Rosebuds and kisses make for sweet adventures

Attitude is the only difference between an ordeal and an adventure. ~Unknown.  Many times on the road as a child with my mother, she would pull off to the nearest convenience store and return with scribbled directions, and a box of Rosebuds:  the difference between being lost and “on an adventure!” We have continued sharing such adventures through the years, one comedy of errors particularly memorable: Nuevo Vallarta, 2013.

In a whirlwind of dramas among friends, Mom and I found ourselves banished from our original accommodations with only days to secure a hotel, and a pesky issue of me on a return flight the day before hers, but with a $450 rescheduling fee, we would make do.

To further challenge my blissful vacation, the morning of departure I awoke to the flu gods mocking me.  Armed with Pepto, prayers, and popsicles, I crawled to the car, and barely survived the flight.  Fortunately, a day and a nap made all the difference and things started to improve.  My determination to enjoy my vacation despite dilemmas found me in the hotel lobby carefully sipping a cosmopolitan planning the week.

It was then I met Alberto; our cute, charming Mexican tour rep, with an amazing, sexy smile.  He asked to take me out on my last night, but when I went secure plans, I had missed him.  Disappointed, I made the best of it at the disco with mom, and Tequila.  When we returned late and found a note on the door, my heart sank; it was from Alberto saying he would pick me up at nine.  I felt awful.

The next morning, after solemnly packing, I tried to find my tanned skin prince, without success.  On route to the lobby, the foot broke off my suitcase turning it into an awkward, unstable mess to drag home; the perfect metaphor for my own emotions.  In the cab, I sniffled, and wiped my tears.  “Why are you crying Senorita?” The driver asked.  I sobbed: “Because I don’t want to leave yet.”  “So, stay!”

Upon arrival at the airport, I limped my wounded baggage through the glass doors, across the polished floor, and bid adios to Mexico.  Like a new kindergartner, I put on my brave face and took a breath; and then it was lost once more.  There, running down the escalator, was the amazing, sexy smile that I thought I’d never see again.  He reached the foyer and swept me in a hug, and a Hollywood worthy, kiss of a lifetime!  For that moment, all was well with the world.

Armed with the strength of a proper goodbye, I presented my documents at the check in counter.  I asked once more about changing my flight, determined to bend reality with persistence.  Agents spoke to each other in Spanish, and something seemed wrong. I was almost sure I was about to be wrongly detained in a Mexican prison -which seemed a fitting end to this flawed fiesta- When the clerk finally explained to me: bad weather in Texas; my connection was cancelled. Shock rolled through my body, and I struggled to stop the grin from erupting as the reality hit me.  “So I’m delayed and it’s your fault!”  I was quickly booked on a flight the following day, and presented with travel vouchers and cab fare for the “inconvenience.”

The sun smiled on the road back; palm trees applauded my victory, the broken suitcase carried itself! As we rolled up to the hotel lobby, I barely waited for the taxi to stop before leaping onto the curb.  There, in the archway stood Alberto – shocked and ecstatic to see me!  The whole story, finding my mom and evening plans unfolded in the next ten minutes, through euphoric smiles and happy hugs.  While dozens frowned in Texas, three beamed in Mexico for one, perfectly cancelled flight.

Any or all of these obstacles could have been a trip disaster, but thanks to attitude, they became the blunders we triumphed over for a uniquely memorable vacation; the places we paused to get our Rosebuds.



*Submitted October 2015- for possible publication to Travellers Tales.


