Nov 30, 2017

As I walked into ‘work’, I ran into a friend, KP, who I hadn’t seen in about 7mo….and she is pregnant!  27 weeks along, she tells me. I am very happy for her! When I last saw her, the was hoping to be preggers VERY SOON. And, it seems she was correct! A baby girl due Mar 1st. I think I’ll start making a baby quilt. I’ll need to check my materials basket and get what I need to make it happen.

KP told me I should write more. She likes my Sea Tweets about my travels and said I should jot down my thoughts. So, a jotting I will go…since no one will really see these. And, if someone wanders through, well then, it’s just My Meandering Mind at work.

At work, Janet and two officers had a ‘chili cook off’. We, in the office, were asked to taste all three and decide just WHO made the best chili. They were all VERY good, but Janet’s won the overall taste test. I liked it because it was mild and I could add stuff to it, like onions, sour cream and a little cheese. Oh, and a cut up hot dog, covered in a bowl of Janet’s tasty stuff.

It’s been a month since we went back to Standard Time and I STILL cannot get used to it being dark at 5pm…It SUCKS! I ran a few errands and by the time I get home, it feels like bed time! Sassy was ‘screaming’ when I came in the door…all of 20 min ‘late’ for her 6pm dinner. You’d think she hadn’t eaten in YEARS! So, she got a bit of her ground chicken and all is well in the kitty world, again. I wasn’t all that hungry and had 2 toasted bagel slices with PB & Jalapeno jelly. Oh, and a small piece of the ‘German Chocolate’ cake square that jumped into my basket at Von’s.

Tomorrow, there is supposed to be a power washing of the building in prep for painting. I’ve had to clear the front porch of all the crap and accumulated. I started yesterday and there is still stuff out there. It’s mostly plants, which are now spread throughout the living room and planter, etc. The outside closet is full, too. I REALLLY need to thin all that stuff out, but I have a ‘thing’ about not throwing stuff out. I am NOT a hoarder, by any means…I always blame the nuns, from grade school…I vaguely remember being told not to throw stuff out that some one might be able to use! IT’S THEIR FAULT!! HA! Anyway, not sure if the washing will take place or not. Tom and Lauren have pointed out that the trees that we wanted trimmed, need to be trimmed before the painting. We’ll see. Even though I am on the HOA board of directors, I am not involved in the painting. I bowed out of that from the beginning. I’m not even sure what colors they ended up choosing….other than derivatives of ‘brown and beige’.

Time to take my ‘end of cold’ cough off to bed. Medicate myself into sleep. Tomorrow starts December and I am not ready for anything. I’m not even fond of Christmas…but that’s a whole other conversation!!

 

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WOOHOO, New trip!

New plans! It took about 2hours to decide my next trip. With Cuba off the table, I HAD to go somewhere or go crazy. So, even though I did this trip, several years back, I’m going again. The itinerary has changed, just a tad, and a few new spots added. Plus, we had to miss 1 or 2 ports, last trip, due to high seas. Some of these are atolls can be treacherous when you must travel by tender on rough water.
The best thing is…it’s round trip San Diego…NO FLYING! Just a quick ride to the port! Woohoo! It also makes it easier to pack b’cuz I don’t need to pack warm, bulky clothes.
I do wish we still overnighted in Honolulu. It was nice to have 2 days there, but…ya can’t have everything. I’ll just hafta cram it all into one.
I have not been on the Maasdam, so this is another ship added to my HAL ‘collection’. I think I have 3 to go, plus the new one being built, so 4…?
I’m sure my room will be in the ‘basement’, but as long as I have an unobstructed view, I’m not too concerned.
So, 144 days to go!! Woohoo!
28-DAY HAWAII, TAHITI & MARQUESAS
25 MAR 2018 – 22 APR 2018
SHIP: ms Maasdam
DEPARTS: San Diego, California, US
ARRIVES: San Diego, California, US
HSW828-28-DAY HAWAII, TAHITI & MARQUESAS 
  Ocean-view
Ocean view room

Change of plans!

We are NOT going to Cuba, in February.  Sadly, everyone has decided that due to the Cat 5 hurricane, Maria, in early October, it just doesn’t seem appealing. Havana was flooded and the surrounding islands got realllly whacked, hard! So, the decision was made, while on our Canada trip, to cancel. Enthusiasm was lost over that and an issue of ‘restricted’ touring. From what Kim has said, we can ONLY do ship’s tours and not book anything independently. This can restrict our movements, in that…we are under THEIR Visa and do not have personal Visa’s…would be my guess. So, that will all be refunded in a few days.

