As luck would have it, The International Friendship Club (IFC) is located just a block from when I’m living in Puerto Vallarta. This is is a volunteer organization committed to funding a variety of charitable causes and was established in 1985.
The IFC takes pride in its unique Cleft Palate Program. It begins with providing fees for transporting doctors who donate their time to perform the surgeries. It ends with seeing smiles on the children’s faces and their parent’s tears of joy at its completion. Additionally, the IFC provides: free medication; disaster relief aid; educational assistance; monthly financial assistance; a dental hygiene program and food to families as well as gifts to other Charitable Institutions.
I stopped by their office to offer my talents as “Valentine” the Clown to see if they would like me to twist balloons for the children that would be waiting to visit the doctor and they were happy to have me!
Please click on the link below to see more of why Mexico has stolen my heart!
__/)__Sail On or more appropriately “Viva Mexico”
I checked out their website and found that Porchfest is a music festival held on front porches while neighbors and visitors stroll from porch to porch to enjoy the festivities! The first Porchfest was held in Ithaca NY in 2007 and the idea has happily spread to other neighborhoods across the country and into Canada. Check out their website at http://www.front-porch-ideas-and-more.com/porchfest.html
Each street had signs leading the way to the next porch. Each genre was different, we enjoyed some Blues, Bluegrass, Rock, Rockabilie, Classical. No matter what your taste there was something their to please you.
So when in Rome…..or more appropriately in the neighborhood, go to a PorchFest!
__/)__Sail On or do more than just sit on your porch, make some music!
I’ve often asked myself, what will make me a better Jew? Will I be a better Jew if I go to temple every week? Will I be a better Jew if I belong to a temple and have a concrete structure to pray in? Is it even necessary to pray at all?
I don’t think those thing’s will make me a better Jew but what I’d like to achieve, what I pray for, is that I will become a better person.
Sometimes you just have to take it to the mountain. I had the good fortune while visiting in Tucson, AZ to be invited to Rosh Hashana services at Temple Chaverim. The evening service was at the Temple led by Rabbi Stephanie. I love anything that’s outside the “box.” I’m pleased to say that female Rabbi’s are becoming very well accepted, it’s still a step outside of the traditional “box.” So having services the next day outside at Mount Lemmon was perfect for me.
We read from the prayer book, chanted, sang songs and yes we even laughed. Some people sat in folding chairs, beach chairs, some sat on blankets, some were old, some were young and some even had four legs. We were a family with a common goal, to live a life filled with love, caring, sharing our joy of life and above all else we prayed, yes we prayed for peace throughout the world.
If everyone could just accept each other, maybe we could all experience the joy of life. With the world filled with conflict, maybe we need to see past the conventional walls and we should just take it to the mountain.
__/)__Sail On or for today Pray On
Traveling with two dogs has been quite interesting. My cousin Sue who is not really my cousin but we have quite a history. Our mothers were raised in an orphanage in Sweden together. A woman paid for the passage of 100 girls to go from Germany to Sweden and my mother was one of those girls. So how can I describe her as anythng other than my cousin?
When Sue called me and asked if I would be interested in a road trip from Ashland, WI, to Tucson, AZ, the time frame was perfect for me. As you know, I’ve been living on boats throughout the world, haven’t owned a car within the past six years and have spent a fair amount of time driving on the left side on the road but I thought that sounds like fun.
Our traveling companions were two very well behaved large dogs. Rifka is a pit-bull dalmatian mix and Liebe is a basset hound, possibly English shepherd mix. Both are excellent travelers but don’t understand the concept of pooing on queue. Who can blame them? As we drove through Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado and Arizona we passed through the plains and then the mountains. Yikes, what do I know about mountains?
Stopping is something that just can’t be rushed when your traveling companions have four legs. Your mantra becomes “come on, time to poo, you can do it girl.” You might as well just be patient and enjoy the scenery!
Driving through the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert was a bonus. I find that traveling allows you to experience life from the ground up.
