Travelers Beware-Drug mules.

Travelers Beware-Drug mules.

I recently wrote about theft on an airplane and got so many responses.  Today I’d like to discuss another aspect of air travel many do not consider.  As flight attendants, we knew to look out for the warning signs of drug mules, excessive sweating, refusal to eat or drink, or acting nervous.  I recently saw a post on social media where a lady shared the story of her interaction with a drug mule.  I like to write short insightful pieces, but I had to share this as is. This story is not my story, but I am sharing it because it is accurate and does happen.

COPIED (As was written by the unknown author without correction)

If you travel by air a lot, beware of over friendly chatty seat neighbours.

 The older lady comes and sits next to me inside the plane. She asked me to help her put her bag in the overhead luggage compartment. But a gentleman sitting across quickly came through. (I am not very tall and the overhead luggage compartment is something I try to avoid at all costs.

Immediately she sits down she strikes up a conversation.  She was very pleasant and well spoken.  So we chatted all through the flight to Dubai.

Suddenly, when the pilot announced that we were now proceeding to begin our descent into DXB, my good friend ‘developed’ stomach pains.  Me with my good heart, I pressed the stewards button, and the stewardess came to find out what the problem was.  I told her my seat mate was not feeling well.  And this lady, she suddenly began to address me as ‘my daughter’. The stewardess told me that there was nothing they could do except give her some painkillers and wait until we landed.  The pilot announced that we had a medical emergency on board and advised us all to stay calm.  My new friend was crying and sweating like crazy.  And she refused to let go of my hand… everyone assumed we knew each other. 

So we landed at DXB and the same gentleman who helped put up her luggage in  the overhead compartment removed her luggage.  But as he removed the luggage, he advised me to distance myself from this lady and make it clear to the cabin crew that we were NOT travelling together. He was a godsend!

So indeed, the cabin crew came and asked me if we were related, I categorically told them we had met on the plane.  I didn’t know her at all.  So we began to deplane and as I said goodbye she kept begging me to carry her handbag. I was so torn… but the gentleman looked me in the eye and emphatically shook his head.  He passed me a note telling me to let the cabin crew handle her. 

So I exit the aircraft and leave my ‘new friend’ to wait for the wheelchair and be handled by the cabin crew feeling very guilty. 

As we waited for our luggage to come through, I hear this commotion. My ‘new friend’ was running, trying to escape the cabin crew, having gotten out of the wheelchair! She left the stewardess with her handbag and just ran towards the exit with the rest of her hand luggage! Luckily the airport police were faster than her.  They got hold of her and brought her back in handcuffs. 

This lady starts calling out to me.. my daughter… my daughter!.. how could you do this to me….. that’s when I caught on.  She was carrying drugs and she was trying to implicate me!

Luckily for me, the gentleman who had helped her with her luggage came forward and told the airport police that me and her had just met on the plane.  The police took my passport and asked her to reveal my full names if it was true we were travelling together.  By God’s grace, I had not even told her my first name! I was still asked to follow the police to a little room where I was questioned extensively.  Where did I meet her?… where did I board…  where did she board. Etc… And my luggage was extensively searched and dusted for fingerprints. 

They dusted all her luggage and my fingerprints were not found anywhere on her luggage or on her handbag!

I was let go with advice never ever to touch anyone’s luggage either in flight or at the airport.  So from that day, I don’t care how much luggage you have, you will deal with it yourself.  I will not even offer you a trolley to put your luggage on! Your luggage… your problem….  is my policy.  And if you can’t reach the overhead compartment, and I am the nearest person, please call the cabin crew because all I will do is give you a blank stare and then look away!

A lesson to glean therein for intending air travelers.

COPIED.

Just as I wrote about theft on the airplane, I could not have relayed the dangers of being too friendly more pointedly.  Travelers should be relaxed and have fun, be nice, but most of all, be cautious.  I hope this story opens your eyes a bit.

Why Galveston, Texas for Juneteenth 2021.

Why Galveston, Texas for Juneteenth 2021.

For those who don’t know about Juneteenth, it’s important to learn about its history and its significance. Juneteenth celebrates the actual day that slaves in Texas found out about their freedom. Galveston, Texas, is recognized as the birthplace of Juneteenth. On June 19th, 1865, it was there that the announcement and enforcement of the emancipation proclamation were made. More than two years after it went into effect. On June 19th, 1865, the Union army made it to Galveston, Texas, to notify slaves that the civil war had ended and slavery was abolished. The name Juneteenth is a combination of June and nineteen.

As of 2021, Juneteenth is now a new federal holiday. I thought it only appropriate to celebrate it this year in the place where it all started, Galveston, Texas. My friends and I joined the influx of tourists to Galveston who reflect and celebrate black history. Additionally, we came to acknowledge Jubilee Day, best known as Juneteenth, and its importance in/to black history. More importantly, we participated in a unique camaraderie with other black visitors doing the same.

As an immigrant, Juneteenth is part of my journey of understanding all black cultures. For years the joy of celebrating Juneteenth has been a fact of life for many blacks. Galveston, Texas, has for years been part of the commitment to progress for black people. Now that Juneteenth is recognized as a national holiday, it represents freedom and equality for blacks and every human being.

