Snow to Sun

I went to bed too late and woke up too early. After getting into SFO at 5pm, BARTing home to Alameda, sorting through 3 months of mail, we decided to head to Park street to grab a bite to eat. There was nothing in our fridge so it was either that or order in. In hindsight, we should have ordered in. We have a months worth of packing to do before bed and travel days are hard enough. Travel nights are worse. After some way too spicy Mexican food, we padded back to the house to begin our effort.

I was too tired to be smart and efficient about it, so I am sure I overpacked. Well, I threw stuff in a pile for Michael to Tetris in our big pink hard sided luggage. The luggage that United baggage handlers manhandled, cracking the sides and losing several feet off them. The handle will never be the same either. I normally would never bother complaining, since my experience with airline customer service agents has never been a positive one. But we trudged over to ask, just to see. To my surprise they were very receptive. They also said that had it been domestic, there is nothing they could do. But when your stuff is damaged on an international flight, they have options, such as fixing the broken pieces. They made a report and now we will wait until they email us. Most of all, it was just nice being acknowledged and heard.

So when we thought we had it all done, we both fell into bed for the short 5 hour nap before we caught a Flywheel to the airport. I was groggy and too exhausted to fight, so when I saw that the driver’s meter was already past $4.30 as we got in the car, I didn’t say anything. He was pleasant enough and chattered on about his upcoming trip to the mountains. At the end of the ride, he seemed to forgot to turn off the ride charge so it kept charging us. When I was standing in the security line, I finally called the guy and he said he was having trouble with his phone. In the end, the fare was double what it should have been. He told me to contact Flywheel to rectify the problem. Ugh. Not a great day to start the day.

I waited at the boarding area while Michael went to fetch some coffees. He was hungry so I caved and let him get the overpriced $10 subpar breakfast burrito. He purposely went out of his way to get Peet’s which is more local than the Starbucks looming in front of our gate. We were proud of ourselves for not getting on that wagon until our first sip of Peet’s. No joke, it was so bad I almost spit it out. Three minutes later, I barely made it to the restroom. It wasn’t a pretty sight. Dizzy and 10 lbs lighter, I made it back to Michael just as he handed the boarding pass to the staff for scanning. We both left our barely touched coffees by the trash before getting on the plane. It was a rough morning to say the least.

Southwest doesn’t assign seats so we were lucky to get to sit together. I really needed to be able to sprawl all over Michael. A couple hours later, we landed in San Diego. It was sunny and warm, which lifted my mood instantly. We opted to try Flywheel again on this end, especially since they had a $10 off your ride promotion running this weekend. Well, the first attempt failed when the airport traffic police aggressively accosted our would-be driver, threatening him and us with tickets and fines if we went through with the ride. Apparently Flywheel is not allowed at the San Diego airport. Uber is. I guess they have paid the 2 million dollar fee to be allowed. We walked down the terminal where the traffic police were not, and tried again. This time it worked. Kinda.

Our Flywheel driver decided to take us on the very scenic tour, despite our protests, and ended up charging us more than $15 more than the ride should have been. Then he tried to convince us to pay him in cash because his app wouldn’t charge us as it was broken. I could see he was lying because it was still charging us as he spoke! It was heartbreaking to realize as we were being ripped off, that there was nothing we could do about it. Since these companies already have your credit card in the system, and you get automatically charged, you can’t argue the fare. Not without hours of emails, tweets and Facebook complaints. Which is how I spent my morning in San Diego. I wasn’t going to hold my breath though, but I had to try. I absolutely hate being taken advantage of by smarmy tact drivers. And twice in one day? I was seething.

As we rocked up to our Airbnb house, we were both overwhelmed with how close the plane was that flew over us. The house is directly under the flight path and you can see right up into the bottom of the plane. I could see a rock stuck in the planes tires, it was that close. It reminded me of Airport beach on St. Maarten. Michael and I were excited, as we are both nerds for this kind of thing. As we were walking up the steps, the next plane plowed by practically scraping our heads. It was awesome.

