Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Are you making the most of this watering hole? Guests, stories, health, humour and other stuff


Welcome to the round up of posts here on Smorgasbord that you might have missed this week.

Before we get to the posts, I wanted to summarise the ways that you can promote your blog and your books here on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine.

I wanted to create a watering hole for people to gather.. hence the magazine theme to the blog with columns from some very special contributors and guest posts that are informative, entertaining and thought provoking. It is also for me an opportunity to support authors, who like me are marketing their own books amongst the millions that are published each year.

The regular posts each month are:

The Cafe and Bookstore – new books and reviews (Free)

 The Music Column with William Price King

The Cookery and Food Column with Carol Taylor,

The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye,

Italian Cookery with Silvia Todesco,

Numerology with Annette Rochelle Aben

The Health Column with Sally Cronin

The Cafe and Bookstore has approximately 160 to 200 active authors at any one time. I have two opportunities to promote books. First with a New Book on the Shelves for new releases, and secondly with the twice weekly Cafe Author Updates where I share recent reviews.  I also post my own reviews for books that I have read once or twice a month.

If you are not currently an author in the Cafe.. then here is the information you need: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-free-author-promotion/

Posts for Your Archives is a series that has been running for the last three years to promote bloggers as well as authors. The aim is to showcase the blogger or author and encourage more traffic to their own blogs.

In the current series there is a twist. Instead of the blogger sending in four links to posts to share, I am browsing their archives and selecting four posts. The response has been amazing and there are currently 55 bloggers who have signed up. As you can imagine I am doing a lot of reading, and uncovering some gems from the years that deserve to be showcased again.

If you are interested on being added to the list you will find the details here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Guest Writers are slightly different to the posts from the archives, in as much as they contribute on a regular basis on a number of subjects including memoirs, short stories, health and poetry. If you are interested in a regular monthly slot then please contact me on sally.cronin@moyhill.com

I would like to add a note here which is based on my experience over the last seven years of promoting books and blogging.

One of the key elements to any promotion is participation…I notice the difference in both the Cafe promotions and the Posts from the Archives if the person being promoted is active in both commenting and sharing.

For example – In the Posts from the Archives series, when the comments are responded to individually, the number of likes, comments and shares (importantly) increase over the four posts.

The same applies for the book promotions, and this is key, as it relates to sales of a book, as well as readers engaging on social media, following blogs and buying other books that the author has released. If a reader has taken the time to comment on a post then it is important that it is acknowledged individually. It does make a difference.

I also would like to admit that I don’t follow the usual rules about blogging. I will post several times a day, varied content, from contributors and guests plus the regular funnies and videos. I appreciate that if you sign up to be notified about posts, your email will be inundated.

Which is why I do this round up each week, so that you can pop in and read the posts that most interest you.

You can sign up to be notified weekly if you wish but my advice is:

Don’t Sign Up to be Notified…just remember to pop in on Sundays to catch up… that would be lovely.

Now on to the posts that you might have missed during the week.

Thomas the Rhymer

Another post from my archives from Paul Andruss… who shares the shenanigans of the royal court in the reign of Charles II…

Barbara Villiers (National Portrait Gallery)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-barbara-villiers-part-1-the-return-of-the-king-by-paul-andruss/

This month Debby Gies takes us to the island of Cuba in the Caribbean. And island that was blocked off to the outside world and has been through many challenging years. Find out about the history and the tourism to the island.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-the-island-of-cuba/

Winter: Chapter Two – The Messengers of Peace and Desperation and the Storyteller

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/08/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-winter-the-messengers-of-peace-and-desperation-and-the-storyteller-by-sally-cronin/

Winter: Chapter Three – A Place of Sanctuary

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/tales-from-the-irish-garden-serialisation-chapter-three-winter-a-place-of-sanctuary-by-sally-cronin/

The second in the series on the brain and how we can reduce our risk of developing dementia, and it is never too late to begin.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/smorgasbord-health-column-top-to-toe-the-brain-the-brain-dementia-and-alzheimers-disease-by-sally-cronin/

My review for Swimming for Profit and Pleasure: The Port Naain Intelligencer by Jim Webster.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-book-reviews-swimming-for-profit-and-pleasure-the-port-naain-intelligencer-by-jim-webster/

My response to this week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills The prompt is about ‘making a big splash…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/08/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-a-splashing-good-time-by-sally-cronin/

Joy Lennick with another of her entertaining stories (based on true events) of a date to the cinema with rather an unusual ending….

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-joy-lennick-a-date-in-the-forties/

This week Sherri Matthews shares holiday memories of picnics and windy beaches in the UK and taking the Cuppa to California…

The Wicker Picner Hamper (c) copyright Sherri Matthews 2013

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-sherri-matthews-memoir-the-great-british-staycation-and-a-brew-up-california-style/

This week Susanne Swanson takes us on a tour of her first visit to Hawaii..

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/02/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-hawaii-the-beginnings-by-susanne-swanson/

John Rieber shares a unique experience in a hotel in Africa… meet some giraffes.

GIRAFFE-MANOR

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-travel-an-amazing-giraffe-hotel-africas-most-incredible-safari-adventures-by-john-rieber/

Writing duo Helen and Lorri Carpenter offer guest spots and here is one by Lainee Cole talking about the wonderful combination of rescue dog and children helping each other.

Image source: HiDee Ekstrom

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-shelter-dogs-and-children-helping-each-other-guest-post-by-lainee-cole-hl-carpenter/

Marian Wood shares her reasons for blogging..and a guide for those who are just getting started..

So really why write a blog

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-what-is-the-point-of-writing-a-blog-why-do-i-do-it-by-marian-wood/

Enjoy the poetry of Frank Prem about a project he undertook in his garden…

Friends 1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-trenchman-1-the-trench-mans-tools-by-frank-prem/

Carol Taylor is on a short break so I have been sharing some posts from her archives..this one is on a subject dear to her heart… conservation and how governments can make decisions that do not have their countries environmental interests in mind.

Great barrier Reef

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-waste-not-want-not-australia-plans-to-dump-one-million-tons-of-sludge-on-the-great-barrier-reef-by-carol-taylor/

Tasker Dunham takes us back to his earliest memories and wonders at what age you experienced yours.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-memoir-gram-motherem-how-early-are-our-earliest-memories-by-tasker-dunham/

Lorinda J. Taylor shares the experiences of her mother as a teacher in the 1930s and living in the dust bowl…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-teaching-in-the-dust-bowl-1930s-by-lorinda-taylor/

A poignant and fascinating post from Olga Nunez Miret about her uncle who researched the little known family history during the Second World War.. tragic and inspiring.

Placa

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-family-stories-my-cousin-joan-molet-and-his-efforts-to-not-allow-the-memories-to-disappear-by-olga-nunez-miret/

Jennie Fitzkee shares another story from her pre-school classroom where the focus is very much on the child…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-how-to-teach-a-child-to-become-a-superhero-by-jennie-fitzkee/

Fraggle Photography with some wonderful images from a vintage fair…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-fraggle-report-druridge-bay-vintage-rally-fraggle-photography/

Elizabeth Slaughter shares an influence in her life from childhood and a role model – Meet Rusty.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-rusty-triumphs-over-boogieman-by-elizabeth-slaughter/

Kim of By Hook or by Book with a tribute to teachers everywhere.

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-us-teacher-appreciation-week-2018-by-kim-of-by-hook-or-by-book/

Gibson Square… a London Cabbie gives us the low down on what is cab and what is not..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-what-is-a-cab-and-whats-not-by-gibson-square-the-cabbie-blog/

Susanne Swanson with a memory from her childhood when a little bribery went a long way…

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https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-seattle-a-shrimp-story-by-susanne-swanson/

Balroop Singh shines the light on the issue of domestic violence. However, enlightened and empowered we think our modern society is.. this is still a major problem and in some countries it is the norm.

Domestic Violence

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-can-women-escape-domestic-violence-an-emotional-approachby-balroop-singh/

 

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-psychological-thriller-hope-by-terry-tyler/

Author Update #Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-brigid-p-gallagher-james-j-cudney-diana-j-febry-and-ted-halstead/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-robbie-and-michael-cheadle-toni-pike-and-jan-sikes/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/04/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-5/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-6/

Thank you again for taking the time to drop by and I hope that in one way or another you will share your work here with everyone by being a guest, promoting your books or letting me share your archives. Thanks Sally.

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Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – Guest Comedian D.G. Kaye and a joke from Sally’s Archives.


First Debby Gies shares some of the funnies this week that she feels you should not miss.. ..D.G. Kaye Writer Blog is where you will find an archive full of wonderful posts across several subjects including writing tips, social issues and book reviews.

My thanks to Debby for spotting these.. and please give her a round of applause.

D. G. Kaye – Buy: http://www.amazon.com/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO
Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com Goodreads: D.G. Kaye on Goodreads

And now something from my archives..

Marriage made in heaven.

On their way to get married, a young couple is involved in a fatal car accident. The couple found themselves sitting outside the Pearly Gates waiting for St. Peter to process them into Heaven. While waiting, they began to wonder: Could they possibly get married in Heaven?

When St. Peter showed up, they asked him. St. Peter said, “I don’t know. This is the first time anyone has asked. Let me go find out,’” and he left. The couple sat and waited, and waited.

Two months passed and the couple were still waiting. While waiting, they began to wonder what would happen if it didn’t work out; could you get a divorce in heaven?

After yet another month, St. Peter finally returned, looking somewhat bedraggled. “Yes,” he informed the couple, “You can get married in Heaven.”

“Great!” said the couple, “But we were just wondering, what if things don’t work out? Could we also get a divorce in Heaven?”

St. Peter, red-faced with anger, slammed his clipboard onto the ground.

“What’s wrong?” asked the frightened couple.

“OH, COME ON!,” St. Peter shouted, “It took me three months to find a priest up here! Do you have any idea how long it’ll take me to find a lawyer?

Thanks for dropping in today and we hope you are leaving with a smile on your face….thanks Debby and Sally.

 

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – The Island of #Cuba #Caribbean


Welcome to this month’s edition of the Travel Column at the Smorgasbord. Today we’re going to learn more about the island of Cuba.

Officially named, the Republic of Cuba, Cuba is located in the northern part of the Caribbean where the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea meet, just south of Florida and the Bahamas. Havana is the capital of Cuba and the largest city of the Republic. Cuba also reigns over another island, Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) as well as a quite a few other minor archipelagos, covering a land mass of over 42,800 square miles. The exact name of Cuba and where it was derived from are unknown. It is believed that Christopher Columbus named the island for a town named Cuba from his native Portugal. The native language is Cuban Spanish, their own dialect from original Spanish.

