First off, let me just say, that the folks of San Pedro are the friendliest and most polite people that I have met so far on vacation.
Second of all, I don't think I've been asked if I want some 4:20 stuff so much in one place in my life. LOL! No big deal though, a simple no was enough to send these friendly folks on their way.
So, here we go, right from the start to the finale....
The folks involved in this trip are myself, my wife, my two kids (2.5 years old and 6 weeks old at the time), my brother in law, mother in law, and father in law.
FRIDAY, MARCH 28TH, 2008
Initially, our intentions were to leave Winnipeg by 8:30 AM in the morning and drive to Minneapolis while stopping and visiting some of my customers on our way out of Canada. Once in Minneapolis, we were going to hit the Mall of America to let the kids burn some energy before getting some sleep and catching our flight to Belize the following morning.
I ended up having to go into work to help out with inventory for the morning. We left Winnipeg around 12:30 PM by the time we ate lunch and got both the kids settled in. We arrived in Minneapolis at around 9:45 PM, so we settled on the closest restaurant to our hotel (Denny's.. blech) before checking in.
The first problem came about when I tried to paid for our hotel room in cash (I don't like carrying a credit card in the Caribbean, so I usually only carry cash and debit cards). The hotel did not want to accept cash and their debit machine doesn't work like ours do up here in Canada. In the end, after much hassle and our kids starting to cry in their lobby, they finally accepted cash.
Note to self: Crying kids will get you what you want faster.
SATURDAY, MARCH 29th, 2008
After getting our air travel clothes on, our carry-on baggage sorted for efficiency, and final document checks, we're off to the Minneapolis airport!!
The inlaws show up in a second taxi with their baggage and we proceed to the automated check-in... which doesn't work and refers us to an American Airlines ticket agent. As the agent checks us in and supplies our boarding passes, she informs us that we must pay $380 USD for our 6 week old daughter to board the plane, despite prebooking with our travel agent. I was pretty furious and felt extremely violated that AA would hijack us for money like that. Each time the ticket agent opened her mouth to 'empathize', she made my blood pressure and ire rise exponentially. At any rate, we rooted around our bags and basically spent our first few days of spending money instantly.
Finally, we get what we need and proceed to security immediately because the ordeal took well over an hour to complete. As we step up for our turn through security, we are told that we have been selected for "special security screening". I could barely manage my temper at this point, but thankfully, the security agents were extremely friendly, polite, and DID know what to say without making me even more angry.
Needless to say, we finally go through. The trip was rather uneventful with the exception of me calling my travel agent and giving them a verbal lashing like they've never had before while waiting for our next flight at DFW.
Many delayed flights, long security lines, and immigration screenings, we finally arrived in San Pedro. I instantly called Grumpy & Happy (Lorne & Jolene Jackson) to let them know we arrived. Within minutes, our taxi driver (Manolo Contreras) is there and loading our baggage with a friendly smile before delivering us to Grumpy & Happy's Vacation Villas, just south of San Pedro.
For those of you not sure where it is, it's just at the end of the road a few blocks from away from the beach and from Mata Rocks. The air conditioned villas themselves are beautiful and perfect for both large and small groups of people. There's a beautiful pool out back for our use, a full kitchen, and well furnished rooms. The place is very clean and comfortable. We stayed in Villa 1, which is 4 Bedrooms, 2 Bathroom, and a full kitchen and living room. It's just like being at home!
There we are greeted by Jolene and a few friendly gentlemen from Moncho's Island Cart Rentals. We get settled in and Jolene takes the time to show us around the villa and tell us a bit about San Pedro.
I make my second call of the night to Peter at Protech Dive Centre and arrange to drop my equipment off the next day at the shop and plan my diving arrangement for the week. I can't say enough good things about Peter and Israel. They provide a very special and personalised diving service.
Jolene then takes my mother in law (Lois), my wife (Michelle), 6 week old daugher (Elizabeth), and myself for a ride in the nearby area as she runs some errands. The tour she gives us is very helpful, as we utilize many of the stores and vendors in the area over the coming week.
We settle in for the rest of the evening and have a quick and easy meal of hotdogs.
.... stay tuned for more ....
I'm too tired to continue at this moment...