Hello Mercury Retrograde 2022

It’s a new year and a clean slate, and hopes are high that this year will be the end of the Coronavirus as we know it. But the fact remains that we are globally, high in virus and numbers, due to the the recent appearance of Omicron. We can all hope that as this virus continues, it will tamper down, lose it’s hurricane strength, and hopefully, no new strains will mutate. And in the meantime, because the world is already in chaos trying to stamp out this virus, we’re about to have our first Mercury Retrograde of 2022. Crazy times 2.0. It begins January 13th, lasting until February 3rd. But these dates are not inclusive. Like a full moon, retrogrades begin their ‘retroshade’ effects within a week or two of its arrival date, and can linger just as long after completion. And I’m already experiencing the shakeup.

When Mercury retrogrades, it is said that this is because retrograde indicates the planet is moving backwards, when in actuality, a faster moving planet passes Mercury in its pause, leaving a feeling of going backwards. Mercury travels around the sun in 88 days and takes a retrograde 3-4 times a year. Since Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, its orbit is shorter than earth’s. It’s like Mercury has to slow down to let other planets catch up in-between its cycle around the earth. Things that occur during this period can make us feel exactly like things are moving backwards as Mercury pauses and other planets pass by. This first retrograde of the year will be in Aquarius. There will be three Mercury Retrogrades this year, all of them in air signs (yup, that’s me). Signs most influenced by these retrogrades are the people who have their sun or rising signs the same as the sign each retrograde falls into.

Mercury Retrograde Chart for 2022

January 14 – February 3 starts in air sign Aquarius, ends in earth-sign Capricorn
May 10 – June 2 starts in air sign Gemini, ends in earth-sign Taurus
September 9 – October 2 starts in air-sign Libra, ends in earth-sign Virgo December 29 – January 18 in earth-sign Capricorn

Refresher Course: Mercury Retrograde

How does this affect our energy levels?

We can expect to have more or even less energy during this period, mostly of the nervous, unsettling or over-zealous type, causing possible bouts of anxiety. Each MR will fall in and affect particular signs more so than others.

What kinds of things are affected by a Mercury Retrograde?

Mercury rules our daily activities – technology, communications, contracts and relationships. When the planet is in retrograde we can expect glitches, delays and miscommunications in all of the above areas as Mercury is the ruler of communications. Extra vigilance should be paid to planned dates, appointments, signing contracts, editing, buying, selling, researching, negotiating, wills, documents, deeds, leases, and more. Most often affected are, computer issues, transportation and travel. It’s a period where we can expect the unexpected. In plain terms, when a planet is in retrograde, the planet takes a nap. And while it naps, it’s like it relinquishes its duties and the territory it usually stabilizes can run amok. This period is typically a good time to take a pause ourselves from big decision-making and a good time to reflect, journal, re-organize and re-evaluate our intentions, as well, it’s a good time to re-connect with people and/or projects from the past. As you may have noticed in the previous sentence, anything to do with ‘re’ as in redo, revisit, etc. is good to keep busy with during the MR period.

~ ~ ~

And here I am, in the thick of a Mercury Retrograde. As I pretty much, limped through 2021 with a sick husband and then his ultimate dying, which left me in numb and shock and grief, and my consequent going through everything we lived and shared together and two months later, moving, and of course, all of this while living in a secluded Covid world, all that has kept me going these past few months has been to get the hell out of Dodge and spend a few months out of the dread of another cold, sunless, lonely winter, and get to Mexico.

Am I concerned about traveling in a pandemic? You bet your bottom dollar I am. This is particularly the time where I’m getting excited to go away, but I’m not. I’m feeling a surge of anxiety while constantly weighing the pros and cons of my traveling. I know I’m triple vaxxed and extremely cautious around people, but I know many on vacation sometimes forget they’re still living in a pandemic, often forgeting masks and social distancing. I have a girlfriend down there since November who I keep in touch with to get the scoop on what’s going on down there. Mexico was actually doing not too bad before the rash of carefree Christmas vacationers visiting there helping spread the germs. And as much as I feel armed with safety supplies and three jabs, I’m concerned about if things get even worse instead of calming down after the holiday rush.

Air Canada has already changed my flight three times before it flat out canceled my flight last week (thanks so much Mercury). They took off their daily direct flights into Puerto Vallarta and made them all into connecting flights to gather more passengers, leaving only two direct flights at this time, weekly. After making two phone calls – each with its own four hour wait until a human picked up, I managed to get on a direct flight again, leaving three days earlier than my original flight date. I was confirmed on the phone I’m booked, but it’s been a week now and I still haven’t received written confirmation.

Besides the airline kerfuffle, this event also entailed my trying to get hold of my agent in Mexico to first find out if the unit I’m renting was vacant for my early arrival. Thankfully it is, but I’m quite unsettled that more cancellations are coming, and the prospect of what if things get worse and I get stuck in Mexico when I’m supposed to return? These are a lot of heavy concerns floating in my uncertain mind in the already shady period of Mercury Retrograde, leaving me with uncertainty of things to come.

On the pro side, I’m not sure I can endure another long, lonely winter without sun again. I thrive in sunshine, and there are only so many times and methods in my toolbox I have to remove myself internally from the darkness around me. It’s getting real old and I need to get out of here!!! So, oh yes, Mercury Retrograde is already alive and well in my travel plans, and no doubt there will be more to come before this period gets roaring and then comes to an end. So I’m caught in this net of wondering if I’ll get to Mexico, if I can stay Covid-free, and if I’ll be able to get back home. I feel almost guilty about getting excited to go and apprehensive about preparing and packing for this trip. My long awaited vacation is living in a big question mark at the moment. I feel like I should be preparing to go, but also must be prepared not to. Nothing like trying to sit down on both sides of the fence. In my heart, I’m going, but in my head I am ever so vigilant on keeping an alert to whatever this retrograde has in store for me. It’s all quite unsettling to say the least, and that is proof that Mercury Retrograde is already warming up.

