Mushy Stuff /
Posted by Gala
Wed, March 17, 2010 17:21:14
I just turned 42 and had the most wonderful day ever! had everything: with friends I really like, in an exotic location, loads of work I liked and made me feel useful and good about myself; over 100 messages in all, considering that people never know my whereabouts I think it is just extraordinary that those I care about thought of me and took the time to post a note!
Got tons of flowers, all beautiful and one unexpected and very touching, chocolate, a silver necklace, MORE fancy chocolate, a yummy-yummy bday cake -cheesecake!- a very cool chocolate bouquet left in my room as a surprise.. told the whole WOLD it was my bday;
The Awards ceremony was on MY day and I sat by the side of one of my fav actors for whom I have had this silly crush for years, British, of course.. what is it with me and British men?? I don't have a childish crush on anybody, really, so all filled of bravado I went right up and chatted with him, flirted a bit (with very good response) and then, true to my nature I clammed up again, but hey! at least I did it... and I think I could have... or o I like to think!
Mmmhhmm... I wonder if I can get his email?
D'oh!Posted by Gala
Sun, May 30, 2010 18:55:21
When I wished that my Ex-Husband Frank (AKA Horrible Dr. No) lived happily ever after in a far, FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAR away land, i did not mean for him to take my Children along!
Geez! I need to be MUCH more specific when I tap into my magic powers...
I did not have enough of Vietnam, need to
go back and do Sapa, re-do Hanoi and back to Hue; it is such a shame I have
absolutely no concept of time! I actually believed I could visit my 12 points
of interest in 10 days... I guess this is my overwhelming female logic which
also leads me to believe that my (yummylicious) butt fits in a S size.
WONDERFUL place Vietnam! all my preconceived notions -not that many, to be honest- have come crashing down, particularly those regarding the American war, known to me ALWAYS as the Vietnam war; being heavily influenced by the USA, their history, mentality and society, to me Vietnamese were just a faceless mass of people, and being the pacifist anti-imperialist I am, I always thought that US involvement in conflict was a horrible and senseless intervention but the thing is, it was the young American soldiers who perished there who were in my thoughts and to a lesser extend the Viet-cong casualties... my, oh my! was this trip an eye opener! I will not go into detail of the museums, Chi Chi tunnels (sin albur!), prisons, torture devices, jungle, diseases, the 3 million Vietnamese who died or the 56,000 American boys who never got to see their families again... no, I won't get into that because it affected me seriously and also because it is too darned boring, so I will just go on with my lighter hearted posts and ask the very profound question:
WHAT THE HECK IS UP WITH ASIAN MEN AND SPITTING?!! how can a tiny -teeny!- little man produce such copious amounts of mucous and the force to spit it -cannonball it is more accurate- MILES away?! It is not pleasant waking up to a phlegmatic symphony and YOU KNOW I am not talking about the emotionless disposition of the British when I say phlegmatic.. I am actually talking about disgusting phlegm.
The other amazing thing, specially in Saigon (now Ho Chi Min city) as every traveller will tell you is crossing the street... road signs are decorative, traffic regulations don't even amount to romanticized guidelines; one must be a true dare devil or city slicker to throw oneself onto the oncoming traffic, oh yes! scooters (6 millon of ‘em in the city) do not stop even if their life depended on it... and sometimes it does!
The trick is to make eye contact with the driver, let him know that YOU are gonna walk through and you are ready to kill him and his first born if he doesn't let you go through, let him feel the rage and the hate and then just throw yourself at his vehicle, chest pumped forward .Do be sure you look both ways for those in a hurry who are riding on the wrong side of the road invading not the second, but 3rd and 4th lanes.
Another trick is to swing a bag like a traditional hooker: make BIG circles with it so it becomes some sort of weapon, bicycles, tuc-tucs & motorcycles respond really well to this technique. a word of advice: ensure your purse is zipped and you don't have loose objects on the side pockets if using a rucksack or you will find yourself running between cars to retrieve your items from the road...
Another personal favourite is the Matador style: think of 'em cars as bulls and you are in the middle of a Faena or better yet! the Pamplonada! one must show courage, strength and focus while running across, a little red handkerchief tied on your neck looks nice but not of the essence, I find that shouting OLE!!! every time I pass a car gives me confidence.
Lastly, those dance moves come in really handy! the swaying of the hips is ideal for avoiding lusty or pick-pocketing hands, as well as knocking over a cyclist, don't be afraid to moonwalk between cars on a red light and most certainly do the ballerina thing of putting your arms over your head while you tip toe and hop among vehicles, f anything, they might slow down a bit to take a better look at the crazed foreigner.
More unwanted advice coming your way soon.
Mushy Stuff /
Posted by Gala
Tue, May 11, 2010 15:23:33
delusion |diˈloō zh ən|
an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument, typically a symptom of mental disorder.
