I just wanted everyone to know that we are back in Kansas. I’ve downloaded all or most of the photos we took and in due time, I’ll give a play by play. I did learn on this trip that my iPad is one version too old to sync with the phone without a computer go between, so I should now be able to take the writing I’ve done and merge in the pictures to make a reasonable record of our trip.
Before I do, however, I’ll tell you about our trip home. Our ship, the Celebrity Millenium, docked in Vancouver Friday morning and we took a transfer bus directly to the airport, since our plane was scheduled to leave just after 2 pm. Dealing with customs was an experience. When we have come back into the US from Mexico, we walked through a line, told them we had purchased A, B and C and walked back onto US soil. In Vancouver, you present a customs declaration and even though you are still on Canadian soil, the next sign you see says “Welcome to the United States”! Not entirely true, though. If you make a purchase past that point, you still get your change in Canadian money!
The adventure continued. When we moved our residency from Kansas to South Dakota, they insisted that my name on my driver’s license had to be spelled exactly the way it was on my birth certificate which is Zara Ann. My passport shows this as well. HOWEVER!! When I was in junior high, I decided that since I had always been called by my middle name, it would look more “complete” (and more sophisticated, I thought) if I added an E, making the spelling Anne, like the princess in England. When I got my first checking account, our banker told me that if I wasn’t doing it for purposes of defrauding someone, I could call myself anything I wanted to and all my legal documents since had been spelled that way. Enter the government in their infinite wisdom. They decided that everyone needed to have my given name, so medical records and deeds, etc. carried my name as Zara Anne. And now, that isn’t good enough anymore. It has never been a problem until Vancouver. When I made our travel reservations, I used Zara A, but since I had to give the name on my credit card, which is Anne, they copied that and I became Zaraanne on my airline paperwork. WRONG! It didn’t match my passport. After a few minutes with a helpful person, they did let me in. I’ll be much more careful next time!
Our plane took off on time headed for Denver and we had a good trip. We knew we had several hours in the Denver airport so we ate supper and settled in at our gate. The first thing we heard from our gate personnel was “Wichita passengers, your plane is on the ground.” And the next thing we heard was “Your plane is broke (their word!) and we will be bringing in a different plane for your flight to Wichita.” And half an hour later or so when that plane came in, it turned out to be 15 seats short of the earlier one, which was sold out. By this time it was after 1o:30 pm and we decided that if the package they offered was good, we’d just spend the night. It was, so we volunteered to stay until Saturday to come home. They paid for our taxi to and from the hotel, our hotel accommodations and food, plus a travel voucher so we took advantage of retirement and were booked on the 2:32 pm flight on Saturday.
Back at the airport, we met up with fellow travelers from the night before, eager to get back to Wichita. The plane arrived early and it looked big enough to handle all the waiting passengers. A few minutes early, they began boarding and even though we were in Group 5, we got to the jetway and onto the plane and were seated. Just then, with three passengers left to get in the door, the captain came on the intercom and announced that somehow, who knew how, it had fallen through the cracks in United’s system that there was no co-pilot scheduled for this trip and therefore, we would have to deplane and wait until they got one! By this time, it had become a joke among our stragglers from the night before. The co-pilot showed up half an hour or so later to a unanimous ovation from the waiting crowd, which he didn’t particularly appreciate. We then waited until Group 5 was called again and once we were all seated and the door was closed, we began to breathe again. When the plane started to taxi, we felt pretty sure we were going to make it. And we did!
More on Alaska in days to come.