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

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

 

©DGKaye

Leaving Beautiful #Arizona

 

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There’s an old saying, ‘It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all’. Every time I think of leaving beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona, I feel the sadness ooze through me. I ask myself it it would have been less painful to never have come to this place we don’t want to leave so we wouldn’t feel the unbearable sadness of having to leave the desert and mountains and our friends behind.

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Of course deep in the core of me I believe it’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved, just as I know, a taste of living in Arizona this winter was better than feeling the continual hunger to come back here. But we all know we can’t just eat one chip.

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I’ve been to many places in my life, had fantastic times, felt sad to leave, but once at home it was good to be back in my own bed. But from the first time I visited this state, for only one week, I felt the pull; a pull that tugged so tightly at my soul when leaving, I didn’t want to go home.

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Since the first time I left Arizona, not one day had ever passed that I didn’t imagine myself there or wish that I was there. Now that I’ve had 2 glorious months here, it is infinitely harder for me to leave.

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I’m a firm believer in the ways of the universe, and what you focus on is what comes to you. I don’t know how or when, but I know nothing is more at the forefront of my desires than to live here. So I’ll have to believe when the divine timing is right, Scottsdale, Arizona is where I’ll be laying down my cowgirl hat.

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DGKaye©2016

Taking a Break — Heading West

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I am excited to announce that I’m taking a break and heading out to my most favourite place in the world, the desert.

 

I have been looking forward to taking a pause from the hectic first half of this year, and no better place for me to be than in the desert where I long to be. It will be a short respite in Las Vegas, not Arizona this time, but that will be my home for most of this coming winter. Happily though, our Arizona friends will be meeting up with us in Las Vegas and then we will hatch our plans for the many things we plan to do together next winter. And of course I’m going at the same time as the World Series of Poker is running there at the Rio. Needless to say, between playing some poker tournaments (if I haven’t got too rusty), shopping and socializing, I’ll be a very busy lady. I can’t wait!

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In the meantime, I will post once while I’m away, and I’m not quite sure if I will be spending much time visiting social media or my blog throughout the week, so feel free to comment or visit some of my other posts, and know I will respond back to all of you upon my return.

Thanks again to all my blogging friends who offered me their wise thoughts on leaving the laptop at home. I’ve decided to do just that. The only device I’ll be taking with me is my smartphone for pictures and the occasional checkins on social media and maybeeeeee my blog. But it won’t be much because I don’t plan on going over my data limit. So I wish you all a fabulous week while I’m off to fabulous Las Vegas.

Currently Air Canada has cancelled many flights this weekend due to the Wildcat strike with fuelers. I’m praying my flight leaves tomorrow (Sunday). So as long as you don’t see me floating around the blogosphere, it means I made it there! 🙂

 

D.G. Kaye

Is There Such a Thing as Too Much of a Good Thing?

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Many times we find ourselves daydreaming about being somewhere else, sometimes anywhere except the place that we reside in. Sure everyone loves to dream about the ‘What ifs’. What if I won a lottery? What if I could live anywhere in this world I so chose? What if {insert your fantasy here}.

On my recent vacation to the Caribbean, I was fortunate to be able to spend the day with my brother and sister-in-law in St. Kitts. St. Kitts was one of the many ports my ship docked at and Rory and Katy are fortunate enough to be out of the damning cold winter, snowbirding in St. Kitts.

We had preplanned our getting together and spending the day together for when we docked there. So we met up at the fabulous port in front of the designated store we chose to connect at.

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It had been well over five years since I had last visited that island. I was delighted to find how much more they had begun to develop the island. The port was beautiful to look at and had a multitude of duty-free stores built. In fact, I could have had no problem spending the better part of the day shopping in the port alone, only mere yards away from where our ship docked.

st kitt port

It was a gorgeous hot and sunny day. We had two of the best island tour guides in Rory and Katy as they have spent a lot of time there through the years, and years before that, Katy had lived on that island.

My brother drove us around the island, showing us various points of interest, especially a paradise area where they are contemplating buying a villa (pictured below). From his interest in real estate there, my brother has made some influential contacts and friends which afforded us the opportunity to spend a beautiful afternoon at a private clubhouse resort.

