The Honeymooners: Puerto Plata Airport
Our seats on the plane were exit row seats, so they were a) cool because we had tons of leg room and b) crappy because the view from our window was the wing and the engine. I showed Stephen the safety procedures, pointed to the people in the pictures, and quoted Fight Club for at least the third time in 2 days; “Calm as Hindu Cows.”
We get off the plane and are immediately met with a sensation I’ve never really experienced, having lived in Colorado my whole life: Humidity. LOTS of it. There was a little quartet playing salsa music as we exited the terminal. We got to the baggage claim area and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Soon there was only 5 or 6 of us waiting. Still no bags. At this point I am rapidly accelerating into a state of panic. I almost began to cry. Not so much because I wanted my Tiva flip-flops or because I spent a good $150 dollars on lingerie that I would never wear and Stephen would never see, but because nothing seemed more hopeless than the prospect of wearing my stank frickin khakis for another week.
Picture Puerto Plata baggage claim: There are 6, maybe 8 airport employees visible. There are 2 of those rotating stations where you pick up luggage, neither of them are loaded or moving. There is a money exchange station with 2 people working. There is a desk against the wall with a computer on it. There are a bunch of unclaimed bags sitting in a pile (which we checked, with no luck). Across the room is the D.R.’s customs area (4 dudes who look at your bags), open doors, and beyond, waiting taxi drivers framed by swaying palm trees and open skies.
We go to the single desk and talk to a guy who speaks minimal English and ask him where the Delta desk is. He taps his desk and says “This is”. Troubling. He takes our baggage claims tickets, mumbles, and messes on the computer for about 10 minutes. Remember, I’m still rapidly approaching a full-blown episode here. I’m chewing my bottom lip, fidgeting with anything and everything I can find, stamping impatiently, and basically doing everything in my power to keep from HAVING an episode. CAN NOTHING GO RIGHT???
Suddenly he said something and I was jolted from my little reverie by Stephen’s voice announcing three very important words, “He found them.” Turns out, our baggage managed to make the flight we missed and made it into the D.R. despite the supposedly very rigid rules about international baggage, and They had been keeping them in a locked holding area. It turns out Delta had been lying about our bags stopping in Atlanta, being in Atlanta, and being on our flight. One thing I’ve learned from this trip is that airlines and politicians have a fundamental trait in common: they’re all liars.
I could have kissed that little Dominican man (but kissed Stephen instead). My panic was replaced with ecstasy. We got in the taxi that the resort sent for us (they told us on the phone the day before that it would cost $17, payable in American dollars) and got on our way- the trip was supposed to be an hour and a half. The taxi driver had a stuffed Speedy Gonzales hanging from the rear view mirror of his van (which sort of reminded me of the blue line). Our taxi driver sort of resembled Speedy Gonzales. I opened the window, it started to rain. I breathed in the humid island air. “Finally,” I thought, “Our honeymoon can actually start”. Stephen and I held hands.