Monday, February 23, 2015

Aruba 2015

A few days ago, Ryan and I FINALLY made it back from Aruba! The vacation was amazing, but the travel was a nightmare. Literally, nothing went our way. Well, I guess not nothing...we did get everywhere we needed to be safely and in one piece. But, still. 

So, last Thursday, Ryan and I headed to the airport with the intentions of catching a flight to La Guardia and taxiing over to our hotel near JFK airport, where we were flying out of early the next morning. When we got to our gate, we saw that the flight was delayed by hours and much so that they couldn't even give us a set departure time. The gate agent was doing everything she could, and eventually got Ryan and I on an earlier flight to JFK, saving us the thirty minute taxi ride. Score! She called the baggage room and had them move our two suitcases on to the new flight, telling us we would have to pick them up and recheck them the next morning. NO problem- we needed them anyways, since all of our toiletries were in them. Fast forward a couple hours to baggage claim at JFK. We had been waiting for at least thirty minutes for our bags, which never showed up. Ryan eventually took the initiative to go to the help desk to find out where our bags were. Turns out, they never got transferred to our new flight and were currently sitting at LGA waiting for us. The customer service rep at the airport promised us that our bags would be on the next flight out in the morning to Aruba via Atlanta...meaning we would just have to meet up with our bags in Aruba. Fine. Annoying, but fine. 

The next morning, Ryan and I woke up and took the hotel shuttle to the airport around 5:00 in the morning. We got to the self check-in kiosk, and put our confirmation number in when the kiosk asked us to swipe our passports. WHAT? It was at this moment, we realized we were screwed. Neither of us had remembered to pack the one thing that would prevent us from getting in and out of the country. After hours of running around the airport talking to literally anybody that could possibly help us, we got rebooked on the same exact flight to Aruba 24 hours later, rented a car, and began our drive back to Boston to retrieve our passports. Boo. Meanwhile, our bags are chilling in sunny Aruba without us! About 10 hours later, Ryan and I found ourselves back at the hotel, ready to start the day ALL over again...this time with passports in hand. 

Everything went smoothly the next day, and around 3:30, we were smacked in the face greeted by an incredible amount of heat/humidity, our luggage, and Brad and Susan's smiling faces. Vacation has officially begun! 

We got loaded in to the car and stopped for lunch at Taco Bell before making our way to the resort! 
View from our balcony! 
Sunset on our first night!
 The first night was pretty low-key since we were pretty exhausted from the last two days of travel. We walked along the beach for a little bit, got changed for dinner, and walked over the the pier restaurant across from the RIU. Needless to say, it was an early night.

The rest of the days were pretty much a blur of lounging under huts on the beach...

 swimming in the ocean...


walking along the boardwalk, eating, and drinking (virgin daiquiris, anyone?!). 

Did I mention eating?!? 

We also spent a couple evenings in some of the nearby resort casinos. Susan and I started out dropping $20 bills in the penny slot machines, which can go a long way but doesn't really lend to MAKING money. Around the middle of our vacation, we got tired of the slot machines and decided to try our luck on the three-card poker table. While it was a lot more fun... we weren't necessarily any luckier. 

Before dinner at "Taste of Belgium" 
Ryan turned 26 on our second day of vacation. To celebrate, we went to the Muguruza's restaurant by the lighthouse for an amazing dinner with the best view on the island.

Birthday boys get presents, even on vacation.

A couple days later, we took to rental car down to the southernmost point on the island, a place called Baby Beach, where not one sign could be found. The men went out snorkeling, while the women lounged under a palm tree.

On our last night, we decided to try our luck one more time at the casinos. Overall, the casinos had stolen some of all of our money, so we had to have one more shot at winning it back. While walking up to the Occidental Casino, Ryan spotted a bill in the parking lot. He opened it up and quickly realized our luck had changed! It was $100! With this new found money in our hands, we walked straight to the three card poker table, split the money in half, and started playing. I ended up leaving the table a couple hours later with the same $50 I put down and Ryan walked away with an extra $40. It was definitely a great way to go out, up $140! We won't talk about how Brad and Susan ended the night (sorry guys!)

Our last few hours in Aruba were the cloudiest of the whole trip (Aruba was as sad to see us go as we were to leave!).

We got to the airport three hours early to clear customs, only to realize that our flight had been delayed a couple hours, causing us to miss our connecting flight out of JFK to Boston. This flight also happened to be the last flight of the night. While our luck at the casino may have turned, our traveling luck continued. 

Once we landed at JFK, we checked the flight status just to be sure it had departed on time. Turns out, that flight had also been delayed. Only problem was that it had been delayed five hours and wasn't scheduled to depart until around 1 in the morning. After consulting with the gate agents and customer service reps for about an hour, everyone was convinced the flight would be cancelled and not wanting to spend another night in a New York hotel, we decided to once again rent a car and drive the four or so hours back to Boston...without our luggage....again. 

We made it home around 2-2:30 in the morning and our bags made it home around 10:30 the next night. 

While travel was a nightmare, the trip was definitely worth it. I can guarantee you that we will NEVER forget our passports again! 

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