Dancing

Yesterday’s prompt from the Daily Post was “dancing“.

I’ve always loved to watch people dance and wished I could dance as well myself. I’m just not what you’d call ‘light on my feet’. I never got the hang of it and almost never even try any more. I’d rather just enjoy watching.

line dancing ladies from Lebanon

Those first 3 were taken during my last vacation (I can’t believe it’s already been a year- but I’ve really been jonesing lately). I took a dinner cruise down the Bosphorus. That’s the waterway that divides the European and Asian sides of Istanbul.

It was a really nice cruise. We had an interesting dinner of local appetizers- olives, stuffed grape leaves, hummus, carrot salad, sliced meat, cheese and then a choice of chicken or fish. The crew put flags around the tables of each person’s nationality. It helped make for many good conversations.

After dinner, we had entertainment. We started with a performance by a whirling dervish. Then the crew dressed in costumes and danced the different traditional styles from all over Turkey. Later the belly dancers came out and got everyone going. By the time they finished, everyone was ready to get out on the floor themselves.

Besides the dinner and dancing, the sights outside the windows were beckoning too. I sat out on the deck watching the shipping traffic pass by and enjoying the fresh cool breeze along the water. I was so excited to see all the minarets poking up from the mosques lit up in the night. Over the low hum of the engines I could hear the faint calls to prayer. It all drove home exotic Istanbul for me.

These next 3 were from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I went down there last February to get certified to teach English as a foreign language (TEFL). I stayed for about a month. I would’ve stayed longer but I had a promising call about a real job (offshore- I had already been out of work for over 6 months), so I flew back home. Sadly, the job fell through.

I loved PV! I lived right next door to the language school and just a couple of blocks from the ocean. There were only 4 other students in my class, so we all got to know each other. Every weekend, our teacher would take us all on a field trip. I had a blast!

I loved to take the bus to the old town. I would walk up and down the Malecon, take pictures and talk to people. There was always something going on. Every weekend there was a farmers market at the square down there. Friday nights were for dancing!

The local dance schools put on a show for everyone that was free for all. They danced the different dances from all over Mexico. Their dancing was fantastic, especially considering how young some of them were. You could tell they were having a good time together. Their costumes were so colorful. I really loved watching them. 🙂

I haven’t been back to start teaching yet, but I’m missing Mexico more and more.

X is for Xcaret- #AtoZChallenge

 

X” is for Xcaret. Xcaret is a pretty cool attraction on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Not too far from Cancun. They call it an “eco-archaeological park”. It’s one of those tourist attractions your hotel will try to set you up with, which was how I found out about it.

I was on vacation with a friend in Cancun a few years ago. I’m past the point of spending my vacations just drinking and partying. I like to explore the place I’m in. My friend is older than I am. She likes to learn about new places too, but at a much more relaxed pace.

We decided to check out Xcaret since it looked like it had enough things to do so that we could both do different things and neither would get bored.

I was really into the whole idea of drifting down the underground rivers, snorkeling with dolphins (extra $$$), and checking out the Mayan ruins. She was more into watching the local dancers and talking to the other tourists while drinking a few cold ones. 🙂

We met up when I took a break at the end of a river run. I went quite a few times before I was ready to try snorkeling. I was disappointed with the snorkeling tho, it was really nothing special. At least not where I was. I saw lots of rocky limestone lagoons, I don’t remember seeing coral. Plenty of fish, but not a lot of variety or color. Maybe I just missed the good stuff?

Neither of us did much exploring of the terrain. I did take a walk around the lagoon, but it was very hot and I couldn’t wait to get back in the water. The landscape was just not that interesting to me. I saw a lot of iguanas and a few brightly colored birds (but I couldn’t ID them). We both really enjoyed watching the shows. The dancers were fantastic.

One Word Photo Challenge: Drink

The word for this weeks One Word Photo Challenge is: drink.

Delicious, icy cold margarita. Yum. 🙂 I enjoy a good margarita anytime, but even better on a beautiful day on a beach in Mexico.

A to Z: TEFL

Todays post for the A to Z Challenge is: TEFL-teaching English as a foreign language. This is something I’ve been considering since we first went to Thailand to find the cause of the tsunami when I was still working for Oceaneering.

I really loved Thailand and wanted to figure out a way to move there. I started looking into what it would take to move there permanently. I found out that I would not be allowed to work as anything other than an English teacher.

Of course, if I wasn’t working- if I wanted to open a business and hire locals, or I was rich enough to ‘retire’ with a steady income- then I would be welcome. I just wouldn’t be allowed to take any job from a local.

Turns out, it was pretty much the same story in every other country I looked into. 🙁

For years, taking the TEFL course was in the back of my mind. I was interested in doing it, but as long as I was working offshore, I just couldn’t justify giving up that lifestyle.

Well, things have changed drastically around here lately. I got laid off last September. I did manage to find a job after that, but it didn’t last long. I work a couple of days a month up in Houston. I’m still hoping to get a call to go back offshore any day, but it’s getting harder to keep that hope going as the days keep passing with no calls, no response to emails or online applications, nothing. 🙁

I finally went to take the course and get certified in TEFL. I had a great time while taking the course in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico a couple of months ago. I got to teach and I actually kind of enjoyed it. I think once I get used to it, I might like it.

