Trip Start Sep 08, 2009
Trip End Dec 02, 2009

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Flag of Greece  , Ionian Islands,
Monday, October 19, 2009

Hello Friends!!!

I'm torn between it being a relief and a disappointment that I now speak English freely among all the other English-speaking folks. (I'm on the cruise.) While there are over 40 countries represented by visitors, America absolutely took the cake by almost triple that of any other country. I also don't know whether I'm proud of that fact or embarrassed by it. You might say that I'm going through a patriotic self-crisis.

The cruise has been fan-freaking-tastic. Truly, it's been great.

When I arrived in my room I had a momentary hiccup where I just was so sad. I hadn't really missed Larry or felt home sick too much during the trip, but for some reason, on the cruise, in the room by myself, I just broke down. BUT. I told myself, "Josie, you are here and you're alone. But you're here." From that point on it was, pardon -- or don't, the pun, smoooooth sailing.

I had a FABULOUS welcome treat in my room in the form of chocolate-chocolate covered pretzels from my parents. Thanks mom and dad! (See? Again, I wanted to say mum and dad. I think I'm becoming an ex-pat. Oh, brother.)

The weather for the first two days was frigid. Down-right blustery. It's all anybody on the ship could talk about. Apparently we all were hoodwinked by the weathermen on that one. But finally today, the sun came out to visit and it was a pretty day. And tomorrow's high is expected to be 76 degrees in Athens. So I'm quite happy. Plus, I've been fighting this stupid head cold so I've enjoyed the excuse to stock up on soup (har har, stock up on soup). Oh, which reminds me. Because of the crazy swine flu they are taking all sorts of precautions, which is good. When we first arrived to check in we had to fill out a health survey. Because I had in fact been sneezing and coughing and had a runny nose and sore throat I had to check yes on the form. I was certain they were going to kick me off the boat, but turns out they just asked that I visit the on-board doctor during my first day. They gave me a flu swab which came back negative (phew!) and a complimentary consultation. The doc said I had a pretty legit case of sinusitis and provided some free meds. (Yes, Risa, I know you also provided meds but I didn't know what I had or what I was supposed to do with them. I'm dumb.) Anyway, so turns out I got a free International doctor's visit and prescription. Not many folks can say that! But they also require you to use Purell before walking into any room serving food. They have people at the doors ensuring compliance. I wish I would have bought stock in Purell. D'oh.

I have also been observing some rather strange activity in myself. No way of knowing if it's the sea, the medicine, the purell, or what. For instance... I went to bed before midnight on the first night of the cruise. On the second day of the cruise I swam laps in the salt water pool. (Yes. Laps. What?) And today, day three, not only did I take a spinning class (who the hell AM I?!?!?!?) I spent $70 on makeup. W-H-A-T? Seriously, I don't know what Europe is doing to me. Don't get me wrong, I like it. I like the heck out of it. But sometimes I just look in the mirror and laugh at myself and what I'm doing. Oh. And. I found out that I maybe do like red onions after all. I can not tell you the number of times I gagged like a 3-year-old when I'd see Larry eating red onions. I know. I don't know what is happening. I can't figure it out.

Suffice it to say, I'm having a grand time. I've met some really nice folks around my age from the dinners. And there are all sorts of older couples that have taken a liking to me. And I see them all around the ship and they wave at me and ask how I'm enjoying the day just like best friends. They include the French couple I met when we were trying to find the right shuttle bus to the cruise. I employed my Italian skills to find the right place to go. They employed their English skills to go where I went. Then there's the CA couple that I ate lunch with one day, that also were on the shuttle with us. There's the little Italian couple that I met at the Meringue Party, who I danced with the woman for 2 or 3 songs. There's the couple that sat on the balcony with me during the official cruise send off, who helped  me climb up to the balcony -- okay, actually it was a railing and not at all a balcony. Hence needing help climbing.

And then. There are all those people that just annoy the CRAP out of me. I'm telling you what, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." is crossing my mind about 20 times a day. It's like everybody wants to be the first one on the bus, the first one off the bus, the first one in the buffet line, the first one in the signup line, the first one... you get the picture. I keep getting bumped and pushed and cut in front of and argh. It's like, ya'll, we're going to the same place. Relax. We're going to get there. Ugh. But, I'm trying to forgive and be forgiven. But I have to admit I've cursed like 19 of them prior to the whole forgiving thing.

Tonight was our first formal night. It was really fun. I absolutely loved seeing all the older folks dressed up. So many of them went all out with tuxes, or 'old-person' ruffled suits and bow ties. And these little ladies. Woosh. I don't know what they put in the Southern American water, but whenever a latin beat comes on, the little 80-year old gals throw their walkers to the side, stand up and start gyrating their hips in 360 directions without a second's hesitation. And their husband's do the same. It makes you feel like a teenager just watching them. It's so, so great.

Okay, I think that may be all I have for updates right now. I've taken a zillion photos and even some videos -- why I wasn't taking video sooner I'll never know. But I am now. However, I have to pay $0.60/minute for internet so I will probably wait to upload all the photos until the end of the trip when I'm at a regular internet place.

Hope you all are also having a fabulous and relaxing week. And if you're not, take a deep breath and remember, "We're all going to the same place. We're going to get there. Just relax." I'm hoping that was calming and not just morbid. :)

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emilyelizmoore on

all smiles when i read these insights of yours. thanks again for keeping us up to speed!

vivpr on

I am excited you are finally in Greece! I am jealous now. That is my favorite place in the world. Keep us posted!

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