photos - Puerto Rico 2003
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I'm Not Marta Barnes

Roosevelt Roads NAS, Puerto Rico: Dec 4 - Dec 11, 2003

First, The NIGHTMARE story. Skip ahead to "Story of my time in Puerto Rico" if you don't want to read it, but I must admit, I've written it very entertainingly (is that a word?)

So, let me tell you a story about a guy who thought saving $300 on airfare was a fantastic thing. Just think of all the things (read: DVDs) he could buy with that money, and hey, it's only having to take 3 planes to get to Puerto Rico. I'll suffer a little waiting and lots of flying - no biggie. And especially if I'm flying during the red-eye hours, hey, who cares? I'll just sleep. So, let's follow our hero as he gets dropped off at the Las Vegas airport by the helpful Sgt Jenny. He goes to check in his bags at the Spirit Airways ticket counter - and after somewhat of a pause on the clerk's part, he gets his tickets, his bag is checked, and he walks away. Before putting his tickets away though, he looks at what he has. He looks at this baggage claim check (why, who knows, but he does) and sees that he can pick up his bag in Chicago! Joyous! Oh wait....he's not stopping in Chicago. Hmmm.... so he goes back to the ticket counter - he starts to wait in line again, then thinks to himself, Bullshit. So he goes to the first class line and waits for his ticket agent. She sees the guy and motions him forward. He brings up the fact he's actually going to San Juan, PR and not Chicago. Oh, she exclaims. She wasn't expecting that (nor did she ASK what my final destination was - and now I understand why they do that all the time - you never can be sure where the person thinks they're gonna end up... but back to the story), as everyone else was just going to Chicago. That's nice, he thinks, but he'd like his bag to go to San Juan. So she changes the baggage tag and tells him that she can't give him boarding passes for the rest of his flights (Chicago - Orlando, Orlando - San Juan), and that he'll have to check in at those locations. Okay, he thinks, that's frustrating, but doable. Just get him (and his bag) to Puerto Rico. So he proceeds to go to the gate, seemingly establishing that all is well as can be - what can you expect for $300 in savings, right? He gets to the security checkpoint where they want to see the ticket and ID - and the agent looks real hard at the ticket and the ID - there's no match. Huh? Apparently his name, Hobart, does not equal Marta. The agents think maybe, since there is an 'art' in both, but alas, he is turned away and told to fix this. Good on the security folks, bad for the guy. So he, a little aggravated at this point, stalks back to the ticket counter, first-class line, and glares at the ticket lady. She sees him back and sighs. Now what? "I'm Not Marta Barnes" he exclaims, but amazingly, the person to his right IS Marta Barnes. Uncanny. So Marta gets her ticket (yay for Marta) and the ticket agent realizes that he's not in the computer. Nope, not at all. Hmmm..... After a wait, he is given a ticket and is told that everything is okay, but he'll still have to check in at each city. Hmmm...... Well, whatever, the ticket is in his name, and that's alright, he can get on a plane. And he does! He falls fast asleep, as it is now 12:40 in the morning. His plane gets to Chicago, and dutifully, he goes to the gate counter in Chicago as instructed. And that is when he finds out once again, he's not on the list. Whatever that means. Much to Julio's (the gate agent) dismay, he can't pull up the guy's name at all. The stress that the guy feels is now being put on Julio, as Julio has a very disarrayed looking guy in front of him, glaring. Poor Julio. So while there is about an hour layover in Chicago, the guy spends the entire time at the gate counter waiting for a ticket. Which he does get (a purple construction paper ticket, but hey, it gets him on the plane). And a NOTE from Julio to the Orlando folks. Yes, a note. A note that says he is okay to board the plane in Orlando. The guy actually takes this and thinks this will get him on another plane. Silly guy. So about 3 hours later the guy wakes up and finds himself in the land of Disney World. Yay! He has to disembark the plane though, even though Orlando is considered only a stop on the Chicago-San Juan flight. Whatever. He leaves, and begins to wonder if a note really will get him back on the plane. As opposed to waiting for the moment of truth, he goes again to the gate counter and stresses out the gate agent, as he is definitely NOT in the system, again. And when the gate agent, Francisco, or Frankie, sees the note, he laughs and mocks Chicago, saying they never do anything right. Great, thinks the guy. This is just perfect. So again, an hour layover, an hour spent waiting at the gate counter, as Francisco finds out that Travelocity had cancelled my tickets..... huh? thinks the guy. Yet while people start to board, Frankie manages to still get me a seat, and get this, Frankie gets me a FIRST CLASS seat. Yes, the guy gets to sit in first class for the first time ever. Mind you, first class on Spirit is really nothing special, but the seats are wider - and it does actually make it more comfortable. So, the guy gets to Puerto Rico, all the time on the flight thinking, there's no way in HELL his bag is gonna be here. It's gotta be in Chicago, on a baggage carousel somewhere. Flippin' fantastic, thinks the guy. Although if you knew the guy, you know that the F-words being uttered were probaby not 'flippin'. At the San Juan baggage carousel, the guy waits and waits, and sees lots of other luggage get claimed, but not his bag. Fortunately, the guy wasn't alone, as there were still about 30 people left. And when the next round of luggage came out, the guy's bag was among them! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!! So, the guy spent from 10:30pm PST Wednesday night to 2:00pm Atlantic time Thursday afternoon in planes and airports. The joy.

