Follow by Email

Sunday, July 28, 2013

First Day in Cairns by Margot Justes


 
 

My first impression of Cairns was the arrival at the hotel in the early evening, after a long flight, a couple of layovers, and a delayed flight, I thought I’d be too tired to pay attention to anything except how quickly I could get to bed. Not so.

The hotel, a few steps away from the boardwalk, faced the water. The tropical vegetation was magnificent, and the desk staff accommodating.  Once I made it to my room, the view took my breath away. The harbor on the left, the water and mountains straight ahead, and the lit boardwalk and gardens below.

There was no way I was going to sleep, without first checking out the area. Shower and bed had to wait.

The stroll on the boardwalk was mesmerizing, the boats along the harbor were dimly lit, the water shimmered in the dusk, and there was a gentle breeze, you could hear the rustle of the fronds from the tall palm trees. I was in heaven. Cairns was positively gorgeous, and I had a whole week to discover its treasures.

I stopped at the hotel restaurant for a quick bite to eat, and had the best grilled calamari with eggplant chutney I have ever had. It was perfection, kudos to the Mondo Restaurant.  I went back one more time for that same dish, and would have done so again, but wanted to try other local places.

First evening in Cairns was memorable indeed, and once I made it to bed, I slept like the proverbial baby.

More next week.

Cheers,
Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
www.mjustes.com

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Flying to the Land Down Under by Margot Justes

There is no easy way to get to Australia from the US, however it’s well worth the effort. I’m only sorry I waited this long for my first visit; the tiny part I saw was simply stunning.

I booked the flight from Los Angeles to Sydney to Cairns through a travel agent, and booked the leg from Chicago to LA myself. Just to give you an idea of the length of the trip, in my case it was a bit unusual. I had a 4 hour flight from Chicago to LA, 10 hour layover, plus a 3 hour delayed departure, then a 13 hour flight to Sydney, 3 hour layover in Sydney, and a 3 hour flight to Cairns. We’re talking serious time in travel.

I have to say I was impressed with the service provided by Virgin Airlines. They kept the passengers informed about the delay in LA, and were accommodating, and friendly. They brought back the service in customer service. I couldn’t ask for more-delays happen-it’s how the airlines handle it that is important.

Virgin handled it perfectly; as opposed to Alitalia, an airline I will never, never fly again. Never. I digress...even on the way back home from Sydney to LA, there was a 45 minute delay, they told us there was an immigration issue and a passenger couldn’t board, so they had to remove the luggage from the plane. Not difficult to do, just courteous, tell your passengers why they are sitting in the plane on the ground and not moving.

There are shorter layovers to be sure, mine just worked out to be long in the first leg of the flight. Keep in mind, if you miss the connection, there is no other flight that evening. I say evening because the flights I saw posted to Sydney all left in the evening. Mine was supposed to leave at 10pm LA time, instead we boarded at 1:00am. They actually served dinner at 2:30am. I skipped dinner, way too late or early to eat, but was up for breakfast.

Even without lengthy delays, the flight is long, but the visit was an incredible experience, and the people are friendly and welcoming. The no worries, mate so true. In Cairns, Dina and I even went to get some nibblies from Woolie’s- translation- snacks from Woolworth’s.

It was my retirement gift to myself, and I’m already looking for a reason to go back.

More next week, with pictures.

Cheers,
Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
www.mjustes.com

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book Signing by Margot Justes


Book signings are not easy, at least for me. I haven’t done one in a long time, but with the release of A Hotel in Bath, when an opportunity presented itself,  I took it.

Book World in Galena, (300 Main St. Galena, IL) made me feel comfortable from the time I walked in. Galena is a tourist attraction, antiques and little boutiques abound, and the book store does quite well. It’s a delight to watch people come in and browse, look through the books and buy.

I confirmed to myself that for the most part, in fiction and specifically the romance genre, covers do sell books, as do back pages, and the first paragraph. That goes for any book store, chains and indies.

I also noticed the difference in the buying selection, Barnes & Noble customers gravitate to the best sellers, the most advertised and familiar. Not so at Book World, yes, the Patterson books were there, and other best sellers, that is where the money is for the store, but people actually looked at the unfamiliar names and titles as well.

There was a knitting club meeting at a restaurant down the street, and one member walked in, we chatted a bit, she liked the premise of the stories, and she bought both

A Hotel in Paris and A Hotel in Bath. About thirty minutes later, five more ladies walked in, and bought both books. Apparently the books were passed around the table, the ladies liked what they read, and came back to get their own. That has never happened to me.

A Hotel in Paris sold out, and Bath did well too. I plan to go back to Galena, if they’ll have me, one of the employees is waiting for Blood Art to come out.

I really had a good time, the employees and customers were gracious, and I ran out of bookmarks, and it felt like a mini vacation. You couldn’t ask for more.

Cheers,
Margot  Justes
A Hotel in Paris
A Hotel in Bath
Hearts & Daggers
Hot Crimes Cool Chicks
www.mjustes.com