Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Mexico: Living Life Full Time

Mexico 011 I know how to describe my life. Thanks- Brian and Jessica- I am living life full time. The departure date arrived for Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, and at 4:30 a.m. on Thursday morning, I was ready to go! Adelia arrived, and we headed to the airport for a 7:00 a.m. flight. We know how to do breakfast: Rosie’s cinnamon rolls and my hot sausage balls.Fast pass in Memphis is awesome!
Checking luggage and going through security was easy. When we arrived at the terminal, I met Brian and Jessica at the airport.  We had great flights, and they were all on schedule. When we arrived, a big bus provided by World Ventures took us to the Marival Resort and Suites in Nuevo Vallarta.
http://www.marival.com/

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When we pulled in to the area, you could not really tell how beautiful it was going to be. This was the view from our room. Our rooms were very nice, and we had everything we needed. A welcome tequila with salt and lime was waiting on us.Mexico 007Mexico 001

 

There were several free excursions offered by World Ventures, and many other excursions that you could book yourself if you wanted to pay the hotel:
http://www.marival.com/ToDo/

 

We chose the city tour and the first stop was a small zoo at an intersection in town then to the tequila distillery.

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The guide did an amazing job explaining the process, showing us the process, and pouring shots.

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Agave

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He gave each of us the opportunity to say “mucho” or “pequeno”- I think that is what the words were. These people are marketing geniuses. You get shots and then you must make a decision if you want to purchase any tequilas to bring home. You are allowed to bring home three bottles of liquor.   Mexico 053

After this stop, we then visited a home where wood carving was the occupation of the family. In Mexico if you cut a tree then you must replace with several trees in its place. This is where we had lunch. After tequila the thing to eat is a spicy burrito- not really!  Mexico 062

The tour guide Santa was very knowledgeable, and she shared with us the history of her people (This is how she referred to her ancestors). The tour took us by a school and then we visited a church.

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Air conditioning is still a luxury in Mexico. Most schools have fans now, but some schools do not. The last stop was the beautiful small town of Bucerias.   http://www.bestofbucerias.com/page_about_bucerias_mexico_1

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I immediately loved the restaurants on the harbor and the small flea market.

At the all-inclusive resort, you were allowed to make reservations in two of the specialty restaurants on the ground. We chose the Italian and the Mexican restaurant. The breakfast was also really good.

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There was a chart with the name of drinks and what ingredient was included in each behind the outside bartenders that would show what was in each drink. This helped to conquer any language barrier.

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Each night we would gather in the open area and have a drink and visit. I met so many nice people.

Jodie and Aaron My first Australian friends.

Jodie and Aaron
My first Australian friends.

One night we went to see the resorts’ version of a tribute to Michael Jackson.  We enjoyed Karaoke another night, and it was interesting to hear one song in Spanish and then the next song in English.  Mexico 113

There were peddlers that visited you on the beach. They were not pushy or rude, but they would ask you if you wanted to look at anything or needed anything. Some were very talented salespeople. Before I left, I had silver earrings, silver ring, a dress, two sarongs, tequila from the tour and pure vanilla extract. I also made purchases at the airport from the Pharmacia.  While on your way to the plane, you can do some shopping!

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The college championship game was being played the night we were flying home. We watched some of the game at Buffalo Wild Wings in Houston airport with Brian and Jessica, but then it was time to board the plane. The airline attendant would share the score when she could find it. Adelia and I are both SEC football girls.

It was a body shock to walk outside when we arrived in Memphis. The weather in Mexico was perfect. Daily average of 75-80 and 60 daily average low. Some of the hotel staff had on coats! This is winter to them. I will return to Puerto Vallarta!Mexico 021

We were late arriving home, but it was a wonderful Dream trip!

http://www.puertovallarta.net/what_to_do/bucerias-nayarit.php

Travel UnorganiZation

images (1)Travel unorganization makes me crazy in all aspects of my life, but it really stresses me out when it involves travel. It is a part of my control problem- I know that but I want to control the time and make it flow as smooth as possible. Does this suck some of the fun away? Well maybe… and one day I am going to get in the car and just drive with no itinerary, no printed directions, no reservations and no list of coffee shops along the way… one day, but until then this is a list that will help you plan your next trip.

