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Published: July 17th 2017
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT (OR DON'T!)
Well, at the last minute Al & I made a run for it. We have gotten the heck out of Dodge as they say - Bonnie & Clyde are on the lam!
Normally this time of year we'd already be in Mexico with the family, enjoying some of my work perks but this year due to my dad experiencing some ill health, I didn't want to commit to plans. However, due to a bit of a turnaround and thanks to my wonderful siblings (as well as a few others) who have stepped up to the plate in an amazing way, we were encouraged to make last minute plans. Thank you all SO much. Ahhhh, back to paradise. Bienvendio!
Unfortunately by the time we made the decision to go, our three kids had made summer plans.😞 😞 One has a new summer job, another has rugby and another is attending summer camps. (Thanks auntie Marth for steering the ship while we are gone. You're the cat's meow and the bee's knees! 😊 So it's just me and the handsome dude next to me on this getaway.)
We are really sorry
the kids couldn't join us, along with Al's parents. It's been a summer tradition to meet up on the sunny shores of the Riviera Maya. As we know life doesn't always work out the way we plan it. Or as the quote goes, "If you want to hear God laugh, tell him about your plans". (Maybe Ray and Pat will come back to Ottawa and visit us again this year. It was a fantastic visit).
We booked last minute but had to do what I hate to do - take connecting flights through the US instead of Toronto. It's a bigger hassle for many reasons, and also because I get flagged every time going into the US. Heck I seem to get screened every time I travel now. (And given what's been going on in the states, and on flights, I'd figure I'd be dragged into some mess.) Eye rolling.
This 'screening' all started in 2012 I think, and big time in 2013. I am sure I told this story before but for old time's sake I'll tell it again.
We were heading to Disney World and I was unable to pre-check in. The only one out
of a big group who couldn't check in. Go figures. So we arrived early to the airport, and I'm told that there continues to be an issue with me getting checked in and receiving my boarding pass. The lovely agent helping us at the kiosk says, "I've never seen that happen before?" Well that was encouraging. (NOT.) I was then told I'd have to proceed to security to be screened. Well if that's not enough to put the fear of god in you... And it isn't exactly the best way to start off a trip to the happiest place on earth
Once I got to security, I was told they'd have to screen me and my items & I was then taken to a different area from where the family was being processed. I had the choice of a "pat down" or a scan. I was asked if I had sharp objects on me, pens, scissors etc and I said no, other than my jewelry. So they scan me and something shows up on my head (no, not my big brain 😊 but a stupid hair clip I'd forgotten I had on. So the male agent had to
go get a female to pat my head which frankly felt awfully good by that point. Then they open my carry on luggage, and gently sort through it. It is a bit unsettling.
After all the scanning, patting, and searching, I was told I could collect my items and go. I met up with Al at our gate, and it was afternoon and boy was I ready for a stiff drink. We meet Linda and Henry in the bar and I had just wrapped my lips around a cold drink when I heard my name called over the loud speaker to report to our gate. Now what? So I grab my stuff, go to the gate (while everyone stared at me including my own family) and they look at my passport, then at me, then at my boarding pass, then back at me and then they told me I was cleared to board the flight. Shut the front door? I hadn't been cleared to go to Disney World? Can you imagine if the kids got to go with Al and I'm stuck home with no chance of seeing Mickey Mouse? And our first time to DW? And no real
explanation for the intense screening was forthcoming. (I guess my reputation precedes me.)
So finally we get on the stupid flight and my nerves are shot. I'm tired from planning the trip, doing early Christmas shopping and then this screening business. For the love of god. So we get settled into our seats and I mention to Al that I made up some cheese & crackers for our flight & how nice it's finally going to be to enjoy a glass of wine with our food and relax. But then...
As we are sitting there before take-off, a stewardess approaches us and asks if I'm Sally. Gulp. Now what? I can't lie can I??? What's next - am I going to be hog tied and dragged off the flight? Am I not cleared for travel? Meanwhile I look behind at our 3 girls and they are looking pretty concerned after the hoopla proceeding this.
So I tell her I am indeed Sally, and she says to me, would you and your husband like a drink? So I say to her, "Do you mean like a 'drink drink'? Yes she says, would you like a glass of wine,
a beer, pop etc? I'm thinking what kind of game is this? Are they going to ply me with alcohol and then drag me off the flight (with less resistance?). However, it occurred to me if I'm going down then I'll go down with a drink in hand. So we order, and after she walked away Al & I looked at each other like ??? The look on Al's face was priceless. I have no idea what my face looked like but given the recent events I'm sure my face resembled Jack Nicholson's from the movie The Shining
. (if you haven't seen it, picture crazed and demented.) See side pic.
