Friday, November 8, 2013

The Celtic Thunder Cruise 2013 - Day 3

November 2nd, 2013
4:09 GMT (3:34 AM)
Miami Sun Hotel

Well, it may not be easy, but one thing’s for sure—this is certainly an adventure.

I’m currently in what has to be the seediest, uncomfortable hotel this side of the United States. XD

There is rust practically all over the tiled floors, weird shiny spots on the wall, broken electrical outlets, bedsheets that are clean but show stains that never washed out. And the hallways on more than half the floors smell like cigarette smoke. (Added note: Here are some pictures of the hotel room.)

The view from the Miami Sun Hotel room window.

Hehe. My trusty sonic flashlight.

The beds belonging to my brother and I. Yes, the one with the laptop and Ohio State hoodie is mine. :P

The cracked and breaking outlet next to my bed. 

My little comfort zone, where I curled up to try and relax. Well, the laptop and bed. Not so much the textbooks and schoolwork you see there.

The old refrigerator and microwave; the best part of the room. :P Notice the brown splotches on the floor underneath the fridge...? Yeaaah. I don't even know what those are.

A bad photo, but here is either rust or reddish mold, which was everywhere on the floor. Hence why we all wore our shoes from the moment we got there until the moment we left.

Part of the other side of the room; on the other side of the right wall is Mom's bed.

The mirror in the bathroom; if you look closely at the area where the blue door shows up, you can see weird black marks on the glass of the mirror. :P

The bathroom ceiling. Does anyone have any clue what that weird brownish-black ring is in the right-hand corner? I don't. XP

But I’m not complaining. It’s a place to stay, and we’re leaving in a few hours anyhow. I slept all of two hours yet again, but I’m not complaining about that either—I hadn’t expected to get any sleep at all.

We left the Sheraton Hotel yesterday at around 8:30am, and hung around outside while we waited for the transport to take us to our next location. The transportation was crowded, but not too bad. Then it dropped us off at the airport, where we waited for the MetroRail bus. I managed to use some WiFi to check a few things before it died. :P 

The view from our hotel room in early morning.

Finally, the MetroRail bus arrived. It then took us to the train station, where we waited for almost forty minutes for our train to come.

I’m not at all used to the heat in this area; I’m a Washington State girl, and heat isn’t normal there. So the heat made me feel rather sick; I slumped on a bench, wishing I could find an accessable WiFi hotspot, and feeling like I had a very bad fever. Since I had only slept for two hours the night before, I was also tired.

The train came rumbling in at 10:17, and we boarded. I sat by the window and waited for the train to reach our destination. Somewhere along the line, I couldn’t keep my eyes open—but I couldn’t take a nap either.

Finally, we stopped and got off the train. Then there was more walking around the station as we tried to figure out how to buy tickets for the next train we had to take to get to Miami. We were waiting there for about twenty minutes.

Then the train came hurtling down the tracks, whooshing to a stop beside us. We boarded. I took advantage of the WiFi for a little bit, chatting one of my best friends and my Ohioan twin. Then my laptop started blinking in an effort to warn me that the battery was extremely low. I told my friends that I would message them whenever I got to the hotel, and shut my laptop to preserve its power.

These two adorable little boys and their parents were sitting behind us; I enjoyed watching them. One seemed about five, and the other couldn’t have been older than three—he was most likely around two.

After another twenty minutes, the train came to a stop, and we got off in Miami. Then came what must have been at least thirty minutes, possibly more, wandering around town in the sweltering heat, completely and utterly lost.

I was in rather higher spirits than I had been before though, because I was 97% sure that the next hotel would have free WiFi. I was tired, yeah, but not too depressed or sad.

Finally, after asking several people where the hotel was and backtracking several times, we found the hotel.

When I walked into the lobby, I was completely shocked. :P There was spilled coffee in the entrance, and a trail of it leading all the way to the center of the lobby. The floors were rather dingy, and it was small.

I thought nothing of it, and sat down to rest my aching feet while Mom checked us in. A few minutes later, we were dragging our luggage into the elevator.