I will keep you all posted on the status of my trip. In the meantime, be forewarned and prepared for the first Mercury Retrograde 2022!

©DGKaye2022

December Oracle Reading – Change is Coming!

My last reading for the year, once again touches on all aspects of my life. Interesting how by using two decks – Akashic Tarot and Keepers of the light, so many cards reiterate the same messages. Most cards that fell today, fell in the reversed position. Reversed cards don’t necessarily mean negative messages. For example, the death card scares many people, but most notably pertains to ‘a death of a situation’. Often times, the death card is a good omen because it portends that a situation that needs to end is coming. If the card is reversed, the situation may linger.

I set up my altar, performed my ritual and asked, what do I need to know? These are the cards that fell:

Akashic Records – Karmic Trench 4 of Scrolls Reversed:

It’s time to plant new seeds. You’ve fallen out of your karmic trench. A sudden change in your life will come as you sever other relationships. Allow what happened to knock you out of a karmic pattern you’ve been in too long. This is your opportunity to overturn lifetimes of sabatoging karma and time to create a new beginning.

Queen of Roses – Reversed

This card could portend a falling out with a female family member of friend. It represents stepping out of the role of wife or mother and asks to honor the grief. This is transformation time. Time to let go of those who don’t honor you. Time to make your own self-love a priority.

The card shows that he left his love to her and walked into the sunset. In a tailspin, her life went upside down as she went from wife to widow and searched from the love inside. Time to move on from old tribes for new ones. Queen of the tower of success awaits.

8 of Roses – Community Reversed

Time to realize it’s time to walk away from people who no longer serve you.

7 of Scrolls Reversed

Intricities and industry. Be careful not to act in haste. It’s time to bring in the joy now. Take baby steps. Your tiniest efforts will create extraordinary success.

1 of Scrolls – Ontrack

This is the time to choose a direction about a project, relationship, career, or even a move. Time to decide. Get on board to the direction that calls you. You are in the waiting room to prepare for your journey.

6 of Roses – War of the Roses

This card indicates a war with either someone or within your own heart.

Well, Wisdom, Mind – I asked spirit if my husband needed me to know anything.

You’re coming into a time of enormous power. You are working intimately and unknowingly with ascended masters on power and will, love and wisdom of mind. You can raise your higher power working with ascendants now. Take advantage of this time and use the power well. Divine forces are moving through you to help manifest your power.

Spring/Autumn Reversed – 4 of Forces

This is your harvest time where great abundance is coming to you. Focus on closure for loose ends before moving forward. Enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Queen of Keys

This card could represent a possible argument with a female of authority. A loss of a relationship. Time to consider new aspirations. The Queen is ready to give you a step to a new life. She’s looking down from a tower. She has the authority on looking out for her own happiness, on her own now, she climbs the ladder of success.

I asked, what new life?

The Buddha Prepares – Reversed

The meditative phase is over. It’s time to prepare for action. You have the ability to influence others without your realizing. It’s time to move forward.

I asked, move forward where?

Diversity – 5 of Scrolls Reversed

You feel as though too many things going on yet not much has happened right now. Too many choices can cause hesitation. Time to make a choice and focus on one thing. Don’t be afraid to try something and find you don’t like it. You have many choices, just move on. Stop worrying about things that haven’t happened.

I asked if there was anything else I needed to know, from my Keeper of the Light Oracles Cards by Kyle Gray

Lord Ganesh – Infinite Abundance

You have spiritual support and obstacles are being removed. Ganesh is the Lord of removing obstacles. He helps people weave around hurdles. He will have a perfect path for you with his light.

Lord Shiva – Transcendance

Time to rise up, steps are there, time to dance. Lord Shiva is known as the destroyer because of his warrior-like energy and his ability to destroy fear. He offers support and guidance. He is a communicator between earth and the cosmos, here to help you move beyond fear and into clarity. Lord Shiva is with you now to award your sense of connection of life. You’re moving through a great transition and soon you’ll know what you want to do and where you need to be. You will transcend beyond any past limitation. Time to travel your soul. Lord shiva will lead the way.

~ ~ ~

This was a brief summarization of what became a lengthy reading. All in all, it leaves me with a good feeling about my new beginnings in the makings. This is what I would call a beautiful reading of possibilities that are opening up in my new life. For months, the cards were stagnant, just as my life seems to be. I feel that I must get out of my abode and explore what possibilities lie ahead for me. Certainly, these opportunities won’t be knocking at my door if I don’t make an effort to meet them. I hope doors will open for me once I get out of my environment and fly away somewhere else – perhaps to my upcoming winter getaway to Mexico!

Happy New Year

Wishing you all a Happy New Year! Time for us all to kick this year to the curb where it belongs and join the land of the living. 💖

©DGKaye2021

Sunday Book Review – Made in Acapulco – The Emilia Cruz Series

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. I came across this series when the title grabbed me in a list of free books for the day I receive from Reading Deals. As a person who loves Mexico and has been to Acapulco many moons ago, and knowing how Acapulco, once the number one party vacation destination has sadly, turned dangerous to visit this past decade, I was curious to read this crime/mystery series. This book, Made in Acapulco – The Emilia Cruz Series is a prequel to the rest of Amato’s 8 book series, and I believe it is perma-free as an introduction with short stories from some of the other books in the series. The author Carmen Amato is an ex CIA officer! I love police procedural mystery solving and Amato brings it plus, through Emilia’s tough, smart and sexy character in a world full of dirty cops and criminals.

