St Thomas Day 2
Arriving in St Thomas...
So the alarm was set for 3am, although we all had trouble sleeping, the girls were wide awake by 2am. It's going to be a long day with no "true" sleep for any of us.
Everything packed and weighed again and we were heading out the door about 3:45am. We received a text saying our Uber driver would be coming early but would wait for us until 4am. Well, I was not about to miss this ride so early out the door for us it was. We waited outside by the entrance and he was definitely not early at all.
He pulled in at 4am...and went right around the side and toward the back of the building. What is with these drivers??? Do they not understand what an entrance to a hotel is? It's the place you check in and out. Remember the issues I had in Vegas? Please don't let this turn out like that. Before long, he was pulling back around and we were flagging him down and we were off to the airport.
As we were pulling into the airport, we were passing by all of the airlines and I could see massive lines inside. I started to worry. We pulled up to the Spirit terminal and to my surprise, there wasn't a line. Whew! We did a self check-in and tagged our bags, handed the attendants our passports, they checked for our green check to enter St Thomas and we were set to go. Our bags came in anywhere from 39.5-40 pounds. Whew! We were really pushing the limit. We watched them go bye-bye and hoped they would end up in the same location as we did for a final destination.
We have 2 flights to get there: flying to Orlando and then on to STT. They put a pretty little green dot on our tickets and we were off to look for food. There's absolutely nothing around to grab a bite to eat so we decided to head to security. There was only 1 family ahead of us...can you believe it? What luck. I'm always flying this early...said no one ever and it definitely didn't come out of my mouth.
So it's Kiera's first time flying (well, second if you want to be technical about it since we did fly to FLL yesterday) and she was the lucky winner today to get patted down. Hey, at least Sakari no longer carries her ginormous eraser, that they think is a weapon, anymore.
We made it to our terminal and absolutely nothing is open this early nor was anyone flying today obviously.
We had to wait until 6am and the shops slowly started opening. We ended up getting some really yummy breakfast sandwiches and I was really shocked at how good they were.
Spirit allows you to board the plane 45 minutes ahead of time (Southwest is 30 minutes) and I had decided to splurge on the front row seats on the plane for this very long trip. I figured why not. It was Kiera's first time and the added space would give us room to stretch out...and possibly sleep if needed.
Ok, Sakari wasn't about to be out of the limelight altogether with the ritual of touching the plane for good luck. She knew she was the better person for the job since we were going so far away and she was more experienced in this.
I felt like such a celebrity I tell ya. No small cramped seat with a small little tray the size of your hand to deal with. That's what I'm talking about. There was a small little pocket in front that you really had to reach for since there was so much leg room.
These seats were so comfortable!
Up, up, and away we went for our 1 hr flight. We were going over to Orlando for a very short 1 hour and 25 minute layover. With boarding 45 minutes early, I was worried we would have to walk a mile to get the gate. Having front row seats, I was actually the first one off the plane as I frantically yelled for the crew "come on, we have to make it to the next flight!" Only, we found that the next place to get on the plane was right in front of us across the hallway. Whew!
Our plane was already here and letting people off as we waited to board our official flight to St Thomas.
I started looking at my tickets and noticed that it said we were in the row 25. Hmmm, wait...how is row 25 the front row seats? What is going on? Was there a mistake? I went up to ask the attendant and she explained that you have to buy the front row for each flight! Ugh! I thought that's what I was paying for when I picked those seats! It's not my fault they have a stop over in Orlando. If I would have known that, I wouldn't have purchased them for the first half of our flight because I just paid all this extra money for a 1 hour flight! Lesson learned. I thought it was for the entire "ride" down there...which meant I probably didn't pick a seat at all for the second half, which is why we were assigned row 25.
It was finally time to board but it was 20 minutes until take off. It looks like we were a little late boarding. I didn't really care at this point...get me to paradise!
I missed the touch as the girls walked in...darnit So guess where row 25 was.....
Yep, we were in second to last row! What the heck! I thought I was a better planner than this! I'm so ashamed. At least it wasn't a full flight and no one had to sit with us.
The famous tiny tray's on Spirit...they are good for absolutely nothing. They are just a little bit bigger than the size of your hand. Why do I do this to myself? Oh yea, because Southwest doesn't fly there yet!
Finally we were on our way to paradise...
I kept myself busy with some seek and finds... and of course Sakari and Kiera were drawing...I'm pretty sure we nodded off at some point. I mean we really didn't sleep well and got up so early.
