“I just love digging my car out of the snow!” said no one ever. Especially not me, even though I am willingly enduring my second winter in this lovely place called New York City. The snow, however, is for the birds – oh wait, even the birds fly south for the winter. So yea, no surprise that as this wintry season nears its end, I skipped town for a couple of days. Grabbed some girlfriends and slipped away to sunny Miami for a little R&R, girl chat, and all around beachyness (yes, I made that up – fight me). Continue reading “South Beach, Miami & Jazz in the Gardens”
It’s one of your worst fears… you’re out to eat with a table of folks (in this case, folks I just met a few hours avo when we left the ship for this paddleboard and snorkeling excursion), and your card declines.
You nervously smile, furl your eyebrows, laugh and say “whaaaat? Run it again…” only to sideeye the Mexican tableside card machine as it tries and tries and once again glows declined. What in thee everloving pesos is going on here??
When I think of cruises, generally ports like Miami are what come to mind. Flying to Miami, enjoying the beaches and nightlife, and then hopping on a ship. New Orleans? Not so much. So when I found out that this year I’d be cruising from the New Orleans port, I was like whaatt?? To be honest, I didn’t even realize New Orleans had a port. When I think of New Orleans, I think of Essence Music Fest, Cafe Du Monde, and Bourbon street… and not necessarily in that order. Cruises, though? Never. But what an amazing port of call, especially for foodies…
Oh, Montego Bay, how do I love thee…
First of all, let me say I’ve been to Jamaica several times before but this visit was pretty top shelf. Not only did I wake up to the beautiful water and clear skies of the port in Montego Bay out my balcony door,
we had arranged a lovely excursion to Secrets Montego Bay only about a five minute drive by motor coach. (Sidebar – I usually don’t purchase excursions from the ship, but this one proved to worth it’s weight in jerk chicken.)
We were to meet at the dock by 9:30am to be whisked away to Secrets Montego Bay all-inclusive, adults-only resort. Two of my favorite hyphenated words, mind you… Anyway, after a quick intro from our tour guide and a painless air-conditioned ride thru the scenic Montego streets, we arrived at the tree-lined oasis.
I had already read online that the resort consisted of two sister properties, Secrets Wild Orchard and Secrets St. James, but I wasn’t sure as cruise guests if we would have the run of both – we did. From what I could tell, they were equally beautiful and while the beaches weren’t as long as expansive as say the well-known 7 Mile Beach in Grand Cayman, it was plenty enough for us.
Before heading to the oceanfront, shaded beach loungers, we stopped at their World Cafe restaurant for a buffet style breakfast complete with friendly waitstaff and never-ending mimosas. The omelets were delicious, the festival were crunchy, and the escovite fish with veggies was amazing – an absolute must-do if you visit the resort.
With a quick pass by the circle bar (you should always greet your local bartenders with a smile!), we had feet in the sand in no time.
A few highlights from the day? The jerk chicken cart man! We were told ahead of time that around noon, the cart man would roll through the resort waffling his jerky goodness and we stayed on the lookout. He did not disappoint.
And not to be outdone was Dywane, the chocolate-y, heavy-handed, server/bartender I met as I was strolling the resort checking out the amenities. He later found us at our lounger and kept the glasses coming. The Bob Marley and the 7 Liquor “Butt” Kicker were of special note… though I would definitely suggest the buddy system getting back to the ship!
But seriously, if you’re looking for a new travel destination – definitely consider Montego Bay in you travel list! I’m sure you’ll make memories for a lifetime.
Have you ever been to Jamaica? What was your favorite spot? I’d love to hear about it! See you stateside…
8/30 the barrel of a gun: Brazil, day 2
So this is what it’s like to look down the barrel of a gun
I kinda always wondered how that felt
(but not really)
They say your whole life flashes before your eyes
(but not really)
More so just what’s more important:
the contents of your bag or the contents of your life
(It’s probably not even loaded)
But really can’t afford to take that chance
“Da-me sua bolsa.”
