Jul 172012

Landed in Dominica, and that’s where the drama started. Immigration was a snap, and soon found the small shack/hut that housed the rental car companies. Went over to the Avis “desk” (which, seriously, is an overstatement. It’s a small wooden podium, with a rather nice, but disinterested man who may or may not be behind it.) Nope, no reservation. Showed it to him. “Oh, how interesting. Can’t help you.” He had no car, and while he could get me one from another agency, no matching the rate, etc etc. Chatted with the (much more) helpful lady from the other agency, and she told me for what I was doing in Dominica, I would be much better with her “friend’s” taxi. He would take me round-trip to my resort, and make sure things were happy….all for the same price as my rental car. Since I only planned to hike and chill here, I went with it.

I’d chosen to stay at the Hotel Beau Rive – and in summary – it was an awesome choice.  I normally prefer locations much more in the middle of it all.  Places to go out to eat, walking distance to cool things to see, etc etc.  You get the idea.  Beau Rive?  Well, it was absolutely none of this.  What it was, however, was set in the middle of Dominica’s awesome natural beauty with the most amazing hosts and staff you could ask for.  This is all made very clear on their website, online reviews, etc.  If you’re not ready for an “at home” atmosphere, pets on premesis who are quite friendly, and a home away from home…this isn’t the place for you.  Yet, despite being from from my normal “style” I absolutely loved it here.  I’ll go into more details, but the pics will do much more talking here.

My taxi driver was awesome….on the approximately one hour drive to Beau Rive he told me all about his island, the people, the locations…it was like a mini guided tour.  Plus, the roads were seriously harpin and pretty tricky.  Much less stressful not to drive on them!  Got to the hotel, checked in (I was one of two rooms occupied!) and immediately took this awesome shot from my room’s balcony:

Another shot from the hotel’s veranda:

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Oct 112011

Ok, first off, I need to do a few mea culpas….after the first week or so of the trip we were cramming so much into every day that I just wasn’t able to keep up with the blog during the trip. Oh, and my laptop died…the hinge cracked, turning it into the world’s largest iPad. More on that below…

So it was up early to get to the airport in Panama. First, a bit of explanation on this random routing. We could have just flown Panama-Houston-Honolulu, but that would have just meant more time laying over in Houston…and via Newark was the same fare, roughly another 5,000 miles towards elite status, and more time in Business First. Easy choice! Check-in in Panama was completely uneventful, and soon we were hanging out in the Copa Airlines Presidents Club. Stomach was still less than thrilled from the earlier food poisoning, so I was keeping to coffee and water while we waited to board. Lounge was basic, but more than adequate with quick WiFi…and it was right above our gate, so we could wait until the very last minute to board.

Continental Airlines Flight 1022
Panama City, Panama to Newark, New Jersey
Depart 10:05, Arrive 16:17, Flight time 5:12
Boeing 737-900, Registration N78438, Delivered 2009
Seats 2E and 2F

Honestly, there’s not a whole lot to say about this flight. Service was adequate, not overly attentive, but after my years of flying United I’ve gotten pretty used to that on domestic and regional flights. A copy of the menu for the flight:  (it’s important my ‘preferred cocktail or beverage’ was the famous Continental margarita)

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