My Mexican Tales Part 2 – Whales, Cruiseships, Sciatica and Eviction?

Welcome back to my Mexican tales series. The vacation begins, and what a busy time it was! It was a fun and social time once again seeing all the ‘regulars’ back – the snowbirds who we’d made friends with through the last few years of renting in the same place with our wintering friends. Plenty of scoop, recommends and whale watching to see daily at our ‘pool of knowledge’ as one of my Canadian friends dubbed it last year. The place where we all congregate to stay cool in the afternoons under the hot Mexican sun.


beauty sky


Pool of knowledge
Our pool of knowledge


Whale season is very busy in the Banderas Bay area of Puerto Vallarta where I stayed. This area is where the whales from the north swim to safety to give birth to the babies in February each year, instinctively knowing where the waters are safe from sharks. Every morning and late afternoons we could see clearly, the whales popping up for air and flopping up and down doing a spectacular show. One day I actually saw a whale in process of giving birth, it was jumping up constantly for a time and before long, a baby whale started jumping as it made its entrance into the world. A magnificent sight for sure, sadly, despite camera ready on hand, I missed every consecutive jump, lol.


happy hour


Besides all the friends we socialized with daily at the pool and some we had meals with in the evenings at some of our favorite restaurants, we also had family visit and stay with us one week, and a friend of my husband’s for another two. After my longgg trip traveling to Mexico, my Sciatica kicked in big time. After approximately 6 massages later, I was finally in fine form . . . but that was short-lived.


One hot afternoon as I entered the first step into the pool, holding onto the railing tightly, it seems all that suntan lotion accumulating in the pool made for a sheet of ice on some of those steps. Down went my one foot to step, and up in the air went the other one as I gripped tightly, but to no avail, landed with a thud on the second step – on my tailbone!

If I’d thought the Sciatica I’d been enduring since a month before going to Mexico, exacerbated by the lifting of luggage on travel day was painful, I had succumbed to a new kind of pain. For the rest of the trip there were more massages (as it had taken 5 deep massages already, to finally rid of the Sciatica pain), analgesics, and taking a good 2 minutes to stand up or sit down, no bending, no comfort sleeping, and the only place I felt fine was floating in the water. I was grateful for my blow up pillow I used everywhere. I’d originally bought it to have behind my already sore back while laying on the lounger at the pool, but it quickly became my seat pillow for a few weeks.

Many of my pool friends had witnessed my slip and rushed to me to ask if I was okay. Of course, I told them I was fine. I stayed in the pool once I slid in, for a good two hours, dreading the time I’d have to get out and assess how I really felt. I found out quickly how nicely I had immobilized my tush. My trustee friends were very accommodating the next few days as they watched me limp and walk like an octogenarian to and from the pool and offered assistance anytime I had to carry something up and sometimes just to help put on my beach cover-up. And thankfully, but only the day before returning home, did the pain subside. Lord had mercy as I had a lotttttttttt of carrying and pushing to do at the airport the next day for the return home.


What else happened after that glorious Supermoon full moon coupled with a Mercury Retrograde – that also seemed to have unleashed pandemonium on the world at this time? Oh ya, the friends whose condo we rent there, notified me that first week we were there that she needed to know right away if I’d commit to 3 months next year with a $400 US increase on top of it monthly. I asked her if I could at least discuss this with my husband,  and get back to her, considering we were barely there 5 days when I was just unwinding without having to think about finances and commitments for a year ahead, even though I fully intended to NOT commit. Not 12 hours later did I receive a new message, “Sorry, we couldn’t wait, we have someone ready to commit.”


morning moon
The moon was still out at 7am over the ocean while the sun was rising behind us over the mountains. Quite ominous.


