Vacation Horror Story: Hurricane In The Cayman Islands

Listener Shirley Funkhouser shares her addition to All Things Considered's "Vacation Horror Stories" with the tale of a trip to the Cayman Islands that wound up lasting only one day due to a hurricane.

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ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Mishaps and mayhem in paradise, a little summer series that we call Vacation Horror Stories.

SHIRLEY FUNKHOUSER: My name is Shirley Funkhouser and I live in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. Back in 2007, my daughter and her family, her in-laws and my husband and I, expected to spend a glorious week in Grand Cayman Island's Seven-Mile Beach in an upscale beachfront condo. The night before we were to leave, I was chatting with my son-in-law over the computer and he was telling me about a storm brewing out in the east Caribbean.

I just dismissed it. I didn't want to hear anything about that. As a frequent traveler, I was more worried about all our flights getting us there on time. We were all coming from different parts of the country. My daughter was coming from New York City. The in-laws were coming from Bay City, Michigan and my husband and I from Hartford, Connecticut.

But it turned out that all three families arrived at the same time in Grand Cayman's airport in Georgetown. We checked into our condo and it was every bit as lovely as it looked on the Internet. So after we checked out the place, we headed up the street for some dinner and then we went over to the supermarket and to the liquor store to fill up on staples.

There were plenty of adult beverages. Friday was another lovely day. We enjoyed the beach, doing everything from some scuba diving to fussing over the granddaughter. As the day went on, the news billed that Hurricane Dean could be headed to Grand Cayman. And we figured we could just stay in the condo. It was a new building and we were on the fifth floor.

And we even headed across the street to get more food, water and I think we probably got more adult beverages, too. And on Saturday, the in-laws were walking the beach at sunrise and they had heard that all the visitors were being asked to leave the island. Soon after that, the condo told us we were going to have to leave. So we scrambled to pack and we tried to get flights, but were told to just head to the airport.

So it ended up that we were all on standby flights and we did get off the island that day. But our vacation dreams for that year and the budgets were blown and we ended up with one lovely, very expensive day in Grand Cayman.

SIEGEL: A vacation horror story from Shirley Funkhouser of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

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