Tuesday, June 21, 2022

June 8, 2022 - Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Today, since I have completed 10 days of isolation since my positive test on May 28, 2022, we are cleared to travel.

We had breakfast in the 2800 Restaurant – Belgian Waffles with Strawberries and Bananas (this time) and Ellen had the Avocado Toast. 

We are all packed – it was relatively easy since we wore the same clothes the entire time in the Hotel. 

We had lunch in the restaurant – they only had one tuna sandwich left (supporting the hypothesis that the tuna was indeed purchased for us) and Ellen had that to go (she ate her avocado toast for lunch) and I had my final Beyond Burger.  I don’t know where they get their Beyond Burger but it is perfectly prepared – I ate the whole thing.  We have not been ordering fries since we get a pound of fries.  The tuna will be dinner at the airport.

Ellen waiting for our Ride to LAX

Our driver arrived early for our 1:20 PM ride to LAX.  He showed up in an Escalade SUV (he said the ride was $100). We checked out and chatted briefly with the desk staff – I also thanked the waiters for their help during our confinement.

The ride to LAX on the Harbor Freeway (110 Highway) took about 30 minutes.  The AA app said we needed to go to Terminal 4 but our driver insisted that it was Terminal 5.  I told him that we would get off at T-4 and it turned out to be the correct place.  Check in at the kiosk was quick and we left our bags at the Bag Drop.  We went upstairs to the TSA Checkpoint and were met with a backup.  Don’t know why but after several minutes we started to move.  I suspect that some folks were slow in getting their bags on to the conveyor belts to the X-Ray scanners (initial rodeo syndrome).  FYI – not a lot of mask wearing – I am wearing mine.

Our gate – 47B – wasn’t that far away and we had about two hours until our 4PM boarding time.  I decided to get an iced coffee at Dunkin and it cost $5.96 (they charged $0.99 for the mocha squirt).  That’s three times what I pay for the same drink back home.  And the irony was that the drink wasn’t very good – only drank half of it.  Pricier than ORD.

Our flight, AA2276 arrived from Chicago (I couldn’t see it from the gate).  About 50 percent masks at our gate.  We boarded a few minutes late because the flight had come in a bit late.  We are in 16E and 16F – Exit Row – middle and window.  I don’t usually get these seats but they were comfortable and I could actually look out the window (I was in the middle).  The woman on the aisle worked the entire flight and she was average size so everyone had their space.  I could get out easily (only had to do that two or three times on this flight). 

Boarding took a long time – some people were confused about where their seats were and some people hauled a huge roller board on to the plane late in the process and then had no place to put it.  The flight attendants on this flight did not appear to be as helpful in getting those overheads filled and closed.  We pushed late – in fact, a first class passenger was in the bathroom when we started to push back.

The flight itself was uneventful – couldn't see anything on takeoff because the marine layer was thick; it was nice, however, to able to see able to look out the window on this flight.  Usually, we are aisle across and the person at the window has the shade down the whole flight.   

We had the tuna sandwich for lunch and it was great – I had decaf coffee (easier on the throat) with the sandwich.

Flight time was 3 hours 30 minutes (I watched the Women’ Softball Series on the AA app).  We got into Chicago around 10:30PM.  Our bags came off the carousel quickly but I had already tried to schedule an American Taxi.  The app told me that there were no cabs at ORD and I should try again at 1:30 AM – WHAT?  I called 303 and used phone prompts to set up a taxi – we were lucky to find one – Taxi #8973 was at the airport. I called him and he said he would be there in a few minutes – another call and he would be there in a minute and he WAS.  The ride was $45; when we left on this trip, the cab ride to ORD was $35; when I tried to schedule with American Taxi, the quote was $40 and now it was $45.  Hard to debate fares when it is past midnight and you want to get home. 

We did get home and discovered that our mail from the last three weeks was not there.

We both survived our COVID experience and we were home – that was the important part.

June 7, 2022 - Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Slept well – no coughing – symptoms are almost all gone – just feeling wobbly as would be expected.

I took a final antigen test and this time, the positive line took a while to develop so from a qualitative view, the amount of antigen is decreasing (but still there).  Ellen is negative. While the antigen present might represent non-infectious virus, I am still going to wear a mask for the next few days just to be sure.

Went to the restaurant for breakfast – I had an absolutely terrific Belgian Waffle with Strawberries and Blueberries and coffee.  Ellen had the Avocado Toast and took half of it back to the room.  Our breakfast.

Live now at 10:36 AM.

The weather is great outside, so we are reading on our favorite couches on the restaurant patio.  I should mention that the restaurant staff regularly disinfects the tables. 

Today, we also took a walk to the outskirts of the hotel complex and got a nice look at Cabrillo Beach and another marina completely filled with boats.  

