Caribbean visit to Martinique

Come with me to St. Anne in Martinique

St. Anne, Martinique

Martinique is a French island in the eastern Caribbean Sea with a land area of only 1,128 sq. kilos (436 sq. mi). We were staying in a suite at Le Hameau de Beauregard walking distance to Sainte Anne, a quaint town with narrow streets. On this Sunday afternoon we joined the crowds of people in town. Along the dock fishermen sold the catch of the day chopping up, as requested, the size of the piece of fish you wanted. A small crowd gathered around a woman busy cutting into a huge Marlin fish.

A narrow street in St Anne

A narrow street in St Anne

Along the main street we found restaurants, souvenir shops and a few grocery stores. As in most typical tourist town the price of everything was high. Where only an hour ago there were people everywhere, by four the place was deserted as all the shops closed.

La Saline beach near St. Anne, Martinique

La Saline beach near St. Anne, Martinique

One of the most beautiful beached of Martinique is Les Salines beach. The beautiful silky sand made it perfect for walking. The water was as warm as the air and a pleasure to swim in. We did find it strange that along the shore there were no sea gulls or any kind of birds at all.

Trees bordered the beach and we were lucky enough to find an empty picnic table to sit at for a bit of people watching. Behind us at a fruit stand a young man used his machete to cut up coconuts that he clients. After watching him take that same machete and dig it into the stand to make a hole to plant his umbrella pole we sure didn’t feel inclined to buy any coconut from him.

All along the shore beautiful young local girls carried large baskets of bathing suits. They’d approach tourists their own size and began their sale pitch by modeling the suits. They’d slip the bikini bottom over their own and removed their top and replace it with the top of the bikini that was for sale. One after the other each bathing suit was modeled. If the client was interested they tried on the bikini the same way. Sports Illustrated was nothing compared to what we were seeing. It was done in such a natural way with such beautiful girls that it looked almost poetic. It was the most entertaining activity on the beach. If only I’d been 20 years younger.

Travel Dream and Nightmares – Four Women Explore the World

by Louise Szabo, Barbara Brown, Jan Jacobson, Wendy Quarry


A visit to Pécs, Hungary

During one of our visits to Hungary, Charlie and I had the pleasure to drive to Pécs a three hour drive west of Budapest. One of the oldest cities in Hungary and built on a hillside, Pécs, a university town, has the largest Turkish ruins in Hungary.


I expected to see only old ancient buildings. As we drove into town, many shops, especially the Arkadok shopping centre, were cosmopolitan. There was traffic everywhere and the closer we got to the historical part of the city, the narrower became the streets. Most were one-way and with cars parked on one side we drove with care to avoid hitting them.


In the main square they’d replaced the old cobblestones with new flat ones making it easy to walk on. Surrounding the square were old architectural buildings. We could the City Hall, The country Hall, the Nador hotel, and the Fatebenefratelli Chruch.



The main attraction for us was the Mosque of Pasha Gazi Kasim. Now converted to a Catholic church the crescent moon and cross of Islam were still visible on its cupola. With the only light coming from the arc windows the inside of the church was dark. On some of the plaster were Turkish decorations and inscriptions. I managed to take a few pictures pleased to get away with it.



Through archways twelve streets lead into the courtyard. I could well imagine the old days when knights on horseback rode to this busy part of the town through those archways


Pécs is home to the Zsolnay porcelain factory. Since 1853 it has produced stoneware and other decorative ceramics. In 1893, they started to make porcelain pieces made of eosin. This is a glaze that makes the porcelain appear an iridescent metallic in shades of green, red, blue and purple. Although the Zsolnay Museum was closed that day, the many souvenir shops in the square sold Zsolnay porcelain.


After our pleasant day in Pécs it was a treat to enjoy our beer at one of the many café patios. Pécs was well worth the visit.

When will you visit Pécs?


Accepting the role

Amanda Staley explains it so well. I too am a writer.

Amanda Staley

This post is probably closely related to my It’s a Confidence Game, being able to tell someone you are a writer takes a lot of confidence.


Accepting a new role into our already hectic life is challenging. At first calling myself a writer was like getting those stretch blue jeans out of the dryer and putting them on. They are a little snug at first and you start to wonder if those three extra pounds you put on has pushed you into the next size, and you need to buy new pants, but you realize the longer you have them on the better they fit.  Calling myself a writer, followed the same sort of pattern. At first it didn’t seem right and I felt awkward about telling people. I mean what if my work was crap? I didn’t want anyone to know. Now, I smile looking back on those…

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My husband stole my computer

My husband stole my computer to look at old photos.  For over an hour. He enjoyed watching them so much I didn’t have the heart to take it back.  With over 6 thousand photos on my computer he could have been sitting there for another five hours.

A few years ago I spent hours transferring my photos onto my computer. What a painful operation. Not only did I have envelopes of negatives, I also had boxes of slides. This is so old school but then we are an old school couple.  When I transferred them onto a new computer I am sure they doubled up. Or tripled up. I haven’t figured out a way to sort them and spot repeat performances. Nor do I take the time to name each one. It stay as a future project. Believe me it’s iIn the far far future.

Years ago pictures were put in albums or thrown in a box.  Every now and then we’d take then out and do exactly what my husband did this afternoon.  In this digital world picture go directly onto the computer.

Years ago the cost of getting pictures developed made you think twice about the scene you would capture. In this digital world you can take a video and split each so called frame.

Years ago you stored your photo albums and boxes in the closet shelves. In this digital world you stick them in your IPhoto software and forget about them.

