To bring our chronicle up to date: We were called at 5 A.M. Tuesday by our porter and went to breakfast. Before that we had to do our tipping: 2 dollars each to the dining room steward; same to the room steward--you're supposed to tip the deck steward but we didn't bother, then 25 cents to the porters who carry your luggage to the tender. I certainly was surprised to find out that we didn't land at Plymouth. The harbor is too shallow, so they send out a floating dock and the trucks, baggage, and people are all crowded on and taken to the dock.
First of all we were sent to have our passports checked by the British officials and to get an alien or "landing card." You have to have one of these to get on the gangplank to get to the tender. That gives them a double check on the people--so stow-aways can get off.
Maybe you think it wasn't wonderful to see grass and land! The entrance to Plymouth Harbor would have looked wonderful even if it hadn't been pretty. The first thing we say was "Pilly," the car, waiting for us. They never found the cigarettes Jim gave to us for that fellow. We're only allowed to have 50 each. They used the "hit and miss" system for checking luggage. While we were waiting to be called to the customs official, we thought we'd have a cup of coffee--first boner we pulled--no English money, so we dashed over to the Cook's exchange and got $50 changed to English pounds. Honestly their money looks like waste paper. I'm half afraid I'll throw it away by mistake.
The car was finally OK'd. You should see the license plates! Great big black and white things about four times the size of ours. When we first left the Plymouth dock we nearly died laughing 'cause we certainly had a guilty feeling driving on the left. The people are such polite drivers we've been shocked to death. Hurry is a word not in their dictionary. The people in cafes and restaurants say "Thank you" every time they get your order, say it again when they place your meal before you, and again when you pay. What they're thanking you for is more than I can tell you.
Those pictures in the National Geog. didn't lie. That's exactly what we've seen all the way. The roads are very narrow. All the people ride bicycles. Automobiles have to treat "bike" riders as if they were other cars. I'd guess, as a conservative estimate, that we've passed 25,000 bicycles these 2 days.
I'll send some pictures home but be sure to save them for us. It is 10 to 12 so I'll hop for bed. Chris has been sawing them off for some time now.
Loads of love,
June 18, 1936
Florence's letter-writing slowed during the cross-Atlantic trip. She described in long detail the seven-course meals ("French coffee is foul.") and the daily movies, horse races, and lack of mingling, but I wonder if the tedium of life on board the ship got to her a bit. Finally, though, they arrived: