You don’t have to take sand to the beach. Rio has plenty of it. So guys or dolls, I have 1 seat, 1 room for this trip. 3 nights in Rio and 4 nights in Bahia –TRULY THE SOUL OF BRAZIL. Those that never have friends that want to travel; leave them at home and join us. Aug 14-22, 2018. Land 1400 plus single occupancy $482. Air from SFO $1400. For more details, Inbox me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 510 499 5909
Monthly Archives: October 2017
Just In Case You Missed It
Perhaps you blinked and missed this EXCITING upcoming Afro Brazilian tour
August 14-22, 2018. Or maybe this feline was lazily sunning in some other part of the world and neglected to put it on blog Blast. Well She’s back in Cali now and wearing her quite worn hustle hat —-can’t stop but needs to stop.
Here’s your chance: $2800pp double occupancy including Air from SFO. We have 1 room left with 2 air seats. We will samba through Rio and then fly to Salvador da Bahia and soak up some Afro Brazilian culture. Bahia is truly the “Soul of Brazil” — the people, the food, and the music. This offer will be available til 8pm tonight 10/22. Send your $300 pp deposit via PayPal to secure your space. Kat
Do you remember the old jazz classic lyrics—- First you say you do and then you don’t. Then you say you will and then you won’t. You’re undecided now so what are you gonna do??? Well my friends, this has been happening to me lately with last minute cancellations and it’s killin’ me. Some of us are going back to COLOMBIA; visiting The salsa capital of the world: CALI, the art of BOGOTA and the Independence Festival in CARTAGENA. Nov 3-12, yes 2 weeks away. A highlight is a trip to PALENQUE. Never heard of it, eh? It’s off the beaten track, very few travelers even know about it. It’s where the slaves ran to in the 1600s. They have their own community, schools, their own language. They no speaka Spanish. They speak Palenquoi, they cook , dance and play music with an African influence. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget
If you don’t know about hotel and land arrangements in the travel industry; let me tell you. They are no joke and nobody’s laughing when a contract cannot be fulfilled. So that being said, the agent (me) is faced with trying to keep the group together without an increase on the faithful travelers.
I can be the Queen of Let’s Make a Deal when needed. I had 2 people drop out now which makes me down 1 room. This deal would be ideal for Miami residents or those nearby AND for someone with miles to get to Colombia. Our Colombia tickets from Miami for all those Colombian cities were less than $500. The land package was originally $1930 but I’m here to sweeten the pot. It will be a substantial discount. Only serious need to inquire and time is of the essence. You would be doing your own ticket so if you are anxious to get to Medellin, extend your stay.
This will be my 4th visit to the country and the most exciting fun I’ve had in forever; especially in CALI!!!
A Taste of Jamaica in the Bay of Biscay
You’ve heard the phrase, Cold hands, warm heart. Well, out here in the Ferocious Bay of Biscaye, I say, “rough seas, warm heart “. Ships spend a couple days in it, like us. Cargo ships have capsized, They say the problem can be when they lose power and cannot rearrange their load. That’s when it goes all bad. Thank God we made it through, however a whole lot on this ship were sick puppies. It’s smooth sailing now and In a few hours we will be in port, preparing to fly home. Today I learned folks that don’t usually pray were calling on His name.