  1. Destination: To make this decision you need to know yourself. Think back to the best vacation that you have ever had. Where did you go? What did you do?

You cannot duplicate an experience which is why I strive to live in the moment, but a destination that you know you will love is not a bad choice. I try to go some places I have been before, but then I try to visit at least one place a year that I have never been before.What is the length of time you can spend on this holiday? This is an important question.

  1. Money: How much money can I spend on this trip? Set an amount and figure out if it is feasible. Miscellaneous costs such as will always be added. Tips, etc.
  1. Transportation- Will I fly? What is the price of the ticket? Will I drive? How many tanks of gas will the trip require?

If I fly, will I need to rent a car? Will a taxi be needed from the airport to hotel and back to airport? Always consider how much driving you will do when you get there. Will I cruise? If so, you can eliminate some cost such as renting a car.images (2)

  1. Accommodations: This requires some major research. Check the prices of all hotels, bed and breakfasts, and look at my favorite place: Airbnb.com. Some have had success at VRBO.

If you book a hotel, the hotel will hold your debit card and it may take a few days for the charges to be correct. I recommend using a credit card for travel. The credit card companies are easier to deal with when you have lost a card and charges are made to your card by the stolen party.

  1. Food: Budget for three meals a day and how much money you plan to spend on each. Alcohol should also be figured in if you drink and also late night snacks. If it is an all-inclusive hotel or a cruise, then figure in the tip for all service providers.
  1. Entertainment: How will you entertain yourself while you are away? One of the reasons the beach is a cheaper favorite destination for me is that I can go to the beach for most of the day and be entertained. It was a life saver when my girls were small, and the budget was very tight. (My sweet girls thought the beach was the only option for vacation for several years.)images (3)

If you book a hotel, the hotel will hold your debit card and it may take a few days for the charges to be correct. I recommend using a credit card for travel. The credit card companies are easier to deal with when you lose a card and charges are made to your card by the stolen party.

This will help you get started with successful planning an organized trip.

What should I pack? What else do I need to know before my departure? Tune in tomorrow…72a26e11ffae2f4732e28d16c484124f

Boulder, Colorado- Day #2 and 3

June and July 2015 195Boulder, Colorado- Type A Retreat -Day #2 started out with grading and enjoying my great breakfast of egg whites, fresh bread with organic blackberry jelly, an avocado and straw berries. My head was also hurting! I do not adjust well to altitude changes. This would always happen when I visited the West. The headache left around lunch yesterday, and I will be good for the rest of the trip.  I need to use saline nose drops to ward off nose bleeds from the dry heat, but that is the only concessions needed.

I finally got a shower and realized again that I did not bring a blow dryer. I have been in hotels so much that I forgot I was staying in someone’s home. I thought about buying one, but I have three at home, so no, it is what it is.

My destination was Pearl Street for the art festival. I finally made it there after a long walk. I stopped along the way and ate lunch. There are many places here like Neon Pig and KOK in Tupelo, MS,

Pearl Street Mall is unique. There were arts and craft booths everywhere.June and July 2015 199 It started to rain and there was a stairwell that was the perfect place for shelter, so many of us gathered at the stairwell. There was one young man from KY and his dog that was waiting on his friends to exit the marijuana shop. He explained the process to me. FYI- People from the South no matter where they are will talk to you!  He said you go in and show your ID then you wait. There are only so many allowed in at a time. When it is your turn, you will go in and be assisted by the clerks who are very knowledgeable. Your purchase is put in a bag with the receipt attached. The receipt should not be taken off for any reason until you get home. It reminded me of the open container laws in MS. Take it home is basically what the rule implies. As we were talking an older gentlemen walked out with this purchase, he did not obey the law and opened his chocolate chip cookies up and started munching. He said one is good… two you better be home.  The KY guy and I were speechless. The rain slowed down and I exited the stairwell. I made it about a fourth of a block, and the rain set in again. I found shelter under an awning with two girls from Austin, TX. They were also talkers and were glad to be here from the heat of TX.June and July 2015 202

