This is the weekly 8-10 sentence blog hop hosted by Weekend Writing Warriors. Click on the link to visit other participating writers. I’m also participating in Facebook’s Snippet Sunday. Thanks for visiting my blog! I’m so glad to be back after a long hiatus. Hopefully, this will help with the COVID-19 blues.
I’m offering a snippet from my WIP, Driving Me Wild (formerly Love Conquers). This comes from the first chapter where heroine, Melissa, has asked her dad if she can borrow his car so she can drive her friends to a theme park. The snippet, which is in Melissa’s POV, begins with her dad’s reaction. Creative punctuation has been used to meet the sentence limit. Enjoy:
My dad’s brows shoot up. “I suggest you find an alternate payback method, young lady! My car is off limits, and that’s final!” “Are you, like, still pissed about that?” “You better believe it, Melissa Lauren Isabel! When you got your license, I asked you to obey the traffic laws as a condition of using my vehicle. And you went out and got a fifty-five-dollar speeding ticket!” A couple of months ago, I was pulled over for speeding through a residential area while on my way to a pool party hosted by one of Cass’s friends. “Dad, it wasn’t my fault, I-” “You went ten miles over the speeding limit,” he reminds me with flaring nostrils.
I guess we know where this going. This dilemma is one of Melissa’s obstacles in the story. As this is the first draft, your thoughts and constructive feedback are most welcome and appreciated; they will aid during the editing stages.
In case everyone is wondering, I am doing fine despite the pandemic. Staying active, keeping mentally and physically fit the best I can, and catching up on writing. My thoughts go out to all feeling the COVID-19 blues, especially those facing total lockdown.
We all know that Mexico doesn’t exactly have the best P.R. reputation at the present. Homicides, kidnappings, drug cartels, etc. And then, of course, we have the situation with Trump. It seems like Mexico is the last place anyone wants to visit. Over the Christmas holidays, I traveled through this amazing country, and I’m here to share with you why Mexico rocks and why you should consider a trip there.
Most of my countrymen – and other foreign nationals – prefer to stay at resorts on the coast, such as the Mayan Riviera, Puerto Vallarta, and Cabo San Lucas. Prior to my trip, I had only gone to Tijuana on a day trip from San Diego. I didn’t have the best impression from, and many Mexicans that I had met over the years told me Tijuana is not exactly authentic Mexico. So over two weeks, I traveled through southern Mexico, starting in Mexico City and finishing in Playa del Carmen. I hit hotspots such as Puebla, Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Campeche. It was fantastic! Even Mexico City etched a special place in my travel memories! I also felt as if I had experienced things that resort-goers rarely experience. Furthermore, I didn’t feel unsafe during my entire trip.
So, what makes Mexico so special?
1. A foodie’s paradise – tacos, tlayudas, mole, enchiladas, the freshest peppers and spices, the list goes on! Note: Mexican food here is not like those typical Tex-Mex restaurants; it’s a whole new ball game, and the food is much spicier. Still, you will not be disappointed with Mexican gastronomy. And if you are looking to up your cooking skills, this is the place to learn. When I was in Oaxaca, I came across a renowned chef, named Gerardo, and his cooking school La Cocina Oaxqueña. Not only did I learn some new skills, Gerardo was an amazing teacher and hospitable. He first takes you to a local market to buy the ingredients, and then brings you to his house to do all the cooking. Totally worth a day out of your time in Oaxaca!
2. Civilizations past – you know them! The Aztecs, Olmecs, Mayans, etc. A visit to Mexico is a chance to step back and time and trace these Pre-Hispanic civilizations. When you’re in Mexico City, you will be in the old Tenochtitlan. This was what Mexico City was called prior to the Spaniards’ arrival. It was also the center of the Aztec Empire! It’s mind-blowing to know that you are in the land of some of the most interesting ancient civilizations!
3. Natural wonders – this is a piggyback to point number two. Chichen Itzá, Teotihuacan, Monte Albán, Palenque, etc. Some of these are considered to be the great wonders of the world. Another natural wonder is a cenote. Cenotes, which are scattered in the Yucatan Peninsula, are natural sinkholes in caves. They offer a natural dip in an underground lagoon, where the visitor is soon congregated by minnows and other small fish. I visited one near Merida, and it was definitely a trip highlight!