Meanwhile…I’ve decided to do another Hawaii, Tahiti and Marquesas cruise. It’s 28 days, RT from San Diego, in late March of 2018. The price actually went DOWN since I first priced it out in July. I HAVE to go….SOMEWHERE! The thought of NOT having something planned will make me nuts. The eastbound transatlantic looked interesting, but the price has gone way up! I would have liked that one, From FLL to VENICE! And it would have 2 stops in Croatia. But….I won’t pay that much, for a single. Even ALASKA has gone way up AND the northbound Pacific Coastals are sold out, already! So, lets go tropical and South Pacific! We had to skip a couple of islands, last trip, so maybe I’ll get to see those, this time. And, I need to ‘work’ my new 5 STAR ‘status’!

Now I hafta break the news to the Aunties. Sassy won’t care, b’cuz her Aunties are so good to her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday Oct. 23, 2017 The Finale

 

10pm
I woke up early…%$#@ time difference! Of course, there’s no food in the house. Luckily, Denny’s is just a short distance away. FEED ME! And they do. I am a regular, so we pass pleasantries as I get my coffee and breakfast. After that, it’s off to Pancho Villas for fruits and veggies and then to Von’s for the other stuff. My cupboards are full again!
I dragged the suitcases to my back bedroom and sorta unpacked…a few things. It’s all clean, except for a few things. I just didn’t have the ‘energy’ to unpack. I must save my strength to go back to ‘work’ tomorrow! HA! I lead such a hard life!
Sassy spent a lot of time at my side. I used her as an excuse to not move too much. She benefitted by getting petted, kissed and brushed.
So, I am home. The next trip may or may not be, at the end of February. It’s kind of up in the air, at the moment. It’ll all work out.
Until next time….It’s time for bed!!

 

Travel Queen

Sunday Oct 22, 2017 Ft Lauderdale-Home

Jan and I were awakened by the ship shuddering as it turned and maneuvered through the harbor to dock 26. It realllly shimmied when the Capt. made the hard left! I ventured out on our porch and it was still dark. A check of my iPhone tells me it’s not quite 6am. Across from us is a park/wetland. It runs for quite a ways south of us and ends with a Coast Guard Station at the entrance to Port Everglades. Beyond that is the Atlantic. You can see a few cargo ships lit up in the morning darkness. The sunrise is blocked by dark clouds. You can see the clouds, and the rain falling from them, move north. The sun IS trying to come out from behind the clouds, but… Still, it’s quite warm and muggy out. Oh, joy! Mugginess! I had no shoes on and left wet foot prints on the floor.

The luggage went out last night, before bed, so there is a lot more room to move around, this morning. We each had a little pile of ‘today’s clothes’. A quick shower and I’m ready for breakfast. THE FINAL MEAL! HA! NO Explorer coffee run…they are closed for business!!  Jan, Kyle and Kathleen went to the dining room. I still prefer the Lido. 2 eggs over medium, some nice ‘English’ bacon, raisin toast and fruit. Hopefully, that will hold for our long day.

The announcements are already being made for people to disembark. It’s just about 8am. They don’t fool around…get off the ship! We are in the last group to be called, roughly, 10-10:15am. There is a lot of activity on the docks. There are BIG shipping containers filled with construction equipment and materials being craned up to the Sea View [back porch pool] area. It’s all roped off and a few people are displeased that their paths are blocked. Construction equipment is also being loaded around the Lido pool on pallets that have been laid down to protect the teak decks.

More announcements…and she keeps saying to bring your passports and Customs forms… Ummm…what Customs forms? None were sent in our disembarkation packages. So, I trudge down to deck 1 and the Front Desk. GREAT NEWS! We no longer have to fill out the Customs Declaration’s! YIPEEE! There WERE a waste of time. No one looked at them as were went through Customs. Someone just collected them for…what?

We’re hanging out in our rooms and listening to the stewards tear down the rooms, cleaning and redressing them. The rooms will be assigned to the 2000 workers that will sail after we get off. I found it very interesting/telling that ALLL of the liquor was removed from the rooms. NO passengers to buy them and no chance of letting the work crew get ahold of them! The stewards are hooting and hollering down the halls…and it echoes! Funny! The ship IS deserted! We’re just waiting to be called. And, we finally are. We were just about the LAST people off the ship. We WERE the last US citizen’s in line at Customs. I tried to use my Mobile Passport app…but they had it disabled [in the terminal] for some reason. It’s only good for Ft. Lauderdale’s port, at the moment.

