Oceania Cruises "Regatta", Entry #5; Apr. '07

If my return travels had been uneventful, there would be no need for an "epilog".  But when your worst fears come true.....
But let me back up one day.  It seems every passenger I encountered was asking "So, what do you think about all this work going on?"  People venting their anger & disgust to anyone who would listen.  It was much worse this time than my previous experience on a pre-dry dock voyage.  They closed down the Polo Grill the last night so they could start work in there.  The pool area was stacked floor to ceiling (so to speak) with rolls of carpet & construction stuff.  You could pass through the area to get from forward to aft on deck 9; but that's all.  On my way to breakfast that last morning, all the artwork had been taken down.  The light fixtures were being removed w/ electrical wires dangling.  It was shocking.

When I went back to my cabin to get my bag, they were already ripping out the carpet in the cabin next door.  When it was time for my group to disembark the ship, there was no one at the bottom of the gangway to show you where to go.  There was a row of buildings & no signage as to where to find our luggage.  Finally a dockworker who recognized our confusion pointed toward the correct building.  Once I had my luggage & proceeded outside there was no one there to show you which of the buses we were supposed to get on.  You had to go to each one & ask.  I'm sure I'm not alone in saying this left a very bad taste in my mouth.
Now the fun begins..... Had 3 1/2 hrs. to wait at the Marseille airport.  They were a little late loading luggage; which put us 10 mins. late arriving in Paris.  I knew it was going to go downhill from there.  I take off running (well, you know me I don't run; but a fast walk).  What I did not count on was, even though I didn't (think I did) leave the secure area, I had to go through security when I changed terminals.  I could see the line (of undetermined length) & began to (apologetically) break in line in front of people.  When I got up close enough to talk to an airport person, he advised that it would take at least another 20 mins. to clear security.  He advised that I get out of line & go back to the ticket counter & try to get the next flight.  My injured ankle throbbing; muscles quivering; legs felt like jelly.  Boy, I wanted to cry & yell at somebody.  The lady at the ticket counter admitted that even if my plane had arrived on time that there would not have been enough time to make my connection.  She suggested I write a letter (which I plan to do).

So, I took the next flight 3 1/2 hrs. later.  No matter where I sat & tried to read, I was chocking on cigarette smoke.  There was no escaping it.  While going through security (again) for my flight out of Paris, a nerdy man w/ coke bottle thick glasses was assigned to a table to look at our ziplock baggie of liquid stuff.  I showed him mine.  He's squinting trying to read every label & amount of fluid.  He took my deodorant (about 3" high, 1/2 oz.) & said "no".  I asked him why; he just said "no" & threw it in the trash can.  (Isn't it the French who don't usually smell very good???)  When I got up to the x-ray lady, I asked her why he took my deodorant.  She said if it was that small, he shouldn't have confiscated it.  I asked her if she could get it back for me; she said "no".  All I could think about was going 36 hrs. w/o it.  So, I left France feeling the same about the French as I always have.  They are either rude, condescending or ignore you.  As if in their own mind, they're somehow superior.
Landing in Dusseldorf at 8:30 was okay.  Signage to find the Sheraton Hotel was non-existent; but someone graciously pointed the way.  Maybe 50 yrds. across the street, up an elevator & you enter this beautiful hotel lobby.  It's like being worlds away from the busy airport next door.  Very nice room; & quick & delicious room service (penne a la arrabiato-very spicey).  Never heard one single airplane all night.

Up early Sat. morning; & back across the street.  Had 3 hrs. to wait for my flight.  If I thought yesterday's cigarette smoke was bad, that's nothing compared to DUS.  When you go past security, they don't let you go to the gate.  You sit in a holding area right across from several restaurants.  I tried sitting as far as I could from that side of the room; but it didn't matter.  I sucked up enough smoke in 2 days to last a lifetime.  By now I can't breathe; nose spray won't even open my nose.  At least half of the passengers I've come in contact w/ these 2 days are either coughing up their lungs or sneezing all over you.  If I don't come down sick, it WILL be a miracle.  The plane wasn't full; so I was able to have the whole center row (4 seats wide) all to myself.  I put up the armrests & tried to sit w/ my swelling legs stretched out in front of me as much as I could.

There were several children onboard; but one in particular who made us all miserable.  Don't know if there was something wrong w/ him or not; but out of the 10 1/2 hrs. he must have screamed/cried for 7 of them.  He'd scream for 20 mins., stop for 15, scream for 10 mins., stop for 5 mins.  And on; & on....  I kept wondering why they didn't divert the plane & put this family off like they did recently w/ that Boston family.  But they didn't.  Sometimes he'd scream & get the other children riled up; & they'd cry or scream.  Then this would upset the one little dog that was in the cabin that would start softly woof, woof.  I thought I was going to blow a gasket!  I will say that LTU's food (2 meals) was fabulous.  I just couldn't wait for this trip to end.  But the main thing is; I made it home safe & sound.

I had a bittersweet surprise when I arrived home.  Marcia made an unplanned trip to Naples; & was leaving the next morning.  So, I got to spend only about an hr. with her.  It made me sad.  When she came home last year, I only got to see her about half an hour before I flew off to Europe.  I miss her so much.
So, now I end this travel saga.  This was a trip that should never have happened.  Once I found out I would be buying (& remodeling) the first floor unit, I should have cancelled.  I had already started the planning & shopping for the remodel; & my mind was at home.  All the time thinking about what I should be doing.  It made it impossible to relax & rest up for the task ahead.  I think I could have stayed at home, saved lots of money & had a better time.

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