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Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Mumbai Airport

Remind me to NEVER fly through the Mumbai Airport as a transit passenger again. Please, in case I forget in the future and say, "wow, this flight through Mumbai is much faster than the one through X city," PLEASE do not let me do it.

Let me first say that I think this issue is not really Mumbai's fault. I don't think they get a lot of international transit passengers like other places do. One reason I say that is that the transit area that you can go into is VERY small AND it was empty each time I went. :) I think most people fly to Mumbai because they are going there or they are going somewhere in India. I might be wrong, but that is the feeling I got.

So, we were delayed by almost an hour leaving KL. Of course, I knew I would want a bottle of water for medicine and just to drink since my throat was sore and I was hacking up a lung (don't you wish you were sitting next to ME on the plane). I bought a water and a diet coke for 8 RM. I was all happy and proud, and then I had to go through a security thing at the gate itself. And I couldn't bring my drinks. :( :( Very sad moment. So, they start boarding the flight on time, and then all of the sudden they announce that they are going to stop boarding. They don't get the people off which I think is a good sign. I am worried because there is only one flight from Mumbai to Atlanta a day. Since I don't have a visa in India, I would rather stay in KL if I am going to be stuck for another day. I want to get home, so I just sit there playing all of the scenarios out in my head. Finally, they say that they are going to start boarding and that the delay was due to the air traffic in Mumbai.

I get on the plane, and I am sitting next to a nice lady wearing orange and white. I felt right at home. The flight is rough on the way to Mumbai, but not too bad. I sleep for a while, and I watched TV for the rest. Somewhere along the way, I hear that the delay was due to a mechanical issue. Of course, I think of this every time the ride is rough. There was a really nice flight attendant who brought me hot water with lemon and honey to see if it would help my throat. It did help for a bit.

We land in Mumbai, and I now only have a little over an hour. I have a man who takes me to the transit area and he tells this other man that I am a "Hot Transfer" which I assumed meant there wasn't much time. One of them goes to get my luggage moved and the other goes to get my boarding pass. I am left alone again with no passport, but this time I was at least in public. :) After about 35 minutes, the first man comes back and says he got my luggage. Then, almost immediately, the other man comes and says that he got my boarding pass. So, they tell me that I have to go back through security and that I need to hurry because the flight leaves in 30 minutes and is already boarding.

The nice hot transfer man takes me to security. I almost pass out as the line was REALLY long. The nice hot transfer man was going to take me to the front of the line, but this evil lady says, "the American will wait in the line like all of the other passengers." Well, that wasn't very nice at all! The nice man wants to help and I can see that. I just follow him and I see him looking to help me. Then, he sees that hateful woman staring at him, so he goes over to her. He makes a motion to me to go in front of everyone. I feel a little weird pushing my way through such a long line in a foreign country, and I don't want to do it. But, I don't want to be stuck in the transit area for 24 hours either. I must look worried as this very, very, very kind woman asks what time my flight is. I tell her 12:10, and she says that I must go. She says to just go through the line and just keep saying 12:10, 12:10 and that people will let me through. So, I do what she says with a lot of "excuse me" and "I'm sorry" and "thank you so much." I get to the front (finally!), and there is this security man there. He has to put some tags on my carry on bag which I think is weird but I don't dare question. He sends me on my way. I go through security, and then lady wands me (no alarm went off) AND she pats me down - a lot. Then, she says that my boarding pass doesn't have DT on it, so I must go BACK trough the line of all of those people and get them to put DT on it. WHAT??????????????????????????????? This other lady says that I should refuse and she is arguing with them about the same issue, but I am a foreigner here so I just start going back through the line with tears in my eyes but refusing to cry. I now have about 20 minutes to my flight. I think I am not going to make it, but I am trying so hard.

I get back to that mean woman, and I tell her that someone didn't do their job and my ticket doesn't say DT on it. She hastily writes DT on it. GRRRRR....she doesn't even put initials or anything. I could have written DT, but I didn't want to go to Indian jail so I didn't.

I make my way BACK through ALL of the people with more "excuse me" and "I'm sorry" and "thank you so much." I get back to the lady who made me do that and she wands me AGAIN. She then says I can go. I am so thankful that my two carry on bags are there (my computer, phone, wallet, everything was in those bags but they made me leave them).

I run to the gate where this lady is waiting for me and asks if I am going to Atlanta. "Mrs. Gleason, you are very late" she says to me. I fight the urge to explain and just say that my inbound flight was delayed. She says I have to put my bag through the screening thing AGAIN at the gate. Man, this is one secure plane! So, my bags go through again and then she takes me to this curtain area. Here, this woman doesn't even wand me. Instead, she pats down EVERY inch of my body. I think we are dating now. She decides that I don't have anything hidden in my bra or panties, and she lets me go. I think I am done, but NOOOOOOOOOOOOO....

So, then, the lady opens this door and there is this LONG metal staircase outside. She says we hvea to go identify my bags. Seriously????? So, I lug my stuff down this slanted, metal staircase hoping that it doesn't fall, and I see my suitcases on the ground at about halfway (just kidding, I could see them the whole way). So, I get all the way down there where it is very loud, and the lady asks me nine million security questions. "Where have your bags been?" Uh, duh, on the plane? "Did you pack them?" Oh yes, and I had to go shopping to buy that other bag because I had too much stuff...oh, sorry, short answers, yes. "Do you have any weapons?" no. "Anything that LOOKS like a weapon?" No. "Did anyone give you anything?" No. "Do you have any liquids?" In my checked luggage? uh, yeah, isnt' that why you have checked luggage?? No, I did't say that out loud but I wanted to say it. I just said yes, in my checked bag and the allowed size in my carry on. And on and on and on. I think there must be a camera somewhere, but she keeps going. Finally, she says that if I swear I have been truthful that I can go back up the stairs. I lug my stuff BACK up the stairs (praying that they don't fall), and I get on the plane. Of course, by now, I am THE last person on the plane. THE last one. Do you think there is a place to put my bag in the overhead? You guessed it. NO! :) Before I can have a breakdown, a nice flight attendant comes and says that there is room in first class for it. Whew. I sit down in my seat, drop my backpack, and collapse for a second. MAYBE 10 seconds. This guy next to me says, "can you put that bag under the seat?" OBVIOUSLY, he did not know what my last hour was like. So, I ask him if he can just please give me a minute to get settled and that yes it will go under the seat. Even tough I was prepared to hate him, he actually was nice once the evil bag was properly stored. :)

I watched Lost, so I am now all caught up. :) I watched "Definitely Maybe" and I watched "Love Actually." They were good. I also took ambien and slept. Ahhhh...sleep. 18 hours is a LONG time. A really long time on a plane. I was very happy to land in Atlanta.

When we get off the plane, I notice that most of the flights say cancelled. UH OH. My flight was delayed about an hour, but it wasn't too bad.

So, remember, friends don't let friends transit in Mumbai. :) And, this is not a reflection of Mumbai - just the airport. :)

In Mumbai Airport

Hopefully, this will go better than last time. I am in a public room
this time with other transfers so at least I am not alone. :) He said
that he would be back in 30 min and I have less than an hour tip my
flight so I hope he is fast. We had a delay of almost n hour in KL.

