Category Archives: Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Ships!

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!
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Mr. Camera Man Playing with My Ipod

 

 

 

 

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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.
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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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Why I Will Never Cruise with Carnival Again

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They say ‘never say never.’ I say ‘whatever!’

Before the fires, fumes, and filth issues covered in the media, I said a loud and resounding ‘HELL NO’ to sailing with Carnival in the future after my friend’s wedding cruise in 2010.

I remember it like it was 2 hours ago:

There I was awakened in the middle of the night sailing the ocean blue on Carnival Liberty to the dreaded queasy feeling. I sat on the edge of the bed in total denial of what was about to happen next.

Each end of my body was confused. It didn’t know whether to insert my head in the toilet or place my butt on it. Between my butt cramping and my throat retching, I wondered if day 3 was a prediction of the next 4 days on the ship. This wasn’t seasickness, my friends. It was what I labeled ‘the 2 hour Norwalk virus.’

sick

Thankfully, I was ‘pill prepared’ for the trip.  I ended up feeling better after I chomped down on several Pepto-Bismol and swallowed 2 old Compazine (anti-nausea) pills. Things were going well until I developed strep throat that progressed into a never ending sinus infection. Terrible, just terrible. The Carnival Demons just wouldn’t let me live!!!

Despite this, I got to witness my bride-friend commit her life to her love; however, in hindsight, I should’ve taken a clue from her best friend who left the ship AFTER the reception. She was smart.

Sista Asks: Have you ever had a bad cruise experience? What happened?


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My Second Smooth Jazz Cruise Experience 2012 WAS AWESOME!!!

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I was uncertain about sailing again on the smooth jazz cruise after my 2011 trip, primarily because…I really didn’t care for the Holland America cruise line…at all. (Backtrack here to read why). Now don’t get me wrong, I am not singling out Holland America, because you couldn’t pay me to go on another Carnival cruise either and this was before they made headlines in the news. The only cruise line I’ve had a positive, memorable experience on was  Royal Caribbean (I’ll get to this story in the future, too, ha ha).

When the 2012 cruise line choice (Holland America again), ports of call (same as 2011, except St Barths instead of St. John)  and the artist announcements were made for the sailing in 2012, I was like ummmm…no.  As much as I loved the music and meeting my favorite artists, I couldn’t justify going again…until curiosity killed the cat (and my wallet).

I decided to just casually browse the website one day and to my amazement, they removed some artists (that I didn’t want to see) and ADDED THREE that I absolutely had to see- Peter White, Brian Culbertson and Euge Groove. Unfortunately, the ports of call and the cruise line didn’t change, but these three added artists made up for it tremendously. What’s even more special is I interviewed one and had my own personal serenade from another!!!

Peter White
peterwhiteandi

Brian Culbertson
MeandBrian

Brian Culbertson and me, agai
Brian Culbertson and me, agai

I wasn’t able to get a ‘snap snap’ with Euge Groove around the ship, but that’s okay. Two out of three certainly isn’t bad. :)
In addition to taking pictures with my two favorite smooth jazz artists, I was lucky enough to interview one and have a wonderful song played to me by another. Check out the videos below!!!

Some of my other favorite smooth jazz/ neo soul artists that were on the cruise I was able to harass (j/k) for pictures included:

Eric Darius and me
Eric Darius and me
Rahsaan Patterson and me
Rahsaan Patterson and me

 

Brian Simpson, Music Director of the Smooth Jazz Cruise
Brian Simpson, Music Director of the Smooth Jazz Cruise

 

Marcus and me
Marcus and me

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To Sub or Not to Sub… That is Definitely the Question Now

Oh, Sweet Idabel…
idabelSource

You all love me, right? Well, I love you all, too, and I respect your opinion about this crucial decision. My first, solo voyage to Roatan was super rushed due to last minute arrangements and uncertain time off availability on my job. I was trying to figure out how to cram activities into 3 full days when I saw this submarine expedition and I was soooo stocked about it! Problem? Well, I didn’t have that much time and definitely not enough money (the cheapest expedition was $400). Well, I am headed back to my love soon and will be staying for 2 weeks (I WILL get it in, ha ha)! I am going to make sure my time in Roatan will be fulfilling to the max this time.

Okay, here’s where I need your overflow of love for me. I consider myself pretty adventurous (hey, remember I did the sea plane tour of Roatan AND I travel solo), but this expedition makes me super anxious and I haven’t even reserved anything yet! Click here to see what the heck has me shook up.

As you can see, you can do a variety of deep sea tours. I am only considering the 1,000 feet tour at this time because it’s $400 and I will be that deep in the sea for only 1 hour and 30 minutes. The six gill shark tour would be AWESOME, but…that joker’s $1500 AND you are in the sea for about 5-9 hours! No sir/ma’am, that’s okay. The pictures are enough :)

So what say you? Should I do it? Should I just imagine doing it? Would you do it? If so, which expedition would you choose? Would you be scared, like I am now? (I can literally see myself tearing up entering into this joker.) Check out the praise reviews here from tripadvisor.com.

