Saturday, August 22, 2009


Okay, so I really did do more on the cruise than just hang out on the Lido deck, but I don't feel like blogging about it right now.

I found this weekly Friday survey on another blog I read so I figured I would go ahead and post that. It's still Friday somewhere, right? Well, maybe not...but I'm posting it anyway.

1. I remember going to the beach with my cousins and drowning. I swear I did drown...even though nobody believed me.___
2. Dear Container Store Phil (or was it Paul?) I want you to know that I'm still pretty PO'd about that whole "we-won't-ship-your-plastic-shoe-boxes" thing.
3. Is that my sink full of dishes?(I don't really understand this question)
4. I'm trying to resist the temptation of eating all of the cookies I bake
5. I'm saving a cookie just for you! (That was such a natural segue, I couldn't resist!)
6. If I made a birthday list,(and it just so happens that I do...or at least a Christmas list that doubles as a birthday list) the movie Enchanted would definitely be on it.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm going to (answering for Friday)browse Etsy and watch How I Met Your Mother season 3, tomorrow my plans include (this is today) baking cookies, watching Gossip Girl and more HIMYM, and Sunday I want to go with my friend Jessica to a "friend-making-picnic" on base.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lido Girl

My favorite daytime place on the Carnival Freedom was the Lido Deck.
I am so happy that I opted to SLEEP on the Lido Deck. Well, I slept in my cabin stateroom which was located on level 9, which happened to be the location of the Lido Deck. It made for very convenient access to the sun, the pool, the buffet, and the soft-serve ice cream machine.
I was ready to hit the (Lido) deck immediately upon getting on board. I had read at a cruise message board that it would take a while to be reunited with our luggage, so I wore my bathing suit as we waited in line to board and tossed my book and sunscreen in a carry-on tote. Made the world's quickest stop in the room just to pick up my towel and headed off in search of a pool chair. I was not the first one to claim a chair, but there weren't too many people out yet.
David WAS the first person to go down the water slide:

(I'm posting that picture twice to see if there is something going on with using Picasa to import photos to my blog or if there's just some weird thing about my blog and pictures right now.)

(do either or both of those work?)

I was pretty mad when I had to get off the boat on the first full day of the cruise. I told David that next time we cruise, I want to go to the same ports so I can just stay on the Lido Deck and not bother with seeing the sights on shore. I also wish there wouldn't be so many interesting activities on the boat. They really cut into my time in the sun. I also know that for my next cruise, I am selecting the late sitting for dinner. I was so bummed to have to leave Lido shortly after 5 each day to get ready for dinner! One night (Formal Night, I think) I changed into another bathing suit and went and laid out after dinner. Then the sun went down and High School Musical 3 played on the big screen. I started to get chilly so I wrapped up in my towel and took a really long and wonderful nap.

Although the Lido Deck was mostly a warm, sunny, happy place, there was almost a minor altercation there on the first sea day. The Capers newsletter said that you're not supposed to leave a pool chair empty for more than 1/2 hour. You can't save them for your friends for a super-long time. I would normally go to the deck, find a chair with lots of other chairs nearby, and if they were all taken by the time David came (he claimed his complexion couldn't handle too much time in the sun, so needed to spend more time in the casino, etc.) we'd try to move to another pair of chairs. This particular day, though, being a sea day there were NO chairs anywhere. Except for the one sitting next to me which had been "reserved" by a book and a magazine for over an hour. I was talking to this sweet cute girl next to me and David joined us. I told him probably he could just go ahead and move that book and magazine and sit there, and that if the person came back, he'd just get up and either he'd go in to get out of the sun or we would both try to move somewhere else. I thought it was perfectly reasonable and not at all mean or nasty.
So this lady comes up a few minutes later and says, "Was there a book and a magazine on that chair?" David says, "Yes, I can get up so you can have the chair. I just wanted to sit here until someone got back." Lady says, "No, that's alright. I just want the book and magazine." So we give it to her. And she proceeds to walk to HER lounge chair about 4-6 chairs down from where we are.
Then a man comes up. He is one of those little bulldog men, the kind who is a little shorter than average so likes to walk around with his chest puffed out and talking his tough-guy talk. So he comes us and says to David, "Hey man, was there a book and a magazine on that chair?" David says, "Yes, a lady just came to get it though. I already gave it to her." Puffy-Man says, "I don't care about the book and magazine. This is our chair." (Meanwhile, I am trying my super-hardest to refrain from something like "really? is your name on it?") David says, "I offered to give her the chair," but Puffy-Man can't hear him because he's too busy getting loud and saying, "You just can't go around moving stuff off of people's chairs" (geesh, it's not like we moved their towel and was a book and a magazine!) So I pipe in and say, "Well, the chair had been empty for over an hour, so he just was going to sit here until someone came back for it" and then that mean and puffy bulldog man may have raised his voice at me! I do not do well with being yelled at and I'm pretty sure I almost cried a little. He said (very loudly), "Yeah well half of these chairs out here have been empty for blah blah blah" and so I said, "SIR, he tried to offer the chair to your wife." and David said, "I told her I would get up and she could have the chair." And Bulldog said, "I'm going to have my lunch. And when I come back, I'm GOING to take my chair."
And stomped off like a pouty little beeyotch.
And then, like a conniving little beeyotch, I looked at David and said, "Why save this guy's chair? You wanna go get lunch too?"
And we did.
We saw the man later and decided to be snotty and ask him if he got his chair. He said no it was taken when he got done with lunch, but admitted that he overreacted, claimed that his wife didn't mention the fact that we offered her the chair back, and said we're all here to be on vacation and have fun and need to not sweat the small stuff. This part may be just my imagination, but I'm also almost certain that he shook David's hand. Apparently Puffy-Man took his meds with lunch.