 

 

Blurb:

Acapulco never had a female police detective before . . . And nobody wants one now.

How did Emilia Cruz fight to become the first female police detective in Acapulco? This collection of prequel stories goes behind the scenes of the award-winning police series!

 

“A thrilling series” — National Public Radio

 

MADE IN ACAPULCO is a collection of 5 stories that introduce Emilia Cruz, the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force, and her first cases:

The Beast captures Emilia’s struggle to become the first female police detective in Acapulco. It previously appeared in The Huffington Post’s 50 Featured Fiction showcase.

The Disappeared sees Emilia search for a friend who goes missing. Those who have gone missing amid Mexico’s drug war violence is a continuing theme throughout the mystery series.

The Artist was inspired by Mexican poet Javier Sicilia’s efforts to bring awareness to the plight of families impacted by the drug war violence and references photos of some of the rallies held in Mexico in recent years.

The Date explores the downside of a job that pits Emilia against Mexico’s enduring culture of machismo, while also drawing on real events that occurred in a nightclub in Mexico in 2006.

The Cliff is the original Emilia Cruz story. Written for a literary critique group, the story introduces hotel manager Kurt Rucker. It became the first chapter of CLIFF DIVER, the first Emilia Cruz novel.

Grab your copy today

With hot nights on the beach and suspense straight out of the news, the series goes inside Mexico’s drug war with a fearless style and a woman who will be hard to forget.

Poison Cup award for Outstanding Series — CrimeMasters of America

Author Carmen Amato is a former CIA intelligence officer who uses her own counterdrug and espionage experiences to craft intrigue-filled crime fiction that keeps you guessing until the very end. Amato is a recipient of both the National Intelligence Award and the Career Intelligence Medal.

If you love international police procedural series by Ian Rankin, Jo Nesbo, Ann Cleeves, Peter May, Louise Penny, and Jussi Adler-Olsen, you’ll want to read the Detective Emilia Cruz series. It’s a must-read for fans of Don Winslow’s cartel and border thrillers set in Mexico.

PRAISE FOR THE DETECTIVE EMILIA CRUZ SERIES

CLIFF DIVER
“Consistently exciting.” ― Kirkus Reviews

HAT DANCE
“Emilia . . . is a force to be reckoned with.” ― MysterySequels.com

DIABLO NIGHTS
“Amato’s unique setting, realistic characters, and intriguing plot set her apart.” ― OnlineBookClub.org

KING PESO
“Danger and betrayal never more than a few pages away.” ― Kirkus Reviews

PACIFIC REAPER
“A thrill to crime-loving aficionados.” – Latina Book Club

43 MISSING
“Astounding.” – Nightstand Reviews

The Detective Emilia Cruz series
CLIFF DIVER
HAT DANCE
DIABLO NIGHTS
KING PESO
PACIFIC REAPER
43 MISSING
RUSSIAN MOJITO
MADE IN ACAPULCO

 

My 5 Star Review:

Detective Emilia Cruz is the protagonist of the series, and it didn’t take long for me to get hooked. This prequel gives us the beginnings background of how she made detective in a city where the cartel have infiltrated, in a male dominant police force where it’s difficult to learn who is corrupt and who to trust. In this 8 book series, I believe they are each stand alone stories featuring Detective Cruz, and this prequel will give you enough background history to for reading the books randomly.  Emilia is a brave female cop in a man’s world facing having to deal with some gruesome crimes – murders, kidnappings, and counterfeits, and often not knowing who she can trust both, at work and in her personal life.

The scenery descriptions are beautiful as is Acapulco, makes me sad of the political happenings that changed the landscape from the fun, safe party vacation town to a dangerous place for tourists. Amato keeps the stories interesting with pace and action, and rich and authentic descriptions of locations and real events.

These short stories kept me glued with wondering – how do you know if you can trust your own colleagues? I am looking forward to reading more in this series as two of Amato’s books already await me.

©DGKaye2020

bitmo live laugh love

 

Frida Kahlo – The Love and Life of the Famed Mexican Artist

I’ve had a fascination with Frida Kahlo since I fell in love with Mexico. Frida was a bohemian free-spirited Mexican artist who is known for her unfettered strength in overcoming debilating physical illness and bullying when she was a young girl, first bedridden with polio, then later in her young womanhood years after recovering from polio, she was severely injured and mamed for life from a bus accident. It was when she was bedridden for months in a body cast that her father invented a makeshift way to hang an easel above her so she could paint, leading to her life as an eventual famous artist.

 

“Who needs feet when I’ve got wings to fly” ~Frida Kahlo

 

Frida Kahlo was born – Magdalena Carmen Frida Kahlo Calderon on July 6, 1907 in Mexico City, Mexico, and grew up during the Mexican revolution. Frida was the third of four daughters to her Mexican mother and her half German, half Hungarian father, born in Germany. When Frida was six years old she contracted polio and was left with one leg shorter than the other, which of course was good reason for other kids to make fun of her, despite the fact that she always wore long dresses to cover her smaller leg. And despite her illness she was quite clever and managed to excel through and finish high school at Prepatoria, which was recognized as one of Mexico’s presitigious high schools.

The first thing Frida is remembered for is the tragic accident she endured when a streetcar crashed into the bus that Frida was on. Frida was just 18 years old on that September 17th day in 1925. The accident had left Frida with several broken and fractured bones, most dangerously her spinal cord was fractured. Being bedridden and immobilized for many months in a full body cast, it was then that Frida began to paint, mostly self-portraits portraying externally how she felt on the inside. And during that time, she realized she wanted to be a painter more than to continue on to study medicine.

