My Big Fat Mexican Vacation – Part 2 – Chair Wars, Accomodations and Other Stuff

 

 

When you spend most of the day at the pool, you meet a lot of people and gather a lot of information. My friend Tim (Sudbury) dubbed our pool the ‘pool of knowledge’, a place where sunloungers congregate in late afternoons and share lots of good information on – what’s going on in town, where to buy this and that, great new restaurant discoveries, where to get your hair and nails done, etc. And of course, the pool became a gathering place of sorts in the hot afternoon sun where many conversations among people somehow wound up on the topic of politics.

 

 

beachfront

 

The pool we hangout at in our complex edges onto the beach with the ocean mere yards away. Vendors come by daily throughout the day selling anything from T-shirts, sunglasses, silver jewelry, to fresh fruit – you name it. The trick is to always bargain. From what I found by asking each vendor how much they sell their wares for, it seems their starting prices are approximately double than what they’ll accept. Hey, everyone needs to make a living, but nobody wants to get ripped off, so a modest profit is acceptable because the vendor has to make a living too.

We made friends a-plenty and got to see friends we’d made the previous year. When hub and I would chat about certain friends we began sub-titling their names with the city, state or provinces they came from. It was easier to tell a story referring to the Minnesotas, Dakotas, Manitobas, Sudburys or the Sarnias – sometimes being easier to remember where people came from rather than having to remember their actual names when we first met them.

I didn’t note many Americans at our development, but a couple each from Chicago, New Jersey and Minnesota. Surprisingly, there were a few there from North Dakota – traditionally a republican state. I befriended a lovely couple from there and chose not to bring up politics around them, but I couldn’t believe the audacity of some other tRump lovers that were there. Don’t misconstrue my opinions with people behaving badly. These select few Americans were loud and proud tRump supporters in a country and in a pool where people were predominantly against their president. Again, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but when someone stands up in a crowded swimming pool, shooting off her mouth loud and proud that she loves her president, and continues to chant with ‘let them build that goddamn wall to keep out the Mexicans’, I cringed in disgust. I found it distasteful and disrespectful to the Mexicans and couldn’t help but wonder why in the hell hypocritical people would even bother going to Mexico.

It was mostly cold Canadians fleeing our harsh and brutal winter storms from the provinces of Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, and probably the biggest group from Quebec. We missed a few of those beauties (storms) so friends and family kept us updated. Some days were minus 40! Is that even a real number?

Most of our days were spent at the pool and as always, it seems wherever we travel, we encounter ‘pool chair wars’. Because it seems there are never enough lounge chairs for pool lovers, one has to develop a strategy to get a chair, which usually entails the old adage ‘the early bird gets the worm’. But being an early bird doesn’t mean going down and throwing a towel on a chair and not showing up for several hours later to actually use the chair. The pool area is patrolled by security, and they have no qualms about doing hourly surveys around the pool to look for empty chairs with towels on them, post sticky notes on them with marked time and ultimately, removing the belongings within half an hour.

 

chair sitting
Hub on chair duty

 

My husband as always when we travel to a warm destination, is downstairs by 7am latest, setting up our chairs for the day. He’s trained for years now on protocol. I have my chosen location, which always means I’m at the end of a row so I have easy access to be able to turn my chair along with the sun’s movement, while hubby sets up the big umbrella (even more in demand) beside his chair to stay more shady. Then he sits down there and socializes with the other early birds doing the same. In the meantime, I’m already working on the computer and getting breakfast ready for 8am when he comes back upstairs to eat for his half hour grace period, before returning back to the pool while I finish up my work and get ready to join him downstairs about an hour later. At lunchtime, we each go upstairs and eat lunch separately while the other stays with the chairs or often I’d make us both lunch and bring it down to the pool and eat. Everyone who knew us knew where to find us. Ours was a busy coveted corner.

And what of those late comers coming down to the pool in early afternoons expecting to have a chair? Well, some don’t care about a chair, while some are angry and quite nasty at that.

Even though we were lounging in paradise there were still some people who are naturally nasty. One day I came back down from lunch and was approaching my chair when I saw a woman I didn’t recognize, leaning into my husband, pointing her finger in his face. By the time I reached the chair, I heard her scolding my husband. The part I caught was that she was angry she couldn’t find an umbrella and was chewing out my husband, telling him he’s under that umbrella every day, asking him why the hell he doesn’t just stay on his balcony. I KID YOU NOT! At that point, many around were listening to the conversation and my blood pressure shot up, knowing my husband doesn’t like scenes, he stayed quiet. I suddenly just wanted to push her 2 feet behind her, into the pool. Instead, I went up to her face, pointed my finger at her and shouted F*CK OFF. I got some applause from some people behind me, and she never bothered us again.

Some other people aren’t happy unless they can boss others around, or make people unhappy. I think some people don’t know what to do with themselves with actual free time on their hands. We had those who would try and get our towels taken away by a fellow renter who tended to act like he owned the development and spent lots of time visiting the pool security people, and a nasty woman who I never knew who came up to my chair and started up with me over my husband holding chairs.  But besides some of the pool BS, we had a wonderful time.

