5 Places I Like to Eat in Vancouver

I am old. An imperfectly carved, ancient relic. It dawned on me I’ve lived in Vancouver just over 10 years, much longer on this earth. Which is why you should listen to me on where to eat. Respect your elders.

1.  The Reef – Carribbean

I sometimes get my island fix at Riddim and Spice on Commercial Drive. See, I just love hole-in-the-walls. Those places have the most run down decor, chairs shakily held together with duct tape, and the best food. Yet, truly, my heart is with The Reef. They have four locations: Commercial, Main, Chilliwack and Victoria, BC. The original location was on Main Street, a happening neighborhood for families and hipsters. Why do I love it? They house at least 40 different rums. That constitutes a rum bath. And the food is fresh, spicy or even milder, with the right notes of crispy, tender and tasty. I typically go for a vegetable roti or ackee and saltfish. To accompany a meal, usually a rum concoction suggested by the server sustains my rum cravings. 4172 Main Street.  +1-604-874-5375. Take the #3 bus on Main and get off at Main and 28th. http://thereefrestaurant.com. Prices: $6 to $18 CDN.


2.  Yamato – Sushi

I strive to shatter rash appearances, and Yamato would easily be categorized as shifty, due for a shut down by Vancouver health inspectors. Wrong! Apparently, Yamato’s cramped size and interior mimics eateries in Japan. The prices cause you to read them twice. 22 pieces for $5.95. Uh huh. They offer inventive rolls and rock bottom prices. Right on the edge of downtown, it’s the perfect spot to pad your stomach before hitting the night’s entertainment on Granville. Watch the video below. 616 Davie Street. +1-604 682-5494. Take #6 bus and get off at Davie and Granville. Dine here review: dinehere.ca/vancouver/yamato-sushi. Prices: $5 to $12 CDN.

3.  Joe Fortes – West Coast

I am not a raw oyster fan. They are slippery, overly soft pieces of flesh from the sea I can’t swallow. I know, I suck. To make up for my suckery, I do devour every other seafood. You can’t come to Vancouver and dismiss the seafood, unless it makes you heave. Joe Fortes is not overly cheap, but they do have decent lunch specials. A good value, which can be split between two people is the seafood tower on ice. For $58 you get a variety of fish with potatoes and fresh vegetables. The other benefit of checking out Joe’s is their location, close to famous Robson Street, where all the stars and anyone who is anyone shops. I can confirm, there is a massive selection of oysters here (yuck). Look for the vintage taxi parked out front with the Joe name on it! 777 Thurlow Street. +1-604-669-1940 or toll free at 1-877-669-5637. Best way to get there is to walk from Burrard Station and turn left off Thurlow and Dunsmuir. www.joefortes.ca. Prices: $9 to $60 CDN (depends on what you order).

4.  Guu With Garlic – Japanese Izakaya

Vancouver is a mecca of Japanese food. Unbelievable. I discovered Guu with a Chinese doctor of traditional medicine. She had to dispel my assumptions on Japanese cuisine. I’m grateful to her. What is izakaya exactly? In short, a Japanese drinking establishment that offers casual dining. Guu also has several locations like The Reef, but I still have fond memories of the second one on Robson and Bute. Guu’s interior has tatami mats with short tables or stretched out tables composed from meaty pieces of wood. They are similar to picnic tables, which force people to socialize and share food. A high percentage of izakaya is appetizer size, hot, and not catalogued as sushi. The garlic part of the name signifies how yummy and healthy it is for us. Many of Guu’s dishes have sprinkles of garlic chips. Imagine sauteed garlic turned brown in the pan, tossed over tuna or beef tataki. Another fave is the spicy calamari or Gin Dara – miso marinated cod with miso mayonnaise. My ultimate favorite drink: aloe vera juice and vodka. I’m groaning. Spent. Leave me now. 1698 Robson Street. +1-604-685-8678. Take #5 Robson bus and exit on Bute and Robson. www.guu-izakaya.com/robson. Prices: $2 to $8 CDN per dish. Main Guu website with locations is special. Each location has something different about it. www.guu-izakaya.com/storeinfo/info.