Similar to many other Caribbean islands, Cuba was inhabited by the Taino people since 4000 – 3000 BC until the 15th century when it became a colony of Spain, again, until the Spanish American War of 1898 when it became occupied by the United States. After signing the Treaty of Paris in 1898 and more politics, Cuba became formally independent from the U.S. May 20, 1902, going through several leaderships and several political takeovers leading to the eventual takeover by a dictatorship in 1952 by Fulgencio Batista until he was ousted for his corruption and taken over by Fidel Castro under communist rule. Cuba is culturally considered part of Latin America and exports sugar, coffee and tobacco and nickel. As of 2016, Cuba was still declared an authoritarian government ruled country.

Before Castro took over in 1959, Cuba was considered one of the most advanced countries in Latin America. Cuba relied heavily on aid from the USSR. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, their economy went into a sliding depression, allowing some the opportunity for self-employment and the legalization of using the U.S. dollar for business, encouraging tourism.

For many decades, Cubans were not allowed to leave this island, yet many tried to flee communism in unsafe methods to get across the waters. Prior to January 2013, Cuban citizens weren’t allowed to travel abroad without obtaining official permission and applying for a government issued passport, which was usually denied and cost 5 month’s salary. Back on September 9, 1994, the U.S. had agreed to grant Cuba 20,000 visas annually if Cuba kept a promise to prevent further dangerous attempts to enter the U.S. by unsafe methods across the water.

Also, with the intervention of the U.S. government, in 2010, Cubans were granted permission to build their own houses. Approximately 85% of people own their homes paying no property taxes or mortgage interest. It is said there is no homelessness in Cuba. But in May of this year, because of increased U.S. trade embargo and a large decline of aid from Venezuela, and oil and fuel costs, Cuba has begun rationing staples, as almost two thirds of their country’s food is imported. Cuba’s natural resources include tobacco, fish, citrus and tropical fruits, coffee, beans, rice, chicken, potatoes and their most important export mineral – nickel. Cuba is currently drilling for oil as a geological survey has shown their capability to produce approximately 4 – 9 billion barrels.

Currency

Cuba has what is known as a dual currency system. The Cuban peso (CUP) is used to set wages and prices, while Convertible pesos (CUC) is used for the tourist economy, set at par with the U.S. dollar.

Tourism

Tourism in Cuba was originally restricted to segregated areas designed for tourism, and away from Cuban society. But it was marked that in 2003 over 1.9 million tourists visited Cuba mainly from Canada and Europe, helping to generate revenue for the country. In 2011 that number jumped to just over 2 ½ million tourists, making it the 3rd highest tourist destination in the Caribbean, coming in just behind Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico.

But with the introduction to more sanctions put on them by the Trump government in 2017, and the Cuban people not able to be innovative with their own business enterprising, tourism is currently down in Cuba. Many Canadians travel to Cuba for their winter vacations, as it’s one of the cheapest winter vacations for us despite the political clime.

Note: The rules for travel to Cuba by Americans have stipulations. Americans may not travel to Cuba with the impending embargo solely for the purpose of tourism. The Obama government was working on measures to change this policy, but the current administration has made more changes. Americans have 12 viable authorized travel categories to enable them to visit there. You can learn about these avenues in this Guide to Americans traveling to Cuba. You can also learn more about Legal Documentation required and what is and isn’t permissible when traveling to Cuba.

Climate

Climate in Cuba is tropical with light trade winds blowing throughout the year. Dry season is typically November through April with the rainy season May to October. Average temps run from 70 to 80 degrees. And of course, like most islands vulnerable to hurricanes, because Cuba sits close to the Gulf of Mexico, it is prone to frequent hurricanes. Cuba was hit by Irma in 2017, leaving enough damage, but incomparable to the damage after it hit Puerto Rico.

Beaches

Cuba is known to have some of the most pristine and beautiful white sand beaches. Couple that with turquoise waters, quiet and palm trees, it presents a serene and warm getaway. Some of the most beautiful and popular vacation spots in Cuba are Varadero (currently rated 2nd best beach in the world for 2019 by Tripadvisor), Santa Maria, and Los Cayos Coco, just to name a few. All tourist beaches offer the usual watersport activities and guided boat tours. You can read more details about the various beaches HERE

Shopping

Cuba isn’t typically known as the best shopping destination in the Caribbean, but there are still a few great finds to be had there. Cuba’s number one claim to fame are ‘the Cuban cigars’, which are treasured widely by cigar afficionados around the world. You can also find local chain stores, and a few boutiques in hotel shops where you may find some international brands of clothing and toiletries. Cuba also has some well-known rums. And as on most Caribbean islands, you can always find local markets selling hand-crafted goods from leather and wood, as well as handmade textile articles.

Gastronomy

A typical national Cuban dish is rice with black beans, a salad, roast pork (or fish or chicken, occasionally, beef), and fried plantains. This traditional dish is known as ‘comida criolla’. But in hotels and what’s classified as ‘the tourist network’, you can find various restaurants, specializing in Spanish, Italian and Chinese cuisine. I think there’s tons of room to grow in the sector of gastronomy for Cuba.
Notable Facts

• The music of Cuba is world famous for its Salsa, Bolero, and Rumba dancing.
• Don’t talk about politics while there as Cuba is still a communist country and their government doesn’t tolerate criticism lightly
• Crime levels are minimal. And you can usually find police on every block
• Least commercialized island in the Caribbean
• Make sure if you are going to stay in a bed and breakfast that it is one with a blue sign, not an orange sign on the front of the house. The orange sign is for Cubans only and both tourist and house owner can get in trouble by not abiding
• Never be working there on a tourist visa
• It is considered illegal to take photos of police and/or soldiers
• It is considered rude by Cubans to blow your nose or spit in public.
• Make sure to pack everything you may need for the trip to Cuba as there are many shortages of consumer goods – especially toiletries.
• Most of the cars driven in Cuba are old American cars dating back to prior of 1959 when America once played a big part of the central stage in Cuba. Once Castro came to power, he banned all imports of foreign cars and parts. But in the last couple of years a growing number of new Asian automobiles have been brought into the country. These newer vehicles are very expensive for the typical Cuban local and mostly unattainable
• Don’t forget to tip for every service you receive. The locals earn very little in Cuba, and those working in service industry desperately rely on tips
• The average salary for a Cuban is $20 per month!

My perspective

I have never been to Cuba, but I have quite a few friends and family members who travel there every winter to escape the cold and get a good bang for their bucks. Because I can’t speak from actual experience, I will share a few more things I have learned first-hand from those I know who have been there:

• It’s the beautiful weather and unspoiled beaches keeping them going back
• The food is less than spectacular
• Be sure to pack some old clothes – especially sneakers you no longer wish to keep and give them to the maids or any other service person in your resort. They will be more than thrilled to have anything wearable, especially American items they have no access to
• Don’t stray far from your resort without a guide
• If you’re looking for sun and sea and a more quiet and lazy vacation and aren’t a big foodie, you’ll enjoy it there

Me, personally, I have zero interest in going to Cuba despite the beautiful weather and beaches. I am not a big foodie to say the least, but I have several dietary restrictions that wouldn’t be met there for me – so I’ve been told. Also, if I’m going to travel to an island, I’d surely be going to one offering shopping – especially, international duty-free shopping! Plus, as a justice seeker with a difficult time keeping my opinions to myself, it may prove difficult for me to be somewhere where I couldn’t use the freedom of speech.

Has anyone here ever been to Cuba and would like to share their experience? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

© D.G. Kaye 2019

My thanks to Debby for sharing the guide to Cuba’s history and tourism. We usually select our holidays from glossy magazines or flash online websites that give you the showstopping information but not necessarily the possible downside to a location..Important to have all the facts before spending a great deal of money.

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the reviews for Have Bags Will Travel

Have Bags, Will Travel” is a delightful read on the experiences of travel, fashion, the art of packing suitcases with the emphasis on having a good time. Author, D.G. Kaye details her days on board planes to many popular destinations and her vivacious antics with friends. She also relates her solo travels to exotic destinations with steep cliffs and too much baggage. I particularly enjoyed the details of the by-gone, romantic days aboard Wardair, and the exquisite details of vintage Las Vegas.

A consummate shopper, D.G. Kaye relates her rather humorous run-ins with customs officials. How does it feel to be singled out routinely by airline officials? A read through this humorous pages will give you the insight to these first-hand conflicts.

I would say this might be required reading for shoe connoisseurs and fashion mavens especially if they have a plane ticket in hand. Germ avoidance theory is also discussed, and it may never be possible to look at airplane bathrooms the same.

D.G. Kaye brings back the memories of best friends and blazing trips through the desert. Many readers will identify with the struggles of this stylish lady attempting to blend in to avoid a custom’s mishap. A short and super fun read, “Have Bags, Will Travel” is perfect for your next airplane ride.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
MeWe: mewe.com/i/debbygies
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Thank you for joining us today and we would love to hear if you have been to Cuba and your feedback.. thanks Debby and Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Are We Lost in #Social Oblivion? by D.G. Kaye


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Here is the fourth of the posts I have selected from the archives of D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who is a regular contributor to the blog with her travel column and also as a guest comedian…Debby has some terrific posts on blogging and social media… and here is one that I think we can all relate to.

Are We Lost in #Social Oblivion? by D.G. Kaye

Social media sharing

Today I’m going to share my thoughts here on the madness of social media, and book promoting, and our constant battle to keep up with everything social media to stay afloat with our presence.

I’m speaking for myself, but I know my thoughts are shared by many a writer. As writers, we all develop our routines, and although every one of us has our own methods of tackling our ‘to do’ lists, if we’re writing books, much of what we do will involve ways to market our books using social media.

With the explosion of new authors and books in the past few years, there are waves of cries to ‘buy my book’ in order to be heard through a sea of social media blasts. I sometimes feel as though I’m drowning in that sea. But I don’t wish to become one of the ‘hard sell’ authors, and I don’t even spend nearly enough time or dollars doing the amount of marketing I’m urged to do through all the social outlets I follow and with all the subscriptions I read from newsletters telling me about another method to push my books.

