Subtropical Lady

Where Pelicans Fly
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2007-01-06 19:18:25 (UTC)

January 2007 (1)

Age 41

1/1/2007 8:03 PM Monday

I updated my journal 188 days of the 365 days of last year, so it just told me. That’s a little over half the days in the year. I skipped 177 days.

Saw Liz yesterday. I asked her how she was and she looked at me, smiled and said she was doing good. Then I told her we’d be in the Caribbean next week and she said, “Oh, good.” That was pretty much it. She just briefly smiled at me as we were leaving, but still isn’t very chatty or showing any signs of mutual attraction, not that it’d matter much anyway. After all, in just a matter of months, I’ll never see her again.

Last night as I was lying in bed waiting for sleep, I was struck with this sudden thought of Liz knowing I have a crush on her. Of course, I don’t see how she could be that receptive, and I know I haven’t been that obvious, but who knows?

We saw the ball go down live in Times Square at 9:00 our time. At midnight here they shot off fireworks and shouted for about 15 minutes. A few hours before this, the people diagonally from us returned from wherever they went, so I’ll have to hear from the dog soon enough.

Didn’t get much in the way of New Year vibes. Of course, I don’t know that I could trust what little I saw anyway since last year’s house vision was obviously meaningless. I saw something about a white car, him having a paper-related job down in California, me winning big in March, though that’s probably just a certificate of some kind for $100 that I’ll have to fight tooth and nail for. But most importantly, I don’t think 2007 will be a good year. Oh, I know it won’t be that bad. After all, it’s a 7-year, and the second half of each decade is always better than the first. But still, it’ll be filled with the usual prescription for our lives – noise and poverty. I think this is where my new year’s resolution comes in. Acceptance. That’s what I’m going to try to focus on this year. Accepting that we’re never going to live in peace, we’re never going to live where we want to, we’re never going to have the kind of money we want, and that’s that. Whatever’s up there has its reasons for now allowing us free will as far as where/how we live goes. I don’t know that its intentions are good, but either way, there’s nothing we can do about it. One is usually powerless when it comes to dealing with the hand of fate anyway, so all I can do is just learn to live with the barking, the car doors, the kids screaming, the stereos thumping, and all the other shit that goes with living in the west, all crammed in tightly together. People are never going to stop leaving their dogs outside so much of the time, and they’re never going to ban these car stereos. All I can hope for is to one day settle in a retirement community, though God would just see to it that we ended up next to some freakish exception and that it was noisy even there. I don’t expect to ever own anything again either. At least not anytime soon. Maybe when he’s 55 we can apply for a home loan, though I doubt it. I think we’ll just rental hop in the city for the most part. I just hope to hell we never again get stuck next to crazy freeloaders! But that’s the beauty of renting; if we do, we can split. We may have to break leases, depending on how soon we get stuck with them after moving into a place, but I really hope to adapt to all the noise. I really do. Life would be so much easier if I could just get so damn used to it that I didn’t even notice it anymore. It’s not that I’m not used to it. I’ve lived in noisy places for almost all of the last 20 years. It’s just that I wish I could learn to accept and tolerate it because God won’t let me out of it. There’s simply no escaping it. Sometimes I wonder if it’s His way of saying, “Hey, if you’d just quit trying to fight my chosen path for you, maybe I’ll ease up on you.” Maybe if I not only roll with the punches, but actually go out of my way to settle in life and do things I don’t want to do, I’ll be rewarded then, but I don’t know. Maybe He’s been trying to say, “Quit being such a selfish loner trying to hide away from civilization. Get out and do things, meet people, contribute to your community, etc.” But a job isn’t possible because He’s given me this sleep disorder to prevent me from generating an income, and friends cause too many problems. They want to use me, they’re crazy, or I’m just not good enough for them so they’ve got to dump me.

Despite the fact that we’ll have to live with someone else’s music, kids and dogs, it’s sure going to be nice being back in a warm place with palm trees, and I think to myself, could this be it? Is this really it? Is this the year I move to California?

