***Pics coming soon***
We rode Irene for all she was worth !
What started off as a trip to the Caribbean with my good buddy Cao to chill on the beaches and hit up Electric Daisy Carnival in Puerto Rico turned out to be a multi airport fueled journey where we rode Hurricane Irene for all she was worth….and more.
We set off from Boston (Airport #1) and landed on the small island of Puerto Rico (Airport #2) in the Caribbean not knowing to much about it and what to expect. Checked into the water club hotel and jumped on the $22 jet skis.
After hearing rumors that one of the top five beaches in the world wasn’t to far from Puerto Rico, down towards South America we ended up chartering a miniature plane (Airport #3) and flew over to check it out. The pilot was on Facebook half the flight and the other half he was doing circles around ridiculous coconut clad sand spits you’d only dream of being washed up on. We landed after taking a right hand turn through two mountains and landing on a bit of tarmac that resembled the one from the film Blow… Insane !
We were treated with a Ryanair-eske airport but with it’s own Caribbean charm. Cao jumped up on the wing and did his traditionally embarrassing plank (tried to explain to him that Owling was the new thing but he only found out about Planking recently so didn’t want to ruin it for him). Walked into the terminal, four steps and out of the terminal to be treated by a dream line up of Jeep Wranglers and 4×4 golf carts.
After convincing the lady that in Ireland we only have digital copies of our driving licenses, which I had a scanned copy of in my emails she gave us the keys to a sweet 4×4 golf cart… Milling around this thing on the roads was some craic, nearly knocking over a dear was not ! We got down to Flamenco beach and lost ourselves in the stereotypical crystal clear water. Few hours of beach time and flaking the golf buggy all over the place we decided it was time for the Wrangler to make an appearance, swapped it no bother and hit up an off road track to a remote beach.
We went back to the Flamenco beach later that night to sleep in the car so we’d wake up early and catch sunrise. 06:00 start and stumbled along two rusted up US military tanks further down the beach, the US Army used the island for weapons testing back in the day apparently.
A two-hour boat back to Puerto Rico and the lack of public transport on the island mixed in with not giving in to the annoying locals trying to rip ye off with over priced lifts. Ended in getting in some car with an American couple that were going to rent a car and our thinking was that they would bring us back to San Juan… They just didn’t know it yet.
We drove through some pretty dodge looking areas, at this point questing our decision until we whipped a right into this sick resort that after driving through a couple of kilometers of pristine golf course and passing the population of Ireland in golf carts got to this amazing hotel. It had what seamed like a pool per person and it’s own port to launch boats to again their own exclusive island.
Half an hour arguing with the rental car guy that it’s ridiculous that they don’t take ‘digital’ copies of driving licenses and explain how advanced Ireland is while showing him a fuzzy picture of my driving license from the iPhone. This got us nowhere until we found out that the hotel had a free shuttle to the airport that was right beside Electric Daisy Carnival…
The shuttle didn’t leave for a good hour so we got to check out the hotel and their monorail before saying goodbye. The shuttle had a glass of complimentary rum for each person, something Cao didn’t understand as he polished off the bottle while trying to distract the driving with Irish stories you wouldn’t even tell a wall. I didn’t mind as we didn’t have to stop off or pregame and could head straight to EDC… Half way during the drive we got an email from Jet Blue…. ‘Flight cancellation notification’ – this is where things got interesting.
EDC was awesome… We were the only English speaking heads in a music festival full of regatan music, Puerto Rican Pocahontisses, Carnival rides, Tunes and no regard for health and safety.
The next day feeling a little bit worse for wear we made it to San Juan airport (Airport #4) after Cao’s stomach just about handled the hotel lift that had a full on waterfall in it. We got to the airport where we were greeted by a pile of semi concussed children that had been flung into the corner by Declem Moffet and a queue you’d write home to your granny about. This was the first real effect of your one ‘Irene’ we came across. A good bit of time at the counter figuring out how to get home we realised we could potentially get a layover somewhere else, see another city and take things from there.
We got ourselves a flight to Miami (Airport #5). This was an attempt to get on mainland US and obviously rock out while we were there. Taxi straight to South Beach, picked up a savage deal on a hotel app for the night. Did a quick round of shopping to get some clothes that weren’t covered in sand. Johnny Rockets was followed by a few cheeky dancers in Mango’s and the early hours of the morning was boxed off in the original Nikki beach thanks to our Cork friend Sarah.