Sent from my iPhone

On the way home

I am in the airport in KL, but there is some delay. I am nervous as
there is not a huge layover in Mumbai. Hopefully we will start
boarding again soon. I bought so much stuff that I had to go out today
and buy an entire suitcase to fit it all. Will post from Mumbai
(hopefuly).

Sent from my iPhone

Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday in KL





































Today ended the exhibit hall hours for HIMSS AsiaPac. We had a fantastic day! I got to learn more about how clinics and operate here, and then we went sightseeing. We went to the Batu caves which was really, really, really cool. When you arrive, there is this HUGE gold statue. There are 272 steps to walk up to get to the caves. I was thinking - 272, how bad can it be? Well, the first thing is that there are monkeys all around. These monkeys need to go to the bathroom, so they pee on the steps. Then, the steps are pretty steep, and the fact that it is 272 in a row makes it a difficult climb. This nice couple told us at about step 60 that it helps if you walk in a diagonal cross pattern (walk at an anle to the right and then walk at an agle to the left and then to the right and then to the left, etc). that it helps. It did help a ton. At one point, my legs were killing me. Apparently a monkey came up right behind me. Jose says, "Amy, there is a monkey behind you" in a quiet voice. I forgot all about my legs hurting and I starting MOVING up the stpos quickly. :)

When you get to the top, there is the very cool cave, and then you go up more steps - LOL - and there are Indian gods around and more clave looking statues. We hang for a bit and then we start the trek down. I think my ear is still bothering me as I kept getting dizzy.

After the template, we went to the Central Market and shopped. It was really good, and I hope I have enough room to bring it all back!!! I am falling asleep so I will write more tomorrow.

Ok, I am awake again, and I can now continue. :) After shopping, we went back to the hotel, and we changed quickly and went to dinner. We ate at the Wasabi restaurant at the hotel, and the food was fantastic. The service wasn't so good though, but we had a good time eating and laughing. Jose and Ryan had to leave for the airport after dinner, but Christy, Matt, and I went to the bar in the lobby for a bit. Then, we went to the Sky Bar. It is really cool because it is by a pool (although you can't swin which is a little odd and I was scared someone was going to fall in all night when dancing). You can see the Twin Towers (Petronas Towers) perfectly from the bar, and they are all lit up until midnight. It was a spectacular sight (also fabulous as described by the local who told us to go there). We had a good time, talking, dancing, and taking in the sights. Christy and Matt went to the Discotheque, but I was coughing (have had a sore throat, couch, and NO voice all day) and decided I should go to bed.

It was a fantastic day. It was my last full day in KL, and I have some time tomorrow before I leave.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday in KL

































Today started a bit frantic as I got busy this morning and then had to rush getting ready. I missed breakfast, and I was mad because we didn't get a break in the exhibit hall until 2:00. Thankfully, Christy brought me a muffin from Starbucks, and it was actually fantastic (banana chocolate chip).

We ate lunch at The Dome again, and this time I had the vegetarian bruschetta. Man, was it good. We had it as an appetizer and then I ordered it for my meal. After the hall closed, we quickly went to change clothes and then we went to the Central market. The taxi ride took forever because traffic was bad. The market was kind of cool to see as it was like a mall but it had little booths instead of stores. You had to bargin to get the prices down (I suck at barganing with people but thankfully Jose was good at it and he was with me). I didn't get much, but I got a couple of things to bring back. We also saw a foot spa where the fish eat the skin off of your feet. I think we might try it tomorrow as I am told it is something you should experience once. While we were looking at it, I met a guy who was raised in Nashville and went to UT. What a small world!

After the Central market, we went to the Night Market which is much more like street market with people coming up to you and harrassing you. We ate at a chinese place that I was very scared of. I hope I am not sick tomorrow. :) The food was pretty good but I stuck with the rice and noodles for the most part. :) They asked if we wanted large or small beers and all of us said large except for Christy. When they say large, they mean it! These were these enormous bottles of beer.

When we got back to the hotel, there were clouds in the night sky that looked really cool against the Petronas Towers (Twin Towers), so we took some pictures.

When I got back to my room, I cracked up that the ftuit was bananas. It has been a little more exotic than that most days, so for some reason the banana just had me howling.




Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wednesday in KL

So, I had called for a wake up call, and I completely forgot about it. So, I woke up early and went to breakfast. I came back to the room, and a few minutes later the doorbell rings. I think it is odd, so I look out the peephole and ask who is there. The man says the concierge and I see three hotel staff people. So, I open the door. They tell me that I had a wake up call and I hadn't answered the phone. I was amazed that THREE people came to the room.

Each day, the hotel brings a different fruit to the room. Today, it was pears. It has been something different each day. It is a nice touch.

We went to The Dome restaurant for lunch, and I had a chicken pot pie. It was pretty good, but I bit into a bone halfway through and kind of got creeped out. It is at the mall next to the hotel. I had to go to the restroom while we were there, so I went downstairs and waited in the long line. The lady walks out of the last stall, and I start to walk in there. It is a squat toilet, so I quickly walk back out. Then, when a stall came available, the restroom attendant sprayed down the toilet and put toilet paper on the seat for me. I was embarrased, but it was a very nice gesture.

After the show, I went to eat with Jose and Ryan. First, we had a drink in the lobby with the rest of the crew (they were having dinner with a client). I ordered a jack and coke, and they bring the coke in a little pitcher and the glass with just the jack. It was nice because you got to mix it how you liked it. :) Ryan is in love with the food court at the mall, so we went there. I wasn't feeling too well (sore throat - grrr), and I couldn't decide what I wanted to eat. I finally decided to get kim bop at the Korean place. I ended up with ALL of this food - soup, rice, some bowl of other stuff, and the kim bop. The Kim Bop was really good. The rest, not so much.

I was so exhausted. I guess it is the time change. I took a nyquil and went straight to sleep.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Luggage is here, Luggage is here, Luggage is here!

So, do you think all of the tags they put on it might have added to the confusion??????????



The Suitcase - Isn't it beautiful and all in once piece. :)

Evil zip ties on the zippers. Grrrrr....My knife got them though. :)


Who cares that it is 2am, my LUGGAGE IS HERE!!!!! I am so happy that I am not sure I will be able to go back to sleep :) It arrived in one piece, and it had the zippers locked with ziptie things. I think that was a little bit of a cruel joke because I got it, and I am excited. I can't open it, and I have to go find something to cut it with. There is a silverware set in my room for the fruit, and I used that knife to split it. I have now found the things that need pressing and hung everything up or put it in a drawer. I am so happy that I can slee in a comfy tshirt! WOOOOO HOOOOOO!

Now, I need to calm down to go back to sleep.

Tuesday in KL

Snacks in the lobby - one is a flavored chip that takes kind of like a sweeter barbeque, one was a nut covered in curry, and one was "american pretzels". All of it was YUM.