 

 “I paint myself because I am often alone and I am the subject I know best” ~ Frida Kahlo

 

After Frida recovered from the accident, she formed relationships with other artists, and notably, the already famous Diego Rivera, who was 21 years her senior, and he ultimately, became her husband –  twice, and the love of her very interesting life.

Frida’s paintings continued to emphasize the pain she endured from the accident and the many operations that were to follow, and her exhaustive psychological pain. When asked about the symbolism of her paintings, this notable quote was Frida’s reply:

 

“I never painted dreams. I painted my own reality”~ Frida Kahlo

 

Frida’s art was deeply influenced by her Mexican culture, many paintings using vivid colors and dramatic symbolism, as well as both Christian and Jewish themes. In 1939 the Louvre Museum in Paris bought Kahlo’s first piece of 20th century art.

When Frida recovered from being immobilized by the bus accident, she approached Diego Rivera, an already famous painter whose work Frida admired, for advice about pursuing her art career. Rivera knew Frida had talent and guided her to becoming famous in her own right, eventually leading to the fiery love affair they engaged in together. And despite the disapproval of her parents, Frida married Rivera in 1929. It is said her parents referred to them as the ‘elephant and the dove’ because of their vast size differential to each other.

The relationship between this odd couple was often touted as tumultuous. Both Kahlo and Rivera had fiery instincts, both had extra-marital affairs. Frida was also an open bi-sexual. The saying goes that Diego didn’t mind her illicit affairs with women, but he was extremely jealous when she strayed with another man. It is said that the only time Frida didn’t approve of Diego’s wanderings is when he had an affair with her younger sister. Some thought it was payback from Diego, but it was enough for Frida to end the marriage. But that wasn’t the end because they both remarried each other in 1940. And their second go at marriage was just as explosive as it was the first time round.

 

Frida Kahlo sketch

 

Later in their marriage, Frida and Diego became Mexican communist sympathizers and became good friends with Leon Trotsky. Later, Trotsky and his wife came to live with the Riveras while hiding out there as they sought sanctuary from the Soviet Union. And once again, Frida had an affair with Trotsky, which upset his wife and sent them packing, and eventually, they were found and Trotsky was assassinated.

Frida died on July 13th, 1954. It was said she died of a pulmonary embolism, but some others say she may have taken her own life with the many medications she took to dull her constant physical pain. In her last year she suffered pneumonia and gangrene in her leg, which was consequently, amputated at the knee. A few days before Frida died. she wrote in her diary:

 

“I hope the exit is joyful – and I hope never to return – Frida” 

 

Today, Frida’s home in Coyoacán, a borough in Mexico City, known as the ‘Blue House’ – “Casa Azul”, is a museum housing many of Frida’s works and relics and a pre-Columbian urn containing her ashes. After Frida’s passing, in Diego’s autobiography, he writes that the most tragic day of his life was when Frida died, adding his regret that only too late did he realize that the best part of his life was the love he held for Frida.

 

Fun facts:

  • Frida was known for her ‘strong dark hairline’ across her lip and her almost unibrow above her eyes.
  • Frida lied about her age, telling people she was born in 1910 when the Mexican revolution began.
  • Frida appeared on the 1937 cover of American Vogue magazine in an article entitled Senoras of Mexico.
  • Frida and one of her sisters were briefly jailed as suspects of Leon Trotsky’s murder, but were soon cleared.
  • In 1953 just before Frida’s leg was amputated and she suffered with terrible pain, her first solo art exhibition was to take place in Mexico at the Galería Arte Contemporaneo. Kahlo was on bed rest and wasn’t about to miss her first solo exhibition so she stubbornly went by ambulance on a stretcher and had her bed moved to the event. It was a year later when Frida died.
  • Like many artists during their time, Frida wasn’t fully as famous in life as she was in death. Most of her adult life she was referred to as Diego’s wife rather than the talented artist recognition she didn’t gain respect for until after her death.
  • Frida’s fame was hugely acknowledged in the 1970s with the pop culture explosion. At this time women were starting to stand up to be counted and students questioned the exclusions of non Western artists. Also at this time was the coming out of the gay community, which also commended Frida for her openness about her sexuality and her fierce pride for her Mexican roots.

 

Frida Kahlo
I bought this painting of Frida Kahlo from an artist, on the beach. I watched him paint other Frida images and chose this one, which depicts her beauty and strength.

 

I also purchased on my numerous visits to Mexico, a beautiful beach coverup with a portrait of Frida painted on the back, as well as a beach bag with Frida’s face embroidered on the bag.

 

Frida Kahlo

 

(Note: the material is wrinkled, not her face)

 

Frida Kahlo

 

 

Click on the link below to see some of Frida’s beautiful art and more!

https://www.frida-kahlo-foundation.org/

 

Check out this mini view into various aspects of Frida’s colorful life.

Biography

 

Some great photos of Frida and Diego and more famous quotes, click this link:

https://www.museofridakahlo.org.mx/en/frida-kahlo-en/quotes/

 

If you ever get a chance to watch, I saw a fabulous movie of the life of Frida, starring Selma Hayek as Frida, and it was a fantastic accounting of Frida’s life with a parade of stars. The biographical movie was made in 2002 and was simply called Frida, although Frida was far from simple. You can check out more about the movie specs below:

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120679/

 

©DGKaye2020

bitmo live laugh love

 

Mexican Tales – Leaving Puerto Vallarta – Wheelchair Madness

Anxious to get home, virus-free, I’d taken the best precautions I could with what I had. The Coronavirus wasn’t ‘a thing’ really mentioned or dwelled upon yet in Puerto Vallarta on that 12th day of March when we said goodbye to our winter friends. But I’d been keeping up with world news and knew it was going to be something real big, real soon.