Here's the big picture.

Yet, in all the time we have been here, we haven’t really seen any big boats pull out of their slips.

We had tuna sandwiches for lunch in the 2800 Restaurant – again, I think they bought some tuna just for us (there is no tuna on the menu).  It’s very good.

More reading in the afternoon and just taking in the fresh air. 

Our final dinner in the restaurant consisted of the Cajun Pappardelle (no chicken) for me and the Salmon Piccata for Ellen.  Our last meal was just like our first meal.  The pasta again was wonderful, and Ellen liked her salmon (the salmon was excellent especially since it had capers on top - I love capers). 

We stayed down in the lobby and hung out at the couches in the back.  I am still wearing my mask when I’m near people indoors.

Watched some more HGTV on our TV – still not a lot to see.

June 6, 2022 - Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Had the best night in a long time – I don’t believe I coughed last night (I did not take the cough medicine). 

Ordered pancakes and eggs for both of us and it was very good again.  Perfectly cooked and hot on arrival.

Now live at 9:50 AM.

We were informed by Reuben – the man in charge – that, if we completed our isolation, we could go down to the restaurant and order off the menu.  So that’s what we did for lunch. 

It was a little warm on the patio, so we ate at a table in the corner – I am still trying to be careful and wear masks around people.  The scientific consensus on behavior once out of isolation is not yet there so I decided to err on the side of caution.

I had a Beyond Burger and Ellen had a tuna melt for lunch.  They were both as good as the items brought to the room but it was nice to be in a different environment for lunch.

We stayed down in the dining room on the remotely located couches until the shade appeared on the couches outside.

While out there, we met another couple from Queen Elizabeth, who also completed their isolation and were having lunch on the patio.  They told us there were other hotels in the area that also were housing guests from the ship.  So this has been quite an effort for Cunard and they have done a terrific job of keeping things safe and organized.

While we were chatting with the couple - they were from the UK - a group of Ospreys (vertical takeoff planes) flew over - I tried to get a photo but they were too fast - that dark dot in the center of this picture is an Osprey.

We decided to walk down the path fronting the Marina.  I got an iconic - not at sea - picture of Ellen against the railing.

While out there, I received an email from Metro Services regarding our pickup on June 8 to LAX – they are coming at 1:30 PM, which is perfect timing for our flights later in the afternoon.

Late in the afternoon, we watched the Navigator of the Seas depart for its four-day voyage to Catalina and Mexico.  

It may be the only ship currently using the San Pedro Port.

For dinner, we were back in the dining room and I got Pete’s Fish and Chips, which were really good, and Ellen got the Salmon Piccata, which was a bit saltier than the room version (I tried to help by help by eating the capers on top of the fish).  We got some cookies from our terrific waiter, Chuck, to take back to the room.

As I said earlier, isolation has been all about the Women’s College Softball Playoffs – the girls are fun to watch – a lot of skill (I could never even foul tip a softball fast pitch). They seem to have a good time in good or bad times.  Although, there was a lot of crying when Texas beat OK State to go to the Finals against Oklahoma.

There is nothing on this Cable System so a little reading at the end of the evening.

June 5, 2022 - Day 7 – COVID Isolation San Pedro – Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Here's where we are relative to this part of Southern California.

Another night of coughing – two doses of cough syrup didn’t much help.  The cough is not bad during the day but at night, whoa.

We tried something different for breakfast – instead of ordering one of the items on the menu, we wrote in pancakes and fried eggs.  And that’s what arrived this morning.  The breakfast was perfect – it came warm and fresh.

We shared a tuna melt for lunch.  The food continues to be good.  The portions are so big that sharing is a good option.

After lunch, we went down to the restaurant patio to sit and read and watch the boats and people.

I took a great panoramic shot of all of the boats in this huge marina.

It was pretty warm and we were on a couch against the building so we were shielded from the constant breeze.  I was down there for over an hour and then I had to go back to the room – Ellen stayed down a little longer.  It was nice being outside.

For dinner, we shared a Cesar Salad and Fettucine Alfredo – I ordered this pasta without peppers but it came with no veggies at all – I really like the mushrooms.  Have to be more specific next time.

The evenings are long because after reading, there is nothing on TV – I am continuing to watch College Softball.

The coughing has been getting better each day.

June 4, 2022 – Mostly Sunny – mid 70s


Even with drugs, I was still coughing last night.  Sleep was intermittent.  Any sleep is good sleep.

We both had the scrambled eggs and toast today.  Have to admit that I am getting a bit tired of that for breakfast.  Maybe, something different tomorrow.  Our food delivery guy was about 30 minutes early this morning, so we were barely up when he knocked on the door.

