Monday, November 2, 2009

There and Back Again: Story of a Cruise

Day 1ish--day 1 kind of ran into day 2:

Larry dropped me off at the airport in Kansas City at about the time the security station opened. No waiting! Resolved one quandry: mascara--gel or not? In the 1 qt. bag or not? Hadn't really thought about it, but if toothPASTE is a gel.... I mean, mascara isn't a liquid, is it? Is it a gel? Jeez! the things I get hung up on! Anyway, on October 6, 2009, at KCI, it's evidently not a gel. Whew! I did have to take out my boxes of pastels for examination though. They evidently were suspicious. At least I didn't try to take any acrylic paints. No telling what kind of subversion those could suggest. OK, I'm glad all of the precautions are taken, and I understand why. It's just all of the strange uncertainties I can come up with. I met up with Mike and Janet, and my new roommate Janet at the Atlanta airport. We joined up with ladies from Texas and Janet's Mom from Denver. All together, 21 of us boarded the plane bound for Venice. My first transAtlantic flight! The idea was to go to sleep after dinner on the flight. Didn't happen for me. I was three short, cramped rows back from a TV screen playing some stupid Eddie Murphy movie. I figured I might as well try to watch it, but the headphones were being temperamental. I did get them to work finally, for awhile. A flight attendant came down the aisle with a beverage cart, bumped my aisle armrest, and the headphones quit. Oh well, time for the ipod. Music to listen to, but annoying light flashing in my eyes. Time for the sleep mask. Little cracks of light coming in.....long story short--no sleep for me. At some point, day 1 became day 2.

Day 2 saw me off the plane, through baggage and passport check, and on a van to the port where we would board the Ruby Princess.

We needed our passports, boarding passes, and another security check. Yep, wanted to see the pastels again (colores the guy called them). Luggage was delivered to the stateroom, and the cruise card became my new best friend, getting me on and off the ship, into the stateroom, and charging anything on board the ship. This is some seriously huge ship! 953 feet long, 19 decks, 3,000 passengers...really, really BIG!The ship just turned one year old...big, new, beautiful! After getting settled into our staterooms, six of us, including Mike, Janet, roomie Janet and I, caught the water taxi to St. Mark's Square, Venice.

Snap, snap, snap.... take lots of pictures! They're free! Gotta love the digital age! I ended up with over 1,000 photos by the time I got home. Obviously, they won't all appear here. Even if you wanted to see them all, they take too long to upload. You'll just have to stop by for the whole array of pics. We just wandered around trying to get pictures and not lose each other. Venice must truly be one of the most beautiful places in the world. Absolutely breathtaking! There are no vehicles, just pedestrians, canals, and gondolas and boats. Incredible! We ate dinner outside at a restaurant on the Grand Canal with singing gondoleers passing by. There are just not enough superlatives to describe it. OK, so maybe I'm easily impressed, but WOW!

There'll be more of Venice from day 3. One day down in a foreign country. Didn't get arrested; made it back to the ship. So far, so good!