So, I was a little down about my suitcase not arriving, and I didn't even have my stuff to do my crazy hair. So, I decided to see if the hair salon at the hotel could fix it in between meetings. The man was very friendly and he washed it first in a basin. The chair next to the basin was so comfortable. I definitely could sleep there. :) He massaged my head, and it was very relaxing. Then, he fixed my hair so straight that it is amazing and he didn't even use a flat iron. He said that there is a bonding process you can do to straighten it and that it will be straight forever. He did then say that you might have to touch up the roots...hmmmm....anyway, he said you could just let it air dry and it would be straight. I have loved having curly hair at times, but most of the time it is just a pain. So, I am thinking about it.

The show opened today, and I wore my only nice outfit that was in my carry on. The green shirt and black slacks. I didn't have a jacket, but I think it was ok. I received a message tonight that my luggage should be here tomorrow at 7am (well at the airport). The show opens tomorrow at 11, so hopefully it will get here in time for me to change.

I am about to go to dinner in my red shirt that I bought here just because I don't dare wear the green one in case something tragic happens to it. :)

We are going to eat at a Japanese place tonight. I am excited. I do have a call tonight at 9 this time, but otherwise, it should be a good night.
The Japanese place was very good. I had some strange type of Martini with some pear like fruit it it that was very good. I think they called it a leche martini or something like that. I had some sushi and some tempura for dinner. YUM

Monday, February 23, 2009

Still No Luggage

My suitcase did not arrive. Delta says it made it to Mumbai. Malaysia Air says it didn't arrive on the flight today and that it cannot arrive until tomorrow at 7am. I am so frustrated.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Made it to Kuala Lumpur!

Awww. the pulled down my bead for me nad put slippers down! THAT's HOT


This was a snapshot of the Indian food on the table mainly for my Indian friends.


View from the hotel in Kuala Lumpur





Converse Store in KL (this is for you Morgan)



Sample shot of the mall


Toilet in India





KLIA Express Train






picture of view from train




Whoa...that was a LONG haul. I left the hotel in Cancun at 9:20am, and I ended up leaving Cancun on SATURDAY around 11:40am. I left Atlanta at 6:20pm, and I landed in Mumbai around 8pm. I left Mumbai at 11:55pm and landed in KL at 7am on MONDAY. The long flight from Atlanta to Mumbai is by far the longest flight I have done, and I was really worried about how I would entertain myself. Thankfully, it had those little tvs on the back of each seat, and I watched lots of tv shows and I watched Sex and the City - the movie. The served this chicken Indian dish that was really good, and I had a really nice man sitting in my row who lives in Milwalkee now but is from India. We were lucky and had the middle seat empty. Trying to make sure I stayed plenty hydrated (no evil stones needed!), I must have gone to the bathroom a million times so I was glad that I had an aisle seat even though I originally wanted a window. I read, slept, and watched the tv thing. The time actually passed MUCH faster than I thought I was.





When we arrive in Mumbai, there is major confusion on where I should go. Delta finally tells me to go to the right where it says International Transfers. I only have a transit ticket, so I can't leave the airport. I get to the desk and this man asks where the Delta rep is that was supposed to come with me. I say that they told me to walk around this way. Back to the gate I go and return with a Delta rep. Then, they sit me in this room, take my passport, take my baggage claim, and take my itinerary, and they say that I cannot be released until they claim my luggage and take care of my immigration. Ok, seems ok with me at this point. An hour and a half later, I am freaking out. Even though I had over 3 hours between flights, time is ticking and they are not talking to me. I finally demand to know what is going on and ask for my passport back. They say that they cannot find my luggage and that they cannot "release me" to Malaysia Air without it. Finally, I send an email to Mike and Mark and hope one of them is by their email. Then, this other baggage man comes and says he unloaded it and it isn't there. So, I am frantic now as I picture myself stuck here waiting on luggage that nobody knows where it could be. I know Mike is out getting Sophie and Morgan, so I call Mark. He called Delta and found out that my bag was stuck in Atlanta. Thankfully, the Delta lady he spoke to pushed a message out that they could see. This message allowed them to release me. WHEW.



Then, I went through Immigration and went to my gate. I got another big bottle of water. I was amazed at KFC and Burger King in the Mumbai airport. I also had to go to the restroom pretty badly after all of that waiting. So, I wheel my bag in and almost pass out when I see the toilet. There is no seat. While I certainly have heard this before, I guess I wasn't prepared for it, and I especially wasn't prepared when I needed to go badly. To keep from getting too graphic, there are these stairs and I have a briefcase on wheels. I have a bit of a challenge getting it in the room without getting it wet. Then, I try to figure out what to do. I am so not sure I did it correctly, but I went. :)





I board the flight to Kuala Lumpur, and I prepare for another 5 hours on the plane. This one has two seats, then 5 seats, then 2 seats in each row. I have an aisle again, and thankfully, it also had the little tvs. This flight seemed to drag, but I did sleep for an hour or two. We land and it is 7am. What a shock to my body! I rush to the restroom, and I am shocked to find that the same hole in the floor toilets are there. I have heard how modern KL is, so I was surprised. Again, not a big deal after I get over the surprise, and I take the little train to the Arrival Area. Since I have no baggage to collect, I ask where to report my missing bag. I find the desk and fill out my report. She says that it should arrive tomorrow 0n the same flight I came in on. She says to call with my room number when I can.





I take the KLIA Express service to the hotel. It was great. I had a porter who came along (at no extra fee - ha ha), and he carried my luggage (I don't really have any except the briefcase!) onto the train and RIDES it with me to the central station. He then takes me to a driver who takes me to the hotel. It was nice.





The Mandarin Oriental hotel is really nice. Unfortunately, they only have smoking rooms available even though I had a guaranteed confirmed room for last night so that I would have a room when I got here. I think, "How bad can it be?" I laugh about how ironic it is that I never could seem to get a smoking room when I smoked, but now that I don't I get them ALL the time. I walk into the room and it is awful. SMOKEY is an understatement. YUCK! They bring some spray stuff and say they will try to move me tomorrow if they have a room available. The spray does help thankfully.





I take a quick shower - aahhhhh. I start to flood the bathroom as I didn't understand the drain. OOPS...Thank goodness there were a lot of towels. Then, I can't get the hair dryer to work as it appears you have to hold this little button down. Since I only have dress slacks and a dress shirt and the outfit I have worn for 2 days, I am pondering what to wear. I need the dress outfit, so I decide to go back to the plane outfit. LOVELY....





I decide that I should try to iron my slacks and shirt. Hmmm...can't get the iron to work. I finally figure out that the plug has a little switch on it similar to the switch on a power strip. Whew.



I meet Christy for breakfast. The buffet is amazing, and it even had chocolate chip pancakes. Morgan would have been proud. I can't get my phone to work, and Christy says she had to take the battery out of hers. Hmmm...the iphone doesn't have a removable battery. Finally, I find out that I need to pick a specific carrier. Once I pick it, then I can call out and use email again. WOO HOO! I talk to Mike and Morgan, and they are doing well even though Morgan is still doing homework and is falling asleep. I miss them a lot already.



Now, I need to stay awake to get on this time change, and I need to have something to wear to dinner. So, off to the mall I go. The mall is right next door, and it is a multi-floor huge mall. I finally find a department store kind of place, and I got a shirt, some face powder, brown eyeliner, and some lip gloss. Oh yeah, I also got deodorant. Whew...I think I am set until tomorrow now.



So, it is now 3:23pm on Monday here (2:23am at home), and I am in the room. Christy and I are going to go do some exploring soon before dinner. I will update more later!




Update from Monday evening!


We went to dinner at an Indian restaurant. It was really good. We had buttered Naan, rice, samosa for an appetizer, chicken tikki masa for dinner (some people had Rogan Josh and Prawn Biryani). It was really good.

Test Email Blog



Since I am bored in the Mumbai airport holding cell, I thought it was a good time to test mobile blogging via email. Let's see if it works!

Sent from my iPhone

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Travel Day(s)

I am in the Atlanta airport waiting for my flight to Mumbai. I had good luck in Cancun, and they were looking for a single traveler to Atlanta to take the earlier flight in business class. :) So, I got here early and got a good seat! :)

I was so proud to be an American today as I was going through Immigration in Atlanta. People were trying so hard to help those who didn't speak English. Even at the McDonald's counter, they were really trying. I did notice that the speed is MUCH faster here than in Cancun. The lines move, and people are always saying hurry up! over here! In Mexico, it seems that people are more patient,

I am in the Crown room getting ready for my LONG flight to Mumbai. I will be spending the night on the plane, so I won't be posting until at least tomorrow - maybe Monday.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Friday in Cancun - Last Full Day :(


Today, it was overcast when we woke up. The girls were excited about the treasure hunt activity that started at 10am. By 9:45, it had started raining. :( Grams and I went to see if we could start laundry while the girls went to check out the treasure hunt. The laundry attendant said that we needed to come back because they were all full. Grams and Papa were on the computer in the sports bar area, and I went to check on the girls. They were just starting the treasure hunt, and they divided into a white team and a black team. They first went to the sports bar area! The chips were hidden right by Grams and Papa. It was too funny. Then, they went to the lobby. Last, they went to the store. In each place, they had to find a white chip and a black chip. Morgan found one and Emily found two. The other two spots were outside, but they didn't do that because it was raining. They each got a sucker and a coupon for a coke.

Meanwhile, Grams and I went back to the laundry. Here, she has you weigh your clothes as they can't be more than 4 lbs. Thankfully, none of ours were. We started the wash and went back to check on Papa and the girls. Mike has come down now, and I have to go to Thomas Moore to arrange for my return trip to the airport. I thought there was an error on our bill, but there was not. I heard the rental car person warning these two ladies about getting stopped by the police. Glad our experience paid off for someone else.

We ate lunch in the sports bar area. Grams and I had nachos, Mike had calamari, Morgan had a hot dog - oh wait, she ORDERED a hot dog but didn't like it so ordered a grilled cheese, Emily had - wait for it, wait for it, CHEESE PIZZA! We hung out and had a good time. We finished our laundry and then we went back to the room to prepare for going shopping. No rainy day is going to get us down! :)

We had a good time looking around the mall. Poor Grams only bought a bathing suit for Morgan (Trust me, you do NOT want to take Emily and Morgan bathing suit shopping unless you have a LOT of time for trying on) and ice cream for the girls. Mike and Emily got some things to take home to their family. Morgan and Emily got these oyster shells with pearls in them for a necklace. They were so excited that they could barely talk.

Tonight, we just packed up and relaxed in the condo. We had pizza delivered to the room. We paid our bill so that we are allowed to leave tomorrow. :)I leave at 9:20, and Mike leaves with the girls at 2:20. I am excited and nervous about my big adventure. I can't believe I will be in 4 different countries over the next 2 days! I hope I don't go crazy on the plane. I will update as I go.

Pictures from Thursday and Friday are here
http://picasaweb.google.com/Volgirl71/CancunThursAndFri

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thursday in Playa Del Carmen

Today, we got up a little earlier than normal, and the girls went to paint t-shirts. Emily painted a turtle, and Morgan painted dolphins. Then, we rented a car (a Durango), and we packed our stuff to go to Playa Del Carmen for the day. Papa had to leave a 450 dollar deposit for the car. YIKES...Mike starts out driving, and we only make it a couple of miles before we get pulled over. We had carefully been watching the speed limit signs, and they said 70 km/hr. Mike was only going 60 km/hr at the highest, but the cop said that he was going 80. The cop also said it was 40 in the hotel zone in places, and that he was going 80 in the 40. Of course, this is BS but what are you going to do? So, the cop says that Mike can either have his license taken and go to the police station the next day (it supposedly takes a day to do the paperwork) and pay the $150 (that is US - not pesos) fine OR he can do it the "easy" way and pay $150 now and get his license back. So, Mike says he will pay now, and the cop gives him a book to put the money in so that nobody will see it. Mike is so mad that steam is coming from his ears. I want to take a picture, but Grams won't let me. It is insane that they can get away with this. As we sat there, another rental car was pulled over too. As we have talked to people, we have heard more and more that they target the rentals. The even crazier part is that we were being passed by ALL of the cars and even the BUSES when we were pulled over - not those cars or buses - just us.

So, Mike says he is done with driving, and Papa takes over. We go below the speed limits the entire way there. I have the brilliant idea to make Morgan do her math in the car since she is trapped. Apparently, this was not so brilliant. Who knew? She complained the ENTIRE time. "I don't understand" and "I don't know how" and "I don't get it" and on and on. I was ready to pull her out of the car and spank her, but I didn't dare ask them to stop the car! :)

We went shopping in Playa Del Carmen, and Morgan, Emily, Mike, and I all found stuff. We had a really good time walking down 5th Avenue which is a pedestrian street filled with shops - some open air places and some actual stores.

After shopping, we went to the Royal Haciendas resort where Grams and Papa stay next week. It is very different than the Royal Sands, but it is very nice. It has very pretty grounds, and the beach is awesome. It has some hammocks to lie in as well. The units have a little nicer furnishings, and they have awesome showers. We ate the buffet (Morgan had grilled cheese and Emily had chicken nuggets). It was very good. Then, we swam in the pool, and we had a drink at the pool bar (the Royal Sands has MUCH better bartenders) even though they have no vacation-sized drinks at this one - BUMMER. Then, the girls went to the beach and played.

As we started the drive back, the traffic was really backed up. We got nervous as Grams and Papa got stuck in some military stop last week, but this turned out to be brief and was just caused by road construction. When we get close to Cancun, Grams tells Papa to go straight where we should have turned right. OOPS...:) We got to see the University of Cancun, and then we turned around and came back. We had to get some gas for the rental, and they pump your gas (in liters) for you.

We were all happy to be back at the Sands. Home sweet home. Well, for one more day. Another fun filled and exciting day of vacation! I will post pictures later.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Wednesday in Cancun


Lazy day. This has been the most lazy day so far. We relaxed in the condo this morning, and then we went to breakfast. After breakfast, we have hung out in the condo listening to the Obama mortgage plan and wondering if it will be good or bad. It all seems pretty scary to me. He keeps saying that there are rules to make it fair, but it doesn’t really seem fair at all to me. Emily’s mom was calling at noon, so we just hung out in the room. The girls decided to play with pipe cleaners in the room (Grams brought them – woo hoo Grams!) until bracelet making and sand art start at 2 and 3 at the Kids Center.


Grams and I went with the girls to make bracelets and to finish their sand art. We ended up being there for 2 and a half hours. They had a good time, and I had fun talking to Grams. It is nice to see Grams so relaxed.


After the art extravaganza, we went back to the room and got ready for our journey to the La Isla Mall. We took the bus to the mall. Grams had counted out the 6 1/2 pesos each that it would take to ride, and we all had our coins in hand. The bus was packed, so we had to stand. This very nice man gave up his seat for Emily and Morgan (they shared it). I think the girls were surprised by how fast the bus starts and stops.


We walked through the mall, and it was really nice. It is an outdoor mall that seemed to have a variety of things. The girls found this blue shirt (well, it is really a dress for a smaller child but they decided it was the perfect shirt). Grams and I talk them into waiting to get it, so we go looking some more. They don't see anything else, and we decide to go eat at Chilis. We know the girls like it there. Papa and I had fajitas, and Mike wanted fajitas but got some shimp and chicken that wasn't fajitas. Emily had....wait for it, wait for it....cheese pizza! Morgan had a hamburger. Grams had a mushroom burger. We had margaritas, and the girls had chocolate milk. It wasn't chocolatey enough, so they asked for more chocolate. I wanted to ask for more tequilla at that point, but I was brave. :) The food was good, and the girls split a chocolate lava cake.


After dinner, they went back and bought the shirt/dress, and they saw a headband thing that matched it and got those too. Then, they saw earrings. This lady had given Mike a coupon, and he had an extra one that he gave to the girls. They each bought earrings. They were so happy with their purchases. They kept the mexican Chili's kids menu, the bus tickets, and their purchases to take back from Mexico. :)


We rode the bus back, but we got to sit down this time. It was rather funny when we got off because Grams was nervous and kept telling everyone to only cross halfway across the street. Poor Grams was looking out for us, but then we had to tease her and ask every two minutes if we could keep walking. :)


It was a fun, relaxing day. I cannot believe it is already WEDNESDAY NIGHT! Man...too fast...but awesome times we have had so far.


Here are the pictures from today


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Tuesday in Cancun







Today is horseback riding day. We have signed up to go on a horseback ride that also allows you to swim with the horses. It is at a ranch called Loma Bonita. We decide that the morning would be cooler, so we signed up for the one that requires you arrive at the mall (near the hotel) by 7:40 am. So, I get a wake up call for 6:15, and I set my alarm on my iphone for 6:25. The wake up call comes. UGH…is it really time to get up? We don’t move. Next, there is this noise that sounds like a fire alarm. I have never used the alarm on my phone, so I didn’t know what it sounded like. I realize that is what it is, and I go RUNNING to the bathroom to shut it off before it wakes Grams and Papa. Whew…

After I get dressed, I pull the covers off the girls. They are not wanting to get up – even for horses. The third time, I tickled them after pulling the covers while Mike and I got revenge by singing shish kum buzz, shish kum buzz…they got up. :)

Mike goes to get pesos because the man has told us that we must have pesos. I finish getting the girls ready, and we head downstairs with our towels in hand. We are all wearing our swimsuits with clothes on top as instructed. I have forced the girls to use bug spray and sun tan lotion. We meet Mike in the lobby.

We walk over to the mall (it is about 7:15). The girls are in a good mood, and I am excited. When we get to the mall, we are supposed to meet at Caffe Express. We can’t get in the first door as the store doesn’t open until 11. So, we walk around, and we don’t see a Caffe Express. We see a little store, and so we decide to get a little snack for breakfast and a drink. Also, we think we might need a bag to carry all of our stuff in. So, we get all of that, and then we ask about Caffe Express. The store says that there is an Expresso Lounge, but there is no Caffe Express. So, we decide that we will go to the Expresso Lounge. When we get there, several people are there, and we confirm that they are going on horseback. We are still 10 minutes early, but the man is there for horseback. He is fighting with these people who are having to pay $15 for “transportation” and they are telling him that the hotel told them $10. I am glad that we walked and didn’t have to deal with that. Then, we have to fill out this form saying whether we are beginners, intermediate, or expert. Of course, it limits liability to nothing and says helmets are optional. After everyone has done this, he says that we can go to the bus. Of course, Morgan and Emily pick this moment to need to go to the restroom. So, our word of the day is Banos which means restroom. :)

We get on the bus, and it is very comfortable. It was about a 45 minute ride, and it was fun to look out the window at the signs and such.

When we arrive, there are giant cactus plants at the beginning and Mexican looking statues. We are walked to these white “Barbie chairs” (that is what our family calls the plastic lawn chairs), and we get the welcome speech. You only need bathing suit under clothes, towel, camera, and money. All other things need to be in a locker that is sold for $1 (not pesos, but one US dollar – so much for needing pesos – they didn’t even SAY the amount in pesos). He tells us that beginner means on a horse 20 or less times , and he says that intermediate is 21 – 50 times. Then, he says that expert means that you ride at least once a week for the past 3 years. He says you can gallop if you are an expert, but you must pay $10 (US dollars) for insurance in case you die. So, we go off to put our new bag in the locker. Mike buys a hat, and we wait.

We walk over to where the horses are kept, and we watch in horror as the horses are falling down, biting each other, kicking each other, etc. He tells us to divide into groups of beginner, intermediate, and expert. There are about 5 people in intermediate (Mike, Morgan, and I are there – Emily has decided that she is beginner at the last minute). There are 3 or so in expert. All of the other 50ish people are in beginner. He asks people to raise their hand if it is their first time, and about 35 of the 50ish people raise their hands. WOW. He gives instructions on starting (must kiss like a lover in Mexico), moving left and right, and stopping. Then, he tells us that he doesn’t want to scare us but that the horses might lie down when we get to the beach because it is a way to cool themselves off. Not only will they lie down though, they will then roll in the sand. He says that if this happens to you, you must get your feet out of the stirrups and jump off leaving the horse behind. I start to get a little scared. I think that this can’t happen that often or the Royal Resorts wouldn’t recommend it.

So, we get on our horses. Morgan gets Cinnamon, Mike gets Goat, Emily gets Singer, and I got Speedy Gonzalez. We start on the trail, and the horses are really, really close together. So, of course, some horses don’t like that. They kick the other horses, and that causes some of them to rear up. Not too bad, but a little chaotic. My stirrups are different heights, so it is a bit weird but fun to ride. We get to the end and there is a beach. This is where we have to watch for the horses lying down, and I get nervous because I just know that MINE will be the one to do it. As luck would have it, it was MIKE! Poor Mike, his horse went down (another horse did it first), and then he had to jump off. His foot got caught in the stirrup and he sprained his ankle jumping off. By this time, the first horse that went down is now running like a crazy animal all over the beach. Mike’s horse is rolling around in the sand. This of course gets all of the horses wild. Now, they are really going crazy. We are trying to get off them, but we are now in this confined area and they did NOT like it. I start yelling for the man to get me off as mine has kicked the fence twice, reared up five times, and is trying to bite another horse who keeps kicking him. I keep pulling back on the reins to stop him, but that is just making him madder. Thankfully, a man finally got me off. Whew. The girls are off. Mike was off first, and we are told to walk to this private hut to wait while the one brave (crazy?) lady goes to gallup.

Of course, the tent is selling $3 cokes and waters (no peso prices again). We got them, and then we sat down and relaxed. The beach was beautiful, and I think we were all happy to be off the horses. They prepare the eight horses who “like the water” for the swim with the horses event. Mike says he isn’t going, and Morgan, Emily, and I get ready. You have to ride bareback into the ocean if you want to go, and only 8 can go at a time. The first group goes, and we get in line for the second group. We get on our horses, and then Emily decides she doesn’t want to go. She is freaking out and telling the man to get her off. The man keeps telling her that the guide will be with her the entire time. She says no he won’t because I am getting off NOW. :) So, he takes her off, and Morgan and I continue into the water. It is a bit harder than it looks to stay balanced without a saddle (Morgan said it was easy for her). I determine that it is easier if your legs are more forward than toward the back. So, I am all proud of myself. It was very cool to be in the water with the horses. Amazing. Then, we make a circle and head back in. There is a downslope in the water, and my horse kind of trips on a rock or something. His head went down really low, and I just slid right on off. After I knew he wasn’t going to step on me, I was fine. I just walked out, and my horse went on his own. :) Morgan was worried about me, but it was sandy and nice in the water. I am really glad I went even though I fell off and had everyone asking if I was ok for the next hour. :)

So, now it is time to go back after the other groups went into the water. So, they start calling people by their horse names. If they don’t listen, they use the pet names they have like “Yankee” for the man in the NY Yankees hat and “big sunglasses” for a lady with kind of large sunglasses. I was “Tennessee” but I knew my horses name and didn’t get called out. They have put about 25 people on their horses, and the horses are stuck together in this SMALL area. They are NOT happy about that. They start biting, rearing, kicking, running in circles, lying down, digging holes, etc. This one lady has her leg rammed into the gate. This other lady is crying to get off. She says she will walk back and that she is not getting back on because it is not safe. I am SO thankful that our horses are some of the last to be brought out.

My horse has been fighting with another horse, and Speedy wants to be speedy to get back to the barn. He is M-A-D whenever I try to slow him down or stop him. He keeps rearing and running (not sure what type of run as it was very erratic). He is biting this other horse who kicks my horse (and my leg). I am so ready to get back. It gets a little better once we get off the beach, but halfway back on the trail, speedy starts up again. Another horse had taken off running and Speedy didn’t want to be outdone. He takes off running. I pull back and say Whoa and he rears up and then takes off running. I almost fall off. One foot is out of the stirrups, and I am barely hanging on. Thankfully, I made it. Morgan, Emily, and Mike said that there horses were better on the way back than on the way down. I guess I had the opposite. Apparently, Mike’s horse kicked Morgan’s horse, but I missed all of that. As we are on the way back, the lady in front of me says, “When I get back, I am going to have the biggest vacation sized margarita!” I cracked up. After we get off the horses, they tell us that lunch is ready and our pictures are available for $10 each (no pesos mentioned of course). The pictures are beautiful, so I get all 5 of them. The lunch is rice, black beans, and some fried quesadilla thing. Mike is brave and jumps right in. The girls decide that they will wait (they had chips on the beach). I have a little rice, but I am scared and don’t have much. They have drinks lined up, so I asked which ones were which types. The man says “Who knows but enjoy.” Hmmmm….so I grab one. Not sure what it was, but it was liquid. They call for the bus, and we ride back. They dropped us at the hotel this time instead of the mall. We walk up to the front, and after ALL of that, I twist my ankle on the stones out front and almost fall. My ankle was burning!! I walked it out, and it seems ok now. :) The girls want ice cream, so we get some from the little store. What an adventure!

We rest for a few minutes, and we have a few bites to eat in the condo (read – junk). We then go to pool where the kids swim for a few minutes before the sand art activity begins. Grams took them down early, and then we met her by the pool. It was a bit windy, so we had to use the towels to stay warm. We discover that the sand art is a 2 day activity, so they start on it but have to come back tomorrow. They trace the picture and put dark sand on the outline the first day, and then they put the colored sand in the middle on the next day.

Then, as we are leaving the sand art, they decide that they want to paint ceramics. So, Morgan gets a dog she wants to look like sophie, and Emily gets a dolphin. After they paint those, we went to the pool again. It was very windy, but they swim anyway. I decided that cold swimming calls for a margarita, so I had one at the pool bar where Mike was already enjoying one. After I while, I say we have to go in because I am cold. :)

Mike and I walked down to the sports bar to use the internet, and we posted some pictures and checked email. I went to blog, and I noticed that all of Google was in Spanish. Uh Oh. I wanted to post, but I couldn’t figure it out. I finally found the right word. Then, I wanted to upload pictures to Picasa, and I had a hard time finding it. I finally googled Picasa and got it. Whew… :) After that, we went to dinner at the resort (the Veranda restaurant at the Royal Sands where we are staying). It was Italian night. They had a pasta station where you could pick the pasta, meat/seafood, vegetables, and sauce. It was fabulous. They also had a buffet line with chicken marsala, eggplant parmesean, salads, etc. They had pizza so Emily was good. :) After we ate (well they actually found it BEFORE dinner), they had fabulous desserts. We all had chocolate cake, and Mike had some other kind of cake that I don’t know how to spell. :)

At bedtime, we were all exhausted (it was NINE o’clock!), so we went to bed early. Mike and I got a little silly with the girls, and we had Papa scolding us to settle down. I told the girls that they did NOT want Papa to come back, so I kept trying to get them calm after that. I know what the second visit is like! We had fun singing shish kum buzz and having a pillow fight though before we had to calm down. :)

I can’t believe it is already Tuesday. This week is going MUCH too fast.

Pictures!

Here are some pictures from our trip....takes forever to upload them so I will try to add as we go. :)

http://picasaweb.google.com/Volgirl71/Cancun2009#

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday in Cancun




Starting this morning a little slowly. We went down to breakfast, and they have a fantastic buffet. I had an omelet, but they make them a little differently here. They cook the eggs on both sides without anything in it, and then they add the cheese, mushrooms, ham or whatever. Then, they put it on your plate. So, it doesn’t really smash it all together. It was good anyway. :)

We learned that butter is called montequilla, and I learned how to say our room in Spanish. I am feeling surprisingly not too badly – until the end of breakfast. All of the sudden, my head hurts, my back hurts, and I think I am going to hurl. Try telling that to the girls who want to go swimming. So, I buck up, take 3 advil, and head to the pool.

I have a small banana monkey to try to heal myself, and I think it helped. We hung out at the pool all afternoon. The girls made piñatas in the morning in the kids room. It was amazing to see the process. They took a balloon, and then they added paper mache on top of it for 2 layers (usually it would be 10 or 11 layers for a bigger piñata). Then, they took colored paper and wrapped it in circles around the outside. After it dries for a few days, you cut a hole in the top, add candy and prizes, and then hang it up for the kids to hit with a stick. Emily and Morgan made beautiful ones, and they have been drying in the room.

In the afternoon, we played in the pool. The girls played with their masks and fins, and we had to persuade them to leave the pool at 5:30 after ALL day of playing. :) It was fun to see them have such a good time.

For dinner, we took the Royal Resorts bus to the Captains Cove restaurant. Grams and Papa and Mike and I split a seafood special for two (Papa and Grams had gotten it before and recommended it. It was so wonderful. Each of them had two lobster tails, several shrimp, calamari, grouper, scallops, and mussels. YUM. Grams and Papa got theirs without garlic, but Mike and I scared away the vampires and had garlic. While we were there, there was an enormous alligator (or crocodile – we weren’t sure) swimming underneath the deck. Way cool. Morgan had steak and Emily had chicken nuggets. They both had enough bread at the beginning to serve as their meal I think. Morgan ordered a banana daiquiri (virgin of course), but she thought it was awful. So, the nice waiter brought a strawberry one. She didn’t like it either. At least we have a picture of it. :)

After dinner, we went to wait for the bus. I thought it would be a nice family picture, so I asked everyone to get together for a picture. A man volunteered his brother to take a picture of all of us, so I said that it would be great. He takes the picture and then drops the camera with the lens open as he hands it back. The screen has flashing lines on it. The lens won’t open and close. BUMMER. No more camera. Of course, this is right before my trip to Malaysia. Mike and Morgan are both really nice and offer their cameras. The man feels so badly, and he keeps apologizing. He offers to pay some money toward a new one. I keep telling him that it is ok and that the camera has been a great camera. Mike works on it, and obviously he has talents that he hides from us. He is a camera repairman too! He FIXED IT! WOO HOO!! So, I have my camera back. :)

When we got back to the hotel, the girls decide that they need some ice cream, so we get some in the store. They have made up this song that is shish kum buzz, shish kum buzz, you heard me, shis kum buzz which sounds kind of like a rap. I think I might hear it in my sleep. They sing it as Mike and I go to the land of sleep. Another fabulous day in vacation land. :)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday in Cancun




Today, we enjoyed our first morning of not having to get up at any given time. It was fantastic! Mom and Dad were already up and sitting on the balcony. See previous pictures for the view of the balcony. We had not been here in 5 years, and while I remembered that it was beautiful, I had forgotten that it was THAT beautiful!!! Incredible is what I think each morning when I wake up and look out off the balcony.

We went down to the pool and hung out at the pool bar. This entry will be kind of short and you will probably figure out why pretty quickly. The first question the bartender asks is, “Do you want a small or vacation size banana monkey drink?” I saw vacation size. Next, I order a margarita. Again, it is vacation sized. Then, my parents come down so that we can go to the opening party. We go and have rum and coke (these appear to be small but apparently they have a vacation amount of alcohol). We are just having a grand time. We go to the beach. We go in the water. Mike and I both lose our sunglasses in the waves. We sit on the beach. A waiter comes. Oh sure, another vacation sized margarita sounds great!!!!!!! We eat some chips and salsa. The girls bury themselves in the sand. We have a wonderful time. At some point, we go to dinner. I decided that the couch was a fantastic place to go to sleep. The end. :)

Lesson of the day – too many vacation sized margaritas (especially with your parents) MIGHT bring on some embarrassing stories that you MIGHT not want to know about. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2009

VACATION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




WOO HOO!!! Vacation TIME!!!!!!! We get up at 6:30 am…fun, fun fun. Who cares? We are going on vacation! I get Morgan up, and she is remarkably ready to get up. Mike looks at me like I am crazy and asks why I am up so early. I tell him that Morgan still has some packing to do as she fell asleep on the floor the night before. We get all loaded and head to get Emily. We see a ton of beautiful hot air balloons, and we take some pictures. Hysterically enough, they were directly above Emily’s house when we got there. J She says her goodbyes, and we leave for the airport.

Mike drops us off at the door, and the sky cap says I can check Mike’s luggage too as long as I have his passport. We get an offer to upgrade to 1st, but it is only for the short leg to Miami so we decide it isn't worth the money. :) Ok, I decided. The girls wanted to spend the money!

Mike catches up with us, and we go to through security. The girls want Starbucks, so we get the million calorie drinks (double chocolate chip frappachino) and chocolate muffins (because double chocolate chip isn't enough). Mike and I get Bojangles biscuits, and then we go to the plane.

The first flight was uneventful. The girls were good. All is grand. We didn't have long in Miami, so we made the trek to our gate. By the time we get there, they are boarding zone 5 and we are zone 2. So, we board. No food. No drinks. BUMMER.

We pull out of the gate, and and we are preparing to take off. All of the sudden, the pilot says, "We have to wait for an hour due to crowded skies in Cancun." UGH...so, we sat there for an hour and a half. I sent Grams and Papa and email in case they saw it. It said, "Grrrr....stuck in Miami for about an hour." Grams replies back with "Double Grrr....." I cracked up. :) The flight was fine, and we made it to Cancun without any trouble. Other than semi long lines at Immigration and Customs, we didn't have any trouble. We sat next to a really nice family from Finland on the plane, and they were in line with us through Customs.

Once we made it through customs, we had to make it through the line of liars at the airport who were trying to tell us that we needed a travel voucher. LIAR! :) We made it to the Thomas Moore van. It was so hysterical in that they MADE us put the luggage on this cart. We kept saying we were ok, but they insisted. Then, the man looks and Mike and says, "You push." I was cracking up. Anyway, we made it to the hotel with the girls giggling and singing "McDonald's in Mexico, Subway in Mexico, Pizza Hut in Mexico" with every American place we passed. :)

We went to eat when we got in, and we began the "this doesn't taste like the (insert the food or drink here) at home" whining. Hopefully, it will get better as we go. :)

SOOOO happy to be on vacation! HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

Friday, February 13, 2009

1 day until vacation!

The rest of the business partners did their demos today. Again, they were amazing. Josh won the demo challenge. AMAZING!

I slowly knocked off items from the to do list. After work, I had to pick up dry cleaning, pick up alterations, pick up new shoes, pick up lotion, and pick up other miscellaneous items.

Then, we went to Brandon to eat with the kids since I won’t see them for over 2 weeks. It was fun to see them. We went to Barnacles. I love that place, but this time our waiter forgot to put Katie’s order in. Poor Katie didn’t get to eat for about an hour after we did. She was a good sport about it though. Michael just wanted to play the games. J I was up until the wee hours preparing for the trips. I am ready to get on that plane!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

2 days until vacation!

