Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Adventure begins Rev 1

WARNING:  If grammatical errors, and spelling mishaps upset you do not go further.  This is a real adventure on the road, and I'm having far too much fun to care.  Later!  S




11/09 and I’ve decided to go on my first cruise, but only because it is time for someone to notice if I’m wandering around a foreign country on my own ,particularly if I get hurt of go missing . The last few years I have spent Christmas week at rancholapuerta.com , a gorgeous magical destination spa in Tecate Mexico that was founded in 1940 and recently opened a cooking school. I love the place and have friends from around the world that go there the same week every year. "THE RANCH" YEAH!




I’m a little apprehensive because I am used to traveling, and living on my own (with dogs) and the occasional visitor. A long term acquaintance, who I’m sure I’ll consider a friend after this trip, owns http://www.rainbowtravelcruise.com/ in La Mesa, and every year does her “Phyllis” trips with a group of women of all different ages. I think there are around 60 of us all together and most are from San Diego, or related to someone in San Diego. The youngest is a 16 year old coming with her mom. The oldest I’m going to guess in her 80s.


I’m also used to making all the travel arrangements, but I had to depend on Phyllis for the cruise portion since she is booking the whole group and finding roommates when required. I told her I am happy to share an outside stateroom with balcony. Everyone told me this was an absolute must, especially on a 12 night cruise. They say that you spend more time in your cabin than you would think, and this way you can also see the land passing by, but I guess it depends on what side of the ship we’re on. I also wanted to be sure that my roommate will be a non-smoker, and independent . I was horrified at the thought of having a cabin mate who is a “clinger”- someone who wants a new best friend glued to their side for the entire cruise. Eek! Please don’t put me in a cage with someone irritating!


The group met one night at the agency for a mixer and group meeting. Phyllis had arranged for her cousin to bring Egyptian food and tea from his restaurant, hookahs for all to try, belly dancers and a henna tattoo lady. I got a lotus tattoo on my left hand. Everyone noticed it during the following week or so, and the boss asked me if it was real. I laughed and said yes, it was real, but it would wear off in a few weeks. Loved everyone’s reaction. Maybe I’ll get a real henna colored tattoo someday like a vine around my ankle, but everyone tells me that would be really painful.


So once the cruise was booked, I started looking at maps of the ports of call, and saw that Morocco was not that far away from Barcelona. I started looking at airfares, and discovered I could get there pretty cheaply. I ride a commuter train to work, and years ago I had noticed a new girl on the train coming home for several months, every day, and one day we happened to sit across from each other. “


Google me” she said and gave me a piece of paper with her name on it. www.jamila-hassoune.ma/, so we exchanged emails once or twice and then life got in the way. I wonder if she will remember who I am. I have always wanted to go to Morocco and I’ll be so close. I found her on linked in and sent a message, and she responded almost immediately saying come on down. I then started to look at airfares and tried all sorts of different combinations, finally getting it down to around $1300 to go from San Diego to Barcelona, to Marrakech and then home via New York.


I called Phyllis on a Saturday morning and told her what I was doing about the airfare, and she asked me to wait before booking, to see what she could do. Within the hour she called me back and got the entire thing for  more than $300 less (that's my wine budget for the cruise!) Book it I said and I was committed. I decided to fly into Barcelona to arrive a day before the official group arrival, and to stay at the same hotel the last night before I fly home. My trip to Marrakech was worked out with 6 nights at the  http://www.escaledemarrakech.com/ Riad  and my original enthusiatic plans and dreams to see the entire country and experience everything possible in 6 nights (ha)  including really stupid tourist stuff like a night in the sahara riding camels eating and sleeping in a big old tent.  You'd think i had never traveled? I’m sure I made Jamila crazy with all my emails - remember we talked once on the Coaster years ago. Oh Sharon!"
I’m sitting at O'Hare waiting for the iberia crew to appear so I can check in. flight is delayed till 715 chicago time, and the wireless connection here is so slow I can’t figure out what time it is without getting up and going to see the arrival destination board . I’ve had food at a place that is called something like FuManchu but is identical in offerings and taste to PandaExpress, so they must be the same franchise. I got half steam rice and half chow mein, chicken with mushrooms and broccoli beef.  Good weight watchers meal.  Hey friends who teach English.  Give me a break.  I am a storyteller, not a grammar expert.  I have a conversation with Edward Yesayan, of Verdugo Realty Services in Glendale, CA. We're about the same age, he collects art & has big ideas, and his kids wonder what the hell he's doing flying to Toronto.  He's living his life!  that is what he is doing . Read this slowly, living in the moment. living in the moment.


