Thursday, October 30, 2014

Cab rides, dancing and early mornings...

Shar and I had the idea of visiting another city while on vacation.  The smart thing would be to take the bus.  Of course, it would be timely and if we could secure tickets at a hotel as opposed to the bus station, even better.  However, we were not fortunate in that regard.  We found a taxi and headed to the station.
We entered the building and took in the other people in line.  About 40 people and one ticket agent.  We wanted to be positive but it looked dire.  Our cabbie agreed to wait before we knew we were looking at 2-3 hours in a line.  I asked our driver if he knew of anyone we could hire to drive us to the other city.  He found someone and we were able to leave the line after a 45 minute wait.  During that time, we did not move.  We left, knowing, the agent was still assisting the one person.  Yuck!
We chose to celebrate our success by inviting our driver to accompany us for a drink or two.  We communicated in spanglish and enjoyed the mojitos and music.
Afterwards, we invited Ronnie to lunch.  Figured, why not?  He might know of a few good places and he was kind.  We drank some wine and feasted.  I had a seafood stew with rice.  Not bad and the bread continued to disappoint.
Ronnie took off to take more fares and Shar and I meandered through the city.  We came across a few con artists and got sucked in for $40.  I wish that I wasn't so trusting, sometimes.  Didn't help that Shar also was taken in.  In the entire scheme of things, it wasn't that terrible.  $40 and we were off to another adventure.
We found an upstairs bar and drank a few russian beers.  Gorgeous scenery and I was able to calm down from the con artist debacle.  We met a palestinian who had been traveling with her parents.  She offered a room in her rental and although it sounded great, we liked our current room.  Plus, who knew where she was staying or what could happen.  At least at Juan's place, we knew we were safe and secure.  It was clean, had a/c and was the entire floor of a building.
We bid her adieu and returned to Juan's place.  We had arranged salsa dancing with Ronnie and one of his friends.  We waited for them to pick us up.  Secretly, I hoped that they would back out.  I was tired and could use a great night of sleep.  Plus, our taxi would pick us up at 9 to head to Trinidad.  Meaning, we would need to be up by 7:30 to shower, pack, find coffee and eat.
Well, they picked us up.  We headed to the salsa bar and were the only ones in the bar.  Lame.  They kept telling us that the place would be packed in a few hours.  I had little faith.
We drank a beer and waited.  Eventually, all of the tables were full and this woman was introduced on the stage.  I thought, finally.  We can dance for an hour and leave.  Not the case.  This woman sang for an hour.  She had a lovely voice but she was a lounge singer.  No dancing involved.  Shar and I looked at each other and thought--what about dancing?
She finished and then tables were moved and salsa dancing ensued.  Finally!  Of course, my dance partner is super latin and full of machismo.  He kept telling me--relax.  Relax.  Relax.  It was super uncomfortable.  I don't like being told what to do.  So, we switched partners and the music changed.  We danced til 3:30.  It was great and I was enjoying myself.  However, that early morning cab ride loomed.  We convinced the guys that we were wanting to leave.  Thankfully, they agreed.  We headed back to his cab and found a flat tire.  Awesome.
I think Ronnie knew that that would happen as he had a spare ready to go.  I remember him picking that up earlier in the day.  They dropped us off around 4 and I slept til 7:30.  At which point, I recognized that I should have showered prior to going to bed.  I had grime, sweat and felt it in the morning.  Gross!
After packing up, we hoped to locate coffee and breakfast.  No such luck.  Most of the places opened at 10 am or we found dulcerias that had pastries but no coffee.  Short on time we settled for the dulceria.  Mistake.  The pastry was terrible.  Yet, it was our only option if we wanted to meet our driver on time.
I think the lesson of the experience was that cabbies can dance.  That was one of the highlights of the trip for sure.  I could have kept dancing too.  Now, back in SF, I want to go dancing.  I might have to venture to Denver or Phoenix to make that happen.  SF doesn't have many options for this exercise.  Oh, and the bread on the island was universally bad.  There was not one restaurant or homestay that offered decent bread.  It would be easy to be g.f. there for sure.
I am off to work.  Cheers!

