Miami are we. A day in and our shopping velocity has been great, let me tell you.

The trip started badly thanks to the Bahamian bureaucratic machine. Our paper ticket...oh wait, I see I've lost you already. You see, a paper ticket is something that was often used in the airline industry in the early to mid-20th century to prove that passengers had purchased passage on planes, alliteratively speaking. With the advent of the internet, the practice was all but abandoned and is used now only in small-minded corners of the world that like to cling to archaic mechanisms of screwing customers. Like the Bahamas and its national air "carrier", BahamasAir.

 In order for us to get to Miami at the time we wanted (or as close as was possible), we were forced to fly with BahamasAir something Expedia tried to disguise from us by claiming it was US Airways. In any case, I purchased the ticket last Saturday (i.e. one week ago), noticed it was to be "delivered" to me within 1-4 business days, and promptly called Expedia's customer service to mock them in their blind devotion to the Bahamian postal service. They assured me the ticket would arrive by Thursday and the nice lady said to call back if it hadn't arrived by then, probably because she knew she wouldn't be working on Thursday.

So I called them Thursday because everyone outside of Expedia knows it's not possible to have anything other than tourists delivered to the Bahamas in a timely manner. The Estrogen Defensive will attest to that ever since her Xmas package to Sydney arrived, after having been sent one crisp November morn, the following August. Most people assume "snail mail" is a figure of speech. The Bahamas postal service figures it's as literal as The Pony Express.

Anyway, I had a nice, long conversation with someone at Expedia who tried to track down where my tickets were. It seems the tracking number I was given didn't actually track anything on the USPS website (which is how the tickets were sent, a source of some confusion because the link I was given pointed to UPS's website). I probably should have told her I went through all this aggravation myself but I like to put my CSRs in my shoes so we both have a common frame of reference. I probably should have known better since her first advice to me was to wait one more day, even after I assured her that if the tickets weren't going to be delivered to me on a regular workday, they sure weren't coming on Good Friday.

Alas, after two hours, I got a little tired of listening to the elevator version of Pachelbel's Canon in D (I'm not making this up, it was the ONLY song played the entire time) and hung up, deciding instead to "play it by ear", a strategy that has served me well in the past (at best) and/or hasn't screwed me up too badly (at worst).

Fast forward to Saturday morning at 5:00am at the BahamasAir ticket counter:

She: I'm sorry, Mr. Bailey
Me: That's buh-LAY
She: Yes, Mr. Bailey. I'm sorry but we need a paper ticket
Me: Does your computer show that we've purchased the tickets?
She: Yes
Me: And does it show that the seats are reserved for us?
She: Yes
Me: And does it show that they have been paid for in full?
She: Yes
Me: And the ticket number matches the one on my printed itinerary here in my hand?
She: Yes
Me: So I can get on the plane then, right?
She: No
Me: I don't understand
She: We need a paper ticket
Me: Right then. Hold on, I'll get you one. Syd, let me borrow your crayons. I need a medium this lady understands...

Eventually, they were gracious enough to allow us on the plane and all we needed to do was purchase three more tickets. When I got to my seat, I discovered someone in it, a lady whose ticket had the same seat number as her husband beside her. For whatever reason, I was the one that had to be accommodated and inexplicably, they had trouble finding a seat for me because the plane was full, despite my assurance that there should be at least three open seats.

To wrap up this saga, I did call Expedia on arrival and they were pretty quick to assure me that the money for my new ticket will be refunded. Angie at their help desk was very sincere in her apologies and I'm convinced it had to do with my policy on calling help desks.

Full disclosure: The actual flight on BahamasAir, my first, was counter to all the horror stories I've heard. On time departure and arrival, friendly staff, exTREMEly smooth takeoff and landing, and unlike American Eagle, we were taken to an actual gate, not dumped on the tarmac with empty promises of a bus "coming along shortly". Having said that, we travelled with carry-ons only.

Next up: just what exactly *is* La Quinta Spanish for?