 

cruiseship arriving
Cruise ship coming into port, watching from the pool

 

We didn’t have to pay for whale watching tours because we saw some daily not far from shore. They love to stay near the little boats and sometimes put on a flop show. Apparently, mid December through March is calving and feeding season for the Humpback whales who have their babies in that part of the bay because they train and feed them there knowing there are no sharks there in the secluded bay area of the ocean. I also found out from my Sudbury friends who did go on a whale watching tour, that when the whales  leave, they head up to Vancouver Canada. Imagine the miles, not to mention what smart navigators they are! Sadly though, I never really caught the whales flopping up and nosedive back down into the ocean on my camera, or their wonderful displays of fountain when they spewed up water. My timing was never good, lol. I’d keep the phone in my hand waiting, and if I did catch the moment, the seconds between where I press the camera button to when it actually takes, were always the missed moments. We did see many ships coming into port though and leaving, which we enjoyed watching no matter how many times we’d seen it.

And the sunsets – my favorite time of day. I loved to sit on the balcony, or at least pop in and out for the last 45 minutes before the sun set because the horizon was gorgeous with color. Every night the sky told another story and I tried to capture some of the best parts.

 

PV sunset

 

 

postcard sunset
Just like a post card

 

sunset balcony
The million dollar view sunset

sunset

 

Sunset
Same sunset, a few minutes later

It was amazing how the color of the sky changed many times over in one sunset.

 

By day I was a lounge lizard – save for the morning or afternoon walks to Starbucks or picking up some groceries. I cooked a few dinners during the week, the other nights we went out for dinner to some of our favorite haunts and tried out a few new places – courtesy of the knowledge from the pool.

lovelocks
Passed this neat lovelock collection on the sidewalk while walking for groceries

 

For the first month of our trip we had rented our Mexican friend’s gorgeous luxury condo with the million dollar view and plenty of bedrooms. This enabled us to have visitors, my cousin D and my sister-in-law R came to stay with us for a week, which was fun having a little girl time. We went for walks and to a few markets – mainly the Saturday morning market downtown by the Malecon boardwalk and to the Thursday night market at the Marina. These are two of the more popular markets where you can buy anything handcrafted and food. There are a few popular eating spots in those markets, and the most popular is the ‘Bagel Man’ who is known for the best bagels and cinnamon buns in PV. The lineups start early for his goods so we’d get there in plenty of time while he sets up to avoid long waits. I befriended Peter the owner while there asking if he had any gluten-free bagels. He told me he could make me some and bring them to the Thursday market for me. When I went to pickup my bagels, he forgot them! But the nice guy that he is, he promised to deliver me a dozen to my condo the next day and he did!

 

3 amigas
The 3 Amigas

 

Million dollar view
A view from our beautiful rental

 

2 ships docked
A view from my back balcony affords me the view of docked ships

 

My step-daughter and son-in-law came down for a different week to spend with us in January and we also went to some markets, down to the boardwalk for a meal and had a good time together as we always do when we travel with them. And my author friend John Maberry came down with his wife for a lovely meet and greet for a few days and stayed next door to us in a hotel. It was busy times in January.

 

group of friends
The Sudbury crowd and John and his wife J

 

Then came February, when it was time to leave our first class accommodations because it was already rented out for February. I’d gotten us a one bedroom unit in the complex, which felt like a cottage, sparsely decorated and missing a lot of things such as: kitchen utensils, frying pans, chairs on the balcony, a crappy view, no coffee table or additional chairs other than the 4 at the kitchen table. I wasn’t impressed and told the girl I rented it from who I’d rented from the previous year. She managed to buy me some frying pans and promised some lounge chairs for the balcony which we never received. I made good use of those kitchen chairs – I pulled one in front of the couch to put my feet up on so I could use the computer, one went in the bedroom to be able to have something to place an article of clothing on, and they were all used when I had to hang up laundry. For the price we paid for that unit it was a huge disappointment. And I didn’t hide my dismay from anyone. But at least I was still in the warm weather and missed some terrible winter storms back home. When we checked out before leaving, the girl came to give me back my security deposit and chuckled and said, “Oh, I have your lounge chairs for the balcony.” I was not impressed at what she thought would be a humorous statement. Again, I let her know.

 

shit view
Our crappy view in February condo, the river runs into ocean and junkyard parking lot

 

A few notable photos for fun:

 

Pharmacies sell many drugs without prescription. Some notables are: Valium, Codeine drugs, Viagra, antibiotics, Ambien – just to name a few. This sandwich board of menu specials was outside  the restaurant we were dining at next door to the pharmacy

 

pharmacy sandwich board
Special on Viagra

 

I found this T-shirt at the market and had to get it for hubby. I almost had to beg him to wear it, lol, but he got a lot of chuckles at the pool:

google shirt
No explanation necessary

 

Malecon by night with some art and sculpture I took photos of:

 

art

art

Malecon artwalk
Malecon stroll in evening

 

We had a fabulous meal at the top of the hill off the boardwalk – Barcelona Tapas, where you could see the city from

 

Barcelona Tapas

 

city view from Barcelona Tapas
Gorgeous city coastline view from Barcelona Tapas ( we can see our beach condo from our dinner table)

 

All in all, we had a fabulous, relaxing and fun time away. It was great to see our old friends from the previous year and make friends with new people who we will no doubt see again next year.

