Footnote to Part 4: I forgot to mention that Chris and I did get out into Cozumel for just a bit yesterday. It’s not exactly old Mexico if you stay within easy walking distance of the port. What it is, like most of the world’s ports, is a shopping center. But, oh, were they glad to see us. Chris had been admiring my white embroidered Indian tops and I knew that, in a slightly different style, the same thing was available in Mexico. So I kept an eye out, as we toured. She bought a small leather item and a bottle of tequila, and eventually I spotted a white top.
There was no shortage of sales people to serve us and soon we had decided on identical tops. After all, we won’t be running into each other, with her in Florida and me in Montreal. Only her credit card wouldn’t work in their machine and I hadn’t even thought to bring one. I had enough cash but Chris did not and I didn’t have enough to cover two. So they ran to another store and got somebody else’s point of sale terminal – no go. Then they did it a third time. They really needed that sale. Still nothing. Somebody got the bright idea that she could use an ATM, but after three failed attempts, nothing was going to work again that day. We went home with just one.
Back in the cabin, I had her try mine on and she loved it. It looked great on her, too. I told her I would sell it to her as I have at least eight of them at home, but she decided to run back out for it, instead. That was so the right thing to do. The salespeople practically shed tears of joy, when she reappeared with money in her hand. It’s been a very long, dry spell for them. We figured we each paid $35 for a $20 blouse and we didn’t mind a bit. It means so much more to them than it does to us. When she got home Chris sent me this triumphant pic:
Tuesday, November11 2021
Another day at sea and in class. Time for our presentations, and yes, our team won for best presentation. I think we should have got the prize for best agency name, too, but we can’t be greedy. Key Lime Travel won, likely because the little key lime tarts they served were so delicious. I think ours was the best name:
Ya think? After the presentations, came the team-building exercise, The Amazing Race. We ran all over the ship, taking team selfies with kewpie dolls, singing songs, and solving puzzles. We didn’t win that one. Next all the Canadians had our PCR tests. I was negative but one of my teammates’ roommate was positive, so I planned to get tested again the next day, in Montreal.
Another cocktail party, another good dinner with Chris and Dan and it was over. Getting off with carry-on, and a roommate with a car, was just delightful. Chris drove me to the airport in plenty of time. Muchas gracias, Mama Bear. I cleared email, wrote a blog installment and had a nice lunch at PF Chang’s. The flights were uneventful, except for developing a cough on the EWR-YUL leg. My poor seatmate spent the whole flight with her head in the window or down on the tray table. I didn’t blame her.
I had filled in the ArriveCAN app twice and it had appeared to be happy the second time, but the Canadian Health officials weren’t. Apparently I had not uploaded my proof of double vaccination into the correct place. So, in the presence of the agent, I fired up my laptop, only to be greeted by a nasty pop-up that wanted to fix my computer of whatever it had doubtless put there itself. I NEVER, EVER click on such things. The warning at the Tampa airport had been real. I should never have been on their Internet and certainly not for two hours.
The agent was sympathetic, and we redid the ArriveCAN thing together on his tablet. Of course it has to go through some processing or other and maybe some human approval, because it wasn’t acceptable when I got to customs five minutes later. So the customs agent took me over to another branch of the health service and eventually they agreed that all was in order and let me through. What a performance. It was 11:30pm by the time I got home.
Robbie had great staff. Jane and Geo had taken wonderful care of him and left the house exactly as they had found it. Good people, those, thank you J and G. Robbie was even happy to see me, or maybe he was just hungry. I fed him, unpacked everything that had to be washed, which was everything made of fabric, and went to bed.
Saturday, November 13
But it wasn’t over. I dragged myself up and into the Jacuzzi on Saturday morning. Then I finished unpacking, brushed Robbie, teeth and fur, clipped his nails, and finished unpacking. It was Dena’s day to come in and help, thank God. While she took care of the house, I called Microsoft and had them deal with the phisher on my computer. The $150 or so a year, that I pay them, to be able to call for that service, is worth every penny, and then some.
Once I had the computer back, I set about looking for a free PCR test, available to people who have been exposed – but not everywhere. It probably took me an hour of research to settle on Hotel Dieu. By this time it was almost three. I was out of potatoes, and no Irish woman can ever be out of potatoes, so I decided to get a Communauto to go get my shot. Saturday afternoon isn’t the best time, I soon found out. The closest car was at the corner of Inspector and Notre Dame, a station car, in a parking lot. I don’t like station cars, because they have to be returned on time and they rent them out based on when they are due back.
It was almost raining and certainly windy and raw. I walked down there and there was no car. I called Communauto and waited on the line for at least twenty minutes. The car still wasn’t there when someone came on the line. She put me on hold while she called the previous renter to make sure she was delivering the car. The call dropped while I was waiting, so I dialed again and got back in Communauto’s queue. A different car was returned, but I couldn’t just take it until I spoke to them to release it to me. They still hadn’t answered when my rental came in but I stayed on the line to let them know when I had got the car and that all was well, only it was 4:47 pm. Then I ran into the cone and detour problem that plagues downtown Montreal, and has for years.
Getting the test at Hotel Dieu was a smooth procedure and I was out of there an hour later. There’s a 24-7 grocery store on St. Lawrence Main, near Pine, and I used it for my potatoes, fresh raspberries, cream, etc. I took the groceries home and called for a taxi on the way to returning the car. I didn’t particularly want to walk back home, up hill, in the dark. When I got there, there was no taxi. I waited five minutes and called the taxi company who said the driver had been and left because I wasn’t there. They offered to send another but by that time I was too mad to wait. I walked home, up hill, in the dark, and the cold. What an ordeal. It was a night for one of my pre-cooked meals. I had chicken paprikash and noodles and went to bed. Yes, the test was negative. I’m fine and the next thing you’ll get will be Robbie’s Christmas card.