Today, the business partners began doing their demonstrations back to the group. It is so amazing to me to see how much they have learned in a short time. Despite them saying how badly they did, they really did an amazing job. It is always hard to get up and do a demo in front of your instructors, and the first demo is a little rough anyway.

Tonight was the group dinner at Benedeto’s Italian. YUMMMMMM…I love that place. I had the Pollo Tuscany, and it was delicious! My to do list is a million miles long, and I am running out of time! 2 days until vacation!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

3 days until vacation!

Today, I had meetings all day. I didn’t get to spend much time with the business partners, but I did get over there late in the day. I also went to get my suits altered. I found the best place to get alterations done! It is called Alterations Essentials. The owner (she owns it with her mom) is fun, friendly, and very good at altering! She ended up having a suit that still had the tags on it, and she altered it for me too!

We went to Cantina Laredo for dinner. I have to say that we finally had good food AND good service. Amazing! It was nice to talk to the business partners again away from work. ;) Morgan had tons of homework AGAIN, and she was up late AGAIN. UGHl…. 3 days until Vacation!! I need it!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

4 days until vacation!

Today, we had business partner training in Tampa, so I went over to the hotel to help out. We ended up going to dinner at Grillsmith. It seems like a great group of resellers, and it was fun to get to know them more. Otherwise, it was a typical day. Morgan had a ton of homework when I got her after cheer. She had to go to bed, and I woke her up the next day.

I needed some new suits for the trip to Malaysia, so Morgan and I went shopping. I found two suits, but I couldn’t find any that didn’t need alterations. Bummer.

4 days until vacation!

Monday, February 9, 2009

5 more days until vacation!

I am so very excited about having a vacation in beautiful Cancun! :) We are meeting Grams and Papa at their timeshare, and we cannot wait!

Unfortunately, Dana had to rear her evilness. She wouldn't let the kids miss ONE day of school back in the fall to go on a cruise, so we didn't even dream of asking about FOUR days of school this time. Well, now, she is of course acting like we should have taken the kids. You can't win with her, so I am not going to worry about it. I hope the kids know that she is the reason that they aren't coming though. That is the hard part. :(

This week will be a whirlwind of preparation, and we leave for Cancun and then I fly to Malaysia for a conference the week after that. Lots to do. :)

I had a good giggle tonight when Mike thought I was taking the kids to the Taylor Swift concert alone. Bwaaaa Haaaaa...of course, he has a ticket and is coming with me! Bwaaa Haaa Haaaa....:)

The Dog Attacking Allscripts Folder







Ok, I was just silly and cracking up at this. The dog grabbed the folder from a stack of Mike's stuff and she was growling at it and eating it. I was dying laughing, so I had to get the camera. :)



Morgan and Tori on the Sling Shot at the Fair

I had never done one of these and had always wanted to do it. Katie and Michael rode it. Morgan and Tori rode it, and Mike and I rode it. LOVE the fair.



Here is the one of Mike and I



December Competition Video

This was the first time they performed this year, so it is a bit sloppier than now and they have made some changes to the routine. Of course, the biggest change is that Morgan is throwing her full now. :) Anyway, I thought I posted it, but I guess I didn't.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Vaccinations

I went on Thursday to get my travel vaccinations. I went to Passport Health, a travel clinic, after calling my normal doctor who said they couldn't help. So, off I go to the travel clinic. I wasn't really sure what to expect as I had never been to one before. I sit down with a nurse who hands me this big notebook of spiral pages that has my name on the front and Mexico and Malaysia on the front. I realize that this was prepared for me, and I am impressed.

We start going through it. Yes, I have had MMR and Hep B. I am not sure about Hep A. I had a Tetanus about 9 years ago. I have not had a flu vaccine. She says I need Hep A, DTaP, influenza, Polio, and Typhoid. The Typhoid was actually listed as optional, but she recommended it. There were several others (Japanese Encephalitis, Pneumococcal, Rabies, Yellow Fever, etc - all fun sounding things for sure!), but I opted just to get the CDC recommended items for Malaysia.

She then shows me a video on nasty, nasty stuff, and it makes me never want to leave my house. She tells me not to have ice in my drink, to make sure that water bottles are still sealed before drinking, to avoid street vendors, etc. She also talks about DEET in bug spray and says to spray my clothes and my skin. I got malaria pills to take (new one for me), and she gave me a traveler's diarrhea pack with Imodium, Cipro, and hydration packs. She talks about jet lag, and how to handle it. She discusses blood clots with the long flight and says to stretch, get up and walk, and to avoid crossing legs. They also have this nifty cool thing that you stick in your water and it purifies it in 60 seconds. Now, that is HOT! However, it was $105 and seemed a little excessive for a trip to a city in Malaysia for a HIMSS conference.

So, she gathers the shots, and she sticks me 4 times. Then, she gives the nasal FluMist for the influenza vaccine. It is now Saturday, and my arm is STILL sore. I have also been running a fever since yesterday morning. Just to add to the fun, I have been having left-sided pain in addition to the fever. Mike and Morgan have been cracking up as I have been SO cold and keep wanting the heat turned up. Hopefully, tomorrow will bring a big improvement and no fever.

Without getting into the entire story, I went with Emily's family to get her passport. Since it is close to the departure date, we had to send it to a passport expediter who will hand walk the application through the process. So, because it is a rush, they require the travel itinerary. Her parents couldn't print it because their printer was broken. I am in a panic, so I rush over to the library to get the itinerary from my email. I ask how I can print something from the internet, and the lady says I need to swipe my library card. Of couse, I don't have a library card (I know, I know, I should especially being a librarian's daughter), so I have to go get one. I fill out the application and get the card. Then, the nice lady tells me that there are no reservations available and that they are about to close so it is too late to make a reservation. AHHHHH...I am thinking of Emily and her family waiting with the passport lady. So, I ask a kid if I can use his computer for 2 minutes if I give him $5. Thankfully, he didn't care. So, I open email and click Print. Nothing comes out of the printer. I am perplexed. Where did it go? I ask the nice lady (I don't think she liked it that I asked the kid to use his computer), and she says you have to go to this other computer to "release" the print job and to pay. So, I go there. It wants my library card number. Since I have only had it for minutes, I don't know the number. I dig it back out. Double-click the print job and then I realize you have to put three dimes into the machine to pay the $0.30. NO WAY. Of course, I don't have 30 cents. Seriously - no change (used it all on parking meters and bubble gum for Morgan). So, I have given away my last $5, so I have a $20. I get change for a dollar (in DIMES), and $19. Of course by now, the machine has moved from that screen, so I have to put in my freaking library card number. I finally release it. I was going to print 2, but I decided that it was good enough. Thankfully, the passport lady was SUPER helpful, nice, and patient!!!!!! We got the application FedEx'd out so I wil let you know.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Have a good trip Abhi!
















We had a happy wedding send off for Abhi at the traditional Tijuana Flats. I later found out that as he was leaving for India, he found out that his grandmother died. So, he will be there for the mourning and services, but he will be unable to get married for some time after the funeral.










We know that our Abhi will be married off soon enough. :) I hope you had a good trip to India, Abhi!