I am now reading a new book in Robert B. Parker’s “Jesse Stone” series – I’ve seen all the TV movies with Tom Selleck (they are wonderful – there just weren’t enough of them made).  “A Stone’s Throw” is the 20th in the series (I read what’s available from the library and sometimes out of order) written by Mike Lupica. I can visualize Tom Selleck saying the dialogue and it feels like the Jesse Stone I’m familiar with.  I also recognized Mike Lupica as a well know sportswriter.  

I started to follow the Women's College Softball World Series – UCLA is still in the mix but Oklahoma is the team to beat.  I like watching the women play because no matter what happens on the field (e.g. homerun or error), there are high fives all round.  They do not take themselves too seriously but they really know how to celebrate.

We both ordered a scoop of tuna on a salad for lunch – the tuna was very good and the salad needed more dressing but no one was hungry afterwards. 

Today is a big day – after rereading the isolation instructions sent from Shoreside Support UK, I had passed through Day 5 post diagnosis and my (our) symptoms had improved; therefore, according to the CDC Guidelines, I could leave the hotel room (not the hotel) and walk about the facility.  Like prisoners being paroled, we donned our masks and headed outside.  

Doubletree Hilton San Pedro
The Sun Feels Good

It was a little chilly out there but it was great to be walking.  I was a bit wobbly but I did manage to stay with Ellen as we checked out the Marina and the office building adjacent to the hotel and then walked back (a fair distance) to the entrance of the Doubletree Hilton.  I felt like I’d climbed a mountain when I got back to the room so my immune system (and all those interleukins) battling COVID are still generating fatigue (and gently reminding me to take it easy) .  Hoping that that will slowly go away in a few days.  The main symptom is still the cough, which we both have.

A lot more reading in the afternoon.

We watched “The Kenny Rogers Farewell Concert” on PBS as a change of pace.

June 3, 2022 – San Pedro – Fair – mid 70s


Had a cough filled night.  Seems like the cough is the last symptom standing.

I did a rapid antigen test and it lit up so quickly as positive that it scared me (the T line went red as soon as the liquid got to the spot - no 15-minute wait time necessary) – while the reaction was spectacular, I expected a positive result since it is Day 6 since the initial positive result on board.  Some people clear the antigen slowly – a lot of the reactivity might be due to dead or inactive viral debris.  I am still wearing a mask around the hotel even though I've completed the CDC mandated five-day isolation period.

Heard from Shoreside Services in the UK about our flights home.  They are on June 8 not June 7 as the agent originally calculated.  They are on American, but they are late flights getting us home near 11:00 PM.  I got us seats just in time as the plane was nearly full.  I put us in Cabin Extra seats (exit row – middle and window) – there were no aisle across seats of any kind and these were the only two seats together.  Any later and who know what seats we would have had.

Once again, it was scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast. 

I am trying to finish “Cheap Shot” and will do so today.  I picked up a non-Spenser Novel from the library.

Instead of Tuna Melts, today, we share a plain tuna sandwich with lettuce and tomato and a Cesar Salad.  I liked the non-melt version better.  Since tuna is not on the 2800 Restaurant menu, I am thinking that the kitchen went out and got some tuna for us.

Read almost the whole day.  Live now at 3:25 PM.

I ordered some COVID fighting items from our neighborhood Walgreens on their website and it was delivered by Door Dash in less than 30 minutes.  It was much easier with these items than with prescriptions.  That’s the first time I have used Door Dash – kind of like Uber for inanimate objects. So now we can battle the dreaded cough. 

Had the wonderful Fettucine Alfredo/Primavera (me) (I liked the sauteed veggies and asked to add that to the pasta) and the Salmon Piccata (ET) for dinner with some cross-sharing going on.  They do make the best pasta here and they cook the noodles perfectly and sauté the peppers, onions, and mushrooms perfectly as well.

We watched Scott renovate some fancy vacation rentals on HGTV and then some more reading.

June 2, 2022 – San Pedro – Fair – mid 70s


Slept OK (the room is really quiet even though fellow QE COVID folks are living next door).

My symptoms are a bit improved – cough is intermittent and ribs don't hurt when I cough.  No fever and no aches and pains. Still wobbly and weak.

We both had scrambled eggs and toast for breakfast.  The food continues to be very good.

I checked on that last med over the phone with my doctor’s office.  They are supposed to call me back.

Worked out something different with the kitchen for lunch – tuna melts – that would be nice.

The Tuna Melts arrived on time and were really good – and a nice change.

I got word from my doctor’s office that the last medication was sent to the Walgreens in Harbor City.  I emailed the Metro Shore Services group and told them.  In about an hour, the medicine was at the front desk and soon in my possession.  Now that is customer satisfaction.  The bill for the 10 pills was $1.60.  Amazing.