She may be a teenager now...but she still carries a small piece of her baby blanket around with her. She will not sleep unless she has it. The poor frazzled thing that's falling apart. I need to crochet her another one.
So we finally made it and the excitement (and nerves) were growing.
WOO HOO! LANDED!!!! Time to walk the green carpet like a movie star.
By the time we made it off the plane, the line outside to get into the building was wrapped all the way around the building. Geesh! I had read about this on the facebook groups but didn't realize just how long the line would be. The hubby grabbed me a wheelchair from Jet Blue because I really didn't want to wait in that long line standing on my leg. Also, we were not the only plane that had just came in either.
I have to say, the line moved rather quickly, so that was good. We walked up to a guard, he ask us how many in our party and took our temps. He then directed us to desk #7 (there were several set up with people sitting at them) and we headed over to the furthest one. They ask for our passports and also ask for our proof of a negative COVID test. Then inside we went to retrieve our luggage.
When Kiera got her luggage (brand new mind you)...this is how it came off the plane:
So now my question was who do we contact? They told us to go out to the desk for Spirit to file a claim. When I got there she just had me scan a code and it took me to the area to fill out a claim.
Then we called First Rent-A-Car to let them know that we were there and needed picked up. They told us they would have someone there in about 10 minutes. Well...an hour went by!!! We called back and they said it would be another 30 minutes. At this point I'm irritated. They said they would try to hurry but they were short staffed. We waited for around 2 hours total for this ride from them and they were basically located right outside the airport on the main road. Geesh!
We get to the little shack trailer that is their office where I would spend at least another hour filling out paperwork, making copies, providing them with insurance that they MADE me buy prior to coming off some company online because they did not offer insurance on their cars and we could not drive them unless we purchased this insurance. The name of this insurance is Allianz (which when they told me the name of the website, they didn't even have the right website and it took awhile). This made me feel really nervous and uneasy, but I purchased it as instructed. I was getting highly irritated at the amount of time it was taking and there was an older man in the room beside it that really seemed to have an attitude. He just gave off bad vibes. You know how you just get this feeling and you know things are not going to work out type of thing? Yea, that's what I was feeling. I'm trying to make small conversation with him to lighten the mood. I'm looking around and this place is a dump with stuff piled everywhere. The lady that was helping me would just disappear outside, talking to another guy who was under a tent working on cars beside the building. Then another time she went out to help someone with a car seat (not a customer). It was just weird and aggravating. Please just take care of me and get me out of here!
Meanwhile, my family is outside sitting in a very hot van waiting this entire time. FINALLY, everything was done and I just wanted to get out of there. They pulled up with the SUV and told me to go around and take pictures of the vehicle to look for damage. Um, ok "are you coming with me?" She told me "No, I already went out and looked at it". I said "but what if I see damage that you didn't see or take a picture of?" She said no, that she already looked at it and refused to come out with me to go over the car. Well, at least it looked nice.
Now I want you to study this next picture and see if you notice anything...other than the dings and dents in it.
It was quite the task to get all 4 of us in the vehicle and 4 luggage. Thank goodness Kiera's luggage was not the huge luggage as ours or we probably would have had to strap it to the hood of the car...either the luggage or them...either or. They were jam packed in the vehicle with luggage sitting on top of them. I assured them it would be all over soon.
We pulled out of the rental place onto the side street and I needed a map. I seen a car coming down the road behind me so knew I had to pull over and let them by while I brought up my maps me app to see where we were going. Of course the other driver pulled up beside me and told me I was on the wrong side of the road. I played it off and said "I know, I had to pull over to do something and there wasn't a place on that side to pull over...I got this, no worries but thanks for looking out!" Which really wasn't a lie. It was the only dirt area off the road to pull over and park...it just happened to be on the right side. Silly me, I should have done it the St Thomas way and just stopped and held up traffic like they do there.
Then off we went to our condo we rented. Ok, time to shift my brain from everything I've ever known about driving. We are driving on the left side of the road now. I did it when we were here last and didn't have too many issues, so I knew I could do it again. I only have a few issues with turning at an intersection...especially if I'm turning right. Oh, and pulling out of a place and remembering which side I'm pulling onto the road...oh, and watching for oncoming traffic in the other direction when turning right. Oh, and maybe being in a huge parking lot at the mall. Ok, I'm good. I got this! I'm pretty sure the hubby was side-eyeing me at times and questioning my judgement.
We noticed NCLs Encore was in port...one of the ships we have not been on before. Immediately we started talking about how we missed cruising and some day we'd be back on a ship.