Which was about the size of a broom closet. :P

It was also very slow, and it took several minutes to reach the fifth floor. When we stepped out, we were met with the stale smell of cigarette smoke and dirty floors. Upon a second glance at our key, we realized that we were supposed to be on the sixth floor. Back to the broom closet elevator we went.

As soon as we got into the room, all three of us were cringing. (Added note: You can see the corresponding pictures up above.) Rust (or reddish mold, I’m unsure which) lined the bottom of the walls and when I tried to plug my laptop charger into one of the electrical outlets, I realized it was somewhat broken—the plug just fell right out again.

Fortunately, I found a different outlet next to my bed and plugged it in there, eager to tap into the free WiFi.

And then I discovered I couldn’t get into any of the free hotspots. I felt rising panic again, and asked Mom if I could go down to the front desk and ask what in the world was going on. She insisted that she come with me; as it turns out, she had seen a few drunk guys out front and didn’t want me downstairs alone.

So we trooped downstairs. As it turns out, the lady at the check-in desk had forgotten to give us the code for their WiFi. She did, and we went back upstairs. I sat down again and typed the code into one of the hotspots, inwardly pleading with it to work.

It did, though it took a while. A rush of relief washed over me as I clicked into Gmail and poked my head into Skype. I began to get responses from friends—and even though the hotel room was extremely creepy-looking and I was homesick, I felt much more peaceful.

I spent the rest of the day and night on the computer—literally. I spent the afternoon doing homework and talking alternately; Mom and my brother went on a walk, leaving me alone for a whle. I took the chance to use Gmail to call that one good friend from the other night. We chatted for about ten minutes, and then my family returned.

I let them in, and then reluctantly told my friend I should go—Mom was telling me I needed to do schoolwork and focus on that. So we ended the call... and that, I think is the last time I’ll hear his voice for another five days. *winces*

Since I knew I probably wouldn’t get any sleep, I wondered if I could stay up late. I was told ‘yes’, and spent the rest of the day looking forward to going to bed and writing, or chatting, or just relaxing for the last time until I go home.

And, believe it or not, I was on the internet all night. The WiFi kept dying, and I had several panic attacks; afraid that it would die for good. I was worried sick, literally—my stomach ached, I was dizzy, I wanted to cry...

Not to mention I’ve not stopped jittering and trembling since I got on the plane. *rolls eyes* I know, I’m pathetic.

I felt so much more relaxed. With it dark, and my brother sleeping in the bed next to me (or getting up to fetch water from the miniature fridge, or looking out the peephole at the hallway in an effort to see who was making so much noise), and talking to my friends on my laptop all night... it almost felt like home.

I could pretend that I was just home. That my mom had allowed me a wireless internet modem in my room, and I was staying up late chatting. For a while, everything was normal, and when a friend of mine messaged me on his own (I’m usually the one to initiate conversations with all of my friends; rarely do friends initiate conversations with me first) to say hello, I was actually happy.

I didn’t get any writing done, but I chatted for hours to Andy, Ophelia, Matt, Elizabeth, Jessie, and Robert. By about 1am, everyone was gone except for Matt and Andy. Since I wasn’t tired in the least, I stayed up chatting to them. It was a bit uncomfortable, since the laptop was on the bed, and I had to basically do a sit-up everytime I wanted to type a response to someone. But I wasn’t about to just go to bed.

(Not to mention that there were drunks making noise half the night; both out in the hallways right outside, and the sidewalk below our window. :P)

But... well, Andy went to bed, and Matt did soon after. I was thinking that, since everyone online had gone to bed, I would just attempt to sleep myself. But then I got another message from Andy, who had decided to chat me via his phone from bed. I was all too happy to keep chatting.

Then, well... *winces* I... fell asleep in the middle of the conversation. I woke up two hours later (yes, I got two hours total of sleep; impressive, I know) to see a message from him asking if I had fallen asleep.

I was horrified and sent him a message on both Skype and Gmail, explaining that I had indeed fallen asleep, and said I was really sorry many times—I felt so bad.

He came back a bit after and promised me it was okay, and that he could talk when he got back from the morning outreach he was at (he was texting me with his phone).