Sure I read many articles to stay abreast. I’ll bookmark pertinent information and save it to Evernote for the time I’m ready to tackle it. But with all I read, I still can’t bring myself to become an aggressive marketer. I have my daily routine planned the night before with my list of things to accomplish, and that keeps my plate full as it is. As much as I want to try a million new ideas out, there are only so many hours in a day. So I prioritize with my book writing days and my blog post days. I’ve learned what social media sites I gravitate to most. I’ve built friendships and followers who I can chat with, share with, or just have a simple ‘thank you’ for sharing rapport with for dedicated sharers. I read many blogs, and like and comment where I feel like contributing, and if I enjoyed a post, I’ll share it to my social sites.

This routine I have was never a strategy to gain followers, but somehow it had led me to gathering readers and making some wonderful friends along the way. This is who I am, and I don’t wish to conform to being one of those hounds shouting hashtags to ‘buy my book’.

And what may have prompted me to write this you may be thinking?

I came across an article yesterday while reading my morning newsletter subscriptions. This is part of my morning routine with coffee in hand, my morning newspaper. I check my personal emails first thing in the morning, and catch up on what’s going on with the writing and publishing world with my Indie newsletters. This is usually when I send out my Twitter tweets while I’m reading articles. Some also get sent to Google and Linkedin and my Facebook author page. But I check Twitter once a day only, every morning, because I have a lot of writers that follow me, and I know some will find these posts informative because I’m sure that’s why they followed me in the first place. I know my posts are interesting to some because I’ve gained quite a few followers in the past few years, and I can honestly say I never search for people to follow, they find me, and I decide if I will follow back based on the criteria I have for following back.

My usual stipulations for NOT following back are: They use an egg as a replacement for a photo, no bio or website, hard sellers, or promisers to get you hundreds of followers for a price, or of course pornographic posts. I don’t hesitate to follow someone just because they may have few followers. I’m not looking for popularity, but sincerity and something informative offered. I always follow back authors because I believe if they took the time to follow my posts they’re eager to learn, especially if they’re new and just starting their platforms. This is just the way I roll in life with the people I congregate with and develop friendships with. If they’re sincere, forthgiving, and informative, I’m in.

Now, the reason I’m sharing this here today goes back to 2 relevant posts I came across from 2 articles I read in parts from a writer, Delilah Dawson from Whimsydark. She wrote about herself not being one of ‘those authors’ who are constantly pushing their books at every opportunity. She makes a pertinent point in her post that if people like you, and like what you have to say they may just follow you and buy your books because of those qualities, and eventually, hopes that word of mouth become our best marketing tool. Her point is to keep writing and doing what works and states that current trends don’t necessarily dictate what works for everyone.

The articles resonated with me because that’s what I do. I do my thing, and socialize where I enjoy being best, not trying to dance at every wedding (every social site) because there just isn’t enough time to do everything. Below I will give you a sampling of the two posts with the link to continue reading. I think you will find them good reads.

https://www.whimsydark.com/blog/2015/4/13/please-shut-up-why-self-promotion-as-an-author-doesnt-work

Spend your energy and time being kind to your colleagues, thanking your publishing team, and making new friends with no expectation that you will eventually use them to claw your way to the top. Before you Friend another writer on Facebook, make sure it’s because you legitimately want to know them better and be part of their life and not because you’re planning on sending them an Event invitation or a link to your book…Continue reading

And here is her follow up article: http://www.whimsydark.com/blog/2015/4/14/wait-keep-talking-author-self-promo-that-actually-works

“Adding value means passing on truly helpful links, retweeting job listings or calls for submissions, wishing someone a happy launch day, recommending books you’ve enjoyed, discussing the news of the day in a respectful and thoughtful manner, talking about an upcoming event, or generally saying things that make someone’s day just a little brighter. Over time, people will begin to trust you as you repeatedly add value to their life..Continue reading

I hope you enjoy these posts and take something from them as I did. They confirmed to me that I’m doing just fine the way I’m doing. And please feel free to leave me your comments because I’d like to know where you guys stand on the marketing front.

©D.G. Kaye 2016

Debby writes a monthly travel column here on Smorgasbord and you can find all her articles: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye/

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the reviews for Twenty Years After “I do” on Goodreads.

Aug 27, 2018 Janice Spina rated it it was amazing
A Loving Reflection of Twenty Years of Marriage!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, Twenty Years: After “I Do”. It was a heartfelt journey through the author’s life with her devoted and loving husband who is much older than she. I laughed along with her and shed tears of sorrow when she did.

D.G. Kaye expressed herself in endearing terms when she spoke of her husband and their wonderful life together. She wrote with deep expressions of angst over serious health issues they both experienced and then joy over happy times with much shared laughter.

Marriage is a difficult union as anyone who has been married knows. This book takes the reader down this path to discover the true meaning of soul mates and undying love from one another. D.G. shares the beauty of each day that she and her husband, Gordon, have had together and continue to have even in adversity. She displays a remarkable wit in tough times and a brilliant resilience to go on no matter what she must face.

This book is a must read for all who have been married whether for a short time or a longer time. All couples face similar situations and must make tough decisions in their lives together. The author has shown how she has had to deal with serious health issues and come out stronger and more persistent to make the best of every day she and her husband have left together. For isn’t that part of our marriage vows – to love each other in sickness and health till death do us part?

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
MeWe: mewe.com/i/debbygies
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

My thanks to Debby for allowing me to share her archived posts and I hope you will head over to her blog and delve into them even more.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Bloggers, Authors, Music, Health, Food and Funnies.


Welcome to this week’s round up where I share the posts you might of missed, and thank you for taking the time to drop in.

It has been a busy week from a blogging perspective as the new series of Posts from Your Archives gets under way. I did wonder if the previous series which usually featured 12 or so bloggers was restricted due to natural reticence. I have noticed before that you are a shy in coming forward which is why I changed the concept this time so that I went into your archives to select four posts to share.

Boy, did that turn things on its head.. there are now 45 bloggers on the list and I am having the time of my life delving into all the archives to select posts to share. And I am finding some gems that I delighted with.. such as poetry hidden away, wonderful personal stories, travel experiences, family sagas and it just goes to show what a thoroughly talented bunch you are. It has also been great to see lots of discussions going on between everyone about the subject of the posts… loving it.

Clearly it is going to take me a little while to get through all the archives and they will appear over the next three months.. I will try to let you know dates in advance of that, but I am totally privileged to be allowed to access your archives and thank you for trusting me with that. This week’s archives coming up later in the post.

Facebook

After several attempts to delete my account (following weeks of blocked posts and nasty messages), and then receiving emails welcoming me back to Facebook…..(I do not understand the inner workings of FB Bots!) Anyway I have been back tentatively for the last month, keeping in touch with friends and sharing their posts internally, and so far so good. I am hugely grateful to those of you who have manually shared posts using the URL.. and that has worked thank you.

I am now re-installing my Facebook share button and I would be grateful if you would let me know if you get any messages if you share a post. I know that a lot of other bloggers such as The Story Reading Ape, Debby Gies and  Ellen Best to name a few had exactly the same problem, and there is apparently a reason for it.. Facebook does not want their members to leave the site to go off to visit another, particularly if that site is selling stuff they are not getting a cut of!

Since Smorgasbord is not monetized in any way.. I am hoping that things are now back to normal.

It looks like we will be getting the contractors in to do the back garden this week… fingers crossed.. and we are then 95% finished on our project that began 3 years ago on this house. When I look at the before and after pictures the thought runs through my mind “What were we thinking”…..but it is now a lovely family home that we hope to hand over to someone with lots of kids who will enjoy for many years. Our original plan was to put it on the market next spring but now we will probably go ahead as soon as it is finished.

Anyway… time to get on with the posts from the week that you might have missed… thanks as always to contributors and guests who give so much time and effort to providing amazing posts.

D.G.Kaye.. Debby Gies, gives us the low down on the popular holiday destination of Puerto Rico…essential reading if you are planning to travel there.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-san-juan-puerto-rico/

This month Siliva Todesco serves up a quick and simple classic that is hard to resist for pasta lovers…and I am sure your families… Garlic, Olive Oil and Red Pepper spaghetti.

GARLIC, OLIVE OIL AND RED PEPPER SPAGHETTI (Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-italiancookery-with-silvia-todesco-garlic-olive-oil-and-red-pepper-spaghetti-spaghetti-aglio-olio-e-peperoncino/

Two stories from me this week.. one in response to Diana Peach’s Speculative Fiction Prompt I went a bit outside my comfort zone and went forward in time….with The Enhancement Project..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/smorgasbord-short-stories-mays-speculative-fiction-d-wallace-peac-the-enhancement-project-by-sally-cronin/

and the second story was in response to Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills on the subject of getting old. A Small Price to Pay

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-a-small-price-to-pay-by-sally-cronin/

Weight loss and sleep are connected, and if you are not getting enough sleep your body will not get sufficient time to repair, regenerate and restore balance…The sleep process and the benefits of a good night’s rest.

beating heart GIF

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-health-size-matters-the-sequel-weight-loss-the-benefits-of-sleep-by-sally-cronin/

Debby Gies was back on Wednesday with a guest post about a topic we are reluctant to talk about… with doctors included.. our inner workings and colonoscopies. Debby shares here experiences to demystify the process and stress the need to get checked.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/smorgasbord-health-column-guest-writer-d-g-kaye-what-i-did-yesterday-besides-having-a-colonoscopy/

I look at the myths surrounding cholesterol and the importance of eating good fats from grass fed animals, including dairy to obtain sufficient Vitamin K2

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-health-column-cholesterol-and-fat-myths-part-two-vitamin-k2-and-healthy-fats-by-sally-cronin/

And a reminder about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning, a silent killer that almost ended my life. The statistics in the USA and the UK are not improving fast enough.

 

Each year, approximately 20,000 people in the United States visit the emergency room because of carbon monoxide poisoning. While many of those people are treated and released, on average, 400 people will die from carbon monoxide poisoning in a given year.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/smorgasbord-health-column-something-to-think-about-carbon-monoxide-poisoning-statistics-by-sally-cronin/

Do you remember the song Dominique by The Singing Nun?  Find out more about the singer and this one hit wonder and the life it led to.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-one-hit-wonders-the-singing-nun-dominique/

This weekend I share two more posts from my archives, featuring Paul Andruss with Houdini and Arthur Conan Doyle.

picture29

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-rosabelle-b-e-l-i-e-v-e-by-paul-andruss/

Doyle and Houdini (library picture)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-my-archives-doyle-and-houdini-the-dream-team-by-paul-andruss/

Jacquie Biggar shares her first camping experience which seems to have been one shared by many….would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of the tent!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-camping-woes-by-jacquie-biggar/

Robbie Cheadle with some Flash Fiction…and it is all about the lavender.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-flash-fiction-lavender-not-forever-by-robbie-cheadle/

Financial expert Sharon Marchisello shares some of the ways to prevent being taken for a ride.. literally in New York..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-money-navigating-new-york-by-sharon-marchisello/

Fantasy author Diana Wallace Peach shares the miracle and importance of reading with grandchildren…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-miracle-of-reading-by-d-wallace-peach/

In Miriam Hurdle’s first post I shared her responses to a challenge that asked specific questions about life… such as ‘A piece of clothing from your younger childhood you still remember?’

