Breakfast in Bimini, Chapter 8 excerpt

staniel cayWalking off, I scouted the docks for Luke.  He was talking to a few guys near the fish cleaning station.  Nick was at the opposite end checking out a large European yacht I recognized as an Azimut, from three distinct windows on the side and its aerodynamic design.  One of the few boats I could spot and identify, it was also my dream boat.  This one was curiously named Davy Jones. My mind raced to where I’d heard that name.  One of the band members names in The Monkees, I knew from my youth growing up watching and listening to the pop group, but also from somewhere else.  I shook off the mystery name and strolled over to Luke gabbing at the fish station.  Nurse sharks swarmed below in a feeding frenzy for fish scraps, attacking like Komodo Dragons on raw meat.  They didn’t look so peaceful or harmless now.nurse sharks

Luke noticed me standing by his side.  “Hey, sweetie.”  He turned to one of the guys filleting fish, “This is my girlfriend Kelly.”

The tall, thin, shirtless stranger greeted me with a nod, “Nice to meet you.” He glanced at me then the fish he was cutting.  “I’d shake your hand, but they’re a bit bloody right now.”  Two large fish were splayed on the filet table and a bucket full of fresh meat lay between his feet.  He was wearing plastic blue fishing waders. “I’m Paul, and this is my buddy Randy.”  I smiled at the younger, less messy fisherman.  His fish scraps seamlessly fell from the table into the shark infested water.  He was barefoot wearing only a bathing suit and a knife attached to his calf.

“Dolphin?”  I asked, with my newfound yet limited fishing lingo.

“Yes Ma’am,” Paul answered.  “Got a few at sunrise, just out yonder.”

Luke chimed in, “They’re from Fort Lauderdale.”

“Neighbors,” I offered, peering into the sea for another glimpse of the bloodbath.  Although the accent was a bit country-strong for southern Florida.  My eyes drifted toward Luke, “I’m going poolside until we leave on the golf cart.”

“We’re leaving in forty-three minutes.”  Where does he get these numbers?  Not forty or forty-five.  So random.

Jamie, the blonde and the adorable dog, Yoda, were all sunbathing at the small pool. “What are you drinking?” I called out.

“Pina Colada,” Jamie responded.

I returned with two Pina Coladas and a small bowl of ice water for the dog.  “I brought some water for Yoda, if you don’t mind?” I asked, placing the bowl on the ground.

“Ahh, thanks.  I’ve been giving her ice cubs from my drink and she swims in the pool.”

“She’s such a cutie.”  I sat in the lounge chair between Jamie engulfed in a magazine and the blonde. “And a good traveler?” I added with a quick sip from my sweet cocktail.

She beamed a new motherly glow.  “Yes, I’ve only had her for about nine months.  But she goes everywhere with me.”

“Where do you call home?”

“North Carolina is home, but we’ve been traveling for the past few years on our boat.” She paused.  “I’m Jenny.  I’m here with my husband, it’s our fifth anniversary.”

“Congrats on five years.  I’m Kelly.”  I raised my drink to her unknown cocktail.  She lit a cigarette and I borrowed one.

“You smoke? I thought I saw you running.”

“Yes. I do both.” I mumbled.

She giggled with a knowing uninhibited grin. “No worries.”

I glanced at Jamie still absorbed in her magazine.  Yoda was under her lounge chair, resting in the shade.  “So you’re sailing around the Bahamas?” I probed for conversation.

“Yeah.”  She pointed to the marina.  “Our boat is docked over there for the next week.  It’s called Davy Jones.

My eyes widened through my sunglasses.  I’d assumed she was on one of the many sailboats.  “An Azimut.  My favorite boat.”  I took a sip, “And is your husband Davy?”

She giggled.  “No, it’s Jeff Johnson.  Davy Jones is a reference to shipwrecks at the bottom of the sea.”  She extinguished her cigarette into a close-by empty glass.  “Most people don’t get it, but he’s a treasure hunter looking for Spanish shipwrecks, mostly in the Bahamas.”  She clarified.  “He does web design and hosting for a living, but his passion is treasure hunting.”

