Category Archives: travel

Mexico!

Coming home from vacation is hard.  Especially when you’re coming home to Utah weather.  This morning I realized that it snows during every season except summer here.  Extremely lame.  I suppose it made us appreciate the 85 degree weather in Mexico even more though, right? Right.

The trip started out with just enough drama when a fellow passenger was escorted off the plane in Cancun.  After touching down, it was announced that no one would be exiting the plane just yet except for one passenger.  After paging his name there was this deafening silence as we all looked up and down the aisle waiting to see who this person was.  Holy walk of shame.  Not that we even knew why the hell he was being escorted off by himself, but we knew it wasn’t good.  As if the suspense wasn’t already killing us, the flight attendant continued to announce that this was “the most unusual thing I have ever seen.”  She probably said at least five times, “Sorry folks, please remain seated.  This is just very strange.  I honestly have never seen anything like this.”  I seriously almost died from not knowing.  Once we were finally off the plane we spotted the mysterious passenger in a room full of security dudes. And security dudes and police officers in Mexico are not the same as the ones in the United States.  Meaning, they carry machine guns!

We finally reached our resort after what felt like one of the longest car rides ever and were greeted in our rooms with some wonderful towel creations.  I wrote before about my dislike for the swan towel, but the Riu Palace Mexico put a new twist on it, and I think I like it.  Check out these bad boys.  I mean now they have sticker eyes and streamers!  Maria, our housekeeper, was a towel creation champion.

It's a double!

It’s a double!

I don't know what this one is supposed to be, but I like it.

I don’t know what this one is supposed to be, but I like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Besides enjoying the random animals made out of washcloths, we spent our time lounging at the pool, walking along the beach and eating way too much food.  All-inclusive is the way to go, but it’s also dangerous.  Each meal consists of like five different courses.  Of course, drinks are also unlimited, so add those calories on, and well, you’re screwed.  I mean unless you’re looking to gain a few pounds, in which case, you’re in luck.

Some other highlights from the trip include, but are not limited to:

-Being asked if we “want to get high” repeatedly on the 5th Avenue shopping street.  We politely declined.

-Paying $30USD for a bottle of sunblock.  Somehow I calculated it as $3 and was like, “Wow, what a great deal!”  Only later was I like, “Hey, wait a second.  They are completely robbing people!”

-Asking for a decaf at the end of dinner and having the server bring us an enormous jar of decaf coffee and a cup full of hot water.  Self-serve style!

Here are a few pics to sum up the beauty of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.  Crossing my fingers we’re back on the Riviera Maya soon.

playa1

The fam

The fam

playa1

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Wyoming

Last March I went to Paris for work.  This March?  Wyoming.  The truth is that I’m more comfortable here in Wyoming though.  I mean yes, Paris is amazing, but when you have very limited time to spend in a place, it’s better to be somewhere where every person you communicate with can understand you and you aren’t suffering from horrible jet lag.

Getting here took nearly as long as flying to Paris though.  I mean I flew DIRECT to Paris, people!  Yep, direct.  Which means my flight there was like 9 hours.  To get to Riverton, Wyoming I had to first fly to Denver.  Then, I sat in the Denver airport for almost 4 hours before I walked a block outside to the tiny charter plane that would take me to my final destination.  Quick tangent about the charter plane.  Holy scary! I knew it wasn’t going to be good when I saw the name of the airline; Great Lakes Airlines. That just sounds really small town, which is not really what I want when it comes to commercial airlines.  They also kept announcing that we should go to the bathroom before the flight (aka no lavatory on the plane).  My thought was confirmed when I saw the plane.  It seated a total of 16 people and was so loud that I’m pretty sure my hearing is permanently damaged.

Once seated the guy next to me proceeded to tell me a horror story about how the last time he was on one of these charter planes the cabin lost pressure, the air masks came down and everyone on board was pretty sure they would die.  Thanks dude.  How about next time you save your story telling for AFTER the flight?  Holy shit.

So my first stop in Wyoming was Riverton.  Never been before this trip, pretty sure I won’t ever go back.  But my second stop?  Jackson Hole!  Jackson Hole is rad.  I’ve been to Jackson a few times and I just like the vibe.  Plus, they’re having this crazy nice weather which happens to make me very happy because I have an entire day between trainings.  And nothing makes me happier than sunshine.