I had the hand-sanitizer and disinfectant wipes I’d brought down with us, at the ready in my purse. I slipped 2 masks in my pocket for us and we were leaving, heading down to the lobby with the luggage cart Hub had brought up from the lobby to load our many bags onto. No gloves, but fully protected by the plastic bags I put on my hands to navigate that cart to the elevator and out to the cab to protect from invisible germs on my hands. I was leaving beautiful Puerto Vallarta where the sun shone, the birds sang and the ocean beckoned, all appeared as though all was right in the world. We were off to the airport, which gratefully, had yet to get busy as we departed days before the spring break and Easter crowd were to invade, and the Coronavirus had yet to become ‘a thing’ yet in Mexico, so all was calm at the airport crazy.

Grateful as always in that airport for the great check-in service and the immediate wheelchair assistance to help push my husband across what seemed well over a mile to our Toronto departure gate, a bonus was having his lap to pile more bags onto. We went on our way, walking, walking, and as usual, a long security check line that I smiled inwardly as we bypassed the crowds into the ‘special services’ lane. Bonus!

After putting ourselves and our belongings back together off the security belt, we continued on to the journey to our gate. Then we stopped at the elevator. I questioned the young man pushing the wheelchair in my broken Spanish, ‘why are we going down’, and before he could answer in broken English, I knew. Once again, we were taking the bus from the street level to the tarmac. Oye!

We had over an hour to wait for the bus boarding and our section with passengers to both Toronto and a flight to Montreal was getting busy. I’d remembered the year prior when the wheelchair assistant was assigned to someone, they were to come back before boarding to help on the bus/plane. But I never saw him again, yet, I saw other helpers standing by the passengers waiting to assist them. So off I went.

I  dashed over to the boarding gate desk to ask for an assistant, but that never came to fruition. There was no way I could carry everything and assist my hub, so off I went again to ask an assistant helping another passenger to please radio for someone to help us. Finally, someone showed.

We finally made it off the bus and I grabbed what I could while the assistant grabbed another of our bags and the arm of my husband and walked him up the airplane stairs. I was grateful. We couldn’t snag a first class seat on the return flight, but I did manage a comfort row, which offered better legroom and food included, plus 2 bags each at no extra cost. I made friends with the lady, Janice, in the middle seat between Hub’s window and my aisle seats, and it seems we blabbed almost all the way home. Once we landed, my new friend Janice was kind enough to grab our bags out of the above bins, as it seems I’m iust a tad to short to reach them, happy to have the good samaritan to the rescue. I didn’t even get a chance to thank her and she was gone, she exited the plane and I never saw her at baggage pick-up again. Definitely an earth angel who kept me company and helped out then slithered away like those kind of people we meet for reasons and seasons.

As Hub and I exited the plane there were no wheelchairs on the ramp. What? Oye! I loaded up the bags onto my tired shoulders and pulled what else I could, gave one lighter bag to hub, and dashed ahead as Hub followed and caught up to me at the end of the ramp where there were several folded wheelchairs. I picked one out. waited for hub to amble up on his cane then sat him in it, re-piled the bags on him, and as I began to push us out of the congested area, I asked a rep where wheelchair assistance was. I was told to wait with the rest of the (many) wheelchair passengers in a designated area and staff would help with chairs in about half hour. Lol, you know that wasn’t happening. I don’t do waiting well.

I have to add that pushing someone in a wheelchair with almost 100 extra pounds of baggage on me and hub’s lap, and a cane that somehow kept getting stuck in our path, is no piece of cake. And I will admit, you didn’t want to be in my way as I blazed my way through a crowd and alas, spotted ‘the’ elevator that led down to the next floor where customs was located – only about another mile or so once off the elevator.  I pushed the button, loaded us in and landed on the lower floor. The door opened with a thud to a barricade.

The door opened but there was no place to exit because it was blocked by approximately 30-40 wheelchairs! They weren’t in any organized order, just left in one huge pile in a disarray blocking the elevator door. What could I do? There was no way I could even get off to sort out that mess. No way was I going back up and waiting. I told hub to hang on tight and keep his feet tucked in as tightly as possible then proceeded to bulldoze our way through the wheelchair madness. It was like a demolition derby but a few moments later we were victorious and we were out! We laughed together as my husband kept saying I was a madwoman and he was scared of my ambition and of being on the frontline of my bulldozing. We continued to laugh.

I pushed and pushed for what felt like miles on my worn out bones and cursed my airport as usual, for having the longesttttt walks from any gate. About 20 minutes later we arrived at customs. The room was crowded and despite our advantage of going through special services and avoiding the long lines, we still had to wait first to put our passports through a kiosk security machine before approaching customs agent. Bad instructions, not a soul to help anyone, and after 10 minutes of fiddling and retrying numerous times, I finally got our clearance slip out of the machine we were to hand to the customs agent.

I was observant of the airport staff, keeping an eye around to see what my airport was doing with the emerging Covid19 problem, which had yet to be declared a pandemic for another day or so after our return. I noticed quite a few airport employees wearing masks, others not. I may have bypassed a few signs warning to wash hands and sanitize, but nothing much. The customs agent  had on no mask. He asked us where we’ve been and for how long. I handed him the form spit out from the kiosk machine that quite frankly, asked the same questions. No further questions, not even asked if we had been ill while away or anything to declare. Wow! And we were on our way to baggage pick-up.

The airport was exceptionally busy. I found a porter to come fetch our bags off the belt and take us to a limo. The luggage from our flight had already come down the belt and was placed in a section on the floor as flights were coming in fast and furious and the next flight’s luggage was already on the belt. The porter pushed our bags and I pushed Hubby out through the gates of freedom once we handed our customs slip out at the exit doors, and gratefully, we weren’t selected to go through inspection.

