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.

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, fuck.

Church of Sveti Jovan at Kaneo looking over Lake Orhid

But for some reason I was calm. I’m not normally calm when faced with unexpected, really lame news. I normally head straight for those horrible conclusions, like having to live the rest of my life in Skopje and never see my family again. But this time I was cool headed. I don’t know if it was because I still thought my passport would jump out and yell ‘just kidding! ‘.  Or that it wasn’t really happening to me, but I do know that my calmness freaked people out.  All I could do was go to sleep and prepare for the day that faced me tomorrow. Which I thought couldn’t be much worse than finding your international identity proof missing, but oh, I was so very wrong.

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.

Kick-Ass in Central America

Hallucinations.  That’s exactly what tequila did to me on my 18th birthday.  Friends faces swelled into distortions.  Sounds became warbled.  I laughed and laughed at the most serious sentences.  It wasn’t pretty, just a warped, mysterious world inside my head.  That’s when vomitius arrived.  I never thought the cool touch of white porcelain against my cheek would feel so good.  Anyway, ‘hallucinations’ stuck to my head like gum when I gobbled up Dalene Heck’s engrossing narrative.  Please enjoy today’s kick-ass Summer Chick Tale.

It was a sunny day, but they all were.  Living in the Caribbean means dealing with that fact – there is little reprieve from the intense heat unless sitting in the ocean every day is a real possibility.  But even that gets boring after awhile.

And so instead, on a random Sunday afternoon, I found myself sitting on the hard wooden stands for a baseball game, thankfully under the cover of shade.  Being one of the first to arrive, I had my choice of seats, and settled behind the back stop but near the players box for the home team.  Perfect view of the infield, and a great line on the pitchers mound, which would enable me to take photos for when my husband took his turn on it.

I was excited to be there.  We both were.  Baseball in Central America is like hockey to Canada. This was the place to watch.  And I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic about the experience.  I was reminded of many weekends growing up where long summer days were spent watching my Dad man the first base for his team.  Fans filtered in with beers in their hand, snacks were being sold nearby (exchange nuts for local baleadas, however).  All I needed was to hear some Steve Earle filtering from a truck stereo beyond and it would have felt just like home.

As the crowd started to grow and the game began, the excitement among the players and in the stands was obvious.  In a field of large men of local heritage, my husband was the lone white skinned player.  Not a short man by any means, he still dwarfed in comparison to those around him.  I couldn’t tell if he was nervous, but I sure was for him.

And my nerves grew as I quickly realized, this was nothing like home.  Beers were not the only thing on tap, a full table of liquor opened up beside me as fans began to partake.  The later into the day it got, the more “lively” the crowd became.  Questionable calls by the ump would be met with a course of the vilest protest.  An injured player was not met with the usual cheers upon his rise from the dirt, instead a lady beside me generously offered up her urine to clean the wound.

I tried to ignore it all and stay focused on the game.  My husband was pitching well and at least no one in the stands had verbally attacked him yet.

By |August 10th, 2011 |Categories: August 2011 |10 Comments

The Day Everything Stopped in Vienna

Last weekend I downed two beers, one was a Granville Island Honey Lager, the other a Corona.  My belly rebelled, blew up to a ghastly size, to the point I was sure a child could anchor a string to it and punt me off into the sky.  Sometimes, my alcohol consumption just goes awry, much like Connie Hum’s trip in Vienna.  But, as the mystic sages say, live and learn.  Please inform yourself with today’s Summer Chick Tale.

There are some travel experiences that just stick with you. Experiences that, no matter how much time has passed or whatever new experiences you may have encountered since, are simply etched into your mind and remain as vivid as the day it occurred. My 2005 Vienna trip is one of those experiences.

It was a steaming hot day in Vienna. I had purchased my train ticket to Croatia, a destination I was excited about exploring, from Westbahnhoff train station the day before. As I packed my things, I glanced at my train ticket and discovered that I had less than 20 minutes to get Westbahnhoff in order to catch my train! Whoops!

I stuffed the rest of my things in my bag and rushed out of the hostel. I ran all the way to the train station, which wasn’t too far way. I made it inside the station with three minutes to get on the train. Skimming my ticket for the right platform number, I continued running up the stairs to the platform landing, panting and sweating from the heat and weight of my backpack. Still in full stride, I turned the corner

Topless in France

The other night I sipped a Manhattan for the first time.  For some reason its moniker unearthed images of a splash of gin, perhaps vodka and a sassy fruit liquieur to temper it. Instead, what met my lips was the hard bite of bourbon whiskey.  It made my eyes water a touch.  It’s funny how names can set a tone for us, categorize our behaviors.  What Jackie Desforges discovers in group travel is how freeing it can be to leap beyond where you are from or how you are expected to be. And the ending!  Oh, how Jackie surprised me.  That is the Manhattan in a nutshell.  Please enjoy today’s Summer Chick Tale.