5.  The Congee and Noodle House – Chinese

I am picky about Chinese. Probably because it’s part of my heritage, but it can’t be too greasy. That turns me off quickly. And for good measure, please use fresh ingredients. Following that basic philosophy makes the flavors sing. That’s what we want with ginger, garlic and fragrant green onion. A Chinese opera. The Congee House has been a staple of Vancouver forever. They serve scrumptious, straight up Chinese food at prices you can swallow. Oh, and congee. A childhood friend. Congee is basically rice soup. Sounds gross, but the advantage is you can add absolutely anything to it. Gai lan, beef, pork or seafood. I generally go for the seafood congees and order a side of Chinese donut. Deep-fried bread sticks that you dip into the congee. Heaven and earth. Of course, I always order spicy tofu, too. The best in the city! 141 East Broadway.  +1-604- 879-8221. There are several ways to access. #3 Main bus from downtown. Canada Line from downtown to Broadway Station, then hop the #99 or #9 to Main and Broadway. www.urbanspoon.com. Prices: $8 to $15 CDN.

By |May 31st, 2011 |Categories: Vancouver |30 Comments

India, You Own Me

The moment I breathed in muggy air, felt my skin prickle from the heat as I exited Mumbai’s International terminal, was an awakening. I knew this was going to be an unforgettable experience.

Friends or newly formed acquaintances ask me, how was India?

My voice dies. Lips unable to speak. A simple set of words eludes me.

She can’t be summed up in one sentence. Ever.

Cities heave under the weight of human survival, prosperity and ingenuity. The buildings, some gleaming, newly poured, while others are crumbling and abandoned. Or the pockmarked pavement where motorbikes, scooters and Tata cars jockey for position. The onset of car culture and the American mentality that is seeping in seems to be winning. But the power of a 5,500-year-old culture doesn’t buckle so easily.

The cities may be considered the heart, epicenter of India, but it’s the villages that are the arteries, the veins pumping life’s blood into her, carving paths to multiple doorways of religion and culture.

Imagine this: thatch huts with a sow tied to a wooded fence stand in plain sight alongside a steel waste management bin that’s dutifully emptied by screeching, rumbling trucks that are fueled by gas, not magic dust. It’s this marriage of tradition and modern that leads a wanderer to cover her eyes in wake of a collision, yet it never comes. What you receive is ordered chaos – coexistence between the ancient and progress.

The village injects her desires into the pocket of every metropolis.

There’s no distinction between hick land and the cosmopolitan. It all meshes together. Within that what endures is family. Every distant relative is cousin, brother or sister. A profound, staggering stronghold of community. Then, the holy. The spiritual tangling of India spreads to every waking moment, people are bound with each other, so that a collective release is encouraged, a given. Celebration always surrounded me.

I will miss:

  • The driving mania of Mumbai. Cars careening towards me. I thought I would die a hundred times.
  • Ducking cow manure.
  • Walking beside a family of cows in the blazing sun, as cars honk and narrowly navigate past.
  • Hearing multi-languages as I cross state borders.
  • The head bobble.
  • An indulgent vegetable thali.
  • Stopping a chai wallah on a 22-hour train journey. Watching as he separates the plastic cups and releases sweet goodness from his portable thermos.
  • Dosas.
  • A rainbow of saris in front of me, punctuated by the lovely women wearing them.
  • The sweet, lonely dogs seeking a place to nap in the noonday heat.
  • Observing a restaurant worker light incense before his homemade altar, pray, and return to work.
  • The locals who offered me part of their lunch, asked who I was, how I enjoyed their country.
  • Incessant honking.
  • The Taj Mahal.

Why should you visit India? She will cause your pulse to quicken, stomach churn, and skin to break out in sweat or cold. Every single nerve of your being will spark. You will feel unmistakably alive. She doesn’t pull punches, and that’s what we signed up for.

India taught me patience, made me laugh, sob, sick, and forced me stand outside myself.

It’s raw, real. A blemished, imperfect, nonsensical part of the world.

I will be back.

My 50 best photos from India.

By |May 28th, 2011 |Categories: India |44 Comments
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Osaka Fizzles Teriyaki Style

I don’t know about you, but I like my sake warm. Icy sake leaves me thinking of a cold eel pulled from the water, squirming, chilling the palm of my hand. Warm sake slides down the throat effortlessly, warming the centre of your belly. Kind of like laughter. Today, Sally Thelen is my sake. Please guffaw at this week’s story from Summer Chick Tales.

