MY DOMINICAN REPUBLIC TRIP: PART II.

MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS UPON ARRIVING IN

PUERTO PLATA

😊 ☺️ 😊

…!!!…

…I had a mere twenty to thirty minutes ride on my “private” shuttle bus (private  because I was the only passenger being picked up at that time 🙂 )!, with my chatty energetic shuttle bus Travel Guide Assistant as my driver was extraordinarily quiet! …I customarily LOVE to soak the landscape in! This, in order to take in my very first impressions of the place I have just landed to and arrived at, (both litteraly & figuratively), through its scenic window landscape views (whenever I arrive during the daytime). Indeed, I just quietly watch the scenery and observe the locals and non-locals  from my window seat (this is the Nature Lover, Meditative Thinker, Poet, Writer and Photographer in me :))! …As my driver’s shuttle bus bubbly Travel Guide Assistant was just kindly chatting away with me and asking the usual questions one asks to the just picked-up newly arrived tourists:: -How was your flight? -How long are you staying for? -Is this your first time in this country? -Where are you flying from? -Do you have a lot of activities planned during your stay? -What is your profession? -Are you traveling alone? Soooooooo, as we get to these three last questions (whether they are asked by a male or by a female), I usually am extra diplomatic and cautious as to my replies :)! Let me therefore revisit these last questions with some replies or similar ones I might give, according to my mood and/or my level of tiredness :)! :)! :)! -Do you have any activities planned? Yes, I have a few organized tours planned (I NEVER disclose that I also plan to do my own SOLO sightseeing tours, depending on the safety of the country and/or region in which I find myself…)!  …And also of course, spend much time at the beach and perhaps do some activities there as well as swimming and hang out by the pool! (Neither do I disclose that I also wish to nap every single day after my morning activities and/or after my scheduled or my non-scheduled tours as the locals truly DO NOT UNDERSTAND why some of us NEED to NAP on “vacation” when we have paid (at least I, myself since I still am an independent non-sponsored part-time Travel Explorer & Blogger)… Well, for now at least :)! …As MOST of us travel to be away from our usual respective lives’ hecticness & daily stressors… As such, our minds, bodies and  souls most assuredly NEED to recuperate from it all and boy oh boy…!!! …Those couple of hours’ “away from home” power naps, MOST CERTAINLY DO WONDERS to one’s holistic self (LOL:))!!! I am more than certain that many travelers will agree with me on this.:)!  …I nonetheless assure you that the locals usually find this odd! …Unless you have a significant other with you… Ahem :)! :)! :)! …As they would be TOO HAPPY to know that your baby was conceived at the place your partner and you stayed at on your vacay or travels if you are heterosexual. …But I am digressing in a murky territory here, with regards to vacation and babies, that is :)! :)! :)!