I received a surprise visit at my table last night from Executive Chef Denton of Jamaica. Turns out we know some of the same Executive Chefs on Royal Caribbean from back in the day. I must say though on Day One, I gave his staff in the Oceanview Cafe the business about having chili con carne in place of taco meat. I am not the one. I’m sure the Brits would never even know to complain. Well the word made its way to Chef. He assured me he would make it right the next day. Yes he did! They didn’t even have the Mexican station that day but he had some sous Chef to hook me up with all the fixings. Enjoy….yes I did. For dinner he promised Oxtails for my table and our own key lime pie for dessert. It was heavenly,
You would have to talk to Sue, Davion and Tosha to find out the other hell I had to raise. Nicole R. Hamilton said it best in a Testamonial, “If anything is subpar, Kat handles it and it doesn’t get repeated. I’m reminded of a New Years cruise on Celebrity a few years back. The menu stated “Sea Bass”. When it was served as a thin piece of fish with skin on it. I , expecting a nice thick piece of Chilean Sea Bass, pitched a fit, The head Maitre d’ had to come and explain this was Italian or Mediterranean Sea Bass. I said, ” this is misrepresentation’!!! Make it known what you’re serving. Well now, their menu shows, “Mediterranean Sea Bass” and as it should. Diva Sue says, ” When I hear Queen say, “This is my 87th cruise; I say, uh oh, it’s about to go down. Somebody has F’d up for real”. Smh
Even though I have worked day and night dealing with Brazil, Vietnam, New Orleans, I’ve had a wonderful time with friends and extended family like Joe and Joanne Smith who have given me my Doctorate and I love it. They say I earned it, I deserve it.
Kat St Thomas, P.hd ( Professor of Hot Destinations)
Until next time!
Discount on 2018 or 2019 Tours
This is for anyone already signed up for any 2018 or 2019 KATTRAX TOUR: We are offering a $200 discount on your upcoming tour if you decide to join us on the 4 day New Orleans Getaway – January 25-29, 2018. Package is $1350pp and includes the following: R/t air from Oakland, 4 nights Hotel Monteleone in the French Quarter, welcome Dinner, Cooking School w/lunch, Saturday Brunch, Music venue, and Museum for Free People of Color. This offer is good until 10/18. Let me hear from you!
Almost Over But It’s Been A Blast
This is a 10 night sailing. We left Southampton, UK on Sunday and it wasn’t til Wednesday when we stopped at our first port o’ call: Funchal, Madeira Islands. They are known for their wines. A few in our group had a special invitation to visit the Helipad for a viewing as we sailed into this port. A requirement was you must wear closed in shoes —safety first!! Some busy body (boy some of these Brits try to get all in your business). She says, ” you know you can’t wear those open toed shoes up there”. I looked at her with a straight face and said, “The Captain gave me special permission”. Smdh
We had a great time in Funchal…. sightseeing along with wine and cheese tasting made for a lovely visit on a warm and beautiful day.
Dinner in the main dining room is generally good but Specialty Dining is a treat. I love Murano (French inspired). The presentation, taste and service was on point. My visit to Tuscan Grill (Italian) was less than enjoyable but the Maitre d’ went the extra mile to try to make it right.
Some of the tour highlights have been the cable car ride followed by the Toboggan ride, and the camel ride.
On this cruise we were lucky to have gotten 3 tables for 10 in the main dining room (usually they only give 1) this has enabled a lot of friends to dine together, chat and catch up on things. — a real reunion of sorts.
Today, we are docked in Vigo, Spain, home to one of Spain’s most important fishing fleets. A few of us will be on a sightseeing tour and pay a visit to a thermal spa resort to hang out.
It has been my pleasure to take you with me on this 10 night Canary Islands cruise. Hopefully, you’ve enjoyed the trip. In 2 weeks we will be back in South America for the Cartagena Independence Day Festival, trip to Palenque where the slaves ran to in the 1500s — what an experience, then Bogota and hot salsa in hot Cali.
Until next time,
In Canary Islands With A Nawlin’s State of mind
I don’t get it…. I announce a $5,000 trip and it sells out in a matter of hours. I’ve got upcoming International tours in 2019 —- SOLD OUT with no mention of the cost. I announce a 4 day fun-filled Getaway , A $1350 trip to New Orleans – fine dining, Saturday Brunch, cooking school, music venue, Free People of Color museum, fab hotel in the French Quarter, air from Oakland; and I struggle, and struggle and struggle.
Generally, I’m not one to cancel on you, so of course, if I don’t have enough folks your girl here will thug it out and be there for those already on board. What do I need? I need a few more Bay Area folks to as Sinatra sings, “Come Fly With Me”. And my friends from across the USA, as Oleta Adams sings, “Get There If You Can”.
If you’ve been seriously thinking about it, why don’t you let me hear from you in the next few days.
i will now return to our regular Canary Islands blogs.