It was two days before my big date with the hot Japanese cop that I’d met at my friend’s party when he texted me to surprise me. Not in a romantic, cutesie, “I-can’t-wait-to-see-you-again” kind of way, but in a “Hey-guess-what! My-supervisor-is-going-to-join-us-on-our-date” kind of way.

Needless to say, it worked – I was, well, surprised.

But, hey, maybe this was just the Japanese way?

After all, what did I know? I hadn’t exactly been dating up a frenzy since arriving in Japan two years prior to meeting the hot cop. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in dating Japanese guys – I was. It’s just that they didn’t seem all that interested in dating me. Or, maybe “not interested” is not the right term for it — more like “completely terrified of the prospect.”

Not that this was anything new. I’ve been told my whole life that I can be a little bit, well, intimidating. I’ve never been completely sure what it is about me that puts men off – whether it’s my fierce independence or my intellect or my biting sarcasm or, say, my tendency to get loud and sloppy at parties and start dragging boys across the dance floor by their lapels in an effort to make them dance with me.

The only Japanese guy I’d gone out with before the cop had been a hulking, judo-practicing, night club bouncer. On our first date, I wore the most girlie dress I could find and carefully poured his beer before pouring my own (a little trick I’d picked up from watching Memoirs of a Geisha). I politely asked him questions and tried to keep my donkey-bray laugh to a minimum. Over dinner, he informed me that he was descended from a family of samurai. (“So what’s your dad do?” “He’s in the family business.” “And what is that?” “Oh, you know, samurai-ing.”)

Sapporo, samuari-san?

Figuring the descendent of Japanese military nobility could handle a little more of the “real me,” for our second date, I invited him to my friend’s Hawaiian-themed house party.

I showed up in a coconut bra and a grass skirt.

Let’s just say he was a little surprised.

Let’s also just say he never called me again.

But, back to the hot cop.

After a bit of careful research (phoning all my friends who had ever been out on a date in Japan), I discovered that the whole chaperone-thing was, in fact, the Japanese way… well, kind of. You see, it’s quite common for a girl to bring along a friend with her on a first date to, you know, protect her virtue and stuff. It’s not nearly so common for a guy to bring along a chaperone — especially if that guy happens to be one of the few people legally allowed to carry a gun in Japan.

Are hearts and wrought iron in Sally’s future?

“Will he be bringing his wife?” I texted back hopefully. Why not make lemonade out of these lemons? So I couldn’t have the hot cop to myself? We could at least make this into a double date kind of thing! Wouldn’t that be fun?

He texted me back to tell me he’d ask. The next day, he texted with another surprise — not only was his supervisor bringing his wife but they would also be bringing their one-year-old child.

This was not exactly the kind of lemonade I had in mind.

But who was I to be picky? I hadn’t been on a date in almost a year and the cop was hot – like really, really, really hot.

And, hey, maybe I could make this whole date-with-a-one-year-old child thing work for me. After all, I had to be less intimidating than a screaming toddler, right? Right?!

On the evening of our date, I arrived at the restaurant to find the hot cop and his entourage. His supervisor was engaging and funny and chatted excitedly with me about Brazil. (He had lived there a couple years; I had lived there for one.) The supervisor’s wife was sweet and charming and also a big travel buff. She wanted to know which countries I’d been to and where I planned to go to next. The one-year-old child was adorable… and, well, kind of screamy but adorable, nonetheless.

And the cop?

The cop was hot – like really, really, really hot.

And, well, that was about it.

He seemed like a nice guy (and hot… I mentioned he was hot, right?).

A flowering relationship…

But we didn’t really have much in common. His hobbies included martial arts and working on his six-pack (as in his six-pack abs, not, like, a six-pack of beer – which would have been a hobby we could have totally shared together). My hobbies included reading and eating ice cream and occasionally dragging hapless Japanese boys across the dance floor by their lapels. (In fact, that’s exactly how we met!)

He didn’t speak much English. I didn’t speak much Japanese. While this hadn’t seemed to matter much on the dance floor, it just made for awkward silence over dinner. (Well, it would have made for awkward silence if we hadn’t had his chatty supervisor and his charming wife and their screamy child to fill up the void. Talk about lemonade out of lemons!)

After our “date” together, I never heard from the hot cop again.

Let’s just say I wasn’t too surprised.

Let’s also just say I don’t think he could have handled me in a coconut bra.