It clicked.  That’s how I know the name Davy Jones.  It’s an idiom for the bottom of the sea.  Davy Jones’ Locker, or death to sailors. I started to fluster, my mind spinning through everything that had happened during our trip; boat disasters, pirates, my idol, portals, and nightmares.  Sensing my fear, Yoda jumped on my lap.  Jamie lowered her sunglasses and whispered through her teeth, “I caught part of the conversation, and I can see beads of sweat forming all over you, and you’re as pale as a ghost.  Breathe. Just breathe.  This has nothing to do with your dreams.”

“The symbol of death was just dropped on my feet,” I teeth-whispered back. “And the sweat’s from the hot sun.”

She smiled thinly toward me then to Jenny who was unaware of any conflict.  Jamie quietly nudged me and then turned towards our newfound friend, “We are going to change for our island exploration.   See you later this afternoon, I hope.”

“I think Yoda likes you Kelly,” she uttered.

“And such a cute name, how did you pick it?” I asked, hoping it wasn’t some omen.

“Oh, we’re Star Wars fans.”

I calmed at the response.  Great, the Star Wars Jedi master meets the sea devil. Following Jamie to the cottage, I imagined the dog and horned demon dueling it out with lightsabors to save the galaxy.  Somehow in my mind’s eye, the adorable pup won the battle before I even reached the doorstep.

Nick and Luke were waiting, ready to sightsee, “Has it been forty-three minutes?” I called out to Luke.

“Forty-four,” he taunted

We perambulated to the golf cart with no plans but to be at the airport around 3:00, or whenever we saw the Caravan fly overhead.  I wanted to stop by a local grocery store because I liked checking out foreign food, and Jamie sought boutiques, if we happened to pass one.  We were all in our bathing suits with cover-ups.  Jamie and I on the back of the four-seater with the boys navigating in the front.  Crossing the rickety bridge over Bonefish Creek, Luke in the driver’s seat, decided to stop and admire the fleeting fish.  A Piper Aztec buzzed us. “Not a Caravan,” Luke announced.

A small grocery store sat across from the creek.  “Can we check that store out,” I pointed to coral shack.

Luke pulled in front and Jamie and I jumped off the cart. I perused the can goods and cereal boxes.  Plenty of beans, rice, oatmeal and a few boxes of Captain Crunch and Cheerios.  The elderly Bahamian lady watched me like a bird stocking its prey.  “My God. You can’t come in here without a shirt,” she chided.

“Oh, I didn’t know.  Sorry,” I murmured.

Exiting the shack I glanced at Jamie wearing a cover-up.  She wasn’t far behind carrying four opened Kalik lights.  “I don’t think she liked your cleavage,” she kidded.  “What are you like a 36D?”

“C,” I corrected.  “It’s the islands.  Who knew?”

“Hey Kelly, did you tell Luke about the Davy Jones boat?”

“I met the owner, Jeff.” Nick said. “Nice guy.”

“Well we met his wife and dog at the pool.  Jeff’s a treasure hunter.  That along with the Davy Jones Locker euphemism leads me to believe my idol is still at work.  Maybe it wants to return to the bottom of the sea.”

The threesome snickered with Luke going into a lingering belly laugh.  “I think maybe the owner watches too much Sponge Bob,” Luke managed to cackle.

I blinked at the three, raising my lips slightly.  “Do you know what Davy Jones means, sweetie?”

His laugh teetered to a perpetual grin.  “Yes.  Sponge Bob had a locker at the bottom of the ocean that he kept some socks in.”  He went to a full belly laugh again and stopped the cart.

Nick spoke through his smile.  “I don’t know a thing about Sponge Bob, but in pirate lore it’s the devil of the sea and it’s meant to cause fear among seamen.  It’s mentioned in Moby Dick and Pirates of the Caribbean.”  He glanced back at me.  “But in reality, it’s just a name some guy picked for his boat.  Besides he looks harmless.  You should show him your idol.”

I shrugged.  “He’s still a treasure hunter.”

“And you’re an archaeologist.  You two should have a lot in common.  I’ll introduce you two tonight,” he concluded.

Unfamilar Creatures

helen mtsI was recently thrown into another adventure, and as always welcomed the challenge.  A friend of mine had financial issues with a property at a popular vacation destination in Helen, Georgia.  With her at the verge of a short sale, my husband and I advised her to take the chance furnishing the property and listing it as a Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO).  Being unfamiliar and non-computer literate she gave us a blank look.  After explaining the details we offered our help.  Having several properties listed on VRBO, my hubby decided to take charge, enlisting us as masters of the endeavour.  And we only had one week to get the place ready prior to Memorial Day, the beginning of “the season.”

