Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt



Monday, August 20, 2007

To my delight...

In the midst of my worrying and sadness for my lost cat, very little has cheered me up to the point where I can write. Obviously I've put my Mexico trip chronicles on hold, and haven't written anything besides the lost cat ad.

But much to my delight, as I was trying to go through the motions of normality this morning, I found something quite awesome. I don't know many people who would share this joy with as much gusto as I have, but foxsoccer.com have given me the best gift of all by now including FREE weekly highlight videos of all the Barclays Premiership League games!

Check it out! http://msn.foxsports.com/fsc/soccer/video

That means I get to watch highlights of my Red Devils (Manchester United)! I don't have cable or any access to these games, so I've had to settle for photos of highlights up until now. This is very exciting for me and I just had to share.

Even though ManU have had a disappionting start this season. In fact, this season for ManU has been dubbed its worst in 15 years! On top of losing their last game to Manchester City with a 0-1 score on Sunday, they've had to do without Ronaldo after his head-butting incident in the preceding Portsmouth game, which earned him a three game ban. ManU are 16th as of the latest standings, and Ronaldo still has to sit out two more games.

Ronaldo (#7) is shown the red card after allegedly head-butting Richard Hughes of Portsmouth. (FIFA.com)

Not to say that he's the only thing keeping this team together, but he certainly does work magic out on the pitch with his amazing feet and goals... i.e. last season he contributed 17 goals to get ManU the Premiership title, something they hadn't accomplished in four years.

I suppose it's still early to tell whether it really is a bad season for ManU, but time is of the essence and it's gonna be a tight race for those points to the top.

So, that is the little bit of excitement and cheeriness in the midst of this very worrisome time for me.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

HELP!

REWARD


PLEASE help me find my beloved cat:

  • 7-year-old Persian male
  • Orange tabby
  • Has dark tear stains near his eyes

Missing since 8/15/2007.

If you, or anyone you know live in Parker, Colorado, please take a good look at the pictures and see if you've seen my cat. Please email me with any information you might have at Reemawi@aol.com.

Thank you!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

St. Croix Trip Video

I was on YouTube trying to upload some vids from my Mexico trip, when I found this brief video I'd updloaded that I'd made during my St. Croix trip back in March/April of this year.

The video is of Mermaid Beach at the Buccaneer Hotel, one of the 50 best hotels in the world. I wasn't staying there, but I sure took advantage of their gorgeous beach. Enjoy!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Working on "The Mexico Chronicles"

I am working really hard on getting all my experiences in Mexico written out, and it's my project for now. I've created a separate blog, which I've titled The Mexico Chronicles.

It's kind of bare right now, but it's coming along. It's gonna be a slow work in the making, because I have A LOT of information and details I'm trying to organize in a logical manner. I figure that if I write everything chronologically, it can be pretty boring, so I've decided to clump topics together, regardless of chronological order.

For instance, the language barrier and the instances where language was an issue will all be clumped in one piece, regardless of when it occured. There will be some chronological order to some things that need to be that way, but for the most part, I think it would just be more interesting to do it with topics, rather than in order. Again, I'm still working on it, and perhaps I'll change my mind along the way, but that's the plan for now.

In the meantime, I have to load all the pictures from the trip on to flickr.com, which is kind of annoying, because I have most of them already loaded on Snapfish.com, but for some reason Snapfish.com doesn't offer links to albums. I also made a few videos during the trip, and will be posting those, but I of course have to upload those to YouTube first.

I'm trying not to overwhelm myself, so I'm taking my time with the pictures and videos, yet busting out the writing as much and as quickly as possible, so as not to lose steam that bumps up the quality of my writing. The voice recorder was meant to keep me from forgetting the details, but steam is what makes the writing good.

I have a piece related to the Mexico trip in the gallery at IntrepidMedia.com. Take a look at it!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The promised video

So, like I said I would do before I left for Mexico, and like I said I would do after my return, here are videos I said I would post. It is the last play that helped Iraq win the 2007 Asian Cup final against Saudi Arabia. I have an English version and Arabic version, but it's pretty much the same thing.

The score was 1-0, and it was sweet. Enjoy the moment that made history, and briefly stopped a war.



Saturday, August 11, 2007

A quick update about my blog

My trip to Mexico put a lot on hold, but now that I'm back my blog along with other things will get back on track.

I will be creating a separate blog that recounts my experiences in Mexico, while still writing on this blog about other things.