Tomorrow night I’m headed to a place enjoying a crazy amount of sunshine right now. Phoenix.  Unfortunately I’ll be inside all day wishing I was outside getting my tan on. Oh well, probably better because of that whole skin cancer thing.

I Need a New Joke

So I’m (finally) getting ready to travel again for work.  I have two gigs in March and two in April, so I’m starting to prepare.  Which means that I have a few calls with the client and folks that I work with in coordinating the gigs and then I get to work on making notes and delivering the course in my living room multiple times until I think I have it down.  In other words, I do a whole lot of talking to myself as I click through the slides and pretend like there are 40 people in front of me.

I always like to crack some kind of joke in the intro I give about myself to set a fun, non-stuffy mood (especially important when you’re training pharmaceutical big wigs).  My regular routine sounds something like this, “I’m based out of Salt Lake City, Utah (pause) No, I’m not a polygamist.”  Normally I get a good laugh, but at the course I taught in Basel, Switzerland, I got feedback on one of the evaluations about it.  The person wrote that the joke was “in bad taste and not necessary.” They then went on to ask if I said it for shock value.  Shock value?  Listen, if I wanted to add shock value I would at least get an F bomb in there.

I know that was only one lame ass person, but now I feel like I need a new joke.  I thought about saying something about my daily commute being by horse (since someone once asked if I traveled by horse – obviously, they don’t know anything about SLC), but these gigs are in Wyoming.  So… they may actually travel by horse.

Give me your best Utah jokes, people.  I have no problem pretending like I came up with it myself.  If it’s a hit though, I will most definitely give you credit right here on this near-famous (wink wink) blog.

Say NO to the Birds!

We’re hoping to take a family vacation in a few months to celebrate Em’s college graduation.  Yes, I have a stepdaughter who is old enough to have graduated from college.  Can you even believe it?!  We’re very proud of her and thought a family getaway sounded like the right way to celebrate.  Hopefully we can make it all come together.  I’ve been looking at a ton of all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, Dominican Republic and anywhere else that sounds like an awesome diversion when winter is still raging in Utah.

Quick tangent – – I’m already feeling a little sick of winter and it’s just getting rolling. Ahhhhh!  A massive winter storm finally came through pushing out the unbreathable air (not even joking around about the air; people were calling it a health emergency).  So now we have clean air but the high temperature tomorrow is 17 degrees.  17, people.  I rest my case.

Anyway, back to the vacation.  I’ve looked at countless resorts and I would venture to say that at least half of them have one or more photos of those stupid little doves (is that what they are – doves?) they like to make out of towels and place on the bed or bath in the room.  And most of the time they add some rose petals to make it look super romantic.  Is it just me or are these towel doves incredibly cheesy and outdated?  It’s like as soon as I see those damn birds I question whether or not this is a good fit for us.  Immediately I’m like, oh shit, they make those birds at this place. 

I know what you’re thinking.  I sound ridiculous.  They are simply making these god awful towel displays because they think they look nice and welcoming.  It’s a valid piece of feedback though.  I mean just look at them.

How romantic?

How romantic?

The Travel Log

Hi there!  Remember me?  I’m back to give you an update on all things Sonie. Why? Because it might be somewhat entertaining, and everyone loves to be entertained.

First, let me start by saying that my anxiety level has definitely decreased.  For one, I’m trying to imagine the worst thing that could happen in my anxiety-ridden state, and most of the time, it’s not that bad.  Since most of my anxiety involves Jack and his unpredictability, the worst-case scenario is he takes a little bite at someone.  Is this good?  No, but he’s never done much damage.  Plus, it’s been over 4 months since we’ve had an incident!  Many people have come to the house and he’s been nice to everyone.  And camping this weekend he hauled ass towards one guy walking by the campsite only to sniff him and get some attention.  Do I want him charging towards people?  No, but we’re working on it.  Oh, and he was a freakin’ rockstar hiking off-leash.  Yes, he chased the cows (which, by the way, cows can move a lot quicker than I thought), but he did come back.

