I should REALLY update a lot more. Too bad I'll probably not be updating much of anything these next few months (heck, maybe even next two years) due to having to focus on school now. I'm not gonna bother trying to recap all that's happened to me since last journal. This is just to recap my experience on the Band Tour around the Gulf this year.
The Band Tour was from August 1-15. Act 1 was the rehearsals at Coe. Act 2 was the road trip down to New Orleans. Act 3 was the cruise and then the much shorter road trip home.
--ACT 1--Day 1
: Dad drove me down to Coe and we barely made it in time to sign in at the music building, Marquis (MARR-kwiss, not marr-KEE, go figure) Hall. To my pleased surprise, turns out there was a lot of money left over, and so everyone got at least $100 back from Dr. Carson (band director). I even got some extra, forget why. Anyway, happy I actually had money to spend on food over the trip, I went and got myself dinner at Wendy's. Rehearsed with everyone (except those we'd meet later on in the tour), met my friends again. That night, there was a social at Carson's house, with s'mores and hot dogs and this Indian smoothie thing that was really good.Day 2
: After brekkie, we rehearsed again, then I was like, "Okay, I brought 3 movies with me for the bus, but I've only seen 3 of them," and so I got lunch and sat down to watch Prince of Persia. It wasn't bad--it was quite entertaining and I'm happy despite the plot being almost completely different from before--but I dunno if there'll be another one, or if it's worth it. Decided to bring it still, since I kinda had to keep it with me, but I didn't think anyone would really like it. (As such, some plans for my KH fic were dashed.) Another rehearsal, where I think I ended up not feeling well by the end due to not eating a big enough lunch (or was that day 1?). Then we had good pizza and saw some info from our tour guide on New Orleans. The guy was nice and good, but...no offense, but something about him kind of annoyed me...I dunno. But I didn't HATE him.Day 3
: Half the day was spent at Coe still, getting ready, doing another rehearsal, then getting out of Coe.
--ACT 2--Day 3 continued
: A relatively short bus ride later, we reached Washington High School and performed. It went well for our first performance, especially one in such heat and humidity. We had dinner there (and I lost a burger, which ticked me off) before the concert, and after we and our Jazz band played, we sat and listened to the Cedar Rapids Municipal Band play. Near the end, knowing I take a while in the bathroom (a constant curse on the entire tour), I went to use the facilities there. There was a lady with a couple dogs by the entrance to the building.
When I got to the doorway, I paused to look at them, leaning over a little bit. The band was about to start another song, so it was all quiet. Suddenly, one of the dogs starts barking at me, and I jumped and, a bit hurt and embarrassed, went inside. I heard people laughing behind me, and I guess it was kinda funny, and the band didn't start until this was all over, so all was good. Later, when we were leaving, the woman apologized and explained that the dog came from a bad owner who had abused her, so she got scared when people came in close to her like I did. All was good there, too. After that, we got back on the bus and went on our way to St. Louis. Since we performed at the Arch, we saw a couple shortish videos on the construction of the Arch and a Nat. Geo. video on the Louis & Clark expedition. We crashed at a Country Inn.Day 4
: We had decided beforehand to use some shirts we all got for free as our uniform that day because of the heat and TWO concerts. (All-black was the standard uniform.) We got to the Gateway Arch at St. Louis and I got some nostalgia; I'd danced there at the '99 Morris Ale (thank you, handily right next to me old button, for the date!). We went up in the Arch and I took some shots from the windows (including a couple where I'd looked straight. Down. @_@;; ). Then we got down, got to the stage area that faced the Arch directly, and set up. While everyone was getting down from the Arch, I hit the gift shop and got a pin. Our performance didn't have that huge an audience (the Wash. High audience was one of our bigger ones the whole tour), but we played. Once, a river boat blew its horn in a way that sounded like how a trombonist could play it--and it came from their direction--during one piece. It was funny.
