The day of departure from the Dominican Republic arrived too soon. Before we knew it, my husband and I sat in the lobby of the hotel waiting for the bus to take us to the airport.
It was midday and the hot sun was causing a sheen of sweat to cover our bodies. Drinking an ice-cold glass of water, I savoured the heat with the knowledge that by the end of the day I would be experiencing the cool temperatures of a Canadian Fall.
A few hours later, we were airborne and bade our farewells to a country that had welcomed us with open arms. We had enjoyed our stay and looked forward to returning to the island with our children sometime in the future.
Once we had arrived at our hotel room, we spent some time unpacking and freshening up. A quick shower did wonders for our travel fatigue. We then set out to find a place to eat dinner as we were hungry. Our diet for the day of a sandwich, banana, mandarin and salted pretzels on the planet and not been a satisfying one.
We liked the ambience of the buffet restaurant we had found. We tried a little taste of many of the foods on offer and really enjoyed the pasta with its accompanying sauce. The dessert was a little blah and I am hoping that the place we try tonight will have a better offering.
We found the buffet restaurant we want to visit for tomorrow ‘s dinner. The place looks bigger and very appealing inside. While walking around the complex, we happened upon a show titled Broadway. It contained hits by Liza Minelli and from Broadway shows such as Chicago. The show ended with a bang with the songs from Grease. The show was fun to watch and I look forward to seeing what they will offer tomorrow night.
Before heading off to bed, we wandered around a little more and had a drink while listening to some music. We enjoyed our first evening at the hotel and will set off to do some more exploring today.
In developed countries we are used to going to the supermarket to buy animal produce: chicken, fish, beef and pork. We enter an area that has been cooled and the product we are buying has been cleaned and wrapped in clear plastic. The air smells clean and fresh. Our hands do not touch the animal flesh. We have been distanced from the sight and smells of the raw meat.
When vacationing in Mauritius, I took the opportunity to take my children to an open meat market. I wanted them to experience how others buy their meat produce; and to realise that not everyone selects their meat from the freezers and fridges in the supermarket. The first section we walked into was where they sell the chicken. The building is cool, made with brick, but it is not refrigerated. Chickens are on display for customers to choose.
Fresh fish is also on sale – fish that one hopes was taken out of the sea waters that morning by fishermen. They are arranged for display on the cold metal slabs, tempting buyers who are searching for fresh seafood for their dinner.
We left the building which housed the fresh fish stock and walked into the one that houses the beef, pork and other red meats. The first thing the children commented on was the pungent smell. And the number of flies that were buzzing around! The displays are not as hygienic as found in the supermarkets we are used to frequenting.
But even though the meat market had an antiquated feel about it, much variety was on display. The rack of sausages showed that the butchers had a large variety to offer their customers:
The butchers laid out many cuts of meat to tempt the shoppers and those passing by.
What was interesting to see was the old-fashioned scale that is still in use by the butchers when weighing any product that is sold: an old-fashioned piece of equipment that is still seen to be a part of everyday shopping in this part of the world.
After the gloom and intense smells of the meat market, we walked outside to smell the cleaner air and take in the colours of the road outside. (You can take a look at what we saw outside the meat market by visiting a previous post).
Would you buy any animal products at an open meat market like this one?
We went to Port Louis in Mauritius during our vacation to visit the renowned market. We were not the only ones walking the street that day: some were doing their shopping for food or for goods; while others were tourists like us enjoying the ambience of this Indian Ocean island.
When you first come out of the market, you do not see too many faces. There are people out and about, but you are not jostled by crowds of people.
This is not surprising as the entrances and exits of the meat market and the fresh fruit & vegetable market are not filled with people. But walk further down to where the most human traffic can be found, and you see a swarm of people.
People are out shopping and going about their business, used to the crowds and bustle of the streets. Voices are heard, and colourful sights are seen.
Brightly coloured umbrellas shade vendors selling their wares in the hope that a passer-by may stop to buy an item.
At times they are lucky and a customer stops by to exchange goods for a few rupees.
We enjoyed our day walking the streets of Port Louis. We took in everything: the colour, the sounds, and the smells. A different experience to what we see when we walk among the people of Toronto.
Do you enjoy visiting local markets?
(Join Jake every week for a theme for creative inspiration. This week’s prompt is: People)
I enjoy being alone in the silence of nature: looking at the sights in front of me and listening to the sounds of peace. When in Swaziland a few months ago, I had the opportunity to listen to the quiet and admire the African landscape. Because it was the end of winter and the summer rains had not come, the scene was a mixture of browns and greens.
We were looking from down a mountainside and I noticed the signs of spring approaching: the grasses had begun to turn green, rendering the landscape less brown.
The landscape was not lush with a variety of plants and flowers and yet, in its own way, the rocks and sparse shrubs hold a beauty of its own.
Looking in one direction from our vantage point, I noticed that man had not yet encroached on the landscape. The land was as yet untouched and unblemished.
Yet far in the distance , when I looked in another direction, I could see a solitary home hugging the side of the mountain. Can you see it?
A home that may not remain solitary as roads and houses move slowly up to meet it.
I am thankful to have experienced a solitary moment on the side of a Swazi mountain before the development of homes. Devlopment which would tame the African landscape and create a different view altogether.
Do you enjoy solitary moments in nature?