I just met up with a... friend. It is funny how we use the word so loosely... it seems that any relationship that we are uncertain about gets thrown it in the "friendship" bin be it somebody we know for 1 month or 10 years but never really keep in touch; one can sleep with somebody 30 times and be uncertain if we are friends and the truth of the matter is that if push comes to shove, that person would probably be the last one we would turn in case of need.
Luckily this day and age provides us with a full coloring palette of terms: just friends, guyfriend, galfriend, fuck friend, mate, homie, bonk fried, FWB (friend with benefits), bro, bff/ bmf (best female/male friend) and the list goes on.
Still, I'm unable to find the adequate term for this individual... in any case it was just such a horrible encounter in almost every way possible; man! what a disaster! I don't think anything at all went well... what I thought was a nice couple of hours turns out was awfully unpleasant for him as I came across as an abrasive bulldozer in the attempt of giving him a tour of the city.
Worst of all? I was completely delusional! I walked into this thinking I would meet again with this amazing "somebody" who has been occupying my thoughts for quite a while and what I found was this complete stranger who seriously had not the most remote interest in anything that had to do with me. Needless to say, to him it was equally disappointing to meet with a hysterical monster that I turned out to be, ah! but you see, I should consider myself lucky as i got some hugs so I would not feel bad, as I later was informed... pitiful affection, the nerve!!
My, my, my! how very unpleasant and confusing it all was! what a mass of contradictions and mixed signals! how badly I respond to uncertainty and contradictory messages! How can anything go SO wrong in absolutely every way?!?!?
The question that pesters me is: when we met last year and encountered pure and absolute magic, was it all fake then? did I imagine it all?! how can somebody be so incredibly different?! we are not talking a little I mean, this was to the level of "show me your passport and birthmarks cause I just do NOT believe you are the same person"; unfortunately my reactions are utterly disproportionate (I curse myself) and i started doubting everything and wanting to run away just to comeback again... it was like being stuck in an episode of "the Twilight zone" where everything appears normal but in reality nothing is what it seems... VERY unsettling!
I think I am just not cut for this romance thing; It makes me rethink my stand on arranged marriages: it is OBVIOUS I am just crap at choosing for myself, I don't think anybody else can do a worse job.
Totally bummed out.
This morning at breakfast there was a table with about 6 Japanese women; they must have been between 28-35, perhaps a bit younger, always so hard to tell with Asians and their wonderfully taken care of skin; in any case they were a lively bunch: loads of giggles ooohhhh!!!'s and aaaahhhh!!!'s, hiding behind the napkin shyly and cutesy poses... in short: the type of women I would like to -furiously- bitch slap around.
As they were leaving a couple of them were
actually doing bunny hops and "Singing in the Rain" routines, looking
up to the sky extended arms, going in big happy circles and all.... it was not
They were all dressed in that seemingly careless way which leaves no detail unattended; hair messed up with a loose pony tail tilted to the side with a flowery hair band, handkerchief around the head, long beach dresses kinda unwillingly see thru (not sluttish, mind you) the lovely beaded sandal, a je ne sais quois tied around the hip; I am rubbish at describing, but they did look lovely in an allegoric Tim Burton meets Hello kitty sort of way.
Observing the girly -childish, really- behaviour, I could not help but think how intensely popular these type of ladies are with men, especially western men, gosh they DROOL around them! putty in their kiddie hands! Aahhhh!! And the girls know it, the know soooo well and the more one salivates the more baby like the other becomes.
I came up with a twisted theory about this... normally this girls are small in every way: somewhat short and tend to be flat chested, take away the frills and the gloss and they are quite androgynous looking... VERY difficult to tell men and women apart in the way one cannot differentiate a pretty little boy from a little girl except for the long hair and girlie clothes.... could it be that these women satisfy the paedophile buried deep in the psyche of -almost- every man?
Please do not misunderstand! I am dead against any sort of abuse on children, I think it is despicable and abusers should be castrated (and the female equivalent). I do find it a mental and social disease which must be punishable, persecuted, eradicated, yet one thing we cannot deny is that there is this primitive, animal dark side that we all have and are mostly are unaware of. We might suppress it, ignore it or simply be in utter ignorance of its existence, but it is there, ooohh it lives there, in all of us.
I believe that quite often our actions respond directly to that dark side; might catch us by surprise and we might not understand where certain reactions come from or it might manifest itself in more socially acceptable ways, such as going for girlie girls.
What ever the case may be, and as much attention and longing these woman/girl may generate, I would not like to be that way, I do think they are lovely! Pretty, feminine in a seriously ridiculous way; they know their stuff and use it to their advantage: they get tons of presents, money, trips and a nice parade of men running behind them carrying parcels; still I cannot be like that... disregarding the fact that I am double their size and most probably would scare the living s*it out of the guys who like girlie girls;
Except for their ability to accessorize, I am not jealous of them at all. There is something for everybody and I have my own public... oh yes! another niche in the twisted psyche: the straight men who dig "amazonic" women... which is polite for "she has balls the size of meteors and the manly body that goes with them"...
