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Monday, September 5, 2016

More or Less - September 2016

Some of you expressed a desire to see my new haircut when I wrote about it in July.  I said I got it cut shorter because it was too hot on my neck and I didn't like having to wear it up because it made me look like a granny.  I didn't mention then that part of the reason was because I was going to Mexico in August and knew it would be hot and humid there.  NOW I know why women south of the border usually have long hair and no bangs--so they can pull it totally off their forehead and neck and restrain it in a neat bun!  This is what MY hair looked like in Mexico. . . .


I'd posted this photo on Facebook last year and the fact that it showed up as a "memory from the past" before we left should have been taken as a warning.  After a few days when I finally accepted that I couldn't control my hair I decided I might as well just forget about it and enjoy myself.  Which I did.  Towards the end of the week, though, "hairspray" entered my consciousness--I can't remember why now--so I went in search of hairspray so that I would at least look civilized for the photographs I knew would be taken at Alejandro's baptism.  I wonder what the clerk thought of me as I mimicked spraying my hair with an imaginary can of spray, patting my head in my attempt to tell her what I wanted.  Ken had not learned the Spanish for hair spray (it was not a word he ever thought he'd need).  The clerk got a step stool in order to reach the can I was pointing to.  It looked like it might be hair spray, but as I struggled with the words on the back of the can, hoping to find one that looked the same in English, I handed it back to her with my thanks, but no thanks.  I didn't want to spray something on my head not knowing for sure what it was!  So we kept searching the small stores that said "farmacias" until I saw "White Rain"!  This I knew.  It did help tame the frizzies, but underneath my hair still ballooned out like it was trying to escape its helmut.

Once I was home and looking at my photos I realize NOW just how great a week I had.  At the time I was overly consumed with how I looked with my hair all askew and how I felt because humidity seems to increase my inability to cope with the heat.  Now that I'm home with my tamed hair and air conditioning, I'm enjoying my week there much more.  NOW I'm wishing I'd made the effort to go back out and see more museums or browse more shops, or had taken the photo I'm now wishing I had to tell the story of our vacation better.

This whole episode raises the question for this month's conversation topic that Ken asked me the other day:  What was it about this vacation that made it so great so we can duplicate it?  This is my answer (not in any particular order)....
  1. One of us could speak enough of the language to help us get by.
  2. A car was not necessary to get around.  We could walk to everything we wanted to see from our hotel or take one of the many inexpensive cabs to it.
  3. We loved our hotel, and its location in the center of things meant we could return easily to take a nap and cool down.
  4. The people were extremely friendly and helpful--we never felt threatened even after dark.
  5. There was a lot of local history (ancient, in fact) that made the museums relevant and interesting.
  6. The architecture was beautiful and the city well-kept (except for the holes in the sidewalks!).
  7. Going out of the city to tour the ruins was easy to do with the many tours available (or in our case, we had family to take us one day and on another there were enough people to split the cost of an all-day cab to make it reasonable).
  8. Because the food was inexpensive I felt free to stop for refreshment in the many cafes as much as I wanted.
From now on I will keep my answers in mind as I plan our next vacation.  I know I may not be able to meet all of them in one place, but I will prioritize them to make sure I at least know the top 3 most important to me to ensure a successful vacation.

For Ken he said he liked feeling like a fish-out-of-water and would like more of that and less familiarity in the places we visit.  What about you?  What do you need more or less of to make a great vacation?


.•*¨`*•. ☆ .•*¨`*•

Take Joy!

14 comments:

  1. First off, I identify with the hair issues this summer. My hair grows by the minute in the humidity. It's a new thing for me as I remember as a child my Mama giving me and my sisters Toni Perms! My beautician recently recommended that I might want to consider a keratin treatment to help with the frizz. I'm a little skeptical, but I may try it. There are good keratin treatments and there are bad ones, but she assures me that her process is gentle.
    On the issue of a good vacation for us, it usually is the unknown places and the adventure that awaits. We love the museums and cultural aspects of visiting a foreign country. I love the best though, the fact that when we travel we discover folks want the same things all over the world! It makes me feel a closeness to my fellow man. ♥

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    1. I found I enjoyed just sitting on the park bench people watching. There were two older gentlemen next to us discussing some paperwork (Ken thought it had to do with real estate). We did not acknowledge each other but when we got up to leave they nodded and spoke to us as to say goodbye.

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  2. I haven't had a "real" vacation since the Summer before my senior year in high school when our marching band did a 2-week tour of western Europe. 275 students, parents & teachers in Germany Austria & Switzerland. A wonderful, wonderful trip, but obviously one I had absolutely no part in planning or arranging. So I don't think I can add much to this conversation. All I can say with confidence is that I'd avoid touristy seasons. Going in the "off-season" seems to make most trips much nicer in most regards [except when it just wouldn't work, such as "leaf-peeping" time in New England. No choice - just gotta do that in the Fall - LOL]. But it will be interesting to read what others think. Your own "bullets" were very relevant, I think. I have to admit, Mexico wasn't a place I'd been wildly-anxious to see beforehand, but after reading your post today, it's moved up MUCH higher on my list. And it certainly always helps to have family or friends who can provide first-hand information, recommendation, tips etc. Personally knowing the "reviewers" makes a testimonial much more believable. Oh, and I love people-watching too. Even when I'm just waiting in line somewhere, I find myself scoping out what's going on in the store, in the parking lot, other nearby stores & attractions etc. Funny story too. A few years back my niece and I were sitting in the Starbucks cafe at Barnes & Noble, having coffee while bookshopping. There were 2 elderly Italian men - had to be in the 80s - sitting at one of the window tables with their little espresso cups, chattering away in Italian. They were so cute. Julia had just returned from a trip to Europe of her own [Paris, Rome & Brussels I think] so she was loving hearing the language. Then she went off to look for more books. I stayed to relax, finish my coffee and read. But I couldn't, because I was continually and so pleasantly-distracted, in the nicest possible way, by the Italian conversation. Now of course I had no clue as to what they were saying, but it just sounded SO lovely. When we were getting ready to go, we introduced ourselves and I told them how pleasant it had been to sit there and hear these old friends chattering away, enjoying their coffee, the sunny window, that special wonderful smell all bookstores have etc. And the Italian gentlemen couldn't have been nicer back. Adorably cute. They switched to nearly-flawless English and answered a bunch of questions Julia had about Rome, and we ended up chatting with them for about ½ hour more. One of my fondest "travel" memories and I hadn't even left the country to have it! 🌍