The lesson to be learned from this: Saving $300 may not be fucking worth it. AT ALL. If you can get to your destination with one stop max, DO IT. And it wouldn't hurt to call the airline a few days ahead of time to verify your reservation. I've never had a problem before, but now that I have, I can't see the harm in making the call. Ugh.

Story of My Time in Puerto Rico

Well, I finally got to Puerto Rico pretty exhausted. It was awesome to see Dad though, and we had fun driving rush hour back to Roosevelt Roads. The roads of Puerto Rico are something else. The people have no regard for traffic rules, lines, lights, signs, etc. So it ends up taking 2 hours to get to Roosevelt Roads, which is really only like 30 miles or so from San Juan. Anyways..... I saw when I was arriving that the island was covered by clouds, which is somewhat normal, as long as the clouds blow away. Yet I found out I arrived the same time as a freak tropical storm which was in the Caribbean. Yay. It was a freak, because tropical storm season ended in November. Go figure. But when you get lemons, you make lemonade, right? So after getting settled, and seeing Pat and their dog Chili again, I made the most of my time those first 4 days. I ended up reading tons of stuff, including finishing up Mirror Mirror (the latest from the guy who wrote Wicked and Confessions of an ugly Stepsister; Mirror Mirror is a blast!), rereading Return of the King (I can not WAIT to see this movie - as all the parties involved in the movies are saying, if you thought the first two were awesome, you won't believe the last part, and I tend to believe them. The Battle of Pelennor Fields, the fight at the Gates of Mordor, the approach to Mount Doom, Shelob's Lair.... I don't see how they'll fit it all in the movie, and I really just want to get the Extended Edition of the movie now), studying up for my first SOS Correspondence Test (that was pure fun, let me tell you), reading my Buffy/LOTR Philosophy books, and finishing the DVD book made by the Digital Bits. Yes, I read a lot. There wasn't much else to do.

On Monday though, we made time to go to the Wyndham El Conquistador! El Con is a really nice resort hotel that sits on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and both the East and Northern shores of Puerto Rico. It's really quite impressive of a location, and the hotel is huge, although during this time of year, it was fairly empty. I don't know how they make any money during this time of year. Not my problem though. We went there because I wanted to play Blackjack.... yes, I'm serious. It's not like I can't get enough at home, right? But they humored me and we went. And found the casino tables empty - it was a ghost town. And if you have been following my webpage, you may know that I don't like playing blackjack one-on-one with the dealer. It can go way too fast, either good or bad. Amazingly, this time, it went well. The dealer made lots of money with me, as my tip bets always paid off, and even though they deal funny there, I made about $45 before deciding I better go while I still have a profit.

Other things I did: we visited Nancy, who has the amazing house overlooking the Marina. We watched Pirates of the Caribbean one night, and then went to Brass Cactus my last night with her. She's a great person to hang out with - she's extremely funny in a slightly eccentric way. But that's a good thing.

I really was just glad to spend time with Dad and Pat though, and although I got to go in the water only once (which in fact was cold! Because of all the clouds and rain, the water was murky and cold - boo!), I tried to soak up the sun as much as possible. This may be my last time going to Roosevelt Roads, as the base is closing in March 2004, and although there are rumors of it becoming an Air Force or Army base, my folks are pulling up anchor (literally) and moving the boat to St. Thomas. Yes, my folks will be living in St. Thomas as of January. Someone's gotta live the life, right? The next time I visit them I will be off to the Virgin Islands. I'm a lucky guy. And I know it.

The pictures

The Yacht Club, where I spent most days

And nights

Dad cooking at the grill

Pat and Mike at the Dinner Table

One Morning I actually woke up early and saw the moon

A little lighter sky

Dawn at the Roosey Roads Marina


I do love my God shots, don't I?


The only one I Iiked of at least 7 I took

Me, Chili and Vieques


Vieques behind the Fuel Dock (Vieques is both the former Navy bombing island and where I spent last year)

View from Nancy's house to Roosevelt Roads

Dad me and Nancy at the Brass Cactus

With Pat too!





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