Category Archives: Travelin’ Talk

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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SistaVoyage Vs The Caribbean Sea

staring

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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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

holycross7holycross4

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!

blogblog4

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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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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So, How Did I Spend My 34th Birthday? (Plus Contest Winner Announcement!!!)

 

We Are Family!
We Are Family!

I went to Virginia and Washington to spend time with family and friends, as most of those who participated in my giveaway suggested. I was only there for a short time, but I definitely made the most of it!!!
The plan was hit up King’s Dominion Amusement Park during my visit, but the weather, TRAFFIC on I-95 North and South, my family’s work schedule and my friend’s sickness ruled in favor of ‘No.’ Nevertheless, I still had a blast because:

The flight attendant surprised me with my FAVORITE treat on my way there!!!
P1040116I met a new family member, Miss Shay!
P1040119I went to free, jazz event in Washington, D.C. (and you all know I LOVE jazz!!!)

P1040152P1040147
I saw an impressive building and I had to take pictures of it…with me in the pictures, of course :)
P1040136P1040139P1040142I wanted to visit the Washington Monument, but the walk was far and the air was HUMID! I decided this picture would suffice, lol.
P1040155

It was great seeing my family and friends again. I hope to make it sooner than later in the future. Plus, I am now considering a relocation to the North Virginia and Washington, D.C. area :)

NOW ONTO THE GOODY GOOD STUFF!
The winner of $50 E-Visa or Paypal Cash from the ‘Help Sista Decide’ contest is…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to all who participated. There will definitely be more giveaways here in the future!!!

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