Throughout our marriage Suzi and I have always had “Date Nights.” Often they were in the mid-afternoon while the kids were at school, long lunches. We talked about the kids, of course, but the main thing we did was dream, or brainstorm, about what we wanted to do after the fledging. One theme that constantly came up was traveling around the world without getting on an airplane. We talked about long rail trips across continents linked by freighter or ferry, perhaps a trans-Atlantic liner. Sometimes it was all on a ship, a freighter. But most freighters no longer carry passengers and being container ships they are in port a very short time. So the dream evolved and in our 50th year of marriage we’ve decided to take a “Grand World Voyage” on Holland America’s MS Amsterdam.
The cruise takes us to a lot of places where we have never been but have always dreamed of visiting, namely Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. It has a lot of other places that we’ve talked about visiting but have not, yet. In fact the itinerary takes us to 41 ports of call, only 4 of which we have visited before. Two of the four we have not seen for nearly 30 years, the third we have not seen in 45 years. (The fourth is Fr. Lauderdale, where we start and finish.) If you have not been to a place in three decades it is fair to ask if you have seen it at all? Hong Kong is no longer a British colony and the airport where we landed is now the cruise port where we will land. Singapore has exploded with new growth. And San Juan? I have no idea what we will find especially after the storms. I’m sure the old town and fortifications will be familiar but what else will we recognize?
So it is New Year’s Eve. We’re going out at 6 PM and hope to be home by 9 and in bed by 11, although the fireworks that someone shoots out over Jamestown Bay (someone? A quarter of the people lining along the bay will be shooting off stuff) will wake us up. I don’t know how well I’ll sleep between fireworks and excitement.