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AOS 12/5/04 Review - Part 10

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Hi there-


I'm back with the next installment of our 12/5 Adventure cruise. Unfortunately, I was not able to post an "installment" yesterday as I was out of the office, and the internet was down at home. So I came into work today just so I could catch up on my Cruise Critic stuff (which was no small feat since we got 8 inches of snow overnight). The things we go to to have working internet....How sad is that?



Anyways, as a refresher, the people in our group consisted of:


Myself - 35

Hubby - 36

BIL (Hubby's brother) - 35

SIL (Hubby's sister) - 34

Nephew (hubby's sister's son) - 6

Neice (hubby's sister's daughter) - 3

MIL - low 60's


Sunday, 12/12 - Back in San Juan - WAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!


We woke up at 7:00 am thoroughly depressed that we were spending our last hour in our cabin. We packed up all the remaining stuff, and then headed to the Windjammer for the last breakfast.


Seating was not an issue today, for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, since today is debarkation day, that means that the omelette station is not up and running today. So I suffer through the regular scrambled eggs (ewwwww...) and have my last strwaberry waffle and stale donut. We finished up our breakfast and left the Windjammer for the last time and headed back to our cabin to grab our stuff and wait for the family.


Since we are not flying home today, we are scheduled to be last off the ship. Thing was, though, that we all wanted to go back to El Morro and get some time in there, and we didn't think we'd have enough time by being last off the ship. So thinking ahead, I asked our Concierge yesterday how we could get off the ship earlier. He explained that they don't call by color, they call by flight time, and that it we just headed to the Lyric theatre around 8:30, we should be able to just walk off the ship whenever.


So that was the plan, the family would meet in our cabin at 8:20 and then we would head to the Lyric Theatre and wait to leave. Well, we made it the Lyric just fine. We made it a point to be on the upper floor of the Lyric so that we wouldn't have to use the elvator with all of our stuff. We plopped our stuff on the floor in the back of the theatre and sat down on the ground (seemed easier to do that than schlepp our stuff in the aisle to sit down in a regular seat), and proceeded to wait.


SIL had said the night before that she didn't want to do breakfast beforehand since it was too much of a hassle with the kids. Ok, sure, whatever. MIL asks if we were hungry and if there was a plce to get a snack. No. We're not hungry because we got up early to eat breakfast. I do remember seeing the Promenade Cafe open and serving coffee, donuts, and bagels, though.


MIL gets a little bent out of shape ("how are there some of us that ate breakfast, and some of us that didn't?"). My response: Um. Don't know? We got up early because we knew we wanted to eat breakfast? You guys said you didn't want to bother yesterday. If you wanted to eat, perhaps you should have gotten up earlier so you could go the Windjammer. (Since when did getting everyone fed become my problem?)


So hubby and I sit with all of our stuff when the rest of the family runs off to the Promenade Cafe. They are gone for about 10 minutes or so, and in that time, announcements are made for people with flights leaving from 1-2. Ok, then, it's almost time to go.


Family finally shows up, after ignoring anouncements in the Promenade Cafe. I give them a few minutes and then basically say, "Ok. It's time to go"! So everyone grabs their stuff up, and MIL leaves her half finished coffee on the floor, which just shocks me, and either hubby and I pick it up to throw it out while making it a point to say "don't leave it on the floor because it's just going to get knocked over. For Christ's sake, leaving it on the counter is even better than leaving it on the floor."


At this point, I'm pretty much in-lawed out.


So we leave the ship with no further problems. We wait on the gangway for a bit (the usual clearing customs wait), and I notice that my neice still has a donut in her hand. Not just any donut, mind you, but a donut with chocolate icing which is now all over her (her hands in particular), and she is reaching out to everyone around her, especially me.


At this point, I start arm-chair quaterbacking in my brain (ok, we are leaving the ship with all our stuff, and are in rooms and halls filled with people. Why in God's name would you give your child a donut to "carry" when it's just going to be end up on everything? My neice is 3. She's not an age where she can gingerly carry a donut around for 20 minutes. And to make matters worse, it's a chocolate-iced donut. What was wrong with a bagel? And I'm wearing sand-colored shorts. If I get any chocolate on me, I'm going to be a little cranky. Just keep the kid away from me.