Right after he said that, my mom woke up. It was 5am EST, and a little while later, my brother woke up—so the lights went on and people started brushing their teeth and such. I logged onto the campus website to do some of my homework.

I spent the entire morning switching from chatting to people, doing homework, and eating a small breakfast (a small piece of banana bread and a lot of water). I stressed out over my geology homework for a long while; it was confusing, even with Mom helping me, and I just know I got it more than half wrong. :P

I began to feel very anxious by daylight. There was only a few hours before I had to go and take a taxi to the Port of Miami and ready myself to board the ship—the ship where WiFi costs an arm and a leg.

My friends tried their best to calm me down; it worked very slightly but not perfectly. I was still very anxious. My shaking got worse than it had been before.

Mom kept extending the time; she wanted to leave at 9am EST, but then consented that I could stay and do homework until about 10am EST. (Eventually, we didn’t leave until about 11am EST.)

At that point, we headed down to the lobby to check out and wait for the taxi; I stayed online a bit longer with the WiFi. I was sitting on a bench with my laptop on my lap—and I could hardly read the screen, because my legs were trembling so much.

Then the taxi arrived. Before I had time to think about panicking, I said goodbye to my friend Elizabeth (who was, by this time, the only one around) and ran out to the taxi.

We drove to the Port of Miami, and headed into... I don’t know what you would call it. It was like an airport, only for planes. A large building in which you checked in and such. The ships were visible from where we got out of the taxi; they were huge, and ours (Carnival Victory) was the biggest.

We spent a long while checking in, having our bags checked by security, and other similar things—while waiting in line to check in, the Celtic Thunder band walked out of a room and up the stairs, down the hall to board the ship.

The noise was tremendous; even though more than 90% of the people crowded around were elderly, there was a ton of cheering and whistling and downright deafening shouts. I cringed, but stayed as still as I could, as I was filming them walk past.

After that, we checked in. My mom was mistaken for our older sister instead of our mother. *grins* Then we had to walk for a while to get to the side of the building where we boarded the ship.

Since I hate escalators, I tried to take the stairs, but someone who worked there stopped me. Not once, but twice—I tried to go up, but she had to check our passes. Then, when I tried to go up again after she checked my pass, she pulled me back and told me to take the escalator.

When I said I didn’t like escalators, she told me to use the elevator and started to lead me there. Beginning to feel a bit skittish (and not wanting to leave my family), I pulled away and told her, “Never mind, I’ll just go with them”, pointing at my mom and brother, who were already on their way up the escalator.

So, skip forward about a half-hour, and we’re on the ship. I clutched my laptop to my chest in fear—I could see over the railing, and I have a severe fear of heights, so... yes. XD I was relieved when we entered the main lobby of the ship; no railings there (just huge, clear glass elevators that scare me when I look through them and all the way down).

My family and I went up the glass elevator, and then found our way to the room. We left our luggage there, and went to explore.

The ship is huge, and I can’t even begin to describe it all. :P The photos I take and eventually show will have to suffice, along with captions.

(Added note: here are some of the photos of the ship!)

The front of the ship, at the Lido Deck.

The pool at the back of the Lido Deck.

A seahorse ornament on the stairs. Seahorses were everywhere on the ship.

A very cool-looking portrait hanging on the wall.

The pool on the Lido Deck.

The view from the ninth floor (or deck, as it is technically called; just inside and not outside).

The pattern on the carpet of the elevator rooms.

The water slide out on the Lido Deck (the ninth deck). 

A view of Miami from the ship's deck.

Another view of Miami from the ship's deck.

The water in Miami.

Another snapshot of Miami, this time from the other side of the deck.

My brother looking out across the ship.

Another cool portrait; it has a verse from the story of Noah on it.

The piano in one of the lounges, which is inside the casino.

The octopus outside of the arcade. XD

The glowing tiles of the dance floor.

One of the three dining rooms.

The glass elevators.

Those glowing signs with the names of all the places that can be found on that specific deck were on each deck, right by the elevators.

Random cakes from the cafe near the casino.

Carrot caaaake.

