December 13, 2005

Pack, Shave, Panic
Portland, United States

This morning I reviewed the final contents of my backpack. The piles of belongings stretched from my pack and sprawled across the floor—it was organized chaos.

I was trying so hard to keep my pack light, but it's amazing how fast things can add up (both in volume and weight). A handful of batteries here, a bottle of DEET lotion there, and before you know it you're up to a 35 pound monster stuffed to the brim. Thank goodness my backpack is on the smaller side (59 liters). I have no doubt that I'll discard at least 5 pounds of pack weight before I end up leaving Puerto Rico.

Speaking of Puerto Rico, I ended up booking accommodations for $22 a night at a hostel in the surfing town on Rincon, located in the northwest part of the island. I've decided to (tentatively) stay there into the New Year. What's going to be interesting is figuring out how I'm going to get there from San Juan, which is 100 miles away on the others side of the island. I'm seriously thinking about asking the flight attendant to ping the cabin and ask if anyone is going to west coast.

Hair No More

One of the things I really wanted to leave behind from my domestic lifestyle was fussing with my hair. Frankly, I didn't want to have to deal with it after long transports (bus/plane/train/etc.) or pack the products to keep it in check.

My brother Glenn was tasked last night with the honors of chopping my hair (which was over due for a trim anyways) into oblivion. We had a pretty good time doing it—and now I look like an escaped mental patient (which is almost fitting with what I'm about to embark on).

Flight Panic

I was in the middle of tearing down and packing up my apartment about a week ago when I received a call from Delta Airlines—never a good sign. Delta had decided to cancel one of my flights east, and the itinerary I had booked earlier in the summer was no longer valid. The options they presented to me were lackluster at best: An eight hour layover at JFK, or take a morning flight out of Portland and get into San Juan in the middle of the night 17 hours later. Needless to say, I wasn't very happy.

Delta informed me that I could ask for the price of my non-refundable ticket to be returned to me if I found alternate arrangements elsewhere that were more to my liking. But at less than two weeks before my trip I knew I would be hard pressed to find a fare close to the $260 that I had paid months before.

Hurriedly, I started scouring for new flights. Amazingly in the midst of a sea of $500–800 one-way fares I found a single $270 itinerary that fit perfectly. The flight was booked, Delta was called, funds were returned, and all was well… or so I thought.

An Expensive Mistake

I had just finished checking into my flight on the Continental Airlines Web site when my dad and I were discussing the printout of my itinerary. We were adding up the flight times and the time zone changes, trying to figure out what time I would arrive Portland time. Dad said something wasn't adding up—insisting there was a missing hour in our conversion that wasn't being accounted for. Then he noticed it: I was scheduled to depart at 11:50 tonight… from PHOENIX! [insert several choice explicatives and a laugh here]

In the rush of booking my Delta recovery flight, it seems I selected the airport code PHX (Phoenix) instead of PDX (Portland). Yeesh. Amazingly, this itinerary had been hanging on the refrigerator for a week now, but no one had noticed.

We priced out a quick flight to Phoenix from Portland to see if I could make my flight, but it was apparent that it would just be simpler to call Continental and see what could be done. I called, and after having a good laugh with the Continental agent, she found a flight from Portland to Newark departing earlier in the evening (just a few hours from now) where I could pick up my original flight from Newark to San Juan. She was nice enough to waive the $25 ticket change fee, but I was still left with a lovely $275 fare to Newark to cover.

Oops… :)

Comments:

Anon

December 13th, 2005

WOW! What a crazy and entertaining story! You look stellar with little hair. [:) Mmmmm…wonder where you are now?! : D

Rose Brock

December 13th, 2005

Hey Craig!!! I love your website. I have a picture of you from your night out in Portland. How would I get it to you?

Tom Heimburger

December 13th, 2005

Craig, you should be landing in San Juan soon. It was a crazy and emotional day for me, seeing you off yesterday. Glad we spotted the airline goof in time. Keep in touch and please stay safe!

Lots of love, Your Dad :)

Matt

December 13th, 2005

lol - You tool… enjoy yourself and let us know where you'll be. Lord knows I've got to "repay" you for all the times you crashed on our couch in Las Vegas… =)

Katie

December 13th, 2005

Good luck cutie! You're going to be missed :)

T$

December 14th, 2005

I already miss ya bro. Be careful!

Puerto Rico

Craig | travelvice.com

December 14th, 2005

Thanks all! :)
I arrived safely in San Juan and made it over to northwest part of the island.

The place I'm staying at is so secluded that it's driving distance (7-10 miles) from downtown Rincon. Unfortunately, Internet access is also only available in town… so my ability to check e-mail and post will be sporadic over the next three weeks (at best).

Stories and photos when I get back into town!

Glenn

December 15th, 2005

Glad you made it to Puerto Rico without incident. Have fun and stay safe.

It will be fun tracking your location via Google Earth (earth.google.com).

Jana Seda

December 15th, 2005

WHAT? You're on a trip?

Jakes snake

December 18th, 2005

Well, it has begun….good luck and sorry I didn't get to spend a little more time hanging out before you left. Also the hair looked different, but not bad so quit your bitchin'

makiko

December 19th, 2005

Glad to hear you got to Puerto Rico safely.

And I'm sorry that I haven't write you. I've been so busy with my work.

I am looking forward to your story and pics! Have fun (^ ^)!

Anonymous

December 19th, 2005

Aye Craigor,

Good to hear your safe and sound. How long will you be in PR? I wish I was there making memories with you. Continue keeping us in the know. For me, finals are over and I'm waiting for mom to come; she'll be here in two days.

Pura vida,

Girth

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