Wish You Were Here

I know I left you hanging…desperate for pictures of Toronto from our airport hotel window. I even took some for you to see, but for some technological reason that is waaayyyy beyond me, I was unable to post them. Until now.

But now I have a new, better, wonderful view to show you. The one that comes with the house we are renting in Gabian France.

Pretty amazing huh?

When Tom and I travel we like to bring some tradition back with us to keep that trip alive. When we went to Paris we loved the hand held shower heads. It felt so luxurious to have the shower head directly washing our toes we decided to install one in our shower at home. When we went to Mexico we brought home our love of Mexican food. Now we cook, a couple times a month, as traditionally Mexican as we can-in Pittsburgh. So what tradition do we want to bring back from the south of France?

Morning and evening swims.

Yeah, yeah, I know, minor detail, we don’t have a pool. But we didn’t have a hand held shower head 3 years ago either….

 

Here are a few more pictures I’d like to share with you.

 

We finally got our welcome to Barcelona sangria…They were huge and very good!!!

The guy rubbing his head? That is a couple from Essex England. They were visiting for the week and taking the bus tour of Barcelona the next day. They have been to the US, to California, they liked it a lot. I could tell you more but I won’t…

 

This picture is in the medieval village of Pezenas. There is a great street market there every Saturday. They have  food, wine, baskets, clothes, soaps and jewelry from vendors that speak very little to no English-in fact we have found that to be mainly true here- so our patched together French/Spanish is useless. Pezenas also has shops along narrow castle-like ancient passageways. We bought lots of stuff. I love stuff.

Not quite sure how I will get it home though.

 

Since I have been doing more traveling I have noticed I am drawn to windows and doors in other cities/countries. I made Tom stop the car for this one. I may frame this for our living room.

I wonder who lives there? What are their hopes and dreams? What is their favorite food? Are they happy?

I really hope so.

 

SO I will end here. It is late and we are headed to Provence tomorrow.

Hope you all are well.

xo Patricia

 

 

 

 

And We All Fall Down

I try not to, but still do. In Mexico, this fall (no pun intended), I missed a step down walking into a courtyard. I did my best to catch myself, hopping on one foot, while forward momentum propelled me into the legs of an unsuspecting Mexican man. He did his best to catch me while saving himself from being knocked over. I did my best to right myself to save what little pride I still had. “Perdon,” I gasped leaning against his legs.

 

This past December, for my 54th birthday, I was given The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo by 2 different friends. (I pay attention when the same gift comes from multiple people. I assume I must need it.) It is a daily meditation book. I highly recommend it.

 

Yesterday, adhering to my new spiritual practice/new years resolution, I read the entry for the day. It was about letting go so we don’t fall down. The line I was drawn to was, “…in a moment of ego we refuse to put down what we carry in order to open the door.” The author was referring to a friend of his who refused to put down two opened gallons of paint, drop cloths, mixing sticks, and paint brush to open a door. As a result he lost his balance and fell. You can imagine the mess. It was red paint. Continue reading

It’s the F*@#ing Flame… my last honeymoon story…promise

(On August 26th, in the Mexican town of Teotihuacan, the flame for the 2011 Pan American Games was lit and the runner began its route through Mexico.)

 

We decided to spend a day in Puerta Vallarta before we flew back home. We met a couple on the plane to Mexico that made us promise to, at the very least, take a day trip into PV because it is so beautiful. Old PV, not Nueva PV where all the oversized resorts live. They were adamant. It sounded like a good idea. They gave us the name of the time share/hotel they stay in, some places to shop and a great restaurant for dinner. We were convinced and folded it into our plans.

 

Since there was no shopping in PLT I was looking forward to do some shopping. I was also ready to leave our eco resort survivalist meets paradise location. I was also ready to speak English. My brain was tired from trying to speak Spanish, trying to understand Spanish and acting like I understood Spanish when I had no idea what was being said. I  was ready for a bit of civilization. Continue reading

The Honeymoon is Over

We are headed out of PLT. Back over the rutted road, past the cattle, flocks of sea birds and palm groves. I saw what I thought was an ant eater run off the side of the road and into the bush.  I have never seen an ant eater for real, only on Mutual of Omaha’s WiId Kingdom, but if memory serves me, it was an ant eater. So later when I saw movement on the side of the-sorry excuse for a-road, I perked up.

 

“What is that?” We both looked carefully as Tom slowed the car down. It was a tiny brown puppy. Continue reading

A Honeymoon with a Mental Health Diagnosis

We arrived on Saturday to Playas Las Tortugas. Tom moved right into his comfort zone. I didn’t. While he read and wrote, I sat and stared. I couldn’t settle within myself. I didn’t recognize myself or much else in this unfamiliar place. I knew we were clearly not in Kansas anymore.

 

On Monday Tom read to me, from the AAA Mexico tour book, a description of what can happen to travelers visiting new cultures. It is called Cultural Immersion and Displacement. This was a new construct for me. As he read I realized I was experiencing both. Continue reading

The Honeymoon HEATS UP in Mexico

 

We are in Mexico at a resort that is a full hour off the main road. Let me be more specific. The main road is a two lane country road about 20 minutes from the last small village. The road to Playas las Tortugas is a rutted out dirt road that passes through mango and coconut groves, pastures with cows and bulls that have beautiful coats that glisten in the sun and are standing with bright white egrets. An occasional flamingo flies over the now dust encrusted rental car. A Jeep Patriot. In the brochure this is to be a 15-20 minute trip into the settlement.

 

Before leaving PA. we received an email explaining this road had been washed out due to the rainy season. Therefore it was suggested we rent a high clearance vehicle. That meant the car rental fee went from $8 a day to $40 and the travel time quadrupled. (Really, you can rent a mid size car in Mexico for 8 bucks)

 

I was driving this leg of the journey from Puerta Vallerta. Tom kept complimenting me on how well I was doing. I am not sure if he was referring to my driving skills; avoiding moon size craters in road, pulling over on this one lane road to let locals pass in their full size pick ups with smiles that suggested Stupido Gringas or not becoming hysterical.

I drove this stretch of road without putting my foot on the gas pedal. We traveled at the speed idle. When I did press the gas, out of impatience and shame, I feared for the axles, tires and paint of the rental. The man at Thrifty Rental made it very clear, in his broken English, that we are responsible for every ding and scratch incurred. The woman with the camera taking detailed pictures of the car from every angle increased our paranoia. An hour later, we drove onto a cobblestone driveway and into the gates of Playas las Tortugas. I was tense trying to be relieved. Continue reading