4. It won’t break your bank – Mexico is cheap compared to other places out there. You can easily have a plateful of tacos and a beer in a taqueria for six U.S. dollars. And Mexico is a great place to practice your bargaining skills when you visit the local markets. They are also optimal for authentic souvenirs. In short, a trip to Mexico will definitely be easy on your wallet!
5. Friendly locals – despite what you may have heard, Mexicans are really friendly, and they really want tourists to visit their country. They are fully aware of the negative narrative going around. I struck up interesting conversations with a few locals (it helped that I’m fluent in Spanish), and I found them to be helpful.
A few helpful tips to Mexican travel:
1. Brush up on your Spanish – this will make your trip more enjoyable, and it is a must if you visit Mexico City, or CDMX as it is colloquially referred to.
2. Include Mexico City – it’s not as bad as P.R. makes it look out to be. With great restaurants, and a chance to discover Aztec history, this city should not be excluded. It was my favorite place, and IMHO, no visit to the country would be complete without CDMX.
3. Download Uber – taxi drivers have a negative reputation in CDMX, and Uber is a safer, more reliable way of getting around this colossal city. I used it to get to the city from the airport. Just know some basic Spanish, as most Uber drivers don’t speak English.
4. Invest in a money pouch/belt – do not carry your wallet in your back pocket for obvious reasons. It’s better to have your money and passport inconspicuously stored.
5. Buy a SIM card – don’t expect reliable WIFI here. A SIM card means you will always have reliable WIFI. They are inexpensive and the data included will last you your entire trip (just don’t stream videos).
6. Travel in an organized tour – not comfortable traveling alone? No problem. I advocate investing in an organized tour, such as G Adventures. This way, you will be traveling in numbers with someone who knows the country inside and out.
So, I hope you are now more convinced about Mexico. If you’re still not, that’s okay too. Happy traveling!
Some of you are probably not going to like this post, and that’s okay. But it seems that Christmas Day is the one day everyone wants to see the scene in the picture above, and most of the time (at least where I am) it doesn’t come. The white stuff seems to be plentiful once the holidays are over. Which isn’t convenient because we are all back at school, work, etc. By now, some of you are depressed from all the snow and the thought of listening to any song praising snow and winter just makes you want to punch something – or someone.
Here in the Great White North, we are accustomed to long, cold and snowy winters. Many decide to head down to the all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean, while others less fortunate opt to hibernate and binge on Netflix and the like. Nothing wrong with that, however, I choose to embrace winter. That’s right, I actually love seeing the snow, though I hate it when I have to drive in it. But I mean winter is part of what makes my country unique. There is something celestial about hearing the snow crunch under my boots, gazing at the white stuff while inhaling the frosty air. And I want to share a few things to help you embrace winter since you can’t always rely on the possibility of an early spring.
Here are some of the ways you can enjoy winter. For those of you living in warmer climates, feel free to laugh or share this with friends in colder climates.
Skiing – my favorite winter pastime since I was eleven. It’s great exercise and it really gets the adrenaline going. You don’t have to go to the Rockies or the Alps to enjoy skiing (unless you want to). Even a local ski hill will do just the trick. I am fortunate to be within 100 miles of at least six ski hills, and I currently have a season pass to one of them.
2. Skating – another favorite of mine, and often a more economical winter pleasure. There are bound to be lots of indoor and outdoor choices near you, and if you don’t own skates, you can rent a pair for a modest fee. Plus, it is a great thing to do as a couple or a family. You can even indulge in hot chocolate afterward.
3. Snowshoeing – if skating or skiing isn’t your thing, snowshoeing can be a substitute. All you need is a pair of snowshoes and access to a forest or hiking trail. You might even spot a few furry creatures along the way, such as squirrels.
4. A simple walk through the woods – no equipment needed, just simply take a long stroll down your favorite walking trail. I am also fortunate enough to live close to a mile-long trail that cuts through a forested area. It’s good exercise, fresh air and a chance to get in touch with nature. One thing I love about winter hiking is no mosquitoes, which means a relatively peaceful walk.
Now you don’t have to do the following every day. With our daily grind, it is just not possible. But just once a week is better than nothing. It would be a shame to spend all winter cooped up, soaking up screen time.
One way to bring calmness into your life is to appreciate the present moment. We often get so caught up with what lies ahead, we forget to pause and reflect on what is happening right now. Instead of hating winter and wishing it away, it is better to appreciate it while it is here. Spring will eventually come around.