For those who haven't heard, I recently went on a Royal Caribbean cruise from Miami to the Bahamas! Here are my journals from that trip:
Sunday, 13 August 2006:
The day started so early, but well: my radio turned on at 3:45 with a song by Point of Grace, and then at 4:00, just as I had finished brushing my teeth and was almost ready to go, they played Lincoln Brewster's "Majestic", which has quickly come to be my favorite song to start a morning with. Great way to center my day before I begin.
My parents very kindly woke up at that unearthly hour of the morning to take me to the airport, then went on their way back home, presumably to get those extra hours of sleep that I couldn't. Checking my one bag of luggage at curbsite took a long time, but at least I didn't have to wait in the huge long lines that were inside, so for that I am grateful. And even security didn't take a terribly long time - people are used to the new requirements by now, so there weren't any delays in the line in front of me. Of course, there was my little blunder; I've at least wisened up to putting all my metalic pocket gear into my carry on before I get to security, but because I'm always paranoid about going through the scanners (I almost always beep, either because of belt buckle or glasses), I completely forgot to take my laptop out of my bag. I made it through the scanner fine, but the security people had to "bag check" my briefcase, remove the laptop, then run it again. Oh, how sheepish I felt.
In any case, we made it to the gate plenty early, boarded the plane, and departed a few minutes ahead of schedule. The plane ride was less than exciting. I napped for a while, then spent the rest of my waking minutes thinking about home and the future.
We arrived in Miami on time, or possibly a few minutes early, disembarked, claimed our bags, and taxied to the hotel. Because it was still only 11:00 in the morning, we couldn't check in yet, so we left our bags with the bellman and went across the street to meet Debbie and David, then eat in the outdoor mall. While we were walking to the restaurant, two of Matthew's friends from Texas called him on the phone, then he realised they were walking toward him just a few feet away. Turns out they were joining us on the cruise as well, and it all a big surprise for Matthew.
We ate lunch at Chilis - I had a quesadilla and lemonade; shocking, I know. Then it was back to the hotel room for a quick email check and a nice, long nap. The others went swimming for a while in there, but I was too busy catching up on my beauty sleep to care much.
When I finally did wake up, it was time to head off to dinner, so the whole group (10 of us by this point) met in the lobby and arranged for a large taxi van to take us to one of the more major shopping / eating outdoor malls. There we had a wonderfully long meal out under the setting sun, complete with some sparse lightning and gentle breeze. Two hours later (or so it felt, though I don't think I'm far off), we got up and started making our way along the store fronts, looking for a crêpe-serving bakery that Chad remembered from his last trip. But before lonog, that lighing I mentioned before started meaning rain drops. And about 60 seconds after I felt the first rain drop, it was literally pouring. Fortunately we were able to take shelter under a canopied entrance. Unfortunately for me it was the entrance to a bar, so everyone went inside, and, just my luck, Matthew talked the bouncer into letting me in. I was so hopeful I'd just be able to wait outside.
The next hour was torture. I hate bars, but I had no where else to go. Yes, there happened to be an Apple store across the street, but that wouldn't be able to serve as refuge for an entire hour. So I waited. In the corner. Alone. Bored. And then, after the rain had let up a slight bit, Chad and David decided they would set out to look for the crêpes (or "creeps" as Matthew called them) once more. So I joined them; we walked for many blocks but didn't see them, so we turned around and went the other way. Turns out the store was Haagen-Daas, and it was only a block away from the restaurant we started at. That's okay, though, since I really needed the exercise. Except they were sold out of the crêpes by the time we got there (of course we didn't realise this until we gathered the group and brought them down there). So some people bought ice cream instead. Then we split up - 5 of us came back to the hotel to get to bed, the other 5 went out to a nearby club or two. I'm told they had fun, though the clubs were mostly empty because of the rain, but still, for them, worth going. As for me, I was quite happy to get to sleep.