Monday, October 27, 2014

yoga, travel and connections

I need a new project.  I know it.  Feel it and am ready for whatever is revealed.  Inspired by my most recent travels, of course.  I attended a yoga class at an ashram center and was surrounded by people that were on a spiritual journey.  A few of us jumped on the water taxi to attend one class and so we were part of the community for a brief amount of time.
After the class, I joined the group for their meal.  I met a girl from Berlin and another from Columbia.  Right away, we started talking about traveling and places we had been.  It was awesome and I felt at home in that moment.  I wasn't concerned about what I was wearing, where I needed to be or what I would be doing later.  I was interested in the conversation and understanding how we all, individually, ended up at that yoga class.  The Columbian was on school break and traveling.  On a previous visit to the Bahamas, she saw the center and decided she wanted to spend a few days practicing yoga there.  She had been to many places in the world and led an interesting life.  The girl from Berlin would be at the center for the next month.  Developing her inner peace and yoga practice.  Kudos to both of these ladies as they inspired me to consider what the next journey would be for me.  I sat there, in awe, of their ability to just go.  Then, I thought, I do this too, sometimes.  I suppose I was nostalgic for my last big trip--2007/08 and how liberating it was to be in different countries.  I think I need to make it more of a priority.  Traveling outside of the country on an annual basis opposed to every few years.  I should reach out to Agnese and make Spain 2015 a reality.
Of course, I am happy to be back and working.  Leads to purpose in life.  And more travel.  I have a friend that is so excited about his new truck.  To me, it represents more financial attachment and dependence.  He now has to finance the truck instead of any travel.  I just don't understand that.  But everyone does what feels right to them.  For me, a new vehicle would not be my passion.  I know that comes as a huge shock, right?
Yoga will continue to keep me centered while work will provide purpose, possibilities and connections.  For instance, I had two random encounters while abroad from work-related people.  The first guy was my water taxi driver to the ashram center.  He was from Phoenix and so I told him about a few of the places I had worked.  I mentioned the nanobrewery and he goes, oh, I went to high school with a guy that works there.  My response, I was his boss.  It was pretty funny.  The other guy I ran into was a guy that used to frequent the bull in Denver.  He worked at one of my favorite spots in Cherry Creek.  Think dip duo.  About six years ago, he moved to NYC and started working at JFK in a restaurant.  When my plane landed at JFK, I walked around the airport and noted the restaurant.  It has nostalgia for me as I would frequent the place in Denver with Steve and Pocketsize.  Still, I had not made my mind up whether or not I wanted to dine there.
Somehow I found my way back to the place, sat at the bar, and remembered that my friend, Chris had worked there when he moved back to NYC.  I asked the bartender if he knew him and he seemed confused.  Granted, the guy was older and a little disoriented in general.  At first, he said no.  Then, about fifteen minutes later, he asked me to repeat Chris's name. and suddenly remembered, that yes, he did, in fact, know Chris.  I left Chris a note before remembering that I might have his cell # in my phone.
The lesson is that work, for me, does create connections, serendipity and opportunity.  I am grateful for that and happy to be here now.  I need a hobby in the meantime.  Maybe golf?

