Day One: Twenty-Four Hours Without Sleep [July 4th, 2018]

I’m in England, well technically, I think we’re sailing somewhere near France because the GPS on my phone seems to think we’re in France, and who am I to disagree with technology?

Anyhow, the past twenty-four hours were quite the whirlwind of adventure. After spending a few hours at Justin’s summer job rereading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix for the nteenth time, it was off to Bush airport for my first ever solo international flight. Not my first international flight, mind you, in 11th grade, I went to Madrid, Spain with a bunch of people, who I went to high school with, though aside from vague memories of ordering pina y vodka and a seven story club named Kapital, Sangria, and eating tortilla in the caves under the Plaza Mayor, I don’t remember very much.  Then in 2010, I went to Israel for Birthright, so I got to fly to Israel with 50 other people. Last time I went on an international cruise with my mother, we left from New York City together, cruised Trans-Atlantic [very bumpy], and then flew back to New Jersey together… But this was my first ever solo international trip, and my last European trip  was right before Brexit.

Justin dropped me off at the airport four hours before my flight because Houston rush hour traffic is a shit-show, and I got a dunkin donuts and a bagel, then sort of just sat for four hours because I was afraid to use any of my electronics in fear that they would die before my 9 hour flight to England. Then United Airlines screwed up my seat and changed my seat without notifying me, and stuck me in the middle seat, which is just cruel to other people because my bladder is the size of a penny, instead of the aisle seat I had reserved for easy access to the bathroom. Luckily, that was really easy remedied even though it was a completely full flight. My bladder thanks the airline agent at Gate E5 in Bush airport for fixing that situation.

Then was the flight itself. I sat next to two sisters. One had had just graduated college and her much older [and apparently pregnant] sister was taking her to London to celebrate. They were nice enough, we didn’t become BFFLS or anything in the nine hours we were canned like sardines in the airplane, but our few interactions were friendly.

They served food on the plane. I got some sort of vegetarian meal [there was a choice between that, pasta, and chicken] just because it was some sort of curry, and I like curry. It was good, but I’m the type of person who likes cafeteria and plane food, I get that from my dad. There was a quinoa salad, and a roll, which I refused to eat because the ingredients said it might contain nuts, and nuts are a death sentence for me. Then they served vanilla gelato, and for breakfast there was a croissant and some peach Greek yogurt, which was actually pretty good, and I got to drink as many cranberry apple juices as I wanted.

The flight itself sucked though. I don’t sleep on moving vehicles, for the most part. For some deranged reason, I sleep really well on a cruise ship… Maybe because there’s an actual bed? But I don’t sleep on planes, buses, or in cars, even with the aid of sleeping medicine. So all around me, people were sleeping, and I was just like… I want to be you. Instead I read one book [Legendary, the sequel to Caraval, which I really liked], and watched Deadpool and Spiderman: Homecoming [which I thought was really cute and really liked], and stared off into space, and jealously leered at all the sleeping people.

Our plane landed, on time, but then we were stranded on the tarmac for an hour and a half because an Air Canada plane was delayed in taking off, and I assume, since this was an international flight, and we had to pass through customs, only certain gates are open for such flights, so it’s not like we could just taxi wherever… No we had to wait for the stupid Air Canada plane to leave.  Then once we got off [1.5 hours later], the line for customs was so freaking long. I give it this much, it went much faster than security at Laguardia Airport in New York City, but it was still slow. I got into the country fine, the border patrol even remarked about how I was a special ed teacher and his daughter was autistic and what an admirable job it was [you have to declare your job on the entrance form for the UK, seeing as I’ve never flown into any other by myself alone, not sure if that’s a UK thing or everywhere thing]. I managed to find the Princess cruise-line representative, and about forty minutes later we finally got on a bus to go to the ship.

Meanwhile, my mother was frantically calling me because the ship kept on frantically calling her and asking her if I was going on the cruise since I hadn’t arrived yet. You’d think that the transfer arranged by Princess would be a bit more organized, and they’d have a way of contacting the bus driver or something… It’s not like I was the only one on that bus, there were about twenty of us.

We did eventually make it to the ship, and as soon as I got on the ship and got to the room, I had to immediately run downstairs and do the muster drill. Finally after about forty minutes, I could go back to the cabin and relax and watch the scenery pass.

[those are the white cliffs of Dover]

 

We’re staying in a suite, it’s pretty cool. I even sort of have my own bedroom and bathroom. I have a fold-out couch and a half-bathroom, which my bladder is also grateful for since it likes to wake me up at night, several times, to interrupt my sleep. There’s also a huge ass TV in my “bedroom” though I’m not really a TV person, I’d rather read or play Bravely Default. Our balcony is almost as big as the suite, which is really cool. I had an amazing view of the White Cliffs of Dover as we embarked. The bathroom in the real bedroom has a Jacuzzi tub and a removable shower head, which has been really useful for not making my injured boobs sting while showering. There’s tons of closet space, and I even have a table in my “bedroom”, where I can sit and type blog entries without annoying my mother, when she wants to go to bed, and I want to share every single rambling thought in my head.  And we even have a curtain separating us so when she wants to go to bed and I don’t, I don’t bug her. I’ll try to take a virtual tour with my camera, and add it to this entry when I actually publish it tomorrow, after housekeeping comes, so the room looks neater.

