Category Archives: Travel Stories

Travels with Two Ducks (The Continuing Saga of Little Duck, Episode 5)

(To see the commentary and photo details, you need to click on the first photo and on each photo as you follow the arrows.)

As promised yesterday, we brought Little Duck along with us in our northward journey to Des Moines to visit my nephew and then to St. Paul to visit my sister, niece, her husband and grand nieces. So far it has been quite a trip, as these photos will bear witness to:

Unfortunately, in our rush to get registered in the hotel and to get to my nephew’s house on time, Little Duck was forgotten in the car and so is regrettably spending a night in solitaire.  No doubt he’ll have plenty to relate to us in the morning.  In the meantime, we are having a peaceful rest all on our own!!

The prompt word today is “Pretend.”

Inelegant Obsession

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/elegant/

Inelegant Obsession

I’d love to be elegant while I’m obsessing,
but if I told you how, I’d only be guessing.
The man at the counter said yoga’s the answer
to two hour waits, and smart cars and cancer.

I told him that yoga’s more easily done
in my pool or on mats spread out in the sun––
Not two hours before midnight when you’re feeling sad
’cause the car you pre-rented is not to be had

and instead you’re confronted with a Jeep Cherokee
with all bells and whistles included for free!
Yet each feature they’ve added is cryptic and puzzling.
Screen like a space ship and gasoline-guzzling.

I can’t find the lighter to plug in my Nuvi.
The radio screen is showing a movie,
but I can’t find a plug to plug in my phone
and I’m out in this parking lot, stressed and alone.

After one hour of standing and waiting to rent it
and one more in the parking lot, how I repent it!
I go on the road in the inky black dark
with no place to stop and no place to park.

My GPS empty of power and knowledge,
to find the right route would take training in college.
No route numbers have I, I can’t see the map.
My phone out of power sits limp on my lap.

The screen gives me options for stations galore,
but no arrow to choose them, just one button more
for feature after feature that I cannot use.
I wish I had knowledge.  I wish I had booze!!!

When I try to turn on the overhead light,
the moonroof zips open and try as I might,
I can’t get it closed but just open it more,
so the wind whips my hair with a terrible roar.

I’ve always loved traveling wild and free,
but it now seems travel’s evolved beyond me.
Where is my confidence and my elan?
That air of achievement, that air of “I can?”

When I get to the motel two hours in arrears,
when the clerk asks how are you, I explode in tears.
I tell him my story, like a silly old fool––
but he doesn’t snicker and he isn’t cruel.

“See that?” he said, waving a hand at my phone.
He shook his gray head and gave a small moan.
“Don’t know how to use one–not me nor my wife.
It seems like technology’s plaguing our life.”

He dished out a Kleenex and almost at once,
I found I was feeling much less of a dunce.
I may be a fool and an old one at that,
but it’s so reassuring to share that coned hat!

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This control board of the plane I flew from Prince Edward Island to Nova Scotia on is slightly less daunting than the dashboard of the Jeep Cherokee they pawned off on me as a replacement for the simple economy car I requested. The flight took one half hour. Renting the car (even though I’d filled out all the paperwork on the internet) and figuring out how to operate the monstrosity they gave me took two hours!!!

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The beast!!! I still haven’t figured out how to turn on the radio and tremble at the thought of mistakenly turning on the four wheel drive.

I later snapped a photo that better illustrates the size of this car.  See that photo HERE.

The prompt word today was “Elegant.” This was stretching the prompt, but I had my own agenda.

Home Traveler

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Home Traveler

A journey’s long, a trip is short.
You trip on the stairs or tennis court,
but you journey into foreign places–
encounter unfamiliar faces.
So when I finally go to bed,
I journey far within my head,
those trips to town forgotten while
I journey mile after mile.
Eschewing trips to foreign places,
I journey into inner spaces.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/a-journey/

Timely Tourism

How handy that the prompt for today is “tourist” just as I am starting out on three weeks of travel.  Do you think WordPress has spies? Here is what I see as I spin around on my stool at Johnny Rocket’s (Juan Pablo Hamburgers here) in the Guadalajara airport, right by my departure gate, where I’ve just tried to choke down 130 pesos worth of undercooked fries. (Two nights ago I spent 150 pesos for a gourmet meal and margarita at Viva Mexico in San Juan Cosala.)

So, after two weeks of exhausting preparations to get ready, here I am ready for a few weeks of leisure. Every year it takes me longer to get ready to leave, either because my life gets more complicated or because I get slower. My internet was out again today, so I’m availing myself of airport wifi to post this.  More to come if I can find wifi in any of the U.S. airports.  Denver bound!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/tourist/

Forked!

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1967–Off  on the SS Ryndam on a four month around-the-world study adventure. Ga Ga Dowd was the oldest student aboard. She seemed ancient, but was actually one year older than I am now.  The other two girls, whom I had just met, were to be my best friends on the journey.  They are Susan (in polka dots), who was also a U. of Wyoming student whom I had never met before and Pamn, from Berkeley. I don’t know why the wind chose to blow only my hair.  Perhaps I had invested in less hairspray?