Some other time I might explore the lure of the boyish hips and six pack abs... Because yes Darling... I got a pack o' those...
Mushy Stuff /
Posted by Gala
Sun, May 30, 2010 19:30:54
I HAVE HAD AN EPIPHANY
I met a really very nice fellow, German, actually... go figure! but he is also Pisces, so I guess that sort of redeems him...One of his many accomplishments (unbeknown to him) is having started the process of restoring my faith in men... NOT mankind but actual men.
I believe (now) that yes, there are still actual good guys out there who don't play games nor claim not to while they REALLY do (really, really!); guys who are polite, well mannered, chivalrous and Oh! SURPRISE!: straight.
I have learned that I can still find men 42years and older who have slim waist line, a full head of hair and a body that puts any any 20year old athlete to shame (and everything that goes with it... oh yes...).
I was reminded that going out is fun and not a competition, that I don't have to be at all times guarded so I am not caught by surprise when he makes his "move; great to know that not every guy want to get in a girls pants... not as a first or second -even third!- intention anyway.
Best thing? WONDERFUL not having to decide or take charge, lovely to meet with a Man with a Plan.
It was all so very nice and despite the fact that he is not the Guy for me, I am delighted for these couple of weeks I got to know him; I am in the road to recovery and at this very moment I can happily and OFFICIALLY declare that after 12 years:
The Horrid Reign of The Cowardly Undecided Men is finally over.
No more flaky dudes for this Browny! (Aha, you Boys know who you are...)
So bring 'em on! those Real Men with tight tushes!
It is that time again, wonderful, exciting bonding World Cup.
It is the time when Muslims, Christians, Democrats, Republicans, Communists, Capitalists, Socialists, Anarchists and Monarchists, gay & straight, lady-boys and butchy gals come together and hate each other for refreshingly different reasons; it is the time when historical grudges are revived, old war and economic wounds are re-opened and about the only chance crappier countries might get to have a fair shot at those more powerful; where else can you see Cameroon beating England? Or the Mexican eagle having the French Cock served on a platter?... that came out wrong, but you catch my drift.
I don’t follow sports at all, None except one: The Blessed World Cup; I get ridiculously excited over it! Follow game by game, keep a tidy calendar, suffer through the matches like a WAG* IF they would understand the game. Even used to dress my Boys as tiny Mariachis and taught them to make La Ola and all 3 of us would make The Wave (great Mexican invention) like mad every time Mexico played.
And now El Mundial is happening, and I am missing it!!!! It caught me totally by surprise in Indonesia where games take place at 2am, I have no TV in the rooms I stay in and it is sheer torture; I catch bits and pieces at airports, or some sports bars (it is not cool- nor wise- for a woman alone to be bar hoping in the middle of the night in Muslim Indonesia). So if I cannot get a hold of an internet Café I grab a news paper… an Indonesian newspaper.
There are several difficulties about following the Cup in a foreign country which in addition has no real football history. First and foremost, the names of the countries can differ significantly in Indonesian, some are real easy to guess, like Jerman , Spanyol, Cili (Chile?), Jepang , Korea Utara or Meksiko (taxis are called taksis, so that also gave me a pretty clear indication of the “x” thing) some other ones, however a tad more complex: Alfsel (south Africa), Inggris (England) AS, Korsel, Yunani, Ajazair all of which I have not figured out yet, but I am confident they will not make it to the next round anyway.
I have realized the world Cup can be highly educational as well: all teams had a little flag beside their in comprehensive –to me- names and I knew only about half of them, rendering me incredibly ignorant; so I took notes and checked them on the internet and came to the conclusion that we are incredibly unimaginative when it comes to designing national emblems.
I also learned about history, alliances and animosities; I was surprised to see Indonesia supporting Holland in a game against Japan and detracting from other matches of the orange team; turns out that being a Dutch colony there is a healthy level of grudge against them but nothing compared to the hatred for a certain Japanese invasion which was unnecessarily cruel. Timor might love/hate Portugal for the same reasons and people here have no clue about Mexico as some believe it is in Europe and those better read believe it is an appendix of USA.
The first game I “saw”: Meksiko- Alfsel 1-1 and being it the opening game it was pretty clear it was South Africa (but what the hell with the name?!) now the next days I read in the paper Meksiko 2- Prancis 0 and THAT created an inordinate amount of confusion as the picture in the paper had no flag and they were mostly black players; which African country was in our Group?! I tried as hard as I could to recall all the teams and came up with nothing; as it turns out Prancis was France and for some reason the team is unusually dark this year… I thought the French despised all African immigrants but that is The World Cup in all its beauty, reminds me of the Christmas Season when we are all filled with love for all mankind.
Man, I so love the World Cup.