Miriam_0001 (2)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-share-your-world-by-miriam-hurdle/

Beetley Pete.. Pete Johnson with a thought provoking memory of meeting a man blind from birth who explained how he perceived images we take so much for granted.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/08/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-thinking-aloud-blindness-by-beetley-pete/

Debby Gies shares the stunning photos of her grandmother who competed in the Miss Toronto 1926 pageant, and also other photos that show that the good looks run in the family.

Miss Toronto beauty pageant 1926

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-miss-toronto-1926-my-grandmother-by-d-g-kaye/

The Story Reading Ape.. Chris Graham is well known for his guest posts and in this series I am sharing four from his archives.. this week his guest is Michelle Clements James who puts forward the perspective of a reader.. important for all writers to understand.. after all, readers are our customers.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-story-reading-ape-with-his-guest-michelle-clements-james/

Darlene Foster poses the question… Are blogging friends real friends? and there was a lot of discussion on the matter.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-are-blogging-friends-real-friends-by-darlene-foster/

A lovely poem on the joy of sunshine from Christine Campbell.. certainly one I can endorse.. we so little of of it, it is like gold around here!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-poetry-summer-sunshine-by-christine-campbell/

Fantasy author Charles E. Yallowitz on the subject of standing out from the crowd.. and being labeled ‘odd’.. and why there is no ‘normal’ to be judged by. Something to think about…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-whats-wrong-with-being-odd-by-charles-e-yallowitz/

The second part of the linked Flash Fiction that reveals a family drama – The Fold by D.Avery

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-pot-luck-the-fold-part-two-by-d-avery/

Jane Risdon who has been in the music industry for many years, shares an audition in Hollywood that had its moments!! Part one here with more to follow.

 (c) Jane Risdon 2014

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluck-the-auditions-part-one-snore-poison-so-ill-know-it-by-jane-risdon/

Mary Smith takes us on a trip to visit some sacred crocodiles.. fascinating history.. watch your fingers now!

IMG_0008 (Small)

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-potluckmary-smiths-place-karachi-crocodiles/

New book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-desolation-bluff-by-toni-pike/

Author Update – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/06/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-c-s-boyack-lizzie-chantree-and-sheila-williams/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/10/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-robbie-cheadle-leslie-tate-peter-weisz/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/07/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-3/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/05/09/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-sallys-archives-4/

Thank you very much for your ongoing support and I hope you will pop in again next week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – San Juan, Puerto Rico


Welcome to this month’s edition of the Travel Column. Today I’m going to talk about San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico (Spanish for ‘rich port’), is an unincorporated territory of the United States, although it currently resembles a country that stands alone.

The island is also affectionately dubbed, ‘La isla del encanto’ – the island of enchantment. Founded by Spanish colonists, Puerto Rico is also considered a Caribbean island located approximately 1000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida and just east of the Dominican Republic. It is also one of the smallest islands in the Greater Antilles being only 100 miles long and 35 miles wide. Puerto Rico is home to almost three and a half million people. The language spoken is predominantly Spanish and the capital city is San Juan.

Puerto Ricans have been considered American since 1917, although it is not recognized as a state, nor do Puerto Ricans have a voice in congress or get to vote in American elections. Puerto Rico’s political status has always been a bone of contention and an ongoing matter of significant debate.

The island was named ‘Porto Rico’ by the U.S. after the Treaty of Paris, signed by Spain and the U.S., ending the Spanish/American war. And its name was changed back to Puerto Rico in 1931 giving it the official name – the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

One of the many remaining fortress walls still standing.

A bit of History

Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain after the arrival of Christopher Columbus circa 1493 and became populated by the Taino people, an indigenous people who became the main inhabitants of the island as they did in various other Caribbean islands. This island endured several other takeovers and wars through the years until 1898 when poet, journalist, and politician – Luis Munoz Rivera among others, tried to persuade the Spanish government to grant Puerto Rico as a self-governing island, ultimately organized as an overseas province of Spain as of July 17, 1898. This turned out to be short-lived as the United States was determined to take over the island and finally did so by invading on July 25, a mere week after Puerto Rico acquired autonomy, during the Spanish/American war.

In 1914 the Puerto Rican House of Delegates voted unanimously to separate from the U.S., but this was never to be. In 1917 the U.S. passed the Jones Act, which deemed all Puerto Ricans born on or after April 25th 1898, a U.S. citizen. This prompted the natives to believe citizenship was granted in order to enlist more soldiers for their war.

Since 2009, Puerto Rico and U.S. have had many sorted issues and referendums with Puerto Rico wanting to become a fully recognized state of the U.S. Ultimately, in June of 2016 the Supreme court ruled that Puerto Rico is a territory and lacks sovereignty, and although on Obama’s watch and him promising to deliver a clear decision on them becoming a state, it never happened.

Disaster

We’d have to have been sleeping under a rock if we aren’t aware that the island of Puerto Rico was ravaged by two hurricanes, Irma and Maria on September 6th of 2017. Irma hit first as a category 5 hurricane, recorded as the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the island, devastating much of the north east of the island where San Juan is situated, causing catastrophic damage. The island’s electrical grid was mostly destroyed causing the biggest power outage in the history of the U.S. Maria hit shortly afterward, completely knocking out what was left of the power grid and killing approximately 3000 citizens, mostly from the aftermath of having no power for food preservation and medical attention.

Recovery efforts were and still are slow and had some 200,000 residents moving to the mainland state of Florida. As of January 2018, 40% of Puerto Rico was still without power. Total damage estimated to the island was 95 billion dollars. A November 2017 report by the Sierra Club stated: “It will take years to rebuild Puerto Rico, not just from the worst hurricane to make landfall since 1932, but to sustainably overcome environmental injustices which made Maria’s devastation even more catastrophic.” In May 2017 the defensive council of natural resources claimed Puerto Rico’s water system is the worst as measured by the Clean Water Act, leaving 70% of the population who drank/drink water that violates U.S. law.

Climate

The climate of Puerto Rico is considered – tropical rain forest. Temperatures range from mid to high 80s all year long with a rainy season which stretches from April through November, and a total of approximately 196 rainy days per year.

Culture

Puerto Rico is rich in culture. Their art scene is packed with history with their Museum of Art hosting classical pieces dating back as far at the 17th century as well as galleries and street murals which timelessly represent the island’s culture and history.

Music and dancing are part of the island’s culture with traditional salsa to its traditional African roots music – bomba y plena, their music will have you dancing the nights away.
Festivals are a weekly thing with Puerto Ricans offering live bands, parades and amusement park rides. Every festival relates to one of their many traditions. Most festivals are held in San Juan, but many other smaller towns participate and are said to be worthy of traveling to, to experience their culture.

Some notable festivals: Third week of January in Old San Juan celebrates Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian where locals celebrate the end of the holiday season by throwing parties with live music, artists and circus performances.

Visit art fairs, workshops, theatrical performances and more between May 3rd to 5th as La Campechada festival brings together these performers and musicians with intent to educate the public about their Puerto Rican culture.

June 23rd in San Juan, take part in the Noche de San Juan where locals celebrate the nativity of Saint John the Baptist. Take part in the annual tradition where hundreds of people line the beaches partying till midnight and then jumping backwards into the ocean 7 times to ensure good luck.

There are many more traditions held on this island where you will find celebrations at least once a month, and many more at Christmas time.

Recommended Places to Go

Old San Juan is a must see with its cobblestone streets and unique architecture, spanning 500 years of history. Trolleys are free and you can also book guided tours to learn more about local cuisine and historical background. Besides being noted for being one of the best preserved Spanish colonial cities, San Juan has many historic landmarks, museums, galleries, many are free of charge to enter. It also hosts two famous forts built during the 16th century.

Visit El Yungue Rainforest – the only rainforest part of the U.S. National Forest System where you will find waterfalls, rivers and over 200 species of birds. As this rainforest is approximately an hour drive from San Juan, you can choose to get there by car, horseback or ziplining!

Pinones, Loiza is minutes away from San Juan where you’ll encounter an Afro-Caribbean neighborhood complete with authentic street food and a nearby beach to take a dip in between exploring.

How about spelunking, rock climbing and rafting? Discover the caves of Puerto Rico and discover indigenous hieroglyphs. Cueva Ventana (Window Cave), located in Arecibo, approximately an hour away from San Juan, is one of the most notable caves in Puerto Rico, which isn’t an underground cave but overlooks the Rio Grande de Arecibo valley, creating a window frame-like opening on a mountain overlooking the river below.

San Juan also offers, golf at various hotels, and casinos. And Puerto Rico is very welcoming and embraces their LGBTQ community.

Shopping

San Juan offers lots of duty-free shopping close-by to the cruise ship port as well as many other quaint boutiques worth visiting scattered around Old San Juan. Besides current trends in clothing and jewelry also offered at the ports there is a huge outlet mall for some of the big designer names we’ve all come to know. They also have a massive Marshall’s store, similar to the brand Winners and TJ Max. And along strolling around you will find various souvenirs, local arts and crafts, panama hats, local hot sauces, spices, handmade jewelry and more!

Beaches

Puerto Rico boasts almost 300 beaches! The island attracts many avid water sport lovers. El Escambron in San Juan is one of the most picturesque beaches in San Juan where you can stroll the beach, snorkel and swim. A few more notable beaches around Puerto Rico you can read more about HERE

You can find an extensive list of where to stay when visiting Puerto Rico HERE

Fun Fact! The famous Pina Colada was born in Puerto Rico!

On a personal note, I have always been fascinated with Puerto Rico but have yet to get there. This past winter we had previously booked a cruise which had a stop in San Juan that we sadly had to cancel. But I fully intend on visiting that island one day.

Here is a video of some of the recommended places to visit courtesy of K-nep Images

Have any of you ever been to Puerto Rico?