So , i've been here for hours, and decide after eating at FuManchu, visiting the handicapped stall in the ladie's room 4 timesdue to the coffee and water I've had, that it is time for a glass of wine.  I walk past the first cocktail area because there is nowhere to sit. the 2nd one I find a convenient stool two seats frrom the nearest patron. Forgot to mention, on the way, I met a fun lady exiting the restroom.  She is just returning from a great couple of days in Hollywood and is heading home for Raleigh Durham (Hi Jamie!)  She was one of the top spa party people for Spa Consultants and one of 6 that won the big prize to Holywood!  Yeah Christine E!  I said, i've been waiting here for hours and it's time for a glass.  She asked my exit gate and we were 10 apart.  When i sat down in cocktail lounge #2 from my gate, who should appear but my new friend from RD!  The bartender here was magnificient!  That's all i can say.;  He asked me for my ID before giving me my glass of Mondavi CabSav.   He said "it's spring break!"  "we have to be careful!" I L-O-V-E THIS GUY!  Anyway, Christine and i sat and chatted for at least an hour about her great time in Hollywood, and my amazing trip (coming soon)  and this same bartender came back to be sure I didn't miss my plane.  I checked in finally about 5:45 Chicago time, and it gave me time to sit and do this post.  The boingo wireless is now working (obviously).  I've got my seat assignment, 2 cabsavs under my belt, and its getting close to boarding time. Already a great adventure.  What will tomorrow bring.  Oh, by the way, if you are looking to host a spa party in your beautiful home in North Carolina see http://www.thetotalspaescape.com/  and tell my new friend Christine I sent you!


So i decide it's 4:30 pm chicago time, which is 2:30 San Diego time on a thursday.  Wait, i'm stil at work! No I'm not i'm in Chicago. At the airport, , waiting for the train, no the plane!


Things i obsessed about during the last few months:  that's all gone now


Frustration with ncl website, what is included? Do I have to haul a hair dryer?


How am I going to pack for 15 days in one bag, with large daypack for Moroccan Trip?


Letting go of ego in dressing on the trip


Having to sleep in pajamas or a tee instead of nude


How much is cost for laundry


Price ranges in restaurants not included


Will they take single diners?


Will any of group be up for car and driver in ports to split costs?


Don’t want to wait in line or be in one of dozens of buses


Need to ride camel see pyramids


Cruise down Nile


Sit in outdoor café on coast in turkey


Wine taste in Malta


What will we do in Rome? Wouldn’t mind going back to Trevi fountain, no interest in coliseum St Peters or visiting Sistine chapel. again. been there.


What will we do in Piraeus? Parthenon no,Plaka done, what else to do


Ask RebeccaC and Ken for Barcelona tips.  They're young, in love, too busy to bother!


Dropped the dogs off at Chris’ last night. Pumpkyn will be fine, don’t even think she probably knew I was gone till bedtime. Hope Joey adjusts and behaves himself, doesn’t get depressed. They’ve got a goat, and I’m not sure but either a peacock or a turkey in addition to multiple cats and at least 6 dogs. Great property, dog friendly, on the way home discovered citronella rolled out of the bag onto the floor, so hopefully he won’t have to use the bark collar on Joey. Went through Del Taco on the way home and got 2 green burritos and 2 crunchy tacos and ate a bunch of lettuce too. Fridge cleaned out and trash near garage door so hopefully Fred will put it out on Monday morning.


