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Published: January 27th 2018
"Life is short. Smile while you still have teeth."~
Buenos dias, (Spanish) good morning (English), bonjour, (French) guten morgen (German), zǎoān (Chinese), Kaliméra (Greek), Buongiorno (Italian). Dzień dobry (Polish). See if you hang around with me you will learn things such as how to say good morning in other languages! (PS I apologize if you got this twice. Apparently some of you tried to read it and page was missing so I had to re-publish. 😞 Thanks for telling me Linda! SABATO (SATURDAY) JAN. 27TH
I'm sitting in bed typing with the sliding doors to the balcony open listening to the waves say good morning to me. Good morning little waves. It was a humid night, but windy, and then it started to rain heavy around 5 am, with the rain tap-dancing across the windows. I love the sound of a night rain on the ocean. I looked out and the palm trees were bent over and the ocean looked angry. As morning broke, the rain died off and the clouds are now big puffy pillows of blue and white, slowly meandering off into the distance.
It's been a week of pure bliss since I last harassed
you with one of my blogs. We settled into our new digs quite nicely, and also settled into a nice routine. Mom is up around 7 am and gets the coffee perking. She'll open up the sliding doors to the ocean, and then she inspects this big plant out on our balcony. We've started to call her the 'plant doctor'. Nothing bugs Mom more than a dying plant. To me the plant is fine because a) it looks green and b) it looks green. The condo manager (Edith) says the housekeepers forget to water it, and it's under a ledge so its tongue isn't long enough to reach the rain when it falls. Mom took it upon herself to trim it back, water it, and remove some of the whatcha-ma-call-its, and replant them in a bottle of water and next thing you know its growing roots and little red flowers are budding. She's so proud about this plant. I pray to god they keep this plant going or on the next trip the housekeeper may be thrown over the balcony! 😊
I started some of my interior decorating, and am very happy with the results. I'd never stepped foot
in this particular condo before, so I took my chance buying the items based only on the photos. I did email photos of my purchases and the owner was tickled pink. It was interesting to get up on the ladder to put the decor above the kitchen cupboards while receiving directions from Mom and Martha. There I am dangling off the ladder with glass items and trying to place them with both Mom and Marth directing me. "No put it there. Um so now move it more to the left, up higher. Oh now move it in further. No closer." Happy to report there were no broken bones from falling off a ladder.
This trip I'm also concentrating on working closer with more local businesses for the benefit/convenience of our guests who stay at my company's properties. My favorite restaurant (out of 800 of them in the area) has given me a loyalty card which offers 20% off each visit. That's no small change when you are a group. The service is unbelievable, and the food is excellent, and the price is fair. So I approached the owners about having them design menus we can put in our guests
information books in each of our properties. Further, I mentioned if you want to get a leg up, offer them a small discount when they mention my company's name. I have done a blog on this restaurant, and as of yesterday they posted it to their website. So anyone reading that blog on their website has a direct connection to book one of our properties. It's called 'you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours.' And while you are at it, give me a margarita on the house. I really don't drink many margaritas honestly! Hiccup.
So then I took it one step further. I made a fabulous connection a year and a half ago with the Guest Manager of the Fairmont Mayakoba when Jar of Mustard (my nickname for my friend Martha) and I visited there for a few days. Remember that blog? Marth and I were like two pigs in you-know-what going there. I do not like resorts, but I researched this place and stalked it on the web till I found the perfect deal. It was like I died (but didn't) and went to Heaven but Heaven was this resort. Martha and I went around grinning
like a couple of donkeys for three days. I think we covered the 100s of acres this resort occupies. I was on the bikes, I was taking the guided bird tour via electric boats, I was soaking in the marble tub, I was eating and drinking like Henry the 8th, and I swam in every pool, and got to know every server, bartender, housekeeper. I sniffed every flower, smelled and savored every dessert, took pictures of every piece of art, studied the architectural design of the buildings, flipped through the guide books, sought after the wildlife (monkeys, turtles, birds, fish etc) and totally immersed every one of my senses into this excursion. I loved every single minute of this paradise in the jungle and ocean which was so well-thought out and eco-sound and eco-friendly that it is truly hard to believe. And none of the guests got on my nerves. No arrogant, drunk, obnoxious, loud gringos. But I digress.