The previous night we loaded up an open-air car trailer with her spare household goods. Wrapping the furniture in cellophane then strapping it down was not the ideal situation, but I went with the flow. Why couldn’t we just rent a U-Haul like normal people?  For the first 50 miles the furniture shifted and we had to pull over and check the stability.  I watched the cellophane getting torn up in the wind, whipping around in the rear-view mirror.   We could have easily blended into the set of the Beverly Hillbillies.  The bluegrass ballad played through my head as we began our journey out of Florida into the Georgia mountains.

Our thirteen hour drive was split between two days with a stopover at a friend’s house in Jacksonville.  Arriving in Helen the following day around 5:00 we almost lost the cargo within the last half mile as we climbed a 45 degree slope.  Two pre-arranged helpers greeted us.  They had their work cut out for them with three flights of stairs, as did I over the next few days.

Inside the house, the younger teenage mover, with blonde hair, sullen eyes and sweaty six-pack abs pointed to the back slider.  “Ma’am, have you seen one of these before.”

I inched closer to the door, examining the small spider on the other side of the glass.  “Well, I’ve seen spiders.”  I looked at the kid.  “It’s not a brown recluse, is it?”

“Yes Ma’am.”  He grabbed a large wood pole, slid outside and crushed the spider.  It didn’t go easily, spinning down its web like a mini Spider-Man meeting its end.

I shivered.  Several years ago, only twenty miles from our current location, my husband was admitted to the ER from what we believed to be a brown recluse spider bite.  He blew up like the Pillsbury Dough Boy and little Target signs appeared all over his body.  I researched the spider extensively and I was very much aware of the damage the little critter could do.

Minutes later hubby was assembling the cable hookup as I was unpacking boxes of plates and cups.  I noticed a tiny scorpion scoot across the empty room.

“Honey, can you step on the scorpion?”  I calmly asked.

His eyes widened as I pointed to the creature.  After two attempts another danger was removed from the house.  I was more concerned that something would hurt my dog or husband as I was OK with nature but certainly not immune.  I try not to kill things, but a home should be safe.  If it’s outside, so be it, I’ll go inside.  Thoughts of my one other encounter with a scorpion crossed my mind.  I was excavating in the California desert as a field Archaeologist.  I left my backpack unzipped in the bush for most of the afternoon.  As luck had it when I went to retrieve something from my backpack I witnessed a black scorpion on my bag inching it way towards the opened zipper.  I kicked it off my pack and till this day I never leave anything unzipped in nature or in strange rooms.  A lesson learned.

Over the course of a few days I got buzzed by hefty wood bees sounding like helicopters.  I’d duck down as if I was in a war zone.  During one of these episodes my dog went into a frenzy as I hastily opened the back door for her safety, since she’s allergic to bees. During our walks she’d gingerly walk in the fallen leaves, until a leaf jumped back at her.  She kept sniffing as it repeatedly jumped. She was more sceptical to the change in environment than I was.

English: Male Luna Moth (Actias luna)

On one day, a moth the size and color of a small palm leaf hung out on the balcony all day.  I later learned it was an endangered Luna moth.  Living only for a week, its only purpose is to mate. Since it has no mouth, it can’t eat.  Next to this stunning creature sat a normal sized grey moth and I silently giggled at the thought of her reproducing with the normal unattractive one.  Hell if your endangered and only have a week, why not?

Most of our time involved tracking down used furniture and basic necessities for a large four bedroom house. Thrift stores, yard sales, Wal-Mart and Home Depot, all a good distance from Helen, were part of our repertoire.  At the end of the week everything came together beautifully with a charming mountain home complete with picturesque views and everything one could need for a mountain getaway.  As we drove back to Florida, we listed the house for our friend online.  And I had renewed view of nature and all its funny unusual forms.

My friend who owned the house asked, “Did you at least get some time to enjoy yourself?”

“Ah yes,” I beamed.  “I love mountain running and I experienced it every morning.”

My thighs and butt screamed, but I loved the challenge and my time with nature not freaking out about the creatures that somehow in my mind could attack my dog or partner.

