Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Punta Cana With Friends

So yeah, we just got back from a month in Europe. But moving is hard! We needed a mini-vacation, plus we are still exercising our Southwest Airlines Companion Pass super powers. I think after this Costa Rica might be the only foreign destination that they fly to that we haven't visited yet. This trip began in St. Louis which was super exciting: no long drive to Tulsa or Kansas City for us!

Lydia refuses to use hotel shampoo so we had to refill our tiny travel bottles up first.

Unfortunately the TSA heard we were coming and our boarding pass printed out with the dreaded "SSSS" code on it. I didn't know what that meant but Lydia did from the flight she was pulled off in New York for being a security risk. The Southwest desk lady knew what it meant too because her eyes went wide and she asked a coworker what she should do before eventually handing them over.

Our theory on "SSSS" is Super Secret Sufferin' Suckatash or Super Sexy Sensitive Search, which unfortunately is what was about to happen to me.

When we got to the security line and the guard lady scanned our tickets the scanner went red and made an ominous beep for both of us. We each got a TSA agent assigned to us who followed us through the line. I felt kind of like a super villain from the X-Men. When I sat my luggage on the scanner another agent followed my bags while my original pig tail followed me, lest I use my power over magnetics to mess with the scanners.

I then got patted down which was made much worse by the slow, creepy description of how I was about to be patted down beforehand. "I'm going to use the back of my hand on your sensitive areas." Is the federal government allowed to tell me where I'm sensitive?

After this every little pouch of my backpack was opened and swabbed then run through a machine that checks for werewolfs or something. I had to turn my computer on to prove its innocence as well.

After that they take my passport and one goon says to another that he's going to "call it in to CC". After a long wait Captain Crunch apparently gave me the go ahead and they gave me my passport back and said thank you or something. The one that patted me down tried to kiss me on the cheek but I politely refused.

Insult to injury was that throughout they were either ignorant or lying about why this was happening. I heard "random security check" at least twice which clearly isn't true because it happened to both Lydia and I and it happened to her last week. One told Lydia that it had something to do with our airline which also seems to be nonsense.

I'm not sure why we've been flagged as super villains but my best guess is our visits to Russia, Turkey, and Egypt, although all three are well established tourist destinations so I dunno. I suppose flying to Russia and not even staying 24 hours is out of the ordinary.

Well I managed to conceal my evil plans once again so on to Punta Cana, Dominican Republic!

I know what you're thinking, "John, if you want to go to every country in the world wouldn't it be efficient to just pop over to Haiti?" Yes, annoying question thinker, yes it would. The universe likes to torture me though, and the cheapest way to fly from Punta Cana to Haiti involves going back to Florida first. We looked at buses but they sounded crappy and it would have been a four day round trip. I'll just visit some other time. Womp womp.

There were several wedding parties on the flight so the plane was especially rowdy. One girl spilled a drink on herself so bad that she had to change clothes. One of the couples getting married was asked to come to the front of the plane and were presented with crowns made from swizzle sticks and peanut packets.

I was especially impressed with Punta Cana's airport. It could have easily been the check in area for a resort. It had a thatched roof and the immigration officers just had polos on, no scary military uniforms here. Topping it off was a band playing some live Caribbean music. This is how a tourist destination airport should be. I'm looking at you, Montego Bay, Jamaica!

Lydia and I, her work friend Kayla and husband Aaron were adventuring together so we booked a condo to escape the expensive resorts.

I thought I was pretty smart and even had planned out the specific grocery store that I wanted the cab driver to take us to in order to stock up on cheap food. Well we had mixed results. The local beer was $10 a six pack. I went for the can six packs since they looked cheaper but the price posted was PER CAN!

The condo was pretty solid. We spent a lot of time in the pool.

This fearsome beast was guarding one of the houses in our neighborhood.

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