My trip to South Carolina was a nightmare. Having arrived late at night only to find our hotel had been cancelled was like a bad dream. Sitting on a bench in the hotel pick-up area, perspiration poured down my face and gathered in my eyes and I could not
My trip to South Carolina was a nightmare. Having arrived late at night only to find our hotel had been cancelled was like a bad dream. Sitting on a bench in the hotel pick-up area, perspiration poured down my face and gathered in my eyes and I could not tell if the stinging of the salt was from tears or sweat. Calling the telephone number on one of the vans, I finally secured a room for the night. Getting everything into the van was a challenge, and I regretted that my main source was revenue was a debit card, not cash. Having only a measly $5 bill deep in the ravines of my purse for a tip, the van driver who hauled us and all our luggage there did more than his fair share of the work. It was only when we were settled into our hotel room and the children were fast asleep that I was able to breathe a sigh of relief. My duties as “chaperone” on this ill-fated adventure were complete, and at 7 a.m. the next morning I flew home.
I am incredibly lucky! Happier travel opportunities have abounded in my life. My mother was always up for an adventure, and I was her lucky companion. She abhorred commercial retreats, choosing places out of the way and typical of the culture. On an amazing vacation to Costa Rica, a white water rafting almost did us in. Underneath our life vests I wore a bathing suit but my mom chose to wear sneakers and socks, long pants, a long sleeve shirt and a jacket. Our attire came into play after the raft capsized, flinging us into the roaring water. Being a good swimmer, I immediately located my mom, bobbing up and down in the foam and bubbles. I grabbed her by her life jacket and hauled her to the shore, struggling because the amount of clothing she had on weighed her down so much it was exceedingly difficult. Once on shore, I plopped myself on the ground in exhaustion, but she excitedly jumped up and down, thrilled at the adventure of capsizing. This was also the trip on which a cougar crossed our path, with my mom joking that he would get to her first because she was slower than everyone else.
Guatemala, the place of my oldest daughter’s birth, was a favorite place of ours to visit. Thirty years ago, we stayed at a little inn near Chichicastenango, an outdoor marketplace. There was no electricity or running water, but we were assigned a “man servant” to heat water up for our baths and to light our kerosene lanterns. Ever frugal, my mom insisted on using my bath water so he would not have to heat up more for her. He stood outside our door in case we needed anything. We giggled at the adventure of it, despite it being politically incorrect.
On another trip to Guatemala twenty years later, my daughter, Dinora, accompanied us. Mom and I had raised money to open a soup kitchen in a rural area and we were invited to the grand opening. Dinora was especially excited, and quickly donned an apron to help the workers “serve her people.”
My mom also generously funded a family vacation to Belize where we stayed in a sparse hotel and ate authentic food without knowing a word of Spanish. (I did learn the phrase “té con leche” meaning “tea with milk.”) Our son, Steven, had an especially good time because of his love of reptiles, and he spent the week chasing different variations. We took him to the zoo where their safety regulations were lax, and he started to crawl inside the alligator pen. (The openings were too small for an alligator to squeeze through, but fine for a hyperactive five-year-old.)
My favorite tour was a trip to Hawaii that I won on the game show “All Star Secrets.” It was an elegant, five islands, three-week extravaganza, all meals, lodging, and activities included. Hubby and I, who had only taken a weekend honeymoon to the Cape, delighted in the elegance of it all. Streaming waterfalls, beautiful flora and vegetation, exotic wildlife, unusual black lava beaches, and luaus with fire twirling dancers filled our senses.
One bad trip, fourteen great ones. I have been so lucky!