Saint Thomas Trip!!! in Life in General

Revised: 01/17/2020 4:17 p.m.

  • Jan. 17, 2020, 2:23 p.m.
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So the trip to Saint Thomas was pretty great!!!! (minus the trip back which I will explain later).

Unfortunately I couldn’t sleep the night before our flight out. I’m not sure why, but I’m always super stressed that I’m going to forget something before flying out for work. Plus, airports stress me out maximum, so knowing I’ll be having to deal with that soon makes me anxious. So zero sleep the night before we left. But I had bought a drone for the trip so I was up all night playing with it, trying to figure things out and get the drone firmware updated, so I had something to do that night at least!!!

Look how small this thing is!

The Flight

The flight out went okay, no hitches at all! Since I was buying both my and Jessica’s ticket, and I was charging the bride very little money for the photography, I needed to be sure that I flew as cheaply as possible, which is why I picked Spirit. I’ve always heard bad things about them, but at the end of the day, I’ve flown with them a few times and yes the seats are cramped and you have to pay for everything, but it still ends up being far cheaper than other flights. I paid for all of our bags, picking our seats…etc and it was still a few hundred dollars less.

But little did I know that I would soon regret this decision..... (more on that later).

But yeah, the flights over went almost perfectly. I had picked exit row seats for the extra leg room on the way over there, but unfortunately on our second connecting flight I must have screwed up because I picked the wrong seats, so we got the more cramped seats. Poor Jessica had agreed to take the window seat on the first flight and let me have the window seat on the next flight, but the first flight it was just us two between three seats which was awesome, but on the second flight, she was between me and this very very very large woman who should have probably bought two seats.... haha. So a little uncomfortable for us on the second trip, but it’s only a 2 hour flight so we dealt with it.

We got there no problem and picked up the rental. It was actually a pretty nice jeep. Everything worked, windows, ac… etc. Considering how few rental places there are on the island, that was a nice plus! The bride was nice enough to meet us at the airport and escort us out to the house we’d be staying at.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it, but the bride is actually an old friend. She and I were xylophone players at rival high schools, and we would always meet up for band competitions. She would always do slightly better than me at the tryouts and it always upset me hehe. But it was friendly and we became good friends later in high school. I even asked her to my junior high prom! I really tried hard not to mention that detail when we were on the island, but I really couldn’t help myself haha. Luckily everyone thought it was funny, but some people were like “so you’re clearly here to try and win her over” and I’m all “heck yeah, I only brought Jessica with me to be more efficient, that way Virginia and I can both dump our SO’s at the same time!” I’m really awkward haha.

Anyway, the house guys.... this house was NUTS. Virginia’s (the bride) fiance’s parents own a construction company and lately have been building really dope houses and renting them out. This was a 5 bedroom house (each bedroom had it’s own bathroom) and had the CRAZIEST view. Like wowowowo, I’m so glad I bought that drone. I came back with the craziest footage ever. I’ll include a few images of the house and the view from the house below!

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holy heck look at this house

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Day 1 (Jessica and David Exploration Day)

So anyway, that first day we kind of just chilled and Virginia and I got a chance to catch up with each other, which was really dope! She was so nice and even drove and got us pizza since there wasn’t much to eat in the house.

The next day was a day just for Jessica and I, to kind of explore the island and such. We had a couple of fun activities planned. The first was a food tour in the downtown area of Saint Thomas. The only challenge was driving down and finding a parking spot, because most tourists on the island come from docked cruise ships and just kind of taxi around, but since we were staying locally it was up to us to get there. They all drive on the left side of the road, but also their cars are set up the same as the states, with the driver on the left side. So as the drive, you’re just hugging the side of the road the entire time, instead of hugging the middle. It’s not a big deal, but when you’re driving on the west side of the island, there are many sharp corners where you can’t see very well and you’re having to just pray and hope that some idiot isn’t going to fly around and hit you haha.

But anyway, we managed to find a nice parking spot and made it to the food tour! The guy was really nice and knowledgeable of the area, but I do have one complaint… the food part didn’t start until like an hour into the tour! Like, I came hungry so I could actually eat everything, so I was like “yo I’m starving and the name of this tour is ‘Island Food Tours’, what gives?!!?!” haha I was hangry.