*WAG; term coined by the British to designate Wives and Girlfriends of the players, the Queen of all would be Posh Spice –or whatever- the wife of David Beckham
A couple of days ago I had my head buried deep in the newspaper, trying to find out how Mexico had done when this Indonesian man approached me; normally I don’t socialize at all and to be on the safe side I keep a distance from local people as my experiences in this beautiful place have not been all pleasant, I have been swindled left and right, groped, seems that everybody has something to sell and men make advances which are totally uncalled for; people in smaller places get a bit nervous around foreigners so they tend to point at me, giggle and laugh while the braver ones might yell out a phrase they might know in English. After 3 weeks it gets a bit tiring. So I mumbled a “hello” back to the guy and proceeded to ignore him completely. He got up and I was happy to see he would leave when he pulled out what seemed to be a big calendar, OH MY GOD! It was the schedule for the Cup, all updated!
He did not speak but a few words of English, which was double than my command of Indonesian, but we managed to establish that Bola (soccer) rocks, that Inggris (England) was doing very badly (by making pucking sounds as I pretended to put my finger down my troat)- and that Mecsiko was awesome –this was me with both fists up un the air and yelling “ME-XI-CO, Yeaaahhhh!!!”.
He refered to me with the word "Fanatikst” several times, accompanied by a smile and a shake of the head. Going through his calendar I saw his “pronokstike” and did NOT see Mexico making it to the next round but Prancis, and he got a royal scolding, reminding him that Meksiko 2 (showed 2 fingers) and Prancis 0 (showing a big fat zero with my whole hand) and also informed him that they were almost out of the group (making a cut throat sign).
For the Final Match his pronoskstike was Brazil-Argentina which was met with great scepticism on my side (by means of leaning way back from and looking at him sideways with squinting eyes), vigorously shaking my head and my index finger I told him he was wrong: “maaf, maaf” (sorry, sorry), so he asked “who then?” (raising eyebrows, shoulders and hands, all at the same time while pointing at the final match); I thought long and hard about this very difficult question. Why must it always be the same ones? Germany, Italy, Argentina, Brazil? Last year was a great surprise with Portugal, so why not for once give the underdog a chance?!
“Meksiko -Spanyol” says I. He just gets up , shaking his head and mumbling "Fanatikst” , sitting two rows away from me.
What does he know...
Bargaining: the national sport in every Asian country… and I suck at it.
There is a skill –if not a gene- required to be a successful Bargain Master, as I travel it has become obvious that I absolutely lack it; I have gotten better in some things, though: tuk-tuk drivers in Bangkok now fear me, but for all the rest? Rubbish! Absolute rubbish!
I understand that people need to make a living and the fluctuating tourism industry can be a bit of a bitch, I am sensitive to the fact that I am in a privileged position always and more so compared to the working class in these parts of the world; I agree that I should pay higher rates than locals when it comes to entertainment such as museums, sites, landmarks, theatres, etc. after all, it is their country and they should have feasible access to their own culture.
I don’t mind if things are more expensive for me as a traveller, not at all! At the end of it I have the choice to either take it or leave it; what drives me absolutely mad is been (being?) taken for a fool, seriousy anger me! And bargaining certainly lends itself to abuse.
There has to be some common sense to it! I know it is a different mentality and all, but COME ON PLEOPLE!!! You can’t possibly expect to pay off the mortgage from that single cab ride with the Swedish tourist! Have some morals for goodness sake!
I am sure there are some International Unwritten Haggle Rules or Code of Hustling Ethics, SOMETHING!!! Even Pirates had a code of honour! Well, if there is one it and certainly has not gotten to Asia.
It is sensible to hike up a price, don’t know… 50% maybe? Vendor offers 20, costumer 10, both agree on 15. I think this is pretty reasonable.
What is NOT reasonable is to pimp it up to 500% for crying out loud!!!
Went to buy some fruit at the local market; the faces of the vendors literally illuminate when they see me approaching their stalls and I can assure you it is not my shinny personality; they frantically wave and shout “Hello?! Hello?!? Want apple? Want mango? Come buy me, Mister!! (not a good start if they are already calling me butchy dike…) so I take a look at some bananas, safe enough fruit I don’t need to wash and requires n preparation other than peeling it;
I point at 3 teeny puny little bananas and the woman, clearing her throat and looking me dead in the eye says:
I stare back thinking “she HAS GOT to be kidding me”
“Excuse me?” I say, slightly squinting my eyes in what is the beginning of an evil look.
“15 thousand rupee” fruitlady repeats
I leave the bananas and just walk way, almost offended that she would think me that stupid, al the while she is calling me back “ok! Ok! How much you want to pay?!”
While I’m cursing away under my breath I see a taxi driver buying some fruit and paying 75cents for 1k of bananas. Unbelievable. He offers to drive me which feels like a great idea as I am fuming both from the Banana Incident and the unbearable humid heat; I am just not quite sure how far the hostal is:
“perhaps I can walk there?” I ask him; he points out that it is not far but it is so hot I should just jump into the cab.