We got to the big hall, rounded up our luggage, repackaged, regrouped and took our place…last…in line for US. The non-US line is still quite long!! We meandered over to the taxi line. There was a Broward Co. Sheriff acting as taxi starter. He looked at us, asked how many, saw the luggage and said, wait over there for a van. Most of the taxi’s are small eco cars. Several vans pulled up and the Deputy pointed to groups and pointed to cabs. The driver got our luggage loaded, we got loaded and we were off! It is a short distance, as the crow flies, but takes about 10-15min to get there. We’re flying jetBlue, so it’s terminal 3. The driver gets us all unloaded, Kyle pays him and he is pulling away when Kyle cries. ‘Oh NO!’ She’d left something in the van. Luckily, he didn’t get too far, due to traffic, and she chased him down and retrieved it! Whew!!

Check in at many airports now, are done at kiosks. We got our tags and boarding passes, went to the luggage drop off, and we were free!!!

There was, at one time, a possible plan of taking the free shuttle to downtown and finding a place for lunch and seeing the sights. NOT TODAY! It’s too hot and muggy and the consensus is, straight to the gate! We go through security and hike to the gate F8. There are restaurant’s and a few bars as we work our way in the terminal. There is a bar, how handy, right by F10. It’s a bit early for me for alcohol, so I opt for the ‘charging table’ to charge my phone and sit. A few later, I get a text. They’ve found food…the TV Test Kitchen restaurant a few gates back. I went to join them and we had Stella’s [beer] and fries! Kyle and I had sweet potato fries and Kathleen had some with Parm cheese [I think] and other spices. Our sweet little waitress let us sit there and veg. We had a LONG wait for our flight. It’s only noonish and our flight is 5:50pm! We’re finally set to go and &^%$#@ the bill is huge for 4 beers and 3 fries! I think, other than leasing the name TV Test Kitchen, it’s just a ruse to get you in there. And I DO realize that airport food is usually higher, but…really…$17.50 for a beer and a not so big container fries? Jan recognized the company name on the bill as one that has places, here in Old Town.

We trudge back to F8 and find seating. It’s still gonna be awhile. The poor people waiting for their Nashville flight, have been delayed 2-3 times, already. They had to find them a whole new plane! Time passes… We take turns charging different devices, taking strolls, trying not to fall asleep and snacking. I forget who noticed, but they looked at the big board and our flight had moved to gate F7…luckily, just across from us! And then, it’s finally time to board! YEAH!!

It always makes me laugh when people get snarky at boarding. We ALLLL have assigned seats, we are boarded in small groups and people still feel the need to cut in line or tell people the END of the line if over there! I boarded near the very end, b’cuz I have an aisle seat. Why rush! They’d kept announcing that this was a full flight and asking folks to please check–free of charge–their carry on. It must have worked b’cuz there was room for my backpack in the overhead! YEAH!

The flight is about 5hrs long. We’re airborne at 6:05pm EST. I reset my watch to local time. 4hrs. 55min to go! The flight has free Wi-Fi, for access to more movies, and such. I don’t use it, but I did watch one of the featured movies…’Baby Driver’. Interesting! There is also live TV, so I watch  a few things. They’ve turned the lights of, shortly after take off. I tried to nap. Impossible! We hit bumpy air, several times. About an hour outta San Diego, and just NW of Phoenix [I had my flight map up] the intercom cracked with a very rushed ‘Medical Crew!!’ The attendants at the rear, raced forward. I don’t know what the problem was, but I could see a crowd around someone on the floor and the oxygen was taken out of it’s cabinet. Several passengers got up and went forward. I would guess/hope, people with medical training. That lasted for a bit. I was waiting to see if we’d be diverted, but the group slowly dissipated and everything returned to normal. I never did find out what the problem was. There was lots of rubbernecking [me too, once or twice], but…

We landed just before 8pm PST. HOME!!!! We had to wait a bit for the luggage. They all came at different times. We were all going different directions, so as we got our stuff, we took off. Of course, mine was the last to arrive! No one was available to pick me up…Marie offered. But, I KNOW she is in her jammies and I would never do that to you, Marie! Lauren was at a concert. There was a short line for cabs and I was on my way home! It was so hot, earlier, that Lauren and Marie had turned on my AC. Because the front door was closed, I couldn’t hear Sassy screaming…as she does when I come home. I dragged my luggage up stairs and dropped it inside the door. I’ll deal with it tomorrow!

Sassy and I had a good scratch and brush and lots of kisses. And then, I asked her if she was ready for bed…at 9:30pm! She was! She ran down the hall, as she does when I start turning out the lights. HOME SWEET HOME and MY OWN BED!

Good night…

Saturday Oct 21, 2017 Port Canaveral, FL.