Gratitude Rant Leads to a Story

I’ve been trying REALLY HARD to shift some focus to some more positive things. Mostly because I can find about a million things or people in a day that drive me around the twist, and if I do focus on them… I’ll just get into this huge downward spiral and feel like $hit.  So I put pen to paper and started thinking what do I like… what do I like… what do I like.. what makes me happy…what makes me relaxed?…

Recently I went to Mexico. It’s our third trip to Puerto Vallarta/Nuevo Vallarta and we were fortunate to have some pretty amazing experiences the first time down and made some friends who we have kept in touch with.  One took us on a personalized tour this year… Happy; when I was touring Bucerias, feeling relaxed, learning about the culture, riding around in the dune buggy learning about the beautiful homes that people had built, the gardens, the pools, the furniture that had hand-picked and brought from Guadalajara.  My feet in the ocean, finding sea glass. Sitting in the private pool with a couple of random guys who owned a beach front condo…and joking around about whether or not they were going to “Roofie” me. Making people laugh, the gold flicker in the sand under the water reflecting from the sun. Playing volleyball, instant connections with people I’d never met before.

I’ve always felt that traveling creates this euphoria and sense of possibility.  It’s the bright blue sky, different style music, foreign languages, new people, the vastness of the ocean and the beach…It’s time to relax, without obligation, time to imagine, getting sucked into a good book, combined perhaps with the pretty amazing feat that we can get into an airplane, rise to the sky, and come out not only at this completely different and foreign place- but also- that the rules about “time” change while we’re in the sky and we can move backwards!? Suddenly silly notions and ideas seem possible.

Our first trip was in April of 2013, and we ended up at the hotel we were at with the people we were with, through what we thought at the time was a complete crisis. My mom and I were flying home a day apart because of how the flights worked… It was kind of a mess.  All week, I begged and pleaded, and called the airline every day to try and bump my flight back by a day.  They would do it; for a fee of $450.

To make me feel worse, there was a guy… he was actually our tour rep, and we had started talking midweek and agreed we should meet and go out on “the town.”  On my final night there, I hadn’t heard from him, and I gave up and went to the disco with mom.  When we returned to our room around 3am, there was a note on the door, which had been there all night, saying he would pick me up at 9pm.  I had totally, unintentionally stood him up.  I felt awful. I explained the next day, but he seemed to be in disbelief that it was just an oversight.  I reluctantly packed up my stuff.  I went to say goodbye, and he wasn’t there.

I hopped in the cab and headed for the airport, pretty bummed out and emotional as all week I had been using my affirmations that my flight would change… Something would give… Surely the universe would help me out… And NOTHING…I was stuck with the same flight, leaving mom in Mexico alone…What was with the secret $#it anyway?!   I arrived at the airport, and said goodbye to Mexico. I walked inside and dug out my documents.  As I wheeled my bag across the floor to the check in, there he was: mr tour guide; coming down the stairs.  He hugged me. He told me he wasn’t mad at me.  He also told me that he had taken the company car and might get in trouble…but that he had to say goodbye and make sure I had his number to chat with him when I got home.  It was like being in a movie!  We said goodbye.. I cried like the goofus girl I am.

I got to the counter and gave the agent my passport and tickets.  She said some things in Spanish, then she disappeared.  She came back.  I gently asked “any chance I can go home tomorrow?”  More muttering in spanish.  A Solid half hour went by.  I had no idea what they were doing.  When three agents finally looked up from talking in front of the screen and someone finally explained it to me: there had been bad weather in Texas and my connection had been cancelled.  I couldn’t go home.  Shock came across my face.  They said I would have to take the next flight, which left about 6 hours from then and was flying into San Francisco.  The reality of the situation hit me when I said (trying to hide my smile) “So I’m delayed and it’s YOUR fault?”  Yes.  I shared with them, that actually I had accommodations for one more night if there was a flight going home the following day.  I was booked in on that flight, and “due to the inconvenience” I was given a $200 voucher for future use, and, they paid for my cab back to the hotel- and to return to the airport the next day.  In short, the airline ended up paying me- to do what I had wanted all along.

I hopped back in the cab and could barely contain my excitement when I leapt from the cab and ran to find my mom (and Alberto (MR TourRep! ) to announce I was staying!!!  Thank you Universe, sorry for doubting you!!  And we ALL…. Got to go out on the town!  We went to the Sunshine Bar…where we met Armando and Lucero who are the ones who took us on the tour and have had us back every year.  A little faith… and things can be better than we imagine.