Category Archives: Just Askin’

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. 😉

thegang
Yum Grub Time!
hecaughtme
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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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

DSC02349

 

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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The Extinction of My Volunteer Elitism

sandybay
Orphanage in Honduras

I have a confession to make that I am not very proud of.

You see, there was a time when I believed that volunteering my time and services to others in need ONLY extended within the United States and even then, there were stipulations of WHO should receive my help.

In short, I was a ‘volunteer elitist.’

Several years ago, I held tight to a mentality of ‘them over there vs. them over here,’ which developed over the course of time, sparked by debates with others on various subjects. One hot topic I remember discussing amongst my peers was Americans adopting children from other countries when there were children here in the United States who needed a home, too. ‘You shouldn’t take from one child and give to the other’ was a common retort that kind of shut others up who believed it was absolutely okay for those who decide to adopt to do so in other countries. I must admit, noticing this comment receive nods and ‘umm hums’ from the majority caused me to dismiss how I truly felt and I ended up believing the ‘shut em up’ group had it all right and I had it all wrong. Nevertheless, my mind still pondered ‘umm, isn’t this decision that of the those who adopted and them only?’

Fast forward to a few years later.

I got older (inevitably) and started to TRUST my own beliefs, opinions and instincts. I realized and accepted that my total allegiance in assisting others is NOT solely within the confines of the U.S. If time, money and effort exist in my life, I can donate it to whoever is in need or want, no futile debates necessary, no explanations to anyone on my part. Who cares if I am separated from others via miles of oceans, seas, jungles, mountains when I can hop on/in trains, planes, boats and automobiles to arrive at my destination! Despite there being several layers of cultural, race, religious and language differences, it has never discouraged me from giving/receiving and vice versa.

Thankfully, this mentality guided me to volunteer at the Holy Cross Anglican School in San Pedro Belize and later at Sandy Bay Lighthouse ministries and Clinica Esperanza in Roatan, Honduras. I meet several AWESOME people during these times, ranging from children to adults. Now, whenever I plan a voyage, I make SURE my itinerary includes volunteer work before I enter into a country. I try my best to lend my skills, time, experience and generosity to others who share my same geographic location and to those who don’t.

A beautiful, meaningful song (circa 1985, not the recent auto tuned remake, but I digress :) ) comes to my mind when I think about the impact, small or great, we ALL have the ability to make GLOBALLY:


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I Skyped for the First Time…

and I liked it.
I liked it a lot.

skype

I bet you’re thinking, ‘Sista Voyage, you are so late!!!’ To which I would reply, ‘yes, yes I am, BUT it’s definitely better late than never.’ Plus, I have a great excuse as to why I am just now jumping on the Skype bandwagon despite me knowing about it 5 years ago. The great excuse is…

I really don’t like new avenues of communication and new inventions of electronics. I never owned a beeper and I didn’t own a cell phone until 2000 and that was given to me.  It was so bulky, strangers would laugh and look at me crazy. Of course, I returned the look favor :) . I just upgraded to a Windows Nokia phone, but if I could purchase a decent, super refurbished flip phone, I would go for it full speed. I am the one who has not been tempted to even purchase an IPAD, Nook, Kindle, etc. I mean, are laptops THAT outdated? Are books that much of an inconvenience? As a result, I carried this same resistant attitude to Skype 5 years ago. I believed that if I could speak with you via email, postal mail or the phone, this was sufficient enough; however, something remarkable happened on September 21, 2013 and it lasted over 2 hours.

I Skyped a loyal reader of my blog who resides in Tegucigalpa, Honduras…for free. I know she thought I was off my rocker, because when I connected and I could see her and she could see me, I celebrated by performing my ‘Super Duper Happy Dance’ at sporadic moments during the conversation. Oh and check this out- she was able to even send me an instant message WHILE we were talking. Can you say super surprised and excited? If you can, that was me on September 21, 2013, lol.

Skype is Alright with Sista Voyage :)

Do you Skype? If so, why? If not, why? Do you use other modes of communication locally or internationally?

To find out more about Skype, click here.


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What Do TripAdvisor, San Diego, Pizza and Sista Voyage have in Common?

wholepizza

Well, Trip Advisor crowned San Diego as the city with the best pizza and Sista Voyage got to taste a slice…or two… OKAY, half of a pie!

Before the best pizza poll was announced, I took a mini voyage to San Diego, California to spend time with a good friend and her wonderful family.  She knew that I loved pizza, so she suggested dining at an Italian restaurant called Filippi’s Pizza Grotto in an area called ‘Little Italy.’ Parking was a pain, but that was a welcomed sign that the food was good!

littleitaly

sista
Me, so happy for pizza!
My friend
My friend

The menu selection was certainly grand, but being that I am a sucker for all things bread, cheese, and marinara, we ordered a pizza with her half as pepperoni (underneath the cheese) and my half as veggie. I know that pizza is fattening, but I trick my mind into believing that the elimination of meat and the substitution of veggies makes it less likely to clog the heart. Yeah…my mind works in mysterious ways, lol.

pizzasliceMy friend had such self control. She stopped eating before feeling full. Me on the other hand, when it comes to pizza, my brain sends a message to my gut to expand about 5 more inches to accommodate the fatty goodness it’s about to receive.

greasymouth

Yum!
Yum!
Yummy!!!
Yummy!!!

Clears Throat…Now For the Cheesy Controversy:
I will admit the pizza in San Diego was good, but saying this city has the ‘number one pizza in AMERICA???’ Ummm, no. One reason why I can’t crown it king is because I haven’t tasted EVERY pizza in America, but from my past experiences with this ooey, chewy goodness, Chicago’s deep dish and New York’s thin and big slices are definitely neck to neck for first place! Sorry San Diego pizza…I still love ya, though! 😉

What do you all think? Did the pollsters get it right or wrong? What city do YOU think has the best pizza? *Keep it clean, ha ha!*

See if your city ranked for best pizza here

 

 

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