2:30pm 

We slept with the drapes closed, last night, so the sun wouldn’t wake us. But, I got up to sneak another look at the stars. It’s still WOW! And WARM! My thought was to sleep in…just a tad. That didn’t work. So, after Jan got ready and left for breakfast, it was my turn to get up and get going. I took the elevator up to the 10th floor to get my coffee. I shared the elevator with one of the ship’s officers. I mentioned how different it will be tomorrow, when we get off. There won’t be hordes of new passengers anxiously waiting to get on! He said, no, but there will be 2000 workers boarding for the refurb! Tomorrow, about 2hrs, after the last passenger checks out, the ship sails to Freeport, Bahamas for the 12day refurb. They’re set to sail, again, on Nov 5th. There is a lot of work to do! Several parts of the ship will be taken down to its steel skeleton!

I had a little breakfast and had to stop by the Front Desk, where there was a sea of men! Many spoke Italian as they were being checked in by the ladies at the Front Desk. It was a bit of a mad house! I was waiting in line [it was just me at the time] when a ship’s officer, who was passing by, asked if I had been helped. I said, no, but they have their hands full…which was true…they were a bit overwhelmed by all of these guys filling out paper work, getting their passports checked, translating for each other, getting their ships ID, etc. The officer said, THIS WILL NOT DO! and went into the offices being the desk. 1min later, a different officer comes out and starts telling the men, you CANNOT all congregate and block the desk. We have passengers to attend to. [By now, 6 people are behind me.] It was like herding cats to get them to move. So, she was a bit more forceful…you, you, you, you and you, move over there and wait to be called! She finally got them to move, turns to me and says ‘Madam’ as she gestures to an open space at the desk, and returned to wrangling the hordes. Where I waited…and waited… in all fairness, the 4 people behind the desk were STILL swamped trying to check papers and tell the guys [5 or 6 times] that they all MUST be [somewhere on the ship] at 6:30am!! I think it’s the immigration check. Meanwhile, that first officer passes back by, sees me standing at the desk and asks if I have been helped yet….um, no… 30seconds later that 2nd officer, who was through herding the men, rushed up to help me and the others in line. The rest of the workers board tomorrow. I’m wondering, if most speak Italian, if they flew over from Fincanteri, the Italian ship building who builds a lot of the HAL ships.

We are in a ‘borrowed’ docking space. This is an RCCL terminal. The terminal is outside our porch. It’s very quiet, as terminals go. There is no frantic loading and unloading of cargo/groceries/liquor/water, etc. Just peace and quiet. There are two guys moving VERY large anchor chain links, that are being ‘linked’ into chains. They have to be moved by forklift.

There are some shops and things, just outside the fence line. I think I’ll go take a look.

5pm

I did get out and the weather was cooler than I thought. It was warm with a soft cool breeze. I walked down the street where there are a seafood restaurants and deep sea fishing places. There was a [closed] BBQ fish [taco] place that had a cute weathervane of a fish. I wandered into a bait and souvenir shop that had a tank of huge lion fish! I was mesmerized watching them swim from one side of the tank to another. In 1985, there was 1 found, off Florida. By 2014, there were THOUSANDS. It’s believed that people dumped their exotic fish into the ocean waters, adding Lion fish to the sea mix. A female can ‘lay’ 3000 eggs a month [I think the poster said] and those that survive to adulthood repeat the cycle over and over.  Fascinating!! Like I mentioned, this is the RCCL terminal. The names of their ships are all over. I looks like the Oasis must have been the last one here. Their name is displayed on the screens above check in.

I finally broke down and had a hamburger at the Dive In. I’d been resisting the place the whole trip. So good!

We did our last happy hour in the Ocean Bar. Waaaaa! We said out goodbyes to our cocktail servers…John and Roxan. They were so cute. John said HE plans to sleep in, in the morning! He doesn’t have any work to do until the refurb starts. AND their work schedules drop to 8hr days, vs. 10-12hrs shifts.

While we sat there, the Carnival Magic sailed by on its way to….? I missed the Disney ship, so I didn’t see its name. We sail at 7pm. Ft. Lauderdale is only about 2hrs from here, so it will be a s-l-o-w sail.

I am 99% packed. I just need to add today’s clothes. My jammies will get stuffed into my backpack in the morning. So, I am ready. It WILL be nice to sleep in my own bed, but I’ll still miss being on the ship. It will be great to see Sassy. Auntie Marie, and I’m sure Auntie Lauren have been very very good to her! Auntie Marie sent me pictures as I sailed along. KISS KISS!!

