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.