“The Zoad In The Road”
                                                          by Dr. Seuss 

Did I ever tell you about the young Zoad?
Who came to a sign at the fork of the road?
He looked one way and the other way too –
the Zoad had to make up his mind what to do.
Well, the Zoad scratched his head, and his chin, and his pants.
And he said to himself, “I’ll be taking a chance.
If I go to Place One, that place may be hot
So how will I know if I like it or not.
On the other hand, though, I’ll feel such a fool
If I go to Place Two and find it’s too cool
In that case I may catch a chill and turn blue.
So Place One may be best and not Place Two.
Play safe,” cried the Zoad, “I’ll play safe, I’m no dunce.
I’ll simply start off to both places at once.”
And that’s how the Zoad who would not take a chance
Went no place at all with a split in his pants.

Born in a time before television and the internet and even private telephone lines, (we shared ours with two other households), periodicals took on a special importance. We subscribed to three newspapers: The Murdo Coyote (my hometown rag), The Mitchell Daily Republic  and Grit–a newsy national weekly newspaper. My dad subscribed to Saga, Real West, True West, Argosy and probably a few others; and my Mom got Saturday Evening Post, Journal, McCall’s and Redbook.

One special feature of Redbook  over the years I was growing up was that they published the poetry of Dr.Seuss. I don’t know if the poem above was ever published anywhere else, but it was one of my family’s favorites, and I think I still have it out in a plastic storage case with other old letters and paper memorabilia. It is well-worn and wrinkled and yellowed, glued to a piece of cardboard to aid in its preservation.  I think I had used it as one of the poems I chose to memorize (along with “Out to Old Aunt  Mary’s,” ” The Wreck of the Hesperus” and “The Children’s Hour”) when I was in grade school.

I don’t know how much I actually listened to the messages of poems back then, but I do know that something prompted me not to just dream of those forks in the road but to make a decision and to take a chance.  Perhaps it was this poem.  Perhaps it was the fact that my parents rarely held me back when I had a chance to travel or experience something different.  Well, no, they didn’t let me take the Seventeen trip to Europe when I was eleven, but short of that, they encouraged me to reach out and experience life away from the town of 700 where I lived.

When I was a teenager, I traveled all over the state for district meetings for my MYF.  I attended church camps in the Black Hills and Lake Poinsett and traveled by bus to a U.N. Seminar when I was a junior in high school.

When it came time to go to college, I was quick to choose an out-of-state college and in my junior year again chose to travel–this time around the world on the U.S.S. Ryndaam as a student on World Camput Afloat––a university extension of Chapman College in Orange, CA.  We traveled for four months, stopping in countries around the world, studying their cultures, taking practicum side trips and in some cases taking off on our own.  The first country I did this in was in Kenya, where my newly met friend Pamn and I rented a little Fiat and took off on our own to have a few adventures.

My sister told me afterwards that she had been the one to encourage my folks to let me go, telling them it would get the travel bug out of my system, but if you’ve been following my blog for long, you know that just didn’t happen.  Immediatley after college, I emigrated to Australia and after a few years there, I traveled overland as much as possible to Africa, where I stayed for two years. After that travel was a summer and vacation experience until I moved to California thirty-five years ago and then Mexico fifteen years ago.  At each of these junctures, there was a fork in the road of my ife and each time, I made the decision and took it. Nine times, by my own counting, and in that time, although I’ve split a few pants seams, it was more due to local cuisine than to indecision.

 

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fork/

Bogged Down in Blog

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Bogged Down in Blog

It’s hard to write while traveling–
your half-knit thoughts unravelling
as they call you in to talk
or have a meal or take a walk.

You sleep in other people’s houses,
wrinkles in your unpacked blouses,
possessions jumbled in your cases,
move at unfamiliar paces.

You live a life that’s not your own–
daily walking, driven, flown
while trying to remember faces,
confused by all these different places.

In the past I adored going–
miles passing, airwaves flowing.
I loved to move like a rolling log,
but that was when I didn’t blog!!!

Now I find I’m scurrying.
Wake up already hurrying.
I’m confused and frankly dumb,
forgetting where I’m coming from

as well as where I’m going to.
I’ve lost a sock and lost one shoe.
Still, I find time to write each day,
here in some room, hidden away.

This daily writing’s an addiction
that makes real life a dereliction!
I short my hosts to do my writing.
I’ve given up my life for citing!