50 shades of grey, Yosemite style

Engulfed by cool crisp air, granite cliffs, pine trees, and a trickling brook in Yosemite National Forest during mid-October is breathtaking.  Going for a morning run in this forest, simply divine. Unlike the camping I did in my youth, we stayed at a decent hotel just minutes outside the park, along the Merced river.  My jog paralleled the river and the road, an easier choice than running up a trail, and a wiser one for this flat land runner accustomed to Florida terrain. My challenge would come later in the trip.  Leaving my i-pod behind, I listened to nature and the slight sound of trickling water.  The rising sun hit granite cliffs  reveling a spectrum of colors.  Fifty shades of grey played off the granite, mottled with yellow, green and chocolate hues.  A scene I could capture in my mind but not in a photo.

I stumbled upon a historic railroad station with a single caboose resting for a half-century on the rail. Stopping in awe, I briefly contemplated this great area within the Sierra Nevada mountains.

Driving through Yosemite and the Tioga Pass flashbacks  flooded my thoughts. Passing El Capitan and Half Dome I recalled my first camping trip with my best friend at the time, Lynda.  I was twenty-two years old and had just returned from China.  My BFF wanted to visit Yosemite prior to moving to Utah, a decision she’d made while I was exploring her part of the world.  Still dazed from my international travels we set out to rent a tent and camp the following day in Yosemite Valley.  Arriving with no permit, no plans and just a few pillows and sheets we learned quickly what camping in the mountains was about.  Nothing like learning the hard way, first hand.  Struggling to assemble our tent, a nearby camper offered a helping hand.  Once assembled, he glanced in our tent and snorted.  “Don’t you have sleeping bags?”

Lynda and I glanced at each other, “No.” We responded in unison with not a care in the world.

“Well, you’re going to need them,”  he said with confidence.  “It gets down to 30 degrees here at night.  I used to be a ranger here, so I know what I’m talking about.”

I smiled at the stranger, not realizing what that meant then unconsciously winked at my friend.  “Hey let’s try out our tent.”

We giggled while testing our pillows and sheets, then joined the ex-ranger near the picnic bench for a cold beer and some snacks we packed.  “I’m serious about the weather.”  He pointed to his Honda Civic, “I have extra blankets if you want them.”

Once the sun had set the air-cooled, and we needed blankets as our newfound friend warned us.  Over that weekend we hiked many trails.  I fell at Yosemite Falls fracturing  my tailbone and bruising my entire left butt cheek. We videotaped the bruise, the visiting coyote at the campground and the silliness we were back then.  We were fortunate to watch a major meteor shower in the strawberry fields with hundreds of other campers including ex-ranger.  Friendships and great memories were made that continue to this day. Years later, I was briefly engaged to the ex-ranger, and Lynda is still my friend although we are thousands of miles apart.  It’s amazing what nature can bring together including everlasting relationships, unparalleled memories lasting a lifetime, and desirable innocence combined with inexperience.  Simply heavenly with earthly splendor and all its blemishes.

My husband and I left Yosemite Valley on our eastward journey as my fascination continued.  Redwoods lined the road along with dwarf yellow and green beauties. I tried to read some park brochures but the flashing sun shining through the trees was like a strobe light.  I felt like I was trying to study in a nightclub.  A spontaneous lake appeared encircled by mountains winding through Tioga Pass.  Suddenly, cliffs appeared dropping thousands of feet without vegetation.  An instantaneous sweat covered my hands and feet, an unwelcome and uncontrollable response.  A drop-off immediately to my right with no rails.  I used to twist around these mountains in my convertible with no worries, I remembered.  I couldn’t control the sudden onslaught of sweat as I tried to admire the splendor without fear.  I yearned for my youth.

“Slow down,” I blurted out.  The pine trees transformed into a moonscape with an elevation difference of about 2,000 feet.  The cliffs subsided as did my instant sweating.   Fifty shades of grey continued as the cliffs and boulders transformed the landscape from green to dramatic rock.  Granite, I concluded from my distance education at UCLA.

A sign informed us that we were in the Inyo National Forest.  I’ve been here before, I recalled.  But when and why do I know this National Park? I soon realized it incorporated the Ansel Adams Wilderness, Mono Lake, Mt. Whitney and Mammoth Lakes.  It’s considered the “dwelling place of the great spirit,” and my old play grounds with the ex-ranger.

My week had just begun.