We got to Nashville and thought we didn't have much time before restaurants closed, so we hurried up and set up our concert at the Music City Walk of Fame Park. We barely had an audience at all, sadly. Afterwards, we split up to go eat. Me and my friends and some other companions went to this relatively cheap burger joint where I ate grilled spam (which I couldn't really taste specifically). The street we walked back on was full of shops and strip clubs and restaurants, and me and my friends stopped into a gift shop briefly. There, I got a treble clef pin and laughed at some of their hilariously lewd merchandise. (Included were a pair of piggy banks with one humping the other, sperm banks, and sticky penises, vulvas, and middle fingers.) We got to a Fairfield Inn and crashed.Day 5
: No concerts, all travel. We got to New Orleans and checked into our huge Holiday Inn with a giant clarinet painted on the side before we walked down Bourbon Street. One of my friends, Alexis, was excited to be back in New Orleans since she'd lived in Louisiana before (at Moulin Rouge). Bourbon Street was scary and cool and fascinating, just to say the least. Helped they were celebrating a festival related to Louis Armstrong. We got to Preservation Hall and split up for dinner. Me and my friends and some companions (including my roommates for the trip) went to this sports bar where a lot of the group went and had some tasty alcoholic drinks (myself excluded, though I got to take a sip just to see how it tastes) and I had genuine New Orleans gumbo. It was tasty. Then we went down to Preservation Hall and listened to a group of older men sit and play Dixieland Jazz the way they played wayyyy back when--the thing Preservation Hall is preserving. It was fantastic. Then we all walked back to the hotel and crashed.Day 6
: I missed out on getting breakfast at Café du Monde because I overslept, but given my budget by the end of the tour, that mighta been a good thing.
We got into our blacks and bused over to the Riverwalk Marketplace Food Court. We set up and played our concert to a growing audience as people came and had lunch that Saturday afternoon. This was the last time our Jazz band played because the drummer couldn't go on the cruise, and they did great; performing in New Orleans as a Jazz band musta been really killer. After that, I ate there (some more gumbo, I think) and went with a bunch of other people on a tour in our bus around the city with our guide. The bus moved too quick to take many good pics, it was LONG, and I got real sick of our guide by the end of it. (I swear most of it was because of general mood
) Got to look at some nice-looking cemeteries and what I think is supposed to be a bayou. I wanted to take a lot of pictures of the interestingly-colored houses in the city, but...*sigh* Oh, well. Was happy to get back to the hotel.
There, Duroje (dur-ROE-jjah (soft J)), one of my roommates and a friend from earlier years at Coe, let me play his 3DS, playing Face Raiders, and I had great fun. I REALLY wanna 3DS, and now that the price has dropped...I -still- can't afford it. And it'd be my only present if I got it for Christmas/birthday. But it'd be worth it...unless I really didn't get anything else and didn't get Skyward Sword...*blahblahblah*
I went and ate at Mulate's for dinner, having to get on the shuttle before my other friends were ready. (They walked, and it took surprisingly little time.) I felt bad, though, but I felt better as the night went on. I ate with some other people from the band, and with one of them, I had alligator (blackened to be precise) for the first time. It was tasty! I did a little dancing later that night after coming from the bathroom to find the performing Cajun band doing "The Chicken Dance". I did a waltz with one of my friends and it was fun. We left together, walking. On the way, we stopped by a CVS (which I hadn't seen one of for ages) for one of my friends to get some pain meds. There, I got a cute little magnet of an anthropomorphic gator holding his arms up with the words, "I ATE A NEW ORLEANS TOURIST THIS BIG..." underneath. Sure, it was a cheap vinyl magnet, but it was too damn cute. After that, we went back to our rooms and crashed again.Day 7
: Skipped breakfast entirely (day before I just had some Nutri-Grains and a Pop-Tart since the breakfast at the hotel wasn't free), missing out on beignets (a great disappointment), and we all went to the bus to the dock.
--ACT 3--Day 7 cont.
: We got on the Norwegian Spirit and I was like, "I never thought I'd be rich enough to actually step onto one of these," with the Vermillion City theme in my head the whole time. We got to our cabin (I took the bunk) and we all went to eat at the buffet there. (There were three or five free restaurants on the ship. All but one was a sit-down to some extent.) The food was good, though the deserts left something to be desired, and the drink choice was limited since anything there besides water and iced tea cost money. Which included soda pop. ;_; I survived, though. After lunch, we all explored the ship.
I began to notice that the crew...I could probably count the number of Americans I saw on my hands. Peruvians, Filipinos, Jamaicans, heck, I think even Australians; the whole ship was totally multi-cultural. I knew their nationalities because they even each had their home flag on their name tag! It was quite cool and unique. Anyway, I decided to find the library at some point before we shoved off and found an interesting book I later checked out: The Search for WondLa
by Tony DiTerlizzi. It had great illustrations of interesting aliens and tons of them. It somehow ignited my imagination, and I was going to start on writing something, but...I ended up not.
