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


I’m Back! – Not Thinking is a Great Stress Reliever! Beautiful #Sunsets

I’ve recently returned from a glorious two-month escape to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Our trip was fabulous, fun and oh so relaxing, but I will say that the mind often takes a little longer to catch up with the body when it comes to relaxing. It takes great mental concentration to not allow the mind to stray and wander back home to some of the crap we leave behind, or have to deal with upon return. But I did it!


How freeing it is to not have to think when we finally reach that point of letting go. The constant everyday issues of life become condensed to only one concern: What should we have for dinner tonight?” That should be my only worry.

Anyway, I digress (as usual). I purposely didn’t post here while away (with the exception of a pre-scheduled #WATWB post), because if I post, I like to reply to comments in a timely fashion and I just wanted to let go of all responsibilities. And I have to say, it did take me a good week at first to get into that relax mode. But once I did, it was exhilarating to escape real life worries and obligations. I caught up on some good reading time, although only reading 12 books, I’d planned to read more, but it seemed my social circles were growing by the day, creating many distractions.

I met a lot of people on my trip – some I’ll probably never see again, some who became new good friends, and of course, some rather unpleasant people too. But that’s another story for another day that I’ll no doubt be writing about – nasty people who have nothing better to do but gossip and stir shit for something to do. We had the usual chair wars (to be explained), and gained a ton of great tourist information from what has been deemed ‘the pool of knowledge’ where we all congregate in the afternoons to escape the hot sizzle in our lounge chairs, and mingling and sharing tips take place. We learn about some great places to visit, great restaurants to go eat, which grocery stores carry certain items, and who is who in the zoo, lol.

I hope I got your curiosity going enough to reading my next few blog posts where I’ll be elaborating on my trip and sharing some fun photos and tips. All said, it was a fabulous trip, and a great rejuvenation. Thanks for coming back to my blog to visit again and I hope to entertain you with some spectacular sunsets! I’ll leave you with a few here.


PV sunset





PV sunsets


PV sunsets


PV sunsets


Thanks for visiting!




Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Caribbean and Canada Customs by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Reblog and share


Today I’m sharing the last in the series of travel share posts that Sally Cronin shared on her Travel Blog Series. This post can refresh your memory or be an appetizer for the new posts to come from me on travel and tips, which I’ll be writing for Sally’s new Travel Column at the Smorgasbord starting this Monday!


Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Caribbean and Canada Customs by D.G. Kaye


If you would like to share some of your posts on travel to anywhere, by any means of transport and pass on your experience and tips, then details are at the end of the post. Don’t forget it is an opportunity to showcase your blog and your books!


Time for the last in the travel series of posts from D.G. Kaye’s blog. And this week we are off to the Caribbean and more adventures with Customs and Excise!!! First published by Debby Gies in February of 2017.

Welcome Aboard

Hello lovely people! I’ve just returned from the beautiful Caribbean, and although I’m in between my return and part 2 of our winter vacation in Arizona next week and doing lots of laundry, sorting out emails and details for the next trip, and having a few follow up doctor appointments for hubby, I’m dropping in here with a short post.

We had a spectacular vacation of fun and sun. We were blessed to have everything flow beautifully from our departure to Fort Lauderdale, all the way through our return journey home.

Fort Lauderdale

A view from our balcony in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

I had hoped to post more on social media, but between our constant busyness and unpredictable internet, as anticipated, I was pretty much absent on the web. While at sea, the days magically turned into night so effortlessly that time drifted by.

We were up early daily, eating breakfast on the balcony before we headed out by 9am-ish to either our lounge chairs at the pool or exploring on the shores. All the years I’ve been with my husband on vacation, he’s been the one to get out by 6am to secure the deck chairs with a towel and chair clips to ensure we ‘got a good spot’ to soak up the rays without being squashed in by too many other chairs enabling us to turn our chairs around as the sun moved. This time was different.

Balcony view on the Caribbean

A view from my cabin balcony in the Caribbean

Our friends who my husband had always got chairs for as well, repaid the favor to allow him to sleep in, and took turns waking at dawn to secure our seats. Chair saving and positioning is an art, and one the six of us are conveniently all fussy about.The weather was gorgeous and hot, particularly when we got out of the Atlantic into the Caribbean. Please continue reading . . .


Source: Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Caribbean and Canada Customs by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Smorgasbord posts from Your Archives – Travel Day -Day 1 Arizona Here I Come by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

Friday blogshare

Today I’m sharing one of my archived posts on my travel misadventures that Sally Cronin shared in her ‘Share from your Archives’ series on the topic of travel. Well I could tell travel stories til the cows come home, so I was happy to share another of my travel escapades.


Smorgasbord posts from Your Archives – Travel Day -Day 1 Arizona Here I Come by D.G. Kaye

Welcome to the first post in a four week series from D.G. Kaye – Debby Gies. Originally posts in 2016, this post takes us through just the first day of travel on Debby and her husband’s winter vacation to Arizona for two glorious months. As you will see not plain sailing…although they were not on a boat,  actually there was the limo first and then a plane, but that came with optional extras… Including germ distributing fellow passengers.

Travel Day -Day 1 Arizona Here I Come by D.G. Kaye


The limo was to pick us up at 630 am. I thought this would give us plenty of time to get through the travel ritual and rigamarole one has to endure to get where they’re going to via airplane these days.

After playing switcheroo for a few days, by adding, subtracting, and switching items in my 4 full-sized suitcases, and 3 severely overweight carry-on bags, in efforts to get ready for the trip to Arizona, I was ready. I had been high dosing on homeopathic remedies for a few days to help heal my injured hip and gratefully I had regained more than half the ability back in ease of movement for travel day. Lord knows I needed mobility to lug the lot of bags through airports, customs, on and off carousels, and on and off a shuttle bus from Phoenix airport to the car rental building.

Have Bags Will Travel

We waited for the limo driver to buzz us to inform us he’d arrived, and when the clock ticked 640 am, we began to worry they may have forgotten us, and we’d be getting into morning traffic to and at the airport being that we were flying on New Year’s Eve day. Hub decided to go down to the lobby and check, and sure enough, there he was sitting in the limo, apparently there for half an hour waiting for us. Thanks to our great ‘security’ at the gate of our building (NOT), the driver was told we were coming downstairs, only nobody told the gate such a thing, and so he waited patiently instead of buzzing up to confirm for himself. Please continue reading over at Sally’s blog . . .


Source: Smorgasbord posts from Your Archives – Travel Day -Day 1 Arizona Here I Come by D.G. Kaye | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life