World of Beauty

You know what’s stunning?  The Reef, my favourite Caribbean restaurant in Vancouver has nearly 40 varieties of rum to choose from.  Rums of different temperate, flavour and shade.  Which is why I think Giulia Cimarosti’s piece on the myraid ways women’s beauty is seen through a worldview is important.  Physical beauty moves us, compartimentalizes us, but also alters the perspective on ourselves.  Just like rum, women radiate beauty, not because we conform, but because we flourish in our individual ways.  Please enjoy today’s Summer Chick Tale.

Venus Statue

Did you know that I am a witch? Oh yes, I’m a baddie. Or at least, so they say in Myanmar!

Now, what the heck. I grew up among people that told me I had beautiful eyes all the time, and now people are scared of my eyes?

Yes, because in Myanmar light eyes belong to witches and demons.

I must definitely look very ugly down there… (*scribbles* Myanmar packing list: Sunglasses. *underlines*).

Oh, beauty… You’re such a relative thing.  And the travelers know this very well!

Green eyes

I guess I was born in the wrong country. Italy: the land of fashion, as well as of the worldwide famous pretty-much-naked girls dancing on TV shows. Here, you can literally see statuary female bodies everywhere – ads on the streets, TV shows, magazines. Then you stop reading, raise your eyes and get shocked by how girls dress. Did I spend too much time in the Middle East? Probably.

Anyway, the point is that here beauty means being skinny, preferably with fake marble-like boobs, 365 days per year

What 1 Year of Travel Has Brought Me

I’m draped across my princess bed that I managed to score on airbnb, sucked into that page turner Fall On Your Knees when it dawns on me, I’ve moved residences for the third time this week.

The bigger picture is I’ve changed scenery over a dozen times in the past year. This time last June, to be exact.

What is it about anniversaries that violently birth memories or introspection?  I started this site as a personal odyssey to ‘shake and slap’ my life.

Let me explain the ‘shake and slap’.  Do you recall those stylish black and white films from the 30’s and 40’s when the only way to handle a hysterical woman was to have the hero, usually her foil, grab her, and give a vigorous shake, followed by his palm lightly meeting her cheek?  She blinks a few times, calms down and wakes the hell up.

So, did I?

Happiness

I’m not going to pull punches here; happiness is a puzzle for me.  Will continue to be for the rest of my life.  There’s no magic elixir to it.  If you are seeking a 24-hour high on happiness, watch The Secret again.

I pulled apart everything that wasn’t making me happy, reorganized it and it still remains a mystery.  I can tell you I’m happier than ever, swimming in self-content, but there are difficult days. I still question what I’m doing and is it the right thing?  No matter what you do to alter the course, it’s important to ask those questions, to check

London Life is Beautiful

Appreciation of beauty is always surprising to me.  That’s exactly how I feel whenever I order a virgin Shirley Temple.  How can something so non-alcoholic look so good?  The shades of salmon meld so well into the meaty red at the bottom of a glass, where the ice sits and in turn buoys up those technicolor creations called marashino cherries.  A gorgeous drink that doesn’t cause the giggles or tipsy rants.  You see, I don’t always go for the heady factor in my drinks, despite my reputation.  Which is why I adore Nicole’s story about London.  Despite its reputation, the city is beautiful to someone, and that’s all that matters.  Please enjoy today’s Summer Chick Tale.

Not many people would describe London as a beautiful city, but the great thing about beauty is its subjectivity. To me, beauty is an experience, and while a lot of people these days seem to equate beauty to perfection, I see it differently – for me what defines beauty is the imperfections, and having an acceptance and love of them. My experience of beauty in this city is almost daily – from East End street art and a smiling homeless man, to riding my bike through the city streets, weaving between black cabs and red buses with the world at my pedalling feet.

London is so much more than the sights you read about in magazines and travel guides – in fact I would never define it by things like Big Ben or the London Eye – it’s the experiences going on at street level that make it unique. Within

Vancouver: You Make Me Brave

Messages on the boarded up windows of The Hudson Bay

We left during second period, knowing the game was finished, that the Cup was lost.  In hindsight, that might be considered strategic.

