Egypt! My Daughter’s Adventure

The pictures from my daughter Vanessa’s trip to Egypt this month are just too good not to share. She went with three friends through Chicago and Paris on the way. They had a great time on a tour in the country of the pyramids! I thought you would all enjoy these photos as much as I did. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you which temple is which!

van at effiel tower
This is her first time to Paris and it was only overnight, but she managed to get this shot!
van with sphinx
This will be out of order, I’m sure, but loved this one!
pyramids
A great moody shot of the main attraction.
Van on cart
This cart ride was just one of many modes of transport including camels, taxis, bus and sleeper train.
temple tour
They had 39 people on their tour, plus the other tourists.
temple with gods
Lots of great shots of enormous temples to choose from.
van at temple
This one gives me a sense of how huge everything is in the ruins.
vans camel
And finally, Vanessa’s erstwhile camel – Michael Jackson – really!

I hope this added a little fun into your day!

Brain Fog be Gone!

me before
This is kind of cheating because it’s perhaps the worst picture I’ve ever taken. However, it shows how bloated I was, especially in my face. This was about this time last year.

I mentioned in an earlier post – A Different Kind of Traveler – that I had a couple of reasons for disappearing off the blogging scene for a while. The first was having lost my sense of self as a traveler and the second was having severe brain fog.

I’m challenged as a self-editor anyway but add in a little general confusion and it’s all over. That’s what I experienced for nearly a year and it took me a long time to figure it out.

I tried veganism and I think it’s a good way to go, but not for me, a 14-year veteran of diabetes wars. Through the magic of YouTube, I found information I had been missing and a new tactic. I hadn’t understood the dynamics of insulin resistance or what to do about it.

I began watching Dr. Berg on YouTube at a rate of two or three short videos a day. I consider myself an intelligent woman, yet it still took me about 10 videos to understand that I had been poisoning myself with too many carbohydrates. For me, all but fresh, leafy vegetables and a small amount of certain fruits a day was too much. I cut back to keto eating, which is too complicated to explain here but just know that there are tons of online information if you’re interested.

Also, I began to limit and reduce the number of times I eat. Most days, I eat three times a day within an eight-hour time span. Maybe twice a week I manage two times a day, within 6 hours. This is called intermittent fasting, which is reallyjust lengthening the amount of time without eating. Not nearly as scary as it sounds. I honestly feel a big difference of the days of eating only twice – much more alert and physically settled.

I had been on insulin for six years or so, and that fact was a major concern when I began traveling for the reasons of availability and refrigeration. Honestly, it was a big hassle for me, especially as a budget traveler. I am now off insulin or diabetes meds of any kind. For a woman who frequently had readings in the 300s, with insulin, to now be very near the “normal” mark without meds, is amazing!

I’ve also started tracking my movements with the help of a FitBit and most days manage 6,000+ steps a day. On Monday, I’m upping my daily goal to 7K.

I feel 100% percent better than I had just six months ago. I’ve lost weight and perhaps, best of all – my brain fog is gone. I still the forgetfulness that comes with 66 years on this earth, but I no longer must deal with a constant mind jumble.

me after 2
This is just a couple of weeks ago and you can see how much better I look in general.

So, here I am again. Writing, this blog and a new one is about to be born. Another book is on the way, too.

I am not on a mission to convert anyone to my way of eating, but I’m open to answering questions if anyone should have them. Please just reach out below.

#brainfog #keto #intermittentfasting

A Different Kind of ExPat

H and M Barra
Heather and Michelle in Barra Navidad

When I started researching living abroad, I really didn’t understand what the term “expat” meant. As an abbreviation of expatriate, it sounded to me that this was a person who rejected his own country somehow, or perhaps was even rejected by their country instead. Of course, it simply means one who lives outside their land of origin, which I finally realized.

I’ve met so many expats in my travels, from young people who were in the exploration mode and still traveling regularly to retirees who had settled into a gated community and rarely stepped outside their “safe” zones. To varying degrees, I’ve enjoyed my interactions with most of them, depending on the degree to which they were open to and appreciative of the people and traditions of the places they now inhabited.

So, of late, I’ve had the pleasure of spending time with the two Canadian ladies who jump into Manzanillo with gusto. Heather, in her mid-sixties and Michele, in her mid-seventies, bought a home here in my neighborhood of Las Brisas four years ago and are now fixtures.

What I love about the two of them is their embrace of their new home and the degree to which they’ve explored their surroundings. Their home is something of a mecca to other expats in the area and several well-loved Mexicans, one of which they trust deeply. Their friend Gabriel has assisted them in everything from their home and car purchases to repairs and travels to other cities.