Our Airbnb host, Michael, was so very friendly and kind. He showed us around and let us store our stuff since we were there hours before checkin time. He gave us the house tour and we were in awe of the love and care he has put into the property. It truly is a labour of love and we were in one of the best rooms. Our second floor Blue Room had a view of the city, the harbor and the planes were now even closer as they flew down. We had a fireplace and our own private balcony. Life was looking up!

We made our way down to the waterfront and walked along absorbing the sun. My whole demeanor changed and suddenly, it was easier to breathe. The atmosphere in San Diego is very relaxed and I could actually feel the stress melting away. We found our way to the famous Fish Market, where we had our lunch. The place is gorgeous in dark wood decorated very tastefully. We slurped up some fresh salty oysters, had a delicious plate of sashimi and shared a light flakey fish entree. The sushi master, Teiji, came over and gifted us with a sample of his favorite fish. It was a very sweet gesture and we were impressed with his generosity and deep knowledge about all things fishy.

We walked along the waterfront and then had a coffee break at Lion Cafe. My feet were very sore by this point, as it has been a while since I have worn sandals. We decided to hit the mall that was close by to hunt for an alternate summer shoe. We tried on a lot of different styles in several different stores, even getting a digital foot analysis done. In the end, we both ended up with a new pair of Reef sandals. And I found some funky new knee high socks in every color of the neon rainbow. Their bright vivid hues matched my mood.

Next, we hit CVS to pick up some sunscreen which is not my normal way. But 30 days in the South Pacific, I don’t want to take a chance. After much deliberation and smelling of all the different offerings, we settled on a bottle of sport spray 30 SPF. We also picked up a travel size jar of Noxema, just in case the burn does happen. Noxema is my favorite after burn care and works wonders at healing sore skin. I was getting tired so we made our way back in the direction of home, when we stumbled upon a place called Spike Africa’s. They had really good happy hour specials so we decided to dive in for a snack. Michael seems to always be hungry and if he doesn’t get some food, he had the tendency to become hangry. After chowing down on some more fresh oysters, fish taco, calamari and delectable mussels, we gambled on the free Yelp dessert. When you check in here, you get a free dessert but I don’t put a lot of hope in a butterscotch pudding. Really? Who has pudding for dessert in a restaurant? Well, I was so very wrong. My one bite turned into a lovefest with the creamy sweet pudding topped with thick warm caramel balanced with just the right amount of sea salt flecks. I was high off the yumminess of it. We thanked our server Bryan who was ever so gracious, and continued our trek home.

After some more walking, Michael started complaining about how heavy the bags were. I decided to give up my old sandals that were no longer needed to a homeless girl sitting on the curb. She was really thankful especially since she was pregnant, she informed me. It felt nice to be able to give someone a break. We stumbled up on a local mexican dive where Michael picked up his supper from. It was super cheap and quite busy, so I guessed it was going to be yummy. Even though, I decided not to get my own, and only have a few bites of his giant chimichanga. I wish I had gotten my own. When we tucked into it back at home, it was clear I had made a big mistake. Taco Rey is some of the best mexican I have had in a long time, maybe ever. I vowed to head there in the AM for breakfast burritos. We ended the night lounging in the big jazuzzi tub and watching the Imitation Game. I felt asleep exhausted but happy.

Posted in In Travel, North America | Leave a comment

The New Memories

Down the street from my old house, I found the little crustless sandwiches I used to love and I bought one to share with Michael. It waIMG_8351s the ham and pineapple one and he loved it! Then we wandered up and down Santa Fe just as I did a decade ago. The streets were crowded with people coming from work and I began to feel a little overwhelmed. We turned on our cross street towards the BnB, and I remembered that Michael was still hungry. He is usually quite vocal about it but today he was being very gracious and letting me lead the way.

