4/19/13 – Travel Day
Up at 4:45 AM for our 6:30 AM taxi pickup leading to our flight – AA1985 – at 8:30 AM. We are giving ourselves lots of time because recent heavy rains have made travel more difficult. As it turned out, we did not have much traffic at all. What we did have was a long wait in security (even though we were in priority security) because there was a single individual checking everyone in – a casualty of the “Sequester” maybe.
We got to the gate just as our group was called so, for the first time in a long time, there is no photo of our aircraft.
Don’t ask to explain American Airline’s AAdvantage Program because it costs us fewer miles to book a Business Class ticket than a coach ticket for this flight. Nice, roomy, seats plus mimosas and Bailey’s along the way. Even the cereal and banana breakfast was great because our attendant also came up with biscuits (one of my faves). Just great…we are doing this again later in the year (First Class being fewer miles than coach – thanks, AA).
We had to fly through the storm system than dropped tons of rain on Chicago the day before so we were in our seats for most of the flight. Since the flight attendants were still up and about, I knew it wasn’t going to be major chop – still it was hard to get that spoon from the cereal bowl to my mouth.
Over the Atlantic Ocean (in the Bermuda Triangle)
Approach to San Juan Airport
The approach to SJU was very scenic – I haven’t flown to Puerto Rico since I was working. We caught a cab to our Hotel – fixed rate of $19 plus charges for passengers and suitcases ($1.00 per). The San Juan Park Hotel is a boutique hotel right around the corner from the Caribe Hilton in an oasis within some questionable neighborhoods. I could tell this by the two armed guards stationed at the Subway about two doors from the Hotel.
We are in Room 302. The hotel is on a busy street and we might have to deal with street noise. To be honest, my biggest concern – based on past experience – was giant tropical bugs. I can say up front that the San Juan Park was nice and clean and bug free for our stay.
Who’s the Guy in the Mirror?
Caribe Hilton and the Atlantic Ocean
Fort San Geronimo
I have always liked the Sizzler Restaurants going all the way back to my LA days. As we checked out the area around the hotel, we noticed a Sizzler in the distance. We crossed two bridges to get there – only a 10 minute walk. It turned out the meal was pretty much a disaster even though our waiter was very good and did his best to deal with the situation. After sending back most of our meal, we told the waiter we would take them to go. He packed up two full new meals for us, which we had the next day. All things considered, we came out ahead. However, my perception of the Sizzler may have, perhaps unfairly, changed for the worse.
View from the Sizzler
The Condado and Atlantic Ocean
After dinner, we read out on our room balcony. It was still in the high 70s at bedtime.