4 days, and 2 Hurricanes later, and we are still not home.
The day after we rushed to get the last ferry, and rushed to the airport, ahead of the storm, we awoke to a beautiful clear sky, and a message that our hard earned flight had been cancelled due to Hurricane Erika.
The airport was closed. All flights were cancelled- or so we were told.
We spent the day checking hourly updates of Erika. Tracking her every move. Where is she now? How strong are her winds? Where is she headed? In anticipation of the winds and the rains we decided to head downtown to the grocery store to get food supplies so that we did not have to face the myriad of non - vegetarian choices at the hotel restaurant. The weather was so nice that we walked the two miles back to the hotel. Approaching the hotel, we noticed a jet taking off. Soon another jet landed and took off a bit later.
"But we thought the airport was closed" we said to a taxi driver
" American, Delta and Spirit are flying today" he replied, "Jet Blue is not"
Of course Jet Blue was the airline we were booked on for this leg of our journey.
That night the winds hit. Not too hard, certainly by Oregon Coast standards, but a good steady 35-40 Mph with higher gusts. The winds were still blowing in the morning. I kept checking to see if the flights were cancelled. They were not, so we headed to the airport.
It was a very quiet airport, different from last time we were there 2 days before. Wooden braces had been erected around the Palm trees to hold them up in case of high winds, and police, there were lots of police all around the airport, I am not sure why. Only one airline was flying. Jet Blue, the one airline that had not flown the day before. Perhaps the weather had been too good yesterday? Or were they waiting for the bigger gusts to help propel their aircraft?
Finally we made it out of USVI and arrived in Puerto Rico. The next problem, our American flight home had been cancelled. Apparently Jet Blue and American were using different hurricane tracking models. The next flight out of San Juan that we could get on was the following day, through Philadelphia.
The upside- we got to spend the afternoon walking around Old San Juan.
The downside- Erika brought some much needed rain to Puerto Rico. Unfortunately there was some type of small flying insect that had been waiting for the rain. As we were walking along the path, beside the great open fields leading to Fort San Juan, we encountered almost invisible swarms of these bugs. Millions upon millions of them. Clouds of miniscule creatures swirling above the grass. Tourists flapping their arms, holding newspapers in front of their faces. Dancing and swatting at unseen nuisances. We, too, did the dance, and because of it we cut short our trip to Fort San Juan.
This morning we awoke and enjoyed the fact that we were staying at the airport hotel. No taxi, no shuttle, just a walk to the check in counter. What a pleasant change. As we checked in the agent told us "they are boarding now". We knew we still had 45 minutes before the flight was departing, but this news still caused a bit of anxiety as we still had the security lines to endure.
30 minutes later, and a rushed 1/2 mile walk to the gate, and -no- they were not boarding yet. Unnecessary anxiety. Thank you ticket agent.
Not only were they not boarding, they would not begin boarding for another 30 minutes. And yet another 30 minutes before the plane finally took off.
"Paperwork" was the reason given.
We landed in Philadelphia 15 minutes after our connecting flight departed.
So- here we are- in Philadelphia - at the 4 Points Hotel by the airport.
Hoping to make it home on day 5.