I can’t believe any place we’d move to would be noisy at night. Even where we were in Phoenix was fairly quiet at night when you weed out the assholes next door. I could do my sweeping in the daytime, and work on stories at night.

Even though a break-in is next to nil in such a congested area, we’re backing my music, pic and doc files up at an online storage site. Most things could be replaced if they were stolen or destroyed in a fire, but my journals and pictures couldn’t be. We’ll also DVD everything and take it with us as well.

At the Train Station…

1/5/2007 8:04 AM Friday

Through the miserable freezing cold, Tom and I made it to the train station. We’re now waiting for the damn train which is to be two hours late. I’ll be very tired when we arrive in Portland. Tom’s reading now while I write, since we have so much waiting time to do.

Last night I slept from 11 AM-5 PM, then woke up in a panic, all worried that I wouldn’t be able to return to sleep. However, I did get a few more hours between 8 PM-11 PM.

It does seem that Kim’s gone back to work, so that’s good. If ever there was a time I was glad she prefers to live with her trash rather than dump it, it’s now. This way it’ll only be half full when we get back. I could see when I looked in back that she’s gone back to stockpiling her shit outside her door. That’s one lazy person not to be able to take it 20 steps to the dumpster!

Not that it hasn’t been costly and time-consuming enough to get ready for this cruise, but imagine if there were no computers! Then Tom wouldn’t have been able to stop the mail online or buy the tickets that way and check maps and things like that.

Monday we’ll be in The Bahamas, Wednesday in Puerto Rico, and Friday in the Grand Turk.

In the Air…

1/6/2007 7:05 AM Saturday

We are now on the plane! They’ve really changed tremendously over the years. The stewardesses are now called “flight attendants” and they aren’t all women anymore. For just $2 you can get headphones and listen to their radio. Each seatback has a screen that plays music, and on the planes that don’t, it’s in the armrests. The armrests only have music and no screen, though, since you couldn’t fit a screen in it. The seatback screens do more than music. You can watch TV and movies, play games and even get flight info that’s incredible! There’s a map that showed the plane’s progress as it flew just over the Oregon border into Washington, then Idaho, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, and finally into Atlanta, Georgia which is the busiest hub in the US.

Planes have certainly gotten a lot faster than the 450 MPH they used to fly. We’re flying at 650 MPH now. Isn’t that almost supersonic? We’ve traveled 779 miles and are at an altitude of 34,979’. We’re on Delta, by the way.

I just figured out how to load up a list of 70s songs. It is so cool!

Ugh! It’s -50º outside the plane!

The train ride consisted of some very pacific northwestern scenery. There was much more snow, like in New England, the higher up into the mountains we went. It was nothing but huge peaks and valleys of snowy pines and firs, with an occasional stream running through here and there. I can see myself thinking the snow looked cool had I grown up in a warm climate, but I’d never want to live in it!

The conductors wore old-fashioned uniforms, and one of them was weird in a funny way, high-fiving us as we were approaching Portland. I guess this train normally runs back and forth from L.A. to Seattle. During the ride, we stopped in Smalt, Albany, Salem and Eugene.

Some brat of a kid got on my nerves in the end and wouldn’t shut up. I used my earplug so as not to suck the iPod out of too much juice too soon, but I could still hear the damn thing, just not as well. That’s another way flying’s changed – the planes are chock full of screaming animals, and of course, none of the mothers care to do a damn thing about it. I don’t know how they can sit there in total oblivion, but they refuse to teach their kids any manners or respect. I was shocked they didn’t let them run up and down the isles on the planes, though they did somewhat on the trains. Due to long car rides costing about the same in gas as flying does, more animals are flying because it’s faster. I don’t understand why the damn animals aren’t in school, though most of them do seem to be preschoolers.

At Sea…

1/7/2007 8:05 AM Sunday

For the first time in my life, I am doing an entry from Nassau in The Bahamas!!! It’s gorgeous as hell here, about the same as Florida was, warm and a bit humid. It was nice to see palm trees again, too.

