We made our way up into San Pedro Bay to the Long Beach Cruise Center, which is adjacent to the permanent berthing of the Queen Mary, now a major tourist destination for events and tours.
We tied up next to the great old ship at 7:00 am, enjoyed our last breakfast on the ship while they began the debarkation process. By 9:30 we were off the ship, had cleared customs and immigration and were on the bus to LAX. All too fast and efficient for these two south sea islanders. LAX was like a zoo – where oh where is my deck chair? Back to DFW, and thanks to Cruise Escapes, a car to the house, where we need to prepare for the coming ice storm.
I am often asked, at the end of these long trips, if I am ready to be home. Certainly we miss the family and friends in Texas and are anxious to see them – but are we tired of cruising? The answer is no – at the end of these trips, we could stay on and keep going. In this case the ship is going into dry dock, so it is a moot point, but if the option were available to sail through the canal and get off in Ft. Lauderdale in two weeks, we would do it.
This has been a fascinating voyage, full of new places and people for us, sprinkled with some familiar people and places. Japan was a first for us – a beautiful country, a wonderful culture and people, but hard to imagine it is the same people who caused all of the death and destruction on the islands we visited. They have put it in the past, as should I, but it creates a dichotomy when you visit the WWII sites and then visit Japan.
And then there was China – our first trip to the mainland. China is truly an awakening giant – they have made tremendous strides with their new capitalism, but they are faced with many, many challenges, such as their air pollution and how they are going to handle a billion people who have now had a taste of the “good life”.
Hong Kong was fun as always – a hectic wonderful place. Singapore remains a unique country; we love to visit every chance we get. Brunei was fascinating – it is good to be Sultan.
I will never forget standing on Edson’s Ridge on Guadalcanal, where the tide of WWII was changed by a dedicated bunch of Marines, nor will I forget the enthusiasm of thousands of Solomon Islanders, greeting the first cruise ship to call at Guadalcanal in 13 years.
Finishing up the trip with two weeks sailing through French Polynesia was a perfect closing act to this trip. We swam and snorkeled all over those islands – great fun.
In closing out this blog, I can find no better closing message than my favorite Valentines card from Sally.
Remember, in life’s journeys, it’s not where you go, or how you get there that counts.
It’s who is by your side.