Now that we have the Jack update out of the way, let’s talk about work anxiety. Actually, I don’t have much work anxiety.  Is traveling to Switzerland to deliver a 2-day training course to big wig pharmaceutical folks intimidating?  Hell yeah.  Am I capable of pulling it off?  Absolutely.  And I did.  I spent 3 days in Basel, Switzerland on very little sleep, but I pulled it off.  After taking three planes, one train and one taxi, I arrived.  The hotel was very nice (should be when it’s over $300/night), but what is it with the Europeans pushing two twin beds together and calling it a queen? It’s cheating is what it is.  Also, when I order a coffee, fill it up.  I don’t want to pay for a cup of coffee that is a quarter full.  I’m going on three hours of sleep!

What a whiner I am.  The people there were so nice.  In fact, on the train back from Basel to Zurich, the ticket dudes totally let my fellow training friend off the hook when her ticket wasn’t valid.  They even blew kisses to us when we got off the train. Now that’s nice!  I’m telling you though, trains CANNOT be trusted.  I can’t tell you how many wrong trains I’ve been on (did it this trip, in fact).  Would it be too much to ask to make an announcement?

Obviously we made it, but it was much more difficult than it needed to be.  The last thing you want is a bunch of angry Americans arriving at the airport only to discover that they can buy a Swiss army knife right before boarding their plane!  So in case security confiscated yours, you can still purchase one so you can stab all your fellow passengers.  Ok, maybe they make you ship it to yourself?

I’m always stoked to get home.  Part of it could be the whole not sleeping for 20 hours thing that really makes me want to crawl into my own bed.  I also knew I had a long weekend with my boys to look forward to though.  Rob was able to take a couple of days off and the three of us took the trailer out for (probably) our final camping trip for the season.  It was gorgeous with the fall leaves and we basically had the campground to ourselves.  Two different families attempted to take the spot next to us, but Rob death stared down the first group and cranked up the music and danced for the second.  Both attempts worked and they moved.

A view of the Rhine River

The boys on a hike in Mt. Nebo

Home is Where the… Stress is?

First, let me say that it was really great waking up yesterday morning knowing that I didn’t have to fly anywhere.  For five weeks I jumped on a plane every Monday. Small planes, big planes, late planes, smelly planes.  I’ve seen them all.  I’ve also witnessed very upset people missing those planes.  In Erie, Pennsylvania, I witnessed a guy drop several f-bombs to himself (loudly, I might add) after missing his flight.  It was very dramatic, so I figured he must really need to get home.  Two minutes later though he made a phone call to his wife explaining that he wasn’t going to get home in time for the Bingo game.  Holy shit dude, BINGO?!  I just don’t know that a Bingo game is worth so many f-bombs.  I could be wrong though.

I also witnessed a lady in the Detroit airport sprinting to her gate.  The gate where the door had already been closed.  She proceeded to run to the door shaking it and yelling, “Nooooo!”  I felt very sad and also a little embarrassed for her.

I’m happy to have a month where I board zero planes.  Because honestly, I prefer to be home.  Not that my home is stress-free.  Mainly because I’m a stress case.  Yes, I am, by nature, a worrier.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I worry about what’s happened in the past, I worry about what might happen in the future, and I worry about not enjoying the present moment.  I’m working on it though.  I have to do it for my own sanity and the sanity and happiness of Jack.  You remember him? The fear aggressor dog?  He’s made a lot of progress, but we both have a ways to go.

In fact, maybe now is a good time to solicit volunteers for Jack’s socialization process. We’re looking for people who would like to come to our house (dinner, snacks and/or drinks provided) and meet Jack.  If you’re male, we really want you.  If you’re female, he’ll like you, but you’re welcome as well.  When you come over, we’ll ask that there is no touch, no talk and no eye contact with Jack until he has had a chance to smell you and we know that he is comfortable.  We need calm individuals who will not sue should anything go awry.

Also, if you have a well-balanced dog, we need you too!  Jack loves my sister’s dog and they play very well together, but he needs to get over his reaction to other dogs on walks.  If  your dog is a well-behaved dog, we would love for you to come on some walks with us.  Dave and Georgia, I’m looking at you right now.  I know you have that really cool dog Chaser… Think about it.

