Happy Day!

We have a friend who uses this phrase when she finds a missing object, or whenever something pleases her.  Well, I’m going to use it, too, because it epitomizes just how I feel when I see the colorful Caribbean houses and buildings.  Everyone there uses bright colors to decorate…from homes to shops to restaurants.  Step aside Disneyland,  because for me, the “happiest place” on earth is the Caribbean!

From canary yellow to lime green and turquoise blue, and colors between hyacinth purple and bouganivllia pink, bright colors are everywhere.  You just can’t feel down when you look around.  Every day is a happy day when you are surrounded by uplifting color! 

Here are some photos from our trip last spring.  Enjoy the bright colors and have a happy day!!

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Never Make a Date with a Sailor – Conclusion

The night in the taxi lasted forever.  It felt like days!  We stopped several times in the coal black night so the driver could stretch his legs and drink from a thermos.  To this day I don’t know whether it was soup, coffee, or booze!  His driving was so erratic I don’t know if it was the road or substance induced craziness.  I’m just happy to be alive to tell the story!  Thoughts like that went through my head all night…”My Dad will KILL me if I don’t make it back from a trip he never knew I was on!  I could be lost in the Baja Peninsula forever…murdered…left on the side of the road to die of thirst out here in the desert…”  It was non-stop.  I was exhilarated at the sight of first light.  Things always seem scarier in the dark!  In the hundreds of miles between towns, the only light was our headlights and the myriad of stars overhead.

Just as the daylight appeared, the road ended.  Evidently the Baja Highway wasn’t paved all the way up the Baja.  We went from a fairly smooth, paved road to a two lane path of big, white rocks.  Was the stuff they put UNDER pavement, I wondered?  I had a flashback of something similar on a trip through Canada several years prior with my parents, where there was road construction.  Anyway, these rocks were sharp enough to puncture a tire.  You guessed it!  We had a flat!  I was glad we had more than one spare for surely this could happen again.  And it did, of course. 

But that wasn’t all…just when it looked like we were going to run out of gas, a town would appear and the lone gas station was open.  Thank goodness!  I had never driven through the desert before…but I just KNEW there was potential for great danger.  Every time I became somewhat complacent with our situation (What alternative was there?  I was traveling in the middle of nowhere in the only car for miles!), something NEW would happen.  It was as though fate was playing with us…we had a flat tire, then a scare where we prayed for a gas station to miraculously appear, another flat tire, and then the road went from rocky to nonexistent.  We were now driving on sand.  I couldn’t tell if we were forging our own path or if the driver really was following a road.  I sure hoped he knew where he was going!   GPS wasn’t used back then and I had not seen a map of any kind. 

Road signs as I knew them didn’t exist either. At one point Phil and Mary woke up long enough to question where we were.  Funny, I had been wondering the same thing since we left Puerto Vallarta so very long ago.  But we kept moving forward.  Until we came to a fork in the path and we zigged when we should have zagged.  A huge cactus impeded our progress and our only recourse was to drive backwards for about a half a mile.  When we were back at the crossroad, we took the other path!

A couple hours later we pulled into a small town.  Phil perked up.  He told the taxi driver to take us to a restaurant. Just then we heard a hissing sound.  It was our third flat tire!  I couldn’t believe it–THIS is where I’m going to see Jon, right?  I wondered why he wasn’t running out to meet us.

We were now in a town called Bahia Tortugas (Turtle Bay).  This little village has an extremely protected harbor, and is located mid way down the Baja Peninsula between San Diego and Cabo San Lucas.  Most sailors making that voyage stop there for fuel and provisions.   Phil and Jon realized they were never going to make the date with us in Puerto Vallarta, so Jon and the Fantasia waited there for us while Phil traveled for days to meet us and to bring us back to this remote location.

All of us in the taxi were a hot mess, literally.  We’d been traveling nonstop for days with no shower or fresh clothes.  In three days I had traveled over 3000 miles by plane, ferry, bus and taxi through situations I could never have imagined….but when I opened the door to the restaurant and saw him there, sipping nonchalantly on a beer, looking like a wild man with long curly hair and a big smile, none of it mattered! 

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Never Make a Date with a Sailor – Part Four

It had been over 30 hours since I left my hometown of Toledo, Ohio for this “ride of my life.”  I have already traveled by car, plane, ferry and bus.  I came to Mexico to relax on a sailboat and so far have only been aboard one boat which was definitely NOT the one I envisioned for my pleasant holiday! Also, I was still having trouble believing I hadn’t yet seen Jon and that I had already covered more territory than I had ever traveled at one time in all my 20-something years.  Around every corner was another surprise.  I almost dreaded what would happen next!

The taxi driver didn’t speak English.  Phil and Mary were in their own little world in the back seat, oblivious to me.  I mustered up my best accent from my one year of high school Spanish, pointed to things along the road and said, “como se dice ________?”  (cows, cars, saguaro cacti, etcetera)   Believe it or not, by the end of the ride, I emerged speaking nothing but Spanish! Throw yourself into a situation where you must learn a language in order to communicate, and you DO!

The road started out paved, two lane, and not so bad.  Darkness was approaching so I didn’t see it getting curvy, hilly, and progressively worse along the way.  All I knew was that this was the beginning of a LONG trip!  The taxi driver stopped several times and did something in the trunk.  I was hoping he was drinking coffee to stay awake, and not alcohol!  I did see not one but TWO spare tires in the trunk and thought, “I wonder why two extra tires?”  My imagination was running wild.  Where was this man taking us?  Did HE know where he was going?  How long was it going to be?  Would I EVER find Jon? The answers to all this and more…in the next installment!

Enjoy some pictures of the towns and road conditions along the way…

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