Women rock!! Portugal/Morocco trip #ICAEF

Tova Wald Owner

I think the female species are a force to be reckoned with, if you need something done right, ask a woman to do it. This is not to demean men in any way, I have a healthy respect for those that deserve it. But women seem to be able to grasp delicate situations, figure out how to solve it.. then get it done discreetly, with class.

Tova, Orno and Janine.. are such women. Tova owns it but I’m guessing her staff have a vested interest for sure. Every trip has screw-ups and I’m sure ours was no different, BUT these gals literally worked on their feet and on the scene to correct and/or adjust our schedules each day.

Last minute decisions were surely made occurring each day or even every hour maybe. We especially liked to linger where ever we went, so time constraints were probably the biggest bug-a-boo. We met (with Linda and Steve, my fellow caterers) Tova Wald and Rachid our guide to be, for this half of the trip, in the Morocco airport. They gave us huge welcome smiles and we apologized profusely for being so late, we got behind somewhere and confused as well. “Oh no.. you are the first to arrive!” they assured us.

Welcome to my world folks, stuff like this happens to me all the time. Fortunately Linda and Steve are with me, I give up a silent prayer of thanks for that. Off we go with Rachid back into the security door, only reversed this time, to find the rest of our group waiting patiently for us to pick up our luggage, geez. Ya I know, we understood that it was going straight to our hotel. Ah well.. most of the group was happy to see us again.. lol.

My guardian angel Orno

Orno was with us the whole trip starting in Portugal, she was my own personal angel sent here to keep me from wanting to kill myself. Let me explain, this culinary learning journey was exactly that.. a journey with lots of walking and hills and stairs and walking and did I mention hiking up to a windmill at one point? I really did try to keep up, and it was an ongoing struggle for sure. I literally wished for Scotty from ‘Star Trek’ to just ‘beam me up’ sometimes.

We trekked this great part of Lisbon for a walking lunch but I was not looking forward to the hike back to our bus. That’s when Orna ‘the angel’ showed up, she whispered in my ear “don’t worry Cherylle .. I have arranged for a taxi to take you back to the hotel so you don’t have to walk that far”. This was done discreetly and without any fanfare. Thank you.. thank you.. thank you, dear girl :  ) oh.. and three more accompanied me, so I wasn’t alone.

This happened a couple times and probably saved me from a heart attack or having to slit my wrists.. lol. The best ride, and an unexpected bonus, was at a beautiful spot on the river overlooking the part of Portugal that our handsome Portugal guide.. Miguel lived in. The fifteen minute walk there for lunch (one of my best meals and I want to say the best dessert of the whole trip) was more like a half hour for me.. ok, so it was even longer ..

Another gal and myself got to go ‘bungee jumping’ here (that is what we told everyone) as we walked the opposite way back when we finished our meal. We got to ride in this amazing glassed in elevator up the side of the mountain/cliff/hill. This day was turning out to be pretty darn good, right Kate? I liken this trip for these hardworking gals, to a 10 day catering event that is never ending and has all these challenges and surprises that crop up. They frantically deal with them behind the scenes, while we are none the wiser btw..

As caterers, we all know that our clients satisfaction is our ultimate goal. The lengths we go to, and the miracles we pull off, are endless. At this one event (not here, but it was related to us over dinner one night) the chef was short 40 entrees for a lamb meal, this chef (who shall remain nameless) magically produced and plated these 40 elusive entrees…

He was not Jesus Christ because Jesus had hair..  Jesus initials were not  L.L. and he was not part of a holy trinity, but he does have a three attached to his persona.. just sayin. So yes, we are called upon all the time to make the magic happen, and pull rabbits out of hats.

This is my tribute to the women of Tova Wald Travel, the company in charge of getting us organized each day. To Rachid our morocco guide, you have a such a great smile and a dry wit, you are also genuinely funny, thank you my friend. Rachid also taught me stuff I was struggling with on my new Google Pixel 3 phone.. who knew? To you gals, Tova, Janine and there were a few more (Orna.. my angel) I so appreciated your genuine concern for my well being, and your discreet handling of my obvious lack of mobility.

Miguel.. our guide in Portugal, ahhhh be still my heart, you made us care about Portugal history, and in the process made us all care about you.

Last but not least, Corrine.. that code of conduct form you made us sign, should have included people (who shall remain nameless) not butting in line to sit beside the cute limo driver (Kevin) first. Your organizational skills are no mean feat. All in all though, this is my tribute to the women that pulled this all together, YOU GALS ROCK!!!