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Smooth Jazz Cruisin’ It- The First Experience in 2011

 

voyagestatsIf you’ve ever booked a cruise or any other trip online, you’re usually able to access the website, select your options, pay the cost, and instantly receive a confirmation.  Imagine my shock when I tried to do just this to book my first, 2011 smooth jazz cruise. I honestly thought I was overlooking something, some page, some direction, SOMETHING, but I wasn’t. At that time, in order to sail on this wonderful cruise, you had to send emails and/or call the cruise coordinators.

What kinda back alleys mess is this? I thought, lol. I couldn’t help but wonder if this whole trip was some sort of scam; however, my excitement to finally interact with some of my favorite smooth jazz musicians and hear real, live, unadulterated tunes trumped the doubting thoughts that were plaguing me.

I did it. I sure did- I booked the cruise and thankfully, it wasn’t a scam, ha ha. The coordinators were so pleasant, cooperative and knowledgeable while communicating via both email and via phone with me. With the deposit paid, flight booked, and the final payment confirmed, I was about get my smooth groove on!  *In my best country, southern voice* Come on, give me your hand chile (child), as I share my views, pictures and videos of this fantastic voyage witcha.

Maybe I Should’ve Flown Into Miami Instead…
and paid the expensive cab fare to Ft. Lauderdale.

DSC02353I’ve stated this ad naseum on my blog already, *here and here*  but if you somehow missed it- I HATE Fort Lauderdale’s airport. I flew to it because 1.) it was my first time flying there 2.) that’s where the ship was docked and 3.) being that flights have a time mind of their own, I didn’t want to risk missing my boarding time. Anyway, you and I are hand in hand still and you are waiting to see what I want to show you, right? Right! Cool.

Outta there and Onto the Ship!

Obligatory Cruise Room Pose!
Obligatory Cruise Room Pose!

All Cleared, Waiting to Set Sail

cruiseWalking Around the Ship, and Guess Who I Saw?
http://www.marcusmiller.com/

Me and Marcus Miller, Awesome Bassist
Me and Marcus Miller, Awesome Bassist

The performance of the first night belonged to Gerald Albright and Johnathan Butler.

Johnathan Butler and I

Johnathan Butler performing
Johnathan Butler performing

Played A Little Bingo the Next Day, and Guess Who I Saw?
while I didn’t win any of the games, I still got my picture snap on!

This day was designated for everyone to wear their smooth jazz cruise shirts and have a little fun on the deck.

Gerald Albright and I
Gerald Albright and I

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On Semi Dry Land (Bahamas (Nassau and Half Moon Cay), St. Thomas and Tortola)

The Bahamas. Nice island, but if you’re like me, you have been on plenty of cruises where the first stop is no other than Nassau. I didn’t get off of the ship to venture around due to the aforementioned plus in 2010, I took my mother there for her 50th birthday. I was Nassau’ed out.; however, Exhuma and Eleutra are on my bucket list, but I digress. Performers that night were the LEGENDS- David Sanborn and George Duke!

David Sanborn, a smooth jazz legend!
David Sanborn, a smooth jazz legend!

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http://www.davidsanborn.com/

http://www.georgeduke.com/

Unlike with Nassau, I looked forward to visiting St. Thomas because my girl (hey DreaDay!) resided there at the time and we were able to connect. Boney James was the musician of that night and he flew into the island for his performance later that evening; therefore, the ship stayed in St. Thomas from 8am until 12 midnight! Boney James has that kinda power, lol. Jeff Golub (super great guitarist) was in concert with Boney James that night, too.

St. Thomas
While everyone ranted and raved about Coki Beach, I found more peace and pleasure at Emerald Beach!
cruise5cruise4DreaDay introduced me to Fraco’s. It was the first time I had a snow cone with condensed milk. Still trying to figure out if I really liked it or not.
cruise25Veggie Food!
DreaDay dragged me (just kidding) to her favorite vegan restaurant on the island, Natural Livitiy Kulcha and Juice Bar. Although I am not a fan of tofu-ish types of meats, it was MUCH better than the food served on the ship!
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Jeff Golub and I before his performance

Jeff Golub and I before his performance

While the food was tasteless on the cruise, the 7 (or 8…or 9) strawberry dacquiri’s I gulped were SCRUMPTIOUS!