Author bio: Sally Thelen is a writer, teacher, traveler, performer and all-around scaredy cat. She has been working, living and traveling in Asia since 2007. She currently lives in China, where she teaches English and blogs about cookies, pants and her fear of pretty much everything at Unbrave Girl. Alternatively, catch her comedy, caramel goodness on Twitter or Facebook.

And, yes, boys, she’s single!

Summer Chick Tales was conceived from my love of the season and my obsession with slurpees. I always have one every summer. I also love women writers. Lots. If you want to submit a story or be in charge of the mojito station, see the editorial schedule. Come on, join the XX chromosome party.

Photos provided by author.

El Amor and Travel

One important lesson I’ve learned this past year is that affection can materialize in many forms. You could be passionate about animals and nature. Fall in and out of love with humans in a swift stroke. Once in a while, another kind of love will envelope your senses, leaving you hungering for more. Diana Edelman tells us.

Madrid under blue

I’m single. I’m in my early thirties. To say I haven’t thought that traveling might introduce me to the love of my life isn’t too far off. I mean – how perfect would it be? Sitting in the common room of a hostel and in walks Mr. Guy of My Dreams. Sparks fly instantly. We spend the day wandering ancient cobblestone streets, sipping coffee at an outdoor café. Grab a traditional dinner. Head back to the hostel for drinks …


Travel and love.

I’ve traveled a fair bit in the past two years of my life, and there have been times when something nearly exactly like the scenario above has happened.

In Croatia, it was with an Aussie. We spent a magical evening together walking through Zagreb’s abandoned city streets and planning a hiking trip the next day.

In Spain, it was with a Spaniard. We, too, spent a magical evening together, devouring tapas, tinto de verano, dancing flamenco.

There have been a few others, but, like most travel loves, when the trip ends, so does the love.

So, needless to say, my travel love is something other than the norm.

I remember the first time I realized I was in love when I was on the road. It was love at first sight.

There I was, fresh off a quick Ryanair flight from Dublin to Madrid. I had hauled my 40 kilo backpack monstrosity, along with my messenger bag and purse through Madrid’s never-ending terminals to the Metro. I took three trains to get to my hostel. I fumbled through beginners Spanish with reception and was given a key to my little (and I mean little) room.

As soon as I entered, I dropped my bags down on my bed and opened the shutters to my balcony overlooking Plaza de Mayor.


The lights against the dark of the night sky. The people wandering the square. The hundreds of motorbikes parked alongside the road.

Love. At. First. Sight.

For months, this went on. Each morning I woke up in Spain, I fell harder.

There was just something about Spain. The people walked slower. Families held hands. Older women had purple and electric pink hair and no one looked twice. The food was scrumptious. The wine was even more scrumptious. They took siesta. They took holidays that extended beyond two weeks. They partied in the streets – celebrating everything from Summer Solstice to the World Cup. They embraced life with passion.

And, then there was the actual mesmerizing gorgeousness of the sites.

On a bus from Madrid to Toledo, the emerald green hills giving way to the snow-capped mountains took my breath away.

In Monfrague, the yellow flowers jutting from the ground – the first signs of spring – made me see stars.

In Valencia, the gorgeous shoreline with soft sand against a full moon and twinkling stars with the Mediterranean Sea below, glistening in the night.

In Tarifa, the merging of the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean.

It didn’t take long for me to realize I was head-over-heels-in-love … with Spain.

I vividly remember a turbulent flight from Brussels to Madrid. It was one of those white-knuckle flights where people actually gasp when the plane dips.

I sat with my head pressed against the window, knowing nothing was truly wrong, but still sweating it out. And then, below me, the clouds opened and I could see the Spanish countryside below. The rolling hills. The small cluster of Madrid’s “Gotham City” buildings stretching towards the sky. And then, everything was OK. The landscape, even miles up, reassured me. Told me I would be just fine.

Even if the words were in my head, and not whispered by a lover holding my hand, it made me feel better.

There is a beauty in falling in love with a country. It will never get upset with you. It will never tell you you’re wrong (even if you are). It will never cheat on you. It will be there, regardless. And, unlike a travel love person, at the end of the journey, it will still be there … nearly the same as you left it. Ready with open arms for the imminent return. Because, after all, a love affair with a country means you will be back.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel blogger who recently completed a seven-month solo backpacking adventure through Europe and Africa. Currently residing in Las Vegas, Diana is planning her next adventure – to Thailand. For more travel stories from her trip, visit her site, follow along on Twitter and Facebook.