I picked up a map at the visitors center
on Pearl Street, and you would think that would help but not me……. I left Pearl Street and went the wrong way, so I got my phone out and put it 1307 Arapahoe Street. I walked and walked and walked then when I got by Boulder High School it dawned on me that I live for the week at 3107 Arapahoe Street…. Really! I walked for five hours total from when I left the condo! I came back to my home and regrouped and then I realized I was really hungry. I walked downstairs to the Bistro, and I had the most amazing pizza. Fire brick oven and thin crust… Wonderful! The manager was from AL, and he talked also! He has been here for five years and has no plans to ever return to the heat of the South.June and July 2015 211

When I got up this morning, I felt it.  My foot was hurting a little bit at times. I thought my feet would be sore, but I did not expect a big blister on the bottom of my right foot. My friend, Teresa, recommended Calendula ointment; I also purchased Jasmine oil which smells so good.  I went to find that later in the day and stopped by Flat Iron Coffee, and I met a former elementary teacher who is tutoring twenty-five students and plans to open a charter school. He was young and enthusiastic and so nice. He was from NY, but he was friendly also!June and July 2015 205

Today was a day of grading and very little movement except to go to Sprouts which I love  to get foot meds and get some rest. I also finished a no brain waves flowing book that was enjoyable.June and July 2015 194

I also passed a shop that specializes in kids hair cuts. Kaden would love this place. June and July 2015 214Tomorrow bicycle rental on Pearl Street which I think will be easier on my foot and fun in the sun!June and July 2015 183

The sunsets here are beautiful. It is so good for the soul to be in a different environment and totally alone. The street flowers are beautiful.These are the shoes that hurt the feet. They were good for the first four hours! June and July 2015 208June and July 2015 193

Boulder, Colorado: Type A Retreat #1

The Boulder, Colorado- Type A Retreat began this morning.  I am sitting on a bench waiting on Green Pass to arrive eating cheese, bread, walnuts, and grapes.  I did not agree to the no carb week with my fitness girls, but because of my fit camp, I am breezing through the long airport walks with my excessive luggage.  It is hot in Denver!

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My last real solo get away ended in August when I returned from Costa Rica. I realized the days were passing, the stress was mounting, and the hamster wheel was moving faster with no slow down button visible.  If you wait on someone to go with you then you may never go! Do not wait: Go by yourself.

I did not retire to work so much, but that is where I am comfortable because of the “type A high energy control” factor that I struggle with every day. I also love Kate Spade purses.

I did what I always do before a trip. I push my body way past the healthy limit with very little sleep and marking off the freaking to do list.  I was trying to get caught up with classes and make sure the binders are ready for Indiana.   It also just happened to be my color the gray week and the Botox week. I left for the airport at 5:30 a.m.

How did I decide on Boulder?  Not sure- but I wanted to go somewhere west that was affordable with no driving that I had never been before and the Denver airport and I are very well acquainted. If driving was accessible then I would try to tour the west in five days and return home physically and emotionally shot.

I found a great loft apartment in downtown Boulder using Airbnb.com.  This is my second great experience with Airbnb. I did look at apartments in Italy, but the plane fare was $2,000.00, so I decided to put that on hold for a little while.June and July 2015 181

June and July 2015 179Green Pass Shuttle was an awesome way to travel from the airport to Boulder. They pick you up at the airport and drop you off at the address on your reservation.