The cool wind was welcomed once we arrived outside and entered the limo. It was almost the middle of March, usually still in the depths of winter here, but there was no snow to be found and much warmer than the morning we left for Mexico. We’d come home to an early spring.

Since that travel day home, little did I know I came home to a new world in the making. Despite at that point there were no new rules made, no pandemic declared til 2 days after our return when our country clamped down just before the spring break weekend, we took it upon ourselves to isolate for 14 days. I did get sick on Day 5 with many symptoms of the Covid – high fever, dizzy, painful bones, freezing cold. Ironically, my fever broke the very same night of that one sick day. I woke to a sweat-soaked bed and have felt fine ever since. Gratefully, Hubby didn’t get whatever I had, but I’d kept my distance from him as much as possible. I slept with a mask on too and I’m armed and dangerous with gloves, Lysol wipes and anything I could dig out of the storage cupboard.

My Mexican vacation, only a few short weeks ago, feels like it was so long ago now. I’ve been in touch with my real estate friend who emailed me the other day to inform me that the price has already dropped on the new construction condo we’d been eyeing. The Peso is falling. While I was there it was hovering around the usual value – 1 Canadian dollar = usually at 14.5 – 15 Pesos. Today’s value was almost at 17.5 Pesos to the Canadian dollar. Like I told my real estate friend, there’s no way I’m buying anything until the fallout of this global disaster has found a place to land and our own falling dollar makes a comeback.

I have no idea what will be next year. I anticipate a lot of despair, losses, real estate falling, terrible unemployment and devastation because of the isolations and loss of jobs and businesses. Undoubtedly, this anticipation isn’t mine alone, and the reason I haven’t heard a peep since my return from the woman whom I’m supposed to be renting her unit next winter. I’m sure all those that rely on renters for their properties are very concerned what will be next year for tourism.

As it stands now, one of our Canadian friends who winters at the complex with us has sent me a photo a full-time resident friend of his has sent him of the now desolate pool and beach where we all had just spent a lovely and lively time together. Truly a very sad sight, especially at Easter when this beach should be covered with wall to wall people celebrating 24/7 for a week.

 

pool
Hubby on a floatie in the pool

 

Now desolate beach and pool
Now desolate beach and pool

I feel as though next winter is a lifetime away from us now. Who knows where we will be in the world. Nothing is certain right now for anyone. The one thing I do know – I won’t be traveling anywhere again until there is a vaccine for this virus now controlling our lives.

 

happy hour

 

Stay safe!

 

©DGKaye2020

 

 

 

Mexican Tales – Part 3 – Observations and Commercialism

I’ve been spending part of the winter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for the past few years now. It’s a beautiful port town with friendly natives and Mexican charm, gorgeous weather, and good value for our Canadian dollar. But I’ve also noticed commercialism making its way into the way of life there.

 

Like everywhere else in the world, prices have gone up in PV across the board – food, taxis and housing. As many tourist destinations hike prices I noticed that PV seems to be going in that direction. Typically, the average working Mexican could not afford to eat or shop in the tourist zones as their earnings are on par with their cost of living. The tourist areas have been growing in price. Similar to how Cancun has become so Americanized in recent years that some say it’s lost its Mexican charm, but not quite there yet. I hope it doesn’t lose its Mexican charm. But it’s definitely the North American expats – both Canadian and American that are surely driving up the prices with all the growth PV has been enduring, particularly in buying up real estate there.

Bartering on the beach or market has become more of an educated procedure rather than a fun past time. It used to be sellers would start a bit higher on pricing, knowing they had to leave room for haggling, which is something they expect. But there seems to be a new theme now in educated guessing if you’re a savvy bargainer – which I am. Seems to be the trend for these items when you ask the price they will charge double the price they’ll ultimately accept, plus maybe a few hundred Pesos on top for good measure. Since I love to go to markets and look at price tags, I have a good idea of how much I should be paying for something. For example, I’d bought a beautiful silver elephant pendant encrusted with colored rhinestones inlaid, at a pop-up market for something like $25 Canadian dollars. The asking was equivalent to $35. A week later I saw the same pendants at another market asking for $80 equivalent. I said thanks and walked away, and the seller was snarly when I told him I already had one for way less money. I couldn’t help but notice how the market sellers  have raised prices on everything, leaving me feeling as though something in the art of markets has been lost. Mexican prices are fast becoming North American prices, taking away part of the allure of market shopping. But it’s fun to visit the various markets just to see some of the wonderful artists and their creations, regardless if I’m purchasing or not.

I realize that everyone has to make a living, but hiking the prices more than double on items you can find cheaper elsewhere is a tad greedy. I find the fair pricing system I abide by when buying from those sellers is to offer half of what they ask. maybe even 100 or 200 peso lower than asking with leaving negotiation room. And that’s what we should be paying.

Below are some pictures of some the artwork downtown on the Malecon (Boardwalk)

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

 

art broom

donated art bench
You will find several of these beautiful mosaic art benches donated

Heart exhibit

Heart love

Cactus sandals

Cold beer humor

 

As far as taxis and restaurants, they’ve gone up a bit too, but not drastically. For example, If you ordered a beer at the pool last year it was 20 Pesos, about $1.25, now it’s 30 – $2. Mixed cocktails at the pool were 50 Pesos – about $3, are now 80 Pesos, now more like 5 bucks and change. Short taxi rides remain at 50 Pesos, but rides to downtown or marina have gone up a buck. You can’t blame them, besides cost of living inflation, when it’s the tourist area, this is where they make their seasonal bucks. But real estate has gone up 20% since last year!