Our mistake was staying downtown.  I had taken Dylan, Lorna and Mark to one of my favorite restaurants on Robson, savoring two aloe vera and vodka’s, sharing Tuna Tataki.  I felt pride that they were enjoying the food in a city I haven’t seen in over a year.

Since I’ve returned, the Vancouver that met me has been a dose of pleasant.  I walk down the tree-lined streets, inhaling musky droplets after a sprinkle of rain.  It always reminds me of a load of laundry coming out of the dryer. Clean, fresh, new.  I’ve revisited memories, places that made me ridiculously happy.

That night, it changed.

Respect for the Vancouver Police

I could recount moments after our dinner when we looked towards the skyline, as smoke billowed upwards.  That was Georgia, at least two cars burning to blackened, twisted metal.

I could recount our walk towards Granville, where Dylan and Mark were staying.  We had little knowledge of what was unfolding.  Our banter and gait was a pause.  That moment when an intake of breath happens and you wait, unsure what will come.

I could recount the crowds as we approached closer, the screaming, a high-pitched scraping sound as someone toppled a newspaper stand or howled in unbridled angst.  Against what?

Lorna, ever the documentarian and calm presence, snapped photos of the

Flow on Palawan Island

What are the chances of me ever drinking a Sex on the Beach?  Limited.  So, when the rare occasion came up to feature a story on the same subject and same locale as Jodi Ettenberg’s from last week, I had to go for it.  I mean, what are the chances?  Thanks to Janet Brent for today’s Summer Chick Tale.

“Look at the moon. It’s really pretty tonight,” Joemar told me. We had just stopped to rest for the night during our 600+ km walking journey in Palawan island, Philippines. As usually happened, people along our way would offer their hospitality and a place to rest. Sharing food, stories, and laughs as I desperately tried to keep up in a new language I am not yet fluent in.

This time we had landed in a small fisherman’s village and a single man in his 40′s hosted us. He had the best smile that I can still remember, tight muscles and forearms that come from working all day in the sun.

“Be sensitive to your surroundings. Just flow.” Joemar said quizzically.

I wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but caught in my own thoughts of natives teaching me how to flow in water, I abruptly cut my fantasy into fear, when I realized that maybe this fisherman wasn’t someone we could trust. Maybe he was trying to tell me we might be in danger!

The rest of the night was uncomfortable and spent in unease. The man didn’t seem like a serial killer. I began shifting my weight from side to side on the hard wooden bench that I was sitting on.

Tissue Woman in the Philippines

I tend to crave comfort when my “friend” pays a visit.  When I’m  grumpy, about ready to twist someone’s head off, I turn to the occasional Baileys and coffee.  This is out of sheer desperation.  So, it’s fitting to find out what Jodi Ettenberg did during her moment of desperation.  Hopefully you immediately relate to today’s Summer Chick Tale.  If not, you’re off the sangria drinking chorus I was about to form.

You can’t travel long-term without aggregating at least a few embarrassing stories, usually related to some cultural mishap or mispronounced word.

But when in a tiny fishing village in the Philippines’ remote Palawan island, I added a new category to the cringing: getting your period on the road.

I got mine a week earlier than expected, while riding a motorbike through the unpaved roads and narrow bridges of northern Palawan. Stopping in at the only store in the village, a ramshackle wooden house with piles of seemingly random things for sale, I had to ask if they had any feminine supplies for me.

Except I had no idea how to say so in Tagalog and the shop was run by three men. I went with “woman napkins” (tampons are rarely, if ever, sold in the Philippines), but was met with confusion. Napkins for females? Nothing. Tissue woman? Nope.

Finally, I climbed behind the counter with the guy and found what I was looking for, on the very top shelf. Instantly, the men in the store burst out laughing and one ran out to tell the rest of the village about the random traveler who came looking for woman napkins.