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Suzila

My trip report

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I'm going to post this in general discussion, rather than cruise discussion because most of it is about the NASCAR trip.

We are home from our vacation. Ray and I went on a Carnival Paradise Baja cruise Mon-Fri and had

a nice, relaxing time. It took me awhile to unwind, but the unlimited food onboard

helped out...formal night I couldn't decide on prime rib or lobster, so I ordered both.

It was only 'slightly' embarassing when the waiter announced very loudly that my

'second meal will arrive shortly'. We went to the shows in the evenings and karaoke

every night and laughed our heads off. We've been on that cruise numerous times

so we didn't schedule any excursions...just explored Catalina and Ensenada on our

own. In Mexico we zeroed in on a specific store and bought a stained glass to hang

in our greenhouse window. Ray dickered with the guy and got a really good price.

I waited outside while he dealed...I can't stand doing that. I told Ray before he went

in the store, if the man doesn't like the price you offered, just give him the entire amount..

the man has to feed his family. I was banished to the sidewalk until he got the deal

he wanted.

The cruise was wonderful, relaxing, fun. The only bad part was the debarkation. Carnival (on the west coast), just started self-assist debarkation. (is it disembarkation or debarkation? Either way, WE COULDN'T GET OFF THE DARN SHIP!!!!) We were cleared to get off very early, along with about 80% of the rest of the ship...about 7:30am. And, we didn't get off until about 10:40am. The lines were horrendous, and then once we did get off, we had more lines at Customs. Carnival really needs to get their act together to allow people to get off the ship easier and faster.

We came home from the cruise about 12 noon on Friday, unpacked, did some laundry,

re-packed, got the pups to the kennel, picked up our son Scott and his wife, Bekah,

drove to Bob Hope Airport and boarded a plane for Vegas. This was the 4 day/3 night

trip I won for from Coca-Cola/Stater Bros. for four people.

Usually when we travel, I make all the arrangements, so giving up control of the trip to

someone else, was a little hard...but I have to say, everything was taken care of. I had

spoken to the judging agency before we left on our cruise and told the contact that I

would be gone and not available at all on Wednesday and Thursday (in Mexico, and no

cell phone coverage). She told me she'd send out the package on Tuesday 3/7 by FedEx.

I had to ask her to send it without signature confirmation because I wasn't sure anyone would

be home to sign for it. I didn't even have a chance to read through the package until we were on the plane.

So, the flight went well, the car rental went well, they put us up at the MGM Grand...very nice.

We stayed there once before on a Coca-Cola trip win, so they must have a prior contract

with the hotel.

We knew we would have tickets for the NASCAR race on Sunday, but didn't know the trip

included 4 tickets for the Qualifying race on Friday AND the Busch race on Saturday. We

couldn't have made the Friday qualifying because of the cruise, but we did go to the Saturday

race. The seats were in the Richard Petty Terrace, and were wonderful...up high and we

could see the entire track. The only problem was on Saturday it was freezing cold, windy,

and it started snowing (flurries). We stayed for only about two hours. Keep in mind we

had a rental car.... We lost it. !!! We wandered around looking for this darn car for at

least a half hour until we found it. The parking lot was marked poorly and there were

so many cars. Did we remember if it was champagne color or silver? Anyway...

We did have a chance to visit with my son Jeff and his wife, Melissa, who live in Henderson.

But they couldn't do the race weekend with us...that's one of the busiest weekends all year in

Vegas, and Jeff, who works in Harrahs Hotel, worked, worked and worked some more.

On Sunday morning we all got up early and made our way to the raceway. This time we parked

in the correct lot (and found our car easily later in the day). We went directly to the Coca-Cola

hospitality tent, and were greeted with a gift bag for each of us. A really nice little backpack, a

camera, a drink holder, a t-shirt, a hat, a program, and ear plugs. They had us go on a pit

tour immediately...we walked on the track, I took all kinds of pictures. When we got back to the

tent, we were served breakfast.

They had driver appearances and Jeff Burton and Bobby Labonte both came to our tent to

talk and answer questions and take pictures.

After breakfast we walked around in the hospitality area and saw quite a few other drivers

(Jimmie Johnson, who won the race that day, Jeff Gordon, Matt Kenseth, others). When we got back

to the booth, we were served lunch (gooood lunch...ribs, chicken, salads, yummmm) (lots of

Coke too!) and then they called raffle numbers. Scotty won a t-shirt signed by both Jeff Burton and

Bobby Labonte, Bekah won a hat signed by them both, and Ray won a signed Jeff Burton

diecast car. Gee, I felt like such a loser. What did I win? ( 'JUST' the trip for 4! )

We then all made our way up to the stands and watched the race...very exciting, incredible seats.

And it wasn't anywhere near as cold as it was the day before. The Thunderbirds flew over a

number of times...Nellis Air Force base is right next to the track.

We got home on Monday afternoon, and I'm ready to go to (I'd love to win another NASCAR trip)

another race. Coca-Cola really did it right.

Anyway...that's what I've been doing for the past week. Glad to be home. Haven't had a chance to read through any of the posts yet, so hope you all had a good week.

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We're glad you enjoyed your trips. Welcome back.

We assume the refrences to things like the Richard Petty Terrace and Busch race mean something to NASCAR fans. Our combined knowledge of NASCAR wouldn't fill a thimble, so the references are meaningless. (We also are unfamiliar with the two drivers you mention.) We do, however, like to hear about other people having fun, and it sounds as if you had lots!

As for disembarkation, sadly, few ports or cruise lines seem to get it right. It's bad enough having to leave the ship: they could at least make it pleasant! It seldom is. We've had more bad disembarkation experiences than good ones.

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Glad you had good trips, Sue! Welcome home!

My brother was also at the Nascar races in Vegas. He's a big fan of Nascar!

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Welcome home, Sue. It sounds like you had a great trip. Glad you enjoyed it. :grin:

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Glad you enjoyed your trip, Sue. Sorry about the debarking problems.

Soon the ships will be large enough so that you will be able to watch the races right on the ship, so you can cruise longer and avoid the 'land' part.

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Suzila,

It sounds like you had a great time during all parts of your trips. It's too bad about the disembarkation problem.

I'm really glad things worked out for the trip you won because you had do little time to prepare for it. Congratulations.

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Welcome home, Sue. I loved reading your trip report.I can't believe the waiter did that. I would think they would know better not to embarrass people like that. Now if we were at your table, you would have had company in ordering more than one entree. We do that quite often.I had to laugh about the Mexico part and being banished by Ray to the sidewalk. I could picture hubby and I in the same postition. LOL. :cheesy: Sorry to hear about the debarkation mess. We always do the early debarkation from Carnival in Miami and it works very smoothly. In fact, last time we were off the ship by 7:30 and DD was at school by 8:45. Maybe you need to cruise again real soon just to see how they do it in Miami. :wink: :wink: :wink: Good excuse, huh? Anyway, the Nascar part sounds great . It must be so exciting to be such a winner. Keep it up. I love reading about all the things you've won and I know you'll continue winning. We missed you, Sue, and glad to have you back. Hugs, Cheryl

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