Our last dinner is at 7:15pm. Our waiters, Edy and AJ have been a hoot!

It’s just before 7pm and we are being unhooked from the dock. We’ll be off on a just a few.

10pm

And we were off, in short order. We pulled away from the dock, made a slow turn to the east and very slowly moved out of the channel into open sea. Of course, we didn’t see that as we had to run off to dinner. However…this morning I watched as a very large barge was docked across from us in a secured area. Welllll, it appears that that barge is used to in rocket recovery and there was a rocket n the barge in front of us. Those are rockets that are being tested to land back on the barges after they are shot into the air. There must be another test coming up.

Dinner was bittersweet. It’s been fun sitting at table #181. Michelle, the wine steward came to pour the last of our bottles. She was very sweet as we gave her a tip envelope. The same with our waiters, Edy and AJ. Nice men!

So, the end is near! We are packed, the suitcases are in the hallway for pick up and we even remembered to leave clothes out to wear tomorrow! We opted for the last group to leave, between 10-10:30am. NO rush! We have late flights.

It’s still early, but I am tired. No B.B. King for Jan tonight. We’re watching the end of the Despicable Me 3, b’cuz there was NOTHING else on! Then, I’ll revert to murder/mayhem with a little serial killer stuff.

Nighty-nite!

Friday Oct 20, 2017 At Sea

10pm

I went out, in the middle of the night…or very early morning if you like, to look at the stars! WOW! It’s really exciting to see them SO bright and SO plentiful with very little outside lighting. The air is very warm…so different from 2 days ago!

I woke up, again, just after 6:30am. The sky was just getting light. I went out, about 7am and waited for sunrise. I got some nice pics.

The other day I mentioned how we had a problem with not getting hot water on the shower. Well…not it’s hot enough to take your skin off. Yesterday Jan almost scalded herself. Today I was able to regulate it a bit more, but it was still pretty toasty!

I had a couple of over easy eggs [I added some thinly sliced Jack cheese over the top], some multi colored breakfast potatoes and some nice ‘European’ bacon…with raisin toast. Just right!!!

The kitchen tour is at 10am, so I had some time to wander. With this being a sea day, there are people EVERYWHERE! There is another sale of everything around the man pool. Since the ship goes into dry dock, shortly after we get off the ship, they need to get rid of their inventory. Even at 50% off, there is nothing that I need.

I dropped by the photo gallery and voted…for myself…and a few others. I think they announce the winner on Sat.

The kitchen tour is very popular. I found Jan already waiting. We had to all sign health waivers in order to go. It’s amazing at how SMALL the kitchen area is, considering how many meals they make on a daily basis. There are smallish compartments for different items. It’s really impressive. We are given handouts with lots of food stats. 23,000 eggs…2575lbs of seafood…13,750lbs of fresh veg…11,830lbs of meat and meat products. And that’s just the tip of the food list.

We came back to the room to fill out our disembarkation luggage tags and make sure that was all in order. Jan decided to pack, a bit, so I took off to read before the 2pm Chat with the Captain. I went to the Screening Room, but the movie was about to start. I figured I’d watch that…Despicable Me 3. I didn’t care for it and left. I went to the Vista Lounge, which was empty, and got my ‘perfect’ seat for the ‘chat’.

At 2pm, the Captain greeted us and talked for a while telling us about his background and taking us on a virtual tour of the bridge. He spoke of what is going to be done in the refurb…sounds like a LOT of new things…and answered audience questions. He was the Capt. on another cruise I took…I just can’t remember which one b’cuz he’s been on 3 ships I’ve sailed on. He is a nice man.

We all met in the Ocean Bar for happy hour. It was very happy by the time we finished! We each had 4 drinks!

When we got back to our rooms, I had mail in the box at the door. HAL had sent me my 5 Star pin! I was really shocked! Today IS my 500th day sailing with HAL, but that stuff usually doesn’t show up until AFTER the home office [Seattle] settles the books on the current cruise. I was really shocked and pleasantly surprised to see it! So, wow! I’m now a 5 star Mariner! WOOOHOOO!!

The dinner selection, tonight, was not all that inspiring, but we didn’t starve!! I had some Crispy Crab Roll with wasabi [zinggggg!] and some Andouille and Swiss chard soup to start. Then, Shrimp and Scallops Coconut Red Curry. That was good. Kyle and I picked at the Roast Chicken Gremolata that we had Edy bring as an ‘extra’ meal to try. That was…OK. Dessert wasn’t inspiring [for me], either. I had cheesecake and I am not a real cheesecake eater. I ate about half.