We ordered Fettucine Alfredo and Salmon for dinner - this pasta was a true Alfredo - not spicy just creamy.  It was wonderful.  Somehow, the kitchen also sent up some cheesecake for dessert.  Who knows how because it was not on their menu.  

The long day continues. 

June 1, 2022 – San Pedro CA – Sunny Clear – 70s


Slept like a rock until 5 AM and then went back to sleep until the breakfast came at 7:30 AM (early).  I had the scrambled eggs and toast plus the O’Brian Potatoes that comes with all the eggs.  It was OK.  Ellen had the omelet but the peppers continue to invade the dish.  I had some coffee but it was not as good as the first time but still quite good.

The best news of the day was that Suzanne at Cunard called to get our flight requirements.  I told her that LAX was a fair distance from here and to try and not make those flights too early. I should also mention that our return flights on United were cancelled by Cunard (could not find them anymore on the UA app).   Secondly, Suzanne said someone from Metro Cruise Services here in San Pedro would call us about picking up our meds at Walgreens.  Jennifer from Metro Cruise Services did call and I emailed her the Walgreen’s information as well as the need to find test kits we would need to monitor our condition.  She indicated she would take care of it.  An interesting note: The Metro Cruise Service facility is located at Pier 93 in San Pedro, the terminal that our ship docked at when we disembarked.

I had the Cesar Salad for lunch and Ellen had a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich.  We are going to get tired of these offerings.

She emailed me and told me they had located test kits at Rite Aid and would get them to us.  One of their agents called me a little while ago from Walgreens indicating he had everything and would be bringing it to the hotel.  And I just got a call (2:00 PM) that he had dropped everything off at the hotel.  We now have enough of four of the five medications that are critical and six test kits for rapid antigen testing.  What a great job Metrocruiseservices did in getting us what we needed.

I started a new Spenser Novel – “Cheap Shot”, which I accessed from the library back home.

We are going to try something new for dinner tonight – fish tacos.  They looked great but the Chipotle Sauce (already on the taco) was muy caliente so I was only able to eat two of the three tacos.  I also do not really know what fish they used in the taco.  Not familiar – cod maybe.  We’ll have to ask before we order that again.  I had half a chocolate chip cookie and some decaf coffee as the antidote.  BTW, the Doubletree Hotel is the place that never runs out of chocolate chip cookies - you can get them with every meal and anytime by stopping at the front desk - and, yes, they are YUMMY.

We are actually watching HGTV at the moment – almost feels like home.

We also tried to watch “Dear Evan Hansen” but we didn’t really need a depressing movie at this time so we switched it off.

Still trying to transfer one med from Illinois to the Walgreen’s near here – it may be too late at this point so I am trying to figure out a workaround.

More reading until lights out a little earlier tonight – 10:15 PM.

May 31, 2022 – San Pedro, CA – Beautiful Day – 70s maybe


Slept OK – woke up in the middle of the night worried about everything and then went back to sleep for a bit.

Ordered a Western Omelet without the ham – it was a little cheesy and rubbery – I do miss my waffles and cottage cheese.  The coffee was really good – we have a single cup coffee maker in the room and it makes great coffee.  

I got in touch with Suzanne at a Cunard Facility in California and we went over what we needed to do to get home.  I have her cell number and she promised to get information and plans and get back to us in a couple of days.

I also spoke to the Walgreens in Harbor City about our meds and she will be working with our Docs and the insurance company to get us what we need.  I set up a delivery account with Walgreens to get our stuff delivered when it becomes available.

Lunch today was a Cesar Salad and another Veggie Burger – Ellen was going to share but one look at the Burger and she opted out.  Just as good as yesterday and the Salad was the best Cesar since we went to that restaurant in Evanston – the pricey pizza restaurant with the marvelous Cesar Salad.  Couldn’t finish either of them.

I have been working on converting my talks to Regent Seven Seas format – a slow process.  By the evening, I had converted all seven talks into the Regent Format. The upside of having a lot of free time on your hands.

For dinner we had the same duo – Cajun Pappardelle and Salmon Picatta.  The pasta was even better tonight because the kitchen used fettuccini noodles – still very spicy but really good.  Ellen donated a chunk of salmon to my dinner.

I eventually got the four prescriptions sent from Illinois to the Walgreens in Harbor City near San Pedro.  I wanted to have them delivered but the addresses I gave them for the hotel wouldn’t work with the FEDEX system Walgreen’s uses.  I’ll have to work on this tomorrow morning.

We watched a few shows on the TV – old friends, “House Hunters” and “House Hunters International”. 

Lights were out at 10:30 PM.  Really tired.

May 30, 2022 – Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro – Mostly Sunny - 71°F


Our cruise has come to an end as Queen Elizabeth sailed into the port around 7 AM.  The windows were too wet to get any decent pictures and then we docked against an ugly terminal building.