“how much?” says I
“30,000” responds my driver
“Oh… that seems a bit much… is it that far away? better use the taximeter”
“No, not use meter! It will mark only 5,000”
Couldn’t believe it!
“so you want to charge me 25,000 more just like that?!”
I shut the door and walk away all the while I hear him
“Ok! Ok! How much you want to pay
Still trying to keep the vegetarian front
strong, what a challenge this is in the Eastern world! oddly enough I thought
that it would be a walk in the park to get veggies everywhere as in most
countries meat is a pricey food than not everybody can afford, BIG FAT mistake
that was, they sprinkle beef, chicken, pork, fish seafood on just about everything,
I have accepted the fact that I am a weird eater... no pasta, potatoes or rice and I stay clear of fried stuff as much as possible, I keep it healthy and keep it fresh. In Asia they have 3 elements in their menu: animals, fried and rice/noodles; add to the mix the fact that I am unable to communicate and it is quite a circus.
I am ashamed to admit I do not learn any local words beyond "please" and " thank you"; I am -however- extremely fluent in sign language which can get me pretty much anything: from a size 9 silvery pair of sandals to a Brazilian bikini wax; I have learned that unfortunately this does not go so smoothly when it comes to food.
Starving! I stop at a place next to the guest house to have a much needed meal, I always favor markets and street stands... I like to live on the edge; so the Guy has all sorts of things on display: pig heads, ducks, teeny birds and chunks of brownish beef serving as a buffet bar to several dozens of flies. He also has those lovely baskets with Dim Sum (snacks, the local equivalent of Tapas or Garnachas).
I embark on my Mime language and point to
some round shaped things asking what they were (by means of an upward nod and
raising shoulders and hands, palms up) and the Guy breaks out into a lively
monologue in –what I guessed was- Thai so I tell him I want to eat (cupping one
hand and simulating chop stick-feeding motion with the other) and ask again, he
obviously doesn't understand me when a BRILLIANT idea hits me; my guest house
was literally 3 doors down, so I motion the international sign of "wait a
second" (thumb and index finger a couple of inches apart) which
unfortunately is often confused with the "you got a really small
I run to the reception and ask the kid to write down in those Thai cute little symbols: "I am a vegetarian, please give me dinner with no meat, thank you"; he hands me the paper looking somewhat bewildered and I go back to my Guy; he looks the note and looks back at me with a blank look on his face and a pointy fork in his hand.
By now I am truly famished, so I say: "NO MEAT" a bit
loudly...perhaps speaking in a very high pitched voice helps? but nada, so I
start making noises and saying whilst I shake my head:
(shake head) NO Muuuuuuuu!
(shake head) NO Quack, Quack!
(shake head) NO Oink Oink!...this one came out pretty well, snorting noises n' all
(shake head) NO Cluck, cluck cluck!... at this point I was doing the chicken dance, walking in circles around his stall, knees bent and clucking with my hands tucked under my armpits.
The Guy just stands there looking at me like I had just grown a second head. I point to the paper so he reads again and looked up a bit frustrated/// at that moment I saw the the proverbial writing on the wall: ALL China-like decoration and symbols... this was a Cantonese restaurant and the he only spoke Chinese… not a word of Thai.
I took the little note from him, folded it neatly and put it in the back pocket of my jeans, held my head up saying ”Domo Arigato” (Japanese, I know, but it is the closest I have to China) and walked away to get me dinner at the 7/11 next door.
D'oh!Posted by Gala Fri,
June 04, 2010 23:48:31
Off to Indonesia tomorrow; all I have is a plane ticket and a bag packed full of lovely Asian style silky clothes.
No map, no hotel, no plan, no guide book; got some tips from friends and that's about all I need, the rest is to be found out as I go.
I'm at the top of the world right now, so very happy and things are looking wonderful from where I'm standing.
To the untrained eye I might appear as homeless, over 40, unemployed an so single I have become nuveaux spinster (been single so long that I actually am one, 15 years I believe it is all I need to get back into the club... 3 years to go!);
Aaah! but appearances can be deceiving! I am actually living a long cherished communal dream: that one where we all want to say a big fact FU*K you! to the world, flick the bird and leave it all behind, no remorse and go live in an exotic place and travel the world? ya know? that fantasy we all cherish at one point or another? well: that IS my life right now.
I am not unemployed: I simply don't have a boss
I am not single: I am free AND LOVED
I am not homeless: I have a home AND A FRIEND wherever I put by bag down
I am not over 40: I have just been born into adulthood
My intuition tells me I am in the right path and finishing a stage with a BOOM! and starting another with a BANG!; I am certain that the big wink lady Liberty gave me some months back will finally materialize and my new found friend will soon be making travels to Asia and write another chapter to our story.
This blog should not make sense to anybody... heck! makes no sense to me but I am am feeling so bloody good about myself right now, I just don't care.