Just a couple blocks from Gus’s BnB, we stumbled upon a cute little diner on the corner. It was a perfect place to grab a drink, eat some food, and people watch. It wasn’t very busy inside so we got the table for two right by the front window. The waiter was kind and patient when we tried to speak to him in our broken Spanish. We asked him what was best and he recommended the empanadas. We ordered one of each of the four flavors they offered and couple of cokes. They were playing good music that I knew. I began to decompress a bit and was able to r20140909_173450 2elax.

I watched the people on the street and noticed that most of them were wearing black. One thing that is different is the garbage cans everywhere. This is a great new feature and it did seem that most people were using them. Also it doesn’t seem like there are so many people smoking anymore. Before it was incredible how the whole city seemed to smoke. So we finished our food and paid our bill, then walked the short block home.

IMG_8355On our way, we found a Coto supermarket. Knowing that Michael would be hungry again in a couple hours, we stepped in. We bought some of my old favorites, more empanadas, and a bottle of wine. The wine here is so cheap! It would be a crime not to drink it.

After that we went home and slept the best sleep in a long time.

Grateful for making new memories in old places.

Posted in In Travel, South America, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Old Neighborhood

So we wa20140909_153805ndered the streets and I got lost. I knew we were close but I kept taking shortcuts that ended up putting us in the wrong direction. Michael was patient even though he was starving. We ran into a random empanada shop and got a small snack. An empanada is a flaky pocket of pastery filled with meats, cheeses, or any other number of fillings. They were yummy except that they were a bit cold in the middle so the cheese didn’t quite melt. Otherwise they were a great introduction to what we would be eating over the next few weeks. Empanadas are everywhere in Buenos Aires and are cheap and filling.20140909_161636 2

Finally we turned a corner and there was the park that I spent so much time staring down into. Park Guemes was dirtier than I remember but the big jagged statue was the same. They also have a bike share program here and this is one of the stations.

We stopped for a minute as I reminisced. The restaurant across the street where we had so many meals and where I had banana splits for breakfast after a long nights of partying. I walked to the building I spent a year caged up in. I looked up at the room that I spent all my days waiting for my boyfriend to come home. It was a great year of heavy partying but I didn’t learn Spanish and I didn’t make many friends. I was very isolated. Don’t get me wrong, I was there by my own choice. I thought I was in love.

It was a great year and it was a horrible year. But I grew a lot and learned so much about myself. In the end when we broke up, I crashed and burned. I became anorexic, contemplated plastic surgery, and was very self-destructive. I was a mess.20140909_123152

But I picked myself up. And I finally found my own way. I moved in my own apartment, got a job, learned Spanish, and made my own friends. I really went deep inside myself and found out who I really was. And not until I was better, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, would I let myself go back to Canada.

I guess you could say it was a really transformative time. So this place holds a special place in my heart. I looked up at my old place and felt grateful for the times I had there. I walked down the streets that I had walked up and down so many times, to the grocery store we used to shop, and to the mall we used to visit. Nothing was different. But nothing was the same.

Grateful for bravery.

Posted in In Travel | Leave a comment

The Dolar Blue

The cool thing about traveling to Argentina right now is the underground economy. The official rate is 8.4 pesos to the US dollar, but the Dolar Blue is at 14.35 and rising! This makes the peso very lucrative for people with USD. It’s not legal, per say, but everyone who has dollars uses the touts who shout, whisper or advertise cambio in someway. It seems very common and makes it much more affordable to buy anything from food to clothes to rent. In fact, we chose to wait to rent a place longer-term until we arrived in Buenos Aires. This way our chances were higher to be able to pay in pesos. With most online apartment rental companies and even AirBnB, only allow payment in USD. Everyone here is crazy about the dollar and the locals will do just about anything to get them.20140909_145713

In the short time we have been here the Dolar Blue has gone up almost $0.50 which is alot when you are exchanging thousands of dollars. Luckily, I have friends here who helped me exchange my dollars for pesos at one of their reputable cambios. We ended up getting a rate of 14 pesos for the dollar and I felt rich! Suddenly things were almost half-price. The very next day it went up 10 cents and it’s been going up daily.

