Thursday, March 25, 2010

Back to Normality?

Man, is normality even a word?

As some of you may have noticed the past few days, Alvin is back from vacation. I have only had time to read the blogs of others and comment on a few.

Many thanks for the comments on the last post. Some were very...interesting. I stayed away from the single malts, but did have a rum punch or two. Umm, I've never worn a kilt but my dad did at our wedding. That reminds me of a joke: How many birds can you get up a Scotsman's kilt?...it depends on the length of the branch...

We got home just before midnight last Friday night. I drove Sean to his usual Saturday morning swimming and my wife dove into the two week pile of dirty laundry that spilled from the three suitcases. Sean had a marksmanship practice with the cadets (with a pellet gun, not a rifle) and V and I drove to Gull Island to retrieve the greyhound. I was pleased to see that he remembered us and was no more neurotic than usual.

I have not been able to access the server at my employer's HQ in Ontario but can open my email through a Microsoft exchange server. They hope to have that sorted out by tomorrow. Being a dumb draftsman, I don't understand the technical aspects of my remote link to work and choose to leave that to the IT overlords. If I had my way I would still be drafting on a board with a pencil pinched between my fingers and graphite smeared across the flat part of my right hand where I absently drag it across my work. Sigh...the good old days...

Oh. Vacation. That went really well. It's amazing how fast, and slow, 15 days can pass by. I had hoped to post a blog a couple of days ago but our camera was just purchased before vacation and my wife still has to figure out how to download the 1000 or so photos on to the computer. Our old camera had a card reader, but the card in this camera doesn't seem to be compatible. I have also been thinking of an old co-worker from my first drafting job 22 years ago. I discovered while reading the obits in the London (Ont) Free Press a couple of days ago that he had died at the age of 51. I know, I should get a new hobby...

The first three days in Manhattan were great. The only downfall was that I put my back out on day 3 and it hurt for a week (and I'll head off the evil comments by saying it was hurt while bending over the bathroom sink to wash my face). We visited the USS Intrepid, now decommissioned and a floating museum. We also toured through the submarine USS Growler at the same site. The sailors apparently were underwater for 60-90 days at a time and the claustrophobic conditions on board really gives you an appreciation for what they endured. We got 2-day passes to jump on and off the double-decker buses that drive about the city and took tours of both upper and lower Manhattan. I must say, NY has a bit of a reputation for being unfriendly but we found the rumours to be totally unfounded. I would go back there anytime.

Our cruise was departing out of Bayonne, NJ on the Sunday afternoon and the hotel found us a private taxi to get us there at a price much better than the yellow cabs. The ship was enormous...the Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) is just over 1000 ft long and, at one time, was the largest passenger ship in the world.

While waiting in line to check-in, I noticed that we were surrounded by the elderly. Some with hair much greyer than mine. I had began to suspect that V and I were the youngest on the ship. However, we noticed a couple of families with you children and began to relax. After a couple of days at sea we began to shake off the hectic-ness of travelling and began to relax. Sadly, the elderly began to shed their clothes and dance about on deck. All that was missing was a brass pole. One old fellow had a gut hanging over his speedos, wore a captain's hat, and danced about the pool deck waving a beer about. I referred to him as 'Captain Morgan' for the rest of the trip. If I had a dollar for every electric scooter, oxygen tank and surgical scar we saw over the 12 days the trip would be paid off by now.

Our ports of call were: Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (USVI); Phillipsburg, St. Maarten; Rosseau, Dominica; Bridgetown, Barbados; St. John's, Antigua; and San Juan, Puerto Rico. I have differing opinions about the ports and what we could do there and I'll leave my long-winded comments for another day...

As noted, the photos are still pending but I can include one that was taken in Antigua when we took the 'swim with the stingrays' day trip. They took photos of each of us posing while holding up a stingray. My wife's was the best photo. Mine wasn't so good as I wasn't really smiling and I couldn't get my stingray up at all...

21 comments:

Cate Gardner said...

I think I hate you a little bit right now - I so wish I was in that water.

Laurita said...

Bwahahaha! No one escapes the island. You may leave for a short while, but you will always come back.

Sounds like a fantastic vaction (minus the bad back - hope it's better). That pic is amazing and your re-telling quite entertaining.

Anton Gully said...

