Miami and Home

The last day was kind of like having a great date who agrees to come home with you, and then finding your car stolen.

First of all, I am sorry to be so late to writing this, but that “Bermuda” tooth flared up, and the ensuing root canal left me in some bad pain. Actually, I got great medication for the pain, but found it delivered me to a land where no typing is possible. Nice place though.

OK, here’s what I l know and what I heard about the last day. We were told our baggage tag would be the first called so to be ready at 7:45 AM. I am very anal when it comes to time on travel days and tend to get on Michael’s nerves, but at 7:45 we joined a small group at the ships departure door. Nothing was happening except a repeated call for a passenger to go to the Looking Glass Lounge for immigration processing. Those calls continued for over thirty minutes and the group got larger.

A woman in line said that she had a cabin with a view of all that had gone on. She reported that the tide was too low for Journey to sidle up to the pier, and the Coast Guard had to winch us through the bottom sediment so we could get our ropes on the pier stanchions. At that point, she continued, our crew started unloading baggage to the stevedore carts. Then it started. Screams, yells, threats, and fists raised by the union dock workers for our crew to get their hands off, or there’d be no unloading. This took a while to sort out. Our punishment was that no one would be allowed off the ship until every piece of luggage was unloaded.

I’m sure it was my imagination, but the usual frantic pace of the luggage movers seemed to slow down as if each handler’s doughnuts had been laced with Valium.

At 8:45, Becky ding-donged us and cheerily (because cruise directors are supposed to be cheery) announced that the wait would be another 45 minutes. Cell phones came out as well as airline tickets. We then played a one up game. “This is terrible, my flight is as 11:10”; “Yeah, well my flights at 10:45!”; “You think that’s something, my flights at 10:30 from Fort Lauderdale!!!”

The 45 minutes came and went. At 9:45, Michael ran into Becky and suggested another announcement as people were getting upset about not getting timely information. Becky whispered, “‘They’ won’t let me.”

Our plane was 11:10 and the ship opened the gangway a bit after 10 AM. Rush to immigration; rush to find porter; rush to get bags; rush to cab; tell cab driver to rush to airport, cab driver says, “Como?” and we’re off. As we arrived at MIA there was an accident on the approach road that added another five minutes to our trip. We pulled up to the curbside checkup, obviously distressed, and the AA redcap said, “You have plenty of time. We’re going to make your day.” They processed the bags quickly; we boogied through security and to the gate arriving as boarding was announced. At the time, I wished someone had put Valium in my doughnut.

At the LAX baggage carousal our bags were the absolute last to come down the belt. At least two of them were, the other two were on the next flight. We went to the baggage problem place, did the paperwork, and headed home, fairly wiped out. AA delivered the missing bags in the evening; one, missing both a handle and closing clasp.

It’s hard to dredge up the good memories after a day like that, but dredge we did. Michael and I talked about our cruise as we got ready to sleep. We love Journey and look forward to sailing on her again. This time we just won’t get off.

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