I don’t really understand how it is going to continue or how the locals can live in this very split economy, but it sure makes living here very cheap if you have the wanted currency. The downside is that though there are tons of places to rent, almost all of them want their rent paid by dollar. That is the only currency they will take. We knew we would have to go house hunting in a few days but for now I had booked us our space to get settled.

20140912_104147

I tried to sleep for a little while but Michael just felt antsy to go out and about. I didn’t want to go anywhere without having pesos and we had to wait for Flor to do the exchange. Luckily she was quite fast and we met her at the nearby mall to get our take. It ended up being quite a lot of bills and we felt quite rich. After giving Flor the Nerf Gun she had asked for for her little brother, we parted ways and we went to explore.

After we stashed most of our bills safely at home, we went out for a walk. Michael was starving, as usual, so we were on the hunt for food. I kind of knew the area but I still felt a bit turned around. I just couldn’t find my sense of direction. I knew that if I got to my old house, I would know where I was. So that is what we tried to find…

Grateful for locals, Dolar Blue, having connections, and feeling at home.

 

Posted in In Fun, In Travel, South America | Leave a comment

The Best Bed and Breakfast in Buenos Aires

IMG_8328Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same. I had been listening to Flor telling me how things were so different now and that it wasn’t as safe here. She told me to be very careful and I faintly remembered hearing the same words the last time I came. This time I asked whether either of them had been held up or had crime done to them. They both said no. I am sure that with common sense I will be fine, I assured her. Besides, I have Michael here now and he is my protector.

We finally made it near the microcentro and I started recognizing streets and parks. It was not so different at all! The rain just would’t let up so we had a quick goodbye and we waited in the doorway for our AirBnB host to let us in. Though the walk (sprint) to the doorway was just a few feet, I got drenched. When Gus answered the door, he whisked us in out of the terrible storm. Since we had arrived so early, our room wasn’t ready yet but he graciously let us rest in his living room for the morning. We had intended just to drop off our bags and go walk around the neighborhood but that was not in the cards. The storm was ferocious and would not let us even think about stepping foot out there. Instead we laid down on the L shaped couch and I watched the rapid fire lightening until I drifted off to sleep.IMG_8322

A few hours later, we woke up and found that the storm had gone and so had Gus. We waited in the living room and I noticed Gus’s good taste. He was meticulous with his belongings and everything seemed to have a place. I had read good reviews about Gus on AirBnB and so far it was all true. A short while later, Gus showed up and said that our room was ready. He took us across the hall to another condo which he had converted into a Bed and Breakfast. I was so impressed with his ingunuity to have such a cool guesthouse that still allowed him his own space. Brilliant!IMG_8324

Gus showed us our room which happened to be the best of the three, and I was so relieved. It was better than in the pictures! How often does that happen? He spent time explaining the area and how he had gotten there. It was a great story and I was inspired to someday do the same thing. He really enjoys his guests and makes them feel at home. He took the little chalkboard off our door and wrote our names on it and where we were from. I glanced at the others and there was a German Thomas and two guys from Venesula. It was so cozy and sweet…very well kept. When he finally left us to settle in, I flopped on the comfy bed and exhaled. Finally, I’m back.

Grateful for hospitality, good honest reviews, space heaters, home made medialunas, and drying off.

Posted in In Fun, In Travel, South America | Leave a comment

The Long Way

20140907_214515When we got near Buenos Aires, there was a pretty intense storm. I had my face stuck to the window to capture the beauty of it all. I was slightly surprised that we were flying right into it but strangely, I wasn’t scared. I guess I was too excited to be feeling anything else. I have been thinking about coming back here for quite a while. But only in the last few months was the feeling very very strong. I am not sure why but I just needed to come back. And stay a while. A week wouldn’t do. No, I had to revisit my life here. I am so glad to be bringing Michael. It’s a completely different feeling traveling with someone. And right now, I need his moral support.

