As you can see, I was happy to finally be getting away on a cruise after 2 years without a decent vacation. This was going to be a week of rest and relaxation, an escape from my current reality. And it was something I needed to do, even though I shouldn't have afforded it.
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The day started out by me waking up earlier than usual. And I was ready before Lili. So, she asked me to pick up an omelet that she could eat on her way to the ship. Instead of going to the usual places where I'm known as Mario, I decided to drive up the road a little bit to a deli I knew was halfway decent. One problem - it seemed like the whole town had the same idea, and I had to wait 20 minutes before I could get our food. By the time I got back, I was tailing Lili's car (I didn't know it at the time), rushing to get home before she and her boyfriend were to arrive.
Lili was wondering who the madman was behind her, and when I passed her in the parking lot, she realized who I was. Of course, I had to lie a little, and I told her that my honking was to tell her I was right behind her. (Sometimes, a good lie is better than a bad truth.) Once I parked my car, I had the opportunity to see her boyfriend for the first time - and he wasn't what I expected. Yet, he was exactly as Lili described him - average build, mocha skin, and very attentive to her needs. Unfortunately, she doesn't know what to do with this fellow, as his bedroom style is not compatible with her needs. (And no, I won't say much for now, as there is something important that I have not covered.) Hopefully, she will come to a decision soon, as stringing the fellow along would be a terrible thing to do to as nice a man as I saw this morning.
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Checking in for the cruise was a little bit easier than last time. First, I was more familiar with the embarkation routine they were using at the dock. And second, I was much more secure in my transgender identity and how to present identification whose image doesn't match the gender presentation I'm using on my cruise.
This trip, Lili and I skipped past all the usual photography check points where the cruise line's photo studio suckers a person into posing for some lame pictures. (The posed photos with simple, plain backgrounds are much better. But I feel that "Souvenir Backgrounds" are tacky, and to have one's picture taken with a giant lobster look a little stupid.) And within a few short minutes, we were on the ship, then in our stateroom.
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The following is a rough map of the route we expected to take. Although we were to hit every port on the list, there was a deviation from this route that I'll cover later in this journal.
I've been to each and every one of these places before, so I could have easily planned to skip shore excursions. Instead, I decided to walk around each port a little to get in some much needed exercise.
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Sailing out in bright daylight was a very different experience from our last cruise on this ship. Instead of seeing the Jersey shore at sundown, I saw places such as the Lackawana Ferry Terminal in a new light, and wanted to capture it on my return trip if possible. However, most of my outgoing photos were of the New York side of the Hudson river, and I was able to get this shot of Lower Manhattan from the ship.
Unlike my last trip, I was carrying my main cell phone, and planned to have it in airplane mode most of the trip. However, I was getting good signal well out into the harbor, and was able to send a few farewell messages while I was in range of Verizon's land based towers.
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Lili unpacked, and told me that she bought a dress just because I wanted to see her wear one. This is not true. I wanted her to try wearing a dress, as she had become way too self conscious of her looks before going on the cruise. Instead, she bought a dress, and planned to wear it only once. (Picture to come in a different posting.) When she was done with unpacking, she headed downstairs to see what booze was available in the duty free shop. Her plans were to buy bottles for her son and her boyfriend, not knowing that US Customs had changed the duty free allowance for booze and smokes since her last cruise. While in the shop, we met a fellow from Google who was a booze collector, and told her about the best buys she could make given her budget. If I were a drinker, I'd have picked up one of the bottles of Whisky - but I decided that cash was better off in my pocket than in my liquor cabinet.
Around 7 pm or so, I started to look for the "Friends of Dorothy", and they were nowhere to be found. This was sad, as I was looking for kindred spirits to have an occasional drink with on the cruise. While I was doing this, Lili was making one of her many donation trips to the shop's casino. So I doubled back there, and played the slots for a few minutes. I won almost $350 in less than 5 minutes time- then decided to nurse that money for the rest of the cruise.