…So, back to my replies as the locals are ALWAYS pleasantly HAPPY to recomnend additionnal tours & activities that you ABSOLUTELY MUST DO and/or SEE upon your stay… :)! :)! :)! This, even if you are just at the specific location for two to three days, one day, half a day or even just a mere few hours…:)! They will fondly and more than kindly recomnend the “MUST SEE” sightseeing landmarks and other tours to go on even though you clearly let them know that you are all “toured booked-up…:)!”  …They will also recommend local restaurants for you where you MUST GO to eat at, with the usual slightly diplomatic sarcastic smiley remark and a straight direct stare at you from their rearview mirrors or just bluntly turn around to look at you while asking when you both know that it is clearly NOT a question but more an expectation of affirmation: “…You DO NOT plan to eat ALL of your meals at the place you are staying, do you…?!”  Soooooooo, as a black mostly Solo Cultural Travel Explorer throughout these past five to six years and as a recent Blog Writer from an originally non-highly industrialized country, I ONE HUNDRED PERCENT am an ADAMANT SUPPORTER and ADVOCATE for Local Tourism Exploration..:)! This is one of the reasons why I decided to take a giant leap and create my blog…:)! ….As I, myself have been and still am following a couple of other Travel Bloggers of different race, origins, nationalities, cultures etc..! I indeed realized the power of today’s Travel Blogging in shaping, in molding, in influencing and in encouraging a diverse group of people worldwide: YOU: my Blog Readers :), to get out of your respective comfort zones and cocoons to explore diiferent horizons in a way you had perhaps NEVER previously thought about…:)! …And yet, even more still, to look at a Global Traveler’s perspective, who might be of a different race, culture, nationality, origin and/or gender than yourself…! As these VERY IMPORTANT factors MOST ASSUREDLY determine one’s traveling experiences (whether negatively or positively, like the traveling experience I am currently blogging about…! …This, not solely when traveling alone (like I mostly presently do… As my friends and my partner cannot just pick-up and accompany me on every single one of my travels and at anytime since they have their very jobs and own schedules that do not always coincide with mine… And as I typically have started to travel five times a year to both: national and international destinations as New York City is my home base.  Also, most full-time Travel Bloggers and Travel Explorers are “child free” like myself and between their mid-twenties, late thirties. and forties..! Many of them DO NOT or NO LONGER HAVE therefore have a child/children to worry about on a daily on-going basis such as: school, after-school extra curricular activities, academic testing, child rearing, play dates, child’s medical and dental appointments, college funds, child’s long-term financial planning etc… …As traveling with a family or a child/various children is an entirely different story than simply traveling alone and/or with other full grown adults…! Oh please, do not get me wrong here and misinterprete what I am trying to state….:)! As I have many friends & family members who travel at least once a year with their kids…. :)! ….And they create wonderful life lasting traveling experiences for their offsprings just like my dear beloved deceased mother created for my sisters and I eversince we were very little! …What I nonetheless am factually stating here, is that the whole planning and traveling dynamics as well as the financial aspects of it all. are one hundred percent absolutely different…!   This, even on an inexpensive tight budget..! Please, do take my word for it as I, myself have traveled several times in the past & presently still sometimes do (on short week-end trips) with: toddlers, small cildren, pre-teen children, teenagers and young adults either with my nieces and/or with my closest relatives and  friends’  kids…!!!  Also, I was an “Au-Pair”/Live-In Nanny in English,  for an entire year in Spain’s largest Baleares’ islands of Majorca…:)! I therefore DO VERY MUCH KNOW  what traveling with anyone underage fully entails :)! :)! :)! I have yet nonetheless presently once again digressed here, which I often do as I write my blog articles… :)! …For neither am I still being graded on my papers nor is my writing being assessed for a grant proposal submission :)! This therefore IS simply my UNIQUE form of writing expression :)! :)! :)! -Who says that STANDING OUT in your OWN UNIQUENESS, is OVERRATED… :)? :)? :)?  -“Not I!!!”, she responded with a huge friendly grin on her face :)! :)! :)!

SPECIAL NOTE:

All pictures and contents in this post and on this blog, are courtesy of Irene Inspirational Travels and EXCLUSIVELY BELONG  Exclusively belong to Irene N.L.K. from: Irene Inspirational Travels and CAN therefore NEITHER be copied, pasted nor republished without her Authorization!

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!HERMOSA REPUBLICA DOMINICANA! Part I.

?-…Y cuando vas a visitar Republica Dominicana…?

…And when will you be visiting the Dominican Republic..?

I cannot tell you the number of times I have been asked this question from my close Dominican friends, my Dominican hairdresser as well as its Dominican owner, my lomgtime bodega vemdors, staff and owners as well as practically any New York City (my longtime city of residence) Dominican American I have come across with and to whom I openly expressed my love for the Caribbean as soon as they realized that I am absolutely fluent in Spanish (Speaking & Writing) but that’s for another blog story (LOL)!