Shuttle arrived on time but had problems with gate code. My neighbor Bill says that has happened to him a few times too and some of the previous codes still work. I set the alarm for 2:30 and didn’t go to bed till 11:30 and I can’t remember if I unplugged everything and turned everything off. I’ll have to email Brandie and ask her to check. I was a little disorganized checking in. Because the first leg is a connecting flight I couldn’t check in online but had to check bag at the counter and get boarding pass there for first leg. They said bag checked through to Barcelona. Hope it gets there. I had hidden my reading glasses very well, and couldn’t find them so when the reader wouldn’t work with my passport; I had to enter the number manually but couldn’t read it without my glasses.


The AA employee said she couldn’t read it because it was too small, and she sat there smugly watching me go through my bag and my backpack and my frustration grew. I asked a second time and some male employee came out and helped me. He was very helpful and let Ms. Unhappy know that the scanner I was using wasn’t functioning. I don’t think she cared.


Got on the plane, pretty full but the seats are not too bad, and I have two young people next to me (I’m on the aisle). I dozed for a few moments when I first got on, surprising since I had a Starbucks venti non-fat latte at the airport along with a blueberry scone. Once we took off, they offered food and drink and I had oatmeal, yogurt, raisings with granola and some water. My eyes are bothering me a bit and the yogurt lid splattered pink yogurt on my black soma hooded dress. Fortunately I know that I inevitably spill something while travelling so I word a little stretchy embroidered top/jacket I bought at the forum when Cathie was down from Vancouver in December on the way to Rancho La Puerta.


I have a couple hours layover in Chicago before the trip to Madrid/Barcelona. It’s 4:15pm in the afternoon there right now. Actually the timing should work out quite well once I get on the plane and they serve us, I can hopefully fall asleep for the rest of the trip. I brought my little opal earrings as every day, with my gold flat ovals, and the silver and pearl ones from Silpada. I’ve got way too much stuff, but once I’m on the cruise I should be able to [pack it better so by the time I head for Morocco with the back pack I should have room to spare.


My boss sent me a text wishing me bon voyage last night and assuring me my work would be waiting when I get back (oh good!). Actually I am really pleased at how things are going since the New Year started. I managed to get everyone talking about electronics, and they will now be responsible for gathering and reporting annual numbers to me, instead of me spending hours doing it. I need to do the sampling project again but I will worry about that when I get home. That’s it. The last mention of work for the next few weeks.


I must also bid the doggies adieu farewell, and trust the universe to protect the little darlings while I am gone (the universe and Chris that is). That being said, I <3 the Do It Yourself Dog Wash in Solana Beach on Plaza, which is owned by Chris. I have been taking the dogs there for years, and you can also have them “do” your dogs for you while you run errands. Chris also does Baja rescue I think and funnily enough I wanted to adopt one of his dogs a couple years ago, but couldn’t get through to him on his cell.


It was some sort of funny mix dachshund (sp) but with long hair. I stood out in front of the shop and tried several time and finally decided it was fate that he wasn’t picking up since I had Joey and my late sweet Aussie mix Sheila so it would have been dog 3. Several weeks later I went to lunch with my media buyer and friend GVG and she invited a couple of the ad sales people from Fox 6 TV- I think we went to the King's Fish House in Mission Valley. Anyway, one of the women LD started talking about a rescue she had just adopted, and I found out she had adopted that dog that I was looking at in Solana Beach, and I told her the story about standing outside trying to get hold of Chris.


From that moment on, I felt like we knew each other, and although we are not close friends, I still keep in touch with her via email. Anyway, it’s the perfect place to go after taking your dogs to Del Mar dog beach- why take Del Mar home with you when you can wash it down the drain at the d-i-y dog wash! Tell Chris I sent you.


that's it for now, wonder if this blog can handle my stream of consciousness ramblings.  Au
Revoir young (ha) Sharon.  Bon Voyage.  Oops, one more trip to the ladie's before boarding.  Still drinking my water WW friends!


copyright 2010 sharonjcorrigan

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