Day 10 – Monday:
Seven am rolled around, and with it, the need to haul my sand-filled eyes open, and get out of the Very soft bed that made my whole body ache the entire trip. Neither Gene nor I slept very soundly on that very expensive, very soft mattress. The sheets weren’t as soft as ours at home, and the bed didn’t support us the way our straw mattress does, so I would wake up every morning having had bad dreams of no particular import (zombies, etc.) and be sore all over. It didn’t help that there was no natural light to help our bodies’ clocks wake us up naturally. Left to our own devices, we would probably have slept at least nine hours a night, and not felt rested even so. Thank goodness for good coffee.
So I got up first, as I generally do, and took my shower, and put on the clothes I’d left out the night before, and tucked the last few things into the bag I’d left open for them the night before. Gene woke up half an hour later, and we were ready in plenty of time, which was good, because when we stepped out the door to go wait in the Centrum for the rest of our party to stumble out their doors, there was a bill on the floor of the hallway with a bonus $50 charge for pool towels not returned, which we had in fact returned. So we went to the customer service desk to get that sorted (easily done, it turns out), and finally to meet up with the family for breakfast. Mom had organized it so that we were allowed to leave our carry-on luggage in our rooms while we ate breakfast, an extra hour and a half of leeway. So we did, and I was too nervous to eat much besides granola and milk. Coffee was appreciated, though. And post-breakfast, we all trooped back to get our things, and carried them, winding through long lines of people snaking all over the centrum, who were waiting to exit the ship (the first people off are the ones who checked no luggage, so they just walk off as soon as the ship has been cleared by port authorities for disembarkation.)
We wandered up to the upper-level formal dining room, to sit at a table, and drink coffee, and chat aimlessly until our disembarkation number was called (39). Sir John and Lady Honor had been assigned the same waiting area, and I introduced John to my family (the lady was talking on her cell to her son- who John thinks is a mama’s boy). He made the appropriate social noises, and later on, I wandered over to talk to lady Honor about her team for the Golden Rose Tournament. She told me that she had been talking to John even before they got on the cruise, about how she was hoping to get Syr Justus for her team, as he had really impressed her when they met at a crown tourney. Evidently, someone new to the SCA had asked him what this “crown tourney thing” was all about, and he took time out of his day to instruct them and describe the event. She was so impressed, the day stuck in her mind, so when they moved to Atlantia and she was charged with putting together a team for this tourney, it was incredibly lucky that his squire just happened to be on the same cruise ship as they were, and John just happened to strike up a conversation with Gene about the SCA, who likes to brag on his squire wife.
I am so lucky : )
In any case, eventually our number was called, and we made our way to the gangway (which is, if you can imagine, a square spiral ramp going down the several stories to ground level, inside a framework coated with what looks like saran wrap, to keep out the cold.) Eventually, we got to ground level, and waited in a quick-moving line to see a customs agent so we could be officially let back into the country.
A search through a huge hangar for our checked bags, and a heavy (but blessedly short) walk out to the pick-up area, putting the bags in the car and then a 45 minute ride home that just FLEW by, we had so many stories to tell, and Dee had so many polite questions, he kept us talking the whole time. I was so surprised to see our neighborhood when we pulled in!
Thank goodness we cleaned the house before we left. Walking into our bedroom was a little déjà-vu, as the set up is almost identical to that of our stateroom. Gene had it bad, because he did the unfortunate JUMP onto the bed, which is NOT soft, and he was quite surprised!
Laundry in the wash, pizza ordered, drinks made with our duty-free rum, and now we start the process of re-acclimating to a world where the food is NOT prepared for us all day long, and nobody does our dishes or makes our bed, and where if you want dance lessons or a day at the beach, you have to pay people money and arrange a ride and a dozen other things. We especially missed the sunshine, and a long walk outside helped a lot, even though we were all bundled up against the cold, and the sunshine was grey and thin, compared to the tropics. The saving grace of the real world is all the digital media and internet we can sink our teeth into. That, and in the real world, the bed feels amazing, and after seven and a half hours of sleep I felt so rested and restless, I was up before my work alarm, not sore, no nightmares. Thank goodness : )