When I liv20140908_172930ed here almost a decade ago, I was a different person. At least I think I was. I feel like the places that have defined me have been the ones that have most challenged me. And Argentina was the best and the worst, in so many ways. I knew before I landed the first time that I would stay here for a while. I wasn’t sure why but I just knew I would stop moving from place to place and take a rest. I had been traveling non—stop for three years. So it was time for a break. Some part of me knew it was home. At least for a while.

read more

Posted in In Love, In Travel, Soul, South America | Leave a comment

Plane rides done right

After a wonderful couple weeks at Burning Man, we packed up and are now on our way to South America. I am sitting on the plane (2 out of 3) smelling the yummy food being heated. My tummy is growly so I must be hungry. Michael is sleeping in my lap. Luckily, we got the whole row so he could spreaIMG_8188d out. That happened on the last flight too but I took my turn sleeping between San Francisco and San Salvador. It certainly is a long trek down to Buenos Aires taking more than 26 hours but that is the price you pay for getting good deals on tickets. Besides, Avianca ain’t so bad. They feed you for free and that is a major plus in my books.

20140908_012021

There is nothing like gliding through the baby blue expanse, high above the clouds nibbling on a hot buttered bun and sipping wine. No matter how bad the food may be (insert random joke about bad airplane food), I will never tire of dining among the stars.
read more

Posted in In Love, In Travel, South America | Leave a comment

Day One : Kathmandu to Lukla to Monjo

Distance covered* 10 km *Lukla to Monjo

Altitude gained * 2840m to 2835m *-0.5m (!)

Today I began trekking to Mount Everest.  I got to the airport early and checked in. I thought it was funny that they only wanted me to check my collapsible walking poles, not my smallish yet densely packed bag.  I charged my phone up at the power source in the airline office knowing that I would be charged dearly for electricity from this point on. A group about a dozen of us piled into the small prop plane. We had tremendous views all the way and very few turbulence. It was slightly disconcerting to see one of the pilots reading the newspaper while we soared over the deep valleys and rice paddy terraces.

Shortly after we took off, we began to descend. After marathon flights over the years, this was definitely one of the shortest but probably the most scenic. The 1500 foot single runway was just long enough to catch us as we glided in with marked precision.  I will admit, I held my breath until the plane came to a complete stop.

The others had skipped breakfast so I waited as they devoured an insanely expensive cinnamon roll. Little did we know, that would be the first of many overpriced bakery items we would be tempted by over the next few weeks. When they were done, we suited up and started walking.

The path was pretty obvious and I decided to forgo buying a map. It seemed pretty hard to get lost when there were hundreds of people spread out over this 65 km route. It took me less than five minutes to stumble and fall. Luckily, there was no damage other than my pride. I brushed off and kept walking. We passed many shops and small villages this day while taking in the gorgeous scenery. I was amazed at how warm it was and didn’t even really feel any different even though we were already at over 2800m altitude.

We walked and walked stopping sometimes to snap photos of the exceptionally stunning countryside. We had decided to trek all the way to Manjo which would be ten miles of some of the most gorgeous nature I have seen in a while. Every now and then, I would glance up rather than down to admire the looming mountains surrounding me. It may have been one of these careless moments which caused me to trip over a rock. I took a nasty spill and ended up with not only a badly injured knee (now I have a pair of purple knobs) but a bloodly fat lip. I literally bit it and hard.  M and M doubled back and tried to minimize the damage. They wiped the dirt off my face and helped me shake myself off. The kept telling me it wasn’t as bad as it was all the while giving each other “the look”.  Nevertheless, I spent the rest of the trip with a limp and what looked like half a moustache and bad case of face herpes. I guess I wasn’t out here to win a beauty contest but come on!

