And here we go, with my personal Memoir Monday....
The drive from Phoenix to LA is about 6 hours, so we drove up the night before and stayed with my best friend in Laguna Niguel. That part went as planned.
The next morning we got up, with a whole day stretching before us. The cruise ship didn’t leave port until 5:30 that evening (with boarding starting at 5:00) so we had plenty of time.
That is, we would have had plenty of time had I not severely underestimated Los Angeles traffic. And the sad part? I had no excuse. I had lived in Los Angeles. I knew from experience the true level of brutality that is the Los Angeles freeway system.
Two hours and one cup of coffee later, I was starting to panic. I was stuck in gridlock on the 405, not even remotely close to Long Beach, and we were supposed to be there in less than an hour.
“Well,” they said, “As long as you can make it here before 5:30, you’ll be fine.”
“I think I’m going to be sick.” Said SuzyQ, her nerves and an empty stomach full of coffee getting the better of her.
At 4:22, we exited the freeway into the east side of Long Beach. We had 8 minutes to make it to the far southwest end of Long Beach.
“They won’t let us on. They’ve already pulled up the boarding walkway. The ship is getting ready to move away from port.”
I looked at the ship, still sitting placidly next to shore. “But it hasn’t yet, right? And didn’t we just spend the last twenty minutes calling them every five seconds to assure them that we would make it by 5:30? It’s 5:30!”
SuzyQ held up the piece of paper in her hand. “They gave us directions to meet the ship in Mexico.”
The directions went as follows:
Meeting The Ship in Ensenada
- Walk over to the Queen Mary Hotel Entrance
- Take a taxi to the local Greyhound
- Take the Greyhound to Tijuana (Mexican Border) Central Bus Station
- In Tijuana, Take the “ABC” bus line to Ensenada
- In Ensenada you can check in after 8:00 at the Cruise Terminal
- If you arrive early in Ensenada you may want to get a hotel until the morning (average arrival time for this trip is about 1a.m.)
- Average price for the whole trip is about $30.00
Brilliant. That, obviously, was not an option. Backup plan? Tears.
After about five minutes of crying and ten more minutes of hapless employees referring us to slightly-higher-up hapless employees so that they could deal with the stupid crying girls, we met a man that told us the good news: they were putting the walkway back out so that we could board. The ship’s Chief purser had agreed to let us on the cruise.
We were hurried through embarkation process and ran across the walkway to the ship, dragging our luggage until finally we stumbled into the bright lights and subtle stuffiness of the inside of the cruise liner. Chandeliers were sparking warmly, people were milling about drinking cocktails, and we had never seen anything lovelier in our entire lives.
It was 6:00 pm. The ship was half an hour behind schedule. Because of us.
Once we had recovered from our near-disaster, we had a fun time with activities like horseback riding on the coast, eating, attending comedy shows, eating, participating in poolside games and enjoying adult beverages, buying knockoff designer sunglasses (me), eating, winning the no-buy-in shipboard poker tournament (SuzyQ), and taking pictures of random objects, such as:
phallic-looking door handles
“You would not believe it,” we’d say, “we held up the whole cruise ship!”
They would chuckle and reply, “yeah, we were running a little late ourselves.”
SuzyQ and I would look at each other in silent communication, “You have no idea what we really mean when we say we were 'late for the cruise.'"