A yummylicious-looking chocolate cake.

The ice cream at the cafe looked really fancy. o.o
An archaeological-find-looking jar in a place called the Indian Library, right outside of the Internet Cafe.

The ship's pianist playing a Billy Joel tribute concert with his band.

Most of the day went uneventfully; I explored, trying to withstand the boiling heat, and ate lunch at the buffet. The food tastes funny; either it’s not as good as they boast, or I’m just not used to ‘fancy food’. I never thought I’d say it, but I miss my mom’s cooking. *sheepish half-smile*

But somewhere around the middle of the day... heartache suddenly slammed into me, and I was severely homesick and lonely. It’s strange, but the quote is true—it really is worse to be lonely while surrounded by people who make you feel lonely, than lonely because you’re actually alone.

When we went back to the room to pick some things up and drop some things off... I just broke. I started crying, and trying to stifle it. I managed quite well... until Mom asked me why I was sniffling and if I was allergic to something.

Larry was outside in the hallway waiting for us. She asked me what was wrong, since I just kept saying ‘nothing’. Finally, after she asked me another time what was wrong, the tears escaped and starting rolling down my face.

She hugged me and asked what was wrong. I couldn’t speak for several seconds; my throat was choked up because I was trying to stay silent while crying. I finally managed to stutter out the word ‘homesick’, and then hid my face in her shoulder.

She spent a few minutes trying to console me, reminding me that she was homesick too. Then, since Larry was impatient, we headed out of our room and into the hallways again.

I tried to compose myself, I really did. But my heart hurt too much. Every so often, a few tears would roll down my cheeks or my throat would close up in an attempt to keep sobs from escaping. I just missed people so much.

We spent most of the day wandering around. Mom held my hand a few times when she sensed I was becoming more emotional. We had to go to a safety demonstration; after spending a long time trying to find our way to our specific area (there were areas lettered, and groups had to go to certain areas), we finally found it.

And we were put in front of this huge fan that had my skirt and my hair flying like crazy. :P Luckily, my skirt fit just well enough so that the ridiculously fast wind didn’t mess it up.

I let myself cry a bit, since it was so loud no, no one could hear me. Suddenly, after a short prayer, the tears just stopped. I stood there, staring fixedly out a distant point, determined to set my jaw and not cry again.

The safety demonstration ended. We wandered around more, and the on-and-off tears came back. We went to our room to freshen up and get into more formal clothing. While my brother showered and my mom washed clothes, I allowed myself a short cry without worrying who heard me. Then my brother stopped showering and I had to go quiet again.

Well, we went to dinner a while after. We had stayed in our room for a while watching Into The West; much to our excitement, it was on TV. It’s a favorite Irish film of mine. And it just keeps playing, like it’s on repeat, which is awesome. I can also watch Celtic Thunder concerts on TV as well, if I want.

Anyway... while it’s hot on most parts of the ship, the dining areas are freezing. The air conditioner is on far too high. After a short while, I was shivering. The tears continued to turn on and off. 

The table arrangement for our dining room.

A portrait of a ship in the dining room.

When the ice water came, I desperately took a drink every few seconds; it helped keep the sobs at bay. Whenever my throat would start to constrict, I would take a drink of cold water. And while it made me colder, it kept me from crying. I saw my brother rolling his eyes, but struggled to ignore it.

Mom was sympathetic; she held my hand for a few minutes, and I gave her a long hug at some point.

During dinner, a waiter accidentally dropped the plates he was holding. Food and broken glass went everywhere. I felt so sorry for the poor guy. The tears went away for the time, and I found myself wishing I could get up (he was right next to our table) and help him clean up. I didn’t though; Mom said they would most likely not let me help.

I ate some lettuce, a small amount of macaroni-and-cheese, and a bit of grilled fish. I’ve not eaten a lot today; I couldn’t even finish the smoothie I had to drink, no matter how delicious it was. My stomach hurt from stress, anxiety, and wanting to cry; I just wasn’t hungry. The waitress seemed a little disappointed that we weren’t going to buy dessert; maybe I’ll order less dinner tomorrow and get dessert instead. Who knows, maybe I’ll feel better and be able to eat normally.

