We awoke at the Renaissance Hotel in Atlanta at 5:30am. Our plane was set to leave at 8:25 am. Since our luggage was stuck at the airport waiting to be transferred to our Aruba flight (although we still weren’t completely sure that’s where it was), the only clean clothes I had were my swimsuit top and bottom and a pair of shorts. I figured wearing that was a better option than turning my undies inside-out to get to the clean side. I threw on my suit, the shorts, then covered it all with the same sweatshirt I’d worn all day the day before. Oh well. I figured it should only stink a little.
We headed out for the shuttle, but the one at 6:00am was full. Yikes, were we in for another horrible travel day? The next one was supposed to come at 6:20. I decided to make the best of things and had the rest of the Hagen-das ice cream we’d ordered from room service last night for breakfast. Hey, it had strawberries in it, so it was healthy. Besides, calories eaten on vacation do not count against you. At 6:10, the next shuttle arrived. Yeah!! We boarded and were on our way to the airport.
No problems at the airport this time. We checked in, found our gate, and got settled. As we were sitting there, an announcement was made that first class seats were available if we wanted an upgrade. Jim and I looked at each other, smiled, and talked about the possibility. It was a little expensive, so I wasn’t sure if we should do it. I told him I was going to the bathroom and he could make the call. I returned to find 2 new boarding passes waiting. I love my hubby!
Who knew first class could be so… classy? We were immediately welcomed with champagne. I had 2 glasses. We got pillows, blankets, a warm breakfast and all the drinks we wanted. I had a couple bloody mary’s, too, before the trip ended. The seats were incredibly comfy. It will be hard to go back to coach, but unfortunately, we’re not high rollers.
We landed in Aruba at 12:30pm (21 hours after our original ETA), went through customs quickly, grabbed our bag (which was waiting for us) and got our rental car. We stopped at a local grocery store (our room has a kitchenette) and then went to the resort. We were so happy to get to our room. It was a quaint little studio, but it felt like the Taj Mahal!
After getting cleaned up from our long, long journey, we spent some time at the pool. We got there just in time for Happy Hour. We were definitely happy. We then cleaned up and went for dinner. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. It’s been our tradition to eat at the HRC if there is one where we travel. The one here just opened a year ago.
After dinner, we walked through a new mall area. It amazed us how much the island has changed since we were here last, just 4 years ago. Huge hotels have gone up and 2 new mall areas have been built. There are so many American restaurants and stores here, it’s a little disappointing. Hopefully, the culture and ecology of the island won’t be disrupted too much. We love Aruba because of the Dutch influence and the beauty of the island and its people. We hope that’s not lost.
It was a busy first day. We looking forward to another wonderful day in paradise tomorrow.