Happy Thanksgiving to family and friends in the USA...Yesterday's travel day...Mr. Overly Grumpy came to call...But, he's gone now...

We stopped to take this photo on the way to the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica.  This is a Northern Crested Caracara: "The northern crested caracara, also called the northern caracara and crested caracara, is a bird of prey in the family Falconidae."
Everyone has a boiling point.  Mine was evident on Tuesday when I was attempting to check-in online and pay for our bags for yesterday's flight from San Jose, Costa Rica to Miami, Florida only to discover it couldn't be done online, only at the airport.

With no direct flights available from Costa Rica to Fort Lauderdale, the location of the port for today's cruise embarkation we opted to fly to Miami and take a taxi to Fort Lauderdale.  That decision was a mistake but one we knew was a risk based on the anticipated crowds at the airport in Miami and the traffic we'd encounter at rush hour on this popular US holiday, Thanksgiving. 

By the way, Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family in the US as they celebrate with all the traditional foods and festivities commensurate with this day. 

Surprisingly, the check-in process at the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica was seamless.  We scooted through check-in at American Airlines using a kiosk where we paid for our bags and received boarding passes. 

Our porter escorted us to the counter for weighing our bags.  Luckily, none were overweight.  In no time at all, we breezed through immigration and security in a matter of minutes.  After a long walk, we made it to our gate to wait 90 minutes for boarding, while we busied ourselves online while comfortably seated in a cafe.

The flight was good, only a little over two hours with minimal turbulence.  Since we'd booked the flight a little late, we were seated in the second to last row on a 737 plane.  It was fine.  We waited to board last to avoid standing in line and did the same when deplaning.  We weren't in a hurry.  So far, so good. We were both cheerful.

Again, most surprisingly, once we were off the plane in Miami, everything at the airport went smoothly; immigration, customs, collecting our bags and making our way to the taxi area.  

The cab driver explained that the drive to Fort Lauderdale would be tough with tons of traffic.  We opted against the extra US $10 fee to use the express lane when we saw that this too was backed up.

Barely out of the airport we noticed the meter was already over US $20.  Ouch, this was going to be one pricey taxi fare.  Tom, who's Mr. Frugal with everything except what I want for which he never flinches, became frustrated watching the meter and the outrageous often standstill traffic on the freeway. 

With bad traffic Tom can easily get worked up into a tizzy.  In our old lives, we arranged outings before or after rush hour. Sometimes, it was unavoidable.  For whatever reasons, certain drivers get stressed and angry during traffic.  Personally, I don't get it although Tom was consoling me when I got frustrated trying to check-in online. We all have our boiling points.

Well anyway, $100 in cab fare later (with tip) we arrived at our hotel, grabbed a bellman to haul the bags to our room asking him to bring us the two packages which had arrived with all the stuff.  By 5:00 pm we were in our somewhat tiny room at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina and Mr. Overly Grumpy was long gone with Tom's usual good nature and good humor fully intact.

When the bellman brought the 75 pound (34 kg) box and the smaller box with the camera battery charger we wondered how we fit it all into our bags.  In 90 minutes we needed to be downstairs at the entrance to meet friend Carol (retried Delta Airline pilot/captain) to go to dinner.  We hadn't seen her since we stayed at her home for a few nights in 2013 having stayed in close touch via email and Facebook over the past five years.

I have a confession.  Yesterday, I didn't take photos. Not at the airport. Not on the car ride to the hotel. Not at the great restaurant where we dined last night with Carol.  No gorgeous food photos, no smiling faces.  Sorry. 

Awakening at 4:00 am yesterday, I just couldn't get into the camera thing.  The only photos I took was in Costa Rica, of these two birds as shown which our friendly taxi driver pointed out on the drive to the airport, stopping long enough for me to take these two shots.  That explains more bird photos from Costa Rica, not necessarily from the veranda, but bird photos, none the less.
At the same spot, we saw this Black Vulture feasting on remnants of a food wrapper.
Prior to leaving for dinner we opened the huge box and began piling everything on the bed including the clothing and cold weather gear we'll need for the Antarctica and a year's worth of supplies for Africa.  That's not to say we won't need supplies again in 2018 but for the time being, we've got it covered.

Much to my delight, my three prescriptions were in the box, enough to last for the next six months. My new laptop was intact in its original box which I won't open until a quiet day on the cruise or perhaps not until we get to Buenos Aires.  No rush.  This one, three years old, is still chugging along.

The dinner with Carol was great, although pricey at around US $150.  Tom's one cocktail was US $17.50.  I ordered a Caesar salad (no croutons) with one shrimp and two scallops at a cost of US $44. That's what we've found in the US... it's more expensive than in most other countries.

The conversation was lively and animated and we hated to wrap up the evening.  But, by 10:00 pm we were back at the hotel determined to work on the box before we'd get some sleep.

This morning after about only five hours sleep, we bolted out of bed to get back to work on unwrapping and repacking 75 pounds of "stuff."   We fit everything in our existing luggage ending up with a smaller box Tom found in the hallway that we filled with the clothing which taped and labeled.  We can't believe we got everything to fit. 

Most people have a home and are easily able to pack for the Antarctica cruise.  For us, we had no choice but to add everything to our already "everything-we-own" inventory making it especially challenging. We're relieved to have this handled and can relax on the cruise...duh, once we unpack everything in the cabin for today's cruise. 

In the next half hour, we'll head downstairs to take the shuttle to the port at a cost of US $6 per person. Tomorrow, we'll be back with many new photos as we get settled in for the next 30-nights of fun out to sea.

Happy day!


Photo from one year ago today, November 23, 2016:

The Art Gallery of South Australia in Adelaide has a lot to offer the art enthusiast.  For more photos, please click here.


Anonymous said...

Safe travel, calm seas and joyful times !
Gary and Judy

Jessica said...

Thanks Judy and Gary! Hope you're both enjoying a pleasant Thanksgiving Day. So sweet of you to write. We're sitting in the Casino Bar on the ship watching the Minnesota Vikings game. Life is good. We sail away in a few hours. Love hearing from you!
Jess & Tom

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