But luckily the tour finally started and the food was.... okay. Like I appreciated trying new things and what not, but the food just wasn’t great for the most part. Like the first thing we tried was salt fish quiche, and it was borderline gross haha. I ate it bc I was starving, but what the hell? hahaha. Eggs and fish? Anyway, then we had rum cake which was kind of good, but super super strong. I swear I got a buzz after that. And then after that we went to this little sit down place and they served us fried cod, these weird not very good tasting potatoes and this soup with greens and turkey broth. The soup was good but the fish and potatoes were okay at best. Then we went to this street food place that had these weird little meat empanads that were actually good, but they weren’t great. Like I’m not a foodie, but I know when food is mediocre and it was that haha. By this point Jessica and I are pretty full but luckily the last place was just a bar and the guy just made us this weird creamy frozen drink that I can’t remember the name of. Jessica and I are trying to drink less, but this was a special occasion so I allowed it!

The funniest part of the whole trip was the BILLION jewelry stores along the side walk. I guess a lot of people decide to propose at the last second, so they just buy something while they’re there!

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Jessica and I at that fancy sit down place

The next stop of the day was a snorkel tour! So before we left for the day, we had to find me some new swim trunks because apparently the ones I bought two summers ago no longer fit me (I’m currently at my heaviest weight ever, but not by much so I was definitely surprised that some stretchy swim trunks wouldn’t fit!) So we had to find some place to buy some swim trunks really quick because we only had thirty minutes to get from the food tour to the boat. The island is small but it’s still a bit of a drive and then finding the pier proved to be a hassle. (more on that later). We found a shop, but the only trunks that I found were like 60 buck and I’m like “oh heck that” and was prepared to go elsewhere but the shop owner seemed really cool and showed me some trunks they were about to put on clearance. I was suspicious they were just screwing with me, but they did have the new tags already in place, they just weren’t on display. They were half that price, which is still a lot, but much more reasonable for something I’ll probably wear one time ever. I decided to wear them under my jeans because I really hate wearing shorts, which comes into play again later, I promise haha.

The place was really difficult to find, since it was on the pier of a really nice hotel built into the side of a cliff. So what you were supposed to do is enter the hotel at the top floor, take it down to the first floor, walk out onto the beach and then go to the pier where the boat was waiting. However, that wasn’t clear in the instructions, so we ended up parking in the first lot we found at the top, and then walking down the curvy street that led all the way to the bottom. It was seriously so steep, I’m surprised neither of us fell down. Anyway, after a while we finally made it to the bottom, and at this point we’re still flying blind. There were no instructions on how to get to this pier (I think because they assume most people going on the tour are also staying at the hotel), so we just start looking around. Finally, minutes before the boat leaves, we spot the pier and boogy on over to it. The moment I arrive, everyone starts making comments on me wearing jeans and boots and I decide to just tell everyone I’m from Texas to get them off my back. But honestly, it’s just what I’m more comfortable in so I shouldn’t have to explain haha! I guess they were worried I was going to try and swim in jeans but I assured them I brought some trunks.

The boat was actually super cool. I was imagining a small boat with like 5 or 6 people on it, but it was actually a large pontoon style boat with a lot of seating and tables, and like 40 people on board! The captain was named Jolene and she was super cool. Brad was her first mate and he didn’t say much but she kept making jokes about him on the trip and everyone (especially once they were drunk later) starting making funny comments about Brad. The funniest thing was when we were on our way back, Brad lets down the sail so we can actually sail back to the hotel, and the moment the sail dropped someone yelled “Yo, easy breezy Brad at it again!!!” and we all cracked up… again, we were drunk haha.

But yeah the snorkeling was so much fun! I was struggling at first because the mask wouldn’t fit my face properly. It was putting a lot of pressure on the bridge of my nose and it wouldn’t make a good seal, but Jolene found me a mask that felt a little bit better, and she suggested trying some Vaseline on my mustache to help the mask seal better. The new mask still hurt my nose a lot, but at least it wasn’t leaking like before! Jolene was such a boss! On the way back they served a drink called Pain Killer and had snacks. It was so much fun!!!

After that, Jessica and I were pretty worn out so we went to Kmart to grab a few items, including some laundry detergent (all they had at the house was Tide and Jessica is allergic). I napped pretty hard after that and then that night I whipped out my laptop and played some games with my boys online. (hilarious, I know. I’m basically in paradise, but I’m in the room playing video games instead haha. But I gots to get my gaming in!)