“Thanks so much for your giving a us a moment to think, not! Enjoy your new friends and remember, when you swim with sharks you get bit,” I emailed her in response. My sarcasm was in direct response to my investigations with my sleuth friend Liz at the pool who knows everyone and everybody. I’m not going to get into all the politics here – yes, there were plenty. But we’d figured out exactly what transpired with the people who mysteriously became the ‘new future renters’. This situation now left us without a place locked in for next year. And everyone who stays there knows well, it’s like finding gold when you find another availability there, and for a fair price without managers scooping extra bucks on top of the owner’s price.

I immediately put out my feelers, asked my pool friends for contacts and within 2 days, I’d sealed a deal for another unit next year. The caution is, to not get ripped off as the the real estate market has been booming in PV this past year in particular and beachfront properties are getting more greedy. Many property owners there don’t live there and hire property managers. Some are good, some are thieves with ridiculous prices and terms. The trick is to do your research on the ‘actual’ going monthly rates, asking around what everyone pays, and try not to get ripped off. This is where my friend Liz was extra helpful, lol. Also, in Mexico, we don’t need US dollars (thankfully), and our Canadian dollar was great value to the Peso. But all rentals are paid in US dollars.

The new owner I made a deal with knew I had no US funds on me and is expecting half the rental as deposit after I returned – that was before the world turned on its axis and our dollar dropped to almost 40% from 30 against the US dollar, once the markets fell in free-fall. I haven’t heard from her yet calling for money, although I had E-transferred her a few hundred Canadian dollars in good faith when we made the deal. I have ZERO intentions of buying US money at this god-awful rate. And since most of the renters there are Canadian, I’m sure these owners and property managers are more than aware what’s going on in the world. If she puts clamps on me for the funds now, she can have it. And no doubts, she’ll come crawling back as she finds that in this era of uncertainty, it’s quite likely that nobody is committing to travel anywhere till the world comes back to life.

Now, for the cruise ships. The Coronavirus was only gaining more acknowledgement in across the world as February progressed. Nobody seemed to be thinking about it in Mexico, not even the snowbirds. But I was. I was on the computer mornings and evenings catching up on world news. And my anxiety grew. We used to watch the ships dock and exit daily there – about 2-3 ships daily in the past, but 10 whole days had passed and no cruise ships. I began to smell a rat.


Ship arriving
Ship coming in


Ship leaving
Ship leaving


I was Googling daily to see if there were any Corona cases coming to light in Mexico and by first week March, there was a count of 3 or 4, said to have been detected in Mexico City – far away from where I was. Hmm, I thought, where there’s a few, there will always be more, and of course, the many cases unrecognized and not reported to consider. Then we began to see 2 ships come in 2 or 3 days a week after that. We also watched one turn around and not dock. Suspicions abounded. It seemed the only ships coming in were the ones originated on the Pacific coast, mainly from California. No big ship names like Celebrity did we see, etc. And as it turns out, the Grand Bahama Princess had in fact docked in PV just before I’d arrived, the same one that was not allowed back in port in San Francisco somewhere along its journey, tendering for days with nowhere to go until it was allowed into Oakland Harbor. Something was definitely up!

By the last week of our trip, anxiety grew within, eager to get home before the airlines started chopping off flights. My husband had also had issues with his health, and I was getting panicky if he’d be able to leave, and how the trip home was going to look like. Many ‘pool’ friends didn’t seem too concerned about the virus, but as my natural intuition antennae became raised internally to high alert, I knew full-well a Tsunami of something was coming.


Stay tuned for next week’s episodeObservations, Art and Commercialism




The Return of D.G. Kaye – Flight Manifesto

D.G. Kaye Arizona


Some of you may have read my book, Have Bags, Will Travel, and could consider this post as a little side chapter to that book. And for those who haven’t, you will find a detailed accounting of my flight home from Phoenix, Arizona.