I ate dinner alone, and the ship began to move while I ate. It was exciting. After checking out said book, I read it at the helm's area, where a live Jazz band (very small compared to ours, only a few guys) did some music at some point. That night, I also went up on deck and walked around in the midnight sea air; we'd only recently gotten out to sea from the river.Day 8
: Day at sea. I slept in, then went and ate with Dr. Carson's family at a diner on the ship. They celebrated Marissa's birthday (she's Carson's daughter, and she turned 18 that day). I read, swam in the pool (which drew in water from the ocean and thus was salty), celebrated the fact I was totally outside the US on deck, and other stuff before I went to dinner with the Carsons again, this time at Windows, a more upscale restaurant located at the aft that had huge, titular windows looking at the wake. There, I ordered appetizers for either the first time ever or the first time in a very long time. And Marissa got sung "Happy Birthday" by some of the crew who'd somehow caught wind of the event, and they brought her cake at the end of the meal! I love those guys. They really made that whole experience wonderful. (Marissa got sung "Happy Birthday" to at least thrice that day, and I'm sure more.)Day 9
: We all got into our blacks again for our second-to-last performance that tour and met at the casino before we disembarked onto Mexican shores at Costa Maya. This is the first time (in -my- memory) that I had ever been in a country outside America. (I'd gone to Canada when I was a baby, but that didn't count due to me not remembering. Couldn't you guys have waited a bit longer, Mom? X3) After applying generous sunblock and getting on a tram for a short ride down the dock to the super-touristy area, and admiring the blue
sea, we set up and performed for people going in. Which meant few people stayed to really listen. It was fun, though.
Afterwards, we went back into the ship, changed, and...I used the bathroom, meaning practically everyone else had gone off again. And we had a 3-person-minimum rule for going around. (Which I...totally ignored, practically.) Thankfully, I found our excellent trumpet, Mr. Al Naylor, and went with him. (Adults--well, most of the band were over 18, but you know what I mean--counted for two.) I looked in a few stalls and was reminded of San Antonio's Mexican Marketplace with the bright colors and myriad stuff (i.e., crosses, crosses, and more crosses) hanging on the walls, but saw nothing of great interest. Al stopped at a bar to get a couple margaritas, and he let me wander around to look at more stuff. (I had by then decided to see if I couldn't get a souvenir from every major destination.) After finding my friends again, I walked with them a bit. We went into a store along the edge of the area.
There, I saw a little bag of American candy marked at at LEAST "20.00".
I pray that's just pesos or an exchange rate trick or something, but then again, something I did get kinda makes me think that Costa Maya's out to make tourists regret ever buying anything from there. Ever. After I got back with Al (my friends were just going back to the ship when I found them), we walked around, and I finally found a shop selling pins. They were pins of the Mexican flag. At $20.
The guy said so. I was appalled, to say the least. Then he asked how much I was willing to spend, and I stupidly said $10 tops.
So he says $15.
I stand there and think for a second before I realized something.
Thus ended my first-ever time haggling, putting all my little experience with it on Neopets to use. I played it way too safe to begin with. If I'd known he was open for haggling, I woulda said a lower price than $10 to begin with. I wasn't at ALL happy with the most expensive pin I'll ever buy (it wasn't all that great, either...), but I was kinda pleased with the resulting story of my first haggle. It was kinda cool, really, to haggle. But still, YOW...X_X Al and I finished walking around the touristy area and went back to the ship. I'm disappointed we couldn't really explore the actual city. Back on the ship, I read and played some Pokémon White because I saw D (Duroje) playing Black and was kinda inspired.Day 10
: This time, I woke up later (no concert for the next three day) and found I was too late to find a group to go out to Roatán (that the right accent?). I really should've organized that better...Oh, well. I'm kinda glad I didn't, though. Anyway, I eventually met up with Beth, and while she wanted to go with just me (she'd just gotten back from going with some other friends and wanted a break), I convinced her to wait until lunch to see if anyone else would come back so we could go under our rules. And, like I said, I'm glad I did. See, I decided to continue EV training people in White, sitting alone in my cabin, while I waited for lunch to come around. (Yeah, I suck
I went to Pinwheel Forest to hunt the Bug-types there for Defence EVs for my unfeazant (Queens). I'm going around and hoping for a Bug-type and NOT a pidove or the millionth petilil, and then I run into a sewaddle. I look at it and think, 'Huh, that's weird, I can almost swear its leaf isn't green, but te--'
I FREAKED. I FREAKED.
