Rendezvous with The Surfboard Doctor

Rockaway Surfing Beach, NYC

Last month, I was blessed enough to travel to Belize for my brother’s wedding. It was such a roller-coaster because I didn’t think that we would actually make it there.The reason was because the wedding was the same weekend of the evil that was Hurricane Matthew. And due to that headache, I was doubly blessed to meet the Surfboard Doctor.

Our flight to Belize was supposed to connect through Miami airport from New York to our destination of Belize City. Well, that was all shot to hell after I rescheduled three times and the airport was then closed because it was in the path of the storm. The only loophole that I could find was to fly out of Newark, NJ and connect to another flight in Houston,Texas at eight the same evening and of course that didn’t work out because one family member was late, the MTA always plots against me, and I have a tiny bladder.

Surfboard Doctor
Photo credit Mark Kauzlarich / The New York Times

This is where “the Surfboard Doctor ” enters the picture. After we missed boarding by fifteen minutes,  we had to wait in line to reschedule our flight yet again. And the agent at the desk was,  Mr. Fernando Pires, the Surfboard Doctor. I have to admit that by now,  my mood wasn’t the best. And I realized that he could sense that but, I was going to be as polite as possible because this man held our chances of making my brother’s wedding in his hands. Now he didn’t look stern or anything but, I’ve heard other people’s opinions about their experience at Newark Airport. So I prepared myself for the drama.

But I was ecstatic, that he proved me wrong. “The Doctor ” went to work checking through all the flights leaving that day, and the next trying to put an itinerary together to get us there .

Since we were a party of four,  it made things more difficult to arrange (darn pesky family members). In between his work, were passing time with small talk and the obligatory question of where we were from came up and we found out that we live in the same neighborhood. I didn’t think that I would run into a neighbor in Newark. And this is where the name “the Surfboard Doctor is explained, we live in the same shore front community, where he settled after emigrating here from Brazil and opened a surfboard repair shop and school.

I thought that this was hilarious because I didn’t hear about the school before. And I was just where his shop is located this summer while taking visiting relatives to the beach and didn’t run into him. To make this story more of a New York one,  he told me that was recently written in the New York Times newspaper. I looked it up, right then! I  read about his childhood in Brazil, his emigration, struggles with keeping his business and house. And here is the article. “What the hell! Why don’t I know you already?”, I shouted. We all laughed. I was feeling a lot better after that chat. After he got us all seats on the next two flights, we could finally breathe easier. We were rerouted and set up with TSA pre-check to move through the check-in process quicker (so grateful for that). I hope that he will remember us next summer when we visit his surfboard repair shop.

Unfortunately, because we missed the last flight to Belize that day, we would miss the ceremony and have to sleep in the airport to make the next flight that would get us there for the reception. My mom was gutted,  missing her only son’s wedding. There was nothing that I could say to make it better but, at least this time we knew that we were on our way. And that gave us a great story to tell when we finally got there. I’ll write about our stay in Belize in my next post.

Have you ever had difficulty traveling? How bad was it? We can collectively cry into our drinks in the comments below. I’d love to read about your drama too.

Until our next rendezvous …





Rendezvous en New York


24 thoughts on “Rendezvous with The Surfboard Doctor

  1. Hey Trudy! What an adventure! I am glad it had a relatively happy ending. The worst experience we had was a very long time ago. We had booked a cheap bus trip from Germany to Greece. When we got on the ferry in Bari, Italy, it was so crowded that I had visions of sunken ferry tragedies. We got to Corfu in one piece, but when we got to the hotel, there were no rooms for anyone! The worst part was the bus load of very disgruntled Germans! ? They were not nice! Anyway, we accomplished what we wanted, which was a cheap and easy way to get to Greece. Three days later, the Germans went home on the bus, and we went island-hopping! ?

    1. Whoa that was a lot! I have more to add in another post when I got to Belize, but at least you had a good time island hopping. It does sound good except for the angry Germans. ???

    1. Umm, not so much. But the country and the hotel were beautiful! I’ve been caught up with holidays so I haven’t been able able to post it but I will ASAP. I would definitely visit Belize again

        1. It wasn’t the country but the circumstances of the trip. The hurricane ruined a lot of the pleasure that I could have had. I was exhausted from all the rerouting and stress

  2. I love small world connections in the big world like this story! And, my worst travel story has nothing to do with missing my brother’s wedding (I don’t have a brother, but you get the point). However, my mom and I were traveling from Wisconsin to Alabama to visit my grandparents — with my two young daughters in tow. At the time, the girls were about 18 months and 6. First, somehow the trunk of the car locked with my luggage inside and not my mom’s — at 4 a.m. At 6 (after opening the trunk) my dad dropped the four of us at the airport in Milwaukee, WI. Moments after he left us at curbside check in, we learned our flight had been cancelled. The next flight was leaving from Chicago. So, the airline put us in a limo (with car seats for the girls) and sent us there. By the time we got there, it was 8 a.m. We made it to Atlanta and the gate in time for our flight — except, a thunderstorm blew in and we literally sat on the floor of the airport in front of the ticket counter to wait. We got on the plane, taxied to the runway and sat there waiting for 16 other planes to take off first. My 18 mo old fell asleep on my lap — and woke up when the pilot announced we were next in line to take off. Fortunately, the flight was only an hour to our destination! It felt like three days when in reality it took us almost a full day to get there. I think we could have driven the thousand miles faster!!! But, like you, in the end, a great time was had by all!

    1. Great “travel hell” story! I can’t believe your luggage was locked in the trunk with two children! What a nightmare! And when you finally get the little one to sleep…. Im happy that it turned out well for you!

      1. It was quite the story with many more details … didn’t want to bore your readers. But, it’s always good to commiserate with others over their nightmare travel situations!

  3. The Surfboard Doctor sounds like a standup guy! (haha, get it? Stand up, like on surfboard?) I don’t really have any travel horror stories, thank goodness– knock on wood! Once my husband and I had to wait about two hours to check in to our flight leaving Italy, which was brutally boring, but not totally hellish. ?

    1. I’m glad that you don’t have any. I wish that I was blogging during my others because the details are now hazy without pictures…but it if I didn’t remember all the nitty gritty I probably wouldn’t want to travel as much. And I really want to!

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