Paramedics on the Plane

kissthesky

Not the picture you were expecting with the above title, huh? Well, after my plane ordeal (turbulence and…yeah), I had to pay respects to the sky with a big smooch.

Before I delve into details, I just want to shout out #Deltaairlines , flight DL 849 on November 15, 2014 from Atlanta to Tegucigalpa.  Your kindness and professionalism really helped ease my troubled mind (and body). Now on to the news…

I decided to take a quick weekend trip to the capital of Honduras, Tegucigalpa, to meet a friend who currently lives and teaches there. It was so cool how we met (I will tell you all that later)! Anyway, after mucho planning I was finally able to get myself there. She told me that Tegucigalpa was totally different from my most visited area of Honduras, Roatan, and I was eager to check it out. She warned me about how short the landing strip was into Tegucigalpa and how the planes typically brake really hard. She mentioned that people literally clap when they land safely there, as it’s deemed one of the most dangerous landings in the world.  Add to that my recent apprehension of flying (yeah, after having flown tons of times before), I was NOT looking forward to this.

I was super nervous flying from my city to Atlanta , but surprisingly calm when flying from Atlanta to Tegucigalpa. I was no longer scared about the short landing strip at all. I even struck up a conversation with the lady who sat next to me who just so happened to be in the medical field as I am.  It seemed like the 3 hour flight took forever, so I watched the movie ‘Lucy’ before dozing off to sleep. Then I awoke to this fainting feeling during descent.

Next thing I remember, the nurse I sat next to quickly sprang into action as I had passed out, stretched across the three seats of our row.  I remember feeling her lifting up my legs in the air, her wiping under my nose with an alcohol swab, the flight attendants asking me if I had a history of seizures, them discussing how many minutes they had until landing, them telling the other passengers to not leave the plane once it landed because paramedics would be arriving for me…LIKE WHOA. I heard the attendants  asking each other ‘how many more minutes to landing?’ The answer went from five, to three, to one minute.

OH
EM
GEE.

Still woozy but able to comprehend what was about to happen, I urged them to get into a seat and not worry about me. I didn’t want them to face a harsh landing, but the flight attendants ignored me. They were so concerned about me. I recall the lady flight attendant telling me to press against the tray/seat in front of me so that I wouldn’t fall upon landing. I mustered up all of the strength in my body to do just that and what do you know…the landing wasn’t AS bad as how I felt, lol.

Everyone clapped, too!

Next thing I know, the paramedics arrived to tend to me. I was so embarrassed because all eyes were on me and what the hell was going on. Drenched , the paramedics took my blood pressure and my pulse. I was starting to feel a bit better when I noticed my pulse was improving and my O2 Saturation was normal.

After sitting up a bit, I told the flight attendant I was so sweaty, even under my pants.

She then told me, ‘honey, that’s not sweat…you wet yourself.’

OH
EM
GEE!!!

Embarrassment to the max! I just cried and cried and cried. They kept reassuring me that it was okay and that they were concerned about me and they truly were. This made me feel a ton better. She asked if I had a change of clothes and I did, but it’s crazy though. The one time I tried packing light was the time I needed more clothes!

I thought it was over once I started regaining my composure, but when I tell you the paramedics didn’t let me out of their sight, they didn’t let me out of their sight. They escorted me to the on site medical doctor in the airport near customs. After the doctor checked me out and was comfortable with my release, they escorted me in a wheelchair to the front of the customs line (major plus despite the circumstances). I told them I needed to use the restroom. Oh my gosh, ya’ll. When I got up to go to the restroom, I then saw how much I peed on myself.  I almost started crying again, but I didn’t.

The paramedics got my friend’s contact information as she was in route to the airport. They stayed by my side until she came and gave her orders to let me rest and to not eat anything greasy. She let me rest, but she couldn’t keep me from the grease. I had pizza with friends later that night. ;)

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Yum Grub Time!
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Mr. Camera Man Playing with My Ipod

 

 

 

 

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Aye Yai Yai! Where Have I Been?

ayeyaiyai
The picture above speaks volumes about why I haven’t updated this blog in a while.

I had to sit still, think, and block out everything that was considered ‘blogging etiquette.’

When I first started at this, I got too caught up in trying to follow the ‘rules’ of blogging, such as creating new travel content on a consistent basis to maintain and eventually grow my audience.  In order to grow my audience, I knew networking via social media was essential to get my presence out there. I searched frantically on how to make my blog stand out amongst the vast sea of other travel blogs. I followed the rules for a while until I realized something:

The joy I had when I first started this blog quickly turned into a nagging chore.

I found myself scrambling for more and more unique travel content. This was especially a challenge because traveling as much as I desire is not possible right now with work and personal obligations.

I realized I am SO not a fan of social media, not enough to Instagram this, Facebook that, and Tweet this-n-that on a daily basis…sometimes multiple times a day.