When I’m not in the mood to write, I’m at least taking notes along the way so as to document every detail. I’ve taken a few pictures already, too.

Tom’s in the shower right now and soon we’re going to go exploring.

I forgot to say that they left a message wanting to set up a time to do a radio interview with me, but we were already on the road.

The ship is huge! I’m amazed they can keep so much afloat.

1/11/2007 11:02 AM Thursday

We’ve left Puerto Rico and are headed for the Grand Turk. I’m only just now beginning to have more fun, feel more comfortable, and sleep better, though not as well as I’d like. I could still use 12 hours of uninterrupted sleep, but at least I’m not exhausted to the point of not being able to function.

Some lady is performing now. I can hear the concerts out here on our private little verandah where I am now, but not in the room. I don’t care for any of the music I’ve heard so far. It’s all just there to me. I’ve only heard it from afar, though, whereas Tom has actually been to a few of these concerts. I met Delbert once in the elevator, but Tom’s seen him several times around the ship. I guess he does this cruise every year.

We’re moving slower today for some reason, under partly cloudy skies. Today’s weather is perfect; not too hot/cold or too humid. It’s been averaging in the mid-70s to the lower 80s. It’s not overly windy out here either like it usually is. I guess that’s because we’re going slower. I love how I don’t have to worry about spiders and bees out here.

I see nothing around me but sky and sea. The seas are a bit choppy today. I can see whitecaps all the way out to the horizon.

I’ve wanted to cover the trip as each minute went by, but I also know it’ll be easier to do most of it on the computer afterward. Still, I don’t want to get that behind. Besides, I’ll be so busy trying to catch up on the sweeps when we get back.

I sort of wish I had a modern laptop with me, but that’d be a pain to pack and lug around. The two suitcases and carry-on that we have are enough.

Except for the casino, the ship is a cashless society. Each guest puts money on their key card which is also what’s used to scan when making purchases or leaving/entering the ship at each port of call.

It hasn’t been as hard to find my way around the ship as I thought it would be. Perhaps that’s because half of the floors are staterooms, as they call them rather than cabins, belonging to both guests and crew. There are really only 4 other floors we’ve been doing things on. We’re on deck 4. Deck 9 is the Lido deck. That’s where the free dining is, though they only serve food during certain hours. They have a small variety of things, and personally, Tom and I don’t think the food is that great, though it’s certainly good. It’s different than what we usually buy at the grocery store. There’s Italian, a bistro, the Wok, a deli, and a section for drinks and sweets. I’ve mostly been getting rice and diced watermelon from the Chinese section, though their sushi sucks! Juice and plain coffee are free, but the gourmet coffee and teas sold down on a lower deck, gets charged to our card, as does soda and alcohol, though we don’t drink so there are no charges for that. We haven’t had soda either.

They only had lobster once at the bistro, but it wasn’t a whole lobster. It was just a lobster tail. I could’ve had 5 of them!

Also on deck 9 are two pools at either end, one a family pool by the grill that serves cheeseburgers, veggie burgers and fries (the veggie burger sucked!), and another one for mainly adults. Each pool has whirlpools by them, but they were closed till now which sucks.

At the very top are the observation deck and a basketball court with a rope fence.

We had fun swimming in the adult pool earlier. It was so cool how the water sloshes around and makes waves due to the ship’s movements.

Decks 2 and 3 are where the casinos are, along with a photo and art gallery, a shop that mostly sells jewelry, and the coffee shop I’ve been to a few times. The shop has a little drugstore and also sells clothing which is pretty expensive, and designer perfume as well. I like spraying various testers on myself. I even got Angel body spray for $24 which isn’t sold in the US. In the US they only have larger quantities for $60. It’s the second version of Angel I don’t care for as much, but still good, nonetheless. I’m amazed at how identical it smells to the incense!

