June 3, 2017
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Our plans have been to wander, as tourists, around San Juan before traveling to Fajardo then catch the ferry to Vieques. John booked us two nights in the Courtyard by Marriott – San Juan Miramar and then two nights at the Holiday Inn – San Jose.
The hotel switch happened today and was a bit traumatic. The events of the day sealed the doom for Pinkie.
Here’s what happened.
We took a taxi from the Marriott to the Holiday Inn. Of course neither had valet or bellman service so I did a Three Stooges bit in both lobbies as I fumbled with my flipping pink monster duffel (Pinkie) plus two carry-ons and Big Blue, my workhorse main piece of luggage.
John handled our check-in and got our room keys. We had requested a king-bed suite. The front desk manager, who spoke a little English, explained that we were on the third floor, in room 305. She smiled and rolled her eyes at me and my four unmanagable bags as if to say, “Bless your heart. This must be your first trip…”
Then she glanced at John with a sympathizing smile as if to say, “Bless your heart. You’re married to her.”
I took the lead into the elevator. My bags took up the whole space so I went solo up to the third floor. Somehow I managed to exit the elevator. I left Pinkie by the elevator door and then dragged the rest of my baggage a bit, left them, then went back for Pinkie. I inched my way down the hall in this manor, bags falling and flipping all around me. It was a pitiful sight that would have made a great I Love Lucy gag, but was awful for me living it. I was drenched in sweat.
The maid at the end of the hall came to my rescue. She had just finished cleaning our room. She unlocked the door and helped me get all four bags inside as John exited the elevator. He thanked her and offered her a tip, which she refused.
The room was small and had two queen-sized beds. This is not what we requested, but I didn’t care. I fell onto one of the beds to catch my breath.
I think at this point even John was beginning to feel sorry for me. He tapped my knee with his finger three times which is our secret signal for “I love you.” I opened my eyes and smiled at him, grateful that he had chosen love over “I told you so.”
“What ya say we go find something to eat and some ice cold beer?” he said.
He didn’t need to repeat the request. I splashed some water on my face, grabbed my purse and we took off, leaving our unpacked luggage and the angst mine had caused behind.
We had a lovely meal and a few Medalla beers at La Pradera.
We strolled along a seaside colonnade that had stars along the sidewalk. It’s known as the Puerto Rico Walk of Fame and 40 famous Puerto Ricans have a marble inlay inscribed with a star and their names. Ricky Martin, Jose Ferrar, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopez, Roberto Clemente are just a few Puerto Rican celebrities represented in such a special way. Awesome!
Everything was beautiful again until we got back to the room and slid the key card into the slot on the door.
We tried the second key card.
We jiggled, flipped the cards and tried every way possible to make the door open, but all we got was:
Red light! Red light! Red light!
It was then I noticed that Room 305 (our assigned room) was across the hall. We tried the key in the 305 door.
We opened the door to a spacious king suite, exactly what we had requested. Yay!
The only problem was that our bags, containing all our worldly possessions, were still locked in the room across the hall.
Yikes! We both rushed down to the front desk and tried our best to explain what had happened. Fortunately, the manager that had checked us in was still at the front desk. Remember, she knew a tiny bit of English, and even though we had been working on our Spanish for months, we realized that we knew an even teenier bit of conversational Spanish. She told us that the room across the hall from 305 had been booked by another guest who had already checked in.
Evidently panic has no language barrier, because within minutes she had led us up to the third floor, found the maid, and knocked on the room across from 305, which luckily was still unoccupied. Luckier still, our bags were exactly as we left them. Both the manager and the maid helped us move our stuff across the hall and I hugged them both at the door. I overheard them whisper something about the “loco tourista” as they disappeared down the hall.
Again, I plopped down on the now king-sized bed, this time with my cell phone in my hand. John went to get ice.
I knew that Pinkie just wasn’t going to work, so I started searching online, with my phone, for stores in San Juan that carried good luggage.
John returned with the ice and two more Medalla beers. What a guy!
He laid down beside me, his legs dangling over the edge of the bed.
He spoke, “Honey, we really need to…”
I cut him off with, “I’ve found an awesome sale on Dakine luggage at West Marine and they are open tomorrow!”
“That’s my girl,” he sighed as he kissed me on the forehead. “How ‘bout a cold Medalla.”