Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (and boats!) - Vacation Part 1

Time flies so fast! We are already back home in Melissa where we lead a quiet, but full life. Vacation was officially over when I had to make an appearance at work this morning. Despite the brevity of our ventures, we had a wonderful time cruising through the Pacific! In fact, we had such a good time that I took notes of the events while we were gone so I could share them here. There are so many funny stories and details that must be shared and formally documented. Since there is so much to write about, I've decided to break down our vacation into four parts - one blog for each day we were gone! I apologize in advance if I am a little long-winded.

Our vacation was intended to begin at 3am Friday morning. We had a 6:45am flight to catch, and I felt that I needed to be up early to shower, get ready, and finish packing. We set two alarms on Thursday night - one by the bed and one on Frank's cell phone. Around 4:17am Frank wakes me up in a hushed panic. I've always wondered what it'd be like to be Maggie (our dog) and have the energy to fly out of bed in the morning. I'm not much of a morning person, so I figured that unless there was a fire then it would have to remain a mystery. However, I did fly out of bed Friday morning. We still have no idea how both alarms failed us. There was no time to shower, so I had to put my hair in a ponytail, and throw on some clothes while feverishly packing all of our toiletries. I don't think we made it out of the house till around 5am. We missed our flight, which is pretty obvious. But the events that led up to that moment are certainly worth blogging about.

Looking back, I can laugh at the series of events that took place before 6:45, but at the time I was anything but happy. Once we made it to the car we raced down 75 to the airport. As we were discussing what would happen if we missed our flight, we drove right past our exit to DFW. Classic. Frank remains optimistic and I'm annoyed. We park in remote North parking and take off in a half run for the shuttles. Just as we get close enough to read the signs on the shuttles, we see our bus to terminal D leaving the bus station. 5:45am. We stood watching as the other buses for terminals A, B, C, and E came and went - teasing us as they came around the corner. It would be another 15 minutes before the terminal D shuttle would return. We ride to our gate and run inside to check our bags. We make it to the automated check-in and Frank loses control of his luggage and the wheel rolls over my left foot. While I angrily attempt to doctor my foot and place blame, Frank tries several times to check us in and the system cant find our reservation. 6:15am. At this point my foot is gushing blood and I leave in search of a ladies room to rinse it off and get a paper towel to stop the bleeding. Frank makes it to the front of the line while I'm gone, and is informed that it's too late to check our bags, so we were moved to the 7:45am flight. When I return, Frank and I begin the long wait in the security line. Once we reach the front of the line, it becomes clear that the clerk only gave Frank his boarding pass, but neglected to give him mine. So we have to go BACK to the check-in line to get a boarding pass for me. I limp over to the check in line again, and I'm greated by a very cranky customer service lady. She was irritated with me, but the feeling was mutual. It's beyond me why she never mentioned the necessity of my presence to Frank. It must have been a bad day for her too - although I doubt hers ended in a cruise. We eventually made it past security and had to hop on the SkyTram to terminal C which was on the complete opposite side of the airport. We got to our gate with just enough time to scarf down some McDonalds for breakfast before joining the last boarding group on the 7:45am flight. Traveling is just not my thing. Below is a very tame picture of my foot that I took on the plane - strictly for sympathy points.

When we arrived in LAX we rented a car the size of a rollerskate so we could keep ourselves occupied until it was time to board the Monarch of the Seas. I found the car to be quite comical. It was power NOTHING - perfect! The nice lady at Enterprise kept trying to upsell us to a nicer car, but I loved the idea of driving this thing. We headed out with a map and an appetite which landed us at an IHOP in the hood. We may have been the only English speaking people in the restaurant, but the eggs were still good. We left there and headed north to the pier in Venice - home of the famous Muscle Beach. We walked up and down the boardwalk for about an hour, and I ended up feeling depressed. There were so many homeless people and alot of others who obviously had no direction in their life. They sat on the side of the boardwalk with all of their posessions behind them in a shopping cart and they laid out their "art" in front of them for sale. We were approached by a crazy homeless guy asking to use my cell phone at one point. He told us that he had a very important business call to make. Someone was ready to loan him 500 million dollars to build a building. He followed quickly behind us, and I was ready to either fight or run since this is how I was mugged last time. I'm not sure we got our $7 worth out of our parking, but we had seen enough so we headed to Santa Monica to look around.

Around 12:30 we met my Uncle Ken at a restaurant called Tony P's for lunch. We ate on the patio that overlooked a marina with beautiful boats. It was good to see family after a stressful morning. He gave us good directions to the cruise ship and we did finally arrive at the port to offically start our vacation. It was SUCH a long day.

After we checked in and unpacked our bags, we were forced to muster with the rest of our cruising peers. It's really a very silly drill, so I turned it into a photo opportunity. At this point we had made time for a quick shower, which is good because Frank smelled. :)

After muster we headed for the top deck for a few more pictures. It was a beatiful evening and we tried to take it all in even though we were exhausted. We needed a vacation just from traveling!

As an experienced cruiser, I know that the shows on the ship are most of the time worth viewing. So we went to the opening act and were quite pleased with the entertainment. I dont remember his name, but the comedian was really funny. He came prepared with alot of jokes about cruising and how much people eat on cruises (which is SO true!). Although, the more you eat the cheaper your cruise becomes! So, in true crusing fashion we left the show and went to dinner.

We braced ourselves for more drama when we arrived for dinner. We had requested a table for 2 since we were stuck at a horrible table of 8 for our honeymoon cruise. Last time we were sat with a whole family - complete with Mom, Dad, two teenage daughters, and their grandparents. Exciting! Well, we didnt get our private table as we had asked for so we prepared for the worst again. Fortunately, another young couple showed up - both were 21. They were very quiet at first and Frank and I kept glancing at each other to see if we could find relief from the awkward silence. We resorted to talking about the menu for 5 minutes. I got tired of that so I decided to go ahead and break the ice with some friendly "get-to-know-you" topics. Their names are Neil and Jackie, and it turns out that they were just good friends. Neil's girlfriend had bought the cruise for them as a birthday present, but when she realized that she would miss Father's Day she opted to stay home. Since there are no good options when canceling a cruise vacation so late, she suggested he bring a friend instead. The evening was pretty tame, but those two ended up being worlds of entertainment by the end of the cruise. The most obvious reason is because it was the only evening that they came to dinner sober. More to come on them later. The last 2 seats remained empty on the first night. Once dinner was over, we went to bed and crashed hard. It was only 10:30pm, but when you consider the time change, we had been up for 20 hours. Not a bad end to a crazy day.

Check in tomorrow for Day Two! More pictures to come! Gracias to those of you who even made it this far to read this! :)

1 comment:

Jessica Grammon said...

i'm so glad you had so much fun on the cruise...i actually didn't read the post i just looked at the pics! and i think you should easier on frank about kierkegaard...i think his stuff is just fabulous!