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Monday, April 19, 2010

Disembark

Wouldn’t you know it, it was raining in Miami today.  At least that wasn’t going to stop us from getting off the ship. It wasn’t storming, so we still had a prayer that our plane would take off on time once we got to the airport.  The process of getting off the ship is slow, but relatively painless.  When you’re cruising, you put your luggage outside your room on the last night of the cruise, and it’s taken to the secure holding area so customs can have a look at it in the morning.  We chose to take advantage of the luggage express program offered by Carnival, so they were going to take care of getting our bags to the airport too.

When you use luggage express customs wants to see you separately from other passengers.  Apparently something about the fact that you’re not escorting your baggage to the airport makes them want to look a little closer.  This, coupled with the fact that we boarded the ship in St. Thomas instead of Miami, got us an express trip to a personal meeting with a customs agent.  Mom, Angie, and I got to go together because we live in the same house and have the same last name.  Our agent was a nice guy.  He looked at each of our passports and asked us some questions.  It was easy, “why didn’t you board in Miami?” and “what was your flight number to St. Thomas?”  The one that none of us had an answer for was, “What was your original flight number?”  We stood there, none of us knew this one.  Apparently we tried to forget all aspects of that first miserable flight.  Lucky for us, I tend to hold on to papers, and I still had my boarding pass with me.  So, Mr.. Customs was satisfied…..one hurdle cleared.

The shuttle to the airport was pretty calm….even waiting at the airport was sort of boring.  I mean, there were no delays to get us fired up.  We even got to watch them load the luggage onto the plane.  The flight home would have been uneventful except for one little detail…..two little words….panic attack. 

On every other flight I had taken I was either in a window seat, or the seat right next to that.  I like looking out the window to see what’s going on.  On this flight, however, I was in the third seat, on the aisle.  I didn’t think much of it until we were rolling towards the runway.  I felt a little strange not being able to watch where we were going, but I didn’t think much of it…..until takeoff.  Something about not being able to see what was going on as that plane left the ground just did not sit well.  I couldn’t catch my breath, my chest was tight, and as much as I tried to calm myself down, I ended up shaking and in tears.  IT.  WAS.  HORRIBLE.  After ten or fifteen minutes I managed to pull myself together, and the good news was the only passengers who seemed to notice my little “episode” were mom and Kendra.  Every time we hit a pocket of turbulence I could feel myself start to panic again, but the only time I had a full on attack was right at takeoff.  Lesson learned.  Clearly Kimmy needs to be near a window on an airplane.

We got landed on time in sunny weather.  We found our luggage pretty easily.  Dad was right there waiting to shuttle us home straight out of baggage claim.  Vacation’s over.  Back to the real world.

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