November 09, 2015

Curacao and Aruba on The Sunshine

Curacao has become my favorite port in the Caribbean, and I haven't been there in many months. The people are very nice, the city is clean, and the architecture is visually appealing. A blue arched bridge crosses high above the water. Buildings are brightly painted a rainbow of colors, merchants from Venezuela bring fish and produce to the boat market on the edge of the downtown area, and of course the floating swing bridge is unique in the Caribbean.

So off I go. I am settled in to a deck chair 5 hours before sailing, but preoccupied with the world cruise I just booked 2 days ago. How can I make best use of the next few hours while I still have cell service thru land based cell towers.

First I secure travel insurance. The company my travel agent has suggested waives any exclusion of pre-existing medical conditions providing the policy is secured within a certain time frame after booking, and providing the passenger is able to travel at the time the policy is purchased. What better way to prove I am fit to travel than being on another cruise. I secure my travel insurance.

Despite being officially retired I manufacture a small electrical assembly for a friend. Since I will not be able to produce any for a number of months I need to deliver enough inventory by December. Several messages back and forth to Bob, and I ask him to forecast his needs for 8 months and place orders by October 19th. Another of hundreds of details taken care of.

Curacao is about 1500 hundred miles from Port Canaveral, so I will have lots of sea day time. I scour the ship looking for a quiet place to to do some planning. At the back of the upper balcony of the theater I find a nice comfortable location and settle in to work on some "to do" lists.

It is easy to pack for 7 or 14 days, I have done it so many times I don't even think about it. But packing for 115 days is going to be different. And besides I just can't run to the local store if I forget something. I can't imagine 4 months with only the 1 pair of socks I was wearing when I boarded the ship.

I do regress for a moment, yes I did meet a passenger a few years ago that managed to leave home without any additional clothes. His wife packed for herself, and he thought she was packing for him also, but wasn't. Yes, this is a true story.

Just after I get settled in, Paul the head of sound and lighting approaches me. He tells me that he is supposed to ask everyone to leave the area as they need to repair some overhead equipment. He recognizes that I am no where near where he needs to work and offers a proposal. If I don't see him or his staff, he will not see me and I can stay where I am. I thought that was very generous and went back to my laptop and the packing list.

I realize that cruising for me is going to change and I need to learn some new habits. I have become so engrained with just staying on the ship, I don't even think about where we are. That needs to change, and this is probably a good a time as any. So I decide to get off the ship at every port. It was really OK and I adapted to the change quite easily. The only frustration was that the floating swing bridge was closed for maintenance so I had to take the ferry to get across the harbor.

Several days later I find myself in the back of the theater again with my laptop working on some model railroad electrical designs for Bill C. when Paul, the tech guy, comes in. He stops and we chat, and then he informs me that he needs to work on calibrating all the spotlights. Normally he would do this in a dark theater, but he has left one light on directly over where I am seated and wants to make sure that is enough light so I can continue working on my computer. Maybe he thought I was a spy from the home office, I'm not sure, but just thanked him and told him the lighting was perfect.

As is the case on nearly every ship I am on, I run into passengers that I have met on a previous cruise. This time was no exception. Dick is retired from the ownership of several businesses including several marinas, a large charter boat operation, and a yacht manufacturing company. Each afternoon we solve a few of the world problems.

The 8 days fly by, and I am soon driving back home.

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