St Thomas Day 3
Frustrating times and sapphire waters
I was up around 7am. The girls were still sleeping but once they woke up they let me know they had set their alarm for 5am to watch the sunrise and then laid back down. They said it was cloudy and rained a little but it was gone by the time I got up. I found out the hard way and went sliding when I went out on the deck. Whew weeee. Just what I need...to break another leg. I have always wondered why vacation places always put smooth tile on decks. Not a wise choice. Hubby decided to sleep in an extra hour after we were all up.
I made eggs, bacon and toast for breakfast. We would quickly learn that we had a malfunctioned toaster and it would only toast one side for some reason.
After breakfast we started getting ready for the day and trying to decide where to go. Kiera's #1 priority was to see an iguana, in real life, in the "wild" and not in a cage. I told her she was sure to see some at Sapphire Beach. The other thing she just has to see was turtles and stingrays. I told her that would be probably Brewers Bay. I let her chose which was more important and she said "i wanna see an iguana!" So, Sapphire it was.
As we packed our things for the day I got a phone call and also a knock on the door. Hmmm ok. We answered the door and there were two men saying they were there to replace the door. Now when we first got there we thought the door was unlocked and the key wasn't working well. I guess there was some issues prior to us for them to have planned to replace the door.
Sooooo, you are doing this now?? He said "They didn't tell you?" Um....no they did not. "Ok, so how long is this going to take?" He replied "Around 2 hours". Geesh, I couldn't believe it. I wondered what would have happened if we were just 10 minutes earlier getting out of there and they showed up. Would they have still come in and done it? It was our first day here and I really wanted to get out and do SOMETHING. Grrr
Yep, there they are...actually removing the entire door and frame.
I went out to the deck to listen to my voicemail and it was from First Rent-A-Car saying I needed to call them right away. When I called, I spoke to the lady that took forever helping us yesterday and she said my license was expired. Say what?!? I immediately took my license out and yep, it expired back on my birthday in February. I didn't even realize it. She said I'd need to bring in an updated license. And just how do you expect me to do that?? She said I would need to have another driver and I wouldn't be able to drive the vehicle. I told them we would have to use my husbands then. She told me to get in there ASAP. Well....I can't because they are busy replacing the door on our condo and I couldn't leave. I ask if I could take a picture of his license and send it in. She said "No, you must come in and we need to redo all of the paperwork". So...this was going to take another few hours or so if it went anything like it did the first time around.
So, I told her "If we have to come back in then we need another vehicle. This vehicle sounds like it's falling apart and I don't feel safe driving in it" I also told her "You also put me in a vehicle with a flat tire and it was like that when we got it because I went back and looked at my pictures I took of it. Was this vehicle not checked out prior to giving it to a customer?" At this point she was telling the old man in the background about it and he became irate and jumped on the phone and started yelling "You are driving my vehicle illegally. You need to bring my car back right now!" I explained to him what happened and then told him my husband has a valid license and we would be switching it to his name. However, we would be needing a different vehicle because this one was making all kinds of noises and felt unsafe, not to mention it was given to us with a flat tire." He said "bring my vehicle back!" I ask if he would have another and he stated "I don't know if I will have another one for you or not just bring it back now!" I ask what we were supposed to do and would definitely need another. This one would not work for us. He started screaming at that point "Bring back my vehicle! Bring it back right now!" and it made me feel so uncomfortable I ended up actually hanging up on him.
So now I knew that I was 1) not going to get another one from him and 2) didn't want to deal with anyone who acted this way and 3) for any company to give out a car in this condition and not be checked over it would not be a business I wanted to deal with. I was now in a bunch to find another company that might have a car for us. I started googling cars for rent in St Thomas and coming up with various local companies and call after call resulted in "I'm sorry, we do not have any cars available for your dates". I was getting very nervous. I was on the brink of tears. I kept telling the hubby "I don't know what we are going to do! What can we do? We are stuck! How are we going to get back here? How are we supposed to get around?" He said "what would we do if we came by cruise ship?" "Um, we would have to take a taxi but that would cost a fortune for the rest of the time we would be there and is not an option."
The girls were getting tired of waiting around and the day was wasting away. They ask if they could go to the pool and I told them to go ahead since replacing the door was taking a tad bit longer than 2 hours at this point. Although I wasn't having the best morning, at least I had this view.
It was time to try the big name rental companies, as much as I didn't want to because you hear nothing but bad stories about renting from places like that not to mention they are expensive. But, what choice did I have? I was getting desperate! I tried another search online and came across one for Budget at the airport. I put in my dates and boom! It said they had one available. Could this be true? I booked, using Expedia, and started wondering how this third party booking agency would even know if they actually had a car available or are they over booking? I decided I would call them directly to see. I spoke with someone from "Budget" but it was not at the actual airport and just customer service. I told them I needed to talk to someone actually there. Once I spoke to someone actually at the airport I was told they "could" have a car but sometimes it could be a 2 hour wait depending on when customers return the vehicles. "But you will have one correct?" She said "yes" and that was good enough for me. I felt somewhat relieved at this point.