I mentioned that I was going to add pictures and videos of the Asian Cup final, which Iraq won (WooHoo! Go Iraq!). I left for Mexico shortly after that and internet connection and time were obstacles to my ability to write as regularly as I would've liked as things developped there.

I'm back now, so things will be more organized and timely. Thanks for reading!

El Retorno and Mexican hospitality

Well, I am back from Mexico. My Dad and I landed in Denver at about 6 o'clock last night after a fairly smooth flight. Though the flight was smooth, getting on it wasn't. We hit a few potholes.

For one thing, our original return date was August 8, and we obviously extended that to yesterday, August 10. The reason why we had to stay was because of my Dad's dental work.

Thanks to my Dad purchasing travel insurance, we were able to change our departure date without any fees, though we did have some trouble proving that the insurance took care of the fees at check-in. That was was just one of the potholes we encountered trying to get home.

We were running a little late, as the dental work wasn't finished until 1 o'clock yesterday afternoon. My Dad had to get a taxi back to the hotel from the doctor's office, pick me up along with our luggage, and head to the airport to catch our 3:25 flight back to Denver.

We hit some major traffic on the way to the airport, and though we reached it late, we still had a bit of time left for check-in and other formalities.

The real trouble started as we were getting out of the taxi and my Dad noticed that we were missing something-- an Aztec calendar we'd purchased in Mexico City. We walked into the airport with my father yelling at me, and me defending myself regarding the Aztec calendar. Much tension was in the air as we made our way through the crowds of people, all seemingly carefree while I felt like the weight of the world was on my shoulders.

As we approached the check-in line for Frontier Airlines I noticed a familiar face. It is a long story I plan to write about in my post-travel blog; but we ran into Taccia. Taccia is an airport worker at Guadalajara airport who helped us file a lost luggage report upon our arrival in Guadalajara just 12 days before.

Taccia recognized us and greeted us with a big smile. For a moment, my Dad and I forgot the Aztec calendar and revelled in the coincidence that ultimately turned out to be a miracle. Pointing us in the right direction for check-in, and following her brief examination of our passports and documents, Taccia wished us a happy flight. We stood in line, and the Aztec calendar issue resurfaced. My Dad went back to freaking out, and I suggested we call the hotel to make sure the calendar was there. My father gave me change and told me to hurry up and make the call.

When I'm nervous, I have a hard time doing the simplest things... like locating a payphone in an airport. Taccia was standing by and drawing a major blank in my brain, I went to her for help.

I explained to her the situation, and she immediately asked me to follow her back into a personnel-only room to use a telephone. There were two people working in the tiny room, one man, and one woman. After apologizing profusely for being such trouble, and expressing my appreciation for the permission to use the phone, I made the call to the hotel and found out that the calendar was left behind in the room. Not sure what the next step was, I asked that the calendar be put aside until further notice. I hung up and ran back out to tell my Dad, when I found him to be even more panicked than when I left him.

"Where's the black bag?" he asked urgently, not giving me a chance to tell him about the calendar.

"I don't know," I replied. "I thought you had it."

After a brief silence, a great panic hit me; this time concerning the bag containing not only our laptop computer, but also some important documents and a cellphone. The only thing to do was to make sure that the bag was also in the room, and not left behind in the taxi.

I went to Taccia again, and she told me to go back to the room in the back to make the call. After apologizing even more profusely to the man and woman working in the room, I called and found out that the bag was also left behind in the room. I asked the front desk to put the bag along with the Aztec calendar aside until further notice, and hung up.

I ran back out to tell my Dad about the laptop bag, and he immediately told me to call the hotel again and ask them to send the bag and calendar by taxi to the airport. For the third time I entered the tiny room with the man and woman in it. I was sweaty, nervous and uncomfortable, but was desperate to resolve the issue at hand. I apologized and asked to use the phone again.

"No," the man at the computer said while shaking his head. "You'll have to pay $10."

Great, I thought. I wasn't sure what to say or do, when Taccia appeared behind me.

"Don't pay any attention to him," she said with a smile. "He's just joking."

I laughed nervously but felt great relief. "I'm really very sorry for this," I said for what seemed like the millionth time that day and proceeded toward the phone to make the call.

Taccia helped make the arrangements over the phone with the hotel staff to send the items by taxi to the airport, and the only thing left to battle was time. The items had to get there in 20 minutes.

