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.


I’m getting a late start, but wanted to get into the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge (Focus). I usually try to take photos with very clear focus.

But sometimes I want to try for a different effect. I like to play with reflections, light trails, water, sun, atmosphere. All those things can make for more interesting photos than a clearly focused one can sometimes.

Heading Home

I’m at the Denver airport, waiting for my flight back home to Houston. It’s been a VERY busy couple of days here in Colorado.

I got here fairly early Monday morning. Shared a ride to Evergreen with my fellow attendee and new room mate Hope. We spent the next 2 days sharing a 2 bedroom suite at the Highland Haven Creekside Inn. We came for a ‘writing retreat’ along with another dozen fledgling writers.

The Highland Haven was a nice place to have the retreat. It was quiet and peaceful. The main rooms where we spent most of our time working on our writing had crackling fires to keep us warm. I loved seeing the snow on the ground, a small creek ran right alongside the property. The place was surrounded by huge evergreen trees. We even saw a small herd of deer pass slowly by while we all tried to shoot them (with cameras). 🙂

We had breakfast (included) in the rustic log cabin next to the office and then walked upstairs to the loft where we did most of our work. We were a small group (12 of us hoping to become published writers).  People from all over the country came to learn from past Denver Post travel editor and writer Kyle Wagner.

We spent our time writing short ‘front of the book’ articles. Kyle critiqued our writing and explained how to write articles that editors would love to publish. We learned the 10 most common mistakes, how to structure our article, how to write query letters, how to find the right publication for our story. We heard each others stories and helped each other work through ideas and come up with different, more ‘exciting’ ways to get our point across.

I think I have a good idea of what to do now. I learned my biggest problem is figuring out how to start my story. I need to figure out how to write a good ‘lede’. Something to grab your attention and drag you into the story, something to keep your interest, something to ‘tease’ you.

Yep, now I know WHAT I need to do. Now I just need to figure out HOW to do it! I think I have my work cut out for me.

Wish me luck!

PS- I wrote this last night. Thought I posted it, but got in a rush to board the plane and guess I forgot to hit the ‘post’ button.