D.G. Kaye
Our friend took our picture on our way out from the lobby to dinner

 

 

I recently posted my travel column at Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord where I write monthly, all about Puerto Vallarta if you’d like to learn more about that beautiful city. The article is chock full of information from history to dining, and next month’s edition I’ll be getting more into personal experiences, recommendations and caveats, so stay tuned!

 

Sunday Book Review – Touching the Wire by Rebecca Bryn

This week’s Sunday Book Review is on Rebecca Bryn’s riveting read – Touching The Wire. One of my favorite genres to read in is historical fiction – mainly WWII era and the Holocaust. I’ve read many wonderful books in this genre, but none like this one that takes an interesting approach to the story by including a mystery throughout the book, keeping us glued till the very end of the book.

 

 

Blurb:

“He had no way to tell her he had given her life: no right to tell her to abandon hope.”

A fictional tale of love and darkness in Auschwitz-Birkenhau, and of every man and woman who bore the Auschwitz tattoo, or were interred in Nazi death camps throughout WW2, this novel is inspired by real events. It is a tribute to the courage of victims of Nazi war crime during the Holocaust, sadly an inescapable part of Jewish history. The horror of holocaust experiments carried out under the auspices of war and Hitler’s obsession with a master race are hard to understand, impossible to condone, and difficult to imagine forgiving. The human spirit that can find love in such a place must be rare indeed, but a person in dire circumstances will grab at a kindness where it is offered. Such is the premise of this story, and it asks the question, could you forgive? Part One transitions between 1944/45 and the 1970s and continues in Part Two in the present day.

 

Part One – In the Shadow of the Wolf

In a death camp hospital in 1940’s Poland, a young doctor and nurse struggle to save lives and relieve the suffering of their women patients. As their relationship blossoms, amid the death and deprivation, they join the camp resistance and, despite the danger of betrayal, he steals damning evidence of war-crimes. Afraid of repercussions, and for the sake of his post-war family, he hides the evidence but hard truths and terrible choices haunt him, as does an unkept promise to his lost love.

 

Part Two – Though the Heavens should Fall

In present-day England, his granddaughter seeks to answer the questions posed by her grandfather’s enigmatic carving. Her own relationship in tatters, she meets a modern historian who, intrigued by the carving, agrees to help her discover its purpose. As her grandfather’s past seeps into the present, and more carvings are discovered, she betrays the man she loves and is forced to confront her own guilt in order to contemplate forgiving the unforgivable and keep her grandfather’s promise.
How many Jews were killed in the Holocaust? Estimates vary around the 6 million mark, a number that is hard to imagine. 100 coachloads a day was how one person quantified it. A Holocaust thriller.

 

Excerpt:

“A young woman bent to retrieve her possessions. An SS officer strode past. ‘Leave. Luggage afterwards.’
She stood wide-eyed like a startled deer, one arm cradling a baby. Beside her an elderly woman clutched a battered suitcase. The girl’s eyes darted from soldier to painted signboard and back. ‘What are we doing here, grandmother? Why have they brought us here?’

The wind teased at her cheerful red shawl, revealing and lifting long black hair. She straightened and attempted a smile. ‘It’ll be all right, Grandmother. God has protected us on our journey.’
Voices rasped, whips cracked, dogs barked… An SS officer pushed towards a woman of about fifty. ‘How old?’ She didn’t respond so the officer shouted.

He edged closer. As a doctor he held a privileged position, but he’d also discovered he had a gift for languages. He translated the German to stilted Hungarian, adding quietly. ‘Say you’re under forty-five. Say you are well. Stand here with the younger women.’ He moved from woman to woman, intercepting those he could. ‘Say you are well. Say your daughter is sixteen. Say you can work or have a skill. Say you aren’t pregnant.’

Miriam’s eyes glistened. ‘May He rescue us from every foe.’ She touched her grandmother’s cheek, a gentle lingering movement, and placed a tender kiss on her baby’s forehead. She moved to stand where he pointed.

Miriam’s eyes met his. He had no way to tell her had given her life: no right to tell her to abandon hope. ‘Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.’ ”

 

My 5 Star Review: Hard to Put Down this Book

“It was forbidden to approach the fence, forbidden to shout out to husbands, wives and loves. It was forbidden to love.” This poignant sentence stood out to me in the gripping story of horrors of the Holocaust as told by a tortured soul – Walt, a.k.a. Chuck Blundell through the present and flashbacks of the past. This story is brilliantly told in two parts as Walt’s story haunts him the rest of his life, first, living through the horrors of the Holocaust then bringing us into the present as the memories continue to distract his life.

