Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Endless Vacation

Greetings from Cartagena Colombia

It's been a foggy, rainy morning here in Panama and it seems a perfect time to get the monkey off my back and write another post.

OK, now it's a cloudy, humid morning a day later here in Costa Rica and it really seems like a perfect time to write a post.

It's hard to believe it's been a week since we left Cancun. We had a fantastic time with Jaki and Robert but there were a few moments on our last day when we thought we might be spending even more time with them. I went online to check whether our 2:25 flight to Miami was on time only to discover that American Airlines had changed their entire schedule since we had booked back in August.

The flight number we had tickets for had been moved to 6:30am and, needless to say, was well and truly out of Mexico by the time I discovered the change. There wasn't even a 2:25 flight any more, but there was one around 1:45. I tried to call the airline, but in this day and age they don't even want you to know their number. I rang our Australian travel agent and got a polite message urging me to call back Monday morning.

So, fingers crossed, we decided to go to the airport and take our chances. And, having learned our lessons well in our week in Mexico, we decided to play dumb. LK turned on her best charm offensive and with a look of utter confusion asked the man at the ticket counter if he could help us since our flight didn't appear to be on the board.

Turns out he was very helpful, typed a few entries into his system and gave us boarding passes for exit row seats with extra leg room. And he didn't even charge us for our extra bags. It was so easy and helpful LK even had time for some duty-free shopping before we headed to Florida.

We rented a car at Miami and drove the 20 or so miles north to Fort Lauderdale where we were boarding our ship in two days. Getting out of the airport was interesting as many of the rental car drivers decided the rules of the road didn't apply to them. One just slowed down to a crawl, obviously figuring he would eventually see a sign that might help him get where he was going. Another cut across several rows of traffic, although that was pretty safe given that everyone was already slowed down.

But the best happened at the exit to the car rental parking garage, where two cars had already managed to have a fender bender without even making it out of the airport. Fortunately the highway wasn't half as crazy as the rental car garage.

We went out to dinner Saturday night, somewhat dismayed to re-enter the real world where you had to actually pay for your food and grog. After dinner I decided to show LK a shortcut home that I recalled from when I lived in the area almst 30 years ago.

I tried to act as if I expected to be waiting for the drawbridge to go down as we crossed the canal, and did my best to imitate someone who knew where they were going as I searched in vain for another bridge to bring us back across the canal. I finally gave up and admitted I was lost and retraced our path. Well, not exactly because I did end up in a dead-end a little later, but eventually got us back to the hotel.

Walt and Terry flew in Sunday, we boarded on Monday and rejoined the world of all you can eat and drink. I think it's going to have to be a very long diet once we return to Oz.

A little bit about the cruise in the next post.

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