Novenber 6, 2010
At sea - enroute to Miami, FL

This was probably my last uninterrupted, carefree night’s sleep. Tomorrow, it’s back to the real world. I woke about 8; but stayed in bed to enjoy the rolling seas & the peaceful quietness. I don’t know how I let my normal everyday life get so chaotic. And when I do find ‘peace’, I hang on to it for dear life.

I took a quick shower; & plopped on the wig; & was off to the Bistro by 9 am. I had a little over an hour to get something productive done before bridge class (a repeat of lesson #2).

I settled in the back corner w/ my capp’o & fresh OJ. Being 3 days behind in the blog now, there’s a lot to be done. Within minutes every passenger of Asian descent had completely surrounded me. (And with all due respect, I mean no malice when I saw this; but…..) The hum of there high pitched banter, was like rapid machine gun fire. What are they talking about? And so quickly? I couldn’t hear myself think. So, I gave up any hope of tapping into my memory bank about the past few days.

At 10:15 I attended bridge lesson #2. Instructor, Brenda, took a slightly different approach; covering bidding & “points”. This was foreign territory for me; & I soon got lost. I’m back to that “I’m not smart enough for this game” mindset. Man, this stuff is deep. I sure hope my friend, Caroline, gets home from the hospital soon. She’s the only person I know who has offered to help me learn in a “play as you go” setting. Please, Caroline, I need all the help I can get!

I ran into Carolyn & Bill (Wrobichaux) at the photo gallery; & a little later, Keith & Anne Marie (Keith1010). At the elevator, there was Len & Marilyn (Suitedreams), Nicholas & Michael (Paleologos), Tracie (TERR777) & Ricki (Ricki). That made it easy to say one last “goodbye”; & wish everyone a wonderful cruise.

I headed back to the cabin to drop off some things; then I spotted THE LETTER! My Customs form was accompanied by a letter stating that I had to present myself to Customs & Border Patrol at 8 in the morning in the Bridge Lounge. And here’s the killer……. “You will need to disembark immediately after this inspection due to CBP regulations. Be sure to have all your hand luggage & other items as you will be ESCORTED STRAIGHT FROM THE INSPECTION TO THE GANGWAY”. Party’s over!

This is contradictory to what I was told by the LA office 2 months ago when I inquired about what time to request my car service pick up (9:30 am). I got nowhere at Reception. As sympathetic as he was, the blame is on CBP & not Crystal. On the upside, I have until 7:30 am to get my luggage out in the hallway for pick up.

I headed up to the Lido for some lunch. It was very crowded (a few eating alfresco all the way aft). I had to circle twice to find a place to sit. There was an empty seat at the table w/ Debby & Ernie; Pauline (my tablemate from the last segment) & Philip. So, I enjoyed some lively table conversation & a very nice Asian lunch. I also got to say a quick “goodbye” to Brian (Beav) & the guest pianist, Kyle Esplin as they passed by the table with their plates.

I got a tiny taste of just about everything. Orange chicken & that luscious stir fried garlic eggplant I love so much. Sautéed shrimp in dragon sauce; a few pieces of sushi; pot stickers & shrimp “purses” with soy dipping sauce. Steamed bok choy, BBQ spare ribs, stir fried pork with lychee & hearts of palm. Debby had a dessert that resembled (as Philip would say) ‘buh-non-nah’s foster; that smelled luscious. But I was way past stuffed.

I made a quick stop at reception to check my onboard account. Looks like I’m going to forfeit $6.03 of onboard credit. I made deposit toward a future booking ($100); but that cannot be paid for out of my shipboard credit & must be paid for by my credit card. So, I walk away owing Crystal $100. When I came back to the cabin to fill out my custom’s form, I realized that I had not bought one single, solitary thing. How suspicious does that look……a woman re-entering the US after 17 days, & she didn’t buy anything? I decided to put down an odd amount anyway, $55. If they were to hassle me so early in the morning, I’m liable to get ugly. After all, they are FORCING me to leave at such an un-Godly hour.

I looked at the nice freshly made bed…….should I pull out the suitcases or lay down? I went the more peaceful route. An hour later, I woke up with sun beaming through my window. It was a very nice day at sea. A few swells, nice rocking motion, temps in the 60’s. Time for one more trip to the Bistro (they won’t be open when I leave in the morning). I sat & drank a hot chocolate; hoping to say goodbye to Ioannis. But he’s hard at work somewhere.

Putting off the packing a little longer, I went back to the computer work (determined to eat up these last few hours of internet that I’ve paid for). I realized I was making excuses for not packing. And if I waited till bedtime to do it, my adrenalin would be pumping; & I’d never go to sleep. So, I piled the suitcases on top of the bed. Not watching the time, I realized I needed to be dressed for dinner in 45 mins. Semi-formal night; & I wasn’t sure if anyone would be at my table.

I stopped by the table where Philip, Michael, Nicholas, Debby & Ernie are sitting. Ernie wasn’t feeling well; & wasn’t there. They invited me to eat with them if no one showed up at my table. But I looked over; & saw that my table was almost full. I got a quick table shot of the CC folks; & said my goodbyes to them.

I thought I had heard a few people say they were dining elsewhere tonight; so it really surprised me that everyone was there. Even Fran was there. I’m so glad, because I finally had a chance to sit next to her & catch up. Lucky Fran, she’s going to stay onboard through the Christmas Holidays.

Not one of the best menus in my opinion tonight. But of course, I didn’t go away hungry. I started with a salad of assorted greens with grapes, cherry tomatoes & garlic crostini drizzled with sherry-walnut vinaigrette. For my main course I had the pan seared scallops with an orange butter sauce, along with fennel puree & angel hair pasta with oven dried tomatoes. For dessert I had a sampling of 3 mild, soft cheeses; but someone forgot my chutney (a very rare thing to happen on Crystal).

I had to get a photo with Adem & Davor, who had provided me with awesome table service the past 17 days. Then quick goodbyes all around the table. Leaving the D.R. about 10:45, I saw Ioannis sitting in the Crystal Cove; & I went over for one last hug from the “Greek Chief”. Such a delightful, gracious man. I’m so glad that it’s his turn this year to spend Christmas at home with his family.

Thank God we get to run the clocks back one hour tonight (daylight savings time ends). The bed is completely covered with piles of clothes, shoes & the open luggage. I guess you can tell where my priorities are… I sit at the computer, not wasting a minute of internet time. I have until 7:30 in the morning to get my luggage out in the hallway. But I’m going to cram everything in just before I lay down.
So, folks, unless something really drastic happens tomorrow…….I will end my story here. I’ll leave all my new friends behind to continue on their Panama Canal adventure. My life has been made richer by these new friends & the experiences that we have shared. And I salute the fine staff & crew of Symphony. They won me over with their grace, friendly smiles & outstanding service. I still love the Serenity. As long as it’s Crystal……’s always a “wonderful world”!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your trip. I'm sad that your cruise is over, but then it makes our South American cruise that much closer!