By the time we reached Monjo, I was at the end of my rope. I wanted to stop an hour ago but the others insisted somewhat ruthlessly that we press on. I didn’t realize they had to buy their park pass which drove us further than we actually had to walk. I had already organized mine back in Kathmandu so for me, the extra effort was pointless. If there is one thing I hate, its inefficiency.  That coupled with the biting wind that had kicked up made for a very grumpy Carmella.

Luckily the guesthouse was warm and friendly serving up some decent grub. The bare bones rooms cost only 100 rupees which is just over a dollar so they charge a lot for food. I didn’t care that I had to pay for hot water since I had brought all my favorite teas. I saw the envy in the other’s eyes as I prepared my version of spicy coconut ginger tea in my enormous thermos.  Everyone knows that tea makes me very happy.  And today, that tea warmed me up from the inside out.  We made a few new friends as we all sat around in the communal dining area where the trekkers, guides and ports all gathered. We all cheered when they lit the fireplace and the whole room got cozy real fast.

I surveyed the damage on my knee and promised myself I would make sure not to give into the pressure to keep pace with the others. If I arrived a few minutes or even an hour later, it made no difference. We just sat around doing nothing in the lodge for the rest of the day so I may as well take my time and enjoy the scenery. What was the point of rushing? I, for one, was in no race.  If nothing else, this was a practice in slowing down.

I bundled myself into my down sleeping bag and covered myself with the extra blankets we finagled.  I had my thermals on and I was toasty warm. The only discomfort I experienced was the frequent bathroom breaks I had to take downing all that tea.  Here was another lesson I learned hard and fast. In any case, I slept like a log.

Grateful for moderation.

Posted in Asia, In Travel | Leave a comment

Trekking to the Top of the World – Pre-trip Preparations Kathmandu

 

I have no idea what possessed me to embark on a walk in some of the harshest terrain in the world, enduring some of the worst temperatures I have had to survive for years, living without common niceties like showers, plumbing, infact there would not even be heat in the places  I would sleep. Ok, this may sound a little nuts for someone who spends majority of her time and energy avoiding the cold like the plague. So why am I doing this? I guess  part of me wanted to challenge the laziness and apathy I have been experiencing over the past few months. And what a better cure of my recent curse of severe clumsiness? All this falling down stairs and walking into walls just has to stop.  Trekking among the highest mountains in the world oughtta do it, right? Climbing almost 100 km through the Himalaya wilderness to the highest altitude I have ever experienced is just what the doctor ordered. Or so I thought.

I spent a couple days wandering in and out of the glut of trekking stores in tourist laden Thamel. I had a few administrative errands to run including getting my TIMS permit ($20 USD) which would register me with the Nepal Tourism Board and the Sagarmatha Park pass which cost a thousand rupees ($12 USD). Luckily I got both of these within minutes at the same place. Then I made the short jaunt over to the Immigration office where I would extend my visa for another two weeks for thirty dollars.

While I was waiting for them to process my extention, I met a Danish lass called Marianne. She just so happened to be going on the same hike on the same day so we decided to keep each other company. I was intending to do this trip solo but I reasoned it wouldn’t hurt to make a few friends along the way. She said she had met another Canadian the day before, Mark from Calgary, who would make our little team three. I knew this would quell my mom’s nerves as she expressed some deep concern about me wandering around the remote parts of Nepal alone. At least now if I fell off a cliff, there would be someone there to witness it and report back. There would be no tales of Yetis kidnapping , this young lady, no siree. I met up with my two trekking buddies the next day and we booked our flight to Lukla. It was only 35 mins but it was a serious flight into the most dangerous airport in the world. The night before, I reconsidered my gear and at the last minute rented a puffy yellow down jacket for 35 rupees a day. That’s less than 6 dollars for two weeks to ensure a happy warm Carmella. Money well spent, I reckon.