Arizona baggage with D.G. Kaye


My usual bag of tricks worked in preparation for airport packing strategy 101:


Hub had limited me to three bags between us instead of the allowable four. Although I’m not sure why he was so adamant because I became the lifter and schlepper of all bags. We were each allowed one carry on bag and one personal item. Said personal item for me is my purse, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t put whatever I needed in it, mainly another purse. I’d also brought with an extra folding bag for another carry on we may have needed for our return. Hey, it was regulation size and after all, hubby doesn’t carry a purse so surely he was allowed another ‘personal’ carry on item.

purse in a purse


Each suitcase is allowed up to 50 pounds weight. I had purchased my new trusted mini scale to weigh the bags before setting off to airport to avoid unpleasant surprises once the bags were ‘officially’ weighed. As it turns out, each of my three bags came in weighing 49.5 pounds. What a miracle. And thank goodness I brought that extra carry on, for a good 10-15 pounds weight of gifts I’d purchased.


I also had with me a huge plastic shopping bag with handles. This baby I use to put the extra carry bag inside along with coats, cowgirl hat, water bottles and any incidentals that wouldn’t fit my purse, just until I got to the boarding gate to avoid having to carry all that extra stuff. I know that big plastic bag would be a huge flag to boarding attendants, so for boarding purposes, the carry on comes out, the coats and hat get put on, and all other incidentals get thrown in wherever they may fit. Smaller purse had already been neatly tucked into bigger purse (okay, maybe it was a tote bag, disguised as a purse), where all other items that didn’t fit the smaller purse went : sunglasses, phone, kindle, notebook, water bottle, jewelry roll, make-up pouch, two masks, and some other crap. Smooth boarding!

Organized travel


Once on the plane, the hackers and sneezers begin their symphony of song. Besides the fact that I can’t stand the sight of blood, I know I couldn’t be a surgeon because I spent the better part of the flight adjusting my mask so I could breathe properly avoiding the fog up of my glasses. Hub and I had previously inhaled our Colloidal Silver spray in our mouth and nostrils as instructed by the naturopath, before boarding to prepare to fight off the germs circulating the airplane. (We weren’t interested in a repeat of last year’s return when we contacted influenza on the airplane.)  I felt secure with the Colloidal Silver circulating my throat and nasal passages and almost hesitated to wear the dreaded mask until Mr. Winnipeg sitting two seats away by the window began his sneezing and coughing repertoire and other sickies soon followed suit. I didn’t dare eat and barely took sips of my bottled water for fear of staying out of the mask too long. So I remained fussing and pulling at the mask to breathe with ease, already surrendering myself to odd looks from other passengers, where I no longer cared about their wondering looks about what disease it was that I may have had.


I caught my other seat mate, Miss Badly Glued on False Eyelashes, glancing at me, peeking through the corner of her eyes while on her Ipad. Her questioning eyes wondering why I was wearing a mask. I finally positioned my mask in a bearable position when I had to lift it when the stewardess passed by asking if I’d like to purchase anything from her cart of microwaved meals to eat. As I did so, I couldn’t help but wonder if the various orange marks from my lipstick had stained the mask and left their mark on various parts of my face as I politely declined her offer.


Mr. Germy Winnipeg in his shorts and sandals ( what’s up with these diehards wearing summer attire coming home to winter?), sat by the window and decided to shut the shade as the plane took off, keeping me from having my last arial views of the beautiful Arizona mountains. He was yapping to Miss False Eyelashes in the middle seat about having to fly all the way to Toronto just to connect and fly west back to Winnipeg. The lady in front carried her tiny poodle in a bag on her lap as she flapped away about how small the ‘doggy toilet’ area was in the airport and that she expected it to be much bigger so her dog could run around at leisure before the flight. Really?


