Thursday, December 17, 2015

Travel Back to Panama City

Panama City, FL
Dec 17, 2015

We started our journey back home on Thursday morning. We decided to vacate the hotel and go to the South side the island before dropping off the car at the airport in the afternoon. So we packed our bags, returned our towels, and checked out of the resort one hour earlier at 10 AM. However, when I tried to start the car it won't start due probably to a dead battery. That meant we had drop our plans to visit the south side.

Even though the Hertz representative up-sold all amenities (s)he rented me a bad car. Fortunately, it happened on the last day in the resort. We called Hertz and within 20 minutes (that was the good part) a tow-truck came gave us a jump start. We didn't want to take anymore chances of getting stuck in a remote place so we went directly to the airport.
We told the Hertz rental about our problem and went into the airport and the Delta counter was not even open since we were at least 3 hours earlier. So went to 14Bis Restaurant and ate lunch there.
We went through customs and immigration in Aruba itself instead of Atlanta. That meant at least 1 1/2 hours of lines and checking. Finally we left Aruba's Reina Beatrix Airport toward Atlanta. We left at 4:45 PM AST and arrived earlier at 7:10 PM EST in ATL. We didn't eat food during our flight of 3 1/2 hours. We went from Gate 4 to Terminal E Gate 2 (the same gate we left three days earlier)

At Atlanta we went Terminal E food court and had our dinner. Our next flight to Panama City was at least 2 more hours away in Terminal B.

We then waited for our plane which was delayed in arriving from Oklahoma City and left at 10:30 PM EST at Atlanta and reached Panama City 10:40 PM CST. We then collected our luggage and went out to the long-term parking lot. 

We then went to the hotel for overnight stay.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Travel to Aruba

Oranjestad, Aruba
Monday, Dec 14, 2015

We woke up very early in the morning at a hotel in Panama City, Florida and drove to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP). We parked our car in the long-term parking lot and took our luggages to fly to Atlanta. We were at Central Standard Time Zone.
Panama City (ECP) airport
Our flight was by Delta Airlines and we checked in early with Zone 1 boarding and headed off to Atlanta. Unlike previous night we could feel the skies were getting cloudy and there was a possibility of rain. However, we arrived in time in Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. We flew an MD-88 and there were no beverage services. We left at ECP Gate 5 and arrived at ATL Gate B11 after an hour. We were at Eastern Standard Time Zone. 

We had plenty of time for our next flight via Delta to Queen Beatrix Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Renia Beatrix) in Oranjestad, Aruba. So we stopped by the Terminal E food court and had our breakfast. The rain that was delayed in Panama City caught up with us and started to rain. I was lucky to see that our luggages were being loaded into the belly of the airplane. Then we took our flight to AUA around 10:30 AM and arrived at Oranjestad, Aruba late in the afternoon. 

Our luggage (blue bag) being loaded to our flight
As we started to fly the rain stopped and I could see the blue green seas of the Bahamas on our way into Aruba.

On the way to Aruba, the Bahamas can be seen below

During the 3 1/2 hour flight there was no free food but only snacks. We, however, ended by buying some food. We flew on a Boeing 737 with movie entertainment. I watched one movie and some others segments. 

The flight was okay. We left ATL Gate E2 and arrived Gate 6.

We then went through some customs and passport checks. Once outside the airport, the Hertz Car Rental was walking distance. We picked up our car and took full protection and gas tank surcharge (the latter was unnecessary as there were pumps next to the airport).
Queen Beatrix Airport, Oranjestad, Aruba
We then drove few miles to get out destination hotel Tropicana Resort. It turned out there was a big super market for food called Super Food Plaza and Taco Bell fast food just next to our resort. We had dinner at Taco Bell and purchased groceries as our room was a full fledged one-bedroom apartment with separate bedroom,  bathroom, living room, kitchen with stove, fridge, microwave, coffee machine, toaster, plates, cups, knives, pots and pans. We also got local currency (Aruba Florin and cents)
Aruba Florin (Afl or Awg) and cents 
We then went to bed at a new time zone (Atlantic Standard Time)