If I remember the names of the decks, there’s the A deck, the lower promenade, promenade, upper promenade, lower verandah, verandah, upper verandah, Rotterdam, navigation, Lido, and the observation deck.

I lost the first jewelry raffle they had, but if I win today’s I’ll get $50 worth of chain/gems that are on spools and sold by the inch.

I’m not at all impressed with the casino. Not only do I gag on cigarette smoke there, but these machines are obviously rigged not to pay shit. I would at least hold my own for a while even when I didn’t win in Arizona and Vegas, but not here. Here I lose my money right away. Even their scratch tickets are a joke. We lost all 5 that he bought. Never do we get 5 losing tickets in a row elsewhere.

1:00 PM

More sun is now hitting this verandah, but I thought I’d write a little more anyway. I took a break for lunch at The Wok. Sometimes Tom and I do things together, other times we’re off by ourselves. We’re going swimming again later when the sun’s not as strong. I love the waves the ship’s motion causes within the outer pool. There’s a wooden bench that runs along the outside, then the outer pool for the water to spill over into with walls that are 2 or 3 feet high. The water’s usually ankle-deep in this area. Neither of the pools are diving pools because they’re not very deep.

3:10 PM

I didn’t win today’s jewelry raffle.

Tom’s catching Delbert now and soon we’ll go for another swim. For now, I’ll backtrack a bit.

Portland’s different than Klamath Falls. It rarely snows there. Instead, they get a lot more rain. It rained the whole time we were there, which was less than 24 hours. We got to our amazingly quiet motel room at around 7 PM and an hour later we were both asleep. We got up at 4:00 and got to the airport a couple of hours later. It was then that I came to love people from Kansas. It’s getting a little warm out here, though, so I’ll get into it later.

6:00 PM

It got a bit toasty and bright for a while there, but now it’s cloudy and nice. It’s even drizzling a bit, too. It poured while we were docked in Puerto Rico yesterday. It’s just so beautiful overall. I’d kill to live at sea on a boat, but no, Jodi can’t live where Jodi wants.

Ok, now I’ll explain why I dig people from Kansas. We got out of the cab at the Portland airport and the cabbie pulled our suitcases from the trunk. Then he called out to us, saying we dropped something. Well, that something was some lady’s purse. Her ID said she was from Kansas. Because I had gloves on, I didn’t want Tom to handle it much. His prints are on file too, from working at the bank and from being in the Air Force. So, feeling like a major criminal, I took the purse into the restroom before entering the concourse. The last thing I needed was to get caught with someone else’s driver’s license and credit cards. Therefore, I cleaned out the cash, which turned out to be a whopping $260, before leaving it in one of the stalls. What a bonus! I can’t help but feel bad for this lady, though, whoever she is. That’s quite a bit to lose. Let’s hope she’s rich or wins the lottery to make up for it.

Where it’s dark by 5:00 in Oregon, it doesn’t get dark till 6:30 here, so it’s just now getting pleasant on the verandah. Sometimes at night, especially when we’re going faster, it can get chilly and windy out here. I love how I can turn on the light without having to worry about bugs flocking to it.

Anyway, when we landed in Atlanta, we had a 4-hour layover. I was pretty tired, so it wasn’t very fun. We ate and I got coffee to help stay awake. I also got a little pillow that goes around the neck to make the rest of my flying time a bit more comfortable.

The trains were way roomier than the planes. I sort of wish we’d gotten a sleeper car but am more glad we didn’t cuz of the money we saved. While they gave free snacks on the plane, the food on the train was ridiculously expensive. They had a dining car and maybe 15 passenger cars in all. We were towards the back, so when the track veered off to the right, we could see the cars in front of us. It was funny to look through the window and see the car in front of us bobbing up and down along the tracks.