On the last day of the cruise, our original dinner-mates Joe and Nikki saved us pool chairs. Yep, after all that, we had someone save us pool chairs! :) We had a great day hanging out with them on the Lido Deck, we played Movie Trivia together on the big screen, went in the pool, ate lunch, etc. Such a fun last day!

Songs that will forever make me think of the Carnival Freedom Lido Deck:
I've Had the Time of My Life (or rather, the "I Have the Times of My Life" version)
Hotel California (is this an anthem on all cruises or did
That Dido song that goes, "I just want to thank you for giving me the best day of my life". But if you are singing on the Lido Deck, you have to sing "I just want to tank you".
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Our Ship Came In!

We spent one day in Fort wasn't quite as long as my travel day, but it still was a long, hot day.
We rode the water taxi, went to a museum, had lunch, went shopping and rode the water taxi some more. Both of us were sweating, and I was dreaming about being in the pool. I was tempted to just cancel the cruise and just hang out for a week by the Hilton's pool.
We were fairly exhausted by the time we got back to the hotel to "change for dinner" so we decided to get pizza delivery instead!
The next day I woke up and looked out on the balcony:


It was our ride! So neat to see our big ship sitting there waiting for us! (We could see it better in real life... it's the one over my shoulder with the "whale tail" sticking up. And, I have no idea why I look so strangely shaped in this photo.
David woke up and looked in the pizza box. Cold pizza for breakfast might hit the spot.
I don't know if this part of the story is true, but I didn't care to check it out... he said there was a giant Okinawa-style cockroach in our pizza box!!!!
I was completely disgusted. David tried to comfort me by saying "but I'm sure it didn't come with the pizza. It must've already been in the room somewhere."
Suddenly, any inkling I had of just staying in Fort Lauderdale instead of cruising was gone!
We walked to Walgreens, stopped for a quick, roach-free brunch at Einstein Brothers Bagels (David had a Ruben, I had a toasted bagel w/honey butter and a yummy strawberry creme drink)
After a super-quick cab ride, here we were:

Starting off on the right foot

I'm taking a break from my busy schedule of playing Mario Party 8 on the Wii I have finally been reunited with, eating chocolate cookies, and catching up on "Tivo'd" episodes of Ugly Betty, True Blood & Don't Forget the Lyrics to share some photos & stories from our cruise.

So I set out on my journey at shortly after 4 am on July 9. I had to make it to base by 5:15 to catch the bus to the airport. There's a later shuttle, but I didn't want to take a chance on traffic or some other strange occurrence that might make me miss my flight. So I slept on the bus and hunkered down for about 5 hours in the airport. I had breakfast and talked to my friend Jessica on the phone, because that is our morning routine. I did a little knitting and read part of The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Ann Brashares. (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants author)
I got on the plane (aisle seat!) and was ready to sleep some more, but there were so many movies I felt like watching, so I ended up not getting much sleep. I regretted that decision later. I don't remember all the movies I watched (except I know I watched 17 Again and Ferris Bueller's Day Off), but I do remember how tired I was in the Newark Airport.

When I booked my tickets, I chose a later flight out of Newark, just in case there was some sort of delay with my flight from London. We ended up landing in Newark a little early, so I had even more than the 5 hours I was expecting to wait. I thought about seeing if I could get switched to the 4:30 flight instead, but figured that my luggage was already checked through for the 8:30 flight and either I'd have to wait for it to arrive, they'd remove it from the plane, or it might get lost in the shuffle of changes. So, I decided I'd just stick it out and wait until 8:30.

The Newark Airport was actually not too bad. There were LOTS of shops to go in and out of, so that kept me busy for a while. I ate some yummy Auntie Annie's pretzel sticks, read the back of a lot of books at Borders, and smelled every flavor of lotion at The Body Shop. But still I was growing bored and wanted desperately to make friends with someone who had one of those fancy cell phones that can access the internet.

