Ponce Chronicles: Getting There Is Half the Fun

(For the first post of this series, see Ponce Chronicles Deja Vu.)

Our plans for the repair of the hurricane damage to the Puerto Rico house called for me to follow my wife Allysen after a week or so, when her mom would have returned from a West Coast visit and I could get her resettled back here in Boston. The Northeast blizzard of early January had other ideas, and delayed flights everywhere. Still, my flight seemed a go, three days after the storm.

(Picture from a different storm, WBZ news Boston)

When you fly from Boston to Ponce, you can take either JetBlue or JetBlue, and you can connect at JFK in New York, or in Orlando. Either way, you arrive in the dead of night, around 4-5 a.m. Fair enough. But my flight out of Boston was delayed, and then delayed again, and it looked increasingly certain that I would miss my connection to Ponce.  And there wasn’t an open seat to Puerto Rico on any airline for several days. Nail biting time. If I took the flight to JFK and missed the connection, I’d be stranded there with no options for joining Allysen in time to be of any help.

The good Help Desk people at JetBlue in Boston offered me one hope: Run now to the gate where a flight was about to leave for LaGuardia, and then get myself by hook or by crook to JFK to catch my Ponce flight. “It’s a deal!” I cried as I hotfooted it to the gate. Bless them, I was met by a flight attendant who was already checking on his iPad on my best way to get from LaGuardia to JFK. The basic idea was a cab, but a broken water main at JFK had snarled up car traffic going into the airport. (By the time we were coming into LaGuardia, he was able to report that traffic was moving again.)

My seatmate on that flight turned out to be doing exactly the same thing, except that he was connecting to Minsk, in Belarus. So we shared a cab, and got there in time, and I found myself eating JFK food court food right when I would have been doing it anyway.

Sidebar: Going through TSA in Boston was a breeze. The TSA staff were helpful, smiling, friendly. In New York, it looked like the zombie apocalypse. I had no trouble, but all the staff were vacant-eyed and grim. Why is that? End sidebar.

The Ponce flight was itself delayed, as it turned out. Daylight was not far off, as I stumbled down the stairs from the tail of the plane and set foot on the Isle of Enchantment. Some people can sleep on planes. I’m not one of them. I was feeling pretty bedraggled by the time I got to the house.

There was still no running water. But at least the toilets worked, if you carried water from the pool. I fell into a brief but deep sleep, in which I dreamed restlessly about having a really intense dream, about… I don’t know what, because it evaporated the moment I woke up.

Time to get to work… (to be continued…)

Posted in Travel permalink

About Jeffrey A. Carver

Jeffrey A. Carver grew up on the Lake Erie shores of Huron, Ohio, but eventually settled in the Boston area, where he lives with his family. Currently he's writing a new volume in his popular series The Chaos Chronicles. Another of his favorite places to spin tales is his Star Rigger universe; one story in that world, Eternity's End, was a finalist for the Nebula Award. Among his stand-alone works are The Rapture Effect, and Battlestar Galactica, a novelization of the SciFi Channel's miniseries. By many accounts, his work is hard science fiction, but his greatest love remains character, story, and a healthy sense of wonder. His short work is collected in Going Alien and Reality and Other Fictions. As a teacher, Carver once hosted an educational TV series on the writing of SF and fantasy. A course that grew out of that is online, free to all, at writesf.com. In person, he's taught at MIT, Odyssey, and the New England Young Writer's Conference; and he is cofounder of the Ultimate SF Writing Workshop, in the Boston area. Visit his website and blog to learn more about his work.


Ponce Chronicles: Getting There Is Half the Fun — 2 Comments

  1. The full story of what has happened at JFK, and which has made air travel a shambles all this time still — even when we returned — is here:


    Under the circumstances, we Postmambo New York Travelers on the way to Cuba on the 4th, got off easy, notifications that our flights were canceled at day ahead of travel, so we could merely twiddle our thumbs at home then, and leave only a day late. One of our Travelers was an exception, but she did get out, finally, two days later — she was at the airport when that collision took place and had to go home again — and joined us in Santa Clara (we’d already left Havana).

    At least she was at home, and did have to camp out in JFK — which doesn’t sell diapers anywhere, a previous Postmambo traveler told me, who was there for two days, trying to get to Paris. There were a LOT of babies in JFK in those days . . . .

    The Postmamboists from other parts of the country made it on schedule to Cuba, though their JetBlue flights too were delayed — but not cancelled. Even our guy in New Orleans was delayed as his plane had to be de-iced at Louis Armstrong, but with all flights delayed on the 4th he was still able to make the connection in Ft. Lauderdale for Havana, where our Cuban ground crew provided all the events scheduled for the first afternoon and evening of the trip.

    When we returned two weeks later, the mess was still in effect, starting at Ft. Lauderdale where we NYers had to deplane, re-enter the country, go to a different JetBlue terminal for JFK. JFK was also still quite a crowded mess. But we still had a really easy time of it, despite everything because — JetBlue, as the Slate article explains.

    It was one hella storm, and with everything so dependent in flying on micro-timing, even one tiny single thing goes wrong and the entire system is bolloxed.