I'm sure that once we return this raggedy car we currently have to the old man with an attitude, they would never drop us off at the airport. The hubby came up with the idea of going to the airport, parking the car and waiting for our new car, then dropping off the beater. Perfect!
They finished up replacing my door at 12:20pm and it was time to get the girls from the pool. I called the girls and they said they were at the lower pool and there were huge fish down there. We decided to walk down there and see what they are talking about. Let me tell you, it was a walk that I didn't want to repeat. The hill was winding and some places were steep. It took us awhile, but we finally made it. I had no idea it was that far down.
Upon arrival, there's an area that has steps going down to the rocks and water right beside the restaurant. You can walk over to Margaritaville beach if you wanted to. However, they don't recommend swimming there due to contaminants in the water from run off they say.
Then we seen the very large tarpon in the water down by the restaurant. They were just hanging out.
We decided it was time to go. We had a new vehicle to pick up and it may take several hours. Our morning had already been wasted and I didn't see the rest of the day going any better. Remembering the treacherous climb we had coming down the hill, I knew you had to be half billy goat to go back up. We decided it would be in my best interest to call the shuttle. We went up to the parking lot and awaited for our chariot. They took us back up to our condo and we gave the girls instructions once again "Do NOT open the door for anyone...I mean anyone! Stay inside, draw, take a shower, watch tv, it may take 2 or 3 hours for us to do everything." I got promises and we were headed off to the airport.
Once we arrived at the airport, we stopped at the parking lot for
Budget and ask about parking. We were told we would have to park
in the regular parking lot within the airport and that is what we did. The hubby
headed into the airport as I parked the car. By the time I made it to the entrance
of the airport, he was walking back out saying he needed his face mask,
which I had with me. We went to the counter and the
lady was extremely nice. But life can't be that easy for us with renting a
car could it? We went to give them the cc and she takes one look at it
and says "I'm sorry, we can't use this card because it's in your wifes
name". Oh my word! Will this nightmare ever end for us? So, the hubby
searched for one of his cards and thank goodness he had his wallet with him
or this just wouldn't have worked out. It took about 25 minutes and we
were out the door to pick up our new vehicle: a 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee in
the parking lot. It was time to play a little seek and find. Push the alarm button
on the key fob and that should tell us where our vehicle is.
It did cost us an additional $700, but at least we now had a vehicle that
felt brand new and rode like a dream.
We headed out of the airport and across the street to drop off the old
raggedy beater we rented and when we pulled up and a guy took the keys
and I went into the office...where I would encounter the same lady and man
inside. I told her I was returning it and never once did they offer to replace
the vehicle or apologize. Then she told me that I owed them for 1 day of
rental. That's when I got a little perturbed and told them absolutely not!
I had my say and the old man told her to not charge me at all. He told her
to delete it in the system and there's no charge. She did something, then
printed out a statement and told me to sign it. I looked it over and the
statement told me they were charging the balance of $1059. NOPE! I
will not sign this saying you are charging me this amount. He said "no
charge" and this needs to say $0. She kept telling him that it wasn't
letting her delete it or changing the amount so I told her he needed to
write that on that paper and sign it saying he wasn't going to charge me
and that's what he ended up doing. Then she "ran my credit card" for .01¢
Like what was that for? I don't think they know what they are doing there. They have crappy cars and bad service. They have no customer service skills nor did they try to make it right. I would NEVER recommend renting from First Rent A Car....ever!
I called the girls to check on them and tell them we were on our way back already. I noticed on the way back to the condo a Carnival ship in port.
So now that most of the day was wasted, it was time to go iguana hunting. We were headed to Sapphire. We picked up the girls and headed down the street. We walked the beach hunting iguanas and wasn't having much luck. We were seeing all the black long-spined sea urchins that were washed up on shore dead. So sad.
Pulling into Point Pleasant to get the girls and we were met at the security gates by the super nice employees.
There was always a welcoming committee waiting
While we were having difficulty finding any iguana's, Kiera did find that she could get extremely close to the seagulls. The look on her face was priceless!
Such great memories here the last time.
As we walked along, we did manage to find 1 iguana up in the tree. Kiera was ecstatic to see it. Her first real iguana in the wild.
We walked out onto the jetty and of course I was taking pictures and the kids discovered that people had gathered shells to create sayings or pictures. So we decided to do the same.