I missed my computer the most. I was on vacation for 2 weeks – I missed my kids and grandkids, my sister, my friends. But each morning I was lost without being able to sit down at the keyboard and pound out my thoughts for the day. My mind went into overdrive and I tried writing in my journal but, frankly, I can’t write as fast as I type. Many really important (and some rather useless) thoughts were lost to the Gulf of Mexico – floated away on the warm sea wind.
I learned a lot about differences from this trip. The differences between people and cultures; between countries; between cruise lines and between my husband and myself.
Any time you travel to a larger city, you will notice those differences. If you like to observe people, you will see so much more than just outward appearance. I had ample opportunity to observe – airports, airplanes, hotels, restaurants, museums, tour buses, bars, coffee shops, cruise ship – a plethora of material for any playscript or short story. Some people were very helpful and friendly. Some were very rude, bordering on obnoxious. Some were quiet, some were loud, many were drunk (we were in New Orleans after all!).
During our stay in New Orleans, we walked everywhere. Because we had smart phones, we could insert a destination and find our route and the time it would take to get there. This saved us both time and money for taxi fare! It also gave us the opportunity to see more of the city – up close and personal. The buildings are very old and very impressive. Some are in disrepair and some have been refurbished. The streets are narrow and the drivers use their horns very frequently! Foot traffic does not abide by the traffic signals; if there was no traffic, they would cross on a red light. This was very difficult for my husband, the “retired policeman”. The first few times that I started across on a red light, he would make a disparaging remark about breaking the law. But after being left standing on the corner alone while everyone else crossed a few times, he joined the rest of us lawbreakers.
I live in a small town, on an Indian reservation, in Montana. One of the most noticeable differences when we travel is the diversity of ethnicities. Lots of different languages and accents – difficult to understand – and we feel like foreigners. Certainly not a bad thing, just different. We also lead a much simpler life, at a much slower pace and at a much lower expense. We had to remember to keep cash on hand so we could tip everyone from the lady who cleaned the bathroom, to the guy who drove you to the airport, to the man who held your luggage for 10 seconds while shifting it from the car to the cart! And how much do you tip anyway? Burning questions for inexperienced travelers.
We have been on two previous cruises, both on the same ship with Royal Caribbean. This trip, we booked with Norwegian. There was a pretty significant difference – and if we ever go again, we’ll go back to Royal! This was a larger ship and we got a room with a balcony. It was very nice – rooms were great, the ship was older but very clean and well maintained. The service wasn’t top notch and drinks (coffee, pop and alcohol) were very pricey. I think they want you to buy their drinks package – so they charge exorbitant prices. The food at several dining rooms was included in the package (and was very good) and then their were other restaurants you could go to if you paid a “cover charge”. With Royal, you choose a dinner time and you had to “dress” for dinner each night but the service was wonderful and you felt very “special”. It was worth the gratuity because the staff anticipated your every need – your glass and bread basket were always full and fresh. For the most part, on this cruise, we ate at the buffet; the food was good and we didn’t have to wait to be served. The entertainment was great. The warm sunshine was glorious (although that wasn’t provided by Norwegian, per se.)
We were on the ship for 7 days. My husband and I are together 24/7 as it is – but when we are at home, we do our own thing and really only pass each other as we move about the house. Because we have been together for 30 years, married for 29, we have learned how to read each other. We definitely have our differences and our common interests. We are both a little on the OCD side and like to have control. I wouldn’t say we were control “freaks”, more like control “zealots”. It is difficult for either of us to relinquish control over our daily pursuits – to rely on someone else for transport and planning, makes us both a little edgy. But we managed with only a few hiccups – went to the beach in Cozumel, to the Mayan ruins in Belize, ziplining in Roatan and shopping in Costa Maya.
As the trip progressed, I began to note our differences. The biggest of which is that when we are sitting quietly – our minds definitely go down different paths. As we sat one day in the dining room, neither of us was talking so I (of course) asked him what he was thinking. He was thinking about the ship and the engines, they are diesel engines and they put out blah, blah, blah horsepower, there are blah, blah, blah (YES, I glazed over). Meanwhile, I had been watching one couple fight, a man berating his wife, a family of five laugh about something one had said, a group of drunken kids obviously on spring break and one mother trying to get her child to eat something other than cake and ice cream. I was watching and listening – he was calculating and processing.
Diversity can keep you together or break you apart – depends on your level of evolvement.
Difference #1 – I LOVE the sun, the heat is my comfort. My husband burns to a crisp and sweats like a hog in August.
Difference #2 – I enjoy walking on the beach, I prefer walking in bare feet along the surf. He likes walking on a smooth hard surface. Walking on the sand, even in sandals is difficult.
Difference #3 – I’m a mover and a shaker. I like to get up and get moving. He is a ponderer and a wanderer. He likes to think things over, walk along slowly. In some ways, we are like the bulldog and the Chihuahua – I run ahead, sniff things over then come back and circle him a few times before we arrive at our final destination.
Difference #4 – He loves a good buffet and will try a little bit of everything. I prefer to eat small portions, a little at a time, multiple times a day. To me, a buffet is a waste…everyone always eats more than they should just because it is THERE!
Difference #5 – I love a good comedy show. He likes a good sports game. We both like musical/singing shows.
Difference #6 – he loves a good bit of air conditioned air – I wear a jacket if it gets below 70. It worked out fine this time because, I sat out on the balcony and he sat in the room as we leisurely read our kindles.
There were times on the cruise (7 days with just the two of you is a long time for anyone!) when we were getting edgy. Without actually saying so, we took a timeout. I found a chair in the sun, he found a cool place onboard and we regrouped. Later, we came back together and were ready to proceed. Sounds like a business venture? In some ways, it is.
All in all, we really enjoyed this celebration of my retirement. We are still learning things about each other and this life we share – even after 30 years. Our differences make little difference in the grand scheme of things.