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villa vue

We spent the afternoon at this magnificent paradise, secluded away from what I felt was civilization. The grounds were impeccable with the palm trees almost strategically located so as to allow one to catch some rays, yet not swelter from the heat with the shade and breezes they provided. The pool was so gratifying with the perfect temperature to cool our bodies. Before you entered the swimming pool, there was an ankle-deep wading pool which led to the swimming pool where rested some beach chairs to take in the sun, enabling us instant access of the water to splash ourselves when necessary. The edge of the swimming pool flowed into a trough below and a few yards past that was the Caribbean ocean.

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st kitt paradise

The whole experience was breathtaking. Katy and I walked down a little grass path just passed the trough in front of the ocean. The ocean sparkled in the hot sunlight, displaying its various shades of turquoise. The view was spectacular and commanded one to just stand there and take it all in. Katy and I chatted about the possibility of them buying a property on the island in that particular area.

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With all the stillness and serenity of what I was seeing, I tried to visualize myself living there. Surely this paradise would make a perfect writing haven. Then I began to wonder if perhaps after a few months of the quiet, would I begin to get bored?

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I posed that question to Katy while we gazed at the ocean. I asked, “Could there be too much of a good thing? I questioned her about whether or not she could live a slower pace of life with not as much to do on an island. I thought about the perks of living there: sunshine, warmth, beauty, lots of writing and reading time, but would that be enough for me?

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Some people get bored easily. Some need action around them. And many enjoy the quiet solace of being alone.  I think I’m somewhere amongst those. I told Katy that I could have no problem staying on that island for a long time, but I wasn’t sure I could live there. But it’s easy to judge and make premature decisions before we experience the full action.

When I questioned Katy about if she were to live there sheltered from the hustle and bustle, would the thrill of the solace eventually wear off, I thought about the quiet seclusion. I don’t think I took into consideration that life is what we will make out of it. Sure the lifestyle is lighter than our North American life as we are used to it. But I think if I actually made a home there, eventually I’d build some roots, maybe establish some of my own book clubs, jaunt over to a close by island for some new entertainment, and I’m sure have plenty of my winter relatives visit.

So in conclusion, in answer to my own question, I don’t think that it would be too much of a good thing at all.

 

©D.G. Kaye, dgkayewriter.com, 2015

Words While At Sea

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While I lazed in my lounge chair looking out onto the Caribbean Sea, I thought about all the writing I promised myself I’d keep up with but just couldn’t bring myself to focus on. The weather was very hot, we were with friends, old and new and their was always so much activity going on whether on or off the ship that there wasn’t any real time of solitude to collect my thoughts. The best I could do was keep a notebook in my bag while lounging at the pool to jot down any ideas that came to mind for my books and my blog. Thankfully I did manage to get some ideas down on paper, knowing I wouldn’t be able to fully elaborate on them until I returned home and once again disciplined myself to focus.

While I gazed at the repetitive waves and the music of the sea, I thought about the past year and how many hours a day I worked on my writing and publishing and I found myself spent, basking in the hot sun in a surreal world of rest and relaxation. The weather was too beautiful to sacrifice one selfish moment to do anything other than laze and socialize rather than to surrender to the discipline of working. My mind wandered back and forth from feeling guilty about not working to just taking in the simple pleasure of my environment.

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I watched the waiters in their floral, Hawaiian-like shirts humming happily as they served drinks and ice cold towels laden with ice chips to help combat the hot sun that we so willingly allowed to scorch our bodies. I couldn’t believe how many of us were sitting on this lovely Celebrity cruise ship sunbathing when most of us not so long ago, had come from minus forty degree temperatures. I was grateful for every blessed moment in my abyss of relaxation.

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We travelled to eight islands: Aruba, Curacao, Saint Martin, St. Thomas, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua. We were with our good friends Gary and Lynn and my good friend Mary from New York who I had written about previously and her husband Joe. We have been on the same cruise for a few years now and many of the passengers take the same cruise every year as their winter vacation. There weren’t too many lapses without us laughing our heads off at something. It was true bliss and a wonderful escape from real life.

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I tried  also to catch up on some of my reading, thinking vacation would be opportune time for this, but wrong again.  It is hard to read when people are around you chatting and my usual good reading time at home is at night before going to sleep and I can certainly say that the sun and the sea drained me by 1030 pm. By the time I got in bed, I was out cold after reading one or two pages. A definite cure for insomnia. Surprisingly though, I did manage to read two books at the pool while my friend Lynn would have her naps.