Walt is now 72 living with his loving wife, daughter and two granddaughters. His fight to survive and save as many as he could during his capture, only to ‘supposedly’ take his own life decades later, consumed with nightmares and horrific heartbreaking memories from his time in Auschwitz-Birkenhau.  The flashbacks were too real and time didn’t heal. Walt kept notes in a diary, risking his life in doing so as he hid them from the SS, knowing that he must one day share with the world, deciding to put those grimoires in time capsules only to be opened in 99 years.

In part two, Walt’s family who knew nothing about his past life as a Polish prisoner or the woman ‘Miriam’ who he fought to save and fell in love with, discover his secrets, and the story of Walt’s life unfolds, spurring the curiosity of one of his granddaughters to investigate the mysteries beginning with the carvings Walt created throughout his life, initiating the search for who was Walt really, and who was this woman Miriam whom Walt’s present day family had never known about.

This book was chilling and often difficult to read with the explicit descriptions of the horrors and tortures that went on in the concentration camp, but the storyline was hauntingly compelling and addictive and brilliantly written.

Although the story was written in fiction, the facts and some of the characters were taken from history. If you enjoy reading stories about humanity combined with a great mystery, you will definitely want to read this book. I look forward to reading more from this talented author, Rebecca Bryn.

#Writing Tips – 595 Power Words for #Writers, Book Cover Elements, Downloadable Fonts

This week’s edition of my Writer’s Tips are jam-packed full of goodies for writers and authors. You’ll find excellent tips from Anne R. Allen’s blog, free font downloads courtesy of Natalie Ducey, everything you want to know about choosing and making book covers, and more. There’s a ton of great info here I’ve bookmarked to include in this post. Of course, we can’t remember everything so do yourselves a favor and bookmark to file these articles because you will wish you had them to refer back to at some point. 😊

 

 

 

Wonderful post from Anne R. Allen and Ruth Harris with some wise advice from some of the greats- The Secret Power of the Delete Button

 

 

An informative post from Anne R. Allen with some helpful tips on how to make your blogs stand out with great content with how to’s on highlighting, fonts, headings and more!  https://annerallen.com/2019/03/how-to-write-web-content/

 

 

 

A handy PDF free to download with a huge list of words to extend your vocabulary

 

Source: 595 Power Words That’ll Instantly Make You a Better Writer • Smart Blogger

 

 

Free Fonts to download to beautify your blog, shared by Natalie Ducey-Smith  https://designbundles.net/free-design-resources/flourish-dividers-and-text-frames/rel=7cbuor

 

 

 

Part 2 from Natalie Ducey-Smith – How to download those fonts

 

 

How to create your D2D Author page by Doris Heilmann of Savvy Bookwriters

 

http://www.savvybookwriters.com/how-to-create-your-free-d2d-author-page/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+SavvyBookWriters+%28Savvy+Book+Writers%29

 

 

 

Great tips from the Kindlepreneur – Dave Chesson on how to create the right elements and fonts for your book covers.

https://www.bookworks.com/2019/01/book-cover-design-author-name/

 

 

Nicholas Rossis shares a great 3D Mockup bookcover site to help you create your promos

https://nicholasrossis.wordpress.com/2019/03/07/a-free-mockup-book-cover-maker/

 

 

 

And last for this edition is a worthy article to bookmark with a wealth of information for authors – 50+ Publishing resources on everything from editing services to distribution and book cover design services to marketing tools plus more!

 

 

50+ Publishing Resources You Should Know About

MarySmith’sPlace #Awards: I’ve Been Nominated -The Sunshine Blogger Award

I was away when I came across Mary Smith’s lovely post that she was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award for recognition of her inspirational posts and spreading sunshine through blogland. I was elated to find that Mary had nominated me to pass the same award along to me too. Thank you Mary 😊

 

 

As is protocol with these awards, here are the rules:

 

Thank the blogger who nominated you in a blog post and make a link back to their blog.

Answer the 11 questions sent to you by the person who nominated you.

Nominate up to 11 new blogs to receive the award, and then write them 11 new questions – or cheat like I did and use the same questions 🙂

List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog

 

Bitmoji Hmm

 

I’ve decided to cheat like Mary who used the same questions presented to her:

 

What was the driving force behind the creation of your blog?

I had no clue what I was going to blog about when I began. All I’d learned when I started writing books is that I should open a blog to start building a platform. It took me a good year or so to get a feel for things I wanted to share.

 

What was your vision for your future in blogging/writing when you first started this blog? How has that vision evolved?

Lol, I had no vision. I love to talk and I love to share informative things. My blog eventually wound up being an eclectic hodgepodge of personal stories, rants on injustice, writing tips for authors, book reviews and guest bloggers. (Which I will be starting up again in April.)

 

What age were you when you realized you loved writing?

Probably when I first learned how to hold a pencil, maybe 4?

 

How has your life changed as a result of the electronic age? Is it better/worse/the same?

Well thanks to the electronic age, indie authors have a chance to get our work out into the world. That said, there is just so much for us to look after, writing has become the smallest part of what’s involved to self-publish. And being a solitary job, working at home, it makes it a lot harder to get off the computer!

 

What was the very last website you visited today?

As of this writing, I just came back from visiting The Sisters of the Fey blog where my 7 Fey sisters and myself write collectively there.

