The first week of April, I frantically worked and worked to get things done so that I could take some vacation. I did leave to go visit Aresh in the hospital, but came back in to finish work. By Thursday night, I had accomplished a lot, and planned out what I would do every hour until 5 PM Friday - I would just barely get all the urgent things done. Then at 8 PM, Kevin, a program manager, booked my calendar all day Friday, ordering me to do an audit to a standard that I wasn't familiar with; he then booked me to accompany an external auditor the day I came back from vacation, with the expectation that I'd remotely coordinate the external audit preparation by telephone while on vacation. I called Kevin and used some naughty words. Probably career-limiting, but I was just frustrated.
Fortunately, my manager was able to smooth things out, and I was able to leave at 5 PM on Friday as planned. I raced around to buy some vacation clothes, packed, and got a few hours of sleep. At 6 AM I ran to the local shopping mall to get a taxi (I don't have a telephone, so I couldn't call one), and zoomed off to the airport.
Later that day, I arrived in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in the US. I had reserved a room in a hotel with complimentary airport shuttle service, but it didn't seem to be there. I called the hotel, and was told that the complimentary shuttle service was $30. So, I took a taxi to the hotel, had a frustrating discussion with the staff about the definition of "complimentary", got charged extra fees on top of my pre-paid room, and was told my room was not available until that evening. Fortunately, my grandmother and sister had already arrived from Nova Scotia, and did manage to get a room, so I went up to visit them and left my luggage in their room.
My sister and I took our grandmother down to the lobby of the hotel. There was a little gift shop there, with some brightly-coloured dresses from India for only $16. My grandmother tried some on, and bought two to wear on the cruise. We then walked to a restaurant near the beach, and had pub food while looking at people bike and walk along the promenade. My grandmother and I walked to the beach and dipped our feet into the ocean, and we then went back to the hotel room. She was exhausted, so my sister and I went out and bought some snacks from a convenience store for her, so she wouldn't have to go out to eat. My room was ready by then, so I went to it and went to sleep.
The next morning, we got up and took the complimentary shuttle bus from the hotel to the cruise ship - it was $9 per person, but since there were three of us, they charged us $30. Meh. I e-mailed my travel agent, and made it his problem so I wouldn't have to think about it. We dropped our luggage at the dock, then stood in line in a big warehouse to go through a metal detector and get issued a card (SeaPass) that would serve as ID, charge card, and cabin door key. My sister and grandmother were in luxury cabins, so got to take a shorter line; even so, we all finished getting processed at the same time. I'm glad that I paid for my sister to have a luxury cabin too, as she got to escort my grandmother and help her with the paperwork.
We then walked up a long corridor, were repeatedly given squirts of hand sanitizer, and then finally were admitted into the ship.