Tomorrow I fly to Thailand to enter a Monastery (I kid you not) for a 10 day (12 really)meditation silence retreat with some Buddhist Monks down south...
Stone bed, wooden pillow (that has me very impressed) not a word uttered in 10 days, 2 light vegetarian meals a day, getting up at ungodly hours (schedule detailed below) and I don't even wanna think about the showers as i suspect they may not have hot water.
No internet, no computer, Ipod, books... just me, my demons and my aching body... Oh dear, sounds horrid now that I put it in writing!
I honestly do not know why I do these things to myself
Here are the Basic Rules:
During the retreat, all participants are required to observe some basic rules. This is for the benefit of everyone - a very important part of getting you to the right frame of mind for meditation - and because you will be staying on monastery grounds. You must:
* Keep complete silence throughout the retreat
(exceptions: personal interviews from Day 3 to Day 8 and emergencies).
* Stay within the boundaries of the retreat center.
* Keep the Eight Precepts, which are
* 1.Intend not to take away any breath(abstain from killing).
* 2.Intend not to take away what is not given (abstain from stealing).
* 3.Intend to keep one's mind and one's body free from any sexual activity.
* 4.Intend not to harm others by speech.
* 5.Intend not to harm one's consciousness with substances that intoxicate and lead to carelessness (no alcohol, no drugs, no smoking etc).
* 6.Intend not to eat between after noon and before dawn.(what?! NO COOKIES??)
* 7.Intend not to dance, sing, play or listen to music, watch shows, wear garlands, ornaments and beautify oneself with perfumes and cosmetics.
* 8.Intend not to sleep or sit on luxurious beds and seats.(they make damned sure about that one!)
his is the moral code for those who seek normalcy plus lightness and simplicity in living.
The abstain from killing and stealing seems quite easy... now! but I am not sure if I would not break somebody's neck for a Hersey bar after day 4...
No eating between meals... no dancing or singing...no sex (that is easy) and I do hope that soap, toothpaste and deo are not considered cosmetics or pretty soon the place is gonna stick with all of us crazies!
(With some modifications on Day 9 and Day 10)
Wake up *** = Monastery bell
Yoga / Exercise
Dhamma talk & Sitting meditation
Breakfast & Chores
Walking or standing meditation
Lunch & chores
Meditation instruction & Sitting meditation
Walking or standing meditation
Chanting & Loving Kindness meditation
Tea & hot springs
Group walking meditation
D'oh!Posted by Gala
Mon, March 29, 2010 08:54:53
I never have thought of me as a picky eater, I really would gulp down anything except for peas, hate those! and liver; however, being in Asia has made me review my stand point... well that and being over 40 where the mere thought of food gains me a few pounds and NOT in the right sexy places.
So I have slowly but surely reviewed my diet...
I steer clear of:
pasta, noodles, etc
things made of flour (except cookies, can't quit those)
alcohol in general
anything factory like stuff like ho-ho's twinky and such delights
Meat looks... not healthy here and visiting local markets has certainly given me a glimpse of how many hands (feet and other body parts) touch the food that will be cooked for me, not to mention fleas, heat, dogs and many creepy crawlies roaming around the meat stands, so just to be on the safe side I quit eating anything with a face.
Considering my health and travel insurance consists of a couple of band aids and Vitamin C, I do my very best no ti get sick (Cambodian Hospitals don't seem very hygienic..) so I drink only bottled water and bottled tea.
Mmmhmmm... so what to eat? I love all greens, broccoli, green beans, spinach and best of all: rocket salads
I went to a little street restaurant and asked for "a rocket and lamb's lettuce salad, with fresh cherry tomatoes (cut in half) diced goat cheese and a bit of balsamic vinegar (Modena, naturally) sprayed, NOT poured, please and if you have just half a table spoon of Olive oil (first press ideally, but second will do). Absolutely no meat anywhere, if you could make REALLY sure, thank you!"
The woman just stared at me with her toothless mouth open, totally baffled, went back to the kitchen and 20 minutes later she brought me a Chinese vegetable soup with noodles.
It was delicious!
D'oh!Posted by Gala
March 25, 2010 18:48:24
There are masses of us, stomping all over the planet; I consider myself a traveller rather than a tourist, yet I do want to do the touristy sites and then divert to my own thing.
Manners and common courtesy seem to be a thing of the past, so I will indulge in a self righteous note here and jot down the:
10 Commandments of a Well Mannered Tourist
Stop Embarrassing your self and your Country, ya Dumbass
1. Dress code: avoid high heels and heavy make up specially when visiting various ruins and temples: your spiked hills might be sexy while clubbing in Tokyo or Bangkok but here you are just re-engraving ancient stones. Make up runs with profuse sweating and you look damned scary.
