WOW! The last couple of months have been absolutely crazy. At the end of January we headed off on 30+ hours of travel to get to Florida. That was a long day of traveling. Auckland to Sydney to Los Angeles to Nashville to Tampa. The best part was arriving there was seeing our dear friends, Connie & Jay who are always so gracious as to pick us up at the airport. It doesn’t seem to matter what time of day or night we arrive or have to leave, they are always there for us. Great friends to be sure. Thanks you two!
We spent the night at their house before going to surprise Jilly’s mama the following morning. We always tell her we are coming one day then show up a different one. This keeps her for going to too much trouble cleaning an already spotless house before our arrival. As always, she was completely shocked! It’s so much fun to see the look on her face and it always seems to make her day.
We spent three weeks in Florida visiting with family and friends. We took a three hour drive to the East Coast to see Jilly’s sister and family and spent the rest of the time at her mom’s house entertaining, going out, shopping, fixing things and doing anything and everything but relaxing. Jilly’s mom absolutely loves Dan! He’s always fixing something or cleaning something or doing things she can’t do anymore. She actually said she was going to keep him and send Jilly back to New Zealand.
Jilly was delighted to spend time with her precious dog, Lyla and her kitty, Ricky who now live with Connie & Jay. Lyla even had a sleep over with us one night. She always loves to go to Grammy’s house where she gets to sleep in the big bed.
Our visit to Florida seemed to literally fly by and before we knew it the time had come to get back on a plane and head to California. Once again we hit the ground running. We went north to Oxnard to visit with some friends of Dan’s on MV Seashack, spent a night in Thousand Oaks visiting another friend, Bob. Then it was off to spend a few days with Dan’s sister, Tina and her family.
We drove to Yuma, Arizona to see some cruising fiends, Terry & Diane, who have given up cruising their beautiful sailboat, SV Harmony, for a life of land cruising in their RV. We spent a wonderful evening with them and our friends, Enno and Wendy. After a fabulous evening with great food and friends we were off again where we stopped to visit with two of the most wonderful people on earth, Bob & Pat. Then it was back to San Diego for a few days of provisioning and boat part hunting. You know, you can’t leave the land of plenty without an extra suitcase or two of boat parts.
We managed to work in a couple of extra days with Dan’s sister before we were back to Los Angeles to see our friends, Jack & Mary. We had a fabulous time there…maybe too good of a time because we ended up missing our flight from LA to Sydney. OOOPS!
What happened you ask? Well you see when we purchased the tickets in New Zealand the dates were five weeks from a Tuesday to Tuesday. We were scheduled to fly out on the 24th of February. Without really considering the time difference I had it in my mind that the 24th was on a Tuesday. Well, it was in New Zealand but in Los Angeles the 24th was a Monday!!! We woke up on Tuesday morning and Dan looked at the calendar and asked again when our flight was scheduled to leave. I told him Tuesday the 24th. We both looked at each other with that sick, sinking feeling. Arghhhh!!!
Dan quickly jumped on the phone and after a good hour we were scheduled to leave that evening on the same flight out of LAX. The cost??? They charged us $760 USD to change the tickets! OUCH! Now here’s the thing. The flights we missed were not even close to being full so us not showing up did not in any way cost them any money. Likewise, the flights we actually took were not full either so it sure seems like price gouging to me to charge us $380 per person to change the flight. To be fair to Virgin Airlines, our favorite transcontinental airline, we don’t know that the fee was their fee or if it was actually from Expedia. I’m betting Expedia but I can’t be sure. And, of course I can complain all I want but the fact is we had to pay it to get home. Oh yes, we also had to pay a $25 late fee plus another day on the rental car and another day of parking for our car in Auckland. All in we were close to $900 in extra expenses on this little oops. Moral of the story…BOTH parties need to be looking at the days and dates and it probably isn’t such a bad thing to shell out $100 for travel insurance when you are spending close to $2000 on airline tickets. Just saying!
We were flying in the midst of this whole coronavirus thing and many have asked how that went. Well, as I said there weren’t nearly as many people flying as we’d normally see so that was actually nice bonus. On both flights from LA to Sydney and Sydney to Auckland we had three seats so we had plenty of room to stretch out. We saw a lot of people wearing masks and some people seemed to be going over the top with the wiping down of things with hand sanitizer. As for us, we did our normal routine of washing our hands regularly and wiping down the tray table and armrests with hand sanitizer. We’ve been back in the country for two weeks now and we’re both as healthy as the day we left. Not sure what’s going to become of this whole thing but I do thing but I know I’m glad we made it back when we did.
Before we close this article I would like to speak to everyone who gets on an airplane about some basic common courtesies you should be employing as you travel.
- Take a flipping shower before you get on a plane! People don’t want to sit in a closed up tube for hours and hours beside or near someone with extreme body odor. And wash your hair! No one wants to put their head on a headrest after your oily, nasty head has been resting on it. Come on people!
- Don’t forgo the shower in favor of dousing yourself with perfume or cologne either. Many of us out in the world have asthma and/or allergies and while you may love the smell of your favorite “Ode to Flower Body Oder Coverup” some of us get physically ill from having to smell it for hours on end. I spent the better part of four hours with a massive headache and had to use my inhaler several times because the lady in front of me smelled like a French brothel. She must have literally bathed in her perfume. Oh yes…she never stopped talking the entire time either!
- In the midst of this whole Covid-19 please use some common sense as to when to travel and when to keep your butt at home. Honestly when people and sneezing and hacking and sound like death you really have to wonder if they use their heads for more than a hat rack. If you have to travel and are sick then please, please, please….put on a mask so you aren’t blowing germs in the air every time you sneeze or cough.
- And finally, for God’s sake remember that the airline stewards and stewardesses are not your daddy or mama! They should not have to clean up the unbelievable messes people leave behind. I watched one woman a couple of aisles ahead of me throw each and every piece of paper, tissue, what have you on the floor when she was done with it. When we walked by her seat as we disembarked the plane after 13 ½ hours of flying it looked Pigpen had been sitting there. By contrast when you look at our seats when we leave there is little for them to do but take up the pillows and blankets. That’s how it should be! Have a little respect.
Okay, my rant is complete. Thanks for listening.
All in all our trip back to the states was truly fabulous even though it was completely exhausting. We saw most of the family and friends we wanted to see and ate way to much of the food we can’t get here in the South Pacific. We both gained a good ten pounds that we are now working feverishly to shed. Of course arriving back to Dazzler and having to jump immediately into boat projects and things is helping on that front. It will be better once we are finally back in the water and not eating out every single day though. Coming up we’ve got some great articles on the projects Dan’s been working on. He painted the bottom again and we’ve done some rehabbing to our tender that you just have to see. Saved ourselves several thousands of dollars. Can’t wait to show you the pictures so stay tuned.
Until Next Time…