It’s Party Time – All Eyes On Us
Tonight was the night…. the Kattrax private party in the Quasar nightclub. Everybody had to show up and show out in all white and that they did. This is the 7th Kattrax group sailing in European waters and our “white night” is always a major hit and highlight. They were treated to an open bar, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres and a great DJ from Mauritius laying down the hottest jams. He kept them all on the dance floor.
They didnt want to stop and neither did Mr, DJ. All were having such a wonderful time but it was time for dinner and More time for the group to shine. Just Imagine 44 of us all dressed to the nines in all white parading into the Moonlight Sonata dining room. All eyes on us!
Sailing, Sailing Over The Ocean Blue
The bus ride from Southampton was about 2 hrs but we had a cool Driver, Sean, an English brother from London who made the drive enjoyable with his humor.
Getting on board the ship was fast and smooth. I’ve been on Celebrity’s newer Equinox and The Reflection a few times and they are both gorgeous. I didn’t know what to expect on the Eclipse but I was pleasantly surprised. No complaints. The first nights show was the Motown sound performed by 3 brothers, “The Fly Rights” from not the south side of Chicago but from South London. Did they get down? Yes they did!! They did the Temptations, Four Tops, Lionel Ritchie, Jackie Wilson, and one even did a rendition of Sammy’s “Mr Bojangles”. It was a Great show and I’m glad I didn’t miss this one.
We are a group of 44 from all over: Cali, ATL, FL, NJ, DC, NC, TX. Some of us haven’t seen each other in a few years and it’s always a great reunion whenever we get together. The serious Bid Whist players from all points were takin’ folks to Boston in a NY minute without a ticket. A good time was being had by all, no matter if they were in the Spa, the Solarium, the night club, the jacuzzi or just chillin’.
We’ve been sailing since Sunday and won’t see land til Wednesday. I love cruising but I will be happy to see anybody’s land tomorrow. Tonight is our private party in the nightclub. Yes, All white tonight . I already know….. the group will turn it out when we show up and show out for dinner after the party.
Until next time….
Red Rooster, London
I was too excited to have reservations tonight at the newly opened restaurant of Top Chef, Ethiopian born, Swedish raised Marcus Samuelsson. Rounding out our party was Diva Sue, Lucille, Shonda and Maggie. Arriving around the same time at another table was Dessie, Joyce and her cooler than cool husband Crum.
Howlin Wolf sang, ” I’ve got a lil Red Rooster too lazy to crow ‘fore day…. He keeps everything in the barnyard upset in every way”. Well tonight, this hen was truly upset. A few years ago I sent my daughter DeeDee to the one in Harlem. She wasn’t impressed but I can’t go by DeeDee’s food critiques because #1 she is not a foodie, #2 it’s got to be earth shakin to get a positive comment out of her and #3 if her mama didn’t cook it, she’s really not tryin’ to have it.
If I was bad boy Chef Gordon Ramsey, everybody in that beautiful open kitchen would have been sent home tonight. The mini Waffles were delicious but the 1 piece of boneless breast was fried much too hard and the red cabbage, bread and butter pickles were totally out of place in taste and presentation. My fried Yardbird with collard greens and puréed yams had no taste — raise my pressure, bring me some salt. No my pressure was already raised. Smdh. There were 3 thin strips of collards mixed in with a few long green beans and the puréed yams reminded me of Gerbers baby food carrots.
The positives: the decor of the restaurant is beautiful, the black art that adorns the walls is awesome, the staff, including the greeters, the host, the servers have been trained very well; all with excellent customer service skills and all are very personable. The well stocked bar and the overall ambiance of the restaurant are both right on point, no complaints there. “if you see my lil Red Rooster somebody please send him home to me”.
Tomorrow we will be driven over 1 hr to Southampton to board our cruise to the Canary Islands Which lie approximately 82 miles off the coast of Morocco but owned by Spain. I haven’t been since ’91 with my mother (rip) on the old RCCL Song of Norway. I look forward to the memories.