My girlfriend, Brittany & I had a similar schedule for the month of February, so, we agreed to take a trip
together. B is this amazing free spirit. We got hired around the same time at the airline & we were in training together, where we bonded. Our original plan was to join some friends in Costa Rica & feed monkeys…but with this crazy #flightattendantlife, we often go places on a whim. One of the greatest benefits of flying is that we can essentially go anywhere we want in the world for free, or close to free.
Flights to Costa Rica were filling up fast & our vision of feeding monkeys was fading quickly. We knew that we still wanted to go somewhere warm…so, B was on the hunt for open flights. She checked flights to San Juan, Puerto Rico & it was a done deal…wide open!
As B and I are scurrying to the airport in the morning after a night of what we call “rallying,” we’re certain that we’ve already missed our bus. We won’t be stopped, though, we’re running – luggage in hand – when a hotel shuttle stops roadside. The driver is taking a van full hotel guests to the airport & says he noticed our bags, so, he stopped to give us a lift. This is the kind of “good luck ” that B & I usually encounter when we’re together. We’re certain that this is going to be an amazing getaway!
We get to the airport & pass security & as we’re chatting with a colleague on our way to our gate, I notice another flight attendant buying breakfast. She’s wearing killer shoes. I’m a sucker for shoes. Shortly into our convo, the shoe gal makes her way over to our group to introduce herself & to see what we we’re up to. We tell her we’re on our way to Puerto Rico & she mentions that she has a few days off, so, we invite her. She hesitates & explains to us that she “never does things on a whim.” Brittany & I laugh, because that’s our specialty. We mention our gate number to our new friend, as we start heading over for boarding & we encourage her to follow.
During our walk, B & I are discussing how exciting it would be to have Anabel (our new friend) join us on this trip, where we could watch her break out of her comfort zone. We’re certain that we’re going to see her on the plane, we can feel it! Moments before the closing of the aircraft door, guess who walks in…! Yup, it’s Anabel. She came!
It’s a short flight from Philadelphia to San Juan & Brit and I can hardly contain ourselves. Anabel is seated up front & we’re wondering what the heck is going through her mind. We’re so excited to find out.
When we land, we finally get to chat with her & get the scoop. Anabel lost her father recently & has been dealing with “living her life in a little bubble that she created for herself,” her words, not mine. She’s just been dealing with so much in her personal life (including relocating to a new base with the airline & moving across the country – both, B & I know a little bit about that). We’re absolutely ecstatic that she’s come along. She’s the “A” to our “B” & “C” – Anabel, Brittany & Cecilia. 🙂
We head to the hotel (we’ve all stayed here previously, as crew) to book a room…remember, this was a spur-of-the-moment trip…so, we didn’t even have a room booked. We’re greeted & welcomed by Joan. He is a shining example of superior customer service. He provides some suggestions for fun things to do during our visit. There’s a jazz festival going on tonight & it’s only blocks away from our hotel.
We go up to the room to freshen up & we’re ready to catch some live music & local food. It’s a beautiful evening in San Juan. The weather is perfect for the walk to the festival. We can hear the music & smell the delicious aroma of Puerto Rican cuisine in the air… As we approach the festivities, we encounter a man selling drinks from an ice chest along the sidewalk…it’s the oh so famous Gasolina. We each purchase a pouch (yes, they’re sold in a pouch, with a straw, like an adult version of Capri Sun) & roam the festival. The band is great and people all around us are either dancing, drinking, or eating. We decide to try the paella – it’s delicious, and when the chef sees how much we enjoy it, he hands us another (free) bowl! More good luck… After our delicious meal, and another round of Gasolina, we make our last stop at the Mr. Piña’s Paradise stand, where we order a Piña Colada in a fresh pineapple. The guys are all so sweet that we snag a few pics with them. As the festival is wrapping up, it’s starts to rain…that warm, tropical rain. We enjoy the downpour as we say goodnight & walk back to our hotel.
It’s a beautiful ending to a beautiful day…we’re looking forward to what day 2 in San Juan will bring…
Piña Colada, courtesy of Mr. Piña’s Paradise