When I arrived this very sweet couple, Jason and Bella, greeted me and showed me the loft, and they were very kind and hospitable. He was from Texas, so the conversation went to his love of fried catfish.  Jason and Bella are members of the Planet Mish Mash Band. Check out their videos: “Green Light” is my favorite. http://www.planetmishmash.com/videos/

The loft is so perfect. It is homey and small and so not cluttered up with unnecessary stuff. I have been inspired again to declutter, and I have a clearer vision of what to do as far as furniture and things for my house.  I loved the foyer and sitting area of this building.June and July 2015 186

June and July 2015 184After unpacking, I made the long walk to Whole Foods and to the wine store. Using the app on my phone to the closest grocery store did not cross my mind. The contents of the fridge clearly shows the man who lives here when he is in this country has a very healthy diet. I think most people that live in Boulder do.June and July 2015 174

June and July 2015 175I stayed in tonight to rest up for Saturday with awesome food and wine and this view. The temperature is in the low 60’s. It is wonderful. I am glad I brought a sweatshirt.  June and July 2015 183

Thank you Lori for your encouragement and the positive light that you shed on my life! You are always encouraging me to go, to do, and to be thankful for my blessed life.

Cruise Again- Anyone?

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I would Cruise Again! Cruising is fun! No sea sickness at all but a little cotton mouth from the patch. I think it was a very calm cruise which I am sure helped with this. I also slept well except for one night when the bed was doing a little moving.  We had a room that did not have a window, and two ex-teachers accustomed to getting up early were able to sleep late. The schedule was always flexible.

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The food was great: the chocolate dessert was my favorite. The best hamburger was found on this cruise thanks to the “fixings” bar with bacon bits and mushrooms.  The atmosphere was so relaxed. What is there to fret about if you have three meals and a wonderful steward who cleaned your room and brought you breakfast if you put the card out before midnight. All you had to do was circle what you wanted.  We ordered a light breakfast—you know to tide us over until we could go to the real breakfast. Waking up to a knock on the door and then fresh coffee being placed on the counter was a treat!  The last morning we went to the formal breakfast. I would do that every morning on the next cruise. I felt like royalty.

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We had an 8:15 dinner time and after the first night, we found delightful companions to spend our dinner time with each night.  Paige Copeland and Daniel Heidrick – thanks for welcoming us to your table. The menu was enticing every night.Cruise -Jan. 14 046

One night after dinner, we enjoyed two comedians, and there was also a casino on board, a piano bar and several other places to relax.

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When we arrived in Progreso, we walked off the boat and went to the first establishment that had food, cold Coronas and the most important thing– high speed internet. We both needed to work on our online classes and communicate with the world. Adelia got a $20.00 amazing massage, and we enjoyed the three for five Coronas.

I bought a cute blue beach dress and Retina A. The dress was $25.00, and it was $20.00 for two tubes of Retina A. Bargains! The place where I bought the Retina A was named Drugs and Deli which made me laugh.  I guess the contents of the store were not that different from the old drug stores like Brent’s Drugs in the movie The Help. You could buy several different types of antibiotics, Flexeril and Ultram just to name a few. I was afraid to purchase anything like that because I thought this might not make it through Customs.   I knew Customs would not care about my wrinkle helping cream.

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Alcohol was also cheaper, but travelers must pay a tax to bring home alcohol, and carrying the alcohol safely home without breaking it would have been a hassle for me. Not worth it! While walking through Customs, potential customers were given free Tequila shots to promote the product. Beautiful and reasonably priced gold and silver jewelry was abundant. I wish I had purchased some jewelry. Adelia told me to buy souvenirs in Progreso because they were cheaper. She was correct! Some people were told to wait until they were in port in Cozumel. My cruise expert knew where was best to shop.Cruise -Jan. 14 032

Our next stop was Cozumel. We found the Three Amigos restaurant after we departed. Good food, great view and high speed wireless internet – a winning trio of offerings. After we finished working and returned our laptops to our room, we began the search for a free beach.  After taking directions from several people and walking a long way, we faced the fact that there are no free beaches in Cozumel. At this time it was around lunch, and we had to board at 3:00, so paying $40.00 for beach privileges was not a wise investment.  Adelia got another massage and then we shopped and boarded the ship.

The next day we were at sea all day, and we enjoyed the pool. There was always something going on at the pool: Hairy Chest Contest, ice sculptures, music, etc.

The day of departure there is choice of whether to put your luggage out or carry it yourself. We carried our luggage and that made it easier to depart quickly.