Ok, enough of the solicitation blog.  Again though, if you feel like you might be able and willing to help, I’m sure karma will return the favor.  Or God.  Or Buddha. Whatever you believe, I’m almost positive you will be rewarded appropriately.  That and you’ll get a huge warm fuzzy.  And who doesn’t love those?

Going Out with a Bang!

Well, let’s just say that week four of my crazy work trips turned out to be a doozy.  I did go out with a bang though.  Ok, it was more like a CRASH!  Yeah crash as in the sound you hear when someone slams into you going 45 mph (this is a guesstimate). More on that later though.

My week started in New York Monday.  I flew into JFK, landing at midnight.  My first session was scheduled for 9:00am Tuesday in Danbury, Connecticut, so the driver had to pick me up from the airport and drive me 70 miles (rental car places were closed, and I had no desire to drive out of JFK anyway… have you been there?!).  I was already prepared to be training and driving on Tuesday on very little sleep.  I wasn’t planning on monitoring my driver the entire way to the hotel because he WAS FALLING ASLEEP!  The dude’s job is to drive people around and he’s falling asleep at the wheel?!  It’s a damn good thing that I’m Captain Over-prepared/Hyper-aware/Nervous Nelly.  I mean yes, it was very late, but your job is to stay awake at the wheel!  Instead the dude kept squinting and then closing one eye and then his blinks became WAY too long.  So, I started coughing and sniffing really loudly while I watched his eyes like a hawk in the mirror.  When that didn’t seem to be having much affect, I point blank asked him if he was staying awake and his response (you will not believe this) was, “I’m trying to.”  You’re trying to?  This is not at all the response I was hoping for.

I offered to let him pull off and get some coffee or 7 Red Bulls.  He didn’t, which caused me to have to make loud noises and ask stupid questions to keep him awake until we arrived at my hotel at 1:40am.  I have no idea how the guy made it back to New York City.  He really needs to figure out how to stay awake though.  That or get a new job.  Gees!

So I survived the drive to Connecticut and had a cab take me the next morning to pick up my rental car.  I ended up with a small SUV (Ford Escape), because it was all they had other than some massive Cadillac or an Explorer (way too big for driving so much). The drives on Tuesday went off without a hitch and I was totally digging the car.  Who doesn’t love rocking out to the 80’s and 90’s on Sirius radio?

My luck ran out on Wednesday.  I was driving from California, Maryland to Reagan National Airport to catch a flight to Mississippi for my final two training sessions. About 20 minutes from the airport, some old guy slammed into the back of me at a light.  And listen, this wasn’t like a little bump.  The speed limit on the road was 55, but there are stoplights every couple of miles.  I had just stopped at the light behind a row of cars when I glanced in my rear view mirror and saw a car hauling ass towards me.  At that point there was nothing I could do but brace myself for the hit. Thank God I was in that vehicle instead of some hatchback car.  I really don’t think I would have fared so well.  The car that hit me was totaled and my car basically lost the back bumper.

Of course my first thought was, shit, I’m in a rental car!  I never pay for the loss/damage control, so I immediately panicked.  I think I’ll be OK since it wasn’t my fault and there were several witnesses, but it’s the last thing I want to deal with.  I have no idea what was going through the old guy’s mind.  Clearly he had no intention of stopping.  And although it’s not a funny situation at all, I almost laughed out loud when I saw the paramedics pull a fake leg from his car!  The driver had two fake legs!!  Not like high-tech prosthetics but old school fake legs.  Seriously?

I don’t think he or his friend were seriously hurt, but both of them were put into neck braces and taken into the ambulance.  I opted not to be checked out, because I felt fine.  Today I’m pretty sore, but I honestly think I’m fine.  And I’m home now.  A huge shout out to Rob Cordova for being there and driving 6 hours to cover my stores in Mississippi so that I could go home a day early!

I made it to the end of this insane travel schedule.  And other than the horrible car accident, things went really smoothly.  Here are some stats to impress the shit out of all of you.  That or make you cry:

  • Miles flown: 14,245
  • Number of planes: 15
  • Miles driven: 2,751
  • Hotels slept in: 11
  • Number of rental cars: 4
  • Number of car accidents in rental car: 1
  • How long it took me to calculate all this: TOO LONG

Next up is Switzerland!  Until then, I’m going to sit back, relax and do a whole lot of nothing.