Wednesday, November 29, 2006


My sailing mates on this cruise!

This is the first of our British ports. We walked off the ship to a shopping area at the end of a very long pier. We sat at a little out door refresfment stand, as you can see we were drinking diet coke at $2.00 piece. While we were seated there someone started smoking mariwana (sp) you can't mistake that smell. D and I visited several shops one of them had name brand clothes Levi, Liz Clairborne and etc. The prices were out of this world. I quess the prices reflect the fact the conversion ration is $2.70 EC equals 1 US dollar. This was a very old wooden two story store. It smelled and reminded me of dry goods stores of my childhood in Pueblo. When we started back to the ship a little shower came up. D and I sat under a porch and waited until it stopped raining. It was all over with in about 10 minutes. Hubby and J walked back in the rain.

Island was developed with sugar cane as primary crop, using slaves as labor. Slavery was abolished in 1834. The way the name of the island is pronounced was in debate. British mispronounced it as "Antee-ga", most of us say "Antee-wa".

St. Thomas

Thursday, November 23, 2006

caregiver2: First Port

Our Cruise Ship
caregiver2: First Port

First Port

St Thomas was our first port. The only American port we touched on this cruise. Sugar Cane plantations settled this island in the early 1600's.

We took a van tour at this port. We had to walk about 3 blocks to get to the van, which was open and very warm. The van was driving on the left side of the road. Why this is an American port, but they drive on the left like the English. I was sitting on the last row and next to the traffic. It was very scary to see all the traffic coming at you from that side of the road. We did miss the school bus that appeared out of nowhere. The gift shop was the nicest one we were in for the whole cruise. Beautiful island, they had a hurricane that caused a lot of damage, most of the damage had been repaired. Van driver couldn't thank President Clinton enough for the help in rebuilding after the hurricane. Van driver pointed out the side of the island that Oprah, Tigger Woods and President Clinton stay at when they visit the island.

We found the lounge at the front of the ship. This is a lounge with lots of windows and comfy chairs. When the ship pulls up to the dock this gives you a great view of the port. Also, when we are at sea it is like looking out of the windshield as you drive over the waves. We spent a lot of time in the comfy chairs and watching port live and the waves.

Sorry, I tried forever to post some of my pictures, but I can't master it. We will have Thanksgiving tomorrow at P. P had to work today. I will try to get D to help me post some of my pictures.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Safely in the Hotel in NYC

We are safely in the hotel in NYC waiting in the lobby for D and J.

November 10, 2006 the 36 hour day from NYC to Dallas.

The day started well a early breakfast at the hotel about 6:30 AM. We caught the ever elusive shuttle to the airport. Porter took our luggage and wisked it away to check out. I over tipped him just for the shear joy of not having to handle that luggage. Checked in with the airline had a our boarding passes in hand and on our way to the gate. Everything was fine, we boarded the plane and were taxing out to take off 12 to 15 planes ahead of us so it took some time. About 2/3 of the way into the line we were ask to go back to the terminal. Something was leaking from the engine. We were ask to leave the plane and have a seat in the gate area. Hubby went to the restroom and I was left with both carryons. He took a very long time to return, I was very alarmed but couldn't leave the carryons or loose our seat in the gate area. He finally returned and said he had been lost. I then left him the luggage and went to the rest room and to buy us some lunch it was 11:30 AM. When I returned people were streaming passed me going somewhere. When I ask the gate personnel what was going on we were directed. "Go get your luggage and go to the ticket counter."

