All good things must come to an end, right? Well, the day has finally arrived that we must go home and leave our “ship family” behind. We have to admit that they have spoiled us with their excellent service and friendliness. And that’s why we end up coming back to HAL time after time. Now the work at home and catching up with friends and family will keep us busy for months to come. But it is so worth it.
Our day began early at 5am. The two pieces of luggage went out last night, so we just had our carry ons to finish arranging. We figured by the end of the day, we’ll both have gorilla arms lugging heavy hand bags. As much as you try to keep them light, it is impossible.
For the first time since we went on the African safari, we grabbed a couple of yogurts and orange juices in the Lido. It was not crowded there at 6am. Since we were due to go off at 8am, we could not take a chance with a full breakfast in the dining room.
Today our flight was early at 11:15am. Purchasing HAL transfers to the airport, we were the first group called off after the expedited folks, who packed their few suitcases off. The luggage was just being arranged in the terminal, so we had to wait until they released us to locate it. To add to the confusion, the Emerald Princess was also off-loading their passengers. Their numbers were far greater than ours. It appeared they were combining the bus transfers with both ships. Since our names were not on a list, we assume they knew we prepaid for this transfer according to the color of our luggage tags. No one asked for any vouchers, which we had none anyway.
Since today was a Sunday, and a holiday weekend, there was not a lot of traffic. The airport is really not that far, but we do know how traffic jams can make a short trip impossibly long. Not today. We had a very chatty driver who even told jokes on the way.
Once at the domestic airport, we were able to go directly to a small Delta desk to check in. It was located a few yards from the bus drop. So nice, since we would not have to lug the luggage all the way to the main terminal. A good reason to remember to use Delta out of Seattle when we can. Also, we were a little overweight on the bags, but it went unnoticed, thankfully.
We also got TSA pre-check, which is always a plus. When we went through security, it appeared that everyone got this perk, as that line was the longest. The only thing we did not have to do was take off our shoes, or empty the computer out of the bag. One of us was directed to the xray machine, just by random. No problems passing, but delayed a bit getting the other bags back. Had the other one of us not been there to watch it, the stuff would have been left unattended long enough for something to disappear.
It seemed to take forever to locate the gate, which happened to be down one level. Seems that we were flying a little bitty commuter plane, or that’s what the terminal agent said. This would be like the small planes we flew while in Africa. About 40 of us waited in a small room, then found out the flight was delayed for unknown reasons. But only by 15 minutes.
Then it was announced for all of us to board a bus for a ride to the plane on the tarmac. OK, but once we got in the bus, the agent come back out and said we all had to get off, and go back inside. We thought we heard whispers of a sheared pin in the landing gear. Good grief……..do we really want to be on that plane?
So back inside we went for another 10 minutes, and we repeated the drill the second time. But now we were driven all the way around the airport to the commuter planes. It was little itty bitty one, but it did look new. The story now was that the aircraft had to be towed here for us to board it. In other words, they had no parking place for it.
The flight was smooth and quick. We landed in SFO about ½ hour late, but in one piece. By the time we got to the baggage carousel, our two pieces had just come out. And our driver was there with a card and our name on it. Perfect. Following her, we ended up in the parking garage, and we were on our way.
Traffic was not bad at all, since we had flown in earlier than we normally do. And it was Sunday, a better day for traffic.
We pulled into our driveway before 4pm, and it felt like we had just left. Hard to believe five months had flown by since we last left here. Yes, there will be work to clean everything up to our liking, but really, all looked pretty good to us.
Our biggest problem would be…..what’s for dinner? Certainly not something we can order from a menu. And life goes on…..
Many thanks for all the encouragement you gave us along the journey. Once again, it has been a pleasure sharing our “diary” with you all. And if all goes according to plan, we will be back in the fall. So stay tuned…..
Bill & Mary Ann