I lost Jan and Kathleen on the way back to the room. Ummmm, let me guess…B.B. King’s?

So, tomorrow is Port Canaveral, the last stop. No tours planned. The one to NASA is 8hrs, that’s just tooooo long! It’s just a bit too far to go it on your own. It’s about a 40min cab ride. I think we are going to try and have lunch, somewhere in the port area. I think there is a restaurant there, somewhere. If not, I’ll stay onboard and do one last day of vegging.

But…now it’s time for a podcast. Tonight’s choice, one of the ‘Stuff’ series. ‘Stuff you should know’. The three guys are funny and knowledgeable. This is about the DB Cooper case. I think it’s a rebroadcast, but it was still good. So, off to bed.

Thursday Oct 19, 2017 At Sea

10pm

This is short and sweet. I woke up, I had breakfast, I wandered around the ship and found quiet spots to read. The outside weather was very tropical and lovely! I did, virtually, nothing all day!

In the afternoon, I did some packing. It’s much easier to pack going home than it is to get here. I don’t need to be neat and tidy. I’d sent out a bag o’laundry on Wednesday morning and it was returned that same evening. Less laundry to do when I get home!

I skipped happy hour and spent time vegging. That’s what days at sea are for! There is another one tomorrow!

there is a photo  contest onboard, so I entered my pic of the ship [posted on FB] that I took in Portland, ME. we shall see.

Dinner was a Gala affair. We had our ‘formal’ photos taken and will see how those turn out, tomorrow. This is the big surf and turf night! I had a lovely large shrimp cocktail and two lobster tails to go with my little filet mignon. Yummy, yummy! I had some flourless chocolate cake and coffee to top it off. On the way back to the room, I lost Jan, again, at B.B. King’s. They supposedly had the night off, but there was the music and the singing, as we approached the lounge.

I came ‘home’ and got into my jammies. I am such a slug when onboard. Instead of murder and mayhem, I chose the ‘Brain Stuff’ pods. They are 4-10 minute blurbs of all sorts of interesting stuff. I also really like ‘Stuff you missed in history class.’ Part of the NPR ‘Stuff’ series. Lots of good ‘stuff’ to listen to.

Anyway, I can line up a dozen of them and just doze off…which I will do shortly.

Two more nights! Kinda sad it’ll be over, but it’s time to go home and see Sassy.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Wednesday Oct 18, 2017 Boston, Mass.

10pm

We pulled into the Cruise Port of Boston, just before 8am. The weather was VERY nice, out on our balcony. The view was of an [old?] power plant, looking building and off into town. I think that is Faneuil Hall, and the markets, up on the hill some distance away. There is an enormous container ship across at one of the commercial docks. It looks fully loaded, and it’s pretty impressive. Behind us is the Vision of the Seas.

I go up, in the middle of the night, to step outside and look at the stars. SOOOO bright and beautiful!

I woke a tad sniffly and decided not to go into town. I don’t wanna get sick or wander much, today. I did go outside. The terminal had a nice strong wi-fi signal and it was being heavily used. I sent some stuff off and took a walk outside. 2 large and nice Boston PD guys are guarding the doors. They pose for pictures and chat up passengers who stop to talk to them. Just outside the terminal is a huge Design Center [school?] in an old building. If you walk to the right, the street ends in a park at the end of the docks. Go left, and it takes you towards town. There is a city bus, if you want to save the $15 RT shuttle charge to town. My Starbucks app lit up, telling me there was one nearby…so I looked. It was about ½ mile up the street, but I had no need to go. I walked about 100yrds each direction, looking at the various buildings, and headed back. The weather was perfect! Such a difference from Portland’s cold wind, at the docks.

I went to the Lido, for soup. Todays was cheddar and crab soup. It was good! While I was eating, some old fart was kicking up a storm over something. I’m guessing that it had to do with food service. Lunch closed at 2pm…actually a little after. He arrived at 2:15pm and was NOT PLEASED that they would not serve him. Well, for one thing, they’d already put up the closed sign and had started breaking down the food and most had already been whisked away [they move fast so they can start the set up for dinner] and he wanted to be served!!! The soup was still out, so they must have offer that, b’cuz he had a bowl of it and some bread. He kept telling someone [I think it was the Lido dining manager, but I couldn’t see] ‘Well, I guess we’ll just have to travel on another cruise line’…or words to that effect. He said it a couple of times, making sure others around him could hear…and stormed off to a table to sit. A man sitting at a table nearby told his wife, ‘Oh, good…another person who WON’T be on our next cruise!’ that made me laugh. Mr. Grumpy, and wife, sat and scowled while eating his soup. There WAS food available, just around the corner…the Italian section is open all day…pasta, pizza, etc., as well as premade sammiches and chips. Oh, well. There’s ALWAYS someone!