A morning cycle along the beach and around the mansions, hotels and through the Step Up 4 set before jumping into a West Palm Beach airport bound taxi. Twenty minutes in and out of nowhere the sky opened up and absolutely poured down, we were having issues seeing out of the windscreen even with the wipers giving it socks at top speed. With lightening and rain that when it hits you it hurts, the roads clogged up and we were getting nowhere. An hour of sitting in the taxi and not moving soon made us realise we were never making it to West Palm Beach. A bit of quick thinking and a cheeky detour to the closest airport found us at Fort Lauderdale airport (Airport #6). Some playing dumb and Irish charm convinced the lady at the counter that there was a slip up on their part “you sent us to the wrong airport” and we could transfer our flight. Still no flights to Boston as Irene was approaching New England at this point so we convinced the lady to not book us a flight to New York but to Austin, Texas for the next day, ha! We had picked up a JetBlue route map a few minutes before and found that they flew to Austin and Texas sounded pretty wild.
We turn up the next day after staying in a see front hotel and checking out the roped off areas of the beach that had turtle eggs underneath the sand. Two hours later we’re getting off the plane (Airport #7) in what was quite visibly Texas – cowboy hats, dry heat and serious accents. Standing outside the airport some guy had a laser thermometer that showed it was 54 degrees…. Centigrade, it was HOT.
We hooked up with friends of ours, Katie and legendary statue updater Sorcha that were travelling around the states.
On our way through University of Texas we hear some noise coming from the stadium. We leg it up the exit ramps and find an opening to see the pitch… Unreal view and looked quality with only a few floodlights on. The pitch was covered by a couple of hundred heads doing different formations for band practice. We got onto the pitch and ran around for a while before hitting 6th street.
Austin houses UT (University of Texas), one of the biggest Uni’s in the states and 6th street is purely for them. It’s a wide street lined with roof top bars, tattoo parlors and pizza joints. We started off in a bar that had a mechanical bull in the middle and a guy that made sure to operate the bull in a way that girls bits and pieces would be on show if they held on long enough. The night ended at 5 in the morning, sitting in the back of the girls pick up arguing with a lesbian couple and a black guy about US politics, racism and immigration… It’s amazing how stupid and ignorant some Americans are. Got the whole conversation on camera but not sure if I can even show people some of the things that were said.
We end up dropping the girls off and heading to the airport (Airport #8) in their truck to sleep in the back and see if we can catch another flight in an ‘attempt’ to get back to Boston.
I end up at the familiar flight counter again with the route map in hand as Cao nursed his buck a beer head in the truck. Seeing what the most exciting destination I could convince the lady behind the counter to send us to ‘in an attempt’ to get home of course. We had joked about getting to the west coast and how ridiculous it would be but at the same time so impressively done, all for free as they were re-routing us in an attempt to get us home on the same original ticket.
She wanted to put us on a flight to JFK with a quick 40 minute connection to Boston which made perfect sense but with the potential to take it one step further and make it to the other side of the country we conjured up a bit of a story fuelled with a bit of truth about having to make it to San Francisco to access the only physical location our online bank has and that the pollution in the NYC airports didn’t get on with my breathing…ha. Good bit of chat and two hours latter we are on a flight to California!
We land (Airport #9) to clear skies – around downtown, Pier 39 and Lombard street before ticking the family box and meeting up with cousin Vanina which I hadn’t seen since her wedding so that was awesome. A night out with our favorite Taiwanese Wendy which ended in Ian’s bar and a long over due sleep back in his place.
We got up in the morning and hit the airport (Airport #10) . Another airport counter and another story later we were offered the option of a flight from San Fran to Long Beach (24 hour layover) to Chicago (another 24 hour layover) and then a stand-by flight back to Boston. At this stage we were close to an extra week on the road and unfortunately had to get back to life and business in Boston so opted for a shamefully unexciting direct flight to Boston.
Moral of the story – If a natural disaster is to happen at any point with warning. Get yourself there and fly out from any airport that it’s going to hit. You’ll try fly back into that airport a few days later and due to back logged flights and the mess caused they will look after you… they did with us and we got to see the whole country as we rode Irene for all she was worth !
3 time zones
Total cost of extra flights – $ 2,790.20
Amount paid for extra flights – $ 0
Bitten by red ants
Nearly crack a turtle when driving the Jet ski
Rented a golf cart, car, plane and Jet ski
Cao got gob smacked by a 16 year old Mary Byrne lookalike
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