We were up by 630 am or 7 every day. Between the laughs, the ports and the pina coladas, the days were busy.  Around 4pm a group of us congregated at the top back deck of the ship, ‘The Sunset Bar’, to socialize and make evening plans or watch the ship pull out of port.

drinks on deck

So although my intentions were good to get some work done, after being cooped up at home for so long for the past year and our long, cold winter, the trip somehow flicked a switch in me that just wouldn’t allow my brain to function when paradise was all around me. I found the minutes tick away as there was so much to do and my inner social butterfly became hugely activated.

As time flew by I literally found it to be too hot (without complaint) to do much. Our first week seemed like I had been away for a long time and then by the second week I felt as though time was passing too fast before we had to come home. I remember thinking each morning as I took my vitamins in their little daily containers, they were diminishing with the days. I also received emails from our snow plow provider sending updates of snowstorms and one which he informed us that the city by-laws had been reached by the amount of how high he could pile the snow and not to be alarmed by the narrowing of our driveway because he had to use part of it to pile the snow. My husband and I chuckled about the crap we were missing and how timely our trip was to miss three snowstorms, but we didn’t laugh too hard because we knew full-well that we would be back living it in a short time.

Back from Vacay

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Hello! I don’t usually like to broadcast to the internet that I am on vacation, but some of you may have noticed that my posts have been sparse. Yes, I went on a glorious two and a half week vacation to Florida for three days and then on a two-week Caribbean cruise. I had originally planned a whole routine of how I would sneak in some work while on vacation and put up a few posts a week and perhaps get some writing done but that proved difficult as the social activities abounded and I had such computer problems with my website while on the ship.

ship view Aruba

I bought an (expensive) internet package and as though that weren’t enough, the lag in between getting pages up was eating up my minutes hungrily. I managed to eventually get my emails up every morning ( in slo-mo) and get onto twitter and for the first four days I did manage to get here into my website. One day I could no longer log in to my site, a box came up that it was a malware site and I look like a robot and the ship’s internet provider wouldn’t let me access it. I went crazy. I spent time in the internet room with a tech, complained to guest relations but their internet provider, apparently a military provider based in the United Kingdom, deemed my site not safe. I then had to resort to days when we were at port and lug my laptop to a cruise terminal to try and pick up free wifi, but two ports proved to be bogus wifi. It seemed that hundreds of people were seated on the floors in these terminals, trying to connect to the outside world thus hogging up too much wifi and again I couldn’t connect. Although I did manage one more post as my determination was fueled to not be forgotten and managed to connect for five dollars in the terminal in Saint Lucia. I once again lugged my laptop and purse and shopping bag, trudging through the extreme heat in search of some wifi. That was my last post as the remainder of days were at sea and I was S.O.L. in accessing my site.

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Some of you may have noticed that I did still respond to any comments though because I did manage to find a way to get up my notifications by logging into to some of your blogs (thank you), I just couldn’t open my main page. I complained a lot to the front desk, to the point where they credited my account and gave me back tons of minutes for wasting my valuable time and paid minutes trying to log in. It seems that no matter where I am, I have these website woes. I was convinced that “Murphy” had sent some distant relative to accompany me on vacation so I wouldn’t forget him. I had visions of my readers wondering where I was and if I just abandoned my blog without notice. I think in future I may just post something like my friend Carol when she went on holiday. She put up a picture of a palm tree and wrote “Taking a Break”. That just seems so much simpler.

Leaving Las Vegas

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It is always nice to go on vacation and always good to come home. In case some of you hadn’t noticed, it has been kind of quiet here on my site and my social media this week while I was on vacay.

I took a little break just before getting things ready to publish my book, Conflicted Hearts, with my galpal, Cindy. We jaunted off to Vegas for four days.  The two redheads went to paint the town ‘red’ and shop ’til we drop, and we did just that.DSC01866

Our venture began very early Tuesday morning to catch our flight. The usually quite comfortable WestJet seats had somehow became like sitting in a sardine can. This was an unpleasant and uncomfortable surprise to me, being that I had just flown WestJet only a few months ago and many times before and I always applauded them for being a comfortable flight.

Cindy nor I are big people and we both have short legs and trying to cross them was a feat in itself.  We couldn’t even slide into our seats without pivoting around on one leg to plop into our seat.

The unusually extra long flight (due to no tail winds) only fuelled my claustrophobia as we both complained to one other most of the way there, as though it was going to change anything……not, but it felt better if we could bitch about it. We did laugh though and reminisced about the days when travelling was fun.

