The airport experience from the Dominican Republic

I arrived at the Puerto Plata airport around 9:00 AM for my flight home to Maine on Monday, July 12th. The airport opens at 9:00, so fortunately, it wasn’t busy. The first thing that is required, is they scan your bags before you check in to get your boarding pass. This never made sense to David and me because once your bags are scanned, you then take them to check in at your airline. If you had someone waiting at the airport with you, they could easily be holding something that you could put in your bag before going to check in.

I flew Jet Blue and checked my two duffel bags in. One was completely empty in anticipation for all that I planned to bring back. After filling out the required paperwork, I entered security. Now, in my carry-on, I had two decorative shells that I had purchased for David’s cousin, Jason, who is also our house-sitter. One was a conch shell about 8 inches long. My bag was flagged in security and they said that I couldn’t take the shell on the plane…..I guess they thought I could hit the pilot over the head with it! They said that I could take it to the Jet Blue counter and see if I could get it put in my bag.

So, out of security, back over to the counter…..thank goodness, it still wasn’t busy! I explained my dilemma to the manager and she took my shell back to the baggage area. A little while later, she reappeared with my shell and said that my luggage had already passed the security check and they couldn’t open it. She walked back with me to security and talked with the manager, who graciously allowed me to carry the shell on the plane after all.

Then, it was onto the exit desk where they collected my paperwork. The man asked me how long I had been in the country and I said 2 1/2 months. He said that would be 800 pesos or about $22.00. I handed him 1,000 pesos and he said he didn’t have any change. All I had was 550 pesos ($15.50) and he said, “Well, give me that!” Darn, I should have told him all I had was 50 pesos!!! I have since learned that this was a “bogus” charge and that we do not have to pay anything for leaving the country. More than likely, the man pocketed the money. I tell you, they are so corrupt down here. Sometimes, it is very frustrating.

After waiting in the gate area, we got the announcement to load the plane. At the gate, I showed my passport, along with my boarding pass. Then, just as I started to enter the jet bridge, just steps away from where I just showed my boarding pass and passport, I had to show my passport again!!!! I figured from the time I showed my passport at the initial check-in, until I got on the plane, I had to show it 6 different times to various people. Talk about creating jobs!

The flight was uneventful. I watched a chic flick….can’t even remember which one! Honestly, I must say that landing in the good ol’ US of A was wonderful. Walking towards customs, I saw a sign for Dunkin Donuts and my cell phone worked without roaming charges…..I was home!!!! For lunch, I ate a huge salad….it cost me $12.00, but was worth every penny. I tend not to eat salads down here as I don’t want to pick up any parasite that would have a field day with my digestive system. I didn’t realize how much I missed a good salad until I was eating that one!

It was a nice way to start my time home in the states!

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