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Monday, Sep 22, 2014
Steve Otto Columns

Otto: Traveling presents many, many gifts

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Our cruise ship, the S.S. Giftshoppe, pulled into Boston Tuesday morning on its voyage of discovery back to Florida today as you read this.

Coming off the gangplank were a couple of Pilgrims waiting to pose for pictures with us. So far we have been met at various ports by a guy in a lobster suit, a pair of Vikings, an Indian in a headdress, several bagpipers and in one Canadian town, the entire population.

In our voyage of exploration that began in Quebec City and made its way through the Maritimes and now down the Atlantic coast, there were gift shops in every port.

Our last stop Monday in Bar Harbor was probably our most productive. The entire town is made up of gift shops and lobster roll stands. We were able to select T-shirts with lobsters saying, “I’m on a roll,” to a moose saying, “You moose buy me,” to underwear with “stud puffin” lettering on it.

If the early explorers had come looking for T-shirts or lobster refrigerator magnets instead of gold they would have stopped in Bar Harbor and settled there.

We’re about the last cruise ship to cruise the Maritimes and the weather is beginning to change, forcing us to huddle together in one of the dozen or so restaurants on the ship. The only time we slip out is to play bingo, where the Frau is convinced we are about to win the grand jackpot on the last night.

If she makes any more trips to the ship’s gift shop we’re going to have to win to be allowed off the ship.

Yesterday in Bar Harbor we were scheduled to go whale watching, but the lady at the desk said it was canceled due to heavy waves. That may be true, but I noticed the gift shops in town opened up a little earlier for those of us stranded in town for a few extra hours.

The truth is, as much fun as this trip has been, I’m about ready to go home. There is limited information on board the ship and most of the channels tell about the swell deals in the gift shop or the lecture of the day on the values of foot massage in the spa.

I haven’t been able to keep up with the things back home, but I’ve heard the Bucs changed quarterbacks and I assume they are now challenging for the division lead.

I do know the Rays must be through. We pulled into Boston this morning and the security check was mostly for anyone not pulling for the Red Sox trying to sneak into town.

Even news of the rest of the world is limited, although sitting at dinner with several Canadians the question of whether the borders would be open if the government didn’t open up was being asked.

I told them not to worry because out final destination is Fort Lauderdale and that Gov. Rick Scott would let anyone in as long as they promised to vote for him.

Most of those on board have never been to Florida and I have been telling them that it is a tropical paradise, complete with swaying palms, bullet trains that will zip them around the state and friendly natives who will be happy to help them relocate on the seaside at their new development, “Flood Insurance Acres.”

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