As we are heading to the resort, we are hearing clanging, pounding, boom, clunk clunk...this vehicle sounded like it was falling apart. It really didn't handle very good and I was a little freaked out on the winding twisting roads and especially in the parts you make a sharp turn around a hillside and can't see if traffic is coming or not. The hubby said "I had a feeling after all the issues you were having and how long it took to get the car that something was not going to go right". Well...it was the cheapest place to rent a vehicle there...that old saying comes into place "you get what you paid for" and I felt like I had made a bad decision based on being frugal and now I was risking my families life. What if something breaks on these hills? What if the brakes go out going down a hill. I think anxiety was taking a front row seat at this point and I just couldn't wait to get to our condo rental.
We pull up to our resort, Point Pleasant, and was greeted by the friendliest, nicest guard at the security gate. She checked us in and gave us a paper to put in our window. We started our journey of winding up the mountain, twisting and turning 180° and going on up until we reach our final destination. As we headed into the office to check in we noticed the beautiful view. You could see Coral World from here and the dolphin enclosure. Hey, we were in that enclosure last time kayaking with the dolphins!
We were greated by the friendliest, soft spoken lady at the front desk who was so welcoming and polite. Is this whole place really like this? I was loving it! She checked us in and told us even though they close at 6pm, if there was ANYTHING I ever needed to give them a call.
While we were checking in, a gentleman that worked there came in and ask us if we knew our tire was flat. Wait, say what? Oh just great! The vehicle is falling apart even more and what do we do now? He did say that they had a pump and would fix it for us. But first, he was going to show us to our condo and get us settled in.
We back tracked back up the hill to our building and in we went.
Our first impression of the place was we really liked it but then we stepped outside on the balcony and was really blown away from the view. Yea, I could get used to this...and I will.
The employee left to get the air tank and at some point came back and aired up the tire for us. We kept our fingers crossed that it wasn't a slow (or fast) leak and that it would hold up without stranding us somewhere.
As I looked through my pictures I had taken of the vehicle when we rented it, I zoomed into the side where the flat tire was and discovered it was actually like that when we picked it up. I was furious that they would give us a vehicle like this and not even bother to make sure everything was good with it before renting it out and letting customers drive off like that.
We took on the task of unpacking our things and putting them away, had a few snacks since we hadn't ate since around 6am that morning and the girls were still having withdrawal from not getting to swim the day before and wanted to head to the pool. Well, there were 3 pools located on this property and we had to make a choice. We decided on the middle pool since it was fairly close to our building.
We would find winding trails everywhere on the property and there were steps leading down to the pool area as well.
We could see our building from here:
The girls got in the pool and we just kind of lounged around and took in the view.
The girls were having a good time playing ball (one of Sakari's new favorite things since last year) and Kiera had a bit of an overthrow and it ended up rolling off the deck and into an area that was blocked off...so, she hopped over the railing and went after it. LOL
We had been there for maybe an hour or two and decided we needed to head back because we had to figure out what we were doing for dinner. I was originally going to order my groceries to be delivered to the place prior to us getting there (they have a service that will do this online and have them there when you arrive) but it slipped my mind and I forgot.
So, that meant we were going to the grocery store and
it was going to be a race to get there before it got dark
because I really didn't feel good driving this vehicle at
night with these roads.
I told the girls to lock the door behind us, to take a shower
and get dressed, finish unpacking and under no circumstance
answer or unlock the door while we were gone.
I pull up the MapsMe and off we headed to Red Hook for
some groceries. Oh my goodness the prices are crazy high
in St Thomas. So, if you are visiting, just remember that!
When we returned, we had our hands full with groceries, but most important...pop. Now I like diet Pepsi over diet Coke...so of course what you'll find in most places here is Coke. Go me!
We gathered as much as we could and lined our arms to the fullest and headed down the steps. We knocked on the door and the girls answered. They don't listen very well. I told them not to answer the door while we were gone. They said they heard us talking and knew it was us. Ok, I'll let them off the hook this time around.
I decided on spaghetti: quick and easy and then I could rest.
The girls let me know that the light on the kitchen wall controlled the dining room light and it dimmed to a "romantic mood". Ok, so girls created an ambiance to go along with my 3 star, 1 course fine dining experience. When I say fine dining, I mean fine dining because that always equals an expensive meal...and when in St Thomas, every meal is expensive...yep fine dining it was for us. Shortly after that we headed to bed. We were all extremely tired from being up since 2-3am this morning.
UP NEXT...frantic times, the struggle, wasted day, sapphire colored waters and colored gems