©D.G. Kaye 2019

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Debby has written a book about her travel adventures – Have Bags Will Travel

About the book

D.G. Kaye reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines–with her overweight luggage in tow. Her stories alert us to some of the pitfalls of being an obsessive shopper, especially when it comes time for D.G. to bring her treasures home, and remind us of the simpler days when traveling was a breeze.

In her quest to keep from tipping the scales, D.G. strives to devise new tricks to fit everything in her suitcases on each trip. Why is she consistently a target for Canada customs on her return journeys?

D.G.’s witty tales take us from airports, to travel escapades with best friends, to reflections on how time can change the places we hold dear in our hearts. Her memories will entertain and have you reminiscing about some of your own most treasured journeys–and perhaps make you contemplate revamping your packing strategies.

One of the recent reviews for Have Bags Will Travel

This might have been one of the shortest books I’ve read in a while, with some of the chapters being only two pages long, in fact I was really disappointed when I saw how thin it was, but as they say – size isn’t everything, and it was way better than I expected.

If you’re team ‘never travel light’ you’ll find a lot of comfort in this book.

This shopaholic author chats away about her travel traumas, random experiences and funny thoughts; it’s as though she’s sitting with you in your living room having cosy natter. I found myself nodding along to much of what she shared about her travel experiences, though I think she sounds a lot worse than me when it comes to shopping and excess luggage.

Thankfully I haven’t been ruthlessly interrogated by customs or witnessed my suitcase coming round the baggage carousel broken and wide open “like an open sandwich”, what a nightmare!!

Turning into a contortionist when using plane toilets – oh yes, every time, and also when I’m trying to turn around in the plane aisle without knocking a few people out in the process!

The joys of travel!!!

‘Have Bags, Will Travel’ is a quick, easy and fun read that’s sure to put a smile on your face!

Also by D.G. Kaye

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
MeWe: mewe.com/i/debbygies
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Catch up with all the travel columns and some exotic destinations: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye/

My thanks to Debby for introducing us to Puerto Rico.. it appears to have something for all the family. Please let us know if you have been to Puerto Rico..your feedback is always welcome.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up- Glenn Miller, Roses, Mexico, New Books, Reviews and Guests.


Welcome to the round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

Some stand out moments from the week that I would like to make a special mention about.

The first was the nomination for the blog for the Versatile Blogger Award by Brigid Gallagher which I was very honoured to receive. I know that many bloggers are now award free. I quite understand, as when you are at full tilt, it is tough to take the time to respond to an award and also to draw up a list of willing nominees.

However… even after six years, I still get a kick out of awards and I have met so many wonderful bloggers through other people’s nominees, that it is well worth the effort. And also it is an opportunity to showcase newer bloggers who are still finding their feet or deserve to have some promotion.

Anyway.. this was my response with 7 more secrets about me…..and some nominees who are terrific bloggers.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/smorgasbord-and-the-versatile-blogger-award-nominated-by-brigid-p-gallagher-7-things-you-may-not-know-about-me/

The second highlight is the release of Understanding: An Anthology of True and Significant Life Events… Compiled and contributed to by Stevie Turner and 18 other authors including myself and quite a few of our blogging community.

The proceeds from this anthology will be going to Cancer Research and it is a very worthy cause.

Over the next week I will be posing a number of author profiles of those who have contributed and I hope that you will follow those authors and also support their work in this collection.

About the anthology

The following authors and bloggers kindly answered questions posed by Stevie Turner regarding significant life experiences they had undergone. These events include sexual abuse, a near death experience, alcoholism, being diagnosed with cancer, depression, losing weight, getting married, being a mother to many children, being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and many more!

In this first post I share the authors who have contributed with a profile on Stevie Turner, D.G. Kaye and in the coming two weeks will feature the other authors in separate posts.

All proceeds will be donated to Cancer Research:

You can buy the anthology for only 99c: https://www.amazon.com/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

And on Amazon UK for 99p: https://www.amazon.co.uk/UNDERSTANDING-Anthology-True-Significant-Events-ebook/dp/B07Q5NLHRZ

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-special-feature-proceedscancerresearch-understanding-an-anthology-of-true-and-significant-life-events-compiled-by-stevie-turner-and-18-other-authors/

Now on with the other posts this week.

This week William Price King shares the life and music of the legendary Glenn Miller whose music is still loved over 70 years since his untimely death during the Second World War.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-music-column-with-william-price-king-glen-miller-trombonist-composer-big-band-leader/

In his final gardening post, Paul Andruss shares the beauty and background to the rose.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/06/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-only-a-rose/

In the second part of her posts on Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, D.G. Kaye shares the fundamentals that you need to know about renting, shopping, tipping, exchanging your cash, dining and how to drink safe water.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-puerto-vallarta-mexico-part-two-renting-shopping-tipping-and-water/

This week my guest is author Ann Chiappetta who shares where she would love to live in the world, the animal she would most like to talk to and her favourite season.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-ann-chiappetta

My review for Small Town Kid by Frank Prem – recommended

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/smorgasbord-book-reviews-small-town-kid-by-frank-prem/

This week Carol Taylor and I join forces to share the foods that contain good amounts of Vitamin B3 and the recipes that the whole family will enjoy.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/smorgasbord-health-column-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-to-prevent-nutritional-deficiencies-vitamin-b3-niacin/

A lovely guest post from Joy Lennick in tribute to her mother…

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-joy-lennick-a-tribute-to-my-dear-mama-mum/

Sally’s personal stuff

This week in the R’s of Life,  I look at the true cost of retail therapy and the waste associated with our drive to own the latest and the most fashionable.  And also the mountains of food that goes uneaten in most of our countries when millions are starving.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-survival-in-a-modern-world-retail-therapy-the-true-cost-by-sally-cronin/

This week I share the abundance of food that you can enjoy as you lose weight… starving the body is not an option, and cutting out food groups is counter productive.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/06/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-weightloss-all-the-delicious-foods-you-can-eat-by-sally-cronin/

Being the first week of the month… .Colleen Chesebro allowed us to pick our own words as prompts…My Etheree is entitled ‘April’

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-poetry-challenge-etheree-april-by-sally-cronin/

 

Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction – the Prompt this week is ‘Fire’

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/06/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-fire-by-sally-cronin/

Donna W. Hill is a breast cancer survivor and in this week’s inspiring post she shares her motivation and also encounters with butterflies and knitting.

Blue butterfly on milkweed: photo by Rich Hill

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-butterflies-me-an-authors-breast-cancer-survival-story-by-donna-w-hill/

This week Jen Moore, shares the delightful character who is her son, and the warm and embracing way that the family manages his dyslexia.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-the-funny-thing-about-dyslexia-by-jen-moore/

This week Norah Colvin shares all things berry.. which resulted in a lot of discussion about what is a berry and what is not, and how to get hold of our favourites…

mulberries

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-berry-delightful-by-norah-colvin/

A new contributor this week and the first post from the archives of Susanne Swanson who shares her return to her kindergarten school, celebrating its 100th anniversary.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-frank-b-cooper-school-refrain-by-susanne-swanson/

New Book on the Shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-amie-savage-safari-amie-in-africa-book-5-by-lucinda-e-clarke/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/03/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-special-pre-order-price-99c-99p-the-mayhem-series-book-3-silent-mayhem-by-sue-coletta/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-trudys-diary-libraries-of-the-world-mysteries-book-1-by-amy-m-reade/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/07/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-on-the-shelves-shortstories-a-box-of-memories-by-allan-hudson/

Author Updates

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-d-wallace-peach-barb-taub-and-mary-smith/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/05/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-jean-lee-paulette-mahurin-pamela-s-wight/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/02/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-a-mixed-bag-and-some-observations-on-life/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/04/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-another-odd-assortment-and-more-observations-on-life/

 

Thank you very much for visiting this week and for all your support, it is always appreciated.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part Two – Renting, Shopping, Tipping and Water


Welcome to this month’s edition of my Travel Column. Last month in my column, I shared a bit of history on beautiful Puerto Vallarta as well as some tips on dining, beaches, and things to do. For this month’s edition I’m going to share some tips based on my personal experience on notable places to visit while there, what to pack, caveats of renting a condo, and protocol on some of the Mexican customs.

What to pack?

Pack for summer temps. Keep in mind that nights can be breezy so you may want to throw in a few long-sleeved Tees and/or a light sweater.

As usual, I bring too many shoes and basically end up wearing the same two pairs when going out. During the day you will live in flip flops or sandals. When walking any distances, and when walking downtown you will want to have comfortable shoes on. Trust me! The downtown zone still has cobble stone roads. Heels aren’t going to be your friend there. I acquired a new affection for FitFlops after buying a pair to take with me before I left. I plan on getting a 2nd pair and that’s all I really need to wear out. They are ultra-comfortable and very stylish, they even have styles with bling – and that’s good enough for me, lol. Of course, you will want to have a pair of sneakers too.

I mostly live in my bathing suit and cover-up by day and a sundress or a pair of capris and a top by night. I don’t see many people wearing long pants even at night so don’t fill your suitcases with them as they will likely just be taking up space and never worn. The jeans I wear on the airplane are the only long pants I take.

Don’t forget to pack your favorite pillow. If you’re anything like me and are fussy about your pillows, you will be happy you brought yours. See if you can find a smaller travel version of your favorite pillow like I’ve found, which will take up less space in your bags. And don’t forget the essentials: sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.

Pick up a copy of the local newspaper

Puerto Vallarta has their own local newspaper called the PV Daily Mirror. This little gem is packed with information – especially for tourists. Inside the paper you will find: a bit of history on the city, sponsored ads for recommended restaurants, events going on for the week in the city, available tours, op-eds from other tourist’s discoveries in the ‘Dear Editor’ series where you’ll find recommendations and grievances, a 2-page spread of the city map, directories of important phone numbers, what’s going on in the art scene and local market schedules, real estate for sale, and on every last page, crossword and soduku puzzles.

This little paper also offers in every issue, a list of important phone numbers to have handy such as hospitals, taxis, tourism bureau, police, fire department, consulates, and tourism protection services. I even discovered they have a WordPress blog

Tipping

Like anywhere else we travel, tipping is encouraged. Mexicans don’t make nearly the wages we make in North America as their cost of living is much lower. Don’t forget to tip your taxi driver – especially when you go grocery shopping and take a cab back home where the driver will happily load and unload your groceries for you. Even in the grocery stores it’s customary to tip the ‘bagger’ of your groceries because they aren’t paid. I usually give them a 10 or 20 Pesos.

