Around the world 2016, Day (-24)

It has been two and a half weeks since I last blogged about the upcoming trip.  Why?  It has been busy and just for fun I’ve caught a sinus and lung bug. Yesterday I started the hellish treatment, a combination of levofloxacin (generic Levaquin) and prednisone. Both have serious side effects and risks, but they’re the only things that really work for me. That meant a stretch of 30 hours without sleep, but that should get better day by day as this continues. Other than the lack of sleep, I’m getting better.

In the meanwhile we’ve been busy going to our final round of doctor checkups, buying most of the last minute things we will need to pack on the 23rd when our four large suitcases are taken away, working out more details on the house with Kim (house sitter) and Mike (the fish wrangler, who will visit monthly), and doing our best to trim ourselves down further before the cruise. All is going according to schedule, and in many ways we’re on the downward slope to departure at 0320 on New Years Day. We doubt we’ll sleep much before the cab comes, and we’ve warned our neighbors that we’ll try to be quiet, but if they wake up it isn’t an emergency of any sort and to go back to sleep.

We went to a bridge club Christmas Party today and will go to another tomorrow.  We’re not playing bridge until we get on the ship, and the break has been good for all our preparation.

Whenever possible we choose cruise tour sites that are historical, or else snorkel/swim sites. This trip will include April 17 at Corregidor, the last bastion on Luzon in the Phillipines as the Japanese invaded during WWII. Earlier today we watched Cry Havoc (1943) about the nurses in the tunnels at Bataan.  Like all others on Bataan, if they didn’t die in the battles a great many of them died on the Bataan Death March to the POW camps to the north. The island fortress of Corregidor was the last to fall on Luzon, so we’re now watching John Wayne in They Were Expendable (1945) about those small plywood PT (Patrol Torpedo) boats that were so important in the effort. And they were all expendable.

Other war historical sites we’ll vist include Hiroshima, Okinawa, Saigon, and Hanoi earlier in the trip and near the end, a special dinner on the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, docked near the Arizona Memorial, which we’ve visited before. We so honor all of those who served in that war and others. We’ve also visited Omaha Beach, Arlington, The Wall, and Punch Bowl in the past. I tear up every time I visit one of those sites, and every time I hear Taps or Eternal Father Strong to Save (The Navy Hymn).  We hear it in church a couple times a year as well, and I get the same tears.

I might not be here if my father’s service in the Navy during the war had been in a plane or ship. He wanted to fly, but his eyes good enough.  So, using his technical background he served, mostly in Southern California, inspecting newly built aircraft before they were sent off to serve in carriers.  Like all the others that served at home or in non combat duties, we thank my dad, Chief Petty Officer Andrew Lawrence Lester, for his service.

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