My travels became less about my personal growth and pleasure and more about taking pictures and recording videos to post here. While capturing memories is important, I learned that if you’re not careful, you can easily miss the beautiful moments right in front of you.

So, I had to choose what was more important to ME – my memories and traveling lessons or setting up a tripod in the sand to record me fishing for barracuda in the ocean?

Well, I chose both, with a heavier emphasis on ME. I will still update this blog, but it won’t be on ‘schedule.’ I will occasionally Instagram, Facebook and yes, even Tweet, but it won’t be daily. All in all, I will still share with those of you who are interested in the beauty I see when I travel.

Yup, Sista’s back to blogging . Are you ready for me? :)

ayeyaiyai1

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¡Aqui No Mas! AND ­­¡Baja!- When Foreign Transportation Goes Wrong

I tell ya, teach a voyager a few local transportation sayings and she thinks she knows her way around the country.

Spending almost two weeks in Roatan, Honduras meant that remaining stationary in one neighborhood was not an option.  I stayed in an area called Sandy Bay and although I was in walking distance from a clinic, bodegas and small restaurants, I still wanted to get out and do a little bit of ‘sploring,’ ya know? I asked Mel, the owner of Roatan Backpackers, how to travel throughout the island and she willingly showed me how. That day, I was scheduled for a full body massage at Mel’s employer so, I took the taxi with her. She schooled me on the public transportation rules in Roatan which included:

Pricing:       Depending on pickup and drop off, a taxi ride could cost 30 Lempiras, which is equal to $1.50! A bus ride could be 20 lempiras!
Tipping:      Optional
Socializing: Keep it to a minimum with the driver, UNLESS you know exactly where you’re going and are familiar with pricing and distances.

She taught me a lot, but my most favorite lesson of all was using the commands ¡BAJA! or ¡Aqui No Mas! for signaling the driver where to stop. After this lesson, we parted ways, I got my massage, and then I had to practice what was taught to me.

I was ‘Aqui No Mas-ing’ and Baja-ing’ after I caught my first taxi on my own. I felt like I knew every nook and cranny in Roatan, until my arrogance got me lost downtown.

Watch me in lost action in the video below:

 

 

 

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SistaVoyage Vs The Caribbean Sea

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If you knew of a person who had 2 sets of private swim lessons PLUS a group swim lesson recently , wouldn’t you assume that person knew how to effectively swim? Probably so, right? Well, tell me what is MY problem, lol!  Apart from showering, brushing my teeth and taking baths, the water and I are not the best of friends. At the age of 25, I took my first set of private lessons (4 total) where I discovered if you give me a noodle and some fins, I could swim without stopping. On the flip side ,take away the noodle and the fins and it would be a DISASTUH.

The second set of lesson results (again 4 total) were a sad repeat of the first.  I was ready to practice my strokes, but I ended up nearly stroking due to the choking of water I seemed to always swallow. The only maneuver I could show off outside of the class was me pushing myself from the wall and swimming UNDER water. I couldn’t bring my head up for air to save my life!  While I didn’t give up, I left large quantities of la agua alone for a while. Then one day I got bold…kinda.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Well, it was just this year so it wasn’t much to remember, ha ha.

On Good Friday 2013 in Roatan, Honduras, me and two other ladies who were staying at the Roatan Backpacker’s Hostel decided to take a stroll to West End. We kept walking and walking and before we knew it, we were on West Bay Beach, where all of the action was happening. We noticed several people (mainly children and teens) jumping off of this wooden deck into the sea. ‘I want to jump in, but I can’t swim well,’ I announced to the ladies.  What did I do that for? ‘Well, I am going to dive in and I will help you out if you jump. I used to be a life guard,’ ‘J’ said to me.  I felt a mixture of nervous energy and curiosity throughout my body. She noticed my hesitance and started to mildly taunt me while mixing in a little encouragement. Nice.

So, did I suck up my sea fear or did I shrink back in it?  Well, I did a little bit of both, lol. See what actually happened in this short video clip below.

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Filming in France- When Video Recording Goes Wrong

Can you name one person that’s singled out for doing something THOUSANDS of others do on a daily basis? You know, like there can be 5 cars going 100mph in a 50 mph zone, but the cops just see you balancing between 49 and 51 mph and decide to pull ONLY YOU over? What the…

After visiting Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre, my family and I decided to take a stroll in the Château Rouge area, also known as ‘Little Africa.’ I was recording the sights around me, something I normally do when I travel (who doesn’t?) The next thing I know, I was shockingly confronted by a young lady who certainly did not approve of me recording.So… what did she say? I can show you better than I can tell you (see video below).

Have you ever been confronted by someone to stop recording or taking pictures? If so, how did you respond? Do you ask for permission before snapping or filming?