When it comes receiving your bill in a restaurant, there are two important things to remember: When you’re ready for the bill, you must ask your server for it as they consider it rude to just leave a bill in front of you, not wanting to signal it’s time for you to leave. Also, check your bill thoroughly. Some establishments have taken to automatically applying a tip on your bill. If you don’t take notice you will be double tipping.

Don’t forget to leave a little something for the maids. They work hard and make a menial salary.

Where to Shop for Groceries

Soriana’s is upper PV’s main supermarket, offering a wide array of products complete with a bakery, meat, and cheese counters. You will also find a pharmacy and some beach and pool toys and clothing at the back of their stores. Further down in town you will find another chain of Mega Super stores as their other chain of grocery stores.

Besides those mentioned, many people, including myself shop at Walmart grocery section. And recently, they’ve opened a new huge supermarket called La Comer, where you can find items of specialty that are a bit harder to find in other grocery stores.

Of course, shopping wouldn’t be complete without the famous Costco and Sam’s Club outlets. Typically, we go to Costco’s once a month to load up on staples like toilet paper, paper towels, cases of water and soda. and of course, all the other stuff we find that were never on our list. The Costco we shopped at was conveniently, a 20 – minute walk from our condo. They also have a lovely section of prepared foods for those days when one doesn’t feel like cooking or going out. Don’t forget to pick yourself up some delicious meat or fish there if you’re up to cooking. The beef in Puerto Vallarta is superb, and so is the chicken and the vast array of fish available.

Drinking Water

The drinking water has been approved and deemed safe for drinking for some time now – but that doesn’t mean you should be drinking it. Most restaurants and hotels have a water filtration system installed. But for those places that don’t, even if water is deemed safe, it’s the old pipes that contribute to contaminating the water.

When out and about and off the beaten path, always ask about the water. A good indicator is ice cubes with a hole in them signifies purified. Better yet, when in doubt, drink bottled water.

In the condo we stayed in, you can order big jugs of water from the concierge desk in the lobby. The bellman brings it right up to our unit and it costs a mere 30 Pesos – equivalent of two dollars. And I then tip him another dollar for bringing it up to our suite. We were even luckier in our friend’s condo we stayed in January, they had a filtration system in their condo with fresh water out of the kitchen sink and fridge. I’d pour a cup into a glass to brush my teeth with. One can never be too safe!

Exchanging Money

When in Puerto Vallarta, you don’t need any other currency than the Mexican Peso. Although they will accept US dollars, it’s best to save those for bargaining because you won’t get the best rate for those dollars in supermarkets or restaurants. Don’t be thinking you have to buy a ton of Pesos either before you leave home. Use the bank machines! And when I say bank machines, I mean the ATMs you’ll find inside the banks. All you need to bring is your bank card from home and approximately $100 dollars in Pesos you should purchase at home at your bank for incidentals such as: taxi fare, snacks, a drink or maybe even a meal to have on you until you get to that bank machine.

When you buy foreign currency at home, you will get a lesser rate than you’ll receive buying your Pesos in the bank machine. I stress ‘the bank’s ATM’ because using a store’s ATM or that of any in a hotel lobby, you will not get the best rate as the bank rate and the service charges can be steep.

For example: Last year I made the mistake of buying $500 worth of Pesos at my bank before I left, and I got a rate of slightly over 12 Pesos for a Canadian dollar. The bank rate I got after visiting the bank machine in PV was 15 Pesos for a dollar! For Americans, the rate has been hovering around 19 and change Pesos for your dollar. Many restaurants will display the rate you’ll receive on your American dollars. Recently there, that rate was 15 to 16 Pesos for a dollar if you paid in US dollars. That’s a huge loss of value. On the same token, you will find many money exchange booths in your daily travels, again, you will receive less value there too when exchanging your foreign dollars.

I’m armed and ready for next year’s holiday back in PV as I bought us $200 worth of Pesos to take home with us in preparation for next year.
Thinking of renting a condo in PV?

If you’re interested in renting a place for your vacation in PV, I’m sharing my list of how to go about the process, what to look for, and things to beware of:

There are plenty of online sites where one can find places for rent in PV, and many property managers who look after several properties can also be found on various websites. But if you’re not familiar with where to begin, my recommendation is to look on VRBO and Air BnB.

One thing that is almost certain is that all rental prices are expected in US dollars. Depending on which service you book through, prices will vary so it’s important to do your homework and check similar offers for similar same sized properties around same locations.

Every place for rent seems to have their own different terms of contract. Some will ask for 50% down and the balance due 2 months prior to arrival, some will only require 20% deposit and balance payable on arrival (those are the only terms I rent a place with), while some offer rebates if you must cancel and some don’t.

It’s important to do an internet check when renting to make sure you’re renting from someone reputable. It’s not difficult to type a name of someone or the name of a condo complex in a Google search bar and take it from there. TripAdvisor, Yelp, and Yahoo are also great places to check reviews from previous fellow travelers who will share their experiences. Personally, I prefer renting directly from owner as opposed to a manager, but there are exceptions. I like to call that person to gather information rather than rely solely on what’s written on the description. This also allows me to get a good feel of the person I intend to rent from.

Make sure you ask about ‘added fees’ such as: security deposit required, clean-up fees, and oddly, some funky other mysterious fees I’ve seen around. If someone is paying for an ad, they should have photos and a good description of the property and surrounding areas.

In Mexico, it seems that electricity is often a separate charge on top of the rental fee. Rarely will you find it included in the price. Depending on the honesty of the person you’re renting from you’ll end up paying anywhere from $50 US per month to exorbitant money grab rates as high as $200 a month. Always ask!

Ask about the rules of the property.

• Do they allow pets?
• Do they allow smoking?
• What are the check in and check out times?
• Ask if there’s a mini safe where you can keep your valuables and passports.
• What amenities does the property offer?
• Is there a swimming pool and lounge chairs?
• Is there a beach bar on premises?
• What kind of security does the property offer?
• What kind of amenities does the unit offer inside?
• Does it have pots and pans and dishes?
• Is there a TV or 2 and WiFi?
• Are there blinds or draperies on the windows to block out the hot morning or afternoon sun heating up the place?
• Is there a pull-out couch?
• Does the place have ceiling fans?

Ceiling fans are the best. Units with them rarely require us to use air conditioning, which of course chugs up the electricity bill. And lastly, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to ask about the views from the unit.

Most places come with standard staples such as: toaster, microwave, coffeemaker, and a debatable amount of dishes and cookware. Every unit is set up according to the owner’s tastes. Some owners actually use their units in-between renters, and those units are usually more equipped with extras. Others buy them for investment to rent out and aren’t too concerned with what’s not in there.

On my recent vacation to PV, we spent January in a gorgeous condo owned by friends of ours who live in the big city of Guadalajara. We met them last year at the pool, became friends and before the trip ended, they invited us to rent from them as they’d never previously rented out their place before. Their place was luxury all the way from the million- dollar view to first class amenities.

In February we had booked another unit in same complex because our friends had previously rented out February. We rented from the woman we’d rented from the previous year, knowing we were going to pay a little too much because we were late renting, and people are greedy. Suffice it to say, the unit left a lot to be desired – no frying pans, no safe that she told me was there, no furniture on the balcony and an extremely crappy view. Oh sure, I made her buy me frying pans and a safe, which were promptly delivered on check in day, but the lounge chairs for the balcony never got there. You must be assertive yet, polite.

Supplies: – If you’re going to be renting for a few weeks or longer, you may want to bring some things with you from home. I always pack a few extra beach towels and pillow cases, and facecloths. Yes, a common thing not to find in these condos are facecloths. I bring some of my spices from home, enough soy creamer for my coffee to last the trip, rubber gloves for doing lots of dishes (since I don’t use the dishwashers – electricity) and basically, there are never enough dishes to fill a dishwasher anyway. Something else I always bring are plastic clips to keep bags that have been opened sealed and fresh, and to make use as clothespins.

Clothespins come in handy for a multitude of things, besides the fact they’re convenient for keeping bags of chips crisp. I also use them for laundry. You can hang up wet laundry and wet bathing suits on the balcony with them, secure in the fact they won’t blow away..

Recommended little town jaunts and local markets

Two little towns I recommend visiting for a few hours exploration when visiting PV are Pitillal (pronounced P T L) and Bucerias. The beauty of these quaint little Mexican towns are they’re both within Puerto Vallarta and not far to get to.

Pitillal is literally a 10 – minute cab ride from the hotel zone. It’s a quaint town that was once its own village but has since merged into part of Puerto Vallarta. This is a hidden gem because it’s not considered a tourist town, although many have discovered it and visit it regularly for the quality handmade products in their open-air market stores, a few quaint restaurant bars where one can get cheap drinks and fish tacos, and the non-inflated tourist prices from haircuts to food.

Bucerias is about a half hour cab ride (for $25 U.S.) or an over an hour bus ride for about a dollar to get to. It’s an old fishing village with five miles of beach stretch, cobble stone roads built by hand, one stone at a time, and a charming feel. This little town is becoming more popular with tourists as the years pass offering that ‘old world’ charm of Puerto Vallarta from 40 years ago before it became a tourist destination. Bucerias has some wonderful restaurants and beach bars and local open-air markets in the center of town. The name Bucerias, is derived from the word ‘buceo’ which means to dive, derived from the initial inhabitants who were traditional oyster fishermen who dove to catch them. Now the town is known for its friendly locals. Some tourists seeking that authentic Mexican town feel of being in Mexico are opting to spend their vacations in this sleepy little town.

Other little towns of note where tourists like to take little day tours to are: Yelapa, a traditional fishing village about 25 miles from PV, which you can only get to by boat, and Sayulita, another small village, known for its good surfing, with some interesting markets and some great beach restaurants. Some people say a lot of ‘old hippies’ have moved there for it’s more ‘artsy’ vibe.

There are also other small little towns to visit when in Puerto Vallarta. The city is growing by the year with its construction growth, ex-pats who continue to migrate there, good food, cheap prices and breathtaking sunsets. What’s not to love?

Have any of you ever been to any of these small little towns in Puerto Vallarta? If so, please share your opinion here.

My thanks to Debby for this detailed report on Puerto Vallarta – and a must read if you are heading to that resort or to any of the other popular destinations in Mexico. It is always important to check out every detail when traveling abroad with up to date recommendations and also government advisories.