COVID NOTE.  People going on to Vancouver are being antigen-tested today so the cruise itself is not being terminated - those who were positive and close contacts are the ones disembarking in San Pedro (Los Angeles).  I am convinced that keeping those folks on board for two more days would seriously be a resource drain on both Room Service and the Pursers Office.  The ship tried to keep up but couldn't handle it.

Our room service breakfast arrived on time at 7 AM.  I had Rice Krispies (no banana – CA agriculture rules) and some scrambled eggs, which came cold again.  I did have some of the breakfast bakery goodies.  The coffee again was cold.  No solution for that.  Ellen had eggs over easy and some porridge.

We are scheduled to be escorted off the ship by housekeeping and that should happen around 10:30 AM or so.  I grabbed all the paperwork regarding disembarkation and housekeeping did come along with the hazmat garbed foggers (one in front and one behind) who escorted us to the gangway.  Although the ship made copies of our passports for immigration, we still had to face an immigration officer in person – he wasn’t afraid of us and chuckled when we asked him about no mask.  Those guys are tough.

There were quite a group of us – mostly older than us and a few younger people including one 20-year-old who must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time to catch COVID.  We were then escorted out to our Group 20 bus (which already had our bags).  Stragglers finally showed up and with somewhere between 30 and 40 passengers (all COVID brothers and sisters) our bus headed out.  I did not get any pictures of Queen Elizabeth during this cruise but I just caught a glimpse of her aft section from the bus as we were leaving the port.

As would be expected, everyone on the bus was masked (there was no way to tell who had recovered due to the timing of testing).  

It was a short ride to the San Pedro Doubletree Inn by Hilton – you can see the port and the marina from the hotel.  We had the first two seats in the bus (our training) so we were first in line to check in.  We got our room number – 346 – and printed lunch and dinner menus. We saw our bags go into the hotel and were told that they would be delivered to our rooms.  The hotel is very nice – actually a resort – and our room in the isolation wing is the second to last on the floor and has two queen beds and a lovely view of the marina and the port in the distance.  While we are still recovering from COVID, twin Queen beds seems like the best configuration.

Doubletree Hotel Room 346

We got specific instruction via email from shoresidesupport.com that stated that any guest leaving the hotel prior to completion of isolation would get one warning - a second violation would result in that person being booted from the hotel and any support from Cunard discontinued.  Since I was diagnosed on 5/28/22 (Day 0), I would complete my five day CDC mandated isolation on 6/3/22.   But, I could not travel until 6/8/22 or 10 days post diagnosis.  CDC guidelines indicate that the majority of COVID folks are no longer infectious at that point (even though they may still be PCR positive).  

The way it works operationally is that you cannot leave the room at all during the five day isolation period.  All meals are ordered off the daily printed menus.  Turns out there are no veggie items on the menus so Ellen spoke to the desk and they added a veggie burger to the lunch menu and will modify the dinner items to remove meat when possible.  Depending on the time of day, they are very understaffed here so you spend an awful lot of time on hold – I am trained in being on hold – but at least, America is not singing about "alligators in the air"

The food has been coming on time; the staff leaves the food in bags outside the door and departs.  Respect.  The veggie burger was huge – bigger than commercial Beyond or Impossible burgers with a pound of fries. Ellen had a grilled cheese sandwich – we both had Diet Pepsis.  The food was very good – almost gourmet.  I found out later that the burger is a "Beyond Burger" but a bit different than the ones I have at home - it is much larger, doesn't smell, and tastes very good.  It comes with a metric ton of fries, which are also very good.

The days are long – nothing on the TV and I am too pooped to read.  Concentrating has been difficult.

So I am scanning Facebook and Google and my news apps.

For dinner, I ordered the Cajun Pappardelle and Ellen ordered the Salmon Piccata.  My dish came with chicken even though I ordered it without the meat.  The kitchen said they would make it over.  We also got the bill – this place is not a Burger King – each of those entrees were $32.60; the Diet Pepsi was $3 and there was a tip added on.  We have a $100 per diem so we can handle the standard meals.  The revamped Pappardelle was absolutely wonderful – I could only finish about half – it was pretty tangy but delicious.  Probably, the best food item since we left for our cruise weeks ago.  Nothing on the ship matched this dish.

I have not heard from shortsidesupport.com in the UK – they are eight hours ahead and should be into early Tuesday morning. 

Lights out at 10:30 PM.

The room is quiet and there are no seas.

Monday, June 20, 2022

May 29, 2022 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – off the Coast of Baja California – Hazy and Cloudy - 61°F

Slept a little better – had the strangest dream – I was in a town where people just randomly smacked each other in the face.  I think what happening was that whenever I coughed in my sleep that was incorporated into the dream as a smack.  The mind is a crazy thing.