In the last few years North Americans are buying up condos in PV. The construction is ongoing. Pre-sale construction is hot. Here you can purchase a property (if any left) before they’re built with 20-30% discounts. Hub and I looked at a few with my new friend Gabe from Boardwalk Realty, who I connected with when I started looking at real estate online and signed up to receive MLS listings a few months before we got there. He showed us around the trending areas and we found a lovely location we would love to buy in, only that’s on hold as the economy is in a global tailspin and our already crappy Canadian dollar has nosedived to disgusting value. But, I have no doubts that this global declining economy will be just that – global, especially after this Corona madness, and I don’t plan on doing any real estate transactions till our dollar gets healthier and the housing market gets hit again as it seems to be on its way.

As the end of our vacation neared and my husband was unwell, along with the growing threat of the Coronavirus, I was anxious to get home.

DGKaye
In our lobby going to the ‘last supper’

I always miss the most beautiful sunsets.

sunset nite

orange sky sunset

sunset

 

Stay tuned for the last post on my Mexican Tales. Yup, it’s the travel log of our journey  home!

©DGKaye2020

From the Land of ‘Corona’ to the #Coronavirus

As many of you know from my earlier post, I’m back from my winter vacation in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It seems we got home (last Thursday) just in time before all the craziness came down at Toronto airport. As I kept a close eye on international news while I was away, I found it almost incredible that while the world was going through growing numbers of the Corona virus, cruise ships were still coming into port. The condo we rented was right on the beach only minutes away from where the ships docked so we could see ships coming in and leaving. I also checked virus statistics in Mexico, and while there were only 4 cases reported far away in distant Mexican states, I felt there was no reason to panic.

 

In recent visits, we usually saw about 2 ships a day, sometimes 3 and 4 on average approximately 4-5 days a week, coming into port. This recent trip we didn’t see a ship come in all week for about 2 weeks, then we saw 1 or 2 a day come in 2-3 times a week. Yes, the Grand Princess did make a stop in our port, but after that it seemed that most international cruise liners had diminished and mostly US sailings from the coast off California were still coming in. We’d also watched a couple of ships turn around and leave before docking.

As the last few days of our trip drew near to the end of our trip, I began to feel the urgency to get home, especially as my husband wasn’t well with other underlying issues. I’d kept track of what was happening in my own city, Toronto, daily, and was disturbed by my gut feelings that this was fast going to become a global pandemic.

There seemed to be no warnings or closures in Puerto Vallarta while there, and anyone I spoke with about the ongoing concern didn’t seem overly concerned, but I was getting a bit suspicious how this virus was spreading globally and Mexico had such low numbers – a false sense of relief.

We flew home without a hitch, landed in Toronto airport, saw only a few airport employees wearing masks, zipped through customs without even a question asking if we weren’t feeling well. We wore masks home and took it upon ourselves to self-quarantine for 14 days as precaution – as what should have already been mandated at the airport. And as it turns out, Day 5 of our quarantine (yesterday) I became ill. I developed a fever, chills and aching bones. Then last night in bed my fever broke and my bedsheets were soaked in sweat. I think that was good news, but still, I’m not feeling up to par. Did I contract the Corona virus or was this a seasonal flu? The question remains.

Getting tested is not simple here, just as it’s not simple anywhere. There are not enough facilities globally to test for the virus, or the equipment and manpower to facilitate everyone getting tested. We are told to NOT just come to the hospital if we are sick. We must first call Health Canada’s, Telehealth to talk to a nurse first before venturing to the hospital, and that involves potentially an 8 hour wait on hold. Many hospitals in Toronto have opened up makeshift areas within hospitals with separate entrances specifically for suspect Corona virus testing and patients, and warned to DO NOT enter the emergency department.

It’s quite evident the world was not prepared for this pandemic with limited test kits, respirators, protective gear, and hospital beds. And I believe that ‘selective’ testing isn’t enough to help with containing the spread of this virus, just as the numbers of those contracting it around the world are quite lowball with the numbers reported against the millions more who haven’t been tested. Thus, it seems self-quarantine and social distancing is the best measure at this time globally for anyone traveling home from anywhere, anyone who has knowingly been somewhere where someone who has tested positive, and regardless of either, seniors especially, need to heed this advice to stay home. And as it’s looking now, almost globally, many have taken it upon themselves to stay home.

 

stay home

 

 

The scariest part of this virus are the elements we don’t know yet:

How long is someone contagious for?

If someone caught it, does that make them immune, or can they catch it again?

If some are asymptomatic or carriers, does this make them contagious indefinitely?

Do we have to worry about food and necessity shortages in days or weeks to come as businesses close down in lockdown?

Those are just some of the questions that people are concerned about. This is not a seasonal flu. This is a virus that will live among us until a vaccine is found and made available to the public. And until the medical world gets a good grasp on handling this pandemic with proper government aid, many sick people are going to be affected by this pandemic, many with no relation to the Corona symptoms will also suffer.

Here in Toronto, all elective surgeries, appointments for CT, MRI, Ultrasounds scans have been cancelled. I have this on good authority since my husband’s Gastro-enterologist just called to cancel the procedure my husband has been awaiting to have and had already been rescheduled for after a 2 week wait period till after our return home for the 14 day quarantine for those returning from abroad before coming to a hospital. Now I’m more fearful for my husband, and I was told there is no date yet for rescheduling, which will no doubt create a heavy backlog for wait times. I argued that his procedure is not ‘elective’ it is necessary as my husband has an ongoing condition that when it acts up (as it is now), he could literally bleed to death.

My husband’s condition along with so many people around the world waiting for dire tests, have all been put on hold as this deadly virus takes precedence. This virus is a certainty that many more will die because of denied medical services in these trying times. Our only options are to wait for the worst to happen so we can go to emergency and then be booked in from there. This seems to be the new world order for now.

