Apricot Blossoms in SoCal, Forts in Puerto Rico, and Hammocks in Haiti

Walking my Southern Californian neighborhood with fruit trees filled with blossoms is effervescent. The scents of orange and apricot blossoms slap the nose. The sight is eye candy for the soul.

I see blossoms heralding an onslaught of tangerines, pluots, Meyer lemons, persimmons, oranges, loquats, apricots, and fruit trees I can’t identify. I suspect the unrelenting rain is giving us a season of abundance. An abundance of many growing things. I’ve also seen English peas, potatoes, beets, onions, beans, lettuce and ….

Well as one gardener said: weeds, weeds, and more weeds:

Earlier this month, I took a terrific Royal Caribbean cruise with three other writers. We traveled the Western Caribbean with stops in St. Maarten, Puerto Rico, and Haiti. I elected not to get off Harmony of the Seas for St. Maarten. I’d explored the island on another cruise and since I was in a good place with my writing, I remained among my pages. Places on the ship I liked to write? Central Park around the Center Cafe and Dazzle night club were my favorites. I usually hit Starbucks before Dazzle, which was mostly quiet during the day. If an artist or band members rehearsed during my writing session, it only added color to my work.

One of the writers and I took a turn around San Juan, Puerto Rico and the two forts. The photo above shows the second fort from a cemetery in the foreground. It was hot that day and I acquired a fierce sunburn. I was always aware that the island was a United States territory. Best moments? Going to the Starbucks. Seeing the feather artist I’d met on a previous visit and talked to her about the hurricane. Hearing a good-old-boy accent from the Park Ranger from Houston, Texas. Exploring the forts and taking loads of photos.

Labadee, Haiti was our next and last stop in the Caribbean, and the first time I’d been to this island. My visit was short. With my Puerto Rican sunburn and a driven need to write, I focused on lunch and a walk along the beach for a slew of photos. While half our writers picked out their hammocks, another writer accompanied me on the walk. We saw sun bathers and swimmers, zip-liners sailing over the beach, a local music group, drinks served in pineapples and coconuts, fabulous beaches and a gorgeous coastline of hills and jungles.

Other fun things we did on ship? Saw an incredible ice show twice–very Jules Verne with amazing special effects. After seeing one of the singers rehearse in Dazzle, we returned that night to watch a Haitian group perform my favorite Motown songs. We also took in the stage show Grease.

In Fort Lauderdale, two of us stayed in a hotel the night before the cruise and stayed in a different hotel after the cruise. Sure made flight and ship connections easier. That second hotel had a lovely atrium, perfect for writing. We had a great lunch at Coco, a Thai/Japanese restaurant a block from the hotel.

In case you were wondering, my four flights between John Wayne and Fort Lauderdale airports were on Boeing 737s. Just before they were grounded.

Happy writing, walking, traveling, and reading! Michelle

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About mlknowlden

In 2011, I left engineering to write full-time. Between the years 1992 and 2011, I’ve published 14 stories with Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine that have featured the hypochondriac detective Micky Cardex and two stories that did not. The 1998 story “No, Thank You, John” was nominated for a Shamus award. Many of these stories have been included in anthologies and translated in multiple languages. With Neal Shusterman, I’ve also published a science fiction story for the More Amazing Stories anthology (Tor) published in 1998 and co-authored with Neal Shusterman an X-Files Young Adult novel (DARK MATTER) for HarperCollins in 1999 under the name Easton Royce. For Simon & Schuster in July 2012, we published an e-novella UNSTRUNG in Neal's UNWIND world. I have graduate degrees in English and Electrical Engineering.
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