The ship is currently off the coast of Baja California.

I slept until around 5 AM something but then went back to sleep until 6:45 AM. My breakfast, oatmeal w brown sugar, scrambled eggs, wheat toast with butter and marmalade.  All of the hot items were cold.  The guy delivering my meal knocked on my door and then retreated to a safe distance until I took the tray – other room service folks are not quite that cautious.

I’m continuing to take the Augmentin twice a day and it is making a difference on the sinus pain – taking the drug should not have any effect on the course of the COVID infection (I suspect that I am the lucky recipient of a two-fer – a sinus infection (I know what that feels like) and COVID (am learning what that feels like).

COVID Day 2 – still coughing – maybe not as much – tired – throat is sore due to the coughing. No aches or pains and I do not feel feverish.

I packed all of my clothes in one of the suitcases – not a pretty pack but everything is in there.

Now live at 9:29 AM. In my cabin, of course.

The day drags on – the seas are actually a little choppy out there and you can feel the ship move really for the first time on this cruise.

I ordered the Mediterranean Frittata off the brunch Room Service menu and it came pretty much around lunchtime.  

It was very similar to the Huevos Rancheros I had the other day – two poached eggs plus some cheese and sautéed veggies.  I couldn’t finish it.  I am getting very good and shoving the trays out into the hall with my feet.

I set my clocks back early (instead of right before bed) because that makes the transition easier – we were on a ship that changed clocks at 1 PM and it worked out a lot better.  We’ll see if this helps.

When the Med Center opening at 3 PM, Ellen called them to set up a recheck of her COVID test – they came and she came out to be NEGATIVE.  She thinks the sampling was a bit light and I can’t believe she got results in less than 15 minutes because it takes that long for the test to run.  I am suspicious about the test but she is probably going to be tested tomorrow.  If she clears that, she doesn’t have to isolate but it is a moot point as we are heading to an isolation hotel near the port of Los Angeles – I still have three more days until I can get retested.  That will no doubt happen at the hotel and we will probably have to run those tests ourselves.  I can’t see any Cunard folks hanging back to test people in the hotel.

Based on Ellen’s recommendation, I ordered the seared salmon with a bake potato and sour cream for dinner along with a standard Cesar Salad.  They said the meal would arrive around 7:30 PM.  Around 6:45 PM, Room Service brought me a Cesar Salad but no Salmon and a Diet Pepsi which I had not ordered.  I told the attendant that and she took note but I kept the Pepsi.  A few minutes later another Room Service person brought me another Cesar Salad and the Salmon as well. After I had finished that and shoved the trays into the hall, Room Service brought me another complete meal including another Diet Pepsi.  So three Cesar Salads, three seared salmon dinners (no baked potatoes however), and two Diet Pepsis was the final dinner score.  I wanted to tell the Purser that I was double charged for the Pepsis but couldn’t deal with the holding anymore.

I did find something to watch on TV - me giving my Richard III Lecture.

Ellen got the debark information sent to her room – I guess she is the official isolating person in our group.  She will be coming down to pack her clothes and other stuff.  Since we were both infected, we can stay in the same room (when I came up positive, they gave me the choice of going to her room).  Being double vaxxed and double boosted probably makes me a little less infectious than someone with less protection.  Besides, my symptoms are improving – no longer congested, coughing has abated, sinus pain is gone, and I don’t feel as wobbly as I did earlier.  The only remaining issue is a sore throat and that is from the coughing. Throat doesn’t hurt when I swallow. Not bringing up any phlegm now. 

Personal Note: I know that Room Service has a big job since COVID joined the ship but the thing with the orders is baffling.  I’ve been following up with Room Service on my orders to make sure everything is down correctly and still multiple meals have been arriving.  Also, a crude calculation – since the COVID started, I have been spending 10 percent of my time on hold with either the purser or room service.  Resource allocation needs to be revisited.  And, I really hate “Ventura Highway” – the music for those on hold.

Ellen was escorted to my room by the fogger battalion.

She packed up her stuff pretty quickly and cleaned up my packing a bit.

It is nice to have her back.

May 28, 2022 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico – mostly clear - 72°F


Had a horrible night – I think I only got one hour of real sleep – I felt feverish (took some Tylenol in the middle of the night) and couldn’t form a thought to go to sleep.  Hoping that’s a one off.  I had porridge, eggs over easy (never again) and a toasted bagel for breakfast. 

The ship is currently heading North toward Los Angeles with Mexico off the starboard side.

