Even though we were on the ship for eighteen days, which seems like a long time, docking in Vancouver came all too soon. The atmosphere on the "beautiful and elegant Statendam" was so nice that we really did not want to have to leave. The crew was the most outgoing we've ever met, and we also made some great friends from among the passengers.
We chose to take the Holland America bus to the airport, because it was reasonably priced and easy. We made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare before our flight, even with the long lines at the airport, and in addition got a guided tour of the city.
We boarded a flight to Los Angeles, where we were planning to visit my mother and sisters, and Tina's childhood friend, Linda. I had not been back to Los Angeles since I left more than 18 years ago, so this was going to be interesting.
When we got to Los Angeles, all the street names were familiar, but I didn't recognize much of anything until we got to my old neighborhood, the one I grew up in. The street was very familiar, but due to changes at the next door neighbors' house, I did not recognize my mother's house. That was a shock! And I had to have directions to get to my sister's houses - they live next door to each other. Fortunately, I still retained enough familiarity with the freeway system and the area where they live to be able to get us there. The visit went very well, and a good time was had by all. I enjoyed meeting my brother-in-law of thirteen years for the first time. We drove by my first house and I was pleased to see that my garden appeared to be intact.
The day after visiting with my family, Tina's friend Linda came into town to visit with us, and took us all over Orange County, including a drive on my favorite ocean side street in Corona Del Mar. That visit also went well. We had a great time and I gained a new friend.
I must say that I was impressed with the efficiency we encountered at LAX; even security was a breeze. The flight home from Los Angeles was uneventful, except for the pleasure of having my special friend, Buddy, meet our flight. That made me glad to finally be home once again.