(Good thing I was alone in the cabin. Thank you, God, thank you, God, I was allowed to celebrate like I did with much activity and shouting.)
It took me at LEAST a decade, but for the first time since I was able to get one--starting with Crystal--I had at long last found my first ever, honest-to-God Shiny. (Not one of the hand-out ones like the gyarados or the beasts.) This was honestly one of the biggest highlights of the entire tour. Seriously, getting that one-in-almost-a-million was something to remember.
I chucked my Master Ball, as planned, right away. I didn't wanna risk ANYTHING AT ALL. (I only later realized I coulda used a Nest, Quick, or (better yet) Net Ball to grab it and regretted the decision, but oh, well; I had planned it from the start.) I named him Joseph for the Technicolor Dreamcoat. (Sewaddle's line makes clothing out of leaves, and he's a shiny, so...) Then I SAVED and was so happy. Anyway. Nerdgasm aside.
Turned out I went just with Beth anyway. We walked down the street and looked at the town. I took lots of pictures. On the way there, I heard a woman in a booth offer $5 t-shirts, which I bookmarked in my mind. T'was an intriguing town. It was like a ghetto in a beautiful setting; it was so odd but nice. Not to say anything bad about the people there, natch. I got one of those $5 shirts on the way back. It's got a pocket and a map of Honduras, and is dyed in a pretty blue...though said dye, when I wore it on the way back home the last day, stained onto the waistband of my undies from my sweat and I realized why it was so low-priced: It really was cheap. I'll have to hand-wash it.
Afterward, we met some other band members on the way back to the ship, where I also saw a real marimba. It sounded pretty cool. Together with the other guys, we looked at a cemetery with some interesting-looking graves, then we went back to the ship. At some point during the day, I paid for my excursion for the next day, $59.99 on the dot. (Yes, I got back a penny in change. Then was when I learned that we're putting different stuff on the back. I was mildly upset to see a stupid shield instead of the Lincoln Memorial on the back. Fortunately, I saw that wasn't the only new back.)Day 11
: Belize City, Belize. This was the day of my excursion to the Altun Ha ruins. I could get off the ship alone. Because the waters around Belize were too shallow for the ship, there was a ferrying service of sorts (lander? I forget the term). So I got off one boat and onto another. Before going to Altun Ha, though, our tour group was driven around the city. It was interesting to see what they called fancy houses looking damaged and, while fancy, not quite superstar villa to me. Must be because I'm so used to being in super-rich America. (Like we'll be rich for much longer, at this rate...I hope I'm thinking the wrong thing.) It was a better tour than the one before, with a slower bus that I could actually take pics out of well.
Altun Ha was not as impressive as I'd hoped, but it was the cheapest ruins excursion on the tour, so I couldn't expect too much. It was pretty, and I was appreciated when I offered my bug dope to others (including the tour guide!). I started sound recording as soon as we got there. At the temple of the sun god that was there, we saw a just-married couple posing for pictures. Maybe they were even getting married right there! (I think it was just pics, though.) It was cute. After some tour stuff, we were freed to go around on our own. The guide says 45 minutes, then another guy says, "So, 12:15?" and the guide says, "Yeah." I look at my watch. It's not quite 11:30 yet. But I hope the guide lets us stay an extra few minutes to make it 12:15, anyway.
I walked around and climbed up the infamously steep stairs to the top of the sun god temple and took pics (and vid going up!). At the top, I saw graffiti scrawled onto what I first thought was the actual stone but later realized was newly-placed cement. (The ruins had been undergoing a reconstruction project...probably part of why it was rated so relatively low compared to the other ruins tours and was cheaper...There was white modernness interrupting many places in the ruins, which was a bit disheartening.) I even snapped that though because it was amusing. I did find a smaller temple that almost killed me on the way up (I almost fell when I didn't get as stable a foothold as I'd wanted), though, one that was relatively untouched and had a great view of the jungle below in one spot. More pics.
Then I got down and was ready to go back, so I decided to get to the bus early and wait in what I hoped was air conditioning. I was sweating like a pig and surprised that my 15 SPF (which I -did- reapply midway through the excursion, to be fair) was protecting me so far, as well as the bug dope. So I get on the bus, and find I'm the first there...and that I'm looking at school bus seats, not coach seats. I slowly begin to panic.
That was the only bus there.