So I met this guest manager when she sent this most amazing chocolate cake, with my name written in chocolate (ooh la la), with a note from her wishing me happy birthday. Then they made a heart with rose petals
on the bed. How romantic except I was with Jar of Mustard 🙄 (I copied and pasted an eye rolling emoji...hope it works). I emailed a thank you to her, and then we ended up meeting for a drink, and kept in touch thereafter. We were invited this past summer with the family to see the resort. Very nice of her. She's now left to be guest manager at the new and much-hyped Hotel Xcaret, built around lagoons, cenotes and the ocean and jungle. She is the Senior Guest Manager overseeing the guests and this hotel is huge - 900 rooms. Gulp. About 800 too many rooms for my liking. Too many freaking people for my liking as well). This place is impressive and owned by the same folks who own Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xplor, Xenses and so forth. This place boasts 11 pools, 10 restaurants, 8 bars, and includes your entrance to the above parks (which in itself are costly), and they arrange personalized airport pick up, and free shuttles to the amazing parks. She's a great gal and has accomplished a lot and she's got a big career ahead of her. I like her style and I hope to
work closely with her as per below.
Anyhow, we met for dinner last night, and I took her to my fave restaurant. The staff was prepared for us, and offered us very attentive service as they knew who she was. So my one step further was to approach her about having the concierge (or herself) include this restaurant as one of their recommended restaurants to try in Playa for those that go off the resort for a night. It's a bit of a complicated issue for a hotel to do this since if their referral goes in the tank (i.e. if guests have a bad experience then it reflects poorly on the hotel). I told her that I had asked the owner if her previous resorts (the hoity toity Fairmont Mayakoba and Rosewood Mayakoba had vetted them, and they had). That's a big deal.
She really enjoyed her dinner, (she's vegetarian so she didn't get to enjoy the table-side steak or seafood flambe with tequila that is quite the show) but she saw them making the Caesar salad at a guest's table and the guys carrying huge margaritas and beer/wine glasses levels high on their heads. Now that
is impressive even for me who's seen this act countless times. Anyhow, she's going to pursue it, which is really great for the restaurant and may trickle down to my company too. And further, the staff/owners of my fave spot so appreciate what I'm doing and let's just say the freebies on the house don't hurt. I won't turn them down will I? Not a chance. I'm working all the angles I can! Hey if it helps business and helps support my favorite servers then it's benefiting everyone).
In the meantime, Al and I have an open invitation to spend a day at this new resort. Alrighty then, an order of Al and Sal coming right up! I'd love to see it. Everything is an adventure here. I really feel like a local here. They even given me a loyalty card to one of their supermarkets. I'm not sure what it's really for but I hand it over every time. I think it gives me the sale price if you have the card.
Now onto my new favorite salon. I took the gals for a pedicure/manicure at this swanky place on 5th. I got talking to the manager
Mor who hails from Israel but had been living in Toronto manager a high-end salon. She knew the owner of this salon in Playa, (he's from Israel too), and he offered her to come to Playa to now manage this salon. So we talked the whole time I was there, and after our service was over, she offered us all a free eye treatment. So we went to the upstairs of said swanky salon and she applied this serum (that was in a gold fancy bottle) worth I'm sure hundreds of dollars. She applies this serum, lets it dry, then applies another serum which is to reduce fine lines and bags under your eyes. Holy smokes Jar of Mustard looked about 20 again! Mom too! You could feel it tightening the skin. Cool. However, I could buy some duct tape, wrap it ear to ear around Marth's neck and she'd have that pulled-back face all the Hollywood actresses have, all at the cost of next to nothing. (heh heh). Mom went to ask how much the treatment cost and I elbowed her 😊 We are stuck with our bags and fine lines because that kind of money on a facial
product is equal to a flight to Playa. Fuggetaboutit. Anyhow, I'm doing a blog on them too so guess who's getting a $100USD facial next week? If you said Jar of Mustard, you'd be wrong. Little old me.
Next up a fancy schmancy hotel on the beach that has the most amazing rooftop bar. It's only a block from where I'm staying. Turns out the owner lives in a condo 2 over from me. Guess who got an introduction, and guess who's getting 25%!o(MISSING)ff my next visit? Not Jar of Mustard. Well she will if she's with me. It's still too expensive and hoity toity for my liking but I'll go, have a drink/bite, enjoy my discount and mosey back to my piece of paradise. THE DAILY GRIND (NOT!)
So every day has been filled with my gal Ava making us breakfast on the balcony. That girl can make up a plate of banana chocolate pancakes like nobody's business. I have been tipping her quite well. Afterwards I usually do a bit of work, then take a long walk, explore, take pictures, make mental notes of blogs/articles I'll write next for the company, meet new people,
practice my Spanish and enjoy every single minute of this tropical spot.