2. General appearance: don't try to go local: dressing as a peasant does not bring you closer to the people: you are a white New Yorker living in Manhattan's Dakota Building... you ain't kidding anyone
3. Sun block: use it! beats wearing layer upon layer of clothing! Asian ladies go to great extent to preserve their pearl white skin, it is believed that a wide variety of colors, materials and patterns all mixed together have better sun blocking effect, this includes: black elbow length gloves, white t-shirt with a whacky print; bright green flowery silk blouse (open to show off the T-shirt's fun design); electric pink cotton hoodie; chequered scarf; BIG straw hats or plastic caps about 20 cms in length to cover face; massive fly style shades; silver plastic-like pants with black embroidery (I kid you not, it matches the gloves..); golden sneakers; an eye poking umbrella with Hello Kitty patterns; LV, Gucci, Prada or Carrefour handbags.
4. Hygiene: OK, so you are a backpacker and like to rough it, we get it! but come on! a little bar of soap and washing powder does NOT take up that much space! lose the Dope pipe and make room for a Dove bar, for Pete’s sake!
5. Pedicure: you are showing your tootsies to the world and yourself with those beaded sandals you just bought, how about getting rid of the 3 inches of dead skin which certainly make you look taller? Black toenails are NOT the new French Pedicure! (Refer to point 4)
6. Pictures: making, taking and getting out of the way of them:
a) When making a picture, do be considerate: there are 200 people looking at the same chunk of rock, DO NOT TAKE SO BLOODY LONG! No matter what a massive camera and lens you got, or what funky posses you might adopt to take the shot, chances are the picture will not make it to National Geographic; anything over 18 seconds is too long.
b) When taking a picture for somebody else: make sure you don't chop off head, feet or make them look the size of an ant; show the photo to the owner of the camera to see if he wants a retake, only 1 retake is allowed, for anything more than that bring your own damned photographer.
c) Get out of the way: step aside if you see someone is about to take a shot; If you see somebody kindly stepping aside, the rule is 10 seconds, not 18, a Thank You! is in order.
7. This is an obvious one, but had to be said: DO NOT LITTER! Just because local people treat their sites as open waste bins, that does not mean you can; organic waste is not cool either, drop that mindset of "in this weather that half eaten banana will be compost by tomorrow".
8. Comparisons & qualifications: so you are a big huge traveller and you want the world to know so you share you invaluable (and seemingly endless) knowledge at the top of your lungs... news flash: world does NOT care to know if this temple reminds you of that you visited in 1972 in the western Pao Thang before the civil war "now THAT was travelling, not like now". No need to qualify either: we know it is big, old, impressive, hot, amazing, beautiful, profound, funny, awesome, incredible, etc so again: use your inside voice for such obvious statements.
9. Silence: please OH PLEASE do not be screaming at all times! If your group of friends are on the other side of the Pagoda, Museum, Temple, Building, Bridge, etc. do not attempt to lure them by your side by yelling and pointing out to an amazing statue or pretty picture; fights with spouses and children's disciplining should also be done quietly, we know you are a great parent, but watching you bitch-slap your kid or wife is no fun. LOUD IS OUT.
10. Three words: deodorant, deodorant, deodorant.
In Cambodia at the moment, loving
D'oh!Posted by Gala
March 23, 2010 22:12:51
I spent the last day in Laos running around Viengtiang, lovely city, amazing temples; I took a tuc-tuc with Mr. Thong (I choose to pronounce it as tongue), he drove me around all morning, I invited him for lunch and he took me to the distiest hidden market ever, where I had some broth with herbs and tons of chili; we barely exchanged a word and yet it was the most enjoyable meal I had in a while.
I did not plan the Lao part of my trip properly, I did not inform myself and was a lazy traveler who had high expectations without doing any research, shame on me!
Mr. Thong reminded me of how wonderful the simple things are and I realized I was being unfair to his country and behaving like an arrogant brat, ridiculing a whole nation I don't even know.
Perhaps I return after my retreat with the Monks, by then dry season will be oven and vegetation obscenely lush (as opposed to the dry landscape I encountered). I might redo Laos and a some of Vietnam.
Thanks Mr. Thong!
D'oh!Posted by Gala
March 23, 2010 00:35:06
The "Travel Agency" promised it would be an 8 hour drive in a VIP luxury bus and a 5 minute deal to get the visa from the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, taken by private taxi to our bus; as an alternative they recommended a truly breathtaking 2 day journey through the Mekong river on a slow boat to rest our tired bones we would sleep in a lovely little village and proceed the next morning to our final destination: Luang Prabang, proclaimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Allow me to illustrate..
The "private Taxi"... what can I say?
The VIP bus was a minivan filled to the last cubic centimeter with smelly and tired looking backpackers, average age: 13, average height 2.20 (7') so they were folded into the car like noisy accordions.
We then switched buses and I was so glad!... and I was so wrong to be glad!
The ride took -count 'em- 16 SIXTEEN hours in a regular bus designed to fit Asian people (average national height is that of a leprechaun), not only that, but it was regular routed bus, which meant he stopped every 30 minutes to drop off or pick people up... Lao folks are know for being laid back, which is polite for "take your Royal time, why dont'cha??!!!" so by the time they grabbed their multiple boxes and bundles of joy, got down got the money, negotiated the price and waved bye-bye to passengers I was quite ready to break their knees.