 

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Security Gate Germaphobia

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Going through security checkpoints at the airport are ‘mini mission impossibles.’  With commands like, ‘Come here, place this-n-that in the bin, put those in these Ziploc bags, take that out and throw it away,’ it can make you wonder what’s the point of packing anything at all!

Then there’s my favorite command: TAKE OFF YOUR SHOES.

My mother raised me to respect authority figures, but I must admit this command from the TSA agents used to have me looking around blankly and thinking: ‘Wait, you’re talking to me? My shoes? No wait, really these shoes? Take off my shoes and place my sweet feet on this floor?’

Oh geez.

Now, it wouldn’t be so uncomfortable for me to do so if I was a sock wearer on a daily basis, but I am not. When I travel, I try to accessorize and dress as light as possible. I wear flats or sandals with no socks, but because TSA is not changing their policy and since I love to travel, I knew I had to get creative. After checking into my flight and before going through security, I now put on socks that I don’t wear often. Forget the color, design, etc., I don’t care. I just cringe at the thought of my sweet feet touching that cold, tiled and yes, dirty floor. Once the TSA agents congratulate me for being a safe traveler, I take off those unsightly socks, stuff them in my luggage and head to my gate. I have had people stop and look at me to see what the heck I was doing. With a confused look, they probably were also thinking ‘hmmmm, good idea!’

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Volunteering in Belize: Holy Cross Anglican School

Banner at Holy Cross School in Belize
Banner at Holy Cross School in Belize

Traveling to Belize again (first time was on a cruise) was super exciting, but volunteering made it totally worthwhile and memorable.

My friend who was born and partially raised in Belize, created a daily itinerary for me and 6 other voyagers a month in advance of our trip. Not only did she schedule days of fellowship, fun and connecting with her family, she made sure to include volunteer work.  This would be my first time volunteering in another country and I was super excited, especially after speaking via email  with Lydia, the school’s volunteer  coordinator, about their needs and her expectation of us during our time there.

 

Me and Lydia
Me and Lydia

 

On the day of our visit, we gathered in the lobby of the hotel we were staying in and met our bus driver who transported us to the school.  Despite my hands being full with donations, my camera and oh yea, my umbrella thanks to the rain (read more about that here), I made it into the office accident free, ha ha.  Lydia warmly greeted us and began to explain the school’s history and concept while guiding us throughout the school.  Once the tour was over, we were able to interact with the children and assist the teachers accordingly. We were warmly greeted with hugs, requests to read books, chats, questions and the children were happy to pose for the camera!

Reading Time
Reading Time

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My Hair's Always a Hit!
My Hair’s Always a Hit!

We decided to leave right before school ended to avoid the ‘yay, we’re going home!’ rush and the children were not happy!!! They wanted us to stay and we wanted to stay longer too, but the bus was there to take us back to the hotel.

Honestly, I was not expecting the ‘noooo, please stay longer!!!’ reactions from the children at all. In my mind, I felt that our short amount of time there didn’t make that much of an impact, but it proved quality over quantity can be significantly meaningful. Since that day, I have kept in touch with Lydia because whenever I go back to Belize, I will spend more time at the school with the staff and children, helping out wherever I can. Matter of fact, I am making plans now to revisit. :)

*If you’d like to learn more about Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro, Belize, click the link here: http://holycrossbelize.org/  

To see more of the school in action, check out the video below:

 

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Parisian Pastries: Look, but Don’t Touch…OR Eat

angelinas2 Specially crafted and uniquely designed edible dishes are so visually appealing to me. They cause me to stop in my tracks, admire the skill it took create them and even feel a little giddy on the inside. :) You can catch me oohing and aahing at the creations followed by silent staring, similar to a child seriously viewing a cartoon show. It would be great if my admiration of these delicacies stopped there, but it doesn’t. Pleasing to the eye and probably just as pleasing to the palate, I just can’t bring myself to consume one, not even a nibble.  I feel that they must be preserved and it would be a waste for me to eat something so beautiful.  Most of my friends shake their heads at me, especially when I try to convince them NOT to eat them, too, lol.

blog2I have noticed that people tend to throw their restrictions out of the window when it comes to nom-nom-noming during vacation. What one refrains from in their home country, they are willing to try in another. Heck, diets are temporarily placed on pause, too.  When I saw these beautiful, tasty, tempting treats while strolling in Paris, I thought I was going to let all of my ‘preserve cute desserts’ inhibitions go; however, I am proud to say I kept my stance!  I ended up eating only the boring looking (albeit yummy) pastries  and I stuck to staring at and photographing the gorgeous ones.

Boring, Yummy Treats That I Ate

blog3blog1Exciting Treats I Didn’t Eat!

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Now be honest, could YOU bring yourself to EAT one of these fine, trophy looking treats or would you preserve them for viewing pleasure only?

 

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