Saturday, April 30, 2016

Ft. Lauderdale, FL

The Saturday April 30, 2016

Arrived in Ft. Lauderdale early this morning so when we woke up we discovered that we were already docked -- at the same pier from which we left 115 days ago. It was quite a journey but there was no time to reflect as we had twenty-something bags to shepherd off the boat, through customs and to the car  that was to pick us up at 9:30 a.m. Shockingly everything went smoothly. We had a pleasant breakfast, played around with our phones (unlimited wireless for the first time in four months). We left the room at quarter to nine, sailed through customs, picked up all our luggage (which we had wisely adorned with pieces of a bright orange scarf we were given in India) and arrived at the pick up area early. Our driver was also early. Everything fit into the car and we headed out of the port and into the real world.

Packing was a bit of an ordeal
But we managed 
Back where we started from
Leaving the ship one final time

We made a stop at Home Depot to pick up a tarpaulin. We discovered on the way down to Florida that the cover on our pick-up truck isn't waterproof thus the tarpaulin purchase. R's Mom, Phyllis and her husband, Howard welcomed us with air hugs as they prudently did not wish to catch our colds (more about that later). The truck arrived shortly after the appointed time and we were able to hit the road at around 1:30 p.m.


Through customs, waiting for car pick-up
Everything fit
Arriving at R's Mom's house

Stopped for a surprisingly good dinner at Ruby Tuesdays and are driving through northern Georgia as I write to you know. The final week of the cruise was relaxing despite the fact that R caught a cold which turned into a terrible and very persistent hacking cough. And a couple days later I succumbed to the same cold which in my case metastasized into a sinus infection which necessitated a visit to the doctor and antibiotics. Needless to say we are both glad to be off the m.s. Petri Dish.

The highlight of our final week (aside from the Indonesian Crew Show) was our 30th anniversary party which we held on the 27th (our actual anniversary is the 28th). The party was a combination end-of-cruise, India reunion and anniversary celebration. It consisted of an open bar and hot hors d'oeuvres (sp?) from 4:15 to 5:45 (the first seating in the dining room is at 5:30). Some of our friends did a bang-up job of decorating the Crow's Nest. Approximately 75 to 100 people showed up and I think they all had a good time. R hired a videographer and had said on the invitation that guests should be prepared to share an experience they had with us, advice for the next 30 years and/or what they most enjoyed about the world cruise. A lot of people chose not to participate in the video but the ones who did had lovely things to say and the resulting video will be a cherished memento for us. 

Indonesian Crew Show
Ditto
30th Anniversary Party
Note photo behind us -- a friend had a photo of us in front of the Taj Mahal blown up and printed in Florida and then had Fed Ex deliver it to the ship in Barcelona-- amazing! So nice.
R with one of our new friends, Ladine (she's an author from Germany)
R taught this lovely couple how to needlepoint and they have really taken to it which was very gratifying for Russell 
Havin' fun!
With "Rex" our friend Christine's well-traveled "pet"

We are going to spend the evening at the Hilton Garden Inn in Florence, S.C. and hope to make it to Delaware tomorrow evening. Looking forward to being home. Didn't plan on driving so far today but many of the hotels that I called had no vacancy. So Florence it is. 

Even got a special delivery anniversary cake from Marie (at the coffee bar) and Hazel (from the Explorers Lounge where we would go after dinner to listen to the classical music playing piano and violin duo, Adagio). Note: I'm in bed because I really don't feel well. It was right after the anniversary party when I went to the doctor and got antibiotics.
So nice! Thank You Marie and Hazel. 

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