Photo [Madrid under blue]: cuellar

That Thing Called Fear

Fear Itself

Maybe it’s because of my diminutive stature, people ask me frequently about fear and traveling alone.

In our present, scattered and politically shifting world, fear is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. There’s that stab of fresh fear about revenge terrorism after the demise of Osama. American citizens are on high alert, which has introduced innumerable feelings on the endless, pointless and violent cycle of war. Or how about the fear of rejection, the kind Akila McConnell is facing as she composes query letters to editors and agents for her novel. The prospect of criticism can be gripping, producing sleepless nights.

But, back to me.

I puffed up my chest like a blowfish and boldly announced to my friends, “I am GOING to Brazil.”

Some gasped, some hesitated before congratulating me.

I could sense the radio waves of their thoughts.

We love you, but you’re crazy.  I would never go there alone.

My sanity aside, what the solo female traveler endures is not the fall of dictatorships or a nasty, mocking circle of 13 year old girls, but space.

Is anyone near me physically? Or that person in my face, is he or she threatening?

Every year feminist groups in Vancouver hold an event called Take Back the Night. Women from all branches of life brandish candles, walking through a pitch, black night in Stanley Park to symbolically show a woman’s plight to be free, unencumbered. In years past, there were assaults and attacks in the park. I use to live right beside Stanley Park and would often run or hike through at varying times of the day. Rather than be wracked365/329 by fear, jumping at a rustle detected from the corner of my eye, I reveled in the blanket of trees covering me or the slits of sun creeping through, warming my chilled skin.

In Brazil, I was somewhat cautious, but never felt uncomfortable walking alone.  Yet, I witnessed victimization. One sassy Brit gal’s camera was lifted at Ipanema Beach. She shrugged her shoulders, knew it was what it was, and hunted for a shiny new one at the Saturday market in Rio. I encountered two other Brit girls in Salvador who were mugged for their cameras. Their viewpoint on Brazil had drastically altered from paradise to hate. That one incident colored their entire trip, turning the diversity and intense beauty of Brazil into sour grapes.

I always admired the sassy girl’s attitude. Shit happens, whether traveling or not, it doesn’t leave a distaste for your own city, why should it when far from home? You grieve, and hopefully move forward.

It’s amusing to paint myself as the loony Lieutenant Colonel Kilgore, played to perfection by Robert Duvall in Apocalypse Now, the sentiment that the craziest guy always survives.

In that vein, I am impulsive. Bull-headed, leaping towards that door with a hanging sign that says “men only”. And I question things, constantly.

Why do all the women worship in this area of a mosque? Does the ghetto of Paris offer nothing to the tourist?

I don’t know everything, but I do know this. Fear is ugly. Fear is ignorance. I do feel it.

What wins is my innate curiosity, which renders fear a dull nag. The world, with all its treasures, realities and wonders compel me to move through it, over and over again. I squeal in delight, seriously, you’re reading a woman who still collects Wonder Woman comics. I can play the child and poke at weird objects, put the wrong things in my mouth, and decide that odd interaction was the neatest moment ever.

You can call it temporary insanity, maybe it is. The next time someone asks me about fear, I’m going to say this: I’m not just taking back the night, I’m taking back the world.

Photos: Christi Nielson, Ms. L. and United Artists

When Love Rode Up in Finland

When I read this story Finlandia Vodka came to mind. In a rocks glass, two fingers worth, mixed with soda and cranberry juice. Then, ice. Three to four cubes. It’s a complete drink to accompany Shawna Enns’ tale of love found and lost in the brisk environs of Finland. Please enjoy today’s story from Summer Chick Tales.

Snow Dust Winter Glow

It was 2005 and I was absolutely thrilled with myself, because I had put a dream in motion. I had successfully arrived, completely solo, in Turku, Finland to begin a four month university exchange. Now, this location in itself is not terribly exotic, and the weather was generally far from paradise, but this was my first time overseas and just as I had hoped, it proved to be an experience of a lifetime.

During the first week of school all of the International Business students were put into teams to do a city-wide scavenger hunt, which essentially turned into one huge pub crawl. I spotted him right away, a rather cocky, but quite hilarious, Dutch student with spiky hair, obnoxious yellow high tops, and a shit-eating grin. His name was Erik.