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    1. I love your Italian story, Janet! But I can't believe you haven't taken a "real" vacation since high school! Wasn't you that said you've always wanted to go to Cape Cod. September would be a great month to do it since the tourists are gone and it's still warm enough to stroll on the beach. I wouldn't worry about going alone because you sound like the type who would make friends easily once you got there. When my second son traveled alone in South America he connected with people from all over the world and had some great adventures with them.

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    2. Yes, Cathy - I'd LOVE to go to Cape Cod. I know I've "been there" in past lives, but I'd love to see it this time around too - LOL. I think September is probably the very best time to see the Cape - September & October. No crowds and lots of nice warm ocean air still around. I'd also like to see Big Sur & the redwoods - and San Francisco - and London - and Vermont - and Hawaii - and anywhere in Italy or the Greek islands - and all along the Meditteranean Riviera - and back to Switzerland again. And a rail trip in the the Canadian Rockies. And anywhere in the Canadian Maritime islands too. Just beautiful places to me, all of them. It seems to have been a comedy of errors however. When I had the time in my 20s/30s, there was no spare $. None. And now that I could afford a trip, I'm too creaky to get around without issues. I know I wouldn't mind going alone either, in fact lots of people say it's the best way to travel really. Like a place and stay for a while. Not so crazy about it - move on quickly. But luckily there is an Internet and YouTube now - and I have visited many places online [even via live cams]. So I don't feel too deprived. πŸ’›

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    3. Janet, I can relate to the creaky part, but a train ride across Canada with a compartment, like Susan Branch travels, sounds like just the ticket. Who knows you'd meet in the dining car! You could use the time to write a story that the trip inspires (after dark since I'm sure you wouldn't want to take your eyes off the scenery!).

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    4. Oooh, that's such a good idea. Wouldn't that be sublime? A cozy train compartment and a view of the Canadian Rockies! I've seen the Alps so it would be fun to compare them. And I'd feel like I was in the middle of a WWII spy movie. Or Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express. My parents often talked about doing some train travel too. My Dad had emphysema and couldn't really walk an awful lot, even with his oxygen tank. They wanted to see Lake Louise especially. Talked about it for years. And my Dad REALLY wanted to see Ireland. He had been in the Army in the early 50s and luckily was sent to Berlin instead of Korea. One Spring for his furlough or break or whatever it was, he got the opportunity for a 2-week whirlwind tour of Europe led by the Catholic priest on his base [Dad served as an altar boy at the base chapel]. A trip he talked about as long as I knew him. Dad had been looking forward to revisiting a lot of those spots, this time with Mom. And they died within 16 months of each other, so I hope the minute they were together again they set off to do all the traveling they didn't get the chance to do here.

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    5. Janet, does this mean you are seriously considering this? Once you get to Vancouver you must hop on over to Vancouver Island--a very magical place.

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    6. Yes, Cathy - actually I am. I don't know why but I hadn't really thought about the train before. Um-Day! That would be a definite do-able possibility. My Mom loved the train and after she became an empty-nester she & a clutch of her girlfriends would take the train into NYC every year for a long weekend in December to see the lights, NY during the holidays, the show at Radio City Music Hall etc. They always went to a little hole-in-the-wall restaurant in little Italy for a really incredible meal too. And Mom always said the best part of the train was that someone else did the driving - so you could concentrate on the scenery. πŸš…

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  3. I've always wanted to travel for as long as I can remember. I've been to Jamaica, Bahamas, Mexico, Key West, Tortugas, blue ridge mountains & a brief time in California. I would love to go to the Grand Canyon. Living in Florida with flat lands I yearn to spend time in the mountains. I sure did enjoy spending time with you & Ken as well as time in PA & Delaware. I enjoyed reading this blog! Love, Sis

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    1. I hope you will make your dream to see the Grand Canyon happen!

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  4. Your husband's comment is so interesting. That he likes feeling like a fish out of water. I'd rather blend in and am not so good at unfamiliar places though we had done plenty of that kind of traveling, mainly attached to work. We do hope to visit California, and though I've never desired to visit Mexico you make it sound very inviting. It seems like our visits to exotic places are short, I would like to rent a cottage in Cotswold for a week or two and really live there. That might be a dream vacation of mine.

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    1. Dotsie, we talk of going to Britain for at least 3 weeks (or more!) I'd select the 3 areas I most wanted to see and stay in one place and make day trips in the area. The other option would be to stay in a different B&B every night. That way you'd meet more people. We saw more Mexicans on vacation in August than foreigners since August is not the best time to go to Mexico if you don't like heat and humidity. Alejandro's other grandmother said December and January are the best months to be in Merida weather-wise. We rented a carriage house when we went to Martha's Vineyard for a week. It was great! We toured different towns and areas each day. Bought groceries and made breakfast and supper. We ate out for lunch. Even attended church. One night we went to the Friday night Lobster sandwich night at another church and sat with a couple who retired there from our area. Their grandchildren come up each summer to stay with them on the island. Sounds ideal to me!

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