Yesterday we enjoyed lunch on the beach at this little spot where I met this guy who was my first server many moons ago. He can spot me coming far down the beach and yells, "Hola mi amiga Sally"! I mean that is really nice, but the days I just want to pass by are awkward trying to hide behind tourists! However this day we stopped and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was quiet, we enjoyed some food and drink and Ava and I swung on the bar swings. We sat on the beach with the sun on our faces and wind in our hair listening to music just enjoying every second. Then two masseuses came over and offered us complimentary neck massages. Mom was so relaxed I thought she fell asleep in her nachos! Mom said it was the best neck massage she ever had. So they asked us if we wanted a beach massage (they have gazebos covered over with curtains further back, so Mom was keen. The only thing was they were a lot more expensive than where we usually go. We usually pay $22USD for an hour massage. So I told the masseuse this, and she agreed to the same. (It was originally $50USD). So off Mom goes. Well I'm sure she got an hour and a half of a massage. She said her technique was amazing and I think she got the knot out that had been troubling Ma in her back. Always worth trying something new.
We came back and relaxed on the balcony and I read my new book. This book had me riveted. Enchanted. Spellbound. It's called, In the Midst of Winter
by Isabele Allende. This is a sweeping novel about 3 very very different people (a white university professor in his 70s, his tenant (a female professor from Chili in her 60s) and a young student who are brought together in a mesmerizing story that journeys from present-day Brooklyn NY, to Guatamala in the recent past, and to 1970s Chile. These 3 people's lives collide on the brink of a big snowstorm that hits New York in 2016. It is a dazzling tale of the injustices of civil war and the torture, harassment and mistreatment of the people caught up in it. It explores the plight of immigrants, about love and loss, about betrayals, about life altering mistakes and about love and humanity. I didn't want to read it too fast because I didn't want it to end! I am sure everyone was sick of me saying "OMG this is SUCH a good book"! Run don't walk to your local bookstore to get it.
Overall, this trip has done us all a world of good. Marth has been under some stress caring for elderly parents, and dealing with a full plate at work. Ava is in grade 7 and looks forward to any chance to ditch school. Mom really needed this with all the loss, grief, life altering changes she's been through since last July. We've done a lot of hugging, talking, sharing, laughing, relaxing, walking, eating...you name it, we've done it. OK Mom hasn't drank any tequila yet but watch out, last few days anything is possible. HEH HEH.
I tell you, if it weren't for this job that keeps my brain creative and ticking, and the perks to bring my loved ones here, and the experiences I've had, my life would be very far different. It would still be great because I have a grand hubby, 3 amazing daughters and the best family and friends ever...however this job gets to the real core of me. Along with TravelBlog.org which allows me to keep a journey of my trips, and allows me a creative outlet to put pen to paper. (Or fingers to keyboard). With a Little Sunshine Must Come a Little Rain
The only mishap is me having to see the doctor on Wednesday. Argh. Honest to god, how does a relatively fit and healthy person like me have these fluke things happen?
So backtracking a bit... In 2015 as I have mentioned before, I had a 'spell' when Al and I were going out for lunch. It just felt weird, so I quietly suggested he take me to the Emergency. My blood pressure was very high when I was admitted, which is unusual for me as I have had no history of this, and at the time I was not on one single medication. So off I go to the Emergency Heart Clinic and within seconds my clothes were ripped off and three nurses are hooking me up to this and that, and my blood's being taken and I did not know if I should wind my butt or scratch my watch. Lord god if I hadn't had a heart attack or a stroke before I went in there, I surely thought I was going to have one then. Holy smokes what do they know that I don't?
So they did all these tests to see if I possibly had a TIA (a mini-stroke) due to my symptoms. When they heard my brother Bill died suddenly they immediately whisked me off to have a brain scan. Happy to say they found a very impressive brain 😊 but no blockage or clot. Thank god. It was a rather scary episode I'll tell you. They did blood work; I passed with bells and whistles; no high cholesterol, no funny business at all. Again because of Bill, I was referred to the Heart Institute and a neurologist thereafter. After countless blood work, heart scans, dye tests for my brain, dye test for my heart, an MRI, it was determined I had a hole in my heart. This one development made them feel I possibly did have a mini stroke. Many people have mini blood clots break off and they'd never even know it and be fine. For me, the blood clot could have traveled up through the hole in my heart into the brain causing that momentary stop of flow of blood. (Now these defects are caught in infancy and repaired.)
However, since then and all my exercise, my blood pressure is (as my doctor told me recently) in the athlete's range. So I am not required to be on the meds anymore and I take a baby aspirin every day as an extra precaution. The final diagnosis is it's not conclusive that I had a mini-stroke but they wish to err on the side of caution so I'll be monitored. Lord knows I should be monitored with the shenanigans I get up to, but that's for another story.
