2008 New Year Holiday in Aruba (page 3)

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The light and water show at the Paseo Herencia mall.

Paseo Herencia

At this mall, portraits of notable people from Aruba are featured.  Loosely translated, Paseo Herencia means Heritage Plaza.
The portrait is located next to the movie theater box office in front of the TGIF restaurant.
It is a tremendous honor for me to be included.

location at paseo
The location of the photo is near the blue oval (by TGIF).

Afterwards, time for ice cream of course!

Well as I hinted at the beginning, we had an incident on the flight back home.

Initially, we were scheduled to spend a 12 hour layover in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  However, on the morning of January 6, 2008, we changed the plan and boarded American Airlines Flight 1036 to Miami.  It would connect to Baltimore and get us home much earlier.  About one hour into the flight, we suddenly felt a change in pressure, and some passengers sitting near the wing reported a bang or thump.  We immediately went into a steep dive with the engines throttled back, and the spoilers deployed.  Then, the captain came on, and one could tell he was breathing behind a mask.  He instructed us to put on the oxygen masks.  However, they did not drop from the overhead compartments, and we did not know what to do.  After a few seconds, passengers started to rip the panels open, and we started to pull the masks down.

All this time, we were diving down rapidly.  The reason was that the captain had detected the loss of cabin pressure, and per normal procedure, he was diving down below 10,000 feet.  Once there, we no longer needed oxygen.  This took a minute or two, and meanwhile everyone remained mainly calm.  There were some folks that were clearly stressed, but we managed to keep it together.  Once we reached a very low altitude, the plane levelled off, and the captain said we no longer needed our masks.  We flew back to Aruba at this low altitude, and one notable thing was how close the ocean looked.  We could see the waves on it as we flew back.

Once there, we landed in Aruba normally, and were met by fire trucks that looked the plane over.  They saw nothing on the exterior and we taxied to a segregated spot and we were transferred to busses.  Later, that day, after a long delay, we departed for Boston on a different plane, along with Lydia and her family.  We spent the night in Boston and returned home the next day.  What a harrowing experience that was!

Here is a write-up regarding this incident in the local Aruba paper.

And a follow-up the next day.

Stephanie and Christopher with their masks on.  They stayed quite calm during the event, but we all
admitted afterwards that it was a big scare.

View forward of our seats.  Note the deployed masks.  Many hatches were damaged due to us having to rip
them open.

The view aft of our seats.  This was after we were cruising at 5,000 feet.  We no longer needed the masks then.

What followed was a loooong 4 hour wait in line to get rescheduled.  It was very tedious.  Good thing Ah Mah came with
some food for us.

The serial number on the plane that we were riding was "N654A".  We shot this view when we left Aruba later that day for a flight bound for Boston.
My sister Lydia and her family was on that flight too, so we were comforted with some company.


A few days later, our picture appeared on the front page of the local paper.

The airline (American Airlines) put us up for a night at the very nice Hyatt Boston.  It has a gorgeous view of the city from across the Boston Harbour.

The next day, we waited for a little while at Boston Logan before our final leg home.  It was a good way to relax from a stressful end.
We made it home just fine, and were glad to be home.

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(c) Edward Cheung, all rights reserved.