20 minutes later, SIL gets a little fed-up with the donut, and hands the mangled mess to my BIL and asks him to get rid of it. Gee. What a brilliant idea!!!! About 30 minutes too late!!!!!


As I mentioned, I'm in-lawed out.


So we wait a few more minutes and I see SIL hand my nephew his passport, and she asks that my MIL watch both my nepher and his passport to make sure he doesn't lose it.


So I start the arm chair quarterbacking again (your asking the lady who left coffee ON THE MIDDLE OF THE FLOOR to watch after your son's passport? Are you nuts? First of all, a passport is a pretty official document. I know you want your son to feel "empowered" by carrying his own passport, but maybe you can wait and do that when we're at the front of the line? I mean, he's seven...it's not like he's gonna care if his passport disappears. Here's a novel idea...how about you hold on to it for the time being?)


So I just keep my thoughts to myself, and pretend that I'm not with these people, and make sure to stay a few feet back so that I don't somehow end up with chocolate hand prints all over my butt.


We finally get to to customs, and we go through without incident, and thankfully without chocolate handprints, and head to the luggage area. Hubby stops someone to ask where we go to pick up our dive knives, which the ships security still has. We pick up all of our bazillion pieces of luggage, grab a porter, and we're off.


Except the porter underestimated the weight of the bags, and the luggage rack thing tips over with all of our luggage. Now it's time to strategically pile luggage on the carrier thing. And then we're officially off to stand in line for a cab.


There really wasn't that bad of a line at all. Within minutes, an overly-ambitious minivan taxi comes over. Um. Ok. You see seven us a right? You seen 10 pieces of luggage? How in the heck do think we're all going to fit in there? We need a full size van. "No, I can get it" says the cab driver. Ok. Sure. But before you do, you may want to smoke some more of that stuff that you're smoking if you think we'll all fit.


So the taxi driver and the porter try to cram it all in the minivan.


Except, guess what?


Yup. It doesn't fit.


So I smile my "maybe you should have listened to me in the first place" smile to the taxi driver, while secretly wishing that there were more women cab drivers. If it was a woman cab driver, she would have been long gone by now and would have called for a full size van for us!!!


So we wait only a few more minutes for a full size van. Magically enough, everything and everyone fits. I make sure to sit as far away as possible from my chocolate covered niece, and tell the driver (who is a woman!! Hooray!!!!) to take us to the Radisson Ambassador.


Within 15 minutes, we are back at the Radisson having this very weird feeling of deja vue. It is now about 10:00 and there are no rooms ready, so we wait for a few minutes and within 20 minutes all the rooms become available. So up we go to our rooms to drop off our stuff.


The new plan is that we will all meet in the lobby so that we can go out and grab breakfast (or lunch for those of us that had breakfast already).


We decide to try this little cafe place that is just down the street a bit on Ashford Ave. It's a little place called "Danny's" which has quite an impressive menu: omelettes, pancakes, sandwiches, strombolis, pizza, subs, etc. Well the food was quite tasty but the service was very puerto rican (i.e. SLOW). I think we wiated a full 15 minutes before we got our drinks. I had the Philly Cheese Steak sub with fries (very very good), and I can't remember what hubby had. Everyone else had breakfast :D Interestingly enough, all omelettes come with fries. I though it was weird, but hey, their fries are really good. BIL spills his coke again (must be something he only does in Puerto Rico...) for old times sake. The kids are really starting to be a pain at this point, escpecially the nephew.

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After about an hour and a half, we finally make it out of there alive and in one piece, and try to get a cab to El Morro. Unfortunately, there are no cabs around, so we walk back the block or so to the hotel so that we can grab a cab from there.


We finally make our way to El Morro, and wander around. It's another picture perfect day, and we take a ton of pictures, including some really good artsy kind of pictures. The kids are not as annoying now as they are actually doing something other than annoying each other.


We head back to tarantual lighthouse to see if we can find the same tarantula from last week, but alas, it was not to be. Oh well. On our way out I noticed the bizarre locks on the door near the entrance and asked one of the workers if the door lock hardware was orginal. Yes, indeed they are as are the hinges on the doors. Very Cool!! I received a good 10 minute tutorial on lockss and hinges from the 1500s and it was fascinating. Seriously. Note to self: if you have any questions, ask the people that work there. You will really get some amazing and detailed answers. Better yet, try the guided tour that they have. I'm sure there are wonderful pieces of info that are given out that really help you put things into context. Unfortunately, I was with an attention-span challenged family, so there would be no guided tours for me.