Since I would be taking time away from the kids at the school I have been volunteering at, I decided to dedicate my trek to them. I set up a quick and dirty Facebook event for Klimb for Kids. I didn’t know if anyone would participate but it was worth a try. And perhaps it could make a difference for a child. At least this effort wouldn’t be in vain.

I packed my new 5 dollar 35 liter backpack with my “real fake” designer hiking gear. I glanced nervously at my new ten dollar unbroken in hiking shoes. Needless to say, I was a little worried but something inside propelled me forward. I didn’t sleep that night. I am not sure it was from excitement, fear, or anxiety. Probably a little bit of all. I was about to embark on something I had never dreamt of. Could I do it? Honestly, the thought of not finishing didn’t even cross my mind. I would do this if I had to crawl there on my hands and knees.

Grateful for spontaneity.

Posted in Asia, In Travel | Leave a comment

Recovering in the most Un-Indian part of India – Arambol Beach, India

I am sitting in one of the many cafes that provide free wi-fi but it does no good because the power is out again. No matter. Reminds us all to slow down. Not sure I could slow down much more than I have now though. It took me 2 hours to get out of bed this morning. I finally got it together to come try a new breakfast spot. This one brags of good coffee and scrumptious cookies neither of which I am trying. Instead I will go with the breakfast of eggs, salad, toast, homemade jam and ginger lemon tea for 80 rupees. Not only is the price right but the vibe here at Dylan’s Coffee House suits my mood.

I am feeling much better and my cough has subsided save for a few episodes this morning. I didn’t sleep well due to my new hair style. I spent the last three days at Om Hair Art while Vicky and his mom tag teamed braiding my mane into one hundred tiny braids. Last time I got this done in Africa I had extensions added but this time I am hoping to keep it natural and maybe my locks will dread naturally over time. It was a real pleasure getting to know Vicky’s family and how they run the hair/bikini shop. By the end of it, I knew most of the prices on things and had even sold a few people on braids or dreads. They like me and think I am good for business.

I negotiated a better price on the flat I am staying which tempts me to stay even longer. I have been here a week now and don’t feel any draw to move. After a couple nights of moving around I feel settled and am beginning to find my favorite places. Internet is cheap at only 40 rupees an hour and I can work on editing my book. I am learning that this process takes a lot longer than I had thought as I keep remembering more stories that I hadn’t written in the blog. I have been adding but not really taking away which is making the book fatter and fatter. Reliving my early travels has been amusing to say the least and even dare I say, charming, in parts. Can someone charm themselves?

My food has come and it is delicious. About a dozen French people have come as well and the place is now buzzing with words I only half recognize. I guess one of the bonuses of growing up in Canada is that even if you didn’t study it, the French language has somehow made its way into your subconscious.  Every two minutes I hear someone call out for a cheese croissant. There are a couple of guys in front of me doing some serious pretzel stretching between puffs of a fat cigarette of wacky tabacky. There is a place here in town called Cookie Walla (Cookie Master) and apparently they sell hopped up cookies. After visiting the smoky dopey tent I believe it. I liked the idea of a cookie walla but don’t want to partake of the “special” ingredients. So I guess no cookie for me.

There are a lot of circus type people here with a unique tribal style. One of my favorite parts of being here is the gathering which happens at sunset point on the beach.  Along with the drum/dance circle there are dozen or so artisans selling their wares. From twisted jewelry to stylish clothes to tarot card readings to essential oils, you will find it here. I was so impressed by the brave young woman selling the Diva/Moon cup on her little blanket spread out on the sand. I gave her a big hug to show my appreciation of her promoting this valuable product.  There are a few people who bring momos and other stuffed dumplings as well as a roasted corn cart which usually shows up. If none of that grabs you, you can watch performers of every caliber practicing with the backdrop of the fiery orange sun sinking into the sea. Yes it goes without saying there are a lot of beautiful people here. And most of them know it.

Grateful for getting a break.

Posted in Asia, In Travel | Leave a comment