1/12/2007 5:35 PM Friday

Today’s turned out to be a disappointing day, as Paula agrees (this is one of the two women in the room next to us that I ran into in the dining area). I’ll write more on her later. For now, I want to keep things in order as best I can. I’ll just say that the disappointment is due to the fact that we couldn’t dock at the Grand Turk today because of stormy weather. I guess we’re heading back to Florida now, but at a slower pace to avoid getting back too soon. The last thing they’d want to do is return a day early and refund people’s money for that day, though they should for having us miss out on the Grand Turk. At least they’re refunding the shore excursions some folks paid for. We really wanted to check out the beaches there. I’m just glad this ship can handle the choppy waters. I would think a 4-million-dollar ship that’s done over 100 cruises already has had enough experience to do it well, though we sure have been rocking more. Usually, we don’t sway as much as planes or even trains. There’s usually just enough sound and motion to tell you you’re moving and that’s it. Today, however, there was enough motion to be annoying. They even closed the pool which they can’t cover because the winds make the sloshing water more dangerous. The family pool and hot tubs on the other end are open, and since they’re not usually too rowdy, thanks to there only being a dozen or so kids on board, I may go there later. Actually, some of the adults have been more obnoxious than the kids with their wild laughter. Lotta folks getting drunk.

I can see where it’d be awesome to work on the ship if you didn’t mind all the people and noise, and you knew you wouldn’t miss being able to run out to places like Walmart whenever you felt like it. Most of the crew members are Asian.

I wish the rooms or hallways had sonar equipment to tell us how deep this water is, like the planes told us how many feet high we were.

The Florida airport seemed mellower than the Georgia one, but all we did there was grab our bags, grab a cab, and hit another Motel 6 (this one much noisier than the last). We never went through any checkpoints, but we will soon.

The flight from Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale was shorter at around just two hours. The plane was different, too. The first plane was your standard setup with two rows of three-seaters and a center aisle. The second plane was bigger with two outer rows of two-seaters and a center row of three-seaters. Most of the northwest was cloudy, and of course Wyoming was nothing but a big old blanket of snow. It was just beautiful upon arriving in Florida! Slightly humid at 77º.

The motel had a nice soft bed just like the other one and just like the ship does, to my surprise, but was bangy as hell like the Townhouse was in Klamath Falls. We were right by the stairwell, so we heard doors slamming like crazy. I still managed to get a good 6 or so hours of sleep since it quieted down after 10:00 which was about when I crashed.

It’s been 13 years since I’ve flown and 17 years since I’ve been in Florida. What a different person I was then! A broke, miserable girl all alone from New England who was a skinny smoker that could see well. Well, I’m sure I’ll be broke and miserable again at some point, but definitely not a skinny smoker with good eyesight.

Tom and I joked about what I’d say to Doe and Art had we run into them in Florida (assuming they recognized their older and much heavier daughter). If they’d asked us to go to their house, I’d have said, “Nah, we’re going on a cruise, then we’re going to get the hell outa Oregon and move to California.”

The funny thing is the postcard I sent them from Puerto Rico. After making a few small changes, I said basically what I said I’d say in the entry I made on Christmas. I also sent Paula a postcard, but I’m now ready to write her off as a definite thing of the past since I still haven’t heard from her. She’s gotta be either dead or locked up. But if she’s locked up, is she really that stupid that she can’t at least let me know it?

1/13/2007 4:04 PM Saturday

At a now faster pace, we slice through the Atlantic heading for Florida. I can’t wait to get back home! Sure I’m not looking forward to the cold and snow, but I miss my Tinkerbell. Missing her as I have every day has made me see all the more just how twisted Doe was to be able to pawn her own daughter off at various places like she did.

I also miss my computer, my music, and definitely my own bed! I can’t wait to sleep alone and uninterrupted. I’ve been sleeping with earplugs yet I still get woken up by various things, or just because. I could really use that 12 hours of solid sleep I know I won’t get till we get home.

While it’s been nice to relax on the verandah or veg out in the room, I’ve been bored for the most part, believe it or not. There’s only so much to do on the ship itself.

