Saturday, July 28, 2018

1st Impressions, Memories & Tips for Your Algerian Adventure

It's been a while since I wrote, getting back into the groove of everyday life carries us away sometimes. I'm excited to share some of the 2018 adventure with you.

Worldwide Experiences have the ability to surprise & challenge us to accept reality - first hand.
Why travel to far off destinations? To Experience the not so usual . . . and
moments that unravel from chaos into an - oh so Fairy Tale Accessible Destination

Constantine, Algeria 
March 2018
A Country of 4 Seasons filled with Remarkable People 

Algerians, are some of the warmest people in the world. They will welcome you into their homes with open arms and inquisitive, kind questions about your corner of the world. Reality vs. TV.  It's really quite amazing and fits in with why I work with Community Access ...  in America. 

 It's that fellowship with others everywhere, discovering common attitudes, interests and goals. I was so excited to see this area of the world, a place where so few of my fellow Americans ventured.

The usual bumps happen along the way. Missing baggage - baggage delays, missing a flight and breaking my arm in two places & crossing bridges; confronting any fear of heights that might have existed.

Algeria had the most unusual Hero's emerged along the way; it was completely unexpected.  

It started as soon as I landed at the airport in Algiers, waiting on luggage. An almost 3 hour delay. 🤨 A young man handed me his card, as he welcomed me to Algeria & asked where I was from. I told him I was from America and He said to call him if I needed anything.  I smiled and looked at the card, a Dentist. I said do you mean if I break a tooth?  He said no really if you need anything during your stay - call and Welcome to Algeria. 

After finally getting my luggage. I was trying to run over to the other airport to catch my flight and I ran into a affable businessman who looked like an Italian from America in the 1940's. I asked if I was going the right way to the domestic airport. With genuine integrity, he came to my rescue and offer me a ride.  Getting me to accept that offer, was no small feat. Afterall, I am an independent american woman traveling alone (we're typically weary of those trying to help us, hmm). He offered to have his driver take me. He had just gotten off a plane and showed me his passport.  I was stuck and leary, but accepted.  Thank goodness he was wonderfully kind, and it was his assistance and assertive take charge attitude that ensured I got through the crowds and on the next available flight to Constantine. 
New problem - that flight was the next day.  

As we were leaving the hustle of stranded passengers, two women having just flown home; came over and directly asked the suave gentleman if I was okay and had everything in order, a place to stay and flights to get on to Constantine.  They were very worried about me. I hadn't even met them and probably may not have, because they spoke only Arabic and a bit of French. They were so incredibly kind and I felt comforted as they nodded their approval. 

The gentleman offered me his apartment to stay at.  I insisted a hotel would be fine. He pushed back and said why, save your money? I said I am not going to sleep with you. I don't know you it's not appropriate, I can't. Could I be arrested? Afterall, unmarried couples can't stay in the same room at a hotel in this country.   He laughed and said he just wanted me to have a safe place to stay. I expect nothing - you'll have it to yourself. I will pick you up and bring you back in the morning to speak with the manager of the airline to get your tickets back on track.  (Consequently missing a flight insures all your flights are cancelled! When traveling with Air France you'll find they leave the building after the last flight lands. So no help there.) 

Like a Hallmark movie filled with nice people and unexpected moments  my adventure continued. He did just what he said and I got a short tour of Algiers leaving and returning to the Airport, while being able to recharge my phone and assure my friend in Constantine that I was fine, albeit late.  

Over coffee the next day.  I sheepishly thanked him for all his help, my earlier reaction seemed so rude.  He said when he was in college he had missed the last train home and had nothing left. Yet, he received help from an unexpected stranger, who gave him money to get home. He simply said he was repaying the favor. Afterall, everyone has a "green moment" when traveling. I was able to thank again after returning once on Facebook and share how well the rest of my trip went and then just as suddenly as he entered my life he just disappeared. 

Tip # 1.  When flying into Algiers this is the awning to look for. It's out the front doors to your right. Walk is about 11+ minutes between the international airport and the domestic airport.  It may change soon, they were doing a lot of construction.  Expect to see officers checking cars and I mean they have you open doors trunks everything. They scan you going in - so there is a line at the doors which makes the trip a bit longer. They are efficient and effective, however, it could be surprising for the unsuspecting tourist. So arrive early coming and going and be sure to pick up your calling card as soon as you arrive. 

Tip # 2 book your flights to Algiers separately.  So wherever to Algiers. Then Algiers to Constantine or other cities. For the simple fact - that things will go wrong and frequently do. Security and Luggage is a major hold up. Alot, actually per my seasoned fellow travelers to Algiers.  

Consequently, if you miss the last flight out, at least there will be someone there to reissue your tickets. Especially if your flying on with Air Algiers, who is exceptional. Travel is an Independence thing; so you really want to have backup hotels in each city you land in. 
Just in case your Guardian Angel is on vacation 😮 .  

Tip # 3 If your traveling light like I do, 1 carry on bag and a smaller backpack; do not be bullied into checking it in at the last minute.  (Actually, just don't take Air France, truly horrible.)  The airport managers excuse for all their errors "they don't get as much training to be nice as the 
international crews do" 
SERIOUSLY?!?  Who needs training to be nice to customers?  Albeit, he was exceptional. I am always impressed by people who speak a multitude of languages.  

Tip # 4 Things can go wrong and typically do.  Be happy anyway - take it all in stride.   Talk to everyone.  You'll find some not so savory people of course - they are everywhere. But you'll find so many more truly good wonderful and fascinating people out there.  People who practice kindness as a way of life and have lives very different from your own. You'll learn gazillions. 

Tip # 5 The bank in Algeria is closed Thursday night 5 ish until Sunday Morning and it's hard if not impossible to get money exchanged outside of Algeria, before arriving.  (Another problem in a cash country, I landed on a Thursday night) and you can only take about 5000 dinar out of the country when you leave. However, there are places to exchange money in the airport - like the tobacco shop, hotels will have someone come in.  My best exchanges were the tobacco shop and black market. Which isn't as scary as it sounds; but it was a wee bit better than the banks. 

My Biggest Unexpected Hero, was the Guy who sent me an invitation to investigate his corner of the world.  An honest sincere friend who looked out for my best interests at every turn. Especially, when I broke my arm. Along the way, he introduced to me to his country's rich culture, cuisine, history and helped me cross so many bridges figuratively & literally.  Most importantly he introduced me to a lot of people, including his family and friends who introduced me to more and inspired my love of and sincere interest in a beautiful country that fought for its independence and won.  

 He even flew back with me to Algiers on my way home.  Simply to make sure I was safe and because he insisted I needed help with my little luggage . . . Friends like that . . .

One in a million & memories that won't fade in a lifetime
A country where you'll truly feel safe & welcomed

Keep Asking Questions 
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Contemplating my next Adventure 

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Bridge To Constantine Algeria

Sharing Insights from March 2018 into #ConstantineAlgeria the place where Algerian poet Malek Haddad born in 1927 once said "You do not introduce Constantine. She introduces herself, and you salute her. She reveals herself and we discover each other."
It's absolutely true, she has hidden treasures that are just patiently waiting for you to discover them. Each street, cobblestoned or paved has hidden treasures. 

The landscape welcomes you as much as the people you meet everywhere. Like a Fairy Tale, it's an adventure waiting for you to unravel it! Surprisingly, this city literally whispers to you and captures your heart; calming your mind and soothing your brow. While sparking your imagination and testing your endurance to face long walks in clean air and butterflies through your core as you cross her bridges and walk along her cliffs.

Blending in with the scene at the #Palace of Ahmed 'Bey' or 'Ruler' of Constantine from 1826, completion in 1835, after 10 years. Sadly he only lived here two years before the fall of Constantine into the French occupation. The Ottoman-era buildings are amazingly preserved and it's easy to step back in time and admire the beauty created here especially the murals. gardens and doors, there is about 540 doors made of cedar woods inscribed and engraved with different sculptures and decorations they are awe inspiring. Not to mention all the marble in the columns, floors and ceilings! It's a must stop when in #Constantine #Algeria

Constantine is a city set in a simpler place in time, with traditions that draw you into its core.  It's one where people dress conservatively in the city and dress up for parties like a Humphrey Bogart movie. Both men and men and women and women hold hands and link arms as they set out about their day. It's the closeness you feel with your best friend.  

Curiosity explore it, embrace it and keep asking questions ~ it may get you invited to dinner.  

A time where the entire family gathers close - to enjoy good food and conversation and share their lives. It's appropriate to take off your shoes, engage as best you can with everyone, with children simple games can help you hit it off like xoxo also known as tic tac toe ☺ bring your host a small gift from home something meaningful. One I gave that was enjoyed by the adults and children alike was the story of the dream catcher; representing legends and stories shared in America.   Be yourself and share yourself with others you'll learn and love a lot!

More Coming Soon... Take Care and Keep Asking Questions 

Fairy Tale Access

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

A Million Dreams & just as many secrets to unravel ...

#Disney World is a magical place & like all magical places, it's full of secrets.  For example, there is a place to stay there that can never be bought at any price.

Yet, it can be won.  It started in the Year of A Million Dreams in 2007; Disney wanted something as a very special prize for a select few lucky guests. Alas, Disney created the Cinderella Castle Suite. One lucky person, and up to 5 guests, are chosen to spend the night in the Cinderella Suite.

The details of the how, when and why are ... well it's a (っ◔‿◔)っ #secret but in a million dreams yet to be fulfilled it could be yours...

Keep Your Eyes Wide Open
Keep Asking Questions 

Fairy Tale Access 

Monday, January 1, 2018

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't – you're right,” ~Ford

Life is about learning every single day. Sometimes the blows will bring to your knees; but it's about confronting life headon.

How are you living?  Are you showing up on time?  Are you make the most of everyday?  Are you eating healthy, exercising? 

Everyone has a destiny, the choice is to fulfill it or not. Believe in yourself even when no one else does.  Give yourself a pep talk each day, today: I am going to do & be my best. 

Keep Asking Questions and if people don't answer, wait ... keep eye contact ... silence and persistence are value weapons. 

Keep Calm When your in a debate or someone is raging at you.  Your ability to not react will de-escalate them. 

Smile A Lot,  you'll feel happier and you may just make someone else's day.  Act confident with that smile welcome the world to you, and you just may find your the expert they seek.  Behave and treat others the way you want to treated.

Take a first date somewhere fun and exciting they will associate you with those adjectives. 

Don't be in a hurry for anything to happen all at once, school, work, relationships take time they're built on trust in ourselves and others. 

In everything you do maintain eye contact, pick out the hues of the person eye color - your interest will make them like you more. 

Be Unconquerable.

With All My Love And Dreams for Your Absolute Best 

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We always try to follow everyone back everywhere, you never who’ll you’ll meet or where the quest will take you.

"CONTACT ME" Fairy Tale Access aka Denies-Marie

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