Sunday, December 20, 2015

Off we go! Danabug and Dr. M's Big Adventure

This December 15th was our Silver Wedding Anniversary, so I booked passage on big silver (okay, they were white and blue) planes to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where we boared a big silver (okay, it was white and blue) boat! We sailed with Celebrity, and I must say no regrets. The staterooms and, most importantly, bathrooms, are a tad roomier, and our veranda was wonderful! There were many adults of a certain age, but also numerous young couples, as Celebrity, while not ignoring children, is not Disney or Carnival, etc. The pace of life on ship suited us...just the right amount of formality with mostly a casual feel, and many people who at least dressed as if they were in our relative income bracket. I teach at a private liberal arts university...a small, poor one. My wive is a successful assistant to some powerful people who make sure she is well compensated, and she makes a bit more than I do, but this was a real stretch for our budget...and I'm sure for the budgets of others in our company of travelers. But hey, 25 years! Worth every penny.

We were to sail aboard the Summit, our floating home for a week, captained by Kate McCue, the industry's first American female captain! She is fabulous! She greeted us each day with "quotes" from her friend Confucius, such as:
"Woman who drive like Hell likely to get there" and "Little girl who dreams big will reach Summit"

Cap'n Sugar, as I called her (you'll understand the double meaning soon)

"Feet wet" off the coast of South Carolina, 12/12

Hey, that wing looks silvery!

San Juan!

Familiar brand of canned food

Hiram Bithorn Stadium, named in honor of the first Puerto Rican to play in the Major Leagues (with the Cubs in 1942).

We had issues flying down...we got up too early and arrived at an airport clearly not ready to receive us. Hey, better early than late, but we could have used an extra hour's sleep. We boarded our 6am flight to O'Hare on time, but due to delays in Chicago, we had to wait awhile to take off. We flew the spacious Embraer 145 to and from O'Hare this trip, and the Boeing 737 to and from San Juan. Ironically, the little jet has more legroom than the big one! Ugh, that 4.5 hour flight was not fun for my knees...a situation compounded by a mechanical failure with an engine starter that required us not only to switch planes after boarding at O'Hare, but also to walk from our original gate and terminal to a whole new terminal conveniently located on the other side of the airport! I've seen more of O'Hare than I ever wanted to. Finally we were airborne, but two hours late, which meant our timing would be very tight. The airline did give us free booze and tv access for our troubles, which was nice. A couple of bottles of scotch eased the pain. Finally we arrived, just in time to be told that a big event down near the docks was causing major traffic problems! No problem...we hired a cabbie who understood the meaning of haste and the monetary compensation that came with it. We would have flown down early and enjoyed Old San Juan, etc., but my teaching schedule prohibited it. So we gambled (with insurance, but knowing if we were late we would miss our day at sea (though maybe get that day in old San Juan). It was the best we could do under the circumstances, and it all worked out in the end!

And we're under way!

Sunday was our only "as sea" day of the cruise, and we loved it! Here I am enjoying a Bloody Mary while my wife enjoys her iced tea...the regular kind. Fortunately, she is not a drinker, as I do enough damage for both of us.

One of our very favorite parts of the ship the fantail on the 10th deck!

Views from our veranda!
Working on my tan...


And a bonus sliver of a moon...a silver sliver

I will be posting many more pics in the following days: a wonderful day on Barbados, our anniversary day on St. Lucia, our crazy drive around Antigua, the day I got food poisoning on St. Maarten, etc. But by now maybe you are getting the idea: we toured the sugar islands of the southern Caribbean! Captain Sugar got us from port to port, no worries, and we met so many beautiful people on these islands. We came to appreciate even more the challenges they face, and how their fates have so often been and continue to be intertwined with European and American policies, conflicts, etc. For this historian of the U.S. and the Atlantic world, it truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and for my wife, it was a gift of a week of adventure, luxury, and so much more. We pushed ourselves, pampered ourselves, stuffed ourselves, and thoroughly enjoyed it all...well, apart from the rumbly tummies.
So stay tuned for more from this Linthead of the Caribbean!

Sweet Captain Kate, fetch me yonder horizon, if you please?


The Bug said...

Aww - I'm ready to go back! After the laundry's done... Love you dear heart - it was the best anniversary present ever!!

Pixel Peeper said...

Lovely photos!