We rode a bus back to the airport for our 4:00 flight. Our new friend Jennifer ate lunch with us before boarding her plane back to Oklahoma. Jennifer is a house mother for a fraternity and a director at Upward Bound. She is an amazing young lady that I hope to see again soon. Adelia is a great travel companion, and I am thankful that she invited me to accompany her on this trip!

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I would cruise again, but I will always hope and pray for calm waters before each voyage!

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First Cruise: Face Your Fears

Cruise - NassauCreative Commons License faungg’s photo via Compfight

My first Carnival cruise will be taking place soon. There are several reasons that I am a virgin cruiser: job and fear of being seasick again. The most important reason is because of my jobs. For the last eight years, I have needed internet access 24/7, but for the next ten weeks, I do not need internet access for every waking moment.

Another reason was my deep sea fishing experience twenty years ago and my para sailing adventure. There are some experiences that you never forget. Daddy thought it would be a great idea for me to go deep sea fishing with the boys, so I did. We arose at 6:00 that morning, and we hit Waffle House with a vengeance. After fried everything, we boarded the boat.

At first it was fun, I actually caught the first fish. It was a small thing, but I was quite pleased then the nausea began. After about thirty minutes, I was hanging over the side of the boat. It is safe to say that I did not want to eat at Waffle House or crave eggs and bacon for a long time.

Finally, I was able to go down in the gallows to lie down. I went to sleep and I woke up feeling better. I walked up to the steps and then I saw myself. I was literally green from the neck up –not a bright green but a pale thick green.   Then I followed Daddy’s advice and ate a few crackers and drank some soda. BIG MISTAKE! I was back hanging over the side of the boat again.

When the trip was coming to a close and we were heading in to the marina, as soon as I saw a land form and focused only on looking at the land, I immediately started feeling better.

Parasailing @ SaipanCreative Commons License

Hajime NAKANO via Compfight

The para-sailing adventure was not as traumatic as the fishing experience, but as the boat was hitting the waves, and I was going up and down in the sky like a yo-yo, I started to feel that same sick feeling as if someone is taking your stomach and throwing it around like a Frisbee.

I have decided to tackle my fear of seasickness and arm myself with a patch, Dramamine, and Phenergan. Hopefully the patch will be all I need, but just in case, I will have the other two meds to make me feel better.

I am going cruising, and I am totally clueless about what is allowed and what time you do everything, but Adelia is a seasoned veteran, and she will direct me and assist me. We travel well together, so I am ready for the adventure to begin later in the month. I will share my trip with my friends.

 Restaurant Recommendations from Recent Adventures

New Year’s Trip to Destin
790 on the Gulf Restaurant was amazing!
http://www.eatmoregumbo.com/
http://www.eatmoregumbo.com/sunday_brunch

View from the inside of 790 on the Gulf

View from the inside of 790 on the Gulf

 

View from the outside

View from the outside

 

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http://www.synergyorganiccafefwb.com/

Synergy is an all organic cafe and juice bar that focuses on using real whole foods from our local and regional farmers. The Cafe is owned by longtime Locals Amy Likins and Christian Echele who have been making wonderful healthy food on the Emerald Coast together for 13 years. Amy has a degree in Holistic Nutrition and Christian is a classically trained chef- combined they make an amazing team to bring you the freshest, best taking and good for you combinations- you will be eating healthier and loving it before you know it!

At Synergy we strive to help others find a path to health and well being by bringing about a greater sense of awareness and wholeness to all that we do. We believe the secret to a life of health and well-being is found in taking a Synergistic or Holistic approach to life with a healthy Organic Whole Foods based diet, daily exercise, and a positive mental and emotional constitution. Come have a seat at the bar and watch as our amazingly talented team create fresh masterpieces right in front of you. Every time you come into the cafe is an opportunity to learn how to make positive healthy choices for yourself and your families’ diet and lifestyle. (copied from the public website)

JB’s
Holly Springs, MS, on the square
Great service! The salmon and sweet baked potato were amazing. There was also a great salad bar with spinach—thank you!
http://jbsfamily.com/

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Chase your dreams….they will not chase you!

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