Rehearsal Day

The day before the wedding we pretty much had another day to ourselves, but it was nothing planned. We wanted to go down to the shops and such, but we ended up just going to the beaches. There are no private beaches on Saint Thomas, but there are three beaches that are difficult to access unless you live in this exclusive gated area that we were staying in. So we took the car down to these beaches and Jessica got to collect a bunch of shells and I got to fly my drone. At one point I accidentally crashed the drone into some bushes haha. I mean the winds were super crazy and I was having trouble controlling it! I took some really nice photos but unfortunately I forgot to put the SD card in the drone so they only images I had were the backup images the drone sends to my phone, but I was super dumb and deleted the images folder before I had a chance to save them. :( I do have a couple of the videos though! Sorry the drone video quality is kind of crap, as I said, these are just the 720p files sent to my phone while flying the drone.

Drone video of the house

Crashing the drone like a dumb dumb haha

An overview of the beach

Then after the beaches we decided to go back to the room and nap because we were both still tired from the day before and getting sun from the beaches (we’re so much fun!). The rehearsal dinner was really nice! They served some chicken and and really nice veggies that tasted like they were drenched in butter. Really a lot of fun getting to know the sister of the bride and her fiance. They were really fun and since they were from East Texas and not from the Island, they were the only people we could actually connect with!

The Wedding

So the day of the wedding rolls around and it’s really smooth. I started shooting that morning at about 10am and didn’t stop shooting until about 11pm, so a 13 hour day! My normal maximum time to work is 10 hours because I get too worn out and it impacts the quality of the photos, but I made an exception on that day because it was an old friend and a unique situation.

Poor Jessica didn’t really know what to do the whole day though. I didn’t really need much help, but I did take a moment to kind of show her how my backup camera worked so she could walk around shooting some images. She picked it up pretty quickly!!!

I don’t have much to say about the wedding itself because it went pretty much like any other wedding, except for one moment. After the ceremony, I flew my drone so I could get a large group photo of all guests in one picture. It went pretty well, but the winds were pretty crazy so when it came to landing the drone I had a bit of an incident. I told people to back up so I could make a little landing pad for the drone. It’s pretty small and normally doesn’t need much space, but the winds were so crazy that it just kept moving and I had trouble controlling it. But I managed to get it still and started the decent. But unfortunately, at the last second the wind really picked up and the drone flew into a lady’s leg. I’m sure that hurt like hell, because even though I was landing, those props are no joke! She actually got a couple of scrapes that were bleeding a bit, but there was a nurse nearby who had a first aid kit handy, thank god. She got fixed up and bandaged, the cuts were small enough and shallow enough that just a normal bandage got her patched up, but I felt so bad. She didn’t seem too upset, but I could tell she wasn’t super happy that it happened either. I hope she doesn’t decide to press charges! I haven’t heard anything yet, so here’s to hoping! I have insurance but I don’t want to deal with any of all that! I did hear her telling the story to someone at the wedding and she mentioned that it was the wind that blew the drone into her, so it sounded like she didn’t think I was flying irresponsibly. But yeah, that was kind of a bummer to deal with!

Other than that, the wedding went pretty successfully! I’ll include a few photos below!

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The trip back

Okay, so the trip back was seriously so GARBAGE. It started out kind of rough, even on the island. So the sister of the bride and her fiance had a flight out about 30 minutes before ours, so the bride asked if I could take them to the airport in my car since we were going to be there also. Of course I agreed, I didn’t want her driving 30 minutes one way just to take them when we could easily take care of it. However, I had to park the car off the main driveway to make room for the vendors and taxis for all of the guests. Well, it had rained the next morning and my car was stuck. It’s on a pretty steep hill, so I was like “okay I’ll just go backwards and move it onto the pavement and we’ll be all good.” But unfortunately I had backed it right in front of some trees, so there was basically zero room for me to back up, so forward was the only option. I didn’t discover the car issue until right before we had to leave, so this was going to put us seriously behind. I can’t just leave the car there!!!