Before dinner I showered. It was my first shower since leaving Houston and it felt amazing. However, my [skip this paragraph if you don’t want to read about blood, grossness, or boobs] boobs were extremely agitated. There was much more blood than usual, and it was seriously disgusting. I think it might’ve been from flying, I mean flying makes your feet swell, I don’t see why it can’t make your recently reduced boobs swell, as well, and there’s also huge air pressure changes while flying, especially being in flight for nine hours. I did the best I could with wrapping them in gauze and pads [and I even get to have a bio-hazard container in my room because of such things] by myself, and so far there’s no leakage, but we shall see what happens overnight. Usually Justin wraps them, and he’s extremely good at it [he’d be a good doctor], but this was my first solo attempt, and I’m hoping I did a decent job and that the bleeding will lessen now that I am not in the air, though I will say it is a challenge putting padding on each boob and closing a sports bra at the same time without actually losing the pads you put on in the first place.

END BOOB TALK

After my lovely shower experience, we went to get internet. I have internet on my phone, woot. I can check social media, and update Facebook and email Justin and stuff. Then we made spa appointments, my mother is getting a manicure tomorrow, and I am getting a pedicure, then it was dinner time. The dining room was all festive for the fourth of July, which was pretty cool since I’ve never actually spent a holiday on a ship. There were red, white, and blue balloons hung all over the dining room [some of which popped while we were eating] and some fruit carving/fake celebratory 4th of July cake out by the dining room.

I’m a bit sad that Martin, Nelson, and Vesko, are no longer on this ship. They were our wait staff when I was on the Pacific Princess two years ago, and are no longer on this ship. Our new headwaiter is named Marius, and apparently my mother knows him from another cruise, where he was the head waiter. Our waiter is quiet but attentive [I can’t remember his name, I’ll try to get it for future entries {edit within brackets: His name is Noel}], and our junior waiter is Gerard from South Africa, and he seems very sweet. We sit at a table for eight people. There’s my mother and me, a couple from Chicago, who sat next to my mother, and they mostly talked to each other. I don’t remember the names of the couple who sat next to me, but they were nice.  The woman is a high school teacher, and her husband is retired though I don’t recall what he did for a living. The other couple is an Asian couple, they were very quiet, but I think that’s more of a cultural thing. We have thirteen more nights together, I’m sure we’ll all get to know each other quite well.

[Marius, Noel, Gerhard, and the Maitre D’, whose name I don’t recall, from one of the formal nights]

[also photo credits to my mother for this pic of the waiters with her teddy bear Cruizer, who’s the “unofficial” mascot of her Facebook cruise group]

For my first meal [and I want to try to remember to be better at taking food pics] I had a trio of honeydew, cantaloupe, and watermelon as an appetizer, and for my actual meal I had a leek and ricotta tart thing that was really good. It was so good, that I forgot to take a picture of it. For desert, I had a flour less chocolate cake that I covered in vanilla ice cream because that’s just how you need to eat chocolate cake, and it was delicious [and I did remember to take a picture of it.. after I had eaten half of it], followed by some decaf tea with milk.

 

The sun set around ten thirty tonight, which was pretty wild, though not as crazy as when we were in the Arctic Circle, and the sun didn’t set.

We set the clocks ahead an hour, which sort of sucks because I’m already sleep deprived and have not slept in over twenty-four hours and I’ll lose an hour of sleep. Though I really don’t predict that I’ll have an issue falling asleep tonight.

Tomorrow is a sea day, which I am excited about because I want to sleep late, and on days with excursions, I can’t sleep late, and I am beyond exhausted. Other then the pedicure, I don’t really have many plans. I can’t really work out this trip because I’m just now allowed to because I am still recovering from surgery [and I’m sure having to drag my almost 50 lb suitcase off a luggage conveyor belt did not help that situation], but I want to stay somewhat active, so I might try to walk a mile or two on the track on the tenth deck while blasting some Kamelot or 69 Eyes [and I’m finally going to countries where my ecclectic taste in music might actually be appreciated], and I’m sure I’ll probably play video-games and/or read.

I forget what our first port is. I want to say it’s Stockholm, Sweden, but I really have no idea, but whatever it is, it will be the day after tomorrow.

I did not bring my fancy DSLR with me on this trip, mainly because it’s big, bulky, and heavy, and I didn’t want to wear that around my neck when I am still recovering from breast reduction, so instead I brought my Sony mirrorless DSLR, which takes amazing pictures and I love it, and the the size is perfect, it’s like a mini camera, but unfortunately I just have an 18-55 lens for it, but I’ll do the best I can to capture pictures of this crazy Baltic adventure.

Anyhow, I am off to try to get some sleep. I shall update tomorrow. [though in reality, this trip reports are typed in a word document, and will get published AFTER I get  home, but they are updated daily].

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