(Join us each week for the Photo Challenge posted on The Daily Post at WordPress.com. This week’s prompt is: Solitary)
School is out and the Summer vacation is in! For two months children will not be sitting at school desks bent over work the teacher has set to complete the curriculum. Instead they will wake up late, have plenty of free time, and spend hours outside in the fresh air and sun.
This Summer my husband, children and I will be spending time with our family. This does mean, however that we will have to leave the northern hemisphere and fly to the southern. At the moment I am packing our bags: deciding what to wear, inserting the small gifts that we have bought, making sure that the bag is not overweight. Today is the day to go find the last-minute things we will need for our trip, and the last chance to enjoy the warmth of the summer sun until we get back.
We have one day left before we board the first plane that will take us to our destination. To family reunions; to tasting foods we have not tasted for so long; to winter days warmed with the conversation of siblings. I look forward to a cup of tea and some small koeksusters; my children to a bag of biltong to nibble on; and my husband to some curry and dahl pourri.
The one thing I will miss while on vacation is the blogging experience. I will not have internet access and thus will not be able to write posts or read blogs. I will miss connecting with you but know that for the next 7 weeks that I will be taking photos to share with you, and that I will have my notebook with me to write down ideas and experiences to share with you. And if I have access for 30 minutes somewhere on my vacation, I will let you know how the vacation and family reunion is going.
To all my readers in the northern hemisphere: enjoy your summer. And those in the southern hemisphere: I will soon experience your winter cold.
I am soon going to fly and have thought about what I could do to make my experience a healthier one.
I know when I fly, I will experience pressure on my eardrum and middle ear when the plane is ascending or descending. In the past I have I have chewed gum and found it worked. Thus I set out to buy a packet for my trip. At the store, however, I noticed that all varieties of gum had aspartame listed in the ingredients. To avoid this artificial sweetener because of what I had discovered about its side effects, I decided not to chew gum but instead to follow other recommendations given to relieve ear pressure: that is, to yawn or to swallow.
The air in the areoplane is different to what we breathe in when on the ground. In the plane, the air is recycled and is very dry resulting in dehydration and thirst. I will therefore make an effort quench my thirst with water, avoiding alcohol and caffeine because of their diuretic effects. In this way I hope to avoid a headache or bloating.
I have read that it is important to stretch when flying as this will keep the blood flowing, alleviate cramping and pains from sitting too long, and prevent deep vein thrombosis. This is especially important for those long flights that take you to different continents. I found a website that shows exercises you can do while sitting in your seat. I have printed them out and will definitely try them out when I feel the need to move.
Once I arrive at my destination, I will concentrate on drinking water to rehydrate myself. I will also exercise my legs to get the blood circulating – walking the long distances at the airport of my destination will surely get the blood moving in my legs!
What do you do to make your journey by plane healthy?
It is not often I see the sun rise. I am up before dawn – but that time is spent getting ready for the day. Locked inside the apartment with four walls surrounding me and curtains hiding the outside from my eyes, I do not see the world awake in colour.
An exception, of course, is when an effort is made to watch the sun rise slowly into the sky. And when you are travelling in your car and the dawn breaks. On one such occasion I was armed with my camera and I took many shots as the sun coloured the sky in deep orange. We had woken early and had left Johannesburg before the break of dawn. The children were in the back seat of the car, sleeping, and my husband was driving.
At first the sunrise was not spectacular. It came over the rooftops, bringing light to the dark world.
As we drove on, I began to see the sun colour the clouds around it with yellow and orange.
The colour then changed to a magnificent orange. The sun’s reflection of light reminded me of when light reflects in water.
The colours were breathtaking. I tried to capture its beauty as the car sped along the highway. As it is a beauty I rarely see, I was even more enamoured of it.
As the sun moved higher into the sky, I noticed the brilliant colours fading. It was going towards doing its job, warming the earth and bringing the light of day. And as the sun rose higher up in the sky and we sped towards our destination, we were ready to turn on the a/c to cool ourselves off for the long journey.
I remember travelling through an airport and not being searched. These days, however, it seems our bodies are searched more than once. We walk through detectors, we are searched by a person of the same sex, and now we are even searched electronically. Our personal space is invaded in more than one way. All in the interests of security, we are assured.
Everytime I go through the current security procedures at the airport, I do admit to feeling a little annoyed. I question the reason for my 9 and 10 year old childrens’ body search; I feel angry at the way the security people disregard your humanity; and I am irritated that we are searched upon entering the airport’s waiting lounge and then again before we board the plane. One wonders when the limit will be reached.
The final bit of patience was lost by a man last week in Oregon at the Portland International Airport. Tired of the harassment he was receiving at the hands of the airport screeners, John Brennan stripped completely while going through a screening area. When asked by officials to dress, Brennan refused. This 49 year old man was arrested by police for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.
When undressed, other passengers reacted in a variety of ways: some were embarrassed and covered their eyes; some covered the eyes of their children; others laughed; while some took photos.
The longest journey I take is the one I undergo to visit my parents. It is no short ride in a car, or a clickety-clack journey in a train. Instead I need to take to the sky and travel for an average of 23 hours (including wait time at the airport).
The long journey does not happen often; but when it does I make the most of my visit.
This week’s prompt, Journey, makes me think not only of the travelling I do to visit those who live far away. I think as well of the music created by Journey, a music group whose songs bring back many adolescent memories