In the Air Again…

1/15/2007 8:12 AM Monday

We are now on the way to Atlanta. Amazingly, this flight is quiet. I’m gonna enjoy it too, cuz I’m sure the next flight will be maddening.

We had another wonderfully quiet motel room last night at a different motel, and although I did sleep, I could’ve slept another 4-6 hours. Although we heard car stereos in The Bahamas and Puerto Rico, Ft. Lauderdale has a ban on car stereos, so Tom learned when he went to the nearby beach. It was a sign the local police posted saying: No Loud Music.

They should have these signs everywhere and impose stiff penalties for the most rebellious and desperate of the attention-hungry losers out there.

Tom finally got to not just see, but feel the Atlantic as well. He said it was warmer than the Pacific is at its warmest time during the peak of summer. He said Florida’s just ok and isn’t sure he could deal with the summer humidity. Yeah, I’m sure it’d be rough.

I’m so glad this vacation is almost over! Even Tom’s beginning to agree it wasn’t worth the money we spent. As for me, I totally regret not forfeiting this trip. Sure it had its good points, but overall it just wasn’t worth the aggravation. I can think of better reasons to lose sleep, money and time spent doing paperwork like we did with customs and other things.

We’re descending now so my ears are popping. Too bad I have two ears to pop now.

10:00 AM

We are on the other plane now heading for Portland, and yes, it’s chock full of screaming animals as I figured it would be, but they’ve momentarily shut up.

I was listening to music, but they keep butting in with announcements every few minutes, so I won’t bother unless the animals start shrieking like hyenas again. I’m sooo glad I never had my own! When I asked Tom why the mothers didn’t do shit about all the screaming, he said you just get used to it. How can you just “get used to” such shrilly chaotic screaming like that???

Although I’m tired, I’m just glad my allergies are getting better little by little. I had a sore throat and sneezing fits just like I had in Arizona. I even wondered if I had my first cold in 10 years. I felt, and still feel, very rundown. I worry that all warm climates will cause me to have sinus or lung problems, though my lungs and ear actually did just fine.

We’re at a cruising altitude of 38,000 feet because it was too rough at 32,000 feet, so they said.

Fortunately, no one hit us for a radio interview, which was lucky for them since I wouldn’t have had many nice things to say, though I do intend to say it in an email when we get back. I’ll be sure to let her know I’m sorry we’re out two grand for all the noise, the friendly yet pushy crew, the not-so-fantastic food, the letdown of not being able to go to the Grand Turk, etc. I’ll also let them know the hot tubs were closed half the time, nor did we get our room service menu till the end. I had been getting coffee from the get-go via room service, but we didn’t know what other things we could get until we finally got the menu. The selection wasn’t that great and not all things were available at all times.

Nor was Doe and Art waiting for us at the Ft. Lauderdale dock, but believe me, if I thought there was the slightest chance they would be, I’d never have sent the card from Puerto Rico.

They’re playing a movie on overhead screens that are spaced every 15’ or so along the aisle. You can hear the voices on one of their 12 channels, but like I said, the interruptions get old. As long as the animals stay civilized, I’ll just listen to the hum of the engines.

To back up to when we got aboard the ship, we had cabbed over to Port Everglades where the ship was docked. We then stood in a very long line in a very large room. After what seemed like quite a while, we went up to a window with our tickets and to get our key cards. They took our pictures from their computers. This displayed on the ship’s screens when the card was scanned, and of course we had to walk through metal detectors and have our stuff x-rayed. I almost felt like I was back in jail, though they never did strip searches!

There were lots of ships docked in Florida, and small boats owned by individuals who would cruise around the area, too.

When we first got on board we couldn’t go to our rooms because they were still working on them as the previous group of cruisers had disembarked just hours before we got on. We waited up on the Lido deck and had a snack since only the sweets section was open at the time.

Because the food and service weren’t that good, Tom asked for our tips back in the end so they wouldn’t automatically go and help themselves to $10 a day like they usually do.

