Jay Maynard (jmaynard) wrote,
Jay Maynard

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Dominican trip: The long journey home

Everything had gone so well that I should have realized I was in for trouble...

The day started off with the taxi, which was supposed to pick me up at 8, being 20 minutes late. This should have been an immediate clue. The guy apologized, saying it was a traffic problem, and managed to get me to the airport by 9 AM anyway.

I didn't see much on the drive from the airport to the hotel on Tuesday evening, since it was dark and raining. I hadn't missed much. The highway from Santo Domingo toward the airport runs along the coast, but on the other side were lots of run-down buildings and broken-down cars. If you've ever driven into Houston from Bush Intercontinental down US 59, you know what I mean; this was just like that, only more so. The spur into the airport was numbered Ruta 66. Dunno if that's intentional or just a coincidence.

Had no problems getting through security. My suitcase was X-rayed outside the terminal, and a sticker applied that said I had no fruit or agricultual products inside (which are illegal to bring into the US, anyway). Security itself was a breeze. I started to get something to eat, but then realized I didn't have any Dominican money to pay, so I blew it off and sat down to read.

The flight stated boarding late, and there was a lot of confusion among the passengers, who apparently weren't used to boarding by sections. The aircraft was full, too, so we didn't depart on time. After an uneventful flight, we landed about 10 minutes late. Getting through Immigration was fast, but getting baggage was not: it took them 45 minutes to unload the aircraft. I finally got through Customs about 4:40 PM, after a 3:35 scheduled arrival.

This was not looking good. My flight to Minneapolis was scheduled to depart at 7:40 PM. I'd missed the 4 PM shuttle from JFK to EWR, and waited for the 5 PM shuttle. And waited. And waited. And WAITED. And WAITED. It arrived about 10 minutes after 6. Getting from JFK to EWR takes 90 minutes at the best of times. This time, it took almost two hours. Needless to say, I missed the flight. Note to self: Do not accept connections from EWR to JFK, or vice versa, with less than 6 hours of layover, ever. I'm drafting an amendment to the consulting agreement that states I will not plan flights that require ground connections in the same city. American Airlines rebooked me on the first flight out the next morning.

I stayed at the Sheraton Four Points Hotel near EWR. The room was adequate, and the hotel restaurant dinner was pretty good. Got to the airport the next morning at 6, checked in, flew home, had no further problems. I stopped at the office to drop off the equipment I'd taken with me, then went to a Minnesota Repeater Council meeting, followed one ham home to pick up an antenna he gave me free, then drove home. I got home very, very late, and very tired.

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