Cheers to Summer Chick Tales 2011

It’s been a heady summer.  Brimming over with reading, giggling and consumption of fermented beverages that caused me to giggle more. I drank red wine, the potion of seduction, while reading Serendipity in Sihanoukville.  Elaine Thatcher convinced this skeptic that bar pickups can lead somewhere. Sally Thelen’s recounting of a date gone wrong in Osaka Fizzles Teriyaki Style left me passed out on tequila from laughter and exhaustion, the equivalent to fun in a glass. Oh, but the crashing part is never pretty. That was May. Then June came around and summer was at it’s beginning stages, so the party kept going. In the middle of swilling passion-fruit vodka, I applauded Giulia Cimarosti’s ode to aesethic diversity in World of Beauty.  She left me beaming with pride and feeling gorgeous. I boldly broke two rules, because when under the influence of alcohol, I can’t be held accountable.  1.  Miz whiskey hater (me) tried a Manhattan! 2. I bended the rules from the editorial mandate and featured my friend, well-known blogger, speaker and marshmallow lover, Jodi Ettenberg.  She regaled us with her tongue-in-cheek experience on her monthly friend in Tissue Woman in the Philippines.

UTC: Scavenger Hunt

Part of Michael Hodson’s sick and twisted sense of humor involved making his ‘minions’ do bonus competitions during the Train Challenge.

Is he nuts?  Or am I, for signing up for this?  My overall goal is to kick his arse.  So dear readers, if you can offer advice or help me keep track of this list as I go ape on a bunch of trains across Europe, Russia, China and Vietnam.

We’ll see how I stack up against Hodson and Ms. Dunn.

Scavenger Hunt:

  • Photo of Russian train attendant giving you a hug or kiss.
  • Photo of you with someone in a military or police uniform
  • Ticket to a museum.
  • Karoyke video
  • Video of you doing shots of alcohol with Russians on a train.
  • Video of you dancing a local/native dance with a local.
  • Menu printed in foreign language — multiples count in other languages/countries.
  • Hospital gown.
  • Business card from some government official — bonus for accompanying picture.
  • Picture of you in train engine car.
  • Bottle of French, German or Italian wine, bought in one of those countries.
  • Photos of you in funny hats, different locations, bonus for actual hat at finish line.
  • Pictures of cans of Coca-Cola in multiple languages.
  • Picture with a bride.
  • Picture of you riding an animal.
  • Russian nesting dolls — babushka dolls.
  • Postcard (points for every country you get).
  • Photos with locals eating meals in their home.
Part of the Ultimate Train Challenge is our commitment to raising $10,000 for charity, by partnering with the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation and the Da Nang Association of Agent Orange Victims.  Each dollar will go directly to children at the center near Da Nang who suffer from the effects of Agent Orange to this day.  You

By |August 29th, 2011 |Categories: Ultimate Train Challenge |14 Comments

Passportless in Macedonia

I’ve lost things in various states of inebriation, generally little objects.  A key chain.  An earring.  Knock wood to keep that good luck rolling.  Hilariously, I’m more scatter brained sober than drunk.  Call it survival mode, maybe even a heightened state of paranoia, either way this is factual proof, drunkenness can be a good idea.  Now, Rosie Glam lost something very precious, having to face her fear of being rudderless in a foreign country.  What did she do?  Find out on today’s Summer Chick Tale. It was around midnight when we pulled up to border control in a surprisingly flash taxi, after traveling the day in changing modes of transport across Albania. Passports were sleepily handed over, stamped and consented, then handed back leaving us free to drive into Macedonia and find a place to rest. In the morning we awoke in Orhid, looked out our window and were met with a beautiful view out over the ancient Lake Orhid. Over the next three days we enjoyed relaxing in the sun, meeting very interesting individuals and making as many orhid puns (sorry) as possible. The next stop was the capital, Skopje. When we arrived at the hostel we went through the normal procedures with checking in, until I couldn’t locate my passport in it’s normal place. That panic feeling slowly swept down my body as my brain worked overtime trying to rationalize why it wasn’t there and started to work out where it could be. After rifling through my side bag, I attacked my pack, slowly pulling out item after item, hoping that my fingers would brush pass the tattered cover. When I got to the bottom, I was faced with an empty bag. Ah, […]