I wait a bit, then go back to the site to look a little bit, panic rising the whole time. Then I finally go back to the lot--it's almost 12:15 by then--and I saw a bus I swore was mine, full of people, looking like it was about to leave. I ran to it, but realized it wasn't mine, and that it was backing into a spot. I panted and felt more and more panic as I wondered if I'm going to have to walk back (I forget if that other bus, whose driver had offered to drive me back, which I was afraid of since it wasn't from a group from my ship). Then, I see another bus come and think, 'Oh, it's another tour,' and start moving out of the way. It looks like it's almost going after me, though.
Then my tour guide comes out of the bus, and when I recognize him, I feel like fainting from relief. He says that the group's bus broke down, so they hitched a ride with another returning group. Then, he did a headcount and realized someone was missing--me. So he had them turn around and return for me. Thank God Almighty above!!
So I got on and had to sit on the steps due to lack of space, but I was fine. Sweatier than I'd ever been in my life, it felt like, and tired, but relieved. I pulled out my still-recording gizmo and say, "And that...was my Mayan Adventure," before shutting it off. It was funny on the way back when one of the other tour's guides saw a squirrel and actually pointed it out. She explained that squirrels were a lot rarer there than they were where I was from. Still amusing. We got back in one piece after the bumpy ride, and while I doggedly tried to locate the landing for my ship's boat, I wandered into another shop. They had pins, and I saw one with a map on it that caught my eye. I asked the lady there how much, and she said $5.
Haggling take 2. Though it wasn't really, since I kept saying no politely. I really was super-low on cash. As I walk over to put the thing back, the man at the store offered $4. I still said no. Then he said, "3 dollars. You can't beat that."
And I stopped and thought. Thought back to the 5-, 6-, 7-, 8-, even 10-dollar pins I'd seen back home. And I said aloud that he was right. I got the pin.Day 12
: I didn't do much at Cozumel. I did go off the ship alone entirely, though, this time, no excursion. I didn't get caught. Again, it was a touristy place, but this time we could actually walk down the street. I ended up going only a short ways before I turned and headed back to the ship since I was alone and hungry (I'd left at 11, before eating lunch) and scared for my wallet, chain and front pocket or not. Before that, though, I saw a sign for this store, "Los Cinco Soles". They said they had art stuff, so I went in. Indeed, they had jewelry made of silver, sculptures, and the best part: Genuine Mexican toys. They had dolls, ball-and-cups, Jacob's Ladders, and a few instruments (aside from the requisite maracas, of course). What caught my eye were these little wooden flutes that were painted in bright colors and sold in sets of five for about $5 (or bigger, different ones for a bit more). I had the best idea: Power Rangers theme! Partway into that, I had an even better idea.
See, at home, me, Kristian (
), Kenny (
), Brandon (
), and David (
) are The Four Links (plus Shadow Link). As such, we're each a different color. I'm blue, Kenny's green, Kristian's red, Brandon's purple, and David's Shadow Link (though the colors apparently change around when I'm gone). As such, after deciding to get a white flute because they look pretty, I thought to get one for each of us. (Sorry, Ross
And sorry, David, I didn't see any black ones, I don't think.) I only put my mouth directly on mine, the blue one I got, and just blew from a distance if I did anything at all to the other ones, so don't worry, guys! I need to give them to them still. I'll do that this coming week when I organize a visit with at least most of 'em.
After that, I went around and looked at other stuff in other shops, taking pics. I took pics of masks made from stone squares, a statue street performer, and a Packers poncho.
I kid you not. If I had the money, I'd've gotten it in a heartbeat because of how hilarious and awesome it was.Day 13
: At sea again. We had our final performance on the ship, as planned, though not by the pool as planned (too little space, anyway). I tried to get one of the crew--a Peruvian (I think) woman who squealed, "COURAAAGE!" when she saw me one day wearing my Courage the Cowardly Dog shirt, it having been one of her favorite shows--to see it, but she was busy, saying she has to work until 3. We were playing at 2:45. My last words before I never saw her again were something like, "I'm pretty sure we'll be playing more than 15 minutes," or something. I wanted to say goodbye to her. She was adorable. I didn't see her at the performance, sadly. But we were included in the ship's daily pamphlet of events, so we got an audience!
(Now, I'm not sure whether the following happened this night or the night before.)
