My mother tells me that I almost drowned in a bucket full of white wash when I was two years old. Only the quick actions of a night watchman prevented a disaster. Of course, I don’t remember any of that.
By the time I turned eight, I had become an expert at dunking in and out of water, muck, and raw sewage. At five or six, I fell into a pond while following an older girl around—nobody told me that bad things tend to happen when you hang out with bigger kids. Another fortunate adult-interference left me no worse for the dowsing.
The next plunge took me back first, into filthy muck. I don’t even want to reveal how I landed in that position. Suffice to say that my father, who dragged me out unceremoniously, probably wanted to give me a good thrashing after that incident.
One would think that I would learn not to fall into anymore messy situations. I did it again. For my seventh birthday, my father bought me a shiny new bike that all the neighbourhood children coveted. One evening, an older girl who was supposed to look after me, took my bike out for a spin with me sitting side saddle on the bar between the handle bar and the seat. When we landed in raw sewage, I never lived down the consequences of that disaster to this day.
Needless to say, when I look back to those childhood days, I find many episodes and events that inspire my stories, like my recently published non-fiction piece, Alfie. Another chapter of my life gave me the setting for A Midnight Feast to Remember. Check them out and be transported to a world of innocence in a way of life that has ceased to exist. If you enjoy listening to Alfie or reading A Midnight Feast to Remember, do send me a note.
Despite many elements working against us right from the moment we were set to leave for the airport, we still managed to have a decent vacation this past month. The weather, the airline, even Puerto Rico itself – all conspired against us, but how can you have a memorable vacation without some mishap?
What went wrong:
- Heavy snowfall the night before our 8:30 a.m. flight set the ball spiraling off course.
- Our flight was delayed by about 5 hours. Strictly speaking, the delays were actually caused by the airline’s ground crew.
- The airline tagged us for special security screening – apparently this was a random selection. We could not perform self check-in; had to wait in line for the attendant at the counter.
- We arrived at night in a strange country. Try driving in a strange place in the dark after being up since the wee hours of the morning and then flying for almost five hours.
- Our brand new GPS did not have the most up-to-date map. We wandered remote back roads for twenty minutes before finding our way back to the highway.
- The resort was so massive we couldn’t find the main reception area in the dark. We had to stop a couple of times to find someone and ask for directions.
- The next day, we tried to drive to old San Juan. Within 3 kilometres, less than 2 miles, of our destination, a massive demonstration gridlocked us for over an hour – we moved about 0.2 kilometre during that time.
- The first possible relief from the traffic, a McDonald’s restaurant, turned out to be a disappointment – bad coffee and wilted lettuce in my salad.
- We returned to the resort that day without visiting old San Juan.
What went right:
- I flexed my writing muscles as soon as I got an opportunity to write down all my observations. So the things that went wrong provided fodder for a short story.
- Our room was awesome with a view of the pools and the ocean. We ate breakfast on the balcony every morning.
- The resort’s amenities and service exceeded our expectations.
- We found our way to old San Juan after all, and the trip was worth the forty-five-minute drive.
- The rain forest was located about fifteen minutes from our resort. We saved a boat-load of money touring it ourselves instead of signing up for an excursion.
- We found a few bargains at the outlet mall nearby. I mean, who doesn’t love a bargain?
- I received an email from the airline apologizing to us for the delay in leaving, and yes, you guessed it…they offered us a discount code for our next flight.
- After the initial set-back, we spent a lazy week in the warm climate, away from the snow and freezing rain, with the sound of the ocean in the background. Bliss…