When it was close to boarding time, I sat by my gate. When it was really close to boarding time, I was still sitting by my gate. When it was boarding time, I continued to sit by my gate. About 10-15 minutes after boarding time, I began to really wonder why I was still sitting by my gate. That's when the first of many announcements was made... our plane had arrived at the airport, but it was sitting at another gate. And the piece of equipment that was needed to tow the plane was broken, so we'd have a slight delay while they tried to fix it. I couldn't help but wonder if it wouldn't have been faster for them to try to move US instead of the plane.
Finally, the plane arrives, we all get on and I'm happy... we're leaving! About 40 minutes late, but that's not too bad I guess. David will be waiting for me at the Fort Lauderdale airport and in just a few hours, my looooong day of travel would be over.
I buckled my seatbelt and started to nod off. I woke up to the sound of the captain's voice, thinking he's making that, "We've reached our cruising altitude" announcement. But we weren't actually moving yet. Captain says that the jetway is stuck on our basically we couldn't take off without taking off the wall of the airport I guess. So it would be 5-10 minutes until they resolved the issue, just sit tight.
About 5-10 minutes later, the captain announces that they're having a little more trouble than they thought, so anyone who wants to stretch their legs can go ahead and "deboard the aircraft" for a little while.
By now, it's after 10 and most of the shops are closed, so I just walked around the concourse a few times.
We were rescheduled for takeoff at 11:00. Just 2 and a half hours after our scheduled departure time. And what do you know, just 57 minutes before our originally scheduled arrival. Trying to stay positive... trying to stay awake until I get back onto the plane...and trying not to kick myself for not trying for the 4:30 flight after all. By this point, I would have gladly sacrificed my luggage.
Back on the plane, we begin to taxi. Taxi, taxi, taxi. I begin to think that this is the longest taxi EVER. Seriously. In the history of taxiing, this has GOT to be the longest. But there's a good reason for that... we taxied out, then taxied right back in to where we started.
You see, there was a passenger on the plane who had to be removed.
Imagine, a disgruntled passenger at this point. (It wasn't me)
I didn't even get to see or hear any of the ruckus, so I don't know what was going on. The annoying man across the aisle from me tried to pump the flight attendant for information but she wasn't giving any. She was obviously getting a little tired and cranky herself.
The passenger is removed, but still, we can't leave. Because now we have used up a whole bunch of gas and need to wait for the fuel truck to come top us off.
I decide to just give up hope that we're ever leaving Newark. I'm not even sure I believe it when our wheels finally go up at about 20 minutes past 12.
Hahahahaha, and then our pilot...that funny, funny guy...makes his "we've now reached cruising altitude" speech and adds, "It looks like we've got a good tailwind and clear airspace, so we should be landing at our destination a few minutes ahead of schedule." Either the man has a very strange sense of humor, can not tell time, or was referring to our "revised" schedule.

We landed at about quarter past 2 (I think... It was getting too depressing to look at my watch by this point) and I hustled to the baggage claim where David was waiting for me!! I was SO happy to see him! Not only because I hadn't seen the man in nearly 5 months, but also because 1-it meant I didn't have to get on another plane for a whole entire week! and 2-it meant that I wouldn't have to sleep in the airport. I had begun to worry during one of the nearly 4 hours of our delay that David might not realize that I didn't know what hotel we were going to and he might not be waiting at the airport, thinking I'd just cab-it to the hotel on my own. It would've been pretty out-of-character for him to do that, but still...I was slightly nervous. He did leave the airport, showered at the hotel (but knew he'd better not lay down or he'd fall asleep!) and then came back to get me.
I asked him if he'd seen which baggage carousel my flight was going to be on, and he said, "Your bag is already here. I saw it when I was here earlier."
My bag had inadvertently made it on the 4:30 flight! I didn't even have the energy at the time to be irritated by the irony of this. I was just thrilled that we could immediately get out of the airport, into a cab, and to the hotel!
It took just under 28 hours to get from London to Florida. That's even longer than the trips home from Okinawa!!!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Step One: Check!

Why is it that when I actually have something *moderately* exciting, or at least interesting, to blog about, I can't do it!?!
I didn't want to post about my cruise without any photos, but I couldn't post any photos without my USB cord! My USB cord is stuck in my friend Jessica's house while she is away on vacation. Rather than breaking-and-entering, I decided to find another extra one in the box with all the other computer-related cords in it. And what do you know? I did find one!

So now my photos are on my computer and I can share my cruise experience in excruciating detail.
But, I've been sitting here at the computer for SO long, loading, saving and naming my pictures that I just can't sit here any longer.
A longer, prettier blog entry will just have to wait until tomorrow. AFTER I go to the commissary, ATM & library. I have no food, no money (and I owe my friend 20 pounds...but another friend owes me 20 pounds, I just remembered), and overdue books. So, I am determined not to have any bloggy-fun until I'm done with my chores!
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