Well I tried to get some help pushing the car sideways through the mud and at least getting one tire onto the pavement, but that didn’t work out at all, there nothing for me to push the car on and even so, I doubt it would have moved. So Virginia was going to see if the gate guards had a truck that could possibly pull me out, but right before leaving she found a tie down rope used for luggage, and it looked tough enough to pull the car. So she gets her little Toyota Yaris and we hook it up to the Jeep. I swear, if you had seen this set up, you’d never thing it was going to work. But, holy hell, the Jeep started inching forward. Toyota Yaris for the win! We got the car out, packed up, and on the road just in time to make it to the airport!

Well, this is where things really start devolving....

We get to the airport, through security, and we sit down to eat some food since we have about an hour before our flight is supposed to leave. I get a google alert on my phone that the flight is delayed and I start worrying. Our connecting flight in Florida only has a one hour layover, so a delay could be a problem. I go to the lady at the front, and she seems super indifferent about my problem. She keeps scanning her tickets and basically ignores me while I’m standing there. She made it seem like she was going to check on the delay, but then walks away without saying anything and I just give up and sit down. The spirit website doesn’t say anything about a delay, so I’m thinking it may just be a problem on Google’s end.

Nope, 30 minutes later she announces that there are too strong of winds to go directly to Florida and we have to divert to Puerto Rico, fuel up, and then head to Florida. I check the estimated delay and it’s exactly one hour, right when our other flight is going to take off. I start panicking and ask the lady if they would possibly hold the other flight and wait for us to arrive. She basically says nothing and walks away again. Amazing customer service, really.

How the actual hell did Google know about this delay before the people working for Spirit did? That’s amazing to me, really. Anyway, we finally take off and land 15 minutes later in Puerto Rico. The announce that there are some passengers in Puerto Rico that are going to hitch a ride back to Florida with us and I’m like “Okay great, another delay…”

So now we’re on track to arrive later than when the connecting flight leaves. I’ve pretty much accepted at this point that we’re going to be stuck in Florida. And I was right, we landed, ran as fast as we could to the next gate, and we see the plane we’re supposed to be on being taxied to the runway. They actually left a minute earlier than expected…

So I’m super frustrated at this point obviously. I was hoping they would hold the plane for just a few minutes so we could board, but apparently that’s a bit too complicated for Spirit, even though I’ve been on connecting flights with other airlines that have done the same thing. The lady at the gate tells me to speak with the customer service person near the gate to get a new flight. As I’m standing in line behind a guy who was on the same flight as me, I overhear her tell the guy that only flight out is 24 hours later. She doesn’t even give us an option to flight somewhere else and then connect back to DFW, apparently that’s too complicated as well. So now we’re stuck for 24 hours. I get the tickets and call my travel insurance people, who tell me that in order to make a claim, I need to have proof that the plane was delayed due to weather. The same lady at the service counter tells me to go to the front area, past security, where you check your luggage and they could help me out. But guess what? These people have no idea what I’m talking about. After waiting in line for an hour (because surprise, surprise… a lot of flights from the Caribbean area were delayed and lots of people were waiting), I just get told they can’t do anything. I heard a lot of people cursing out the people at the counter, and honestly I couldn’t blame them much. But I kept my cool as much as possible.

Meanwhile, Jessica really helped out a bunch. She goes down to baggage claim, finds out checked bags, and books us a hotel. We could have stayed at the airport pretty easily, but heck all that man. I was so tired and worn out, I just wanted a bed to sleep in. She found us a nice hotel that wasn’t too expensive, had a free shuttle to and from the airport, and had breakfast. And it was only like 100 bucks. We decided to try and keep it cheap just in case the travel insurance decides they don’t want to pay for it (still waiting on that). We actually met some nice people on the shuttle who also flew Spirit and missed their connecting flight. They were really nice, but I think we overshared our issues and freaked them out because they got really quiet haha. I’m so awkward....

Anyway, we get to the hotel and the room is super nice. Big TV, fridge, microwave, a safe, and central air (kind of… more later). We drop our stuff off, and walk to the nearby ihop. The server there was working all by herself and trying so hard, so even though it took forever to get anything, I still gave her a huge tip for doing her best and dealing with a bunch of frustrated travelers stuck in Florida.