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Jeff Golub Performing
Jeff Golub Performing
Boney James performing
Boney James performing

http://www.jeffgolub.com/
http://www.boneyjames.com/

Tortola (British Virgin Islands)
cruise7

Performing That Night, Nick Colionne and Brian Simpson
http://nickcolionne.com/
http://www.bsimpsonmusic.com/

Nick Colionne
Nick Colionne

 

Brian Simpson
Brian Simpson

Still A’ Cruisin’
How could I forget to mention one crucial piece of information about why I love the smooth jazz cruise! I consider myself a true smooth jazz fan and when some unaware person tells me they enjoy this genre, but can only mention one artist which is Kenny G, I cringe. The same way I cringe when there’s a ‘smooth jazz fest’ but most of the artists are known for performing rhythm and blues. On this cruise, however, 95% of the musicians have dedicated their lives to jazz, so it wasn’t too much of a disappointment when Brian McKnight came was a featured guest performer, plus he’s known to belt out mellow tunes on jazz albums. (Run on, I know :) )

 

Brian McKnight
Brian McKnight

OH- MY- WORD!!! I have to give this performer a gold star. Now, please don’t get me wrong (especially if there are smooth jazz artists reading this entry), everyone on the cruise was wonderful, but this guy below TOOK THE SHOW! I’ve always loved Richard Elliot, but seeing him perform live was absolutely phenomenal. Readers, if you are ever in an area and he’s in concert, you must see him!

Richard Elliott and I
Richard Elliott and I
Richard Elliott put on THE BEST performances!
Richard Elliott put on THE BEST performances!
Richard Elliot
Richard Elliot

www.richardelliot.com

For the final stop, the ship was supposed to cruise back to the Bahamas to visit a private island, Half Moon Cay, but thanks to the wonderful wind (YAY! NOT) it didn’t happen. Instead, we circled around and around on the ocean where it was more stable. I was really looking forward to visiting this place then, but I got my chance the next year :) That night in the main auditorium, Mr. Marcus Miller and Miss Candy Dulfer delighted our ears to some smooth melodies.

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www.candydulfer.nl

Many times, the artists would congregate surprisingly on stage or in smaller venues on the cruise and perform as duets, trios, or multiples!

Norman Brown, Patches Stewart, Tom Braxton and Rick Braun performing
Norman Brown, Patches Stewart, Tom Braxton and Rick Braun performing

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Grooving!
Grooving!

blogsmooth7My Time Spent in St. Thomas and Tortola

Do you want to see more video footage of this cruise? I gotcha below :)

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*Sings* ‘Nothing but Smooth Sailing, Tonight… (Preview)

anything that you want from me, it’s my delight tonight.’ –The Isley Brothers

The Smooth Jazz Cruise 2012

I love smooth jazz. No wait, let me rephrase that… I LUBS me some smooth jazz. I caught an ear whiff of it when I was about 6 years old via Paul Hardcastle’s Rainforest. That song resonated with everyone that heard and it definitely got people moving or at least their heads a’bobbing.

My next run in with smooth jazz was via George Duke’s ‘No Rhyme, No Reason’ when I was 15 years old. The music in that song was/is so mellow that it instantly relaxes you. Let’s just ignore the lyrics being about a married man caught up in an love affair, lol. Listening to the musical composition in this song made me yearn for more of what they call ‘smooth jazz.’

Fast forward a bit to college. I found a local radio station that played this genre of music all day and all night and I had it on all day…and all night. Whether I was studying, sleeping, eating, whatever, if I heard a song that peaked my interest, I made sure I found out the artist and the song title. I was a loyal member of BMG/Columbia music (remember them?) and I would order as many cd’s I could, through payment arrangements of course. My first smooth jazz album? Boney James’s ‘Sweet Thing.’

How does the aforementioned relate to traveling, you say? Keep reading, Impatient One.

Whenever I am not looking for something, that’s when I find it (can anyone else relate?) and that’s what happened when I was searching the internet for smooth jazz radio stations. I came across www.thesmoothjazzcruise.com from a simple browse and I couldn’t believe it. You mean to tell me, I can cruise, meet new, good people, visit other countries AND hear AND mingle with most of my favorite musical artists IN PERSON on a ship? That was it, I was sold and so far, I’ve been on two of these wonderful cruises. Here are just a few pictures to get your brain to a’wondering, ‘what did Sista Voyage exactly do on the cruise? Where did she go? What artists did she meet? Did she go alone here, too? (The answer to the latter is a big YES!!!)

Boney James performing
Me and Gerald Albright
Brian Simpson (piano), Johnathan Butler (guitar), and Richard Elliott (sax)
Me and Richard Elliot
Norman Brown performing
Rick Braun, Brian Culbertson and Euge Groove performing
Me and Candy Dulfer

Did the pictures cause you to want to know more specifics about my voyage? Of course they did, so be on the look out for my detailed entries of this wonderful cruise in this month of December 2012 to January 2013! I will hold nothing back, I promise :)

Oh and while you wait for the entries, go ahead and enjoy one of my video uploads of the cruise.

 

 

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The 25 Worst Airports in the U.S.

In the early stages of my blog, I composed a topic of airports I really don’t want to deal with. I promise you all, there are times when I try to figure out how to avoid flying to/from certain airports as much as I can. If I can’t, I make sure that my time spent in them is as minimal as humanly possible.

Surprisingly, one day while simply browsing the internet, I came across an article that revealed not ten, but TWENTY-FIVE airports in the U.S. that are considered just… the worst. Check out the Daily Beast’s link here to see if your airport made the gallery of ‘Go to the Gate, Please No Wait!’

I knew I wasn’t alone in my disdain of Fort Lauderdale’s sucky airport. :)

 

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