About D.G. Kaye

Debby Gies is a Canadian nonfiction/memoir author who writes under the pen name of D.G. Kaye. She was born, raised, and resides in Toronto, Canada. Kaye writes about her life experiences, matters of the heart and women’s issues.

D.G. writes to inspire others. Her writing encompasses stories taken from events she encountered in her own life, and she shares the lessons taken from them. Her sunny outlook on life developed from learning to overcome challenges in her life, and finding the upside from those situations, while practicing gratitude for all the positives.

When Kaye isn’t writing intimate memoirs, she brings her natural sense of humor into her other works. She loves to laugh and self- medicate with a daily dose of humor.
I love to tell stories that have lessons in them, and hope to empower others by sharing my own experiences. I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Debby has written a book about her travel adventures – Have Bags Will Travel

About the book

D.G. Kaye reflects on some of her more memorable vacations and travel snags, she finds herself constantly struggling to keep one step ahead of the ever-changing guidelines of the airlines–with her overweight luggage in tow. Her stories alert us to some of the pitfalls of being an obsessive shopper, especially when it comes time for D.G. to bring her treasures home, and remind us of the simpler days when traveling was a breeze.

In her quest to keep from tipping the scales, D.G. strives to devise new tricks to fit everything in her suitcases on each trip. Why is she consistently a target for Canada customs on her return journeys?

D.G.’s witty tales take us from airports, to travel escapades with best friends, to reflections on how time can change the places we hold dear in our hearts. Her memories will entertain and have you reminiscing about some of your own most treasured journeys–and perhaps make you contemplate revamping your packing strategies.

One of the recent reviews for Have Bags Will Travel

This might have been one of the shortest books I’ve read in a while, with some of the chapters being only two pages long, in fact I was really disappointed when I saw how thin it was, but as they say – size isn’t everything, and it was way better than I expected.

If you’re team ‘never travel light’ you’ll find a lot of comfort in this book.

This shopaholic author chats away about her travel traumas, random experiences and funny thoughts; it’s as though she’s sitting with you in your living room having cosy natter. I found myself nodding along to much of what she shared about her travel experiences, though I think she sounds a lot worse than me when it comes to shopping and excess luggage.

Thankfully I haven’t been ruthlessly interrogated by customs or witnessed my suitcase coming round the baggage carousel broken and wide open “like an open sandwich”, what a nightmare!!

Turning into a contortionist when using plane toilets – oh yes, every time, and also when I’m trying to turn around in the plane aisle without knocking a few people out in the process!

The joys of travel!!!

‘Have Bags, Will Travel’ is a quick, easy and fun read that’s sure to put a smile on your face!

Also by D.G. Kaye

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
MeWe: mewe.com/i/debbygies
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

Catch up with all the travel columns and some exotic destinations: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye/

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The Weekly Round Up – Social Media Shenanigans, Spring Flowers, Mexican Getaways, Italian Food, music, humour and Fabulous Guests


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed.

Firstly, an update on the Facebook debacle which only gets worse I am afraid. I know that several of you have been hit by blocked posts that contain links and are still having issues. I can comment, and share posts internally on Facebook but post links are still being blocked.

Disturbingly today that included the link to Debby Gies Sunday Interview which I sent to her in a Direct Message… supposedly private! It was blocked and in bold red told me that it did not meet community standards. I have appealed of course but it does have a warning for us all. Do not disclose private information in a direct message. For example if as they say Facebook is selling our data to health insurance companies, and we mention in a private message about a health issue we have to a friend, and then apply for insurance! Does that sound paranoid? Probably. What about your email address that you send in a message, or your postal address and the dates you will be away on vacation.

I had no illusions about Facebook but they have now embarked on a wholesale censorship programme that is unacceptable. They want you to have a page where they can bombard you with messages to boost your post to thousands of others at a cost. And they want to encourage you to buy from one of their advertisers and when you do, by all accounts you never hear the last of them.

I have friends and family on Facebook and I can at least for the time being share your posts from there. But over the next few weeks as MeWe grows and develops mewe.com/i/sallycronin and the author’s group which now has nearly 50 members https://mewe.com/join/theliterarydivashangout – I will be only using Facebook sparingly to stay in touch and to share others work internally. Eventually, I will be closing my account as I won’t be blackmailed or have any more of my private messages intercepted.

On a brighter note.. I have done the sums and the statistics show that the referrals to the blog is approximately 10%…thankfully most of those who share from Facebook are also contacts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest or other sites that I am a member of such as MeWe. My main concern was for the book promotions that I post for other authors but after two weeks there has been no change to the response which is a relief.

Thank you for all your support and I appreciate all the shares to FB from here in the past, but I have now permanently removed the share button, as I don’t want you to be faced with messages from FB telling you that it is not allowed. They are intimidating and offer not recourse so I am done.

And as an aside.. new users are asked for a photograph before they are allowed to sign up for an account. It can take several days to get back to you. But in the meantime with facial recognition they can have mined a great deal of information about who you are and your history online. Whilst this does mean that the fake generals and other trolls will not be accepted, it also means that they can pick and choose who they admit to the site and if you do not fit their profile as a potential buyer of the advertising that they send your way… who knows where it will lead!

It is now affecting millions of users and you might find this post interesting sourced by Carol Taylor: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/135476927/posts/1232

On with the posts from the week, and as always I am very grateful to the contributors who spend time and a great deal of effort to write columns and guest articles.

Welcome to Debby Gies March edition of her Travel Column where she shares the first part of her trip and two month vacation in Puerto Vallarta in Mexico.. and the flight did not go as planned!

 

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye-puerto-vallarta-mexico-part-one/

This week Paul Andruss shares the bulbs that will make your late spring garden abundant with colour.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-gardening-column-with-paul-andruss-light-up-your-life-with-brilliant-late-spring-bulbs-3/

This week my guest is regular contributor non-fiction author D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies who reveals her contents of her purse, fashion sense, strangest dream and her love (hate) of the vacuum!

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-the-sunday-interview-getting-to-know-author-d-g-kaye

This week Silvia Todesco shares a fabulous recipe for oven baked, bacon wrapped cod which has to be a family favourite..

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/17/smorgasbord-blog-magazine-guest-writer-silvia-todesco-italian-cookery-oven-baked-bacon-wrapped-cod-fish-light-crunchy-and-so-good/

This week we look at the health benefits of honey… and Carol Taylor uses this as an ingredient in some stunning dishes.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-health-rewind-cook-from-scratch-with-sally-cronin-and-carol-taylor-honey-nectar-of-the-gods/

A new series looking at ‘One Hit Wonders‘ from the 1950s onwards….this week ‘Lollipop’ by Ronald and Ruby…who were they, were are they now?

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-music-column-new-series-one-hit-wonders-lollipop-ronald-ruby-1958/

My response to Colleen’s Tuesday Poetry Challenge 127 and this week the prompt words are ‘Follow and Lead’…. I have chosen ‘Succeed and Hint’ as my synonyms.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-poetry-colleen-chesebros-weekly-poetry-challenge-etheree-how-to-succeed-in-life-by-sally-cronin/

A further look at the rights as laid down by the United Nation that we should all be entitled to, but have an obligation to protect.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/something-to-think-about-the-rs-of-life-survival-in-a-modern-world-our-rights-to-personal-freedom/

It is March 1986 and we drive back from Atlanta in one day.. and attend a BBQ cookout in Conroe Texas, this is my letter home to my parents in the UK.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-letters-from-america-1985-1987-road-trip-atlanta-houston-and-bbq-cookout-1986/

This week’s Carrot Ranch Flash Fiction Challenge by Charli Mills involves a chisel…as a noun or a verb… you will also enjoy Charli’s description of the thaw that is occurring on her finger (or thumb) that reaches out in to Lake Superior- here is my response – The Dancer.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-short-stories-carrot-ranch-flash-fiction-the-dancer-by-sally-cronin/

Before you Get Started on your weight loss programme– Managing People, Environment and your expectations

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-health-column-size-matters-the-sequel-before-you-get-started-managing-people-environment/

This week Balroop Singh shares her experience of arranged marriages and her own happy relationship.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-why-i-married-at-23sometimes-we-do-make-wrong-decisions-by-balroop-singh/

This week Darlene Foster finds and visits the grave of her great-great-grandmother.

DSCN0188

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-a-special-resting-place-by-darlene-foster/

In this post Jennie Fitzkee shares the connections that she was able to make between reading Little House on the Prairie and her own grandfather from a similar era and his experiences of mining.

image

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-one-picture-for-a-thousand-words-by-jennie-fitzkee/

This week Robbie Cheadle shares a wonderful poem that she wrote on 9th of February 2017 which was her sixteenth Wedding Anniversary…

wedding-photo-1

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-contrasting-colours-a-poem-for-my-wedding-anniversary-by-robbie-cheadle/

Sharon Marchisello shares the strategies that her mother employed to make the most of every penny.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-remembering-my-frugal-mother-by-sharon-marchisello/

Bette Stevens shares a moving poem in tribute to her mother.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/16/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-family-poetry-thank-you-mama-by-bette-a-stevens/

New book on the shelves

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-how-dare-the-birds-sing-book-one-in-the-love-and-fate-series-1-by-marina-osipova/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-a-very-special-house-by-thea-ramsay/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-new-book-on-the-shelves-pre-order-special-price-the-princes-protege-the-five-kingdoms-book-three-by-deborah-jay/

Author Updates – Reviews

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/11/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-updates-reviews-john-w-howell-jane-risdon-and-christina-jones-and-sue-coletta/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/15/sallys-cafe-and-bookstore-author-update-reviews-offers-joy-lennick-olga-nunez-miret-diana-j-febry-and-richard-dee/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/12/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-6/

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/03/14/smorgasbord-laughter-lines-guest-comedian-d-g-kaye-and-a-joke-from-my-archives-7/

Thank you very much for all your support and I would love to hear from you about any of the posts or if you would like some book promotion. .Have a great week.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – The #Travel Column with D.G. Kaye – Puerto Vallarta, #Mexico Part One.


Welcome to this month’s edition of my Travel Column. I thought it only fitting this month to zero in on one of my favorite winter spots for vacation – Puerto Vallarta, since I’ve just returned from there once again from a blissful two months away from my Canadian winter.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Part One.

History

Puerto Vallarta is situated on the Pacific Ocean’s Bahia de Banderas, in the state of Jalisco – a Mexican resort city spanning just over 502 square miles. It was named after Ignacio Vallarta, a former governor of the state of Jalisco. (1872–1876). His full name was José Luis Miguel Ignacio Vallarta Ogazón.

