My travel experience of a lifetime began with an invitation to visit my cousin whose parents were stationed in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for a couple weeks last summer. The day of my flight my parents and I drove down to Ft. Lauderdale, FL (which was a whopping four hours away!). I checked in and got my bags ready for my departure from the Ft. Lauderdale Hollywood International airport. Once my flight number was called, I said goodbye to my parents and headed out the door to what I would soon discover to be a flight I would never forget.
Now, I should probably mention at this point that this was my first solo flight, so you can understand my trepidation staring at the tiny puddle-jumper that looked like it would fall apart in a strong breeze. The pilots stored the luggage and we boarded the plane. It was small, no more than eleven seats, and the seats were very close together. As I sat down with my carry on and got ready for takeoff, I had no idea that what was going to happen next would redirect me to an amazing experience.
For most of the three hour flight I sat in my seat reading the first of two paperbacks I had bought for the trip. However, I started to feel worried as it started to get dark and we still hadn’t landed. Finally, we landed and disembarked the plane only for the pilots to inform us that-due to unforeseen weather conditions- Our flight was redirected to Jamaica! I couldn’t believe the luck I was having. My first flight and I don’t even make it to my intended destination.
After spending an hour in customs, the pilots managed to find a hotel for the flight to stay at nearby, so we took a couple of shuttles to there. Once at the hotel I realized a problem… The hotel cost the equivalent of $120 a night, and I only had $50! Thankfully, the pilots were generous enough to pay for my expenses since I was a minor. So I received my room key and went up to my room to try and get some sleep despite the roaring party going on in the building next door.
The next day was mostly spent waiting in a small room to see if the weather would clear up enough for the plane to make it to Guantanamo. Towards the end of the day we made an attempt to fly to Cuba but the weather was bad enough that we couldn’t make it to that narrow strip of sky to get to Guantanamo. So we returned to Jamaica, and we went to another, much nicer, hotel to stay the night before trying one last time in the morning.
We were going to try one last time to make it through. If we didn’t, we would have to turn back to Ft. Lauderdale and start all over again. We set out and with luck in our side we managed to avoid any storms and made it to our destination safely! After that adventure that made me a quickly seasoned veteran of travel, I spent most of my time relaxing and enjoying my vacation with my cousin.
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