We booked tickets on AA for this trip all the way back in August 2017, even before Irma. They were running a GREAT sale, at under $350 PP roundtrip from Miami, so we pounced on it! Even with all of AA's rescheduling of flights after Irma, the Miami flight stayed unchanged, including the equipment, so we had to make no changes, other than switching seats to two aisle seats, when it looked like the flight was going to be totally sold out, which it was.
As per our usual, we drove the 3.5 hours one way to Miami, that morning of Thursday the 14th. The flight leaves around noon, so that was doable. We took a different route to the airport than our normal one, as it was 'supposed' to be quicker. It was not. If anything, with traffic it was longer. For years, we have parked at Miami Fast Park, which is no more, unfortunately. We didn't get a great recommendation for another offsite parking site, so we decided to just park at the airport. BIG mistake!
Somehow we missed any signs for long term parking, so ending up in the parking garage -- for $17 a day! That really adds up, for 11 days.. It was nice to not have to take a shuttle to the terminal. BUT we drove around for 15 minutes trying to find a place to park, without success, and ultimately went up to the top deck and had to park in the sun.
We had recently been lucky to get pre-check, but no such luck this time. Even without pre-check, the line for security was maybe 15 minutes long, so it wasn't bad at all. They had a canine (yellow lab), walking between passengers as they were approaching security, so no one had to take off shoes, remove 3-1-1 bags, or remove laptops. I wasn't paying attention and the lab came up behind me and I bopped him in the nose with my hand as I was walking! Thankfully, I didn't get arrested for assaulting a TSA agent!!
As per usual, we brought a mini cooler with some meats, including shrimp, a couple of steaks, burgers, chicken breast, etc., which was of interest to TSA agents, but once they opened it up, they thought we were weird probably, but they let us through!
We got a salad for me and a wrap for Eric for lunch on the plane and were off! The plane was totally full. I sat by a couple of newbies who had never been to SXM before, so we chatted for a while on the plane. The were meeting family who were already on island and didn't know the name of the place they were staying. From some of their descriptions, I thought it was possible they were staying at Coco Beach, so I told them to put that on their immigration forms, as from personal knowledge, those gals don't like it if you don't know where you're staying!
Despite leaving about 15 minutes late due to a maintenance issue, we landed pretty much ontime at 3:15 and were the only plane on the ground. We got through the immigration tent in record time and Eric just walked straight over from there and our bag was already there!! [yay] We walked from there to meet Lesley of Kenny's Car Rental, did the paperwork in the car and were driving away from the airport in 25 minutes from when we landed! Cool beans!
We headed straight to Beachside Villas to drop off our bags and get our first look at the beautifully restored Beachside Villas, which looks like nothing ever happened, except for the vegetation.
We threw our bags in the bedroom and headed out to Carrefour by Mark's for our big grocery run. Unlike a lot of people, we LOVE grocery shopping on island and we feel like we really have finally arrived when we go in and buy our big supply of groceries. WOW, Carrefour (formerly Grand Marche) is BEAUTIFUL! Of course, we didn't know where anything was, but the new store is really spectacular, including a large fish section, which had the distinction of SMELLING like a really great fish market--i.e., you didn't smell fish at ALL. The old Carrefour in Cole Bay (which is still closed), smelled horribly of fish. A couple of hundred dollars lighter, we headed back to Beachside to finally RELAX and unpack.
For dinner I sent Eric over to Tacho Macho
for some carry-out. Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding of what we wanted and he got WAY more food than we needed, at a comparable cost, but the food was ok.
Last year, prior to the hurricane, Beachside embarked on a MAJOR upgrade to their units, closing in the atrium, moving the dining room table in that space, and putting a/c in the living room.
That has REALLY enhanced our comfort here in the evenings, for watching TV. After checking out the TV--and finding Beachside Villas now has Dish Network, with the FOOD NETWORK
, it was time for some much needed rest!
Friday morning we had breakfast in, as we almost always do here.
It's normally just too much WORK to go out to breakfast! Craig came by to drop off our cooler and umbrella for our stay and we sat and chatted for a while. I like having a flat-top cooler to take with us to the beach elsewhere, and Craig has nice umbrellas, which we use HERE on the beach, so we always do that, for a few bucks. Craig also rents phones, for those interested. Craig said that he had very little damage from the hurricane, which was nice to hear.
After that, we knew that we would need to go buy a phone, as our phone which we had gotten from Sharon did not work. We had time on the chip and needed to keep a Dutch side phone number for doing business. So Eric headed out to Blue Point in Cole Bay to get a phone. After speaking to the person there, he determined they didn't know what they were talking about, so he headed over to the Blue Point in P'burg (where the Rima store used to be) and got someone who actually knew what they were talking about. He got the phone, and got the chip cut to fit in the phone and was good to go. He also had to pick up a pair of 'reader' glasses, as he forgot to bring along a pair from home, but was able to pick them up at a pharmacy across from the Blue Point in Cole Bay.
Finally back 'home', errands run, it was time to RELAX! Lunch was ribs on the grill, that we had picked up at Carrefour the day before, along with an excellent beaujolas village.
We almost always get their pre-seasoned baby back ribs there, which are excellent and a good deal. After a nap in the afternoon
, dinner was steak on the grill, with mashed potatoes and salad.
Thus ends a totally successful day!