Then I went for my daily antigen test.  I am not feeling great this morning – a runny nose and a significant headache and occasional cough.  At about 10:45 AM, I got the news I was dreading and expecting – COVID positive.  That is amazing in that I barely left my cabin for four days and only once to take pics of dolphins and get some fresh air on deck and I had tested negative four days in a row.  So where is this virus coming from – I suspect there is a Jetstream of COVID particles circulating around the dining rooms and the longer you sit there, the better are your chances of picking up enough to be a problem.  Now, we try to sit away from other folks but if the virus is in the air, it’s everywhere. The problem can’t be the theater because of the masks and monitors watching everyone.  The open decks should be safe and there are very few people at the bars (and no standing at the bar), so the dining room has to be the issue.  Maybe, somebody should look into air circulation in the eating areas.

So – COVID Day 1 – no sore throat, very tired, coughing occasionally (which hurts my ribs), headache (sinuses?), no congestion, good blood oxygen (according to my Smart Watch).  Just feel like crap.  My last lecture is cancelled as well as my Q and A.  I will need to figure out the medication situation when we get to LA – I have notes already written to our two docs explaining the extended quarantine period.  I’m sure there is a workaround.

I ordered lunch and what arrived was a very tasty Greek Salad (I thought that it was going to be a sandwich).  There are strawberries waiting for me.  We are live now at 2:21 PM.

A long afternoon of flipping through the channels and trying to read my latest Spenser Novel, “Little White Lies”.

A changed my dinner to a bagel, cream cheese, and lox sandwich and was only able to eat half – I think all the left-over lox and cream cheese went on this bagel.  Even though I cancelled it, my original dinner came around 7:30 PM.  I should have just taken the tray but I told him I just had dinner.

The show we missed tonight – “Top Hat” – featuring the music of Irving Berlin.  The show is based on the musical which is based on the Astaire Rogers film.  I bet it was the best entertainment of the cruise.

Lights out at 10:15 PM – hoping for some sleep tonight.

May 27, 2022 – Manzanillo, Mexico – Hazy and Hot - 88°F


Slept poorly and woke up with an Ambien hangover about 5:30 AM – could not get back to sleep. Throat is a bit scratchy and nose is running. 

Breakfast came a few minutes before 7 AM – today I had Muesli (good), two scrambled eggs, a toasted bagel, and some baked goods (for later).  The breakfast was good.

At 8:00 AM, I reported to ConneXions 1 for Contact Tracing COVID Testing – there was quite a crowd there but some of the folks were going on tours and were not supposed to be in the testing line.  A little more confusion for this morning.  So many people were gathered in the Deck 1 Lobby that it looked like a super-spreader event.  I got away from there as soon as I was tested.

I am in the cabin now (10:44 AM) awaiting my results – no answer when I called the Med Center.  I did finally reach them and they checked the results and they were NEGATIVE (even though I feel like I have a sinus infection – something I get on a regular basis on a ship). 

I spent a little time outside on the deck and it wasn’t as hot as advertised – maybe due to a nice breeze.  There were also some dolphins on the starboard side of the ship so I hustled over there and tried to get some pictures (they were pretty far away). 

Manzanillo Panorama

I ordered some fish and chips off the restaurant menu last night and it came – albeit a bit late – and after a call to the Purser.  The Blue Cheese and Tomato tart was a big scary because the cheese was actually a blue color and very pungent.  The fish, however, was really good – a huge perfectly cooked piece and even the tartar sauce, which is a bit wonky was OK.  I just took two bites of the chocolate roulade.

I spent a little more time out on the open deck until it was about 30 minutes to push (4:30 PM).  In addition to her usual discussion about where the ship would be heading and the weather conditions, the Captain told us to be on the lookout for a letter being sent to each cabin.  This is never a good thing.

Lucy brought the letter along with the Programme and Newspaper.  It boils down to this – because of the COVID situation on board, the ship will terminate this voyage in Los Angeles.  People in the middle of their isolation will need to go to hotels to finish up.  It said Cunard would take of everything but we’ll have to see how that will work, especially for us.  I left a message with John Consiglio concerning this.

I let the kids know what was happening and sent an email to Dorine at Compass.

I wasn’t hungry for dinner and just had the muffin with tea and there are two more pastries to eat tonight.

Currently, it is 7:53 PM.

I watched the basketball playoffs until around 10 PM and then I turned the clock back one hour to put us on who know what time.

Lights out around the new 10 PM.

I took two Tylenols and an augmentin before bed.

May 26, 2022 – At Sea – Pacific Ocean – Coast of Mexico – Mostly Cloudy - 80°s F


Once I turned out the lights, I had no memory of falling asleep – I got up at 5 AM or so and must have gone into some kind of twilight sleep because the next time I checked my watch it was 6:45 AM.  

Sunrise at Sea

I still do not have any symptoms – I have a tickle in my throat but I always have that in the morning – no congestion, no aches, no fever, etc.  Doesn’t mean anything but it’s a start.

It's cloudy outside but the ocean is like a lake.