After getting back to the hotel, we realized that the air conditioner had shut off. I figured I had just set a timer on it accidentally and turned it back on. But then, 15 minutes later it had shut off again. I was like “okay, this thing is definitely busted.” I call the front desk and they say they have no more rooms and basically tell me I’m screwed. I was like “Okay well can you compensate me for the room or something, because I paid for a room with AC and I don’t have that” I usually am not confrontational, but after the day I had, I was ready to fight anyone. He then admits they have a handicapped room they try to keep available, but was willing to give it to me. I was like “okay, but it’s 2am. No one is going to take that room” haha. So I get the keys and while I’m downstairs I ask if they have late check out. He says “well it’s technically 12pm, but if you wait until 1pm it’s fine” and I’m like “okay but what if I want to stay later? our flight is at 8pm” and he says “well they have to tell you tomorrow if you can do late check out, based on how busy we are”

Well I guess he was just passing the buck, because I called the next morning and the lady on the phone tells me “you can check out at 1 if you like” but imagine the bitchiest voice possible. And I was like “okay yeah I know that but I want to check out later” and she says “You can check out at 1” and then hangs up and I’m like “okay fuck this place forever....” So I left them a pretty nasty review on trip advisor.

Meanwhile, I get a call from Spirit social media relations. I had put them on blast on twitter for all the bullshit we went through (idk if you can tell, but I’m getting angry just reliving this again haha). They apologized for what happened and added meal vouchers to my account. I’m like “okay thanks but what about my hotel costs” and they just say they can’t help me because it was weather and not their fault. But I mean, most delays are weather right? When would they pay for a hotel?

Anyway, I take their meal vouchers and they tell me to tell the ticket agent at the counter to print them out when we recheck our bags. But, SURPRISE SURPRISE, the lady at the counter couldn’t print them. She said “it shows you got them this morning at 9am, so I can’t give them to you again” and I’m like “no, that’s when she called me. I wasn’t even here, I was at the hotel” and after like 45 minutes of arguing with her, she finally caves and prints new ones. I mean, come the fuck on, it’s like 40 dollars worth of vouchers. Was it really worth all that bullshit? I swear Spirit just WANTS to fuck up....

Anyway, we finally get through security and chill out nearby our gate. It was actually a really nice part of the airport. It had good wifi and the nearby food places were actually really good. The pizza place nearby was the best, they stretched the dough and made the pizza right in front of you. Sure their customer service was garbage, which you expect in an airport, but the pizza was surprisingly good. Then a few hours later these two kids spotting me playing my video games and watched for a while. I eventually pulled out my switch and let them play mario kart on it. They names were Lydia and Darwin and they were so well behaved, and their parents were super cool with them talking to a stranger. Highlight of waiting honestly!

Anyway, here is the FINAL part.... and the most frustrating part of the trip. I had been making excuses for Spirit the whole time. Saying things like “oh they’re a budget airline, they don’t have as many planes as other airlines which is why this happened” and such like that. “Oh I’d still be willing to use Spirit on a direct flight, just no more connecting flights”. Dumb shit like that haha.

Welp, we finally board the plane and grab our seats. And… you can’t make this shit up......

They announce that the plane is going to be delayed on take off. Sure annoying, but that’s fine because at this point, I’d been there for 24 hours, what’s another hour? well....


Okay yep, that was the moment I decided that “fuck spirit” forever. The most obvious solution to the problem, making the connecting flight wait a tiny bit so people could board from delayed flights was apparently a solution they implement whenever they felt like it....

I am seriously so pissed just even talking about this..... haha.

Anyway, that was the cherry on top of all the bullshit we dealt with and I’m so done with that airline, you don’t even know.

OKAY, that’s everything that happened really. I know this was a long entry and all, but I’m mostly just writing it for me because there were so many details that I didn’t want to forget, so I a wanted a log of everything. Hope you’re all doing well!

Last updated January 17, 2020

DimMeOut January 18, 2020

WOW!!! The drone pics you shared are amazing!! That house was incredible, for sure.
I'm so sorry you had such a crappy trip back!! Traveling is stressful enough without all that bullshit! :(

DE_karabeara February 10, 2020

I've never been to St Thomas - how cool that you made it an adventure vacation while working? INCREDIBLE PICTURES!!! Does it really even feel like "work"?! I mean seriously. Paradise.
Fuck Spirit. I've said it 8,000 times. But know that I would 100% book a flight next time I come across one of their $70 roundtrip sales because HOW CAN A PERSON SAY NO TO THAT. haha

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