Wednesday, October 9, 2013

People You meet

One on the nicest things about travel is the people you meet. This trip has been especially good that way. We spent the first ten days visiting friends and family, and it was nice to reconnect with people we had not seen in a while. You discover that most people do not change much. Even if you have not seen them in years you usually just start up where you left off as if it has only been weeks. But for this blog, these “friends” don't count because we already know them.

You meet the nicest people on a cruise
On the cruise, it is hard not to meet people. There are 1400 people together on a ship for almost 20 days; unless you hide in your cabin, you have to meet people. We ate in the main dining room every night at the same time at the same table with three other couples. I don't know how the cruise lines do it, but we always seem to be seated with very nice people who we get along with very well. As we got to know these people we had dinner with, we did more and more with them, often meeting up after dinner for the shows and other events. As we parted ways on the last day, everyone exchanged contact information and promised to keep in touch.

Or on shore excursions
You meet people wherever you go on the ship. Whenever you go in to the dining room for breakfast or lunch you are asked if you want to sit with others, and so we always met different people at these meals. Even if you eat in the Lido Buffet, you often share tables. You also meet people in line for coffee in the morning, at special programs, or sitting in the show at night.

We met a woman from Texas one morning. She had been living in Texas for forty years and had lived in New Jersey before moving to Texas. You would have thought she might have developed some accent during that time, but no, her German heritage still overcame all her time in the US. She even had lots of helpful advice on Kansas City for us because her son lived there. Her advice on the Airport shuttle was perfect.

Then there was the couple who we met at lunch one day who after a pleasant chat over our meal, said that with all the people on the ship, we probably would never see them again, but in fact we saw them over and over again, including on one of our tours and in the airport as we were flying to Kansas.

And of course "What happens on the cruise . . .
Now with the fierce debate over the US government shut-down, and Obamacare, we often were faced with questions about our Canadian health care system. The interesting thing is that the supporters of the democrats want to hear about how long we have to wait for things, and the Republicans want to hear how everyone has good care at no cost. They all love to talk and debate the Health Care issues and compare Obamacare and Canadacare, but no matter what you say, it doesn't seem to change anyone's opinion. We actually tried to avoid these discussions whenever we could, saying that we really do not know much about it, because it works so well we don't even think about it.

Arriving in Kansas, we discovered that although different in many ways, the natives of this city are much like good old Nova Scotians. They are friendly, cheerful and always willing to help. One interesting thing we noticed is that like Maritimers they always apologize for things even if it's not their fault. Two people stepping out of the elevator at once, and both say “Sorry” and step back to let the other go first. Two people come around a corner almost running into each other; two “Sorry's”.

My first day at the Kansas Speedway, I had to call to arrange the hotel shuttle. I had no cell phone, but the man sitting behind me in the grandstands gladly called for me, and when I had been standing out by the road waiting for a while, and started to worry about the violent thunderstorm getting closer and closer, the lady directing traffic, called again to check on it for me, and even left her number for them to call back when the shuttle was closer. The security guard walking by was probably thinking “What is this crazy guy doing standing out in the open waiting on the storm? Does he know his is indeed still in Kansas?”, but what he said was “You have a pleasant evening?” Walking to the bus stop the gardener for the hotel inquired as to where we were going, and when we told him about going downtown, he suggested visiting the Steamboat museum down by the river. I did, and it was the highlight of the daytrip to KC.

Yes, you really do meet some nice people.

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