So she comes back with a glass of wine and a beer. Now keep in mind we are on the tarmac, and as you know, in-flight service does not start till you are well in the air. So we thank her for the drinks & ask her what is the deal here? So she tells us her job with the airline is part time, and at her other place of work, she works with our friend Linda who was traveling with us to Disney World. Linda had told her to 'take good care of Sally & Al' so she did!!! Further, the food and drinks our group ordered on the flight was all free. All thanks to Linda. You rock Linda!!! No wonder I love to travel with you!
The bewildered looks on the people seated around us were priceless. You could almost hear their minds whirring as to what the heck is going on here? How come they are getting preferential service and we're not? (I think the jealousy was kicked up a notch when I pulled out my little cheese tray from home to accompany our drinks!) Talk about rubbing it in. Hey, I'd been through the proverbial wringer so I deserved it...right? (I do recall hearing someone say, "She must work for the Prime Minister!) We felt like big shots for a few moments. And despite it all, that was a fantastic trip to DW shared with Henry & Linda and family.
ALL WORK & SOME PLAY 😊
So last time Al and I were here in Playa, we did some work (photos/videos) for vacation properties for my company - the fab company that makes these trips happen as you all know (ad nauseum). Al and I managed to work quite well together last time - nobody lost an eye, and no-one was thrown off a balcony etc etc. The life of a photographer/videographer is not as exciting as it seems. That was a lot of work, moving around furniture, setting up shots, adjusting the lighting, moving my margarita around 😉 well you get my point. Although once home and the photo-shopping began, we were pretty pleased with the finished product (and ahem, the pay check didn't hurt either).
I was back to Playa in April with my wonderful nieces, and did a bit of decorating for the condo we are in this time, and now the photos need re-doing, so we will risk marital bliss to get new photos for the websites.
For those of you who have raised a child to high school graduation, you can relate to celebrating that amazing milestone. Our oldest gal graduated high school and is going onto university in the fall. Despite health issues and some serious roadblocks along the way, she graduated with honors, so this here is one proud and happy mom. Yes I will be the one on the beach with a big sombrero, whooping it up & sloshing a margarita around yelling, "My daughter just graduated high school - yahooo"! Al will have to drag me away to a lounger. (Just kiddin' - I'll keep 'er calm).
Other than a bit of work, some scuba diving for Al, and some day trips we have planned, we are hoping to kick back and enjoy some Mexican culture while we are hypnotized by the beautiful Caribbean Sea.
So family and friends, as we start off our excursion, I hope this blog finds you all well with your feet up by a pool with a cocktail in hand or traveling the world enjoying summer vacation and penning your own blog. (Much more entertaining than mine I am sure).
Wish you were with us - hope my blogs allow those that want to come along with us in spirit to join in.
Signing off by the ocean, (Hola Mom!) Me & Him
(PS for those of you who wanted to know how it went getting here due to my apprehension about connecting into the US, well overall not too shabby. Got asked a few questions in Ottawa clearing customs. Got into Chicago without too much fuss, then enjoyed a drink in a fancy lounge (which had a baby grand piano!) and chatted with a great lady from Kentucky. Then a bit of a setback by being delayed on the tarmac in Chicago for an hour due to a 'burnt out light bulb'. Oh due to booking last minute, we had the honor of being situated in the very last row of the plane being elbowed and poked by people waiting to use the bathrooms. I was up close to more 'derrieres' than I could count. (I couldn't hear for an hour from all the flushing.) Ahh. Then we're about to descend into Cancun when the Captain informed us that a sudden storm has blown through so we will have to circle the airport for a bit. HOWEVER he said, "The not-so-good news is we were running low on fuel so we will now have to land on Cozumel Island, refuel, then take off for Cancun". ACK. Then 20 minutes later he says, the skies are clearing up so we were directed back to Cancun to descend. Only to then circle the airport again for another half an hour. Double ACK. Otherwise, the flight was OK. 😊 *The airline ended up giving Al & I our drinks and food on the house. (Maybe due to the delays/or sitting in the bowels of hell). Winning! Then after arriving in Playa, we were treated to a huge welcome at a favorite dining spot - see the pic of the rose on the table with the margarita. Happy 20th Al - we made it! You lucky lad you... 😊
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