Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | May 5, 2013

Luck Be A Lady: The Birthday Cruise Day 11 and Homeward Bound!

The staff sings us a goodbye song.

The staff sings us a goodbye song.

Well, it’s a few days after my last pity party entry, and as probably expected, things did look better by the morning. My back was still burned badly, but maybe not as badly as last cruise, and sleep seemed to help lift me out of the guilt spiral. And maybe sleep also helped me accept that my Kindle is probably dead. Once I get home, I’ll call Amazon since the troubleshooting (I googled once back to Canada and an internet connection) isn’t working, but I’m not worried about it.

Since we’d had so much sun the day before, DW (who burned, of all things, her eyelids) and I decided we would be prudent for our last day and stay out of it.  We puttered our way to breakfast, then went to the disembarkation talk to make sure we knew how we were getting off the boat early the next morning. After the talk, I decided I should get rid of the American $1 bills I had by playing slots in the casino. I think I had four or five.  By the third one, though, I ended up winning. My $1 paid off to $55.  I could not stop laughing.  I won the cruise. I went to the slots to get rid of money and won.

My nephew's monkey, Hudson, at the machine that was ringing up my winnings.

My nephew’s monkey, Hudson, at the machine that was ringing up my winnings.

I went back to the room to let DW know, and she could not believe it. We found it hilarious. We ended up going back to the casino after the show (see below), since she’d never played, it was on our way out, and I had a couple of bills to get rid of still, and she won, too, another $15 which she gave to me since I’d given the money she’d gambled with.  So my casino winnings covered most of my drinks for the trip!

I went to trivia with my team while DW went to save us seats for the show. We didn’t win, but we fared well, and I was helpful. They also said they’d missed me the day before, and I was able to joke about my sunburn, and how if I’d come to help them out, I probably wouldn’t be so badly burned. Which is true, but it was good to know I could talk without dwelling.

After trivia, I ran back to the theatre for a show, as mentioned above. Island Magic gave another concert, and they were once again brilliant. Best cruise show ever, and much less cheesy than the one we’d seen the night before.

We went back to the room and watched some TV, then I got ready for dinner.  DW decided she could not do one more night in the dining room, sitting with people and having the same conversation we’d had every night. I was disappointed, but didn’t push.  I went to the dinner alone, and was glad to go, because it was international night, featuring dishes from around the world.  I had gravlax, which I love, for my appetizer, followed by a chilled pumpkin soup that was honestly not my favourite. I had a delicious duck and apricot dish for dinner (it had macadamia nuts, how could I resist?), then Baked Alaska for dessert.  DW, on the other hand, went to the Lido for the casual buffet dinner and ended up sharing a table with a woman with Alzheimer’s, and proceeded to have the same conversation three times in a row. “How’s that for irony?” she asked me ruefully when I came in.


Island Magic performs.

Island Magic performs.

We decided not to stay up for the “Dancing with the Stars” show of our fellow cruisemates, and go to bed since we had an early morning the next day. We’d chosen the Expedited option. It meant I had to carry my own luggage (heavy, but that’s my own fault, and my rule is if I can’t carry it I can’t take it anyway) and that we both had to get up early, but we were so glad we did.  The wait through customs for non-Americans was tediously long even though we were pretty early in line, but it would have been agonizing if we’d had to wait for everyone else on the boat. We grabbed a cab to the airport (I got the airline and therefore terminal wrong, but the staff inside was helpful and it was a short walk). DW checked us in on her iPhone while I figured out where we’d have to go, then we checked our bags and waited for the plane.  There were no sit down restaurants inside, but we did both manage to find something to eat, and our seats were pre-selected, so we both had aisle seats for the Ft. Lauderdale to Toronto leg.

On the way to Edmonton, I had an aisle, but DW had a middle seat a few rows back, but in the emergency exit row.  She had a little more leg room, but unfortunately an aisle seatmate who refused to get up to let people out. DW and the window person both had to crawl over the woman. DW’s screen on the seat TV also wasn’t working, so she was feeling a bit trapped. I, on the other hand, was seated next to a couple and their under two child. She was not too bad, but definitely noisy during the takeoff and landing when she was not allowed to move around like she wanted. So DW and I were both relieved to make it to Edmonton and off the plane.  I picked up my rental car, and thanks to Maggie (the Magellan GPS I brought with me from home) I managed to navigate our way to the Varscona on Whyte Ave, a scary prospect for me (it’s very busy).

The Varscona is lovely and quiet, the beds super comfy, and since it is on Whyte, there’s lots of shopping and good food nearby.  I’ve decided not to venture out to visit family and friends for a multitude of reasons, including (among others) a) not wanting to try to navigate Whyte with just Maggie and no DW on a busy Saturday, b) being incredibly over-stimulated and just needing some quiet, and c) fatigue from yesterday’s very long day. DW and I plan to eat at a place called the High Level Diner, which she loves, and maybe find Block 1912 on the recommendation from my friend Roxy for some yummy gelato. But for now, I am enjoying just chilling in the silence.  I’ll miss the warm weather (even if it is sunburn-inducing) and being on vacation, but I’ll be glad to be home too

The towel animal I made for DW.

The towel animal I made for DW.

Towel animal of the day: On the cruise, I’m not sure what our last day was. Some sort of Manta Ray? At the Varscona, a snake. Because I thought it would be fun for DW to have one here but have no idea how to make anything.

Rockstar of the Day: On the cruise, the staff who managed not to yell at all the people who were standing in the gangway during disembarkation even though it wasn’t their turn and we were asked not to be on the gangway when it wasn’t our turn. In Edmonton, me.  I drove Whyte Ave on a Friday night! Woot!

Drink of the Day: A Fashionista. It was okay.  The margarita is better.

Gratitude of the Day: I’m thankful for a safe journey. I’m thankful for quiet time. I’m thankful that DW and I are still good travel buddies.  I’m thankful for getting to go home soon.



Note: So that’s it for this trip, ladies and gents! Incidentally, neither DW nor I made it to the High Level Diner. Apparently after almost two weeks away, we lost our ability to cope with Canadian weather and could not bear the idea of walking more than around the corner. We ended up eating at the hotel restaurant, and it honestly was not that great. After dinner we turned in, since we had an early flight the next day. Now we’re both back in our respective homes, and the Canadian weather is finally improving. I’m not sure when I’ll next travel.  It might be a while.  I’m debating whether to expand the blog to cover my reading as well as my travelling. I’m embarking on a “Year of Reading Dangerously” (no danger actually involved), where I am trying to get back to reading as much as I used to by committing to a book a week. We’ll see how that goes. In the meantime, I am looking at planning my next big adventure, to take place in April next year.  A close friend recently moved to Melbourne, so I’m saving my pennies to venture to Australia.  Exciting stuff!


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