Sunday, October 26, 2014


A block from my friend's house.  I loved it.  Such easy access to the gorgeous beach.  That, and a Starbuck's.  Yes, I was in heaven.
On Sunday, Shar drove me to a yoga retreat where I would spend the next few hours.  Shar was preoccupied with work and I wanted to give her the space to handle what needed to be handled without being in her way.  Her home was cozy.  Translation=super small and accommodating one person.  She did have two doors separating the kitchen from her bedroom and a door on the bathroom.  I have lived in cozy spaces before and so I was okay with it.  My last "cozy" spot didn't have doors once inside the house.  It was always interesting to entertain at that place.
The yoga class was rejuvenating.  Afterwards, I sampled the yummy vegan fare and made my way back to Nassau.  A water taxi enabled that and then I began the return walk to Shar's place.  Initially, I thought I could walk back to Cable Beach.   It would have been a long walk.  Thankfully, several busses depart from downtown Nassau regularly.
Back at Cable Beach, armed with coffee and finally check out the sand.  Amazing.  I think I spent an hour, lavishing in my luck.  I knew that Shar was preoccupied with work in spite of the fact that I had been gone for 4 1/2 hours at that point.  I convinced her that a daiqueri was in order.  She needed a break from the monotony of work and I was ready to start my vacation.  Papaya, mango, cantaloupe, strawberry deliciousness.  So happy!
That night we attended a thanksgiving, Canadian style.  Shar has a cousin that lives near her and so I was included in their feast.  An assortment of comfort food and pierogi's.  We listened to random music and I met a bunch of their group.  I had packed for the island trip and so I was on full relaxation mode.  I bid adieu to fb and messaged my sisters before our trip the following morning.  I knew that I would be without wi-fi for the next five days.
Those five days were glorious.  Not that I didn't miss the convenience of instant gratification but I also woke up and did yoga, read or relaxed. I wasn't lured in to what was going on in the world around me.  I enjoyed being in the present.
Today, I have yoga, work and maybe catch an inning of the world series.  That is a big maybe since my job does not have any tv's in house.  At any rate, it is a gorgeous day and I need to start it.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Vacations are essential to my life.  They always help me reset my priorities and set new goals.  I plan for however long to make it happen and once complete, I have a blank slate for my next goal.  Currently, where I am at.  New goal, life plan, direction.
I have had the last two weeks off.  Rare, in my life, to be able to achieve this.  However, I did arrange a trip to the Bahamas to see Shar and head south to other caribbean islands.  First, I want to remember my departure from Santa Fe.  Initially, I was scheduled to work both jobs up until my departure.  I called my mechanic to schedule a time for Veronica to be worked on.  My guy seemed confident that he would be able to make the necessary changes while I was on vacay.  He seemed thrilled that I could leave my car at his house.  Seemed like a great idea except that now I would need to figure out a way to the airport.  The shuttles begin at 5 am and my flight was at 6:30.  Not enough time to get to the airport, check in, go through security and make it to the gate.  Shuttle was out.  I asked two of my friends for a favor.  Felt awful doing it.  I mean, who in their right mind wants to get up at 4 in the morning to drive someone to the airport?  Somehow, I was able to convey my need to get to the airport to my jobs and they agreed to not schedule me for the Friday shift.  That enabled my way to ABQ.  Rail runner the day before, stay at a hotel near the airport and take a shuttle, early, to Sunport.  Perfect.
I met Melody for my departure lunch.  She drove me to the railyard depot where I caught the train south.  $9 for the ride.  Clean, efficient and dropped me off at the airport.  From here, I called the hotel and arranged a pick-up from the airport.  Checked in and considered my dining options.  Applebee's, Waffle house, Fuddrucker's, some asian place.  As none of them piqued my interest, I asked the front desk clerk if there was a mexican restaurant within walking distance.  She told me that there was a great place but it was not walkable.  I asked why?  Would I have to cross the interstate?  Her response, no.  But, it's like a mile and a half away.....what?  To me, not walking distance is at least 5 miles one way.  Especially depending on time of day.  So, I set off to find the mexican restaurant.  And, the lady was right.  It was great.  I had enchiladas and cabbed it back to the hotel since it was raining.  Well, and I had opted to cab it after walking through the neighborhood.  I wasn't in love with the vibe.  Oh, and it was 3 miles.  Definitely something I could walk.
That night, I returned to the hotel and took it easy.  Talked to some friends and began my departure calls.  I wanted my friends to have my contact information and say goodbye.  I think I always get like that when I go on trips out of the country.
The shuttle dropped me at Sunport and then I was off to ATL.  I had a six and a half hour layover.  Thankfully, a friend of mine from Denver had lived in Atlanta for the last 9 years.  She picked me up and we headed into the city.  Lunch, drinks, conversation.  It was a truly lovely experience.  I felt thankful for keeping in touch with old co-workers.
She returned me to the airport and I went back through security.  Easy peasy.  Quick glass of wine and then I am off.  Off to the Bahamas, the beach and many many mojitos.  More on this later.  I am off to greet the day.