Thursday, April 19, 2018

photos from our trip

The map of the second leg of our trip. From Fort Lauderdale to Princess Cay (a private beach resort), to Falmouth Jamacia, to Grand Cayman, and finally to Cozumel Mexico before heading back to Fort Lauderdale where we had a boat tour of the canals.

Grand Cayman tour to turtle farm and hell.

Cozumel Mexico: tour of Mayan ruins, drive along coast, tour chocolate factory

Around the ship on the sea day. We toured the stage area and performers dressing room. The guy was on of 4 main singers and had a terrific voice. It is obvious that there isn't much to do around the ship as he seems to spend lots of time in the gym - look at those 'guns'!

We met Mary and Chuck on the first day of this leg of the cruise. They are an interesting couple from Colorado that we hit it off with. Shared political views, and of course they were both IT people made for interesting conversations... We met up for a few dinners and lunches - we find the cruise is made more special when we meet nice people.

Fort Lauderdale - the overcast sky matched our gloom at heading home. Little did we know then what we'd be coming home to! The drive from hell and then 2 days without power quickly brought us back to reality.

So long Regal Princess.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

a recap

Power is due on at 4pm this afternoon, but honestly we are in good shape for many days. We have wood for the fireplace, (which keeps the house toasty warm, especially in these just below freezing temps). We have lots of water for flushing as we collected gallons from the melting roof yesterday. We have lots of bottled water for drinking. We have a bathtub of clean water for dogs and dishes. We have a big water jug with more water for washing up.

I washed my hair with just a bowl of water.

The one thing we are missing is a way of cooking and making coffee. That will be remedied asap with a little butane burner. For now Carm is driving to the Tim Horton’s for the brown elixar and sundry other foods.

Our days at sea seem like a long time ago… the shock of going from being waited on hand and foot to the deprivation of power has ensured that we had no gentle transition.

I can barely even remember our last few days but I’ll try to remember bits, just for my own benefit.

Thursday was formal night (but I think I’ve covered that already). That was on our last port day: Cozumel, Mexico. I was full-on into a cold though and really didn’t feel like dressing up with stockings, etc., but I choked it up and got dressed anyway. I can’t remember what I ate for supper except that I had an extra entre of lobster tail! The people sitting at our table are just a blur - we met so many people over the 14 days that very few of them stand out.

We ate one night with John who we christened ‘Hat’ as he wore a cap at supper every night - and we thought that someone in his 80s should know better, along with his much younger wife Claire. One night it was 2 Canadian nurses, other nights: 3 Southern women with beautiful accents; a couple from Bowling Green, Rick and Carol - he was an insurance agent, she was quiet; Frankie and Herb from Texas - she was in the Voice of the Sea; Richard and Mary originall from New York city; Earl from Newfoundland; and many other people who have faded from my memory. It was a scrambler of dinner companions.

We met up with Chuck and Mary for supper again on Saturday. They are a fun couple from Colorado that we met in the piazza one afternoon. Our political views aligned, and they are also both from the IT world so we had lots in common. They are also dog lovers so could understand how much we were missing our pooches (and Grace).

On the sea day we slept in, ate breakfast, shopped, went on a tour of the theatre, had a 3 course lunch, had a rest in our cabin, listened to some classical music in the piazza, and then ate another 3 course supper.

I had so many fantastic meals that I can’t even remember much of what we ate… the highlight may have been the creme brule, or maybe the scallops, or maybe all the shrimp, or perhaps the beef. The lamb curry was good, as was the angel hair pasta wrapped in roasted eggplant. The veal stuffed ravioli in a cream sauce topped with melted cheese was delish. So much good food that I had to let out a belt buckle on my jeans, and my legs felt like sausages in the tight denim. The news on the scale this morning was not good - I managed to gain 5lbs, which I suppose is not bad considering all the eating :-0

Our next cruise is in Jan 2019 and we are already looking at one in the Med for Nov 2019 - we just need to talk our lovely pet sitter into agreeing to another 2 weeks.

Photos to come in another post tomorrow.

Monday, April 16, 2018

home sweet home

Home. Ice storm and power outages have welcomed us back. So long hot Caribbean sun, hello grey skies with falling ice.

We left the ship on Sunday at 8am, joining a land tour of Fort Lauderdale to kill some of the time to our 7:45 pm flight home. A tour guide narrated as we took a bus tour of part of the city. He took us to a tour boat that then traversed some of the areas 3000+ miles of canals. We sailed past homes that cost tens of millions of dollars, and some yachts that cost more. Wow. That is how the other half lives! Imagine paying 5 million for the house next door just to tear it down to put in a tennis court.

At the end of all that we ended up at the airport around 1 pm, lots of time to make our late flight.

We sat around in the pre-departure lounge till it was time to check-in. Hurry up through that process, to wait in the line for security (actually not a long wait). Hurry up to find a seat with a power outlet. Wait. Hurry up to find a seat closer to our gate. Wait. Hurry up to find a seat even closer. Wait. Flight delayed 1 ½ hours. Wait some more. Hurry up and get in the line to board. Wait. Board plane and get seated. Wait. Take off. Sit in seat for 3 ½ hours. Land. Hurrah!!! We made it to Ottawa (we had serious doubts that we’d get here). Hurry up to get off the plane. A bit more waiting. Get taxi. Drive over ice covered streets to my parents.

Actually, it was all well and good and mostly everything went as planned. I can hardly complain over the 12 hours when it would take us 30 hours to drive.

When we got to Mom & Dad’s, there was Mom outside in the ice, clearing our car. The ice was over ¼ inch thick and she had cleared off almost half of it. We were so grateful as it was late and we still had a dangerous drive home. I tried to get Carm to stay at my parents place but he was adament that we get home.

The drive home was trecherous. I don’t think we’ve ever driven roads as bad as they were last night. Sheets of ice covered the road. Carm took it easy (most of the trip was done well below 60 kmh, and a lot closer to 30), and we arrived home without incident.

As we turned into the laneway we both breathed a sigh of relief. We were home. The dogs were at the door to greet us, soon followed by Pat.

We got the suitcases into the house, talked for a bit with Pat and then collapsed into bed. But not before Carm walked into the door frame and split his forehead. Note to self: we need more bandages.

Our heads had barely hit the pillow when a chorus of beeping sent Carm into the living room. The UPSes were signaling a loss of power. Yes, you guessed it: power failure. I’m usually pretty miltant about getting water buckets and stuff set out, but I was too stunned last night to think about it…

Carm and Pat went out about 11:30 am to get coffee and lunch - I dozed on the sofa. I still have a cold (which is perhaps now worse after Sunday’s long day). After lunch I bundled up and started collecting water from the roof downspouts into a garbage can for toilet flushing and general washing. Luckily Pat had put some water in the bathtub so we have some clean water for dogs and dishes. I set up candles and lanterns for tonight, and only at 5pm did I sit down to write this blog post.

I think it will be a long night… oh, and thanks winter for the welcome home.