In the meantime, I think that Mexico has been downplaying the spread of the virus because that country is so dependent on tourism to thrive. Since our return, more reported cases are popping up in Mexico, yet their government gives the impression they may want to keep it under ‘hush hush’ for now. This will prove to become very dangerous as time goes by, no doubts.

The world is certainly in a tailspin and a halt, all at the same time. For now, the only way to try and dodge contracting the Corona virus is to keep distance from others, stay home, and wash hands frequently. In the meantime, this is a good time to remind people to be kind to one another, help somebody out when we can, pick up groceries for some you know who shouldn’t be going out because of vulnerability, keep check on loved ones, and stay informed.

If you aren’t sure about the difference of symptoms between the seasonal flu and the Corona virus, check out this list of symptoms, as a common guide to go by.

Stay safe!

 

©DGKaye

 

I’m back! Stormy Travel Day to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

 

Well, I’m back after a fun-filled sunshine getaway. What a fabulous trip – despite the dreaded ‘travel day (s)’. Travel day is always a ‘thing’ with me – a victim of circumstance it seems.

 

Climate change has been wreaking havoc on so many parts of the world, and here in Toronto, Canada, where the brunt of winter usually hits in January and the even worse in February, we’d had a relatively  mild winter with temps hanging around at 35-40 degrees Farenheit, and save for the odd blizzard that lasted a day then melted, winter wasn’t as brutal. But winter did finally decide to hit approximately 10 minutes before the limo picked us up for the airport at 3am.

All week the news had warnings that freezing rain and blizzard would hit by midnight – the wee hours of the morning I was to leave. I laughed it off, knowing, the weather people are the only ones who could be wrong, yet still have a job. After all, predicting all this messy precipitation one week ahead hitting at a particular time, I waved it off, I did a little praying that it wouldn’t start till later in the day, but as I zipped up the suitcases and got ready to go to the lobby, I peeked out the window and watched the whiteness swirl around in a frenzy. Within 10 short minutes, the ground had accumulated a lot of the white stuff and the winds howled.

I’ve gotten in the habit of wearing a long-sleeved shirt over a tank top and a hoodie for warmth – somewhat – when traveling. Just a quick few minutes till I’d be in the limo and then the airport, where I’d dash for a cart and the limo driver would help me load the luggage on before scooting to check-in. Well, those few moments it took to load luggage on cart and dash for the doors was some kind of cold! I thought I’d freeze to death in those short few moments. I was also glad we left at such an ungodly time of day (without sleeping) because the roads and highways were a skating rink at 3am. Thankfully, the salt/sand trucks were prepared and were already dropping the grains on the highway ahead of us to prepare for the onslaught of morning traffic, which no doubt, would have been a chaotic one.

We flew with a different Canadian airline this time after last year’s fiasco of being dropped off on the tarmac in Puerto Vallarta. But, that didn’t seem to matter. I quickly learned that flights that were delayed leaving Toronto LOST THEIR PARKING SPOTS.

It was the first time in a long time I’d flown on a plane that resembled the old jumbo jets I remembered from yesteryear. The plane was full with almost 360 passengers. We’d taken our precautions before boarding the plane, spraying our Colloidal Silver down our throats, and sniffing up our nostrils to prepare for germ attack, besides having our masks. Our plane was over an hour delayed as the runway was a nightmare and we had to wait our turn to get de-iced before taking off. I kept watching the blizzard out the small plane windows, saying under my breath, let’s go, let’s go before it gets so bad we can’t. Alas, we took off, we were on our way to sunny Mexico, despite the mostly turbulent rocky ride almost all the way there. The storm had come from the US midwest, so much of the ride was through turbulent weather until exiting American skies into sunny Mexico territory.

 

Plane de icing
De-icing process in view

 

 

 

 

 

Yay, we landed hard, but safely. We were the first row in first class. My husband always has wheelchair assistance to and from the plane due to the very long walks to and from the gates. Usual protocol, first class gets off first, wheelchair and assistance waits at the exit doors for those in need. But not this time. This plane had two exits, and the back end started unloading at same time as first class door – only the bitchy stewardess wouldn’t let us off right away. She told us that wheelchair passengers had to wait for the plane to unload because they would hold up the people traffic. WTF? Not only that, we were on the bloody tarmac. Again!

As we are usually one of the first off, the minutes were getting long. Fifteen minutes had gone by and half the plane were taking their sweet time as the plane was getting mighty warm. I’d had enough by that point, filled with claustrophobic anxiety, I pushed past the stewardess to have a look-see at the progress of de-planing, standing at the exit doors. I decided I wasn’t waiting anymore and went back for my hub and all our carry-on crap and told him we’re going.

I barged through with all the bags while hub was on a cane and began the scary attempt at exiting down the steep, long stairway to the tarmac. I called down to one of the assistants with the wheelchair to come up the stairs and walk my husband down while I carried the load of bags, and we got on to the mini transfer bus that took us into the gates. This de-planing business is the worst part of the flight for me. I never slept on the plane and was now on no sleep for a day and a half.

We finally got in a cab and less than 10 minutes later, arrived at our rented condo on the beach. I unpacked and by then it was nearing 3pm Mexican time, an hour earlier there than our EST. Most people would have been ready to flop into bed by this point, but no, we had missions to accomplish. I let hub nap for a while I unpacked and got sorted out. Then we were off on the half mile walk (just what we felt like doing, NOT) to the bank machine to get some Pesos. From the bank we’d hop in a cab and head off for grocery shopping. By the time we got back with groceries and a bbq chicken for dinner, ate and showered, we flopped into bed at 730pm.

Mexican sunset
First Mexican Sunset

sunset

 

The trip back was more chaotic, but stay tuned for part 2 before we get there!

 

©DGKaye