When I travel, I never think about a people who travel with animals and everything that you have to take into consideration for their comfort especially as I’m referring to the “Poo on queue” perspective. Don’t forget, they are people too!
__/)__Sail On or Travel On (be responsible pick up your poo)
WE HAVE CHOICES….
These past couple of months have been very insightful. I experienced a multitude of emotions ranging from shock, disappointment, acceptance, growth and ultimately happiness! We have choices in life and I truly believe that my glass of life will always be half full.
I’ve spent these past two months once again traveling and letting life and all it has to offer unfold in front of me. My passion for travel is most often satisfied traveling by boat but for this trip I opted to do it by train. First I flew (no not a train yet) to Winnipeg Manatoba Canada and spent ten days with Beverly, whom I met in Puerto Vallarta, MX this past Winter.
Beverly is by far one of the most interesting people that I have ever met. We were introduced to eachother simply due to the fact that we are both Jewish. It’s always nice to have a foundation but the truth is that just because two people have the same religious affiliation does not mean that we are like minded. With this said, Beverly and I were like two peas in a pod. What makes her so interesting is that forty years ago, being very happily married to a successful Dentist she decided that simply being a Doctors wife wasn’t enough to fullfill her.
She started designing clothes and traveled with her five small children intow to Morocco, negotiating with fabric vendors and tailors by herself. Her clothing line was in some of the most upscale boutiques in Canada and it has evolved into a family run business. She and her family now have four beautiful stores named Moule in Winnipeg, Vancouver & Portland Oregon.
Beverly knows everyone, seriously everyone! There is no running quickly into a supermarket or a coffee cafe without her having a conversation with everyone! It’s so delightful to spend time with someone who gives so selflessly of herself!
We drove to her cottage in Gimli which is located right on Lake Winnipeg and offers the most incredible sunset views. Gimli is a small quaint town where “City” people go for the summer. You never know who may stop by for a visit but needless to say they will be some of the most interesting people you will ever meet.
Thank you Beverly for sharing your home, friends and passion for life with me!
Now it’s time for the train trip! Via Rail is the Canadian version of AmTrak which is my second favorite form on transportation. I generally meet some facinating people while on the train, some of which I’ve been friends with for years. I’m on my way to Edmonton to see Lynn and her husband Barry whom I also met in Puerto Vallarta last winter.
This portion of the trip is trhough the Plains which offers its own beauty, we passed field after field of what I initially thought were just beautiful yellow flowers but it turns out that these were Canola fields and even the hay bundles at sunset offer a beauty onto their own.
I especially enjoy the dinning car where you are seated with whomever is next in line. My first companion Leo was a young man from Germany whose parents encouranged him to see the world before he attends University. I’m finding this is very common with most Europeans I think we Americans could learn something from them. He told me that other than making great friends througout Canada for the past three months, he’s also said that he has learned how to manage his money, he freely admits initially he had no clue what he was doing and had to call home but he’s pround that he hasn’t had to do that again. He also said that his map reading skills and communication skills have greatly improved. He’s not even my son and I was proud of him! My dinner companions were also a treat, a mother and her adult daughter from China by way of Toranto were very engaging. The food is top notch I enjoyed braised short ribs with fresh broccoli and fingerling potatoes and ofcourse a glass of wine!
The train arrived seven and a half hours late into Edmonton, I felt bad for my hosts that they were inconvienced but they proved to proved to be real troopers, thankfully they live fifteen minutes away but Via Rail shame on you! They did give me 50% off my next leg of m trip so I was satisfied.
I met Lynn through my landloard and friend Arcelia while in Puerto Vallarta. The three of us would walk along the Malacon, boardwalk on Saturday mornings and then have coffee. We only spoke Spanish and it gave Lynn and I a chance to practise our skills. Once again, I became friends with someone knew (this comes as no surprise) and Lynn and I have maintained contact via e-mail. It was my first time meeting her husband Barry who is quite the character. He loves to cook, make wine, he’s knowlegable about all current events and he and Lynn are exceptional Cribbage players. With Lynn’s expert coaching I also became quite good but I’m not sure that I understood all the rules….it seems that if I win, I must cook dinner, hummmm something is wrong with this picture but being a good sport and my passion for cooking a shrimp scampi dinner was enjoyed by all!