I took my Kindla and went in search of quiet, in order to read. The Screening Room, aka the little movie theatre, was empty, so I took a chair. The chairs, while big and roomy, were pretty uncomfortable, to me. The back slants at an awkward position and it hurt my back. It would be great of something came up for your legs to take the strain off, but it doesn’t. After an hour, I noticed people invading my space. Spriderman II was about to play, so I scooted out!

We sailed just a few minutes late, 5:10pm, as a tour bus was delayed a few. The Capt. came on to tell us just how we were going to get out of our docking position. I hadn’t thought about it until I saw what he was referring too! We slowwwwly backed down the channel, scooting between that enormous container ship on one side, the Vision AND the Crystal Serenity…which I didn’t even know was there!…on the other. AND, since we make our turn at the foot of Boston-Logan, the Capt. must notify the tower that we are there. Interesting! Several planes took off directly overheard and then immmmmediately bank away. I don’t know if that is normal take-off or just b’cuz we are there. They were prettttty close to us.

There is an old fort across at the end of the commercial port, and something was said about the Kennedy Library being over there. I didn’t see it. Once we backed out, the ship spun 180* and we were off!

We were back at our usual table, #181, for dinner. Edy and AJ are their goofy selves. Michelle brings us more wine! I had their chili relleno dinner. It was quite good. I wasn’t hugely hungry, so it was perfect. Kyle ordered an extra pasta, which on paper, didn’t sound all that great. However, it turns out to be their version of Carbonara! OHHHHHH! I like that. Kyle shared some with me. The mango and blueberry crisp was delish!

Jan, K&K had the 9:30pm Pub Crawl to attend after dinner. Just before 10, Jan came in with a drink in her hand. The crawl started with a Long Island Iced Tea….about 6 shots of alcohol, just to start! Being a short’ish person, she knew she’d be drunk far too soon and dropped out. IF each stop involved a full sized drink, like the first one she had, she’d be sooooo sick in the morning.

That brought the evening to an end. We watched a little TV and then it was slumber time. As I’ve mentioned, Jan drops off to sleep very quickly, so I listen to the usual murder and mayhem to fall asleep. Earlier, I’d tried to fix the  &^%$#  squeaky/rattly balcony divider that kept me awake. If there is the slightest stiff breeze or turbulence, the constant rattle is awful! I folded up some heavy paper [one of the MANY adverts dropped in your mailbox at the door] and forced it into the crack where the beams meet. Here’s hoping! So far, it’s VERY quiet!!

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Tues Oct 17, 2017 Portland, Maine

10pm

It was nice and sunny and toasty on our balcony…, but, holy cow, was that deceiving! The Vision of the seas pulled in shorty after we docked. They are a tad closer to ‘town’. We are at a nice terminal, at the ferry dock, where the CAT goes between here and Canada. I never saw one pull in, so maybe it’s their day off…? There is also narrow gauge railroad museum just across. In the water are hundreds of old pilings poking out of the water, evidence of old wharfs/piers that once dotted this end of the waterfront. One had a big nest on top.

After breakfast, I flag down Ardi, our room steward, to ask that he deliver 4 champagne glasses for our ‘happy hour’ before dinner.

I made my way to the gangway…where I found out just how COLD AND WINDY it was on the other side of the ship! WOW! It’s a loooonnngg walkway from the ship to the terminal. BRRRR!!! Inside is packed with people using the internet. I’ll use it later. Right now, I’m thawing out! I get my gloves and scarf on, zip up my jacket and head out the door. It’s a short walk to the street where vendors have set up tables of wares. And, once you are off the water, it warms a bit. I walk up Commercial street, remembering none of these buildings or businesses from my trip here, 11, or so years ago. It’s a nice walk and there are locals out in shorts, t shirts and flip flops…while we [ME] wimpy tourists are all bundled up! However, as the buildings begin to block the cold wind, I start to take off a layer or two. I’m purposely walking on the sunny side. I find the cute little home and garden shop that I DO remember from before. Kathleen had bought some…sea shell shaped?…plates. I didn’t find, nor did I spend a lot of time looking for, the seafood place we ate across on a wharf. There are, what appear to be, condos and stuff on these old wharfs, now. I can only imagine what THEY go for! I turn back at Union St. and cross to the unsunny side of the street. People are handing out fliers advertising lunch or craft beer specials in the local pubs. I suddenly spy Starbucks! I’d walked right by it, earlier! INTERNET! I make my way back across the busy street. People here actually stop for pedestrians…it’s also on signs all over, stating it’s the ‘The Law!’ I get a nice cuppa and a spot in the window, where I do my stuff. People outside my window are huddled away from the cold wind and, with devices in hand, are connecting to the Google-Starbucks net. I have only a view of huddled bodies now. I can no longer see the street or the wharfs. HA!!

