April 15th, 2012
Amazingly, although we left one hour late from Halifax, our flight still landed on time. I guess they burned some extra fuel and pumped up the turbo chargers or something! I never expected to land on time!
About 20 minutes away from the airport, we can see the lights from Punta Cana quite clearly … too clearly actually. People on one side of the plane were straining their necks to see out the window. Unfortunately I was on the wrong side to see what was going on. They were saying there was a huge fire and that it looked like an entire resort … that it looked like a huge city block.
In my own mind, I never even entertained the thought that it could be our resort. I mean really, what are the chances? So, people chatted away about the size of this huge fire that we could see from the sky and it was definitely substantial. This was not a little house fire. It was full flames, high in the sky.
I was mostly thankful that it wasn’t at the airport and even said so out loud. Just glad to have a safe place to land.
Once we were in the baggage area, the news started to spread that it was indeed our resort, the Majestic Colonial that was on fire. Jen’s (our Bride) parents had been at the resort for a week already, so Jen got a phone call as soon as her cell was turned on. Her mom told her that they were ok (which is of course the MOST important thing!) and that apparently the Steakhouse and Spa were on fire. All of the guests from the resort had been gathered up and were at the lobby …. Waiting.
Of course, not the news anyone wants to hear to start their vacation … especially the Bride and Groom!
Of course no one inside the airport could give us any answers and we continued to our Sunquest counter where they still had no information for us, other than to see our tour guide outside at the bus.
I was one of the first to head to the bus and all I could find out was well … not much.
Our guides, Alejandro and Estefan were very friendly and kind, but unfortunately did not have a lot of information. I don’t blame them for this at all seeing as it was unforeseen circumstances and I am sure that our resort was in chaos, so trying to get answers from them must have been very difficult.
Our guides explained that there had been a fire at the resort and that any of our families who were already at the resort were fine, no one had been injured. Unfortunately they were not sure of the circumstances, so they did not know if we would be heading to our resort, or to another location. Until they knew more information we would wait on the bus at the airport.
At around 1am (local time), we were advised that we would be going to spend one night at Hotel Arena Blanca, a 4 star resort about 35 minutes away from the airport.
It is 2:10am as I sit and write this from my hotel room (on Monday morning). I was lucky enough to be somewhat toward the front of the line up which was moving very very slowly. I’m sure there are still lots of folks in the lobby waiting for their rooms.
Lots of tired, hungry, whiny, cranky people … with good reason, I suppose … but all in all, really, what could be done. There was a huge fire at our resort. No one was injured. Now the resort and guides have had to find accommodations for about 70 of us (just on our bus) and who knows how many others who were displaced from the resort. That must be pretty difficult to do in high season!
Tonight I’m feeling thankful …
1. To be in Punta Cana, safely
2. To be in a bed with a roof over my head
3. To not be one of those cranky, whiny people who feel like their vacation is ruined because of this unusual circumstance. It’s all part of the adventure and it could be much worse!
We have a meeting in the lobby at 11am tomorrow to find out what the plan is. As far as we know, we will only be at this particular resort for one night, but who knows.
Right now, I’m going to go to sleep. Alarm set for 9am (mostly because it is 2:20 and I’m not asleep yet) and I’m going to find my way to the beach for a walk and some sun before we spend quite likely a big chunk of our day being moved around to another resort.