The Traveling Steve's

Flying back from San Juan in midst of tragedy


IMG_8440On Sunday we slept in a bit at our Caribe Hilton Hotel in San Juan.  As our flight wasn’t until 4pm, we requested (and were granted) a 2pm checkout which was nice, as we didn’t have to store our luggage.  We upgraded our complimentary Hilton Diamond complimentary breakfast for $12 a person to get the hot buffet, which was nice as it had sausage and bacon which I like, and eggs for DOS.  We were served by Yolanda, a pleasant older woman with a warm smile and caring nature.  The buffet goes until 11am, and arriving at 10 we had plenty of time for seconds and extra coffee.

After breakfast, we took an extended walk past the now closed and former Normandie Hotel, (which I’ve written about in previous posts) and up street away from the hotel.  IMG_8541 (1)

As it was Sunday, there were lots of locals out for the day with their families, enjoying the beach, barbecues, picnics, and beautiful weather.  We walked along the public beach that the locals used, and as there were lots of families and groups, it was obviously not a tourist beach area.IMG_8550 IMG_8574


I stopped for a photo, and realized I had just walked past a group that was having an outdoor Bible service which was nice to see.  It reminded us of the time years ago we saw a group baptism in a public beach in Nassau Bahamas, with the member all dressed in their Sunday finest clothes.IMG_8578 IMG_8575

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It was quite hot today and not as breezy as yesterday, but a couple of bottles of water helped.  We got our 10,000 steps in as measured by our Fit Bit watches, and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the airport.  IMG_8600 IMG_8599There is a Quiznos in the hotel, so DOS picked up some chicken and pesto flatbreads for us to eat before heading out for our flight.  (Remembering how pricy and slow the service was at the airport Margaritaville last time we were there).

After showering and changing clothes for the flight, we took a cab to the airport, and unlike yesterday when we arrived, encountered a bit of stop-and-go traffic.  We still made it to the airport in 40 minutes, and were checked in by 2:45pm for our 4:06pm departure on American Airlines.  Since we had over an hour before flight departure, we walked around the terminal a bit, including the older American Airlines terminal that now seems like a dreary ghost town.

IMG_8606  It’s actually used by the small prop inner-island airlines such as Cape Air, but other than that the terminal had a dreary look to it compared to the new and modern terminal it connects to via long walkway.You can see the jetways have been removed from the old terminal where the jets used to deplane; now replaced by the tiny prop planes where you walk out to the tarmac.IMG_8603

It was a bit sad there was no longer an Admiral’s Club in the San Juan Airport, as there was in the older terminal at one time.  The AA Club closed with American moved to the new terminal, but the AA Club did not move with it unfortunately.  We took a photo of where the club was, and even though the sign has been taken down, you can still see where it hung.IMG_8609 IMG_8610 IMG_8612

We went back to the new terminal, and I was lucky to find a rocking chair to relax in for a bit.  As I’ve said before – I’ve always loved to rock since a little boy. IMG_8619 I had very poor internet via my Verizon phone hotspot, (and the San Juan Airport does not offer complimentary wi-fi), but I was able to get the new of the horrific terrorist attack early Sunday morning at a gay nightclub.  As my signal kept dropping, I couldn’t get much in the way of details, and the lone TV or two I saw was showing sports cast, not news.

We flew back from San Juan in First Class row 3D and F, but unfortunately didn’t have wifi on this flight, so it left us wanting details the whole trip back.   We did have dinner on the flight back, but it wasn’t a pleasant flight considering the recent events. IMG_8551 (2) IMG_8623 (1)As Steve (DOS) was sitting by the window, he took a couple photos as we arrived into Miami.  With the high-rises of the city; it almost resembles Manhattan from the air!

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Once in Miami, we stopped by the Admiral’s Club and got more details – some 50 people had been killed by an Islamic male, and some 50 others were injured at Pulse Nightclub in downtown Orlando.  While we don’t go to the clubs, it was quite shocking to hear the worst shooting in US history happened close by in our city. We will find out more in the coming days, but for now we did all we could do, which was to offer prayers for the victims and families.

We arrived back to Orlando around 9:30pm, and headed home shortly thereafter.

‘Twas a wonderful weekend Way-Cation, with a tragic ending.  Enjoy life folks – you never know how long you have.  This could have happened anywhere and to anyone so be vigilant where ever you go.  Good night, and may God bless America and keep us safe.

Welcome home!

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