Our final day in Punta Cana filled me with sadness. I sat on the patio to finish up a bit of work and soak up the final few hours of tropical heaven.
Jenni, Hudson and I met for a delicious breakfast at the Gabi restaurant. Hudson had a waffle as big as his head.
Jenni had the Jenni special.
I had a mimosa and coffee.
We headed back to our rooms and said goodbye to some friends along the way.
They picked up our bags and escorted us to the VIP lounge to check out. Pablo, the super helpful concierge who’d taken care of us during out entire stay, arranged for a taxi and wheeled our bags out front.
We said goodbye to our VIP status…
The taxi hadn’t arrived yet, so I snapped a few last-minute shots of paradise.
Jenni and I began making plans for our next holiday together.
When the taxi arrived, he made good time to the airport, which is about 20 minutes from our resort. I was surprised that there was a whole other wing to the palapa. It’s actually the biggest palapa I’ve ever seen! Still not sure how they manage security without a lot of actual walls, but it works for them! The food court is next to a patio area that overlooks the runway. We had a quick lunch.
There was a lot of confusion when it was time to board the plane. There were two different areas with gates, but each area was a part of a much larger room. Apparently all of the gates used the same sound system because we couldn’t understand a word they were saying and the gate agents often talked over themselves. We finally decided to go ahead and line up, but so had everyone else and I’m pretty sure we missed the Sky Zone boarding. In fact, we appeared to be stuck in a crowd of Zone 3 boarders!
After we all lined up they opened a door and we shuffled out. There were large palm awnings set up so we wouldn’t be standing around in the sun, and a trio of musicians were playing some lively songs. One of them appeared to be playing a flour shifter, but I could be mistaken about that.
They herded us over across the runway and out to the plane.
And we were off!
The first half of the trip was no problem. I even breezed through customs and back through security in under 5 minutes (thanks Global Entry)! That’s when things began to fall apart!
The flight to Baltimore was delayed when the incoming flight got in late. After a nightmarish boarding process where literally 20 people were stuck in the aisles with their roller board bags that wouldn’t fit, the plane left the gate and headed out to the runway.
It inched it’s way out there and I think we all noticed that something sounded off. After we got to the runway we sat there for thirty minutes while other planes went around us and took off. At first I thought, wow my pilot sure is nice to let those other planes go! Then he told us we had an engine that wasn’t working and he felt that was pretty important so he was going to go ask maintenance about it. We turned around and chugged slowly over to another area of the airport.
The maintenance guys there couldn’t fix it so they decided to take us back to the gate and get us a new plane. Thankfully one pulled up not long after we got off. When we boarded the new plane I overheard the flight attendant say we were waiting on new pilots. Apparently they are the only ones who know how to crank the engine, because they couldn’t start it up so the air conditioning wasn’t working and it was getting really hot!
Right before the pilots arrived, one of the flight attendants came back to my row and asked me to get my things and follow him. I panicked at first because I thought they were going to bump me and it was already getting late! But no, they wanted to rescue me! It seems some of the first class passengers hadn’t wanted to fly on a plane that was replacing another plane and I was upgraded! Winning!
Unfortunately, just because I moved up and the pilots arrived, it didn’t mean we were ready to go. Apparently catering was late. We waited around another thirty minutes and then the pilots gave up and announced we were leaving anyhow and sorry but we wouldn’t have drinks. After a three-hour delay, I don’t think anyone minded! And, because I was up in first, we got the leftovers from the last flight so I wasn’t at all thirsty!
By the time I landed, caught the shuttle to my car, drove back to Virginia, and staggered up the stairs it was nearly 2 am. Still totally worth it…