Amazing how I understand that ever so fluently:
(That cell phone is really gonna hurt)
“Não, seu telefone também…”
Did I say that out loud? Must’ve, he heard me…
But… I’m still here.
So this is what it feels like to look down the barrel of a gun
I’ve always kinda wondered how that felt
(But not really).
Yes, it’s true. Secret’s out. This frequent flier of the clear blue (but oftentimes turbulent) skies has a deep-seated, text your loved ones goodbye, pray ten times before takeoff and seven more times in the air fear: flying. From DC to Brazil to California to Rome, each and every flight in my lifetime has caused me a guaranteed and certain anxiety. Early morning, late night, well planned out, or last minute – it doesn’t even matter. If I’m going up, so is my heart rate.
Even as I write this now, I’m nervously shifting in my 22A window seat (cue Eryka Badu) pondering my life and hoping that I’ve made Him proud. Cause what else do you ponder at this insane altitude watching the lights flicker on the earth below somewhere between Texas and Baltimore? I tried to go to sleep, as I almost always attempt to do before takeoff, but like so many times before – I’ve failed. So now I’m up, my Beats by Dre pumping NeoSoul into my eardrums, doing their best to drown out the turbulence and my own overactive imagination. They are failing as well.
The question, though, is why do I put myself through this anguish? I mean right now the ride is relatively smooth and I feel like I am in no immediate danger. But there have been flights where I have cried real tears and where the poor soul next to me has grabbed my hand to reassure me that we would live. (Yes, he really did – I must have looked as terrified as I was.) So why, again, do I do this to myself of my own free will every chance I get? It’s simple:
Because what I really want is on the other side of fear.
And isn’t that so often the case? Think about it. What would you do in this very moment if you weren’t afraid to do it? Where would you go? Who would you talk to? What would you say? Who would you become?
And I’m not referring to the healthy fear, the one that protects us and guides us to make wise decisions. That fear of being run over that keeps a lone child from crossing a busy street. That fear is helpful. That fear can save lives. But what about that other fear. That negative fear that causes us to not go for that promotion or opportunity, to not approach that person we’ve been eyeing from afar, to not say I’m sorry, or that I love you first. That kind of fear is stifling, debilitating. That’s the kind of fear that would’ve kept me from seeing the castles in Portugal, from swimming with the sting rays in the Cayman Islands. I may have never gotten the chance to freeze my tail off in Paris or scare myself silly in London’s museum of wax. Yes I had to nervously board a plane to attain all of these experiences, but I felt the fear and then did it anyway.
What fear are you feeling at this very moment? (Mine is that the captain just announced our descent.) But what about you? Is there something you’d like to do/say/be but an unhealthy fear is getting in the way? Why not re-evaluate and then make it happen. As I wrote in a previous post, arrange and rearrange. People often say that life is too short to be unhappy. I say life is too long. Some people go 30, 40, 50+ years carrying shoulda’ woulda’ coulda’s that tear them up inside. That’s too long. Too long to be sad. Too long to be unhappy. Too long to be afraid. My aim is to live a determined life; to set fearless goals, and then work fiercely to attain them: spiritual, physical, and otherwise. And as I prepare to utter my next “oh Lord, please let this plane land safely cause I don’t wanna die” prayer, I sincerely urge you to do the same. (Not the prayer part, just the goals part… though prayer never hurts. But that’s for another blog post :))
So I’m under my cabana at St. Pete Beach, Florida soaking up the last few rays of sunshine before I have to leave for the airport. I’ve been wanting to make time to set up this blog for the past two weeks – and I choose the last 10 minutes before I have to leave to actually create it. Figures.
I’ll write more about my trip and why I’ve (re)started a blog and how awesome it feels to finally have a new place to write (and publish) the randomness going on in my head at all times. But for now… let me just leave a peace of the beach here, while I bundle my things and make haste for that airport. If I miss my flight, I’ll have a lot more to write about than planned…