I cross back to the water side of the street and continue towards the ship. It’s just toooo cold to wander too far. I know there are other streets and places to visit, but…BRRRR!

Some of the vendors have really nice things. I need nothing. I have drawers full of trinkets and all sorts of local artwork that is unhung! The handmade jewelry IS lovely…I won’t wear it. I have 150 pairs of earrings and I wear about 10-12 of them, with the others used for rare ‘special occasions.’

On the corner, I see Kathleen. She is meeting Kyle for lunch, somewhere in town.

I run into Jan in the ferry terminal. She had been over to see the RR Museum. The place is still packed with internet users, so we head through security screening and back to the ship. That looonnngg, cold walk! BRRR! At the bottom of the gangway are crew members with water or, sometimes, hot chocolate. The other day, one crew member offered me hot chocolate. When I declined he said…with rum? To which I told him, keep the chocolate just give me a shot of rum…and we laughed. Today, I asked, with rum? No madam, today is Baileys! I wish!! We head back onboard.

I dropped my stuff in the room and headed up to see what soup was available…my innerds were cold! Jan was headed to the movies. There was a chicken broth based soup and I added a few extra things to that…noodles and veggies from the Asian section and some realllly oniony bread for a little dipping. Very tasty. Before I leave the Lido, I gather ‘provisions’ for our happy hour, later. Cheese, fruit, crackers, a little prosciutto and another nice meat. I juggle that back to the room and wrap them to keep them from drying out.

Now, I’m ready for a nap. I don’t think I slept well last night. I remember waking up a lot. I rested, but didn’t really sleep. Ardi dropped off our glassware and laid back down. About 3pm, I decide to go fix my ‘download’ problem with my phone. Because I am not always connected to Wi-Fi, or anything, my podcasts get stuck in ‘the cloud’. So, I re-bundle up, gather my stuff and head out to the terminal. I start tapping buttons and it shows like 119+ podcasts to download. [I do get a lot….some daily, some weekly, some, just whenever!] It initially says, like, 32hrs and 19min time needed. When I finally get connected, it still takes a long time, but there was/is a LOT of stuff tapped! After an hour, I finally hafta give up, with a bunch still to go, but I need to get ready for cocktails and dinner…it’s almost 5pm! As I head back through security, I hear a siren, but think nothing of it. We are just off a busy busy street. I get to the loooonngg walkway and a paramedic rig and fire truck pull up next to me on the dock. Another port…another paramedic run! I let them go by and the start my final walk. Not a clue if they hauled someone away or what.

We had our champagne and snacks, talked politics and then headed off to Pinnacle for dinner. We had the same seats as lunch, last week. A nice window seat. It’s always a grand meal. Jan’s shrimp, on her shrimp cocktail, were HUGE! Jan is small in stature and these could have been floatation devices! I had their very tasty crab cakes…all crab VERY little filler…and a made at the table Cesar Salad. I ordered the little lamb chops…lollypop cuts. We ordered a bunch of sides, as they are small and sharable. It was a lot of food. Service was pretty slow, sadly. And we waited a long time between courses. I don’t know if the waiters are fewer with more tables to tend. Or what, but it was slow. My dessert, a little soufflé, came way before coffee. While it was good, I think they’ve changed the soufflé presentation. I remember crème Englaise and fresh fruit, now it’s a chocolate ball smoooshed into the center and a few slices of strawberries and a blueberry or three.

Jan and I were headed back to the room, when…she heard the music and felt the beat from B.B. King’s! I lost her there! I got ready for bed. It’s windy, again, outside and the neighbor’s balcony divider is ratttttlin’ like crazy! I went out to TRY and jam something in it, but…alas! I’ll just turn my podcast up, later, louder to drown it out.

Jan reappears for the club. We watch a bit of TV, and then, Jan is out like a light. She falls asleep very easily, it seems. One minute she is in conversation with you and the next…ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

I’ll turn on my usual murder and mayhem and then I’ll be off to dreamland.

Tomorrow is Boston. This would normally have been the dropping off point, but…the ship is moving on to Ft. Lauderdale for its 2 weeks in dry dock for a refurb. So, 2 days at sea, a stop in Port Canaveral and then….the end!!

Time for a little whodunit podcast….