Tuesday, July 26, 2011

$10 GC winner... better late than never~!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2011-07-27 01:21:29 UTC

Jan is the winner~! I am going to email you now and you have 48 hours to get back in touch with me :) I will be doing another giveaway soon, and hopefully trying it out using the new Rafflecopter softwear. Congrats Jan!

I'm Baaaacck!

Oh my gosh, you would not believe it if I told you lol. Our return home trip from Guatemala was considered the trip from HELL!

First, when we arrived at the airport I tried to use the self check in kiosk for my tickets. After several tries, including one that was done by American Airlines personnel as well-it spit out a ticket telling me my request could not be processed and to see the ticketing agent.

Knowing that was NOT a good sign, off I went. Because we'd purchased tickets before they started charging additional for a second bag, and we were checking 4 bags, the ticket agent had a hard time getting that additional bag checked for no cost. Then, we were informed our 11:30 am flight had changed to 1:30. That meant we would miss our connection in Miami, and the ticketing agent said that they would put us on the 9:15 plane Miami to Boston, so we called our relatives who would be picking us up and let them know it'd be around midnight before we got in to Boston.

Our plane took off from Guatemala at the right time, and although we hit a little turbulence flying in to Miami, all went well. Now of course, we had to wait a few hours until our next flight. Because of my luck, the gate our new flight was booked at was the furthest away from where we landed and we had to take a sky train, and then walk outside in the hot hot Miami weather (100 degrees or more I swear!) due to construction at the airport, to get us to the right gate.

Having some time to spare, we had a great meal at one of the airport restaurants and headed back to our gate. Boarding time came and went, due to the rumble of thunder outside and the occasional cloud to ground lightning I knew we weren't going anywhere until the storm was over. I was correct.

After not one but TWO thunderstorms, it was around 11pm and our pilot came to tell us that the plane we were supposed to fly on was damaged (something to do with the computer and landing system) he'd hoped that it would be fixed but they couldn't do anything until after the storms passed. Finally, a half hour later (everyone was growing very impatient) they announced that we would be taking another plane and that it wouldn't be ready until 12:45 am due to transfer of luggage to the new plane at the next gate. Sigh...

By 1:30 am (we were supposed to have a 10 pm 7/22 arrival in Boston) on 7/23 we took off. We arrived in Boston very sleepy and grumpy at around 4:30 am. Close to 5 am, we hurried for our luggage. Hubby scooped up one of our bags and a few others got some of their bags. Then the belt stopped. Oh no, this was NOT good... we had 3 more bags to go-and in them was perishable chicken (Pollo Campero fried chicken from Guatemala which hubby had been paid for by family and friends to bring chicken to them). I was already worried about the chicken due to the extreme heat in the US and had told hubby that it might be spoiled. Now, we were told our luggage was lost or delayed (later informed that they never even transferred it to the 2nd plane in Miami!) and we needed to call the toll free number to file a claim with American. By now, hubby and I both knew this $200 worth of fried chicken wasn't going to be any good by the time it got to us.

We were right. Because of being so tired, we spent the night in Rhode Island where we'd left the car at hubby's sisters. I was exhausted, so we got a hotel room and were able to sleep during the afternoon for awhile-something we couldn't do at my sister in law's house. We also had NO clothes, so I had to go to Walmart to get a shirt and some undies for me and some undies and a cheap outfit for Deja. Hubby didn't want anything, lol.

I kept checking with baggage services, who informed me that they would deliver my bags once found to my house in Maine. At 10 pm Saturday night I got an automated message on my cell that they'd located our bags and they were scheduled to be picked up by the delivery service and delivered to our house in Maine. The next morning, Sunday, the delivery driver called me around 9 am to tell me that my bags were delivered. My mom went over to bring them into the house, and I informed her to open the bags and get the chicken out. Apparently the chicken had spilled everywhere in the bag, and it was a greasy, rotten mess. One bag ruined... My sister in law had packed some sort of peach applesauce textured thing in a plastic container in yet another bag... yup, it had leaked my mom informed me. And it smelled BAD. Yup, yet another bag down. Finally, the bag that we had gotten off the plane (bought it brand new mind you) had a huge rip in the front and the front pocket was almost torn off. So 3 damaged bags, no recourse for damaged bags (except for maybe the ripped one) due to perishables spoiling in them and no recourse for the couple hundred bucks of chicken we were out.

We got home Sunday around 5 pm and I immediately set to doing laundry. (my sister in law had brilliantly packed her peach applesauce with clothing, lucky for me nothing was stained but just a sticky mess which was resolved once it was put in my washer) It will be awhile before I fly the not so friendly skies again-and I've already informed hubby no liquids and no more chicken in the checked bags!!!

I've yet to pick a winner for my giveaway, but I will later tonight. I have also been suffering from what appears to be a ganglion cyst on my left wrist... I hope to make an appt. soon at the doctor's and I can so see a surgical procedure ahead. Lucky for me I am mostly right-handed, so it should not affect my job too much. So, I'm glad to be back-I apologize for the lack of posts, but with SLOW Guatemalan internet I am loving my DSL right about now. Have a great week everyone, and I will post the winner later tonight!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Fiber One Winner!

Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:

Timestamp: 2011-07-19 02:53:51 UTC

congrats to the winner and sorry for the delay:) I've been running around while on vacation and trying to get those last minute things done. There were 121 comments, but one came in after the 11:59 PM EST deadline. I am contacting the winner now and they will have 48 hours to respond to winning email!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Giveaway Extended and other News

Because of such low comments, and my limited internet access-I am going to extend this giveaway a couple of days until the 15th. Hopefully by then I will have more entries into it, since 7 entries is not really a whole lot :(

I am trying to take photos of Guatemala, but all of the photos from the first two weeks here and last years pics too were erased by my husband's niece. Believe me, I was NOT a happy camper! Apparently he had taken a photo she was not fond of, and instead of asking us to delete it for her, she asked to look at the photos on our camera. Hubby gave her the camera and she gave it back awhile later. When we went to take photos later that day, we noticed that the photo count had gone from 400+ photos to 0...

She said she had touched the trashcan button, and meant to only delete ONE photo and apparently thought that she had. She had deleted all the photos on the card, not that one image. It's hubby's camera, not mine-so I bitched at him for it. Not much either of us could do though, but I have to admit I did cry that night :(

Our trip has been fine so far-we really haven't gone very far at all. We do have plans to hit the beach this Saturday though, which is going to be great. (providing I don't get a bad sunburn that is)

Between a slow internet connection, I have hubby's nieces and nephews fighting me to get on to the internet using my prepaid connection. I guess they figure someone here has paid to use the internet so why not take advantage of it, right? Seems the older ones all wanna check their Facebook accounts and the younger ones want to play online.

Thanks for understanding about the extension of the giveaway folks, it's been really hard to promote from Central America, but I'm doing my best! Enjoy your week!

Are ya Hungry? $10 GC Giveaway

While I am in Guatemala chowing on a variety of foods (some healthy, some no-so-healthy) I am thinking about my readers back in the good old USA. Last year I lost about 15 pounds in 3 weeks by eating lots of salads (and yes, even eating an occasional fast food item too!) and drinking smoothies (papaya and banana, yum!) in the mornings.

I love the fresh fruit available in every shape, form and size-and love seeing the fruit vendors carrying their plastic baggies filled with ripe, juicy fruit to sell in the markets and on the street. Usually every place there are people you will find vendors selling fruit, goods, and of course food. Most often, people will set up a small lunch cart-like the guy above-and sell food from that. (Shukos are basically a hotdog with varied toppings, but nothing like the traditional hotdog stands we have in the US!) I have lots of food to try here in Guatemala still, but as they say, so much food, so little time! And I will be honest, while they have four and five star restaurants here in the city that charge and arm, a leg, and even part of your torso for a meal-the food vendors have them beat! With affordable prices and great tasting food, you can't go wrong.

That being said... look for CLEAN food vendors. Some people are not clean, and flies are all over the place. Their cooking utensils or cooktops are nasty, and I tend to stay away from those. Think of being at the fair in the US, and scoping out the food vendors. You usually know just by looking which ones might send you to the hospital with an amoeba in your tummy a little later, so you use good judgment and stay away. It's the same here-although there are times where a vendor might be super clean but use regular water (not pure water) for cooking, and those amoebas might get ya anyways. (but they have pills for that and medical costs here are somewhat low-a brief consultation, perhaps a lab test to verify the amoeba, and the actual meds-or you can usually just get the meds if you're sure you've got a stomach bug to keep it on the cheap side)

But, like any tourist, I get homesick for a taste of home. Here in Guatemala City you can get basically any type of fast food you want. McDonald's, Burger King, Taco Bell, Subway, Little Caesars, Pizza Hut-they're all here to name a few. Hubby was pretty shocked to see that prices for food were comparable to US Prices, and he was even more shocked to see so many people in McDonald's and Pizza Hut eating last year when we were here. I have to say I was a bit shocked too, but Guatemala is a country where you will see opulent mansions in one area, and dirt floor tin huts in another. The contrast is somewhat striking-and sad too. And yes, there seems to be a sort of middle class-hard working people who like the occasional weekly treat-and that is exactly what we saw when we visited the fast food establishments here.

All this talk of fast food has me a bit homesick... and craving something from home. I think I will tell hubby I want a burger and fries tonight lol. What about you? How about a $10 GC to McDonalds, Burger King or Wendys? Keep in mind that it won't be sent out until after I get home and settled a little bit :) If that sounds good to you, then enter below to win!

Giveaway Starts: Today, July 12, 2011
Giveaway Ends: July 23, 2011 at 11:59 PM EST Open to US residents/addresses only.

Winner chosen by Random.org and will have 48 hours to contact me to provide full name and mailing address after winning notification received. Please leave a way to contact you in your comment or in your profile. You do not have to be a blogger to win.

MANDATORY ENTRY: I'm curious... tell me what your favorite pizza topping is, or what are your favorite hamburger or hotdog toppings? For me, it's bacon and onion pizza or hamburg/onion pizza and ketchup and onions on my burgers and 'dogs please! Also, let me know from which of the 3 places above you want your GC to be from!


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Ok, easy peasy! Good luck! And remember, I cannot send this out to you until I am home at the end of July~!