As it turned out, our apartments weren’t too far from each other and we were the only students within our group of friends that decided to bike to school instead of getting bus passes. We would bump into each other on the bike path and soon enough, he started waiting for me each morning to head to school together.

As October approached, I found myself thinking of home and the big juicy turkey that my friends and family would be sharing together for the Thanksgiving holiday. I realized that of course, Europeans do not have this holiday so I decided that with the help of my friends, I would host a real Canadian Thanksgiving. It was a challenge to track down some of the ingredients, but it was hilarious watching my French friends make piles of mashed potatoes in a dorm-sized kitchen and to see their perplexed faces at the grocery store as I tried to find an appropriate substitute for canned pumpkin.

Finland’s stark beauty

The night went off famously, though I did have to call my dad at 4 a.m. Regina time to figure out how long the turkey should be cooked. We shared great food, we each expressed something we were thankful for, and we drank copious amounts of wine and Finnish vodka. Throughout the night, it seemed that Erik and I had our eye on one another, each trying to be inconspicuous, but always meeting each other’s glances at the exact same time. As the evening progressed, the remaining guests thought I should teach them how to line dance because in their minds, this is what Canadians do. Erik got right in there and started dancing away beside me. At that point, we could no longer ignore our connection.

So the semester continued with Finnish hockey games together, trips to Sweden and essentially co-habitating in my little university apartment. I had come across the new James Blunt CD while on a weekend trip to Russia, so we’d play it over and over on my player as we talked and laughed late into the cold Finnish nights.

But, as I’m sure many can attest to, love stories on the road often turn to tragedy as quickly as they turn to bliss. The end of the semester was in the middle of December and Erik had invited me to join him on the drive home to The Netherlands so that he could show me where he was from before I flew home. Right from the get-go, there was something very bittersweet about this invitation. I was thrilled about going to the Netherlands and the chance to see Sweden, Denmark and Germany along the way, but I knew a goodbye was looming.

As I tried to pack up my life in Finland before our road trip, all kinds of hilarious mistakes were made, most likely because my mind was overcome with the idea of leaving my fellow exchange students and this crazy life we had created for ourselves over the last four months. I did my last load of laundry and accidentally threw my sweater in there with my apartment key still in it. The laundry was done automatically by loading the machine with credits from your cell phone (remember, this is Finland, land of Nokia) and so the door refused to open before the cycle was done. I sat there in the apartment laundromat for a good hour contemplating whether I could relocate my life to the Netherlands so that I would never have to leave Erik.

The inevitable is coming

Our trip to The Netherlands was great fun. We toured Anne Frank’s former home, drank Grolsch and partied at a jazz bar that famous artists like Chet Baker have performed at. But, as it always does when you’re traveling, time ran out too soon. On the morning of my flight home we took a train to the airport in Amsterdam. Once we got my highly oversized bags onto the train, I could no longer keep face. A tear streamed down my cheek, then his, one, then another, and then sobs as we sat across from one another, our hands locked together, oblivious of all the onlookers surrounding us on this crowded train. It seems the emotions were contagious. Though I don’t know what she said, a younger women standing nearby with her significant other, motioned towards me and tears welled up in her eyes.  I guess heartbreak crosses the boundaries of every culture and language.

We arrived at the airport and my bags were indeed, way too heavy. I begrudgingly started getting rid of things and rearranging between my bags and my carry-on, still crying all the while, and begging them to let me get on with this. Finally, the airport employee took pity on my poor, pathetic soul and accepted my bags. The only thing left to do was pass through security and inevitably, part ways with Erik. I’m still perplexed at how my legs actually moved me through those doors, because at the time, if my heart had anything at all to do with it, I would never have left his side. Somehow, I let go of his hand, took one last long look, and said goodbye.

Author Bio: Life has a funny little way of working out exactly as it should. Three years later, Shawna Enns met her husband when she accepted a position at a radio station in Regina after returning from an internship in Africa. Skott lived in Australia for a couple of years, which sparked their immediate connection to travel. They got married to the beat of West African drums and never let go of their love for traveling. On June 18, 2011, they are embarking on a one-year trip around the world. Follow along at the Get Up and Globe blog, or find them on Twitter.

Summer Chick Tales was conceived from my love of the season and my obsession with slurpees. I always have one every summer. I also love women writers. Lots. If you want to submit a story or be in charge of the mojito station, see the editorial schedule. Come on, join the XX chromosome party.

Photo: LaPrima Donna