 

What was the first website you visited when you woke up four days ago?

Are you kidding me?? I don’t even remember what I ate for lunch an hour ago! 🙂

 

If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be?

Not to have been a terrible critic of myself. I was my own worst enemy. I didn’t even know how to accept a compliment if ever I did get one.

 

How would your life be different today if that one thing from your past were to change?

I may have pursued my earlier ambitions if I’d had any encouragement. I wanted to be either a journalist – investigative reporter or a lawyer.

 

If you have children, tell me…how did your parenting change from the time you had your first child until the time you had your last?

I have no biological children. But I gained a lot of knowledge through life since childhood – how NOT to raise children.

 

Tell me about the funniest experience you’ve had in the past month.

Oh, those could be many because I’ve recently returned from a lengthy vacation and there were so many laughs. Hmm, let me see . . . how about the night a bunch of us went out for dinner for a friend’s birthday and the evening was pretty much over before I realized the culotte jumpsuit I had on with jumbo drop pockets in the front, was on backwards! Truth!

 

What do you have planned for the upcoming holiday season?

Honestly, I don’t make a big to-do about holidays. And I’m glad I don’t have to cook for them these past few years. We are the visitors and we go to family get-together dinners on holidays.

 

As always, when I receive an award, I like to share it with all my fellow bloggers. If you’re a blogger, you are helping to spread sunshine and information into the universe, so you are all deserving of this award. Please feel free to copy the award image on this page, pat yourself on the back, and paste it on to your own blog, courtesy of me. ❤

 

Source: MarySmith’sPlace #Awards: The Sunshine Blogger Award | Mary Smith’s Place

My Big Fat Mexican Vacation – Part 1 – Getting There

My recent vacation was so jam-packed full of fun and activities that I was flummoxed with where to begin, so I decided, why not begin from the beginning. As many of you know, I enjoy writing about my travel adventures, and ‘getting there’ always entails some of my observations and rants. So for this first post on my recent trip I’ll begin with the flight to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

 

What could be possibly go wrong?

I was ready. Every detail had been looked after. I managed to get ourselves bumped up to first class for a not bad fee. I’d previously booked ‘preference’ seats in economy costing $55 per seat, each way, allowing for bigger seats and more leg room. On top of that additional fee, it was going to cost another $80 per person for 2 checked bags each, and still, no food was free with those seats. I made a point to mark off ‘wheelchair’ request on my husband’s booking because I learned from previous trips that not only did that speed things along for us for the very long walks to security checkpoint and worse – to the gate – a trek my husband can no longer endure, but being in a wheelchair at the airport definitely has its perks. An airline assistant wheels my hub through to security with no lines to await in because we’re taken through to wheelchair access line, and me being his companion gets to share in that perk. The assistant proceeds to wheel him through to the gate, and of course, we’re granted priority boarding before the masses load on and chaos ensues with everyone trying to fit their often over-sized carryons in the upper cabin bins.

When we were offered to upgrade, I was sent an email from Air Canada offering the upgrade if I placed a bid on a sliding scale of how much more I’d be willing to pay per ticket for the opportunity. I figured out the cost and took a chance with my bid after figuring that the bags and seat I’d already purchased per person were already adding up to $135 per person and settled on offering $300 more each toward the bump up. If they accepted it (on what I felt was a fairly empty first class section, after checking seating availability first), I was really paying about $170 each for the upgrade and the previous seats I booked and paid for would be reimbursed to me, plus we’d be given meals. I had nothing to lose.

Let me preface this by saying that last year we did the same trick and it was fine. Besides the seating room and free bags, a hot meal is included and all the snacks you want, plus of course, priority boarding, and free meal and drinks in the First Class Air Canada departure lounge while waiting at the airport.

I knew this was a much bigger plane than we’d previously traveled on to Mexico, which of course meant more seats available in first class, much to my chagrin, it seemed to me that they stuffed in more first class seating to obtain higher fares, taking away some of the comfort – as in leg room!

By the time my upgrade was accepted, we ended up in the last row of first class. Our chairs didn’t recline because of the makeshift, cardboard-like wall that separated first class from economy. Oh, and of course the tiny curtain that gets pulled closed upon take-off to separate the 2 classes. I’m pretty sure there was a woman with ants in her pants in the first row behind us in economy as that partition wall was banged on a lot, lord knows what that woman was doing. At one point the woman must have fallen and rolled halfway under the curtain as she continued to busy herself with taking up and down her carryon on bag several times from her overhead cabin. Half hour into the flight, the menus came around for breakfast. There was nothing for me to eat with my dietary restrictions so I wasn’t a happy camper.

Alas! We landed. Being in first class, we deplaned with the first class round of departures first. My hub was on his cane and I was schlepping my hugeeeeee tote back with purse and computer bag inserted in it, my husband’s hand-held carryon bag full of our medications and other remedies, and pulling my own carryon behind me. When we approached the exit doors there was no ramp with a wheelchair assistant awaiting, BUT A FLIGHT OF STEEP STAIRS to get off and get onto a bus to take us to the airport. Yes! Nobody told us we would be busing in from the tarmac, and I was stunned. I turned to the stewardess and voiced my dismay, “Are you kidding me??????????? What would happen if there was a passenger with no legs????” I received ZERO response.