We went down to the baggage area, our luggage was off to one side with about 3 other pieces. People standing around no other luggage in sight the carrousel was not runing. We paid $3.00 for a cart and loaded our luggage on the cart found the elevator and went back to the ATA ticket counter. The line this time was all the way around the baggage x-ray area. Most of the people in line did not have their luggage. We stood in line awhile, a ATA woman personnel said no we were to go to a area opposited from where we were waiting for a ticket agent. She said if we had boarding passes and we could board our plane it was ready to go. A male ATA personnel helped us put our luggage through the x-ray again. When we arrived at the designated area to show our boarding passes, we were turned away. We were told once again to go get our luggage and go back to the ATA ticketing area. Went back to luggage area no luggage in baggage area, carrousel was not running people standing all over the place. I left hubby in the baggage area to retrive luggage, told him to stay there I would meet him at the carrousel when I had a flight for us to leave NYC. I was standing in the ATA ticketing line with an empty cart I had managed to catch. The ATA male person who had helped me load the luggage back into the x-ray machine ask me why I was in line with an empty cart. I explained hubby was down stairs waiting with the luggage while I was trying to get another flight out of NYC to Chicago. I explained to him that hubby had ALZ and he had already been lost once today. He was wonderful he went down to baggage area gathered up hubby and luggage and brought it up to me. We stood in line 2 hours when I was next in line to speak to ticket agent. The woman ATA agent who kept sending people on wild goose chases told us to put our baggage through the X-ray and go to the gate we were re-boarding the same plane. I refused because I was next in line to speak to the ticket agent and she had caused me so much trouble. We got into a shouting match and I stayed put. The ticket agent had a friend that was trying to get him to issue him a new ticket for his friend. I told him to wait his turn. Another ticket agent rushed up and tried to use his computer for someone ese. I told her to wait her turn and told the agent it was my turn I had been waiting for 4 hours. He then processed our tickets the second time and told us to put our luggage through the x-ray for the 3 rd time. We had to go through security again and they took our lunch away from us. This was now 2:30PM hubby has diabetes and had not had any thing to eat since 6:30 AM. I had purchased our lunch in the gate area but they still took it away from us. I had to purchase food again as we rushed to the gate to board our flight once again. Our flight was suppose to leave at 10:00 AM we left at 3:45PM. We either stood or ran up and down the terminal for 5 hours.

I appreciate the fact that the plane was not allowed to leave with a leaking engine. The perferable plan would have allowed us to sit in the boarding area where we had food, water and a restroom without our luggage to haul around until the plane was repaired and ready to leave.

When we arrived in Chicago in a thunderstorm. We sat in the boarding area with ATA gate personnel that kept us informed as to the status of our flight and waited for the thunderstorm to pass. The ATA personnel were so professional and helpful that the 3 hour wait was not that painful.

We arrived at DFW at midnight, we located our car and drove home, arriving at 2:00 AM not 24 hours from the time we left but it felt like 36 hours.

When I related this experience at the ALZ support group meeting yesterday, they thought I was brave to even attempt an airline flight or a cruise with ALZ hubby. I don't know maybe I am stupid to attempt such things but the cruise was great. Now that I have this horrible experience out of my system maybe I can tell about the pleasant part of the trip.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Gee Whiz Back on Dry Land

Arrived home at 2:00 am Saturday Novemer 11, 2006.

For those of you who are curious, I am going to posting a serial travelog. Newspapers and Magazines use too publish serial novels, well mine is going to be the Last Vacation. But, I am going to start at the ending with the title the airline from HELL!!!!!

The September twice monthly telephone call from Aunt D and J a cruise was choosen. We were going Norwegian again, we had been pleased with the last three cruises with them. Our itinerary was New York City to board the cruise, two days at sea and the first stop was St. Thomas. Antigua, Barbados, Grenada, Dominica, Tortola and two more days at sea before we arrived again at New York City. The trip was great, weather was beautiful, spending time with family was wonderful. Hubby had a great time in spite of his failing memory.

I am going to be writting a letter to the airline about our return from New York City to Dallas on ATA Airline. I am posting this first to get the anger out of my system so that I can recall with you the pleasant cruise we experienced.

Cheap mama and grandma I went on line with Southwest knowing full well I couldn't book a flight from Love to New York City. The Wright amendment was cancelled about 10 days after I booked the flight. I toyed with the idea of cancelling my reservations with ATA Airlines ( I had never heard of them before, I'm such a frequent flyer). I was assured they partner with Southwest and that they were OK. I got a great deal senior discount and funfare too. OK so I can put up with no pillow or blanky or food or coke they only serve pepsi, but the price was right.

We set the alarm for 4:00 AM to get up and get out of here for the two hour drive to DFW. A friend had assured me even in the dark (with yellow glasses on so I could see) I could manage I-20 to 360 a right hand turn and the signs would lead me into DFW and the long term parking. First two thirds of the trip no problem, the last third (with white knuckle driving) we found the long term parking. Dumb me I should have unloaded the luggage at the shelter building and then found and parking place. I located a handicapped only 3 rows from the shelter and hubby and I tried to juggle two LARGE suitcases, two small suitcases, one medium bag (to carry hubby's full massage and heating pad) a tote bag apiece and a fanny pack apiece. Now the tote bags with medications (we have a small drug store in pill perscription bottles) reading material, umbrella, sugar tester, hand wipes, makeup, toothbrushes and etc. Fanny packs, money, picture ID's, credit cards, and passports. I had no illusions about the two of us being able to handle that amount of luggage. Airports do have carts for rent that tranport crazy amounts of luggage. I know that is an obscene amount of luggage but when you look at 14 days of underwear it requires a lot of luggage. Don't despair it is necessary for you to know how much luggage we had and why, also, you need to know how up tight I was about trying to move this mountain of luggage. Hubby just looks at the luggage as if it would move itself, he will help if I tell him (at least three times what handle to pickup and where to take it).