There was tension in the air to say the least, but thanks to Taccia and other staff members at the Guadalajara airport, everything came through, as everyone was eager to help us get checked in with all our belongings on time.

20 minutes had gone by, and no laptop bag, or Aztec calendar were in sight. I was sure that we were going to leave Mexico without the items and that our that they would be lost forever.

I was standing outside and watching, when finally two men were walking toward me. One was holding the laptop bag and the Aztec calendar, while the other was yelling, "Your things are here!"

After paying the taxi driver $20, tipping him and thanking him profusely, I ran back into the airport to find my Dad to go to our gate and board the plane back home.

We made it on the flight, and ultimately made it home despite some pretty major potholes, thanks to the coincidence of running into Taccia, which resulted in a pretty big miracle that got us home with all our belongs.

As good as it is to be home, I wish I was still in Mexico where most people are just like Taccia. Eager to help with utmost sincerity.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Internet Access en Mexico, so far.

I finally have a decent internet connection available to me in the comfort of my hotel room! So I can at least write something to let readers who only get news about me through my blog while I'm out of town know I'm still alive and still have my blog going!

A good enough internet connection is obviously difficult to come by when you're a tourist here, as not all hotels offer convenient, or fast enough internet access. I haven't tried internet cafes, but they are available if you can find them... I never tried, as I only really need internet access back at the hotel.

In Guadalajara, I've stayed at two hotels: Meson Ejecutivo and El Tapatio.

Meson Ejecutivo offered Hotspot services in the rooms for fees that incorporate minute increments. It also offered free wireless internet access that was pretty speedy in the lobby and restaurant, also through Hotspot. It also had a "business center" on its 2nd floor, where there are two computers available with internet access, though I found the internet in/on there to be extremely slow. The keyboards in there are Spanish version keyboards, and make it difficult to type certain things like smiley faces, or even question marks until you figure out that one of the "alt" keys is marked differently, and that's what allows you to use that question mark you can see, but can't seem to type.

At El Tapatio, the internet access is free and available in the rooms through two wireless networks. It was slow for me, however, as the signal strength was "very low" in my room. Once I took my laptop out on the balcony the signal strength improved to "very good".

In Mexico City, our hotel was a little primitive with its computer and internet access. At the Tulip Inn Ritz, there was only ONE computer in the lobby that limits users to only five minutes, with extremely S-L-O-W internet (making the five-minute time limit ridiculous), and a worn out Spanish version keyboard, with most of the keys blank... you have to know keyboarding on this one. You can use your laptop down in the lobby, but only after you buy an internet card from 7-Eleven for something like 50 pesos, which starts at 100 minutes, or 15 days, and isn't even for wireless internet! The good news is, you can use that card to have internet access in your room, as well. It was ridiculous for our purpose, since we were only staying in Mexico City two nights, and would only need internet access for perhaps five hours at the most, and I'm really stretching it quite a bit.

There are more visible internet cafes in MC than in Guadalajara, but I still don't know much about them.

So, these are some of the reasons making my travel blogging thing a near impossibility for me. I am recording everything I possibly can on the digital voice recorder I bought especially for this trip, and that will help a lot in writing everything like it's fresh later on when I have time and a good internet connection.

In the meantime, Mexico is a great place rich with flavor, culture and history. I cannot wait to start writing about my experiences as they have been absolutely amazing, and I can't wait to let people know the real Mexico, and to stop if they already are getting their ideas about this country through movies and ignorant sources.

Friday, August 3, 2007

More pics from Guadalajara

Of course, I have very little time to really write a travel log or diary, though I wanted to do something like that originally. It is very difficult, however, given that I spend all day out, and when we get back to the hotel, I'm pretty much dead and all I wanna do is sleep. Also, there's not enough time to load all the pics I want to load onto snapfish, so I'll keep picking out a few and posting them on my blog. I hope that strategy will suffice until I get back to Denver to the curious reader. Enjoy these latest pics...

On the way to Lake Chapala is a restaurant that serves only one meal. They don't even have a menu, and the place is very popular. The meal is Birria, which is the specialty of Guadalajarans and comprises of meat, in this case goat meat, in a tomat0-based sauce. This is the ceiling of the restaurant. Nice, eh?

Dad and I had our picture taken by our waiter.

Dad took my picture.


This is at Lake Chapala. I'm sorry to say that there wasn't much else at Lake Chapala. It's a pretty basic lake town, with nothing more than a lake and boat rides across the lake.
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