Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ahoy all from loopy Luperon. Just thought we’d let everyone know that we’re fine and still living the lazy life in Luperon. Some quick notes though....

Hurricane Dean is plotted to pass to the south of the island of Domincan Republic. As we are safely ensconed in this pretty bay on the north shore with 6000 foot mountain range between us and Dean we are in no immediate danger. As Dean passes we may see some showers and a bump in our wind or we may not even notice. Good news indeed!

My book, The Why Book of Sailing, is due out sometime in September. I’ll find out soon where and when you can buy it. Just in time for Christmas. Makes a great stocking stuffer!

I’ve organized a Texas Hold em tournament at Capt. Steve’s Place every Sunday afternoon. Much fun. We had 200 peso buy in, 14 players at two tables, and one champion. That’s 2800 pesos or about $70. Not bad for an afternoon of fun. I showed Sue how to play that morning and gave her a card with poker hand hierarchy. She lasted an hour longer than me! Well, I always thought I was a fair teacher!

We spent last summer in Ft Myers Beach. The weather there was unbearable. Never a breeze. It stayed hot at night. Humidity was 110% Thunderstorm nearly every afternoon. We had go below at sundown or get eaten alive by mosquitoes. We were so happy to leave. So we were worried about staying put again this summer. Not to worry. We've been here since mid May and the weather has been spectacular. It is plenty hot during the day (upper 80's) but there is always a nice 15-20 knot breeze curtesy of the trade winds. At night it cools down nicely with sometimes a cool breeze coming down off of the mountains. No bugs. We sleep with the hatches wide open. It has also been clear nearly every night and with few shore lights in this sleepy old fishing village the stars are spectacular. We got up for the Perseids meteor shower the other day at 4 AM. We saw some meteors. We went back to bed. I expected so much more. Like when my mom told me that the Hostess Cupcakes had a surprise inside only to find out that the surprise was NOT a bike! (I had a problem with reality back then. When people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would said, "A police station".) Anyway it was a pretty morning.

I have a job of sorts. I am the voice of Capt. Steve's Place on the VHF radio in the morning and put out a little verbal ad for his joint. For this I get free stuff at Steve's on occasion.


I urge all of you to NOT ever, ever fly Spirit Airlines. Promise me. I flew to Chicago and back a couple of weeks ago. Upon arriving in Santo Domingo I had no bag. In this bag I had put a bunch of boat things from West Marine that we just can’t get around here. OK big deal. Who hasn’t had a bag temporarily lost by an airline. I filled out a form and they said they’d deliver the bag to me. Sure. I had a friend call the airport the next day to make sure they knew where I was and so on. Spirit said they’d call back in an hour. Now...for the next two weeks my friend called 4-5 times a day. No answer. My daughter called the corporate office in Miramar Florida repeatedly. No one picks up the phone there! Finally she DID get someone and they gave her the baggage number in Ft. Lauderdale where my connection was. That phone leads to a voice mail box that is “FULL”. Calls to Spirit at O’Hare went unanswered or messages were not returned. Short story is that we were unable to talk to anyone within the Spirit Corporation at O’hare, Ft. Lauderdale, Santo Domingo, nor Miramar for two weeks. There is no “Contact Us” on their web-site.

Last week another friend was going to that airport to pick up her son and took our documents and asked about my missing bag. They were told to come back in an hour. An hour later they were told to come back in an hour. And again until they had to leave.

My daughter finally got someone in Miramar to send me an e-mail with the forms for claiming lost luggage. Friday I happened to go into the tourist office here in Luperon (a very well kept secret. I was just looking for a notary for my forms.) This nice lady asked what was up and I told her the story. She called her counterpart at the Santo Domingo airport and asked that person to go over to the Spirit counter and inquire about my bag. Surprise! My bag is in a storage locker there. You see, Santo Domingo is a 100+ mile trip for us from Luperon. I wasn’t willing to just go down there (a horrible bus ride) on the chance that someone would look for my bag or that it was even there.

On Monday Sue and I took that horrible bus ride to Santo Domingo. Oh man...nice bus but no AC and no opening the windows! Over booked so people are standing and crowding over you all the way. A noisy chicken on board and the standard screaming baby. PLUS they put a movie on the little monitors on the bus showing Pirates of the Caribbean with the volume cranked up to ELEVEN! . . . . and in Espanol! No reading. No sleeping just a hot and slow torture, four and a half hour ride to Santo Domingo. Now a $25 cab ride to the airport and finally . . . Sorry, come back tomorrow. The baggage office is closed for the day. Kind of like 'Walley World'.

We figured as much and had planned this to meet some friends of ours at the airport who were dropping off another couple at Spirit airlines. We hooked up and went to a small and very nice hotel in Boca Chica for the night.

The next day we returned to the airport. Guess what. YES my bag was sitting there in the lost luggage locker with about 100 other pieces of lostness. That’s the good news. Upon opening the bag I find that the several DVDs that my daughter had loaned me, the new knife that I had bought and two large packs of batteries were missing. I also found one of those TSA notes that said my bag was selected for inspection and opened. Hey, I had one of these before and found my new Cub hat missing. Why don’t they just say this: Your bag has been selected for robbery after our x-ray machine detected stuff we wanted. This, I’m sure, happened at O’hare in Chicago.

The trip back was fine. We stopped at a chinese restaurant for lunch and did some grocery shopping in Santo Domingo and in Santiago.

We’re returning home on the 30th via Spirit but we are NOT checking any bags. Never again. I’ll buy clothes when I get there. I’ll be battling Spirit now probably for the rest of my life for the cost of my missing things and the expense of getting back to Santo Domingo. I’ll never get off their case.. . . I hate them.

They are evil.

They would befriend Hitler.


Rich P said...

I feel your pain! I should never have to fly Spirit, and even if I have to, I won't.

Gary said...

On behalf of the entire Spirit family, we want to thank you for flying with us and remember - when you dribble at the John - you've just caught the Spirit!

Harriet Miers
President, Spirit Airlines

floridaglades said...

Wait for the next Leonid meteor shower. It's much better.

Jay and Jen said...

We've been watching Dean and was glad to see that you are nicely protected in Luperon- maybe a few showers and a slight blow. Good news indeed. And it sounds like you are enjoying your time there; with baseball, meteor showers, and texas hold em tournaments- what fun!

Can't believe the hassle with Spirit Airlines- what a pain. Suprised to hear that you are flying with them again, but what else are you going to do- eh? Enjoy your visit back to the States.

The Rum Runners

Anonymous said...

Scott& Sue,Carnation here, Judy and I have been in Tanzania and Kenya on a Safari and now getting caught up with your blog, sorry about Spirit, one doesn't need that. Great news on your book, Yahoo search has you as #1 and refer to Target Stores to pre-order.
Can't believe its a year ago when we met you in Chicago, wore my Catalina Fleet 21 hat while on Safari, enjoy Chicago, hope to get the in Oct. Regards. Stan & Judy, San Diego