The Prompt: State of Your Year–How is this year shaping up so far? Write a post about your biggest challenges and achievements thus far.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/

On the Road in Sonora

 Busy day today…ten hours of driving and many adventures, beginning with the night before, when we ate at a wonderful restaurant/patisserie called Panama’s in Mazatlan.  Unfortunately, they didn’t serve any alcohol and Blue, the friend I’m traveling with, was dying for a glass of white wine.
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Remember The TV show “House Party,” where Art Linkletter inspected purses from the audience members and gave prizes for certain objects if they were found in their purses?  I still pack a purse as though I expect to be picked in House Party!  So, I just happened to have had in my purse a flask given to me recently by my friend Dianne which I had stocked with a fine Anejo rum! Blue and I both ordered a pineapple-coconut blended smoothie and I spiked them with rum from the flask.  I had always wanted a flask, and I was feeling happy on both counts and then, as usual, overacted as Blue snapped a second picture with my camera.
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So, we had a wonderful meal and afterwards, went in search of boxes of wine–easier to pack and Blue isn’t terribly picky about her wine, other than the fact that she actually has it–every night!  So, we went to several stores that didn’t sell wine before finding one that did…a large store similar to Target, but remember, we are in Mexico.  We stood in a very long line and finally got to the checkout stand…only to be told by the clerk that they couldn’t sell wine after 8 p.m.!!  We couldn’t believe it.  We asked if this was a Mazatlan law and she said no, just a rule of this particular chain store.

So, we went to a 7-11 store. Blue asked if they had white wine and the clerk just motioned at the wall behind her that was covered with shelves of liquor bottles.  Blue asked again in Spanish if she had vino blanco and the girl, who was playing a video game on her phone, again just waved at the wall, where Blue could see they had only red wine.  Off we went to search out another 7-11 store.  Same story.  Only red wine!  So, we retreated back to our hotel.

The next morning, because we had a very long drive, we got on the road early, but when we passed another Ley’s store (the chain that wouldn’t sell us wine the night before.) I asked Blue if she wanted me to stop and she said yes, so I went in to get batteries and met her at the checkout.  She preceded me in line, blissfully holding her two boxes of wine…unbelievably, to be told by the clerk that they couldn’t sell her wine before 8 in the morning!!!!  By now it was getting surreal!!  Or, like a sort of south of the border Candid Camera.

We left the store, shaking our heads, unbelieving.  Blue has lived in Mexico for 19 years and I have lived here for 14 and neither of us has ever heard of this!  Nonetheless, we proceeded to drive northwards and eventually, we came to another town.  It was our good fortune to see another Ley’s store right off the Cuota road and since it was now an hour later, I exited, knowing Blue was anxious to buy her wine.  This time I remained in the car, sure that I’d soon see her emerging triumphant from the store.  She did in fact emerge–but not triumphant. She opened the car door empty-handed.  ????  I couldn’t imagine what had happened this time.  It turns out that once again, she had been told that they couldn’t sell her wine before 8 a.m.  It seems as though unbeknownst to us, we had passed into another time zone and once again, it was earlier than 8 a.m.!!!

Certainly by now we should have gotten a hint that some force in the universe did not want Blue to have her wine, but we share a certain stubborn streak and so several hours later when we passed yet another Ley’s store in yet another town several hundred miles north of our last stop, we stopped again and this time she emerged triumphant with two boxes in her shopping bag.  We drove on and when we arrived in San Carlos and got our room, she was looking forward to her first glass of wine of our trip.

As I set the luggage out for the attendant to carry up the stairs for us (no elevator), Blue called out that she had to go get the wine that she had forgotten to remove from the car!  Two men who were just unloading their car called out, “Oh yeah, can’t forget the wine!”  Of course, Blue had to tell them the story, at which point they said, “That’s a law all over Mexico.  It’s a church thing–you can’t sell alcohol between 8 pm and 8 am.  When we tried to tell them we’d lived in Mexico for many years and this wasn’t so in Jalisco, they were adamant.  So, we let the matter be.  Blue was anxious to have her long awaited first sip and there is no arguing with some people.

Unfortunately, the wine was warm, there was no ice machine in our hotel and the hotel restaurant was closed, so Blue trooped across the road and paid 20 pesos for a glass of ice, then returned to the room and ahhhhh poured her first glass of wine.

I can’t quite duplicate the sound that issued from her mouth when she poured the wine.  She was at the sink out of sight from  where I was lying on the bed, but it was not a pretty sound.  Nor was the wine a pretty sight when it emerged from the box a bright orange color.  Obviously, something had gone wrong in terms of the procedure for wine storage in that store.  Perhaps the demand was not that great for boxed wine or white wine or perhaps no one else had been able to manage to buy it within the prescribed hours, but clearly, this wine so hard won was not to be the prize hoped for.

Something there is that does not want Blue wined.  She poured the wine down the drain and we trooped across the road to a wonderful palapa restaurant perched on a rock high above the ocean and had an adventure not involving white wine but again involving pina coladas, a fall off a bar stool, brash gulls and a toothpick.  But that is a story for another post.

Tomorrow, we cross the border.  The next time you hear from me, we’ll be in Peoria, Arizona, and you’ll get another chapter of our drive northwards.  Yes, we’ll be stopping for wine as soon as we cross the border.  No, I won’t be drinking it, but I’ll still be packing my trusty flask.  Thanks, Dianne!!!

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