My breakfast came about 7:20 AM – Special K with the sorriest banana I’ve seen in a while, skim milk, scrambled eggs, and a toasted bagel with butter.  I also order a bakery basket as emergency food when I can’t get anything to eat later in the day (a great suggestion from Ellen). 

I went to ConneXions 1 at 8:00 AM to get my antigen test and was greeted by about 20 of my closest “close contact” compadres.  I can only imagine how many people will show up by the 9 AM close of testing.  I also noted that, when the tech was checking me in, that she was working off a spreadsheet of names that filled the page – and maybe a page underneath that.  There were probably a hundred plus names on that spreadsheet and she checked me off.  There are only 1300 passengers on board so that number of names is “amazing”.  People waiting to get tested were exchanging war stories mostly related to not getting their meals.  Considering the situation on the ship, Room Service must be overwhelmed and doing the best they can.  Two people checked everyone in – double-checked names and birthdates and pulled prepared cards with names and barcodes for accessioning.  Two techs did the swabbing – I noticed that today, the tech swabbed each nostril 12 times – the first time we did testing (FLL passengers only) it was six times and a few days ago, it was 10 times.  Some of this may be tech specific but I am wondering if the testing crew is making sure they get righteous samples for testing.

I am live now, basking in the sun coming through my window and awaiting any word on the testing earlier this morning (9:34 AM).

10:20 AM now and still no word.  I just tuned up today’s talk a bit – enlarging images and changing the order of images.  The Sun in pouring into the room – it’s just nice to bask in the sunlight.  Finally, at 10:45 AM, I called the Med Center and they told me that all positives had been notified.  So another day, another NEGATIVE Antigen test.

I got into my presentation clothes (the left sock was not easy) and went to the theater to catch most of Bob Donaldson’s talk about Climate Change.  Again, all of his projections are dire – he did have a nice turnout.  When he was finished, about 90 percent of the theater left and my thought was this will be a small turnout day.

I waited a bit before going up to the stage to set up.  The set up again was quick – I also asked the tech if the mics are sanitized between speakers and he said they were – I had brought along a disinfectant wipe to do so if needed.  Then came the long wait – about 20 minutes until I started.  I usually mingle with the audience but now I had to stay on the stage and not speak to the audience.  This did give me an opportunity to watch an audience – maybe different people – return to fill quite a few of the seats (even those in the balcony and royal boxes).  It was a good turnout.

I started off by thanking everyone for wearing their masks correctly (100 percent compliance or close to that).  A few people applauded – I just stated that the Captain and ship wanted to keep everyone healthy and safe.  Even though I am negative for COVID, almost inevitably I develop a kind of laryngitis on ships (maybe it’s all the cleaning solutions) but I took a cough drop before I started and I did not have any trouble.  The talk, “Forensic Detectives: Identifying the Famous and Infamous” went well – I did not spot anyone leaving – and ended right on time (every nice applause).  I mentioned Bob’s talk during mine (“What can we do to fix things”) and indicated that it was a nice presentation.  At the end of mine, Bob gave me a thumbs up.  Bonding between speakers.  I chatted from the stage with a few people but left as soon as I could.

I ordered Veggie Quesadillas from the Britannia Restaurant (via the Pursers Desk) and Mushroom Soup.  They were both OK.  I also ordered a Grolsch Beer and Lemon Meringue Pie (actually a tart).  I saved the tart for later and took the beer and drank most of it on Deck 3.

It was a bit warm and there were a lot of people on the deck so I went back to the room.  I finished my Spenser novel, “Kickback”.  I tried the tart but it was not all that lemony so it is now in the hall with the rest of my lunch.  Not the best novel from Ace lately but it did have some good banter between Hawk and Spenser.

I, of course, did not attend the second show by singer, Claude-Eric Brunelle.  He was very good the first time and we hope we can see him again on another voyage.

I told Lucy that she didn’t need to do the room tonight and I was rewarded with four chocolates.

I ordered dinner from the Restaurant through Room Service and I am waiting for it to arrive now – real time 7:18 PM.  Dinner did arrive around an hour later – the Corn Chowder was OK, the Roma Tomatoes and Mozzarella Cheese combo was very good and the Spinach Manicotti was excellent.  I did not like the carrot cake.  Along with the meal, I got lunch and dinner menus for tomorrow – I checked off my selections and put the sheet on the tray with the dishes and it was scheduled to be picked up later.  We’ll see how that works out.

Not feeling all that hot this evening – ever since my talk, my throat has been raspy – not painful just raspy.  I feel like this a lot on ships.  I finished another book and will get some more books tomorrow when we get into port.

Lights were out at 10:45 PM but it took another little chunk of Ambien to do the trick.  I will pay the price for the extra Ambien tomorrow.