Lynn is one of the most physically fit people that I know, three times a week she swims 60-100 laps in an olympic pool, she walks does exercise videos and watches three of her grandchildren once a week. You do know that I’m a clown and I said YES to the babysitting and I’ll just say that her daughters house was filled with balloon animals by the time we left! I know that tis may not excite a lot of people but working in their garden was such a treat to me since my lifestyle doesn’t offer me that opportunity also it was decided that I must do this since I won another game of Cribbage…..hummm! Fresh beans, carrotts, beats, peas and this time Barry had to cook!
After just more than a week I have to say that parting was such sweet sorrow. But it’s now time for the part of the train trip that I was really looking forward to the Rockies, I’m on my way to Vancouver. Wow, beautiful, gorgeous, amazing are you getting a feel for this portion of my trip? The observation deck is the place to be, I saw the mountains in all their splendor, the engineer slowed the train so we could all enjoy the view of the water falls and then there were the black bears and their cubs. Who could ask for anything more? Did I mention Max? Max is a fourteen year old going on thirty year old young man traveling with his family. If you think that I meet a lot of people, Max can put me to shame, I think that he knew everyones name on the train. He was engaging, charming and I think he’ll one day be the Prime Minister of Canada!
I stayed at the YWCA in the heart of Vancouver, which is clean and they even have four fully equiped kitchens that you have access to. It is centrally located to the Skytrain and local buses. There are plenty of shops, great restaurants but my sights were set on Butchart Gardens and using their very well run public transportation.
I started my adventure early in the morning and took the Skytrain to a public bus and then I transferred to another bus which let me off right in front of Butchart Gardens, this took three hours but once again I met some very interesting people!
The gardens are breathtaking and should be explored and appreciated slowly. They are tended with love, I found myself just sitting on a bench and smiling feeling so content enjoying the beauty around me. What a perfect day!
The next day I took the water taxi to Grandville Island. The Public Market is stall after stall of the freshest fruit, vegetable, meat, fish, restaurants,musicians and magicians the town is quaint but the people watching should be considerered a sport because you see it all! The best part was when a man asked me if I would take a picture of his rather large family and then a random woman asked me if I’d like her to take our picture so I could join my family……we alll laughed and then man said to me that maybe she thought that I was Mexican, come on you all know that we then had the most enjoyable conversation in Spanish, it doesn’t get much better that than for me!
I also had the opportunity to meet Vern, a getleman who is looking for someone to crew for him in the Carribean so we’ll have to see if that works out.
My time in Canada has come to an end for now and I’m off to the airport for yet another adventure, this one will be a two thousand mile raod trip from Northern Wisconsin to Tucson Arizona with my Cousin (who isn’t really my Cousin) but our Mothers grew up in an orphanage in Sweeden together, and her two dogs…. more about that in my next update!
I so enjoy traveling but for me the highlights are definitly the people who you meet along the way!
__/)__Sail on or more appropriatley Travel On
If you look carefully at the picture that I posted from Accuweather, you’ll notice the beautiful Spring weather we had on Sunday. 70 degrees and my friends Chuck and Gail took me to Presque Isle park and we walked along the path and then down to the beach. It was alittle disconcerting that there was still ice on the lake while we were enjoying such a beautiful Spring day.
We ate at a Sara’s, a local landmark that is only opened seasonally, Spring would be the beginning of that season.
So why would I be surprised to once again look at Accuweather only to find that the very same night it was going to be 33 and today it is snowing!!!!
One of my shipmates summed up the day perfectly when he said “F__K MOTHER NATURE!
I know for a fact that it’s not snowing in Puerto Vallarta, I’m going to suggest that we move the ship there!!!!!!
__/)__Sail On or more appropriately Shovel On