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The Rich and Famous

Remember when air travel had a certain romance associated with it. When we looked forward to our trip to the airport as we started our latest adventure. Now that seems like such a long time ago in a place far, far away . . . . .

American Eagle at Rohlsen Airport, St. Croix.
For several reasons (the hassle factor alluded to above) along with our relative isolation (read, very poor airline service from St. Croix), a lot of baggage and our concern for the third member of our family - Wags. Jane and I did something that was totally foreign to our lifestyle - we decided to charter a flight from St. Croix to Panama. Never, in our wildest dreams, had we ever considered spending such an outrageous sum for a ride in an airplane.

What follows is the short version of our first (and likely last) taste of how “the rich and famous” travel.

• First we choose the date and departure time. Want to sleep in, fine!
• Arrived at the airport 45 minutes (or so) before departure time. Say hello to everyone.
• No TSA - really missed taking my shoes off!
• Wags runs around the lounge area. Happy that he doesn’t need to travel in a “crate”.
• Someone loads our twelve bags. No extra charge, no size or weight limits.
Just prior to departure, Wags getting the red carpet treatment.

• Departure time. But first lets take a picture with the pilots and plane.
• On board we pick where we want to sit. Wags likes a window seat. Thinks he’s in a big car.
• Off we go. On time!
After departure, our last look at St. Croix.

• Airborne we get our last look at St. Croix.
• We had offered a seat to a friend who wanted to take a quick look (3 days) at Panama. Jim announces that he’s catered a meal for us. Out come the pastries, cheese and fruit, chocolate covered strawberries, homemade peanut butter cups and other assorted goodies. Next, a way-big, chicken Caesar salad with all the extras. We ate all the way to Panama. Thanks Jim!
• We arrive. On time!
On the ground in Panama.
• Our plane is meet by a air-conditioned bus and FOUR very nice Panamanians. They welcome us to Panama. Put Jane and Wags on the bus because it is too hot outside and we watch as they unload our bags!
• Off to Customs & Immigration where the head honcho of our ground crew does all the talking. No one has any questions for us! Wags attracts a lot of attention and smiles - not many Australian Shepherds in Panama.
• Next stop the government vet so they can check his paperwork. All is well. Wags tries to get a share of the vet’s lunch - no go, but everybody has a good laugh.
• Loaded up the van and then we head for the city, less than 30 minuets after we had landed. Priceless!

Jane and Wags waiting for our ride to the city.

The long version of this experience is available upon request should we ever see you in Panama.

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