They were just too in our faces. If I thought dealing with housekeepers once a day was a pain, well, they did the room twice a day on the ship! I could usually keep Johannes, the guy tending to us, from bothering us in the evenings by sticking the privacy card out, though a couple of times there were others who knocked, then came right in without waiting for a reply. What’s the point of knocking if you’re just gonna barge right in?

At least Jo tried to make us happy. He’d sometimes fold towels in animal shapes and leave them on the bed. Once he did a swan, then an aardvark.

The room was small and simple, but with adequate storage space. We started off with the bed set up as a king-size and him sleeping on the loveseat in the sitting area, but that was uncomfortable so we had Jo separate the beds. We slept with the TV on one of the music stations and threw a spare blanket over the screen to block the light. Of course I also had my earplug in, but this wasn’t just to help block out outside noise, but his snoring as well.

They gave us shampoo, conditioner and lotion as I expected, but the room didn’t have the plush carpet I also expected. It was flat and hard.

The room had a wet bar with soda, but since that would’ve been charged to our card, we decided to skip the soda. And of course, we don’t drink.

The verandah was private in that you couldn’t see other people on their verandahs unless you stuck your head around the partitions. At night, though, I could sometimes see someone else’s reflection next door in the glass railings.

We had a wicker chair out on the verandah and a cushioned chair with a wicker footrest. That table I wish we’d had for coffee cups never arrived till the very last day.

They supplied two robes, but you had to buy them if you wanted to keep them. We decided they weren’t worth the $50 they wanted for them. They weren’t even of terrycloth, but some coarse fabric.

Where there was a floor of clouds below us a moment ago, there’s now nothing but snow. That was fast. It seems we were where it was nice not so long ago.

Anyway, there was a married couple to our right that was in their 40s. They were usually quiet. The two single ladies to our left, however, were a bit loud and they even woke us up with rowdy laughter our first night. I mentioned it to Jo who mentioned it to them and Paula apologized from her verandah when she heard me go out on ours. I told her, “No problem. We understood your excitement. Especially being in your 20s like you are.” That’s when she told me she was 46. I was like, wow! She looked great for her age.

It turns out that one of them was also a cruise winner, but they got to have all their expenses paid because they won it from their local radio station in Texas. Another difference is that they were having a blast like most people, and thought the music was great.

If we’re flying over Wyoming now, and I think we are, it’s too bad I hate snow so much. Most of the houses are way isolated!

So anyway, once the guests got situated in their rooms, it was off for an emergency escape drill where we had to don our lifejackets and line up on a particular deck, women and animals first. While waiting on the deck until our room numbers were called and checked off their list, I noticed all the other women had their toenails polished red while mine were still bare.

My tooth aggravated me for the first two days, then when that stopped my allergies took over. Yes, God really loves to see me suffer and always keeps me going with something, doesn’t He?

We were late in taking off from Florida because they were waiting for someone, so we didn’t leave till after dark. I was laying down when we started moving. I could suddenly hear the soft hum of the propeller and feel a slight motion. I got up and ran out to the verandah where people were cheering us off from a large apartment building. I couldn’t see anyone, but I could hear them.

Because the ship’s so big we had a small pilot boat guide us out till we were out on the open ocean. They use tugboats to push ships into spaces against the docks which have little bumpers alongside them.

It sure was weird falling asleep in the US and waking up in The Bahamas! The sun was just rising when we were approaching The Bahamas. Because we visited a touristy section, we could use US currency. They were giving guided tours on buses and horse-drawn carriages, but we remained on foot. I didn’t realize The Bahamas were all blacks, but it sure was. I guess that makes sense, seeing that most of the southeastern US is infested with the damn things. At least the blacks we encountered were friendly store-keepers and not vindictive, loud, obnoxious, gang-banging, drug-toting neighbors. The streets were very narrow and the steering wheels were on the other side of their cars, but it otherwise looked like it could’ve been a place in Florida for all I knew. I was shocked to learn that The Bahamas consists of over 700 islands! The beaches we saw seemed wimpy and remote. There wasn’t much of a shore or very many people on it.