Years ago you’d take your newly developed pictures and show them around. In this digital world no one bothers to look at them.

How many of you have shared their travel photos with anyone besides your immediate family?

I must admit that it is so much handier to take photos in this digital world. I’m not too sure if the memories get shared.

Tomorrow, I’l let my husband steal my computer again. It’s nice to live over the memories with him.

Next time it’s the train all the way there and back

The last time I’d travelled alone was over 25 years ago when I’d taken a plane to Toronto on a business trip. My last train adventure was in 1962 when I’d gone to Montreal. I looked forward to the trip but wondered about my transportation there and back.

The first leg of the journey was by train from the Fallowfield Station in Barrhaven, a suburb of Ottawa, to Kingston.  I expected to hear the clickety-klack of the track as in the old movies and was surprised at the steady soothing hum of wheels rolling on metal bars.  The seat was comfortable, I had plenty of leg room and the view of farm fields and bushes made me relax. Alone in my row, I placed my carry-on in the empty seat next to me and made myself comfortable. I loved every minute of it.

I disembarked at Kingston where I was met by my best friend Lorie. By car we headed for Toronto. On the 401, the great conversation with someone I hadn’t seen for a while made the kilometres whiz by. As we headed towards the Don Valley Parkway, the highways increasing to 4 lanes, then 6 and on. All these zooming cars made me nervous. The amount of traffic is the reason my husband and I never drive to Toronto unless absolutely necessary. I was glad when we parked the car in her driveway.

For the few days I was in Toronto our main means of transportation was on foot. Lorie walked everywhere. Since I instruct aqua exercises 3 times a week, I thought I was in good shape. Obviously walking at her speed is a lot more of an aerobic exercises than what I do. I had to up my stamina to keep up with her.

With my wish to go to the Eaton Centre and see the shops on Younge Street Lorie, who hates to drive downtown, decided we’d take the bus and subway. This suited me fine as we didn’t have to worry about parking, gas consumption and the subway ride reminded me of the Budapest (Metro). Like any other town if you know which bus to take it’s no problem. Taking the subway is even easier. If I knew my stops I could do this on my own.

The return trip to Ottawa by bus was not that pleasant.  Especially since it arrived at the pickup stop half an hour late. By the time I boarded, there were few seat choices. Sitting next to the aisle, one seat from the back, I was right next to the toilet. The seat was uncomfortable and I couldn’t see where we were going. The young man sitting next to me never said a word and spent the entire journey playing games on his computer.

I managed to have a cat-nap, I started to read  the James Patterson book ‘ Violets are Blue’, I struggled to get connected on my iPad and gave up, I went back to read my book, had another nap, read some more, tried to figure out where we were, went back to reading.  With a 20 minute stop at an AnRoute rest stop right before we reached Kingston, I was pleased that I’d brought my own supper. I wolfed down my roast-beef sandwich, headed for the bathroom, rushed over to the bus and we took off again.

The bus drove into the Fallowfield station in Barrhaven one hour late. Tired, still a little hungry, and feeling clammy and dirty I was happy to get off the bus and kiss and hug my waiting husband. He was so pleased to have me back home that he didn’t bother bitching about the late arrival. Back in my comfort zone I enjoyed the ride home.

With my transit experiences, if at all possible, the next time I go somewhere out of town, I’ll take the train.

Travelling Alone

With my RV book tucked away at the publisher I have decided to visit my best friend in Toronto.  Of all the travel I have done in my life, RV across Canada, many trips to the Caribbean, flights overseas, winters in Florida, this is my first true visit to Toronto.  Whether I actually see the city is another story. The purpose of the trip is to give love and support to a grieving widow.

The last time I took a train was 53 years ago when I went to Montreal and I have long forgotten what it was like.  My return trip is by bus. It will be a longer journey than my usual bus trek of going from the suburbs to  downtown Ottawa.

Besides going on work trip ages and ages ago, believe it or not, this is the first adventurous journey I take without my husband.  Now that I am older and more cautious all this makes me a bit nervous. In this changing world, news items of attacks, terrorism, crazy people and weird accidents sits at the back of my mind. I will leave it there.

To be honest, I wish for some excitement to write about.  Find a story in the journey. If I don’t, I’m not much of a writer.

It’s done. Now What?

It’s done.  I sent my RV book out for review at Baico Publishing in Ottawa. It is the first step in the publishing process. Until I hear from them I don’t want to look at the manuscript.

At my computer I play games. I delete accumulated email.  I check out RV sites. What I am really doing is procrastinating.

After the year of revising and revising I feel completely lost. What do I do now?  The obvious answer is to work on my media presence.

To this end I took a course ‘ The most Valuable book marketing help you can get’ from Doris-Maria Hellmann at which was excellent.  I got overloaded with information and am ready to get going.  My big problem is how.  According to the course I need over the next year to get followers. I must at the least get,   Goggle+  2,000, Twitter 2,000, Goodread, 1000.

For some people this is easy.  I search for reader, reviewers, traveller, RV, and don’t know which to choose. I am slowly losing my mind.

I must also blog twice a week, write articles for newspapers and magazine so that my names get noticed, and twitter at least once a day.

At the moment, I have no clue on what I will blog about. Should it be about my book? What I will do next in my marketing quest?  They say don’t blog about yourself all the time. Maybe I should write on why it took 3 weeks to get our shower stall re-tiled.

I could take the easy way out and post from the Book.

For the moment, I think I’ll get myself a glass of wine. And think about it