Let us just say that I had other bucket list destination countries and/or states to visit amongst my various presentations, speaker’s engagements and writing projects as I am not a full time but very much still a part-time traveler. This, as I do not have ONE but rather, multiple diverse passions ever since I was a child! As a result, my goal had ALWAYS been to prioritize Haiti over the Dominican Republic due to Haiti’s (fondly loyally called “Ayiti” by the native Haitians) extremely STRONG AMAZING historical past in being the FIRST EVER SELF-FREED SLAVE NATION and as I, myself am a black woman and am ALWAYS HIGHLY interested in black as much as in multi-cultural history throughout our vast world! I will therefore most assuredly write about my “Ayiti” trip in the near future… But that will be quite a lengthy blog as I have oh so much to write about and most certainly do VERY MUCH look forward to returning to Ayiti in the near future as it is only three hours away from New York City ..!!! …But, presently returning to the beautiful nation of which I am currently blogging about: The Dominican Republic…, let me just state that the total Warmth and Openness of its Nationals, greatly immediately reassured me as I lined up with my fellow airplane passenger (who had already traveled to the DR twice last year and who was even contemplating to move here on a part-time basis as he had made a couple of long lasting friendships with well established locals and expatriates. It is almost needless to furthermore mention that what he most looked forward to on all of his trips to the Dominican Republic, were the women and the partying 😔 as he is still quite young in age! He still nonetheless deserves an anonymous mention from me as he was a great sport in letting me kmow in advance that there was a “cash only” entrance visa fee all Foreign Visitors had to pay the Dominican Customs… Thank God I had remembered to make change of  several twenty dollar bills at my bank, the day before my Uber driver picked me up to drop me off at my JFK Departures’ Terminal in the wee hours of the morning…! I should moreover kmow way better as a long time traveler, (as I have been extremely fortunate to travel since my very birth) and thus begin to do my own online research with regards to country entrance visa fees and/or exit taxes’ fees, to be in the loop and be prepared with the correct cash amount when I arrive in a country I have never previously traveled to…!

The reason for my reassurance of the Warmth and Openness of the Dominican Customs was most definitely a positive highlight and awakening for me as I had been pre-warned by a couple of some of my black acquaintances as well as by a couple of my actual Dominican born friends (of various race for that matter), about the subtle racism permeating within the local Dominican society… Most notably, with regards to people of dark chocolate brown skin, like myself. However, to my utter pleasant surprise and all the contrary to my first trip in Haiti (where most of the Customs’ staff were of coffee light brown skin), most of the Dominican Customs’ staff was actually of a darker Indian like or of a chocolate like skin…  Some, even darker than myself! That was the moment that I knew I could let my guards down and that I would most assuredly have a Wonderful trip as the female customs’ officer who served me, was all smiles and greeted me in both: Spanish and English: “Bienvenido a Republica Dominicana/Welcome to The Dominican Republic…!”; by welcoming me in her beautifulpredominantly Spanish speaking Caribbean nation :)! :)! :)! …Well, this as long as my shuttle ride was punctual and awaiting for me with the usual airport ride post sign with my full hyphenated name clearly capitalized on it (Double LOL)!

 

 

REMEMBERING 911… MY PICTURES WILL BE FOUND AT THE VERY END OF THIS HEARTFELT “IN-MEMORIUM” ARTICLE…

Similar to millions of other New Yorkers and non-New Yorkers, I will NEVER forget where I was when the first terrorist airplane hit the second twin tower…! …As it has since been reported that only the people living across and or the everyday morning New Yorkers’ passers-by witnessed the first Terrorist Crash without realizing what was truly going on… Everyone in the world who was at least a teenager and who sadly had no relatives victims of the close to 3,000 officially reported ones, most certainly has a clear rememberance of exactly where they were when they heard the devastating news of the second airplane crashing right into the second twin tower… And moreso, for the younger ones; about their parents’ shocked reactions… As Manhattan-New York has been my city of residence for the past fifteen or so years I have many friends, relatives, acquaintances and direct biological relatives: of whom one of my sisters who presently lives in New Jersey with my two adorable nieces… My little nieces were however not yet born sixteen years ago and my sister and I, actually lived together in Manhasset-Long Island as she was finishing her medical residency at what was then called: Manhasset North Shore Hospital… I, myself was visiting one of my college girlfriends in Maryland as I had a break and took several days off for the U.S Labor week-end Holiday… My friend had left for work since she, herself was not off… This was the beginning of the week: Tuesday September 11th, 2001…! It is simply unbelievable how time flies by and how the first major 21st Century U.S. Attack will absolutely not tangibly mean much to many present newborns or children who are the same age as my twin nieces… Aside from being a Historical event just like my generation when we were forced to memorize WWII or the Vietnam War’s important dates to pass our history exams and class…!

