It’s all in the details…Four days and counting…

Natural vegetation around our resort.

Oh, good grief!  Could there be more details to handle before we leave? It’s not as simple as packing our bags and hitting the road.  We knew this going in. 

It’s easy for me to remember how much work it was to handle a single two-week vacation. In 2011, Tom and I went to Hollywood, Florida for a convention. With social events many nights, the packing was challenging. It wasn’t a matter of a few pairs of jeans, shorts, tee shirts, a dress, underwear, and toiletries.

This wooden alligator hand-carved by a local craftsman.  Up close, the detail is riveting with individually hand-carved teeth

Yes, I’ll admit that I like a different outfit and its accompanying accessories every night.  That’s who I am.  People who know me well, get this, teasing me endlessly for my particular nature. However, I’ve tempered my need for a variety of adopting a “mix and match” philosophy, turning one outfit into many.  That seems to work well when traveling. 

Windy, cloudy day today.

So, as of today, my entire travel wardrobe, including shoes, bags, underwear, bathing suits, dress-up and casual wear is situated in two suitcases packed and ready to go.  I did it. I let “stuff” go. Tom has two large equally stuffed bags, packed and ready to go.

Our goal by the time we left Belize, was to have three large bags, packed with the items we’re letting go to send to my sister in Los Angeles to store until we need them. Right now, two of those three bags are packed. The third contains miscellaneous items we can’t let go: prescriptions, medical supplies, steamer, beach towels, etc. 

While sitting at the pool today, we met a lovely newlywed couple, but ran indoors when the skies opened to giant raindrops.

The reality, after days of sorting and resorting, is that we may end up with five large suitcases after we ship two, not three bags to Julie. The rest is carry-on. 

We will fly six times in the next 18 months:  Dubai to Barcelona, Rome to Kenya, Kenya to South Africa, South Africa to Morocco, Morocco to Madeira, Madeira to who knows where? We have 3 1/2 months to “kill” that we haven’t yet planned.) Most of these airlines have recently changed their checked bag policies. 

A few months ago, Emirates Airlines, which we’ll fly on May 21, 2013, from Dubai to Barcelona, allowed two checked bags of 30 kg (66 pounds each). Now it’s down to one bag. The cost for a 2nd bag is in the $100’s if not more depending on the weight. 

We discuss our options such as storage facilities in various locations along the way. We haven’t decided yet, but will soon.

Reading this, I am sure many may think, “GET RID OF MORE STUFF!”  Sounds practical. But, a reality few ever faced, this is everything we own. We have no home to go back to in order to repack. Many world travelers do.  Everything we own is with us in this villa right now.  EVERYTHING!  Oops! Our tax records and documents are stored with son in Nevada. 

The next detail that we finally solved was getting all of our six boarding passes printed. There was some glitch between my sending them via email to the front desk. After several attempts, I contacted our cruise guy, Joaquin, who happened to be on vacation. Alas, our guy came through sending us new PDF documents for all of our cruises.  Tim, at the desk, printed them all.  Now, we’re set all the way through to our cruise on June 4, 2013.

The cruise lines send documents to passengers, which include luggage tags one must print themselves, using sticky paper. Who has sticky paper? Not us. 

Calling the cruise lines using Skype, I verified in each case that we can get luggage tags from the porters when our bags at taken from us at the pier.  On our two earlier cruises this year, they were mailed to us. These cruise lines no longer mail the luggage tags: Carnival, Royal Caribbean, and Norwegian, all of which we’ll be on in the next two months. 

Of course, we have our own permanent luggage tags on each of our bags but cruise lines handle so much luggage, they want the pre-printed cabin number and name on each piece of luggage to avoid delays.  Understandable. 

This morning, Tom stated, “Gee, I wonder what passengers older than us, who don’t have printers or even computers at home, manage to print their documents.”  Good point.  As I mentioned yesterday, electronic documents attached to a person’s passport or other ID would be an ideal solution. 

Yesterday, we confirmed our private shuttle for the four-hour drive to Belize City on Tuesday (on the scary road).  I kindly asked if they could have either the windows open (we couldn’t open them) this time or turn on the AC.   It was 90 humid degrees that day, resulting in four hours of hot sweaty bouncing on the rough, winding,  treacherous road. The owner of the shuttle company promised they’d have AC working.

We’re eating all of our remaining food in the freezer. Tonight, bacon cheeseburgers (no bun), pork chops, and coleslaw, an odd combination. Tomorrow, the same and Sunday, we’ve invited our local friends for homemade low carb GF pizza and salad, our favorite staple for which we have all the ingredients.

Winding down.  I keep telling Tom that within six hours of leaving here at 8:00 am Tuesday morning we’ll be on the ship, unpacking in our cabin on the Carnival Liberty (oh, please Carnival, no incidents!). I say this to comfort myself as well as Tom.

At that point, we can relax looking forward to staying put for 11 days until we switch ships at the pier in Miami for the journey across the ocean on the Norwegian Epic, a huge five-star ship.

There is nothing more we can do today. Soon, we’ll venture out to the pool for our hour of lounging in a lawn chair, dipping in the water every 15 minutes to cool off.  We’ll miss the pool, the staff, the people, our friends, the expanse of the ocean at our door, our time on the veranda, our walks along the beach, the sounds of the birds, and the breathtaking vegetation.

Soon, we’ll have a new place to embrace. It’s all good.


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