My adventure began with waking up at 5am and heading to RDU for what was suppose to be an easy trip. We boarded the plane in Raleigh at 7:30am to be told there was going to be a 20 to 30 minute wait on the tarmac due to traffic control. Meanwhile I’m trying to figure out how long it will take to get to ATL and praying that my connecting gate is close by.
We finally take off at 8:10am and the anxiety sets in, will I make it? My connecting flight began boarding at 8:50am and we landed at about 9:30am. I was in Zone 3 to board so my carry on bag was about 9 rows behind me and I knew I needed to get off the plane ASAP! As soon as we parked at the gate I asked the passengers behind if they would pass my suitcase down to me. I run off the plane, see my connecting flight is only 4 gates away and become very hopeful and excited that I’ll actually make it. I approach the gate agent with a big smile on my face, it’s 9:33am and my flight takes off at 9:45am, to only be told “sorry we close the gate ten minutes prior”. I told her it is only 9:33am and that there is two more minutes before that ten minute mark. She didn’t seem to care & again repeated herself saying, ” I’m sorry, we close the gates 10 minutes prior, go down there and they will rebook you”.
There were two ways I could have handled this situation, get angry and loud or “go down there” and figure out what can be done. I walked up to the Delta help desk where the lady informed me that I can either take a flight today to NY then down to Santo Domingo, arriving at midnight or I wait until the next day and take the 9:45am flight. I knew arriving at midnight wouldn’t be a good idea due to the type of people who would be around & knowing the car rental place wouldn’t be open so I opted for the next day flight & asked if they were going to comp me a hotel room. Immediately was told no because my flight delay was due to traffic control & they don’t compensate for that. A bunch of BS if you ask me…
So here I am $150 under due to getting a hotel, but decided I’m not going to let it ruin my day. I’m in a huge city with lots to do so I decided to turn this negative into a positive. I took an Uber into the city, got some food and headed for the Georgia Aquarium. I sat in front of the giant Ocean Explorer fish tank for 30+ minutes and finally felt relaxed.
After spending the day in Atlanta, I was ready for my flight to Santo Domingo and headed to the airport the next morning for my flight. I arrived early, boarded the plane & we were off. After landing in Santo Domingo we had to go through customs, piece of cake I thought to myself, as I have done this before. I thought ahead and purchased a tourist visa online prior to arriving to save time waiting in line. I waited behind maybe 10 people in the “visitors” line & it’s finally my turn, I proudly showed the agent my tourist card & she pointed me to go to the “residents” line…it was 4 times longer than the visitors line. After waiting and waiting, I finally make it to the customs agent. I walk up with a big smile and immediately she ask me how long i’ll be staying in the DR. I told her 45 days (for now) and she asked if I spoke Spanish. After telling her No, she took me to another customs agent where he then asked me “Why are you here in the Dominican?” I told him to visit friends and travel, he said “ok” and sent me back to her. She didn’t seem to like that, so next she went to get the head honcho who was busy with ten others in a tiny room looking at video surveillance. My next thought was, great, I’m about to be deported back to the US. Finally the head honcho comes out, ask me how long I’m staying & then insisted I show him my return flight to the US. Thank goodness I had heard of this happening, not being allowed into countries with only a one way ticket, so I had booked a one way ticket to NYC for Christmas. (When returning to the Dominican after Christmas, I will have to book a one way back to the States to then cancel it within 24hours because, I aint’ coming back).
When I finally thought the worst was over, I walked over to the car rental agent to get the car I had reserved for a month that priceline valued at $250 (plus insurance cost, which last time I paid $9 a day which would be $270). Well the guy printed out my receipt to sign and then said, “So when you return your car, your total that will be due is $1,800”. SAY WHATTTTT?!?! There was no way that was happening. I finagled it down to $1,300 for the month but plan on returning the car this Friday for a MUCH cheaper option here in Cabrera. After 2 hours of dealing with the car rental people I was finally on the road to Cabrera, a two hour drive from the Santo Domingo Airport. Next thing I know, a horse runs out in front of my car making me slam on breaks and honk my horn at him to get him off the road. But at last, I had finally made it to my friends house at 7pm where they had a typical Dominican dinner waiting, Sancocho & boy was it delicious!
Always remember that things could be worse than they are and that you are in control of your actions and emotions. Always look for the positive in the negative and you will live a life you’re forever happy with. Home for now, cheers to more adventures!