…As I was getting ready for my daily physical work-out exercice prior to fixing myself breakfast, my friend called me from her then company… This was unusual as I was the one to call her once I had finished my work-out and after I had showered in order for us to reconvene and to confirm what our plans were for the evening once her work day had ended… And where we would meet in downton Washington D.C as Maryland is really close to D.C, driving wise… Well, at least she was… I did not even have the time to wish her “Good Morning” as she gently commanded me to turn on the television and watch the news… At that time, she worked for a very well known Accounting & Finance Firm, which was one of the very first to in D.C. to have flat televisions throughout the company for all employees to view from their office cubicle spaces with an open floor plan. (Today, most if not all U.S. financial & accounting firms have these flat television screen sets in order for their employees to keep tabs with the world’s global financial markets). ….I therefore turned on one of the national daily news’channels or morning shows I regularly still watch (I just cannot remember which one but if my memory does not fail me, I strongly believe that all of the U.S. channels (including MTV, VH1, the E channel and BET, etc…); were covering this tragedy happening live… And like millions of people throughout the four corners of the world, there it was… :(! :(! 😦 ! I too, was just witnessing the second plane crash into the second tower at 9:30 a.m. precisely…! …And I heard the two morning reporters silent in bewilderment just like most of us were silent and bewildered behind our t.v. screens…!!! …Not at all neither knowing and/nor realizing what literally on earth was going on…! I can only still imagine how frantic the morning show producers, chief reporters and editors were on that day… Attempting to make sense of what was truly going on and at the same tine, having to tell their newscasters and reporters to keep on commenting and remaining reasonably calm while we were all experiencing the tragic historical 9/11 Twin Towers’ Terrorist Attacks…! Many of them quivered in sadness and some even shed a couple of tears via live… As this was most certainly an event ABSOLUTELY NO ONE had thought to be humanly conceivable and possible with the worldwide international reputation of both: the FBI & the CIA knowing EVERYTHING happening throughout the four corners of our world… But it did tragically happen…! And New York City, the U.S.A, the entire world for that matter were absolutely shaken forever with that deeply ingrained pre-conceived thought since watching all those popular Secret Agent movies and shows starting in our early childhood that the United States of America was absolutely Invincible to Foreign Terrorism… :(! As my friend and I were still on the phone: silent and bewildered attentively listening to the reporters, the South Tower collapsed right in front of our television screens at 9:59 a.m…!!! The next images that the world saw, were: frantic, confused, panicked New Yorkers running for their lives out of the North Tower with white powder and debris all over them…! Some severely bleeding…. Others, sustaining each other… Under the direction of the New York Police Department (NYPD), officers from all of the Upper and the Lower Manhattan’s Districts as well as the city’s brave firemen from the FDNY Battalion Number #6… (Who were the first ones to arrive and of whom: 343 firefighters sadly lost their lives and as well count amongst the thousands of other victims…), were seen rushing to save thousands of human lives away from the flames… After hearing the word: “Terrorist Attack” pronounced for the very first time through the television screen by one of the morning reporters, I finally managed to mumble to my friend via phone (as we were still dumbfounded, stunned and silent on both ends) that I had to call my sister and my oldest niece who was a pre-teen then…. And even though I knew that being an early week-day in September, they most probably were nowhere to be seen in Downtown Manhattan and neither near the Twin Towers as we resided in Long Island; I nonetheless thought about all of my close friends, acquaintances, co-workers and employers who commuted to and/or worked around there… A relative would later inform my sister and I that he had scheduled an important business meeting appointment on that fatal tragic day but the person he was supposed to meet just abruptly canceled on him late in the evening prior on 9/10… It is needless to write here, that I stayed glued in front of the 9/11 Terrorism Attacks’ Coverage for that entire day and on my cell phone, making phone calls to my New York friends as well as to my long distance friends and International people to reassure them that my sister, niece and I were nowhere near the Twin Towers…