In those days past, they didn’t fit as many seats as they could on the plane so humans actually had leg room (we pitied those who were taller than us…..that would be anyone taller than five foot three), food was real and included in the price, drinks were free, there was more than one washroom on each end and you didn’t have to undress publicly to get through security and get a dose of radiation in the process. I beefed about tossing your water at security so you can re-purchase more only feet away from security for just four dollars more.

Yes, we were flying to sunny Las Vegas where the temps had been rising to close to 80 degrees daily….until we got there, it was around 50 degrees. As we shivered getting into the limo we looked on the bright side and decided it was still warmer than where we were coming from, leaving our early winter behind.

Gambling was not a friend to me as I donated to the casinos and pointed to a chandelier to Cindy and told her it was mine because I thought I had helped pay for it. We ate at some fine restaurants and put a lot of miles on our feet, which never seemed to stop hurting no matter how many shoes we brought or bought. But that didn’t deter us from spending almost a whole day at the mall, walking, shopping and carrying the many bags that crooked our necks and shoulders. Sometimes a girl has to sacrifice to get some power shopping done.

Sleeping had become a lost luxury as we hit the sheets long after midnight and found ourselves waking at 5am, lucky if it was 7am. Neither of us are drinkers but I decided one night at dinner that we should have a martini…..just because. They were so yummy that we had another. I will only say that these were VEGAS SIZED drinks.DSC01878

As we happily jaunted over to the casino after our late dinner, I decided that I should have just one more martini. I felt fine….real fine. A few hours later, after my nightly donation to the slot machines, I decided to call it a night and left Cindy, who never seemed to have a problem lasting hours on twenty dollars at a machine, where my twenties lasted about three minutes.

I walked the long, what seemed like half mile walk back to our room, seemingly fine and glad I was numb to the pain in my high heeled feet. I got into the room….and suddenly it hit me. Boom! The room started spinning and I instantly passed out flat, half on Cindy’s bed and the rest of me hanging off the chaise at the end of the bed. This scene was not unlike a Roadrunner cartoon when something hits him and he lays flattened.

When Cindy finally came up and saw me posed, sprawled out like a rag doll, fully clothed, she got concerned. She shook me and I raised my head in a spinning stupor and somehow managed to make a run for the porcelain. It was a rough night for me and an even rougher, next, long day. That was the beginning and end of my drinking binge.

Yup, three drinks and I was down for the count. Note to myself……I am not twenty-five anymore. Well we laughed a lot about it after and I was grateful she didn’t have her ever trusty camera on hand to catch that Kodak moment.

Alas, our time in Vegas was coming to an end. It was time to pack and get creative about fitting our new purchases in our bags and not being overweight in luggage fees. Happily I got my bag weighed in at only one pound under the fifty pound allowance…….yes, I know it was only four days!

It was time to wheel our luggage, bags and purses through the long, long corridor to the elevators then through the half mile long casino to the front lobby to our awaiting limo to go to the airport to catch our delayed flight back to Toronto. It was beautiful weather, hot in the mid seventies. Of course it was, we were leaving.

We got on the plane finally and found that there was no cabin space for my overstuffed heavy carryon bag.  When I spotted an available spot two rows down from us I tried with all my might to lift that bag in the air into that cabin to no avail. Finally a kind man in row 8 (who I later named him Row 8), offered assistance and got it up for me.  After Cindy and I sat down in our tiny crawlspace and I turned back to the helpful man and said, “Hi man in row 8, would you please be kind enough to get my bag back down when we land?” He kindly offered to do so and Cindy and I laughed and reminisced over the days we just spent together and some of the characters we met along the way, then we happily ate our left over dinners from Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant the night before.

Cindy and I share the same passion for Vegas.  We have both been there many, many times and we often reminisce together about ‘the old’ days of Vegas, when Vegas was Vegas.  As we took off in flight and rose over the beautiful Sierra mountains and the Grand Canyon, we chatted about the next time we will be back there. When we landed “Man in Row 8” kindly took my bag down and handed it to me.  As we walked on the long, long walk to customs with our bags in tow we approached the escalator down which was broken. With my purse weighing at least twenty pounds and my carryon not far from thirty-five pounds, I could barely make it down the escalator when lo and behold behind me approached, Man in Row 8. He once again kindly offered to tote my bag down the non functioning escalator. As we sailed through customs and got our bags we were on our way back home. Note to myself…..Upgrade seats to Florida for winter vacation!

DGKaye©2013