We arrived at the terminal 30 minutes early plus our two hours required time before flight. We had boarding passes in hand thanks to online registering. Our luggage was wisked away and I breathed a sight of relief, with my fingers crossed that it would arrive with us in New York City after we changed planes in Chicago.

One more challenge to get hubby through the security beeper. Hubby had been up sense 3:00 AM and dressed (he was so ready to go). I had carefully showed him what he was to wear and laid it out for him but you have to know. Hubby wants to wear as much military stuff as possible so people well stop and talk to him. I can't seem to loose the stupid cap they call a pisscutter. Hubby had on what I had laid out for him and also some loud red, white and blue supenders, a red, white and blue flag tie and his faithful pisscutter. I had bought him a new tan yachting cap to wear but of course, he would have done of that it was in the caryon. He did put his sweater over his shirt and supenders and then put on his jacket. Do you see what is coming? You know you have to pull your shoes off that made him angry, he started pelling off jacket, shoes, fanny pack, carryon, cane, watch and the alarm still went off. I tried to explain to the screeners that he was hard of hearding and had ALZ, he has a hearing aid and a penile implant. They kept pushing me away, they had caught a terriorist. Hubby was sent over to the side they kept running a wand over him and it kept going off. We found a stupid pedimeter (we haven't used those in 2 years) a pen in the pocket of his T-shirt, and the alarm still kept going off. They took his belt off and the alarm still went off. They finally pulled up his sweater to take it off and discovered the metal clips on his supenders. This terrible terrorist then had to have his bag inspected because we had his blood sugar meter in his carryon bag. It took us 20 minutes to get him dressed again and gather up our fanny packs and carryon bags.

The flight to Chicago and New York City were just the usual took many people in too small a space (with nothing to drink but pepsi).

Arriving in New York City we found our luggage (all of it) rented a cart and proceeded to ground transportation, shuttles. We found every shuttle but the one for the Holiday Inn Crown Plaza. Cold, wind blowing like crazy, trying to push that heavy cart around to find our shuttle. Hotel had assured me that a shuttle would meet us. I called the hotel where is the shuttle. " Oh, we don't go to the arrival lane anymore they are too croweded just go up stairs to the departure and the shuttle is there." "why wasn't I informed of this before I rented a cart and pushed it to the arrival lane?" Gee, I don't know why but if you want our shuttle you have to go up stairs." " I have 6 pieces of luggage, a husband with a cane, and I don't do stairs well. Do I have to carry all this luggage upstairs?" "Yes, if you want to use our shuttle, but it has left already on it way to the hotel." Needless to say we stood in line for 10 minutes in that cold wind to get a taxi. While standing in line a guy wanted to rent us a limo to go to the hotel only 55.00 a bargain to get to the hotel. Now you have heard about New York City Taxi drivers well we had some dozies but this guy was wonderful. He took us right down town NYC and when we had been driving about 10 minutes I said they told me the hotel was across the freeway from the airport. " You wanted to go the the Crown Plaza Inn didn't you? That's in Manhattan." I repeated "Holiday Inn, Crown Plaza Laguardia" "Oh that is out by the airport, there are two Crown Plaza's" He turned around and took some short cuts through some neighborhoods that I wouldn't have wanted to stop in. He appolized and said he's take care of the meter and only charge us $10.00 for the trip, the meter already read over $20.00. He was curious where we were from and ask a lot of questions about NM. He wants to take his son to Santa Fe. He was asking about Navajo Indians and I couldn't understand him the way he was pronouncing Navajo. He wanted to know If he could see them, I told him to visit Cochiti and Taos. My complaint to the manage of the hotel did not do any good they have so much business they don't care if they cause anyone any problems getting to there hotel.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Hello from the high seas

Last full day of cruising on the sea. We interupted lunch to stop the ship and assist in retreiving 3 men from a sinking sail boat. We were in heavy seas and their sail boat was sinking. We were the closest vessel to them we had to stop and stand my until the coast guard arrived. The ship had to stop and turn sideways. The waves were up to the top of the windows on the 6th floor. We were having lunch and I took a couple of pictures of the hugh waves. I hope they come out.

I was trying to get boarding passes and southwest won't let me.

Post home when we get home Friday.