Rest and Relaxation ?

Trip Start Apr 26, 2008
Trip End May 14, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Arizona
Saturday, April 19, 2008

After a large scare this week, I am happy to report that my Dad, who had a mild heart attack, is home and recovering nicely. His Doctor has advised him to stay at home and relax. Now, anyone who has met my dad, knows this is a very difficult thing for him to do, if not impossible. He is one of the most active people I know and the word "relax" does not compute into his vocabulary. However, I asked my mom to chain him to the bed and give him only access to the internet so he can read my blog. So, at least I know someone is reading my blog, even if he is being forced to read it. :)
Now, as we prepare for our journey next week, I find myself wondering where the definition for vacation ever came from in the first place.  The word, "vacation", as defined in the dictionary means a period of suspension of work, study, or other activity, used for rest, recreation. OK, really?.. used for rest and recreation?.. clearly the person who came up with this definition never went on a vacation before. Let me explain:
Let's start with packing, this is something I really hate doing and my wife has learned this over the years. The reality is she does all of the packing and comes to me for advice on what to pack for me. It has been going on all week and it goes something like this. She will ask me if this shirt goes with this pants, belt and shoes. What I hear is straight out of the Charles Shultz', "Charlie Brown", specials when the adults would speak. I hear "blah, blah, blahs"... and this always gets an automatic response from me of "that's great". However, over the years, my wife has caught on to my automatic responses and this has now lead to even louder: BLAH, BLAH, BLAHS.... and of course, I have come up with a new response as well of, " I love you", which always leads to more under the breath, "blah, blah, blahs, but with some more colorful words added to the end of her blahs that I will not share with this g-rated blog. Personally, I wish I was more like my brother when it comes to packing for a trip. He has it down to a science. When he goes away for a week, he packs a pair of jeans, a pair of underwear, a pair of socks, seven different colored t-shirts and a pair of sneakers that could also pass as a pair of shoes. If not for the shoes, he probably could put everything in his back pocket. Now, I never went away with him for 14 days but I think the only difference in his packing would be that he probably would add a scented car air freshener to his bag. This will allow him to then take his worn colored t-shirt off, place it in the bag and in one week time, have a minty fresh smelling t-shirt readied to be worn once more. Now, as for my wife and I, we find ourselves with 2 large bags each and one carry on as well. Also, all our bags are very close to the maximum allowable weight as defined by the airline industry. In other words, any slight change to the weight of our bags may induce a substantial increase in the cost to actually bring our bags with us on this trip.  
As you probably remember, I love to plan out everything in advance with a hope that I can cover all my bases before we actually go on the trip. Well, two new things came up this week regarding our trip. First, while we are in St Maartin, they are celebrating a holiday and most streets will be closed in order to allow for a parade. Now, anyone who has ever been to St Maartin will tell you that traffic, on a normal day, is hell. I cannot even imagine how bad it will be with most streets closed. Also, most stores will be closed as well and this upset my wife considering that St Maartin is known for some of the best shopping in the Caribbean.

At last, while we are in Florence, Italy, if appears it is that time of the year where the entire country has to deal with a public transit strike. Yes, this happens nearly every year in Italy and it is best to avoid a visit when it happens.  Our ship pulls into the port of Livorno, which is about an hour and half away from Florence. Since I have already been to Italy before, I got to know their train systems pretty well. Also, being a NYer at heart, I had no problem with the idea of using the public transit system in order to get to Florence from Livorno. I knew this would save us a lot of money from using a private tour company. Now, we have to change that plan and quickly as there is only one week left before we leave.
So I ask you again, do you really feel that vacation should stand for rest and relaxation. I personally feel that everyone should have a vacation from a vacation.
This week, I did call all the bank and credit card companies to let them know where we would be and they gave us the international numbers to call should there be a problem. I also suspended the mail and newspaper service as well. We received our Euro's from the bank and it appears we are finally ready for the trip.

So, the next time I write on this blog, we will be starting our adventure on our very first Trans-Atlantic sailing. Good bye till next week. (guest book is now open, feel free to leave your nasty comments :) )
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