That night was the last of the big shows in the theatre there. Before, I had seen a magnificent pair from Russia, Dmitri and Maria, do some gymnastics, dancing, and even some funny skit stuff, and a few people from comedy group The Second City do some skits and improv, some skits based off stuff on the boat that were really funny. This time was a show called "Elements", which is mostly dancing to music in themed costumes by a group of people, with a magician doing a trick with his assistant each of the four elements (Earth, Water, Wind, Fire, in that order). There was also always at least one more-different scene each element, which was nice.
At the end, the cruise director came up and brought up a bunch of crew members, not just the people I'd seen, but the people behind the scenes, including the captain. Everyone clapped and cheered. Apparently, the multicultural thing was a gimmick of Norwegian's, or at least of the Spirit's. It was awesome, and I was happy because I loved all the crew members.
Afterwards, me and some others in the group I was in went down to Windows for a Chocoholic Buffet. It was a long line, but the thing was so huge and amazing, I was overwhelmed a bit. I loaded my plate--"Buffet Effect" (as I call it) in full effect--but I made my saving throw and only at least took a bite out of everything so I tasted it all (it was delicious) so that if I felt myself getting full/sick, I could stop without feeling guilty. When I popped a peppermint Altoid in my mouth, it was awesome when it combined with the chocolate still on my tongue, so I immediately told the three I was with to grab one from my tin.Day 14
: We got back to New Orleans and, with much sadness, disembarked one last time. We got to our bus and headed off to Memphis. By then, I'd run out of money, pretty much. I had 3 bucks to my name in change, ignoring the two quarters I was saving for my collection (I wish I'd brought my list with me to be sure!). So, I asked if someone could get lunch for me when we stopped to eat, and Beth rescued me again. I felt soooo weird, especially seeking charity like I was, because we had just watched the movie HouseSitter
. It wasn't a great movie, which is disappointing, especially since it had Steve Martin in it and was directed by Frank Oz. If you don't know what it's about, Wiki it.
We went by Graceland, but the mo-fo bus was moving too fast again for me to get a good picture of The King's gates. (Heck, I couldn't even see the place because they'd strategically planted trees to block it from the street! Maybe we were on the backside of it...) It wasn't that super-cool because I was too focused taking pics instead of thinking how cool it was to finally see Elvis' house. (I actually kinda like Elvis--blame Lilo for making me realize how cool his stuff actually is and Junkie XL for that frikking awesome remix.) Oh, well.
That night, we stopped in Memphis. (I earlier cursed myself because I'd thought we'd just be going back up to Iowa non-stop, having forgotten Memphis, and didn't have much souvenir money.) First we went right to Beale Street--specifically, BB King's Blues Club. After getting our reservation (since we were in the band, or maybe Carson paid it for everyone, we didn't have to pay an up-front fee to get in!), I went to the gift shop across the street. They had TONS of Elvis stuff. Even buttons--at, conveniently enough, $3!--of him. But I wasn't THAT huge an Elvis fan, so I avoided that if I could. I eventually ended up asking a band mate for a buck to let me get one of the $4 pins. It's an interesting one because of its shape--a record, complete with hole in it! (Too bad the hat I'm gonna stick it on's black
) My mission to get a souvenir from all the places was complete, having spent, like, under $40 total, to boot! *is too lazy to tally up what he spent*
At BB King's, I had fried pickles for the first time ever. (Heck, I'd only heard about them that day, so what am I saying "ever" for like it's important? Well, the fact stands.) I also had some delicious ribs. BB wasn't there, we apparently were just missing him that day (he'd be playing the next, I think, and I think maybe played the night before), but the blues band that was there was great. I took some pictures of them. Ironically, a saxophonist only started playing right when we were leaving (they kicked out under-21-ers at 10). We crashed at a Holiday Inn Express.Day 15
: We had a continental breakfast before leaving off once more to Cedar Rapids. We started the classic Hook sometime after lunch and with enough time to end it before we got back to Coe. I hadn't seen that movie in ages, so it was a treat. (It was a bit surreal hearing all the places where Pogo had sampled for "Bangarang", and I finally learned the kids are saying, "Low! High! Out!" (Is it "out", though?)) Little-known fact: My birthday's the same day as the premier of Peter Pan--December 27th! Anyway, we got back, Dad found me, and we drove...to our hotel, because Dad wasn't 100% sure when I'd be getting back and booked a hotel room. So we got to the hotel room really early--it was still light out, for Pete's sake! (We'd gotten back around 6 as planned.) The next day we finished driving home.
...And that's that!