For that entire week, my friend and I were almost speechless… …Even with each other as similar to the entire world, we were so utterly and terribly shocked and dumbfounded by the 9/11 attacks and as it directly hit home to me…! I also was glued talking on the phone during the day and night, to any of my NYC friends and relatives I could get a hold of throughout my last week in D.C. We would furthermore soon learn that on that very fatal day an airplane carrying another terrorist had crashed in Pennsylvania (the state my friend and I met as we attended college in that very state) and another one yet: American Airlines’ 77 had crashed into one the Pentagon’s western wings… Before returning to the heavily mourning Big Apple ten days later, my friend and I somberly drove through the Pentagon’s Memorial zone in D.C. where the smell of bomb fumes and debris could still very much be heavily smelled from the car and through our nostrils…! This, despite Even the window doors up and the car’s air conditioner’s on…!

…I have just recently visited the 9/11 Memorial Site downtown last Summer with friends, located a few minutes’ walking from Wall Street… It is quite reassuring to see that thousands of New York City residents, U.S. Nationals & Foreign Tourists of ALL age, race, nationality, social class and walks of life come to visit the 9/11 Memorial Site, to first pay their Respect to all of the almost 3,000 victims who innocently lost their lives to Incoherence and “Free” Hatred… But also for me, to All Victims who tragically loose their lives to Un-invited Tragic Violence…! Sixteen years have just gone by on Monday September 11th, 2017 as I am writing my memories of that horrendous, extremely tragic day… Many other Terrorist Tragic Attacks have since sadly occurred throughout the four corners of our world… And no adult is presently naive enough to think that it cannot happen in their very own “backyards…!” (This is a figure of speech). -Must we nonetheless live our every day lives in Terror & Fear…??? Absolutely not…! All those of us who are Spiritually, Emotionally & Mentally Sane MUST THRIVE to ALWAYS seek for Internal Peace, Serenity and Harmony. We MUST furthermore do our very best to EMPOWER as many people as we possibly can to do the very same…! …And seek Comfort and Love amongst our most Cherished Ones…

…For though there is Much Hatred, Injustice, Violence and Pain in our hereby world, there is also Much, Much, Much Goodness, Humanity, Generosity and Love strangely co-existing with each other at the very same time… And this is what I personally profoundly, outmostly believe! I therefore adamantly, consciously choose through every single new day that I am granted, to breathe and feed myself with these three above essential notions… Yes, indeed! NO ONE will take away my profoundly ingrained notions of: the Goodness of Humanity, Generosity, Positivity, Spirituality and Love… And it is truly these essential core notions that I choose to carry within the depths of my heart and soul as I continue to travel and discover the world, its people from multiple cultures, nationalities, creed, backgrounds, race and religions…!

 

 

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MY MONTREAL TRIP PART V Au-Revoir Montreal…😋! Good-Bye Montreal 😋!

Leaving Montreal was most definitely bitter sweet… Indeed, as I took the public bus, to take advantage of Montreal’s and its outskirts’ scenery for one last time (as I had secured myself a daytime flight departure) on my return trip after not having come back to North America’s Number One’s French-English bilingual city, I felt a litle tight knot getting even tighter in my throat as I had absolutely no idea on when I would travel to Canada and most particularly to Charming Montreal once again… My return trip to celebrate Montreal’s 150th Anniversary was absolutely perfect as well as its weather…:)! My bright shining star was one hundred percent with me…! My stay at Montreal’s quite affordable Y Hotel and its two front lobby clerk-receptionists, was very agreeable… I thoroughly enjoyed taking my time strolling around the different neighborhoods and taking the very clean and spotless subway (as opposed to my city of semi-residence: New York City…)! As I passed the Canadian customs, boarded on my return flight, fastened my seatbelt and settled in my window view passenger’s seat (always my preference whenever possible), flashbacks of my stay came dashing through the screen of my mind… As my flight departed the Canadian soil, I just could not help myself to sigh out loud while finding my face leaning closely against the airplane’s glass window before falling steadfastly asleep until once again landing at John F. Kennedy’s International airport in the Big Apple: my longtime city of residence… Where I would shortly be planning for a new trip and travel destiny for which to depart in the next couple of months…

You can also follow me via my instagram page @ ireneinspirationaltravels for many more of my Iinternational & U.S.A National traveling pbotos and of my longtime city of residence: New York City’s everyday pictures… :)! :)! :)!