Heather, a widow, and Michelle, a divorcee, had traveled together before settling in Manzanillo. As co-workers for many years, they knew each other very well and the deep connection shows. They are very complimentary roomies, lucky to have found someone with whom to share a new life.

bella
The newest puppy, Bella! She’s two months old and incredibly tiny.

I did the “deep dive” with them both the other day, as we rode together to pick up a new puppy from the vet. I wondered what they were seeking when they came here and if they’d do it again.

Heather quickly answered that weather was a big factor. Being from Alberta, Canada, she and Michelle both lived with annual extreme cold and snow. Now, they chuckle because Manzanillo can sometimes be a bit too warm, but they’ve adjusted with the help of a lovely little home with a pool. And there is a degree of acclimation at happens for most people.

The language barrier was also another big surprise. Both had expected to learn Spanish quickly and without much effort. That hasn’t turned out as planned, although both get along with some Spanish and a lot of gestures. However, buying a home and car without the ability to read what she was signing gave Heather pause. If she knew what she knows now, she thinks she may have chosen a location with more English speakers than Manzanillo, which is starting to have more people who do but is still mainly Spanish-speaking. It can be a challenge.

But what is so fun about these two ladies is their ability to see the beauty in the things around them, instead of complaining about what isn’t like “home.” Just a tiny example is in the picture below. Heather has a bit of an artist in her and their home is covered in items of everyday beauty that are totally and completely Mexicano! Here she’s elevated a simple Frida Kahlo shawl to window décor and on the wall next to it hangs a beautifully embroidered blouse as artwork.

H Frida
Just one example of the incorporation of Mexican culture in their home.

H and M, as I’ve mentally begun to call them, have taken me on adventures with them and wow. Just wow. A simple walk through town and lunch at a local eatery is enough. More than enough. Just my style. So, I’m happy I’ve managed to stumble into a friendship with these two, different sort of expats, and look forward to many more adventures in the future!

 

Seattle, Vancouver and Sedona

As promised! Here are my latest adventures in Seattle, Vancouver – Canada and Sedona, the site of many past adventures in the Arizona desert.  I visited all these places with my daughter, Vanessa, the best co-traveler you could possibly find. However, she hates having her pictures taken and insists on complete control over what is post-able. So, the lack of pictures of her is NOT as oversight.

chilhuly and space needle
A beautiful view from inside the Dale Chihuly art center with the Space Needle above.

 

blue chihuly
In the gardens of the Chihuly art exhibit. I love his work.
pikes
Pike’s Place Market – a crazy, crowded but fun marketplace. A must see.
crab cakes
Crab cakes at the world famous pier side Ivar’s seafood restaurant. Also – a must!
wheel
The giant harbor ferris wheel. Geez, I love a ride!
fruit in Vancouver
Fruit stand at the public market on Granville Island -Vancouver, Canada.
steam clock
Van fell in love with the steam clock in the background of old town Vancouver.
me with totems
I loved all of Stanley Park in Vancouver, but my VW shirt souvenir even more.
van side
See! I told you she hates the camera. That’s why I love this one – got her in spite of herself.
creekside
A cafe in Sedona with the greatest view! Red rock country.
sedona mansion
A mansion in the hills above Sedona with another fabulous view.
space needle
This one is out of order on purpose. The Space Needle in Seattle has been a dream since I was about 10. I desperately wanted to go to the World’s Fair and go up in it. Done!

I hope you enjoyed this little “slideshow” and promise to bring you more – very soon.

A Different Kind of Traveler

It’s been nearly a year since I posted here, October 31, 2017, and some will be wondering why. Why? Why would someone who so obviously loves to blog stop so suddenly and completely? That’s a good question with lots of answers, so I’ll break it down over two posts.

The first and most valid reason is that I stopped being the type of traveler I had been before and couldn’t quite figure out what to do with myself. I’ve found an adopted home, Manzanillo, Mexico and although I do still travel it’s not with the same appetite or purpose I previously felt.

When I began, I was looking for exactly what I’ve found, a place where I could retire comfortably. But in the searching, I quickly discovered I could easily keep traveling in SE Asia, and then Central America, on a tight budget. So that’s what I did, explore the world on my own.

Once I realized Manzanillo was the place for me, I lost that drive and when I have traveled it has been more as a tourist than an adventurer. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s whole different type of traveler.

That last post in Puerto Vallarta was with my daughter, Vanessa, who is an intrepid adventurer herself. But we were really spoiled in our Westin hotel and didn’t venture out as much as usual. She than came with me to Manzanillo, and I shared my new home with her. But it is a bit laidback – slow-paced – for someone thirty-plus years younger than me.

In the meantime, we went to Seattle and Vancouver, Canada, this summer and loved it! Especially Vancouver. And a few weeks later, Sedona, AZ. I’ll post pictures soon.

What I’ve come to realize is that my style of travel doesn’t match up with most people’s. I love to get into the culture, with regular locals. It takes me a good 10 days of living in a place to feel comfortable and familiar with how the population thinks and reacts to life; how the locals live. This is much more important to me than seeing all the sights. I still love sightseeing but would happily trade another temple for an hour people-watching any day. That makes me different and I realize it.

When I began this journey, seeming fairly proficient at getting from place to place and acquiring cheap accommodations, some friends asked for tips. I really couldn’t give them any, because I knew these folks would hate my choices. I don’t, generally, go in for the easy or particularly comfortable. Take riding the buses, both long-distance and locally. I have met very few people who I believe would enjoy those excursions, but I do. So, there you go.

That’s one reason, and the major one, why I quit posting to this blog. Although now, I realize I still have a lot to say about travel and even living in another country. So, hang on!

 

 

Two Gringas in Puerto Vallarta

IMG_1421
Pierside Puerto Vallarta – popular with the locals

Due to the lack of a computer, I haven’t been able to share pictures and my words online much. Now, however, I’ve been let loose with the addition of Lenny, my new laptop.

IMG_1328
Part of Westin’s lobby

So, this summer – mid-August – my daughter, Vanessa, and I took our annual two-week vacation together and started off in Puerto Vallarta, one of the Mexican cities that Southwest Airlines flies into. We stayed in the Westin, so we weren’t roughing it like I usually do, so it was a real treat for me.

IMG_1380
Liz and Dick – the city honors their love affair which built Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta was fun because we were together and being spoiled a bit, but I like being in the middle of the local populations much more. PV is a town centered around the tourist trade and very historical in that vein. I had no idea Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton has made the place famous back in the days of their love affair.

IMG_1341
The Marina which is just a few blocks away from the Westin. Nice area.

We came during a huge rainy season – torrential downpours and heavy winds, which I love but my poor daughter hates. However, we got plenty of sunshine and sightseeing in while we were there.

IMG_1416
We did people-watching from the balcony of our room.

We had a totally beach day, which was relaxing; including watching a beach wedding and nibbling on Mexican food brought by a cabana server! Our swimming was done in this gorgeous pool however, because of the jellyfish warnings. Not hard duty!

IMG_1426
On the ferry ride to Yelapa – lots of resorts along the way.

We took a ferry out to a little village at the mouth of the bay – Yelapa – which was quite the adventure, getting caught in drenching rain while waiting for the return ferry in the open. The ferry ride was really enjoyable, and I’m a sucker for a boat ride.

IMG_1435 (2)
Ferry dude and other passengers.

We also did the hotel’s free tour, which stopped at a tequila factory, glass shop, jewelry shop, and leather shop. We were a bust for all those shops, but had a good time checking it all out. Lunch in a jungle forest restaurant was quite nice and relaxing, all watched over by the café’s parrot.

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Candy maker in old PV. Nice guy and seems to love his job.
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Tequila school! Three little shots and I was not listening anymore.

A good time was had by the two gringas in Puerto Vallarta – nothing too crazy or out of line. We’ll have to try harder next time!

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The pier where you catch the ferry to Yelapa and other parts…

Back in the USA

Me at The Oasis (2)
My last Saturday in Manzanillo – fabulous beachside resort in the tony part of town.

I’ve just returned from my second Mexico visit and am staying in California for the moment. Time is oddly suspended when I’m back home, but I do know I’m probably here until January sometime.

I didn’t post much on Facebook this trip (without my laptop), because it’s so much harder to write on a phone. Emails were shorter, too. No project work could be done either, on Upwork or travel articles, so life was very simple. I also went through weeks without much in the way of Wi-Fi. I’m telling you, life really slows down without a computer and Wi-Fi.

My first trip to Mexico was wonderful. I loved everywhere I went and after finally landing in the beach town of Manzanillo, felt like I’d found my second home.

Turns out my second home is still wonderful…during the fall and winter. No more summer time visits for me. Between the humidity, bugs, water shutdowns, lack of computer and Wi-Fi and things like unannounced and extremely loud building renovations, I really didn’t enjoy this trip.

But there’s an upside to this. It made it so much easier to come home. Normally, it is a stretch for me to be back in the States for very long. This time, I find I’m relieved to find myself back in familiar and non-humid territory.

My plan is to stay in Manzanillo for five to six months each year, then head out for a few months of new travel. Perfect for me and a nice way to enjoy the warmer, beachy town I fell so hard for during March to June of last year.

I’m staying with one of my sisters as she recovers from surgery, so most of my posts will be from the Sacramento area of California, but I have so many subjects on life that I’ve just made notes for so hang on.