I honestly feel as fit as a fiddle (and well played!) I try to maintain my weight, eat right, (gave up my sniffing glue habit 😉 and am constantly drinking water (even if I have a glass of wine I have a water going), and most importantly is the daily exercise. It really is my best medicine. But in the back of my mind the congenital heart defect is an underlying risk that I pay particular attention to. This septal defect it turns out also causes my lungs to work harder and blood pressure to fluctuate. 😞
Bottom line is it's considered too risky to close this heart defect, so it's just a question of being monitored. Sorry this blog turned into an episode of Grey's Anatomy. This public service announcement is sponsored by Doctor Sal. Esquire. (Reminds me of Dad) xo. I tell you all of this because if you ever experience numbness, dizziness, change in vision, trouble with speech, head to the ER.
Anyhow, Weds. morning I got up and I felt off
. Mom asked me "What does off
mean". Just off. Like my heart is fluttering, or palpitating or off its rhythm. I still carry my left-over blood pressure meds in case (my doctor authorized this). I took one (low dose). So I shook it off, and we went for lunch. At lunch it happened a few times in a row. So I calmly told them I had to leave to see a doctor just as their super-duper yummy lava chocolate cake and ice cream was arriving. So Mom was having none of me going alone. We are so very lucky in Playa to have doctors on every corner. Not only that, their pharmacy (which would remind you of Shoppers Drug Mart at home) has an on call Doctor on the second floor who you can see for free. Yes for free. We've been there a few times - once for someone's sunburn (or allergic reaction to using a new sunblock) and once when Marth experienced swelling in her legs after visiting an ancient Mayan ruin in the heat of summer.
So we go see the Doctor and fortunately no-one was in the waiting room. I walked right in. The doctor was so welcoming and spoke perfect English. After explaining everything, the doctor took my b/p and it was only slightly high. He listened extensively to my heart. He detected no arrhythmia. By then I will note half an hour had passed since I felt the fluttering. He checked my feet and legs, and said I possibly had a little bit of swelling but nothing to be concerned about. After that I had my filter and oil changed & everything was clear under the hood 😊
Bottom line it could've just been the heat and being off my usual routine of food and drink. He told me that from what he could determine I was in excellent health (He was very pleased I was a non-smoker and exercised). So I had to come home, drink lots of fluids (And when he said 'fluids' he did not mean margaritas. Hot damn. ;( He suggested I elevate my legs for a few hours as well.
So by yesterday I was as good as new. Or as good as I'm ever going to be. Of course Mom babied me, and Marth yelled every time I sat up. Honestly, what part of "I got a good bill of health do you two not understand"? I love the pants off of you for caring you two dolls! xoxoxo. Oh and he told me ahem, I was very smart to carry my blood pressure meds and to have taken it. Many people suffer from high blood pressure due to the low pressure/humidity here which could've been another factor. So all is well that ends well. What great health service they have here. REVOLVING DOORS
Today is Saturday, and Allan and our friends Sue & Cory arrive tomorrow. Sound the trumpets! Are you excited Sue??? I don't think I have ever bought a friend here that was SO excited as Sue! I guess I should get on with it, and get my things packed up as we are moving to another luxury condo. The premier of the premier, the best of the best. It's the architect/developer's condo so it's as fine as fine can be. I've got to get the groceries stocked in the new place. I am working with my buddy Edith today to oversee having some hammocks we bought yesterday installed in two condos that need them.
As I sit here typing on the balcony, the sun has poked its head out, took a look around and decided to shine in all her glory. The rain has dried up on the balcony, and the wind has taken a swift detour out of town. I think this is going to be another sun-shiny day.
We are off for breakfast on the beach. Fresh orange juice, toes in the sand, and soft breeze on my face. What more could a gal ask for? A non-fluttering heart, and one that beats properly every day would be very nice. That's all I want. And oh, next Christmas all I want is my two front teeth. HEH HEH.
Talk soon! Hope your weather is treating you OK wherever you are. Thanks as always for reading along, and all the nice FB messages, emails and comments. Sal and the Rockettes
(Mom, Jar of Mustard (Martha) and my sweet Ava Bear) See photos attached. 4 out of 5 dentists recommend my blog. (Hey what's up with that 5th dentist?) Read at your own risk - my secretary did not have time to proof read my blogs. Apparently she had a date with a margarita on the beach. Hard to find good help these days. Sigh. (Insert big smiley face). Photos attached. Hope to hear from you my friends...I miss some of you. OK I miss all of you. xo
PS if you never read my big Mayan Adventure blog with Jar of Mustard here it is. Hit next entry if the need hits you to read more of this said adventure! https://www.travelblog.org/North-America/Mexico/Quintana-Roo/Playa-del-Carmen/blog-940148.html
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