The stewardess later came by to bring us our customs declaration forms to fill out, my favorite part . . . Not! I’d kept the receipts as I’ve learned to do, from my many purchases of various shopping ventures, but had yet to sort them out, and took them out of my purse to calculate and write down the value of goods I was bringing back on the customs form. I’ve found this procedure to be helpful, by keeping all receipts in hand to hand customs officer if asked what I purchased, showing I’m organized with receipts in hand, it somehow makes my claim more certifiable. (I may accidentally on purpose omit some receipts.) I thought nothing of my method of receipt accounting when I felt Miss False Eyelashes watching me and my thick wad of receipts when she uttered her first words to me, “Oh, you’ve been busy.” Sheesh! That’s what I get for minding my own business!I turned my head around to acknowledge her comment with my smiling eyes while my mouth stayed tight under wraps.


Poodle lady in front was driving the stewardess crazy with dog questions and poo issues. I tried hard not to listen. Hubby slept most of the four hour flight home, cramped in his seat, waking to the sound of each cough and sneeze echoing through the plane, turning his head to look at me to ensure I had my mask on.


Day dreamer


I kept busy reading on my kindle and drafting this post in my trusted  ‘Professional Day Dreamer’ notebook to document the flight home. Miss False Eyelashes kept eyeing my writing through the corner of her eyes as she continued crushing candy on her Ipad. It’s a good thing my handwriting is atrocious, I thought, as I couldn’t help but wonder if she was wondering if she was about to be put into my story.


We were almost ready to land after a last 20 minutes of frantic turbulence when I decided I should use the washroom before having to wait in customs lines and for baggage to come out. I took the opportunity to go when there was nobody in line and the seat belt sign was still on from the rocky ride. The stewardess standing there warned me that I should be sitting as I warned her that I should be using the washroom. I won.


If any of you know my phobia about germs, you will know that my bladder has to be bursting before I’ll even consider using the germ infested airplane toilet. After watching half a plane load of passengers use the stall for the previous 3 1/2 hours, without going into great detail, I’ll just say that it was wet, cramped and sparse of toiletries in there. I lift the lid with toiilet paper, carefully pull down my pants to a grinding halt just before they reach my ankles so no part of my clothing touches the floor or bowl, and do the proverbial squat. As I get myself put back together and wash my hands, I discover no paper towels to dry hands. I become more grossed out thinking how many people have used this toilet and didn’t wash there hands because of no paper towels. How long were there no paper towels in this washroom? I wash my hands and rip off a long stream of toilet paper to dry them and then to open the lock and door handle with before disposing of it. I alerted the stewardess there were no paper towels and she nodded in agreement telling me she knew and they ran out. I shook my head in disgust and walked back to my seat wondering how they ran out. When did they run out? Aren’t they supposed to clean a plane after each landing and check supplies, especially ones which pertain to cleanliness?


The plane was finally approaching landing, My sister had told me that spring had come early the last week or so in March and they were already wearing sweaters. We sailed through customs. I handed the officer my declaration form and he didn’t so much as ask me one question this time. Usually I’m asked, what did I buy, how long was I gone for, am I carrying any liquor or cigarettes, bla bla bla. Nada. I handed him the form, he looked up at me, stamped the form and said, “move on.”  Hubby and I understand one another’s looks well. We looked at each other with questioning eyes, careful to never speak until we’re out of custom’s orbit for fear of microphones and/or cameras. We were both wondering if the quick pass through meant we’re good to go, or if the officer didn’t even bother asking a question because he automatically decided we should be further investigated.


We collected our bags with a porter in waiting to help us out, and when we got outside it was freezing rain. The limo took us home on a slow crawl through the snow covered and icy highway. I looked out the window questioning myself, Are you kidding me? I wasn’t away long enough to avoid winter’s wrath? I thought my sister said it was spring? Was this a Karmic payback for being away and avoiding most of winter? 


Once home, I called my sister. I asked her what the weather was all about. She told me it was payback for me, and I brought it on for having so much sunshine throughout the winter on vacation. Nature’s little joke. The next day was mild and rainy. By Sunday the sun was back and the temps reached the high 50s, and supposedly it’s supposed to stay that way.  Onward into spring!