Needless to say, I was pissed! Hungry and pissed at that! So I rearranged my carryons, placing each ‘heavy’ bag on one shoulder, grasping my roll on carryon in one hand and holding my husband’s arm with my (laughably) free hand as he slowly took on one steep, narrow stair at a time til we got down. Once down, a Mexican wheelchair assistant awaited with a wheelchair to get my hub on the bus as I dragged myself and bags and followed.

Puerto Vallarta airport has undergone some major renovations in the last year as it expanded it’s once tiny airport to accommodate the ever-growing amount of tourists that visit annually. It’s beyond me why with the amount of Canadians dominating the tourist scene there why Air Canada got bumped from having its own hangar to pull into. But once off that plane, despite having an assistant wheeling my hub through Mexican customs and patiently awaiting with us to collect our bags, I knew we still had a few hurdles to cross. Once bags are collected and walking through to get to the taxis, you first have to pass a mob crowd of people selling you stuff. No, not trinkets and Tshirts – more like a FREE taxi ride (not free). I found out quickly last year that these ‘vendors’ pay airport fees to be able to mob into a ‘meet and greet’ atmosphere when plane loads of people exit the airport. These ‘free’ taxi rides come with a price, mostly time-share offers where you are expected to spend almost a whole day visiting a property for rent, listening to 2 hour long presentations and sometimes given a free meal for doing so. Certainly not worth many people’s time (I know because we once got caught in it nearly 2 decades ago in Acapulco).

The trick is to keep walking. Don’t ask a question or they’ll never leave you alone. The salespeople are like trained hounds. Once outside in the beautiful sunshine with a packed airport full of people waiting for cabs, there are choices of various taxi stands to choose from. With the hot sun beating down on me and sweating in my rather warm traveling clothes, I stood searching out the shorter lines. While standing, a cab service manager (yes, they’re all managed) thought I may have looked like an easy mark over-burdened with carryons and a cart full of luggage with a husband in a wheelchair. He offered me an SUV cab ride for $55 U.S. dollars. My response as I sweated with aching arms, “What kind of drugs are you on? I’m not paying $55 US for a 5 minute cab ride” then I proceeded to move toward a regular taxi cab line. I told the cab manager where I was going and he quoted me the fair price of 250 pesos, which I knew was the standard airport fee to my destination, even though it was double the price of going to the airport because it always costs more to get out of an airport with airport fees added onto the taxi fee.

Finally, we got in the cab with all our luggage, and the driver proceeded to drive off when my inbred habit of double-checking kicked in and I wanted to verify with the driver that the fee was 250 pesos. “How much is the ride?” I asked. He replied, telling me it was 500 pesos. “Take me back” I raised my already impatient voice to the driver. It’s 250 not 500!” The driver didn’t respond but turned the taxi around and stopped right back where we got in. I jumped out of the car and approached the cab manager and asked him why I was told 250 and the driver wants to charge me 500. He told me the Flamingo hotel is further into town in another cab zone for fares and I told him, “I’m not going to the Flamingo!” He apologized and 250 pesos and 7 minutes later we finally arrived at our rented accommodations.

Within 2 hours later I was unpacked and the sun was setting, and too tired to get changed to go eat or grocery shopping. Hubby went down to take out dinner from the restaurant attached to our condo. I ate my chicken fajitas and sipped on my maragarita on the big beautiful balcony, zenning out at the ocean. Relaxation mode begins.

 

 

gorgeous sunset

Million dollar view

other half of the million dollar view

Mexican sunset

 

Sunday Book Review – 20 Things I’ve Learned from my Patients – Olga Nunez Miret

This Sunday Book Review is on Olga Nunez Miret’s inspirational little book – 20 Things I’ve Learned from my Patients.

 

As one who enjoys inspirational reads, I appreciated these nuggets of wisdom gathered and shared by Olga. A great little book you can read again and again to pick up some daily inspiration.

 

 

 

Blurb:

 

Bilingual edition (English-Spanish). Edición versión bilingüe (inglés-español)
Over the years that I have worked as a psychiatrist, writer, and blogger, I’ve collected common-sense advice and thoughts that I have passed on and shared with many (patients, friends, and readers). As people don’t have much time to read and enjoy images and quotes, I decided to publish twenty of the things I have learned over the years, illustrating each one of them with a picture and a quote. And as I know many people who want to improve their Spanish but don’t dare to take on a long book, I decided to publish it as a bilingual edition, English-Spanish. I don’t claim to have found the meaning of life, but I hope you enjoy this little book.

Durante mis años como psiquiatra, escritora y bloguera, he acumulado consejos y reflexiones de sentido común que he compartido con mucha gente, incluyendo pacientes, amigos y lectores. Como sé que la gente no tiene mucho tiempo para leer hoy en día, y les gusta compartir imágenes y citas, decidí publicar veinte de las cosas que he aprendido durante mi carrera, ilustrando cada una de ellas con una imagen y una cita. Conozco a muchas personas que quieren mejorar su inglés pero no se atreven a enfrentarse a un libro largo, así que decidí publicarlo en versión bilingüe, en inglés y español. No pretendo haber descubierto el sentido de la vida, pero espero que disfrutéis de este librito.