I came back home because I was supposed to ship out for a short job. Short, but long enough to stock up the savings again. I had planned to go right back down to Mexico to start teaching. I had to put that on hold. I’m still waiting to ship out. 🙁

Heading Home

That went quick! My month long TEFL course finished up on Friday and now I’m heading home.

I’m sure I could have had a job lined up teaching English if I hadn’t been so wishy-washy. I hope to have at least a short term job starting later this week, so I couldn’t really justify passing that up for any teaching position.

I’ll be home later this afternoon. That should give me time to sort through the mail before I go get my UK physical on Monday. I don’t know why the US physical isn’t good enough for them (and it kindof pisses me off that it isn’t= the whole point of it is that it is supposed to be accepted worldwide).

If all goes well on Monday and they’re OK with the paperwork, then I should be heading off to work sometime Thursday. Hooray!!!!

It’s only for 10 days, but even 10 days at this point will be a huge help. I’m just keeping my fingers crossed.

Moving Day

Class is over and they’ve already started picking up new students for next months class. I need to move out of this apartment I’ve been staying in all month.

I found a nice looking place downtown. I’ll be packing up and moving out later this morning. I still have some food here, I’ll give it to the other girls in the class. They’re all staying on here for at least a few days.

We went out for a celebratory drink last night. We found a place right on the beach with margaritas for only 15 pesos (less than $1)!

I would try to put up a couple of photos, but my computer is refusing to let me see them! It is apparently stuffed full and I need to delete some programs to make room. I’ve already been storing all my photos on thumbdrives, they’re not even on the computer. I have no idea what I can delete without screwing up something I need. I guess that means I can’t look at any photos til I get home to see the computer guy. 🙁

Final Week

Class will finish up this week, so things will be busy around here for a couple of days. Actually, I’ve been fairly busy all along. I haven’t been posting much (and probably won’t be) because the internet has been really bad the last couple of days and I can’t stand sitting here trying to work (and not able to get anything done) while I should be out enjoying Puerto Vallarta.

Saturday I spent the morning taking it easy. I had breakfast at the little cantina downstairs, picked up my laundry, picked up a few things at the store. I took the bus down to the marina after it started cooling off a little bit.

I was a little disappointed that it wasn’t bigger. Other than that, it was about what I expected. Lots of expensive shops and plenty of tourists. A few big yachts but most looked like they were actually used and not just show boats like a lot of them you see in Miami or Houston.

As expected, the gates to the docks were locked. I couldn’t get down to the boats to talk to any crew members. I figured there wasn’t much hope, but still worth a try. I wouldn’t mind working on a private vessel again. It might even be fun for a change.

I wandered around for a while, hoping to find a good sailors bar where I could hang out for a while and get the scoop over a few drinks. Sorry to say, I didn’t find any place that looked likely for real sailors to hang out.

I rode the elevator up to the top of the lighthouse (El Faro). I thought I might have a snack and watch the sunset. It was a gorgeous view. They only had chicken wings and I just wasn’t in the mood for those, so I took a few pictures and headed back down to wander some more.

I met a nice guy from Tennessee. He was a former USCG mariner so we had a pretty good conversation. It was nice talking to someone who ‘gets it’. I really miss being on the water. Most people just don’t understand. It gets in your blood.

I had a nice steak dinner at a place called the Rincon de Buenos Aires (Argentinian Steak House). They had a special offering of green salad, baked potato and skirt steak for 195 pesos. I paid about $15 for dinner and a drink.

The steak was great, cooked perfectly and plenty big. I could hardly finish it. The baked potato was big, but they didn’t put anything on it but butter. I asked for sour cream and they brought some, but it was not the same thing we get at home. The salad was big, but they only had Italian dressing and it wasn’t really very flavorful. They brought out a bread basket with chimichurra sauce, but I didn’t want to fill up on bread.

I did really enjoy my steak, but I wasn’t real impressed with the restaurant other than that. First of all, it was very hot. I was dripping. The hostess tried to help me by pulling my table (which was up against the wall in a dark corner) out so that it was under a ceiling fan. I appreciated the effort, but it didn’t help much.

The waiters were all polite and helpful, but it was very busy so they were slow to come by. A man at the next table flagged them down for me once after I had been waving at them for about 10 minutes.

It was definitely a very popular place. I would go back for the food, but only if I made sure beforehand it was a slow time.

Sunday morning we got to go out sailing with Erica and her friend Memo. He has a beautiful sailboat and kindly offered to take our whole class out sailing for the day. I’ll have more on that later.

Today was Monday. Back to school. I got my last 2 teaching assignments this morning, and so spent some time working on my lesson plans this afternoon. I’ve got early classes tomorrow and Wednesday, and we have another essay due Wednesday too, so I’ll be busy for the next couple of days with school work.

It’s already 2300. I need to get off here and get some sleep. I need to get up EARLY tomorrow! 🙁