big Banana that was located outside of the new airport, next door, inside of the old one.  It was a pretty short walk, but you have to go up the stairs with your luggage. 

I ordered plantains and fries, and called the hubby and kids to see how they were doing.

 My next flight wasn’t until 5:00, so I had about 2 hours to burn.  They told me to come back over at about 4:30, but it turns out that wasn’t exactly accurate.

My selfie for instagram. The air in Antigua was really humid which turned out to be great for my fresh twist out.

I didn’t miss the flight, but my heart pounded as I ran through the airport trying to make sure that I was on time.  I was flying SVG, and they called over from the old airport to the new one and let them know I was on the way.  I checked in, got weighed with my backpack on, went through security, and waited.  People were looking at me like I was crazy for rushing… It was a hurry up and wait situation.

Related: Alliouagana Festival of the Word in Montserrat: Day Two

When I saw the plane… well… it wasn’t much bigger than our SUV. It definitely wasn’t any wider. We started walking over to the plane when the rain started.  I climbed in and took my seat next to a lovely woman who would be attending the same reception that I was, and we chatted.

I was in the third row of four. Two across. It was about the size of a passenger van – probably smaller.

Not about life and death like we probably could have with the weather and the size of that plane, but just about where we were going and what we were doing in Montserrat for the weekend.

The rain was starting to get heavy.

The rain started coming down in full force and I got out my camera to document.  Yes, I could have freaked out, but I figured… heck… I’m up here now, so I may as well take in the view.  Just as I had resigned to let Jesus take the wheel, the rain stopped and the sun came out.  It was gorgeous.  The video recap is coming soon to the Socamom YouTube channel – you’ll see.  (At this point you may be wondering if you could opt for a ferry from Antigua to Montserrat. Not at this time. It’ll be you and that little plane.)

When the clouds parted, you could see the beautiful island below. It looked like something off of television.

The landing was smoother than any commercial flight I had been on, which was surprising since the runway was wet and slippery.  You could feel the wheels slip a bit, but the pilot was in total control.

We all thanked God for a safe landing, and exited the plane.  The small airport had baggage claim, immigration, check in, and everything in one area.

Fellow blogger and speaker at the conference, Nerissa Golden and her daughter greeted me with big hugs.  Norman, who I didn’t yet know was going to be the best guide on the island, gave me my welcome back with all kinds of goodies in it, and we were off to the villa that would be my home for the weekend.

It was magnificent – I’ll have photos in another post. I only had time to drop my bags, powder my nose, put on my sky high heels, and head over to the reception in the van with the other speakers.

J.D. Scott (Brother Vs.Brother, Property Brothers at Home, All-American Amusement Parks) and I. He and Annalee Belle were speakers. Photo credit: Nerissa Golden for Discover Montserrat

Her Excellency the Governor, Elizabeth Carriere. Photo credit: Nerissa Golden for Discover Montserrat

Photo credit: Nerissa Golden for Discover Montserrat

When we arrived at the reception, we signed the guest book and then chatted with other speakers, festival organizers, and officers from the Navy Tanker Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight.  They had recently participated in a huge drug bust and their stories were epic.  I got a drink from the bar, snacked on the amazing hors d’oeuvres, and listened to the stories. The RFA Wave Knight was just off the coast of Montserrat, and all weekend, people would be taking tours.

You can see the Navy Tanker Royal Fleet Auxiliary Wave Knight is right there in the center.

After the reception, we headed over to the opening ceremony where we heard from Gracelyn Cassell, Head of The University of the West Indies Open Campus, Montserrat and Her Excellency the Governor, Elizabeth Carriere.  Youth and adults performed, and Montserratian authors presented their new works.  By this time, my sky high heels were in hand – flip flops back on my feet.  Good thing my dress was floor length.

Her Excellency the Governor, Elizabeth Carriere opening the festival. Photo credit: Nerissa Golden for Discover Montserrat

Photo credit: Nerissa Golden for Discover Montserrat

Photo credit: Nerissa Golden for Discover Montserrat

After the festivities, I headed back to the villa, to prepare for the next day and get some sleep.  The day had been incredibly long, but I was looking forward to speaking about Socamom and blogging the next day.

Check this out: Alliouagana Festival of the Word in Montserrat: Day Two

For more information about the festival, photos, and more, visit the Alliouagana Festival of the Word Facebook page, or follow the hashtag, #AFWLitFest, on Instagram and Twitter.