After dinner, we headed to go and get our photo taken with Celtic Thunder. I realized I had forgotten the camera back at the table, and ran back to get it. Then we proceeded to where we had to go.

We got lost again and had to ask directions. Then we found it and stood in line for about a half-hour or so; and we were actually near the front of the line.

My mom couldn’t take pictures or videos; it wasn’t allowed. :/ But the professional photographer took a picture of me and my brother with the Celtic Thunder lads (my mom didn’t want her picture taken), and they’re supposedly going to email it to us.

We wandered around some more, and then went back to our room to check the schedule. We thought there was a show tonight, but it turns out there wasn’t. So we decided to get ready for the night; we went down to the buffet to bring back a few glasses of water for in the middle of the night. Mom also brought up a few small pieces of cake and a banana, for breakfast in the morning.

Then we started to clean ourselves up and get ready for bed. As I went into the bathroom, I heard Larry say, “Teddy better not cry so much tomorrow. I’m sick of it.”

Of course, that made me cry some more. I waited ‘til I was in the shower though, so I could sob without being heard. The shower water mingled with the tears.

Mom came in after I had gotten dressed and hugged me again, saying it was okay, and to try not to cry as much (but in a much nicer way than my brother). We talked about our homesickness for a while, and then decided that if I needed to cry, I could wait until my brother fell asleep or go out on the deck for a bit to do so.

And now I’m sitting here in bed. Mom and Larry are watching a Mission Impossible movie, I’m typing this, and we’re all trying to unwind. I’m not fighting tears anymore—except for a few minutes ago when my brother said, “Try not to cry so much tomorrow. It bugs me.”

That made me blink back tears again. My mom reprimanded him, ordering him to stop telling me what to my emotions do. He protested, “It’s just embarrassing!”

Then Mom noticed I was fighting back tears again and scolded Larry, “Now look, you’re making her cry again! Stop it!”

He said something about me being too sensitive. I stared fixedly at the laptop screen. Mom put a hand on my knee and asked if I was okay. My answer was an uncertain ‘yes’.

I promised Lizabeth I would try to write about at least one good thing in my journal entries each night, so...

I have three good things to write about, Lizabeth-sis. *smiles* The first is that I got to have my picture taken with the Celtic Thunder lads. I didn’t get to shake their hands or even say hello, but hey, I got my picture, and my mom said it looked like it would turn out ‘cute’.

The second is that Mom, after a talking-to from a good friend of mine, is making more of an attempt to understand me—and is doing as my friend suggested and giving me more hugs or holding my hand when she sees me starting to get really emotional.

The third is that I got to talk to you and Andy this morning. *grins*

While I’m at it, some more good things are that I’ve been praying a lot more (and God is good; I can feel Him helping me through this), and I’ve already met two people from South Africa, one from the UK, one from Jamaica, one from Granada, and one from Mexico (all employees).

Yeah, Andy, I’m trying to do as you challenged me to. *smiles a bit* I haven’t actively searched out someone to talk to; all the people I’ve met so far have been employees here, and have either introduced themselves as ‘so-and-so from [country]’, or had their country on their nametag. But I am keeping an eye out for people from other countries, just like I said. I’m going to try and talk to people more when I’m not as choked up.

Well, that’s about it... I’m going to try and get some sleep tonight (since I’ve only had eight hours in the last three days), or read, or something. And, if I’m lucky... I’ll get to say hello to a few friends when Mom buys WiFi tomorrow for me to do school with. *is very hopeful that those she wants to talk to are around*

God bless you all, and I’ll see you soon. Love you all!


Day 1

Day 2
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7


  1. Your brother was probably acting the way he was because he felt the same way as you, but he could not let himself cry like you could. In a way, he was probably jealous. At least, that's how I would have felt. Though, I might not have been so vocal.
    -Extreme Reader

    1. Hey there, nice to see you here, Seth. :)

      And yeah... I realized that later on in the trip. I've not finished putting up blog posts yet. I understood more of his emotions as the time wore on, and why he acted that way.