While in The Bahamas, I got blue glitter nail polish that turns green when in sunlight. We also got a couple of postcards we decided to keep for ourselves, along with the postcards we decided to write out to each other in Georgia.

Lastly, I got a couple of dresses. One’s light pink up top, turning to darker pink on the bottom. The bottom is also bedecked with silver sequins. The other dress has a pink and purple background with black palm tree silhouettes and a tasseled hem. This one is mostly a cover-up for at the beach or pool, though it can be worn elsewhere with a slip underneath.

There was a Disney ship docked next to us and it looked way awesome with a really cool waterslide on top of it, though I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be on it.

10:20 AM

I’m now going to start putting in PT times in these entries, though I put in ET times at sea. We still have nearly two hours of flying to do. Meanwhile, did the fucking flight attendants really have to interrupt the music 3 times to tell us they’re serving snacks?! Why don’t they just do it?!

I had to go back to the music because the animals started up again. They just keep cycling through the same small selection of songs and sometimes I still hear the animals screaming even though I’ve got it up full blast.

Now we’ve been interrupted twice more to tell us to buckle up through the turbulence that only lasted two seconds.

We spent Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at sea since we couldn’t go to the Grand Turk on Friday like we were supposed to. We were hoping they’d have more sales and raffles to make up for it, but they didn’t. We explored the ship in greater depth instead. Tom exercised on the treadmills in the gym, and we found that the view from the back of the ship was way cool. The waves in the wake of the ship’s path were really cool to see and it sounded like we were by a giant waterfall.

Since there were no more raffles to hope to win, I bought a custom-made bracelet with a magnetic clasp for $22. I love the magnetic clasp and it’s gorgeous! It’s gold with shiny round light-colored gems spaced out around it in light green, green, blue and pink. Because I like pink, the guy added an extra pink gem in the middle of it. The only thing I’d change is the light green. I’d make that lavender.

There was this chick I saw a few times. First we were in line at the bistro, which always changes its menu, and she was telling me what was what, since I didn’t know what half the stuff was. The second time, she and a couple of guys were having their picture taken and she waved me over to join in. Tom searched for it the next day in the photo gallery, but didn’t find it.

Midway through the voyage, they gave us canvas bags with notepads, pens and planners.

We never went to the formal dining rooms because their menu had stuff on it we’d never heard of. They even had a barbecue one day by the family pool, though even that wasn’t too great.

I had the most fun in Puerto Rico which I fell right in love with! It had an ugly dock where I could see a bunch of clear jellyfish hanging around, and the cab drivers were crazy driving so fast through the narrow streets, most of which had no traffic lights, but shopping there was a blast. I dug how most of the signs were in Spanish.

There were vendors by the ship, and one gave us samples of Puerto Rican rum which we both wouldn’t touch after I tried a tiny sip that was so gross I spit it right out.

Although my feet were killing me, we browsed through several shops where I got an 8-pack of patchouli incense that I couldn’t burn till we got back to Florida. Got a box of several little decorative monarchs. I thought one would make a good replacement for the old, stained dove my Joy doll holds. Lastly, I got a cup that says Puerto Rico along the rim and has colorful decorations that float in a glittery fluid between the walls and the bottom of the cup.

It started raining pretty hard toward the evening before we left port. It had tapered off to just a bare drizzle by the time we were pushing off, waving to the people left on the dock. It amused me to see so many people get a kick out of waving to perfect strangers, but even I got into it, too.

Back Home…

1/17/2007 9:23 AM Wednesday

Why oh why is God being so cruel to us?!?! Not only was getting back a real pain and exhausting, but we came home to find disaster waiting for us. No, the house wasn’t broken into and the rats were fine, but a pipe broke under the house and we were without water for a day. Secondly, the refrigerator’s shot. And thirdly, we’re back living with a herd of Mexicans who are already being a problem. Oh, I’m too stressed out to write now! I’ll write later.