MY 150TH Montreal’s Anniversary’s TRIP:

As My Montreal’s trip neared its end, I just took my time to attempt to capture almosr every single moment I ventured outdoors… (You can follow me on my instagram page via: irene’s inspirational travels). …Whether walking, strolling, on the subway, taking part as a front member audience biking tour: “La Boucle”, going on a two hour bus tour or attending a jazz feztival (even though I inadvertently left my camera at my hotel room…)!!! …Or simply hanging around: “Le Vieux Montreal”/The Old Montreal and grabbing a bite on the terrace of one of the many restairants facong the port, it was an Absolute Pleasure for me to return to a city where I lived with my family for about four years in my youth and had not since returned… Furthermore, if one does not have the means or the desire to travel all the way to France, one most assuredly gets a taste of French like culture in Montreal… :)! This, whether traveling solo, in a small or large group, with one’s significant other and/or on a 2/3 rush day business trip… :)! My personal choice was to not return to Canada in the middle of wintertime as sightseeing in the cold winter season just does not sit well with my body temperature (LOL)! There are however many outdoors’ activities one can do as well in Montreal, throughout the wintertime… :)! For U.S residents and citizens: particularly those living in the east coast, Montreal is only a couple of hours away and the only document one needs to cros over the boarder without a visa, is a valid non-expired passport with a recognizable photo on it… For any non-English speakers and Avid Lovers of French speaking people,traveling and spending several days in Montreal, will give you a sweet taste and earful of the French Canadian sounding and the actual French from France sounding as there is a significant French expatriate population very present in Montreal :)! :)! :)!

My Montreal’s 150th Anniversary’s Trip:

MY TOP 14 THINGS TO DO IN MONTREAL:

  • Strolling on the Rue Sainte Catherine
  • Visiting a museum or art gallery
  • Visiting Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica
  • Visiting Montreal’s Olympic Stadium
  • Spending a couple or several hours at one of Montreal’s relaxing parks for a Festival or not ( in a nice warm season)
  • Do a bus tour (by day and by night)
  • Do a walk and/or a bike tour
  • Visit “Le Vieux Montreal”/The Old Montreal
  • Visit the Mount Royal Park
  • Visit Montreal’s Biodome
  • Visit Saint Joseph’s Oratory
  • Attend a Jazz Fest or other Artistic, Cultural Festival such as: “The Nuits d’Afrique” / African Nighrs’ Festival
  • Take the Montreal Subway at least twice during your stay
  • Interact and intermix with the “Montrealais and the Montrealaises

My Montreal’s 150th Anniversary Celebration’s Trip

…”La Rue Sainte Catherine”/The Rue Sainte Catherine…! …A mixture of Provincial France, New York City, Boston or Chicago with its very own intermixity of a multitude of cultures, nationalities and Quebec’s as well as North America’s largest cosmopolitan bilingual city… Where French and English are equally spoken and where furthermore, one hears other languages: Spanish, German, Swedish, Arabic, Mandarin, Cantonese, Urdu, Bengali, Creole, Lingala, Swahili, Amharic etc; due to the proximity of several of its universities, accepting thousands of freshmen and transferring students worldwide every year… …The Rue Sainte Catherine…! …With its constant bubbling wave of international tourists and national visitors, lining up for the different bus tour companies and/or simply strolling throughout the equivalent of New York City’s downtown Soho with its luxury fashion designer high end boutiques and chain clothing stores as well as its quaint and fasionable trendy cafes, restaurants, lounges, bars and jazz clubs…! …The “Rue Sainte Catherine…!” …Where one has a wide selection and choice of foods…! Indeed, one day one can choose to eat Cuban food and another day: some Vietnamese and/or some Chinese food and another day as of yet, some Indian or Thai food and still again: some French or some Italian food on another day…! …The “Rue Sainte Catherine”…! …Where one can stroll at anytime of day or night… This, most particularly: in the Sumner, Spring and Fall seasons where the outside temperatures are warm enough to not have to go to Montreal’s vast Underground City’s shopping center… Even if one is solely visiting Montreal for one or two days, The “Rue Sainte Catherine” should most definitely part of one’s itinerary… This, I do oh so guarantee… :)!

My Montreal 150th Anniversary’s Trip:

…It just happened that my airport taxi driver was a part-time cab driver and a full time free-lance professional computer analyst who stated to me, to actually own five passports from five different countries, naturally…! …He also stated what countries and how he acquired his five citizenships: by birth in Australia (1), from his parents being of different nationalities (2 & 3), having lived for many years in France (4) and having relocated to Canada and marrying a Canadian many years ago (5)… He was actually the 2nd person in my life ever, that I had met who truly legally possessed three different citizenships… (The first person I had met was one of my sisters and my own high school friend). I generously tipped my chatty non Uber taxicab driver ( I am unfortunately or fortunately also known as a pretty generous tipper by my close friends and relatives) who dropped me off across from my more than affordable place of residence for the following five days: “The Montreal Y Hotel” , which is located at the very center of downtown Montreal next to the Show District near several luxury hotels on the Rene Levesque Boulevard and just a few blocks’ walking to the internationally known Rue Sainte Catherine with all of its fashionable boutiques, restaurants and terrasse cafes….! As a side note and as I have been often asked this question, I carefully usually select my lodging according to the geographical location in which I will be staying, the amount of time I will be there, whether it is a large or small city, a town, village etc; (as I customarily will choose a more centered lodging if in a large city: Europe, North America, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa) as it will be easier and more accessible for me to come and go as I please by foot or public transportation at anytime of the day and at a fairly reasonable time at night. In the Caribbean, Latin America and/or Africa (the regions and continents I have so far lived and traveled to), I tend to choose a five star rated hotel in the capital city except for when I spend several days away from the city… I then prefer to stay at a local bed and breakfast or residential lodging, to contribute to the local economy. I however am not one to downplay the extra comforts of chain hotels and luxury resorts as the staff in these hotels are locals as well and staying there, most definitely contributes to their salaries and extra tips)! …It is therefore up to each to assess what type of lodging is best suited for them, for the geographical place in the world they are traveling to, who are they traveling with, the circumstances of their travels and more importantly; what is the safest for them (considering today’s world’s state of affairs… 😞! 😞! 😞!

I must state here that my impression of Montreal’s International airport after all of these years of not having returned was that it was much more organized and welcoming than JFK’s (as everyone who has traveled through JFK, is quite shocked at the reception one receives upon arrival, regardless whether one is an actual citizen, resident or foreign visitor by the non-Customs’ staff but the airport’s staff) and its employees (including Customs’). …As I checked in at the Hotel Y of Montreal with the very pleasant front lobby bilingual receptionist-clerk, did my rounds in my room to make sure that everything was okay, I jumped into tbe shower, changed and as it was still daytime outside, I ventured for my first Montreal walk with my camera in tow after asking for general directions to the same pleasant front lobby receptionist I had left an hour and so ago… 😞!😞!😞!

My Montreal’s 150th Anniversary Trip PART III:

…Well here I was after so many long gone years…! I kept on repeating to myself interiorly… My airplane and flight swiftly landed after some pertubance (which the pilot had been kind enough to announce in advance). I was as well, explaining to my neighbour flight passenger, who was flying from San Antonio on her own for the very first time outside of tbe United States, to Europe in London and a few months pregnant… We passed customs together as we had been conversing at length throughout our less than two hours’ flight… And I had to make sure that she successfully transferred to her connecting flight, having to once again pass through customs considering that she was pregnant, after she did a currency change… Once she spoke to her husband on the phone to re-assure him that all was well and that she had me say hello to him via skype so that he could see that I looked harmless (LOL)!; and we exchanged personal contact numbers and said our good-byes we parted ways… I felt my heart pounding a little faster as my feet led me to Montreal-Pierre Eliott Trudeau’s International Airport’s exit’s automatic doors where I awaited at the Taxicab queue since both of my cell phones were out of batteries and I therefore could not call an Uber cab… :(!