Baltic Sea, part 2: Finland, Sweden and Germany

The following morning we woke up in Helsinki, Finland.  After spending the past three days on group tours we decided to explore the Finnish capital on our own with no agenda.  The previous night, I hung out at the casino bar sipping wine while chatting with a single female traveler.  We had met a few nights into the cruise and seemed to always end up laughing and bonding over wine with the gaggle of the casino in the background.  Cindy was a youthful recent widow from California with no real plans during the cruise, so I invited her to join us in Helsinki.

A shuttle took us to the town center where we strolled around a local market displaying bright fresh vegetables, strange fish, and arts and crafts.  I stumbled upon a booth selling contemporary silver rings and consulted my new-found friend for her opinion.  She checked out the small silver stamp acknowledging it was real and concluded, “if you like it, than it’s right for you.”

That’s my type of philosophy, so I bought the ring.  We came across the “hop-on-off” bus electing it  for our leisurely prefabricated journey.  We hopped off at the modern Rock Church, a must see according to the guide-book.  I had memories of the church from a previous visit so I sat in silence for a spiritual moment as the music played and acoustics shined.  Internal fulfillment satisfied, my stomach suddenly screamed lunch and we found our way to a local pub and restaurant.

Another excellent feast followed by a social casino night filled our evening as we awoke to the most beautiful port of Stockholm, Sweden at daybreak.  Colorful buildings lined the harbor as church spirals jetted into the blue-gray sky.  I ran on the treadmill admiring the stunning  port as sweat beaded off my skin.  It was a quick run and shower since we had to meet our bike tour group at 11:00.  Our only reference for the tour was to “look for the old Admiral ship.”  We were to meet in front of the landmark.  We gave ourselves an hour to find the ship and the bike shop which was within walking distance from the Eurodam.  After 50 minutes at a fast-paced walk we saw the Admiral as the last sailboat in the harbor.  I picked up my speed to a jog. Finding the group upon departure, I waved them down and pleaded for a two bikes and a helmet.  The guide was more than happy to accommodate and off we went for our tour of Stockholm.

We weaved in and out of traffic stopping at important sites while getting tangled in a parade surrounding the changing of the guards.  I smiled and admired.  We got a history and social lesson as our guide explained their tax system, among other things.  Damn, our son should marry a Swedish girl I mumbled while listening to all the benefits of being a Swedish citizen.  Free health care,  free school including college, getting paid to have children and about three years off of work, clean water, and a ton of other utopia benefits.  The price though is about 60 percent in taxes.  I listened with no judgement.  It seems to work for them, I concluded from my limited interaction in this charming country.

Riding through nature we almost lost our group for a photo opportunity, landing back at the shop three hours later.  Starving, we found a great lunch spot filling up on cheese and potatoes followed by an hour hike around the marina to our cruise ship.

“Would you like a taxi?”  my husband asked.

“No, I’d like to walk.”

He rolled his eyes and huffed and puffed as we boarded minutes before departure, just as the rain began.  I smirked and gloated in my action-packed adventure.

After thirty-six relaxing hours at sea we arrived at Warnemünde, Germany.  A pre-planned much-anticipated tour to Berlin awaited us at 6:00 a.m.  I grabbed a few snacks from the breakfast bar, stashing them in my pre-packed bag for our 12 hour expedition.  A three-hour ride to the city, a six-hour tour, and three hours to return.  Yes a bit of a trek, but a city not to be missed by my standards…and I’ve been there before.  I’m a history buff and Berlin has so much history.

Upon arrival a young bubbly Canadian, Silvia, boarded the bus and split us into two groups.  My husband, Brad, and I were with Silvia along with ten others as we disembarked for an introduction.  With stick in hand, Silvia gave an animated history lesson drawn into the dirt.   “After WWII,  Germany was split into four sectors divided between the allies after winning the  war.  At first all was good, then tensions arose.  When was the Berlin wall built?”  Silvia asked.

“1961,” I shouted out since nobody else answered.  I received a sideways glance from my husband and a cheer from Silvia.  I shrugged. She continued her dynamic and comical routine.  I silently giggled, as others stood stone-faced.  She was smart and lighthearted. I had a constant smirk on my face, finding our guide’s unique knowledge and quick jabs humorous.  Silvia, being French-Canadian was a tour guide in France for a few years, then deciding she didn’t like the French she moved to Berlin.  She had an amusing view of the Germans with a love/hate relationship that shined.   Like me, she’s a vegetarian. Not an easy task in Germany.

