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

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

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.

Chinese Puzzles Not So Puzzling After All

Every time I mention that aloe vera juice and vodka is one of my top drinks, the listener gasps with disbelief.  Which conjures the question, how does a Saskatchewan farm girl end up married to a boy from China?  Sometimes what shouldn’t work together, does, flowing so well, that the skeptical eye readjusts.  Love can bridge that divide of geography and  a person’s own experience.  The sweet notes of aloe vera juice mingle flawlessly with the sturdiness of vodka (trust me).  Whether it’s colliding of cultures or alcoholic drinks, things DO happen for a reason.  Kelly Sandor teaches us how.  Please enjoy today’s story from Summer Chick Tales.

黑城侧影 / Silhouette of the Black City

The actual story of how I met my now-husband is pretty simple.

 

I went out to a bar with a friend one night, met a guy, and we exchanged numbers.  Later the following week, I got a text message, in English, from a number I didn’t know.  It turned out that the guy from the bar had given my number to one of his friends, because that guy spoke more English (that guy would be my husband!).  After sending messages back and forth for a few weeks, he asked if we could meet one day and go for a walk in a park in our city.  I had determined by this point that he didn’t seem like an axe murderer, so I agreed.  We met, walked around talking for hours, had lunch, and the rest is history.

But when I