 

My 5 Star Review:

 

A wonderful little book filled with inspiration with quotes to live by on laughter, self-love and so much more.

Olga Nunez Miret has compiled a beautiful summation on some of life’s situations taken from the wisdom she accrued from her patients as a practicing psychiatrist. The author shares nuggets of wisdom in short poignant messages with lovely illustrations, sharing reflections on life. A handy little guide for life we can pick up and read again whenever we could use a dose of inspiration.

This book is bilingual – written in both English and Spanish – a clever idea, giving us a nice little Spanish lesson if we’d like to learn a few words in a different language. #Recommended!

Updates: I’ve Been Featured in Romanceaholic’s Monthly Magazine and my Blog is Nominated for the #BloggersBash

While I was away, the presses weren’t sleeping. I just scrolled through my saved drafts of articles I came across while briefly popping by blogworld.

 

I was delighted to find that once again my blog has been nominated again for the #BloggersBash awards. And I’d forgotten I was invited for interview as a guest writer for the 10th issue of Romanceaholic’s Magazine last fall. I will share the link to the magazine here, but I’m not sure anyone who isn’t a subscriber will get to view it. Just in case, I’ve included the questions I was asked to answer in short for my feature:

 

https://view.joomag.com/romanceaholic-magazine-10th-issue/0945729001541194013?short

 

 

What is an author goal you want to accomplish this year? *

I wanted to take a year off book writing and enter more writing contests and challenges and get myself more involved with marketing and brushing up on the ever-changing publishing industry.

 

What is something that keeps you motivated as an author? *

Blogging and being part of a blogging community with so many inspiring other writers. Being part of this community offers a lot of interaction and potential friendships with like-minded people and keeps us up-to-date in the publishing industry with the various newsletters and informative posts cultivated by other writers. When a writer needs help, the best place to go is to another writing friend.

 

Why is writing important to you? *

Writing is a powerful way of expressing ourselves and spreading our messages. Many people have a difficult time expressing themselves verbally. Writing is a wonderful medium to get our thoughts out of our heads and on to paper (or keyboards). We don’t necessarily have to publish everything we write. Sometimes it’s just therapeutic to write to sort our thoughts and get a new perspective on issues.

 

How much real life do you put into or influences your books? *

All my books are written as memoirs or nonfiction, so my truth and experiences in my writing is all real life.

 

What is the hardest part of writing for you? *

I can’t really say there is a hardest part. Some parts of the process are definitely more challenging than others. Revising and editing aren’t nearly as fun as writing is for me, but a necessary part of writing to clean up my stories.

 

What are your current projects? *

I previously mentioned I wasn’t writing a book this year, but that doesn’t mean I’m not working on ideas. I have an outline done and some rough chapters for my next book – a sequel to my Menowhat? A Memoir book – The Change After the Change, because ladies, the fun doesn’t end after menopause!

 

How do you go about choosing the title for your book(s)? *

I’ve always had a knack for titles, so I’m lucky I’ve never had to struggle for titles like many other writers seem to. A title is like writing sales ad copy – we pick out the core essence of our story and work a title around that. My books are often titled after I’ve written the theme and outline, and rarely do my titles get changed by the time a book is finished being written.

 

What is your favorite genre to write? *

My favorite genre to write in is nonfiction. I am a truth teller and a sharer of stories to inspire, which is at the heart of all of my books. I don’t feel the desire to hide behind a veil when I write. My position is I don’t feel the need to express my stories in fiction why not claim ownership?

 

Generally, how long does it take you to complete a book from idea to publishing? *

If I’m writing a book, I’m disciplined by my own self-imposed deadlines, which I adhere to. If I’m writing every day, I would say I could finish writing, revising and gone through editor and back in roughly 5 months then add another few weeks for the publishing (hair-tearing) part.

 

Do you ever use someone in your life as a sounding board for ideas or do you prefer to work alone? *

I prefer to work alone, in silence when I’m writing. But I always send my work to a few author friends for feedback before sending it to the editor. Any other nagging issues with my work, I always consult with author friends or within my blogging community.

 

How much research do you do for your books? *

I do research on my projects before I begin writing. I usually like to survey the books already available in my category, the audience, reviews, and the material offered. But as far as researching my stories, they all come from my own memory and experiences. Occasionally, in my memoirs, I’ve consulted with some of the people in my book for their perspective on certain incidents.

 

Did you learn anything while writing your book(s)? *

As long as we are writing and reading we are learning.

 

What would be your next best choice if not writing as a career? *

I couldn’t imagine not writing. I’m pretty sure I’d retire if not writing, then write for a hobby anyway. I don’t believe writers with the passion ever retire from writing.