HostelBookers and Me

I never lie on this site.  Okay, maybe as a writer, I do take creative license with some events. When it comes to accommodation, I do stick to the truth. I absolutely utilize hostels.  I’m not sneaking away and sleeping soundly in 5-star hotels, then writing about that horrendous bed bug attack or exposed wires and look at the shocking pictures I posted (pilfered from Creative Commons)!!! I honestly use hostel booking sites to scope out a highly recommended place to lay my head. As you already know, during the Ultimate Train Challenge we are going to be spending a lot of mileage on trains.  25,000 km to be exact! To date, my major train travel was through India.  There was a remarkable difference between  ‘AC – third class’ and ‘sleeper car’.  AC-third class actually had cute curtains you could pull across to gain privacy, a nugget of gold in India.  And the secondary benefit was not baking to a crisp in the car because air conditioning blasted over my head. Let’s just say sleeper car attracted an interesting crowd.  There was the snoring Indian man parallel to me.  The smelly foreign couple.  Shoes were optional.  Or the Scottish guy who wanted me to smoke a spliff with him in the western toilet.  Did I?  You’ll just have to use your imagination on that prospect. Despite the revolving door of fascinating characters, the chai and biryani wallahs belting out their wares, it was a colorful experience I’ll never forget. As much as I’m excited to snore along with others on this upcoming, exciting train journey, I will be stopping in some places to catch a breath. And what a breath.

The Insane Solo Traveler

When I checked out Ayngelina’s blog this week, it left me feeling abnormal. Her wrenching post on coming home and the sad realization that her friends have moved forward, made her question where she belongs.  Even doubt the stability of those relationships. She eloquently referred to the post-travel depression that many travel warriors suffer from.  Being smothered with familiar surroundings can make you feel more displaced. A few things have happened to me since I’ve been home. I was sipping a delicious fruit smoothie, weaving through a neighborhood I use to live in, Commercial Drive, seeing with delight the shops that I frequented in the past, and feeling slightly sad at the ones that closed. I turned the corner onto a residential street and paused.  Everything seemed the same. Lush, jade colored trees, which have stood in East Vancouver for longer than I’ve been alive, spilled forth against the powder blue sky.  Birds chirped.  An elderly woman rolled down the sidewalk noisily with her foldable shopping cart, throwing me a scowl.  No doubt heading to Donald’s Market, a popular grocery store around those parts. Then it was silent again, save for me and the birds.  I craned my neck to the sky, catching sight of a seagull in flight, its dove, white wings flapping with purpose.  Contracting. Expanding.  Moving forward.  I wondered where.

Plunging at Valley Verzasca Dam

I’m going to be honest.  Bare myself here. I was frightened of rum.  I always pictured it paired with coca-cola, the equivalent to liquid candy.  Blech. Disgusting. Never.  Then, one miraculous day I took a leap of faith, mixed rum with ginger beer, a twist of lime and was hooked.  In order to grow, sometimes we have to take a leap in the face of fear.  Danalynn Coulon did.  Please enjoy today’s Summer Chick Tale. I wavered at the edge of the platform, wind gusting around my ankles.  My eyes were fixed resolutely on the foliage in front of me, willfully ignoring the definite lack-of-ground below.  Then it came.  The countdown.  Three.  Two.  One.  I jumped. I had practiced for months, seizing any opportunity to drill myself on that countdown.  Outside of the grocery store, I would line up my toes carefully with edge of the curb.  Keeping my eyes straight in front of me, I would count down from three, jumping the six inch drop once I reached zero.  It became a game I played often with myself; How fast could I make my heart race for such a short drop?  How much could I convince myself that the ground would not appear? As I fell, I half expected cobblestones to appear under my feet.  We were just kidding!  Another test—look how your heart raced, you silly girl!  An involuntary yelp escaped as the ground did not appear, as the fall continued, as my view of the peaceful, tranquil trees was replaced with a rapidly narrowing tunnel vision towards a sure, sudden concrete stop far below.