Woke up feeling pretty crappy this morning. Drainage-caused sore throat and an upset stomach. I really hope this isn’t related to the bug bite I got on Tuesday.

Norwegian Cruise Line offers something they call “Easy Walk Off”. It isn’t. The idea is that you don’t have to finish packing the night before, leave your luggage in the hall, and claim it in the terminal when your color is called. This sounded perfect for us, as we had a morning excursion. The biggest problem we saw is that they call walk-offs and a tag color. The result: the elevators are clogged with people rushing off the ship to claim their luggage while walk-offs are trying to get down two to eight decks dragging luggage; stairs are not an option. Despite much confusion and a fair amount of stress, we made it off the ship and to our tour bus.

The bus took us about 45 minutes from the port into the everglades. Along the way, the tour guide explained how, over the last 70 years or so, developers have consumed an enormous amount of the glades for expansion. She also described much of the plant and animal life, both native and imported. We arrived at the airboat tour location, and got on board. What a trip to be on a boat that can drift. We saw some interesting plants, some birds and a couple turtles; I was disappointed with how few creatures we saw out there, but I suppose it’s understandable, considering how much noise the boat made. Expecting to feel like I was in a swamp, I was pleasantly surprised with how cool the air was. We spent the better part of an hour cruising around the glades, occasionally stopping for the driver to point something out or to take pictures. After the ride, we were presented with a brief alligator/crocidile show, in which the presenter joined the lizards in their cage, and played with and fed them. Afterward, he allowed us, for a small donation of course, to hold one of their younger gators named Snappy. He was surprisingly soft, light, and calm.

With only a few more minutes before the bus would depart, we quickly walked through their nature trail to get some more pictures. Back on the bus, next stop: airport.

For as long as I can remember, airports have been a haven of stress. In late 2001, that increased exponentially. A few years later, it started to spiral downward. I don’t know about the other airlines, but American now charges about a third of your ticket price to check your bags. I booked these tickets nine months ago to lock in a decent fare, and saw nothing about paying to check each bag. Between the two of us, we paid $70 each way to check three bags; I’m glad we packed light. At least we know they’ll take good care of our stuff for such a hefty fine. Wait, did I hear a crunch when he threw them on the belt?

The flight home was mostly smooth, which was appreciated. Despite the hassles of getting to and from the port, we had a wonderful trip, and are looking forward to our next cruise. Alaska is sounding good.


30 October 2010