If I had a dollar for every electric scooter, oxygen tank and surgical scar we saw over the 12 days the trip would be paid off by now.

Such glamour!

Welcome back Al. Missed ya!

Debbie said...

Yay! You are back. I've missed your posts.

Kat said...

Lol...so many comments...but I'll behave. Glad you're back, glad you had a good time. But someone is slacking in NY. A good review? Pfft. No mugging? Shocking! What is the world coming to??? Lmao.

Great photo.

Sorry about your co-worker...circle of life sucks sometimes, Alan. It truly does.

Aaron Polson said...

Glad you're back, dear sir. Sounds like a glorious trip (minus the surgical scars...oxygen tanks...scooters--you get the drift.)

Good thing you didn't piss off that stingray, eh?

Alan W. Davidson said...

Cate- I totally understand your sentiment. The turquoise water of Antigua is far more appealing than the Atlantic off of St. John's or Liverpool.

Anton- Thanks. Great to be back.

Debbie and Laurita- It's good to be back on the island. It's funny...I live on an island and go on vaction, on a ship, to visit other islands.

Kat- Thanks, and I'm glad that you're behaving (but don't change for us!) I heard that NYC has really cleaned up its act the past few years.

Aaron- LOL at the stingray comment. She (the females are much larger than the males) had me in a precarious position. I'm trying not to be too critical of the 'oldsters' as that may be me in 25 years or so!

katey said...

Glad you're back and happy :D I love Captain Morgan. I don't know him, but I love him.

We spent a week and then some in San Juan a few years back, and it was great-- but the place where the cruise ships disgorged made it look kind of hurried. Still, I guess you got to see the forts!

Kat said...

Alan...you're killing me. A female had you in a precarious position and you couldn't get your stingray up?

Karen from Mentor said...

To answer your question.
yes.

Normality:
being within certain limits that define the range of normal functioning

So once your hangover wears off.....


[welcome back]

Laura Eno said...

Alvin! I'm really sorry to hear that you couldn't get your stingray up...what a nuisance.
We missed you. :)
Hint - If you want to see somewhat younger people on a cruise, take a one week. Very few Americans - which would comprise most of a US port cruise - have the ability to cruise for 2 weeks at a time...except for the Capt Morgans of the world.

DEZMOND said...

Nice to see you back Alan, bringing the nice weather with you!

Alan W. Davidson said...

Katey-It was quite crowded and hectic at the cruise port in the 'old city'. We did get a good look at the fortress while sailing in. It's too bad that we were only there for about 4 hours as we left early to make it back to NJ on schedule.

Kat- Story of my life...

Karen-I'll have you know that I was never drunk on this trip. I sort of spread out the rum punches while on the shore trips that we took.

Laura-It's nice to be missed...that's good advise regarding the 1 week vs. 2 week trip takers. I'll remember that next time, when this one is paid off (I'll be Captain Morgan's age by then).

Dez-I'm thinking I will be waiting a long time until the temperature reaches 30 degrees C about on this island!

Cathy Olliffe said...

I'm SO happy to see you back! Funny how you don't even know someone but you miss having them around.
Your trip sounds fabulous and there has to be something to be said about being the youngest one in the crowd (not that I would know about that... sigh).
Laura and Karen have been just GIDDY at your topless photo... not me, I hardly noticed...

Jameson T. Caine said...

Welcome back! Glad to hear you had a great time (aside from the back thing). Did you get any pictures of Captain Morgan?

Natalie L. Sin said...

I love stingrays! Glad you had a good trip : )

Karen from Mentor said...

What Cathy said is true. I had asked Laura if you were likely to bring us back presents....and then you did! [so kind of you]

Alan W. Davidson said...

Cathy- Stop talking like that! You'll only encourage the others.

Jameson- Sorry, no photos of the good Captain. I wouldn't want to relive the burning of my retinas.

Natalie- In case you're intersted...the stingray had a soft, velvety texture.

Karen- You know that I always strive to be entertaining, if nothing else [mutters to self, "I feel so cheap..."]

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Danielle Ferries said...

Welcome back! Glad to hear you had a great time.

abrokenlaptop said...

I went to Stingray City! My picture is...not very nice. Let's just say that a flailing stingray caused a wardrobe malfunction.

-Mercedes