After spending some time at El Morro, we head on out to see a little of Old San Juan. We take more pictures, and wander down some streets when we find ourselves at the door of my two best friends that I haven't seen in a while; Ben & Jerry's.


By mutual consent, we all decide to take a much needed and air-conditioned break (did I mention it gets hot there?). With my phish food in hand, I look around this very eclectic ice cream shoppe. It is very interesting, and really reminds me of someplace that would fit in quite nicely in Ann Arbor, MI.


The walls are painted this bright turquoise color with black and while and pick checkerboard trim. There is a little dining room scene hanging from the ceiling and a big screen tv playing Finding Nemo. I plastic skeleton hangs from the window, and all over the walls are these framed pictures and articles of Michelle Campi.


Ok. I give. Who the heck is Michelle Campi? So I get up from the table and wander around to investigate. Here's the story: Michelle Campi was on the US Womens Olympic Gymnastic Team back in the early 1990s. The team did ok, and medal-ed, but not sure where they placed (didn't have that much time to investigate). After Michelle Campi retired from gymnastics (probably at the ripe old age of 20 knowing how "old" gymnists are), she some how made her way to San Juan, and she and her friend went into business together and opened up a Ben & Jerry's store in San Juan. Hence all the framed pics and stories of Michelle Campi. The one picture that drew my eye was that of Michelle with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. Man...I didn't realize how tall Nicole Kidman was!!! She towered over Michelle in the picture and was taller than even Tom Cruise.


Pleased with my investigative abilities, I went back to finish my ice cream. Before we left, I needed to use the ladies room. Well, the bathroom was just as eclectic as the rest of the place. I was especially fond of the sign that said "please do not throw toilet paper down the toilet! Please throw out in the garbage can next to the toilet." Ok. That's just NASTY!! That can't possibly be considered healthy? I mean, what health department would say "Hey. That's a great idea! Let's keep all used toilet paper "remnants" in a garbage can."?


After being sufficiently grossed out, we left to wander a little more of Old San Juan. We checked out the Del Store (loved the watches with the faces that change color, but couldn't see paying $69 for it), and a couple of other stores.


Hubby was really starting to get cranky as he really wasn't feeling well due to a cold he had picked up two days before and was desperately trying to fight, and wanted to go back to the hotel. So we tried to round up the family (akin to herding clouds) so that we could go. Well while BIL is chasing down SIL and kids, I take a picture of one of the buildings. Hubby stands a few feet from me and feels something wet drop on him. "What was that", he asks? "Probably just water from an air conditioneing unit", I said. Except it wasn't. A pigeon had strategically picked my hubby as his target and proceeded to dump right on his hat and shirt. So hubby goes into the restuarant that he's standing near and grabs napkins to try to clean it off as best he can. It's now officially time to leave with or without the family. Magically, the rest of the familly appears, and we wander in search of a taxi and end up getting one in front of some hotel.



Now, it's time to go back to the hotel to rest. We spend a bit of time up at the rooftop pool cooling down with SIL and the kids, and then hubby and I go back to our room to spend a little time without family.


Then it's time for dinner. SIL, BIL, hubby and I decide to go back to the "Tijuana's" mexican place. BIL just goes to place a carry out for him, Gaga, and the kids, while SIL enoyed a child-less meal with us. The food was good, but again, the service was slow.


After dinner, we headed back to the hotel and parted ways with the rest of the family for the rest of the evening. Hubby was in heaven since he was laying down, watching football, without family. Me? I was happy to just enjoy the quiet while reading my book! I think we ended up falling asleep by 9:30 that night!


Until the next installment,



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Loving your review. I think most of us feel for you with the in-laws. I learned along time ago to be careful who you travel with. We are going on the AOS in March with 3 other couples. We let everyone know before we go that we are not encharge of entertainment and that we all need alone time with our spouses and let everyone know they don't have to do what we are dong it is everyone's vacation and they should do what makes them happy. It has worked for us so far.

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