Sunday, August 17, 2014

Apologies and Catch-up

At the moment of this writing, I'm in Corfu, Greece, a full week behind in posting this blog of my . In my defense I must say the internet aboard ship is spotty at best and agonizingly slow when available. I will do my best to catch up a.s.a.p. and hope you'll accept my apologies

So, let's start off with the first entry of Sunday, August 10:

6:01 p.m. Chicago time, Left right on time. The usual endless wait at check in, though going through security was relatively easy. I’d brought along a couple of quart-sized ziploc bags to put everything in before hand to save the time of rummaging through my pocket while standing over the tray. Left the kleenex in my pockets. Passed through the “arms-over-your-head” scanner, guard stopped me, told me to empty my pockets. Apparently Kleenex shows up on the scanner. Who knew.

The plane is jammed…except for the seat next to me, which is empty. I will be able to lie down after awhile and told Gary we could switch seats if he wanted to lie down for a bit. We shall see.

Left from the International Terminal for, I think, the first time. It’s so far away from the main body of the airport I’m sure I would have remembered. Stopped for coffee ($3.79 for a small). I had two sips. When I sip coffee, it settles in the front of my mouth, and I’m unable to pull it to the back to swallow it. So I end up drooling it into a napkin. (All together, now: “Poooor Dorien or Roger whoever I am at the moment.

They finally brought earphones around. A couple of movies I wouldn’t mind watching, so will close this for the time being and go find a bathroom.

5:59 a.m. Monday Chicago time 11:59 Venice time. Waiting to board ship. All went relatively smoothly from the last entry to this. A 7 1/2 hour flight from Chicago to Paris’ Charles DeGaul airport, a 1 1/2 hour layover in Paris, then the plane to Venice. (I love Venice’s Marco Polo airport….the perfect size. Only two baggage carousels.) And whereas we had full body scans and “everything into the trays” scrutiny in Chicago, on arrival in Paris, and before getting on the connecting flight (where we might have acquired bombs or other disruptive items in the hour and a half, and without leaving the airport, I have no idea. And then, when we arrived in Venice, nothing! No customs, no passport stamping, just pick up our bags and go.

As I expected, I found it Impossible to sleep on the flight to Paris; I just can’t sleep sitting up…though I did manage to doze much of the 1 1/2 hours between Paris and Venice. Only 4 people from our flight…a woman from New Zealand and one from Australia…I’d thought there’d be more. Can’t board the ship until 2:00, which leaves some time to jot down these notes. A beautiful, sunny day…omen of the weather to come, I sincerely hope.

There’s one of those gigantic Costa Behemoths in port, about the same size as the capsized Costa Concordia. I have yet to figure out why anyone would want to sail on one of those things. They’re just moving cities on water, and if I want to be cheek-to-jowl with 6,000 other people, I’d just put a folding chair on Michigan Avenue.

Well, enough for the moment.

A word on the MV (“Motor Vessel”) Aegean Odyssey and its owners/managers. Voyages to Antiquity is a one-ship operation, unusual in itself and the staff and crew are exemplary in their courtesy and service. But as in all good service businesses, it’s the little extras that make the difference. This is my second trip with them, and they went out of their way to show their appreciation. When I got into the cabin, there was not only a thank you note, but a very nice carry-bag. No fewer than half a dozen crew members made a point to say “Welcome back” or “Nice to see you again,” which both surprised and pleased me (though the fact is that once having seen me, it’s not surprising that they mifff.,….natural to remember me physically if for no other reason. Cruises are expensive, granted, but they allow “common folk” like me to indulge themselves for a pleasant if very brief while. 

Got quite a few photos so far…most of good looking young men at the various airports. I don’t think I’ll be able to include any photos with this first post, but I might try to pick one just as an accompaniment. 

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