Puerto Vallarta was once a thriving Mexican village back in 1859 before it became the popular resort town that it is today. During the 18th century the city grew from a small fishing village to a small beach landing port for easy access to the Sierra towns. By the 19th century, the town began accumulating regular vacationers from nearby inland Sierra towns. It became a municipality in 1918, and that is when it was named Puerto Vallarta from its former name – Las Penas. Until 1942 the city could only be accessed by sea, air and by mule trails to the Sierra towns.

The new road finally created have vehicular access to the newly becoming resort town it is today. And the first vacation advertising from Modern Mexico Magazine in New York gave Puerto Vallarta its start at becoming a destination resort. By the 1950s Puerto Vallarta began attracting American writers and artists and ex-pats wanting to escape the politics of the Eisenhower/McCarthy era.

In the 60s and 70s, Puerto Vallarta became a popular vacation destination, and 6 influential factors helped put PV on the map:

  • Government intervened with century-old property disputes by parceling out land as communal farms stifling development for much of the 20th century, eventually transitioning into private ownership by the early 70s to generate sales revenue to help develop infrastructure.
  • In 1964, American director, John Houston began filming the movie – The Night of the Iguana, in a small town south of Puerto Vallarta, featuring Richard Burton. At the time, the US media had Burton and Taylor in the spotlight for their extra-marital affair and the publicity that ensued gave Puerto Vallarta recognition.
  • The Mexican government heavily invested in making transportation more accessible, building better roads, and an airport, (Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International airport, named after the president in power 1964-1970), and the El Salado Wharf (the current cruise terminal), making Puerto Vallarta become the first harbor town in the state of Jalisco. All these improvements made PV become a booming resort town.
  • In 1968, Puerto Vallarta became a city from a municipality. The city began to grow with ex-patriates from Canada, US and Europe.
  • In 1970, President Ordaz met with US president, Richard Nixon for treaty negotiations. The media exposure given to this event with the scenic views in the background helped to attract more visitors.
  • The hotel development began a booming industry for Puerto Vallarta in the early 70s with the building of grand luxury hotels and resorts. The early 80s also brought on a downtown of the Mexican economy, devaluing the Peso (international currency), which of course helped to attract more tourists to get a good bang for their buck for an attractive ‘bargain’ destination. This boom of course, inspired other destination spots in Mexico to be built such as Cancun and Ixtapa, which became new tourist getaway spots in the early 90s.

Climate

The city offers a gorgeous climate, beautiful beaches, and a rich cultural history. With a typical tropical climate of wet and dry, the average daytime temperatures are 86 degrees, with lows at night as low as 65 – 70 degrees. The rainy season runs typically from June through October with August being the rainiest month of all. And PV is not traditionally a hurricane hotspot. Although, like much of the North American west coast, PV is vulnerable to earthquakes. Typically, there are 300 sunny days a year. And spectacular sunsets!

Tourism Trends

Tourism makes up over 50% of Puerto Vallarta’s economy. It’s one of the most popular destination vacation spots on the west coast of Mexico, especially when the drug related violence escalated in the once popular Acapulco, Puerto Vallarta seemed to take over the once heavily tourist populated city. PV has also become a popular retirement place for many Canadians and Americans, which brought another boom of condo development to satisfy the demand. The ever-increasing growth of PV has made Nuevo Vallarta in the neighboring state of Nayarit, just north of PV, become the spillover place for resort vacations. Nuevo Vallarta is a twenty-minute cab ride just north of Puerto Vallarta’s international airport.

Puerto Vallarta has become one of the most popular destination resorts for the LGBT community, supporting Gay Pride, which is celebrated annually since 2013, coinciding with the US Memorial Day. There is a huge gay community in the downtown (romantic zone) district off the Malecon (Boardwalk).

Transportation

Puerto Vallarta services three main bus services which will take you almost anywhere in the city, and for real cheap, 10 Pesos, approximately 50 cents U.S.! Fleets of taxis are also available everywhere you turn, and the taxis are rate controlled by a union. Meters aren’t used as rates are set by zones. Taxis are also cheap. Everywhere I’ve travelled within Puerto Vallarta hotel zone had a standard taxi fee of 50 Pesos – the equivalent of approximately $3.50 Canadian, less in American dollars. In 2017, Uber came to Puerto Vallarta, which has caused some displeasure with the taxi industry, apparently costing less than a taxi. Personally, I’d stick with the taxis as the fares are already quite low and safer. To save 50 cents by using Uber sounds almost ridiculous when it comes to peace of mind, but I met a few people who did use Uber and some of them said their drivers got lost and couldn’t find specific places.

The cruise ship docks are also a busy place with lots of cruise ships docking there daily during tourist season, harboring 3 berths to take in 3 ships on any given day and currently expanding capacity. I was lucky enough to enjoy a bird’s eye view of the ships coming and going from our balcony.

Dining

There is a plethora of restaurants to choose from all offering different cuisines besides the typical Mexican restaurants. You will find many choices similar to American dining with cuisines offered from Italian, Chinese, Japanese, South American foods and more! Popular dishes fresh from the ocean are Mahi Mahi, shrimps, and Red Snapper, as well as many other delicious seafoods, real cheap!

Here is a link to over 250 fabulous places to eat in Puerto Vallarta. If any of you are thinking of visiting, feel free to ask me for my personal recommendations.

Popular Sights to Visit

There are two big markets opened twice a week – Thursdays at the Marina Vallarta, and Saturday mornings downtown at the lower end of the Malecon, where you can find anything from artisanal gifts, souvenirs, and home baked foods. There are also several mini flea markets that run daily in different parts of the town which I’ll talk more about in the next edition.

Plaza de Armas is located into old town down by the boardwalk where you can often hear live music being played. The Malecon is the boardwalk in downtown Puerto Vallarta where there are numerous restaurants and stores and a known place for artists to display their wares nightly. An archaeological museum houses a collection of local and regional Hispanic artifacts. An abundance of nightclubs are opened nightly for those who crave the nighttime action.

Discover the art scene, galleries and boutiques, sculptures, at the Artwalk, which runs from 6-10pm every Wednesday evening till the end of May annually. There are also classes offered in various parts on everything from Spanish classes, to health care groups, to writing cafes, and more. The downtown Romantic Zone has Act II where different plays are performed weekly just like in North America, but with their own actors. You can get tickets at the box office while you’re downtown or book online with most tickets running approximately $20 per person. Tours are offered everywhere from sidewalk kiosks to booths located in shopping areas, and on the beaches where commissioned sales people will offer you deals – just don’t forget to bargain. Often the first price offered is too much because they expect to be bargained with.

Puerto Vallarta is touted as one of the safest cities in Mexico to visit so you don’t have to be worried walking around town. I have heard from sources that because Puerto Vallarta is one of the few places on the western coast with heavy tourism that some of the properties are owned by the famed ‘El Chappo’ and it is ordered to keep the city free of crime to maintain tourism. Hey, you can’t get any safer than that?

Visit these: links for more tourist information.

Around Puerto Vallarta

Visit Puerto Vallarta

Beaches

There are numerous beaches in and around Puerto Vallarta, with various names, but Banderas Beach and Los Muertos Beach are popular tourist beaches. Because the tourist part of the city is built along the oceanside of the city, you can literally walk from the northern part of Puerto Vallarta to the downtown Malecon and further along the beaches, although that would be a very long walk and some mighty fine exercise as you encounter some hillier and some rocky areas along the way. You will also find just about every water sport activity offered along the beach as well by the resorts. There are many different water activity tours such as swimming with the dolphins, whale watching, sunset cruises, fishing cruises, day trips to little towns, parachuting, skydiving, and more! (Sal add love beach photo)

Best Beach Hotels: Link
List of Beaches: Link

Shopping

Puerto Vallarta is a great place to shop and not have to spend a lot of money. Souvenirs of interest you will find in PV are: silver jewelry, local pottery, blown glass objects, Tequila, beach wear, artwork from local artisans, just to name a few. You won’t even need to walk any further than your beach chair to purchase items sold locally right on the beach as many natives walk the beaches selling their wares. Just don’t forget to bargain, it’s part of the shopping scene particularly at markets and when buying on the beach. It’s a fact that the sellers know they are going to get haggled so traditionally, they will start at a higher asking price so never pay the first price given – also, be reasonable, they still have to make a living. Typically, on the beach if you are purchasing a souvenir, you can bargain them down to half of what they start at.

Visit these links for more about shopping in Puerto Vallarta:

Shopping

Best buying tips

Do stay tuned for Part 2 of this series as I will be delving more into my experiences, recommendations, best bang for your currency exchange bucks, what to look for when seeking a rental, and terms to beware of, and more!

About D.G. Kaye

Quotes:
“Live Laugh Love . . . And Don’t Forget to Breathe!”

                 “For every kindness, there should be kindness in return. Wouldn’t that just make the world right?”

When I’m not writing, I’m reading or quite possibly looking after some mundane thing in life. It’s also possible I may be on a secret getaway trip, as that is my passion—traveling.

Books by D.G. Kaye

One of the recent reviews for P.S. I Forgive You on Goodreads

Another wonderful read from author D.G. Kaye. I admire Kaye’s courage in sharing her story of a strained, abusive and then estranged relationship with her mother. How she overcame her guilt for letting go and saving herself from further damage from her own mother was rewarding to read.

As well, the very thought of ‘leaving a parent’ goes against all that we learn and what societal norms tell us is right. Therefore, we must be horrible people to cut off a parent, right? Wrong. Sometimes there is no other option if you want to live a fulfilled and happy life. Especially when said parent is a text book narcissist. Kudos to Kaye for making the break and following through with tough decisions regarding her toxic mother.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: http://www.amazon.com/author/dgkaye7

and Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/D.G.-Kaye/e/B00HE028FO

More reviews and follow Debby on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/dgkaye

Connect to Debby Gies

Blog: http://www.dgkayewriter.com
About me: http://www.wiseintro.co/dgkaye7
MeWe: mewe.com/i/debbygies
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/@pokercubster (yes there’s a story)
Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/dgkaye7
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/dgkaye
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/dgkaye
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/dgkaye7

My thanks to Debby for sharing some of here holiday highlights and the background to this popular Mexican holiday resort..As always she loves to hear from you with comments and questions.

Catch up with all the travel columns and some exotic destinations: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/the-travel-column-with-d-g-kaye/