 

Do you have any advice for new authors looking to make their own literary statement? *

Write every day. Use writing prompts or free-write daily to exercise the mind. You don’t have to be writing a book to write every day. Read lots of books in your genre, but read lots in other genres too. Reading sharpens our writing skills by seeing different writer styles, voice and phrasing. All these elements will help develop a style of your own. When you discover your style and voice, you can make your statement.

 

How many books have you written? Do you have a particular favorite? *

I have written six books. Each of my books holds a special place within me. But if I had to choose, I would have to say my favorite book is P.S. I Forgive You. The story is based on the upcoming, and ultimately, the death of my mother and the years it took to escape her narcissistic clutches and the decisions I made to remain estranged from her despite her dying and finding forgiveness for both her and myself.

 

Why did you choose to use a publisher instead of self-publishing?

I didn’t. I’m a self-published author and proud of my accomplishments.

 

Do you have a favorite Hero or Heroine from any of your books and why? *

My heroes are every day people. Because my books are memoir and self-help and written from my own experiences, I’d have to say that I am the heroine.

 

Share one thing about yourself that would surprise people who know you. *

I am very outgoing and a social butterfly, but I freeze up when it comes to public speaking.

 

If you could go anywhere at all on your next vacation where would you go? *

Back to Mexico. The weather is beautiful, the people are friendly, and I get the best value for my not so great, Canadian dollar.

 

Favorite social network and why? *

I would have to say Facebook. I get the most interaction there with other writers and my readers. I run a few writing groups with a few author friends and we’ve gained quite a readership. Groups are a great place to share our work, socialize, and run events and promotions.

 

What was your “dream” job as a child? *

Ha! I wanted to be a singer when I grew up. I did follow the path for awhile but gave it up when I was in my mid-twenties.

 

Do you have anything you would like to say to your current readers or to those that haven’t yet read your work(s)?

If you enjoy reading stories about real life situations and redemption, whether illness, growing up in dysfunction and overcoming self-esteem, finding the humor in menopause, or how to keep the love going in a marriage, I share those stories and many more in my various books.

 

Next . . .

 

I’m thrilled once again to be nominated for the #BloggersBash best blogging/writing blog award. Thank you to all who nominated me. If you haven’t voted yet for some of your favorite blogs, please click on Blogger’s Bash post to cast your votes. And thanks again to all who votes for my blog. ❤💋

 

Blogger's Bash nominated blog

 

And Last but Not Least . . .

 

I just wanted to mention here, since it is an update post, that I have joined MeWe.com. It’s a fairly new social media site geared at no privacy invasion, no data stealing and no fake news. It aims to compete with Facebook, where many seem to be leaving lately.

My good friend Colleen Chesebro has already left FB and laying the groundwork for our writing groups and growing a following. I am there still working out the kinks but I will soon be posting all posts I send to share to FB on Mewe once I get organized. Lately, many authors are being treated like spam on FB and having posts removed as am I and my good friend Sally Cronin, who wrote a post about the situation this past week.

Please feel free to friend me at mewe.com/i/debbygies if you decide to join, and hopefully we’ll get a bunch of us over there eventually. Hope to see you there. I haven’t left FB yet, but I’m planning on doing so if they don’t put back my posts. Also note, the mewe contact highlighted in red will not allow me to link here. Please copy and paste it in your browser and it will take you to a page to join and friend me.

Also, Sally Cronin, Colleen Chesebro and myself have set up a writers group there. Once you join mewe, please join our group hangout. Happy to say we only opened the page 2 days ago as of this writing and we’re almost 40 members. Yay! 😊

 

https://mewe.com/join/theliterarydivashangout

 

Literary Divas

 

 

Colleen Chesebro’s Weekly #Poetry Challenge – #Etheree – The Bird Tree

Colleen's Weekly Poetry Challenge

 

Colleen’s 2019 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 126, “Poet’s Choice of Words”

 

For this week’s #Poetry Challenge, I’ve written an #Etheree poem on my experience with ‘The Bird Tree’

 

To the right of our gated entrance to the condo development we stayed in on our Mexican holiday, is a huge tree. In order to get to the Starbucks next to our condo, we must walk under this tree to get there. Just before sunset, this tree becomes a convention center where it sounds like hundreds of birds gather to converse throughout the treetop, while below, the sidewalk resembles an abstract painting of splatters of white fall out.

 

I wondered how many times one could pass before becoming ‘shyte out of luck’ and getting splattered on by one or more of these birds. I often watched people pass quickly under that tree, carefully shielding their ice-cream cones, laughing to myself because I’d do the same thing with my coffee, wondering if my luck would ever run out after too many dashes by the tree.

I later learned that the tree is known as a ‘candy’ tree, which of course explained to me why the birds loved to hang out there in particular. The tree is known as a Tamarind tree, which is a popular tree in the region of Jalisco state where Puerto Vallarta is situated in.

 

 

 

Tree

Stands tall

Birds convene

Boisterous chirps

I shudder in fear

Daring to pass unscathed

Mad dash to escape ‘fall out’

Covering my treasured java

Hand outstretched protecting sacred brew

Wondering how long til my luck runs out

 

Life is like a cup of tea

 

Feel free to hop on to Colleen’s Weekly Challenge!