Norwegian EPIC, 11/27/10 Debarking Day

As a final act of kindness, the good folks at NCL hooked me up with the gold luggage tags. So, I slept in til 8, spent a bit of time by the pool, drinking coffee, then mosey'd on down to the Bliss Lounge at 9:15. Two minutes after I got there, a lady came in and asked me if I was ready to go, and escorted me down the back way, on the crew elevator, so we could take cuts and be off the boat in under 5 minutes. Of course I then had to get thru Customs and wait a half hour for my shuttle to the airport, so I am not convinced of the value of the whole "Priority Disembark" thing...Anyway, got to the airport (MIA), picked up the rental car, and headed north to Fort Lauderdale. I love Fort Lauderdale. So much better,for me, than Miami. More laid back beach town. Parked the car in the parking garage at the Beach Plaza, wherein lies HOOTERS, world famous for the great food and free wifi. It was still early, so I took a walk from there down to a little past Las Olas, and back. It's about 80F and sunny, the beach is getting crowded on a perfect Saturday, and just sitting in the sand for a minute is very restful. And I need the rest. I didn't get to bad til 4:30 last night. After a week of this, I am tired. And I have all day to mess around before my 8pm flight home. So, after the beach stroll I went back to Hooters, got me some fried pickles and Buffalo Shrimp. I don't know why O'Sheehan's doesn't serve fried pickles. An obvious oversight on NCL's part.

Sat around for an hour or so typing up the Last Day at Sea post, then moved downstairs, where the Plaza has some nice patio furniture right in front of some outdoor electric receptacles. Plugged in and charged everything, while people watching and deciding I love my life. After that little exercise in battery charging, and gratitude, I did a few more circuits from Las Olas to the Ritz and back, taking breaks to sit on the beach or the wall and just soak in the sun, before deciding it was time to get some grub and head to the airport.

This last week was a pretty good example of why I travel. A little break from the everyday. A little luxury. A little exercise, and a little rest. Meeting new people and making new friends. Running into old friends from previous travels and renewing the friendship. Going to cool places I have enjoyed before, and seeing new places I haven't been before. OH, and playing with monkeys.

I have a huge list of people I want to thank. I can't think of any particular way to organize the list, so I am going to just put them down in chronological order. I am also going to forget a few - please don't be offended. So, THANK YOU to:

Jacquie, Klaus, Amanda, Dennis, Sean, Tracy, Kat, Mike, Paul, Cat, Hannah, Natalie, Aisha, Jessica, Rashida, the current cast of Second City/EPIC troupe, Roadside Louie, and each and every Duster, the Legends cast, Rod, Britney and Michael, Courtney and Arvind, Dan and Sharon...and thanks also to Patti, Patty, Patricia, Glenn, Rob, Ervin and Craig. That's not a complete list, but you get the idea.

And, now, I am sitting at the Quarterdeck on Las Olas, chowing down some nachos and reluctantly deciding it's time to head to the airport...