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My Journey - March 2012 (United Kingdom)

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My Journey - March 2012 (United Kingdom)

Post  ChasingSanity on Sun Apr 01, 2012 5:53 am

Sunday, March 18th, 2012
I imagined internet access would be free on the Queen Victoria crossing. Wrong, and it is expensive too. So, I am saving up my memories on my netbook and going to share when internet access is free again.

Where to begin? We did not know what to pack, how much to bring, how much effort that would require and if that effort would be worth it. But, finally, we each had packed as much as we wanted to pack. We waited anxiously for the driver Pamela paid to come drive us to Manhatten, New York where we would embark on the Queen Victoria.

The drive with Timothy, airporttransportinc@gmail.com (S.E. Massachusetts) was uneventful. Pamela rested until we got into the big city. Just riding through New York City was tiring, too much stuff to pay attention to, and I was not even driving. As if being in the big city, somewhere near the ship was not exciting enough, things got more exciting when the GPS device decided we had reached our destination but us humans had no clue where to go now.

Pamela spotted the sign (similar to airport signs) that directed us to pickup and drop offs. We said goodbye to Timothy, gave our baggage over to the care of strangers and walked in from the loud, dark underground through small door into a big, bright, empty convention center sort of building. Several uniformed people handled our passports and gave us electronic ID cards for use on the journey.

We walked through a temporary tunnel, up and down slope onto the ship. We were directed to our room. The ID cards were our room keys and they even worked unlocking our door. The room was smaller than we expected but dimensions do not include furniture. The balcony was nicer but the view left a lot to be desired. Soon enough, the view would change.

Many of the no-extra-charge amenities are wonderful. One of several restaurants aboard is our assigned restaurant. The buffet is open almost 24 hours a day. Room service is free of charge. Most of the staff are Polynesian and all are more polite than most anyone ever met. I am secretly using them as an example to emulate.

Yesterday, we tried out the sauna, steam bath, therapeutic pool and hot tubs. Pamela and I exchanged our ID cards for locker room keys and went to change. I could not find the locker matching my key number. I went back to the woman with the keys; she gave me a key to the womans lockers. Oh, got that straightened out. My locker did not have bathing slippers (and bare feet are not allowed). I asked for and received slippers. Off I went. The slippers did not come close to fitting my big feet but I was wearing them to achieve my goals!

The heat was not hot enough for me but I overheard other people saying it was scalding. Ce la vie. I read two really good books in two days – Wisdom by and Five Wishes by . Five Wishes far surpassed my expectations and had me in tears in the first couple pages. It looks to be meeting my expectations after that first pleasant surprise.

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012
Pamela and I snooped around the ship yesterday. I took pictures and videos. Too bad I can't post them yet. I love you all, just not enough to pay for internet access, not yet anyways. Let me tell you about some of the staff here on board. First off, they have all been very friendly, polite and professional. Oh, and fast; ask for something and they might have it literally in hand. Ingrid, from Chile, is the Room Service person we see most often. Noel Gaunzon is the Headwaiter at the Britainnia Restaurant, which is the restaurant our room is assigned to. We get dinner delivered each night. Pamela works hard , to avoid dairy or gluten foods. I avoid them too, following her advice. That's a lot of food I tearfully waved goodbye to. I am very appreciative of the miracles Noel and his crew produce each day; Pamela and I ask a lot of them with our restrictive diet and they make excellent food especially for us, delivered hot, from the other end of the ship each night.

I got to talking with the Spa Manager, Mladja Ninkovic, from Serbia. He was fun to talk with. I kept it short because he was working and yet, is obliged to be polite and friendly to me.

Colin and Ann Elliot are passengers under no such obligation to be polite. Pamela started the conversation with them. Pamela is quite a talker too. Time for me to go eat lunch with Pamela.

Sunday, March 25th, 2012
We arrived in London yesterday. Maria, the driver from www.minivanplus.com drove fast enough to make some of you nervous, but she was competent and drove safely. As soon as we got out of the parking lot, we noticed differences from the USA. Many of the cars are smaller than the smallest cars in the USA, with the obvious exception of Smartcar. Buildings look different, I can't say what exactly is different.

We are staying at Pamela's cousin's (Eileen) flat for now. I am trying to be useful by shopping for groceries and investigating prices on bicycles and mobile phones. Time to go meet more family.
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