I did get to the the scenery, which was nice at some stages: bamboo houses, kids running around, showers were a public deal (naked for the kids, in a sarong for the ladies) it was quite unexpected that they showered at all, as the smell of the people on the bus was unbearable, really. It also surprised me tremendously to see that those dusty bamboo huts had a satellite dish... I mean, women were picking fleas out of each other's hair (I swear to God, I think it was a social thing) kids were running around naked, the older ones had only a dirty t-shirt and no underpants... no nickers but 87 channels and a color TV (I could see them shining brightly through the holes and open doors from the road), that is an interesting list of priorities... to each his own, I suppose.
Oohhh and there was entertainment, the driver was well equipped with multiple tapes -yes, actual tapes- of cheesy pop Lao music, I have the sneaking suspicion it was from Laos has Talent, Lao Idol or something equally bad; he played his cursed music LOUD, I mean, he had the speakers going on all over the bus, it was not unlike being in a live concert, all accompanied by his own rendition to his favorite tunes, which were played extra loud. by the end of the 16 -count them SIXTEEN- hours I could already sing some of the tunes, as he also had a tendency of looping his Top 3. We did get a break every now and then from this, periodically he would call his buddies on his mobile and held long and quite animated conversation, all this while he was driving at night, on a curvy dark road -which was largely undergoing repairs- only one hand on the steering wheel while the other was holding the phone... constant oncoming traffic.
FINALLY we got to Luang Prabang, dropped off at a lonely bus station at 2am in the morning.
I admit I don't get VIP treatment often, but I am pretty damned sure that is NOT the way it goes.
I know I am being mean, but it was a rough ride.
D'oh!Posted by Gala
March 18, 2010 19:55:58
I just had the weirdest episode.
I am in a Chiang Mai Guest House, packing my stuff as I will leave to Laos tomorrow morning, I realize that my necklace, rings and bracelet are missing, so I unpack again and NADA; normally I wear these at all times, so I am well aware of them, except I took them out to go rock climbing and jumping around the jungle.
I figure I left them in the old room for I had changed the nigh before, so I go to the Owner, and older Thai woman who speaks no English and I point to neck and finger saying things are missing, hoping she would open the old room, so she says to wait, goes into a room beside reception and spends 10 minutes in a hysterical screaming match with a man, I mean, they were LOUD!
I was waiting around pretending to read a newspaper in Thai, there is more yelling and thumps, the woman comes out crying, whaling really and just told me sob! sob! NO sob! sob! and kept on crying, leaning against the counter shaking her head... I am standing there like an idiot asking if she is ok and patting her back saying "there, there" so she grabs her little purse and goes through money (I though she was going to pay for my things or something) gets some keys out and walks up, I follow her thinking we would go to my old room and she just goes in to hers, locks the door and after 5 minutes of me waiting outside, I gave up.
I can still hear her crying.
A silver ring my friend Vanessa made; a silver bracelet my friend Magali gave me; a silvery necklace, worn so often it was almost a trademark and my b-day necklace from Abu Dhabi (those are the things I have noticed...)
AND she goes on crying -her room is next to mine-.
Not be be insensitive here, but what about my stuff????!!!!
D'oh!Posted by Gala
March 16, 2010 18:20:02
So, 3 weeks in Abu Dhabi came and went.
Laureus was crazy and great for me in so very many ways...
I SO love Hugh Grant.
Arabian women: hairy, hairy hairy!! no wonder they wear burkas! turns out the uni brow is a sign of beauty..
Makes me angry that they have to be covered up and walking 3 steps behind men.
Burping... I don't care what a compliment that is or how culturally different we are, expelling gas from any cavity at all IS NOT COOL.
D'oh!Posted by Gala
March 01, 2010 00:56:00
SO I spent 3 full days in Bangkok, doing the tourist thing and working just enough not to feel guilty.
Several things made an impression, first and foremost the fact that on the city map everything seems so close and it's damned far when you walk, funny thing is to stop a taxi, tuc tuc or scooter/taxi and invariably they will say that the place is too close, too far or too much traffic to go that way.... err... is that not the bleeping reason for me to take a cab??? because the place is far??? If I want to take a tuc-tuc to save me 10 loooong blocks and be in time to catch a movie I might as well forget about it! I never quite got the "right" distance to be able to hail a taxi.
My friends have told me about the seedy, downright illegal Bangkok bars where girls are capable of shooting -with brutal force- golf balls, razors and all sorts of things out of their... birth canal , well I just could not believe that! I mean, we are all equipped more or less the same, some prettier accessories than others, I'll grant you that, but it is just impossible to achieve that no matter how many funky exercises a girl might when no-one is looking...
So I ask the reception girl at the