Amongst the now common protests of police brutality and the recognition of structural racism, the recognition of Juneteenth as a national holiday is essential. Most Americans celebrate July 4th as their independence. However, for many blacks, that independence was not a reality.

My friends and I celebrated by eating and shopping at black-owned businesses. This Juneteenth was an opportunity to celebrate the now widespread recognition of the Juneteenth holiday. For me, it is just as important to celebrate my blackness as it is to keep fighting for black equality. Galveston on June 19th is the ultimate representation of that celebration.

Have you celebrated Juneteenth before? Did you celebrate Juneteenth this year? How has this made an impact/impression on or in your life? I’d like to know.

5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.

5 Covid friendly hotel stay tips.

Having flown as a career for over 20 years I have stayed in many hotel rooms and so the experience has taught me a lot about what to look out for in terms of cleanliness.

1. Check the hotel sheets. No one wants to sleep on possible dirty covid sheets. I can’t tell you how many different times I have gone into a hotel room just dying to shower and get into bed and found that the sheets have not been changed. If you do this when you first get into the hotel room, there is plenty of opportunity for the hotel to fix the issue before you are ready to go to bed.

2. Make sure the sheets are visibly dirty before you check out of the hotel and prevent any possible Covid spread. I think it’s just a matter of kindness to the next guest and just plain hygienic. Don’t feel bad as the hotel should automatically be doing this anyhow. I always wiped the bottom of my shoe across the sheets before I checked out.

3.Place a face towel or hand towel on the bathroom counter to place all your items on. Especially in this time of covid you do not want to transfer any germs to your face or hands. It’s also a visual reminder of anything placed on the counter and it helps in not forgetting items like jewelry in the bathroom.

4. Take an extra washcloth and wipe the toilet seats down. I think we all assume that the hotel room has been cleaned thoroughly but my experience has shown that the toilet seat is often overlooked.

5. Treat hotel room floors like airplane bathrooms and never assume it’s just water. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve passed through hotel corridors and seen the remains of a hotel room party gone wild. Let’s face it, the hotel does not have the manpower or capability to thoroughly clean hotel room floors, nor do they often have time between checkouts. Covid can be easily spread through bodily fluids.

I hope my tips have been helpful, check back in for more of my lived travel experience.

Why I blog.

Why I blog.

I have long been a proponent of taking care of myself, and so my interest in blogging is to inspire people by sharing my knowledge and wisdom. I started this blog because even though I am well educated with a doctorate and have traveled worldwide, I felt that people did not hear my voice. I have first-hand experience professionally and personally, and so I believe there is much that I can share. My thoughts and experience count, and this is why I blog. My wish is for people to realize the power of their voices and opinions by bringing stories to the forefront that might create dialog and interaction. People are often so hesitant to share their thoughts or experiences for fear of perceiving that they are trying to be more than they are, even when qualified. Most times, sharing can be inspiring to others, but we need to celebrate ourselves most of all.

One of the first comments I received on my blog was from someone who had been following my social media posts for years and was excited to see more. This feeling gave me a purpose in that If I could inspire one person, maybe I could inspire a lot more. So despite the naysayers, I continue to blog.

When I try to discuss my thoughts and ideas on blogging with many of the people I thought would be supportive, they were not. Blogging was similar to my traveling. Many enjoyed seeing my posts but thought I was going beyond my place in life. As always, I listened to my inner self. If no one were going to celebrate my path, then I definitely would!

There will always be people who doubt you and your abilities, who subconsciously try to inhibit your growth or success. I blog one post at a time, just as I traveled one destination at a time. I have a well-lived experience that has all revolved around traveling. I am most comfortable with and something I can share, knowing that I have a breadth of experience to support my thoughts and knowledge.

I mainly wanted to blog in short posts to inspire thoughts. I may change as my blogging experience continues, but for now, I am just choosing myself and my way. I have faith that the universe will guide me.

Thanks for going on this journey with me. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Your choice to travel is yours alone.

Your choice to travel is yours alone.

For years I have had to battle the question of my travel experiences. When it was professional, it was “how can you leave your kids?” When it was personal it was again about the kids and whether I should put their needs first. Recently the question was “what about Covid?”

There will always be questions no matter your choice. The only right choice is the inner choice you make and life is too short not to put yourself first.

I always choose me! This might seem selfish, but I cannot be a good mother, wife, or friend if I am stressed out and unhappy. I have learned that more now since becoming an empty nester than ever before. My kids are grown, and I honestly believe that they would not have me make any different choices than the ones I made. Of course, they have not always been happy with my choices, but at the end of the day, I have.

You can be replaced easily at work, marriages fail, children grow up, and tomorrow is never promised. Life is too short not to travel, not to take a vacation, not to get a massage, not to put yourself first. Choosing to travel is a gift to yourself that you can open as many times as you desire. My choice is to travel, it’s the gift I give to myself.

Have you ever been judged for your choice to travel? Let me know in the comments. I bet I’m not alone.

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