We jumped on and off the bus touring sites and monuments as my husband took a huge interest in WWII history.  He was like a schoolboy on his first field trip, and I found joy and passion in his excitement. We sat in the  front row of the bus.  My grin was perpetual observing Brad walk on the heels of Silva with a million questions only he could ask.  I cringed at some and walked away, realizing it’s a great way for him to learn about this part of the world.  Staying silent I discovered more about the war myself by listening to our guide. Letting go of  my perceived knowledge allowed me to take it all in and experience history the way it should be experienced.

We passed through the famous Brandenburg Gate from West to East Berlin.   I recall East Berlin as depressing just twenty years ago.  Now, it’s vibrant and full of life.  We visited the remains of the Berlin wall and the newly built Holocaust Memorial.  Seemingly simple at first glance we were encouraged to walk through the memorial alone.  With his newfound fervor, Brad was the first to leave and the last to return. My heart warmed at his fresh perspective of European history.  An interest that continued when we returned to the states and rented every WWII movie produced.

Our final port landed us in Keil, Germany.  We took a one-hour train to Hamburg, the birthplace of my grandfather.  Hamburg was bigger than I imagined and the train station was like Grand Central in NY city.  Apparently, it was also a popular place for the Punk movement.  A young man with a purple mohawk approached me speaking German.  “No sprechen sie deutsch,” I managed to murmur in my limited German.

“Do you have a cigarette?”  he asked in English.

I handed him a cigarette then tracked down my husband to explore the town during our brief visit.  We found a random Oktoberfest and shopping promenade then returned to the train station and our cruise ship for our final night at sea.

countryside to city

Flying into the DC area is always exciting.  Not only are you dealing with three busy airports but also restricted airspace with strange passages and rude Air Traffic Controllers.  It makes flying interesting especially when you throw in a broken autopilot and turbulence.  It was a short two-legged flight compared to our previous trip to the Outer Banks.  Within no time we were unpacking our bags at a relative’s farm in Maryland.

I’d forgotten the sounds of the countryside during the summer.  Quietness followed by bird chirps, moo’s and a strange bull crying for a mate.  Large bee’s were buzzing about so I kept a close eye on my bee-chomping dog, Yoda.  She was being followed by two curious large poodles.  In the evening all three dogs would run up and down the fence chasing  horses.  I could imagine the horses laughing at her, especially when she would run up, bark, then run away.  She’s the size of a cat but thinks she’s a tiger.

Jogging in the morning was heavenly.  I was alone on the country road lined with tree’s.  I didn’t need my ipod, the quiet run calmed my overly busy mind.  A few deers startled me and I reacted as if a bear was facing me.  I laughed at my concern.  This city girl definitely needed some time in the country.  The hills were a welcomed challenge.  The cool morning air was refreshing.  I could run for hours, but I limited myself to just one.

After a few days of R&R my husband and I decided to visit Manhattan for a few nights in the city.  We booked a posh dog-friendly hotel near Central Park and 5th Ave.  I wanted to fly our plane but my husband’s response was, “I’m not flying anywhere around JFK.”

We crossed several bridges and went through the Lincoln tunnel.  As we were in the tunnel I realized that I despise tunnels, even more so than bridges.  Thoughts of getting stuck traversed my mind.  “We are 70 feet below the Hudson,” my husband stated.

We had an excellent dinner followed by Times Square.  The madness.  The lights.  Tons of people. 

I got rained on during my morning run, but I didn’t care I wanted to run in Central Park.  I had an excellent jog, unlike my husband and dog’s walk.  As I was finishing I saw both of them drenched and pathetic looking.  They hid under a few structures but got kicked out. Then a bus drenched them curbside.  Yoda was not liking the city.

We did the typical tourist day, trying to fit in as much as we could.  Sight-seeing and shopping followed by more good food and drink.  Chinatown, Little Italy, WTC, Rockefeller Center, Brooklyn Bridge and hustle and bustle.  A day was not enough but it was all we could do on our schedule.

 The smells and sounds of the city overwhelmed my dog.  She didn’t go to the bathroom in over a day, until I stuck her in the planter on our terrace. They had pet psychological services available through the hotel, I guess NYC dogs need that.  Not my little Diva.