How to stay classy no matter what jungle your in.

What do you do when you just brushed the end of your life?! Laugh it off, pinch yourself, and keep your classy composure. Of freaken course.

Trust me for the amount of times I have had to pinch myself in my life, you would think I would have scars all over my arms that we could play connect the scars with – and when we finished, they would create a world map.  ‘Well would you look at that, Petrena, your scars create a world map!?’  Seriously though, the majority of my friends would not be surprised, and their response would be, ‘only you petrena‘.   Fortunately though, I am very adaptable, and so is my body, so it has gotten used to all the bumps, bruises, and skin loss – and it heals like a little Gem.   Although this particular bump, almost got the better of me…….

Here I was in English Guyana, South America, in Region 8, deep in the jungles. This was when I was a group leader on volunteer projects. My group leader partner and I had to visit the villages we were working in prior to the volunteers arriving, you know, to assess the work, and the living conditions, etc….

The only way to get to these remote villages is by a tiny third world plane, that seats 3 – 5 people, and has duck tape holding things in place. Up until that point in my life, I had a fear of small planes – but I am not one to back down from things, and when I say I will do a job, I do a job. As if me facing my fear wasn’t enough, I was so lucky to get invaded with an extremely bad stomach bug(oh the perks of loving travel so much). Maybe I should re-think the next time I blurt out that I like a challenge – as this was definitely that.

The morning we were set to leave I woke up with a dodgy tummy, of course I was given Pepto Bismol, but that was not going to cure this bug.  He laughed in Pepto’s face, and decided to wreak havoc on my insides.  Basically trying to chase anything that was inside of me, to the outside, and more, through any exit there was.  I am surprised my Organs were still in there by the end.  However, not so fast little stomach bug! I won’t go down without a fight.

The plane was delayed, so I had 5 beautiful(well not the most beautiful I have ever enjoyed) hours to stand out like a sore thumb in the tiny airport being the only foreigner in there, fevering and dying on the couch, and running to the bathroom room to be sicker then I have ever been in my life, every 10 damn minutes.

I refused to call in sick, we only had a week to get out there and back before the volunteers arrive. There was work to be done. Finally when I was sure an organ was jumping ship next, the plane arrived while I was in the ladies room, and I had my Group Leader partner yelling down the hallway to hurry up cause the plane is going to leave.

So I hauled ass,  quick splash of water in the sink, quick pep talk to myself, ‘Come on Petrena, you got this. Its only like a 2 hour flight.  Your Empty inside’.  And off I ran, only to get to the tarmac and see the smallest most beaten up plane of my life, with duck tape holding some things in place.  Yup, the stomach dropped so low, it basically fell out.  I knew I would lose something dang it!!  However! I made it. Barely. I borrowed some duck tape from the pilot to hold myself together.

Well after a very uncomfortable week of recovering in the jungle, and a 7 hour extreme hike from one village to the next, carrying enough stuff for a mule, we were on our way back to Georgetown to await the volunteers arrival.

guyana Here I was the day after that intense 7 hour hike and myself still recovering from being attacked by that stinken travel bug – I feel I masked it pretty darn well.

So the little plane arrives on the little red dirt landing strip to pick us up. The Pilot tells us he has to do some deliveries, so he will have to drop us off in another village, do his deliveries, and then come back and get us. So, off we went.  With all of us off the plane in the next village, he loads up and gets ready to take off, not before asking me if I would like to go on a ride though.  ‘Heck yes I do!‘. I was thinking this was going to be a great opportunity to see other remote villages that foreigners rarely see. Woop woop.

Yet what he actually meant was…..’Do you want to go for a RIDE?!’ We fired up the little plane, sped down that little bouncy red dirt air strip, and not any sooner than we had taken off and launched upward, were we going straight DOWN!!  All I could see was trees coming straight for us, and I had one arm bracing each window, and the only words coming out of my mouth were, ‘Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God!!’.  Just as the trees skimmed the plane, he pulled back up, then we were upside down, then we were sideways, it all just meshed together really.  And throughout the whole time all I did was brace the windows and say ‘Oh my God!!’

Finally after that unexpected roller coaster, and so that’s what it feels like to have your whole life flash before your eyes moment, he straightened out.  Well obviously I was catching what breath I could possibly gasp for, and pinching  myself harder then I knew I was capable of.

The pilot turned to me with a big grin on his face and asked, ‘Soooo, how was it?’

Trying to be as calm, cool and collected as I could, I replied, ‘Haaahaaa(due to lack of air), ahhhh, it was fun(that was extreme sarcasm though), but please don’t do it again’, and I preceded to break the cement of shock off my face to flash him the best fake smile I could find in my pocket. ‘No worries’ he said while rubbing my arm, ‘it is totally safe’.  I just continued with my complacent smile, while thinking ‘HA, yah freaken right, so is the duck tape’ he was wrong, that was definitely not safe, and at the same time I was still questioning myself to see if I really did survive that. I have mastered the art of smiling no matter what my circumstances are, obviously freaking out on the inside.

gplane See, I had it so together I could even take a chummy photo with my buddy who nearly ended it all for me. All is well that ends well.

Three things came of this,

1 – Suddenly I was no longer scared of small planes anymore, because it all just happened so fast anyway, there really was no chance to be scared.

2 – I realized I should stop accepting rides from people in random places around the globe, because something crazy always happens.

3 – I also discovered, ‘Wow, duck tape really is amazing, and totally does hold things together extremely well’.

Although, after the whole project was finished, 2 volunteers and I were on board another tiny duck taped plane back to Georgetown, and we were blown away with the surprise of flying straight down face to face in front of these stunningly majestic falls, and all the way through to the end of the Gorge walls. Something that never would have been possible if we were not on that taped together micro plane. Yup, it made me feel just as ‘alive’ as surviving the tree skimming upside down ride.


And that my friends, would be, how to stay classy no matter what jungle your in. 

Copenhagen by quick storm;)

It was a whirlwind 1 night stop in Copenhagen while I was on route back to my home and native land of Canada for this month long visit:) So of course you have to make the most of it. I have always wanted to see Copenhagen, and this was a good chance to get a little sneak peak around the place. I rented a little hotel room near to the airport, and enjoyed a bit of my evening. Then the next morning once I was up and attem, I was ready to head downtown and see a few sights before I had to fly out again. I hopped on the bus, and off I went. IMG_0729 Yup it looked like your typical European city, but with its little Danish charm and energy.

IMG_0730 IMG_0741 IMG_0735

I found this interesting little market that was being set up, and it was more like things you would find at a garage sale, or antique shop. Not gonna lie though, I thought it was pretty cool. AND I found the coolest record player!! It should have been mine.IMG_0738 But the fact I was on route to Canada, held me back from adopting it. IMG_0739It just would have been a little difficult to transport. But it would have looked so freaken cool in my place. Oh well, agleast I got to appreciate it for a few min. The guy was very cute, and made sure he fired it up and played it for me. Not sure how much music I would actually play on it, but it did look super cool!!!

After my pit stop at the market, it was time to get some breaky!!! I thought it was only fitting to go and get a Danish pastry! A real cultural experience;) It didn’t take me long to find a bakery. IMG_0742 It was busy, with a line up, and you needed to take a number to get served. IMG_0743So I couldn’t help but think, ‘Yup, this must be the bakery to be at’. That’s a fact. Those were my exact thoughts in that moment. Nothing like a vivid description, to bring you along on the experience with me. I ended up grabbing a coffee, and a DELICIOUS pastry, with some thin layer of custard tasting stuff in the middle, and coated with a thin layer of poppy seeds. Every bite was a small party in my mouth. IMG_0750 Not a bad way to start the day! After that I made a quick stop at the Guinness Book of World Record Museum. Mainly cause I was walking past it, and it looked cool. That it was! World Records are always in interesting thing to look at, and the museum is like stepping into the book:) IMG_0746

Well after I dipped my toes in the ambiance of Copenhagen, and had my taste tester, it was time for me to find the Metro and head to the airport. IMG_0734One thing I noticed from the get go of arriving in Denmark, was that the Danish people are some of the most Friendly, polite and hospitable people I have ever had the pleasure of encountering in my 9 years of travelling the world. For that fact alone, I absolutely plan on returning to Denmark. I wouldn’t say no to see more of the country and learning more about their culture.  Happy Dayz!!

Marketing It!!!

One thing I love is fresh produce, lots of vibrant colors, and knowing the quality of what I am buying.   Here in Palma there are lots of markets all over the place, to provide you with every colour of the spectrum!! From endless types of Fruit and  Vegetables, to Olives, Cheese,  all your tasty Mediterranean delicacies, the different cured hams that Spain is known for, not to mention fresh butchery’s if that is what you fancy, and fresh fish and seafood.  Happy Days with this beautiful array of endless fresh options!!  Well at least I sure think so…

Today we went on a nice little adventure to the  Mercat de L’Olivar, the biggest market in Palma, located just through the old town, well that’s not the only way to get there.  It’s really just nice to stroll through the streets of the old town, with the narrow streets, the very European building’s, all the shops and cafes…. You never know what you will find around the next corner, there are always things going on around Ptown.  Love it! That just means there is always some sort of little surprise excitement just waiting to be found, and I am always seeking it:)

After our little stroll, we arrived at the Market.


It’s amazing how unimpressive it appears from the outside, and the drab looking day doesn’t help…. But just remember, ‘Looks can be deceiving’.  Just take a peek at what was awaiting us inside!?


Immediately we were greeted with all those wonderful colors I mentioned earlier, just in time to give our eye’s a nice little massage.  How could you not want to take it all in??  I will admit though, the fact that I can speak Spanish really does come in handy in these moments, as not so many people here speak English.

But other then the language barrier the process is quite simple.  You walk up, tell them what and how much of each product you want, and they weigh it, bag it, and give you a bill.  Just like riding a bicycle.  Come here in the summer and its super packed, but another beauty of the winter is you have all the space in the world.



Its just ridiculous, in such an amazing way, all the phenomenal things you can get there, your little heart will be so contentIMG_5262    IMG_5267  IMG_5261

So after we bought all the food we had came for(and a little more), of course we couldn’t finish off our market experience without trying some of the Sushi and Oysters from the seafood side.  Now that our eye’s are feeling thoroughly relaxed, it’s time to put our palette to work, and see if it awakens our senses even more.  First stop, we decided to have some Sushi! There are a few sushi stalls, but they weren’t all open, so with the art of elimination, and our keen sense of observation,  we narrowed it down, to the one that was open.  Bar del Piex.


All of these little stalls make their sushi from the fresh fish from the market, and they are constantly filling up the display case.  You just need to walk up and pick out all the morsels you want, they are yours for the taking, at about one euro a piece.  We picked out a nice little selection, sided it with some edamame, and 1 wonton, that we intended to share, not knowing why we would share ‘A’ wonton and not just have our own… Sometimes though, one too many wontons, and you spoil the next course that you are looking forward to trying, Good ol’Oysters.  We decided though, it would be a good idea to wash our sushi down with a glass of the house white.  The wine was nice, and the Sushi was for sure good, but I wouldn’t put it down to the best I have ever had, but it was worth trying and did the job quite well.


Next up, it’s time to slurp down some Oysters to finish off our little market adventure.  Conveniently located right next to the sushi stall, IS?? Well yes, you guessed it, it was none other than the oyster stall! You get a menu with a selection of 4 types of Oysters, and on the side you  have some lemon, tabasco, and pepper, to create your taste.  So you can either act like you know what you’re talking about and pick one confidently, or ask for assistance on choosing… However if youIMG_5285 actually are an oyster connoisseur, then just get in there! But before you do that you need toIMG_5276 order a beverage, and well, as its quite typical to have Champagne and oysters, we decided to wash ours down with some Cava.  Which just so happens to be a kind of Spanish version of Champagne, almost the same, but still a bit different, none the less, bubbly and refreshing, and its from an actual region in Spain called Cava.  Huh, who would have thought. Nothing like a good random fact;) This little combo, was delicious!

Is there even a way to make this look classy???


Well now that we have had our fill of food sampling, it’s time to do some  more  meandering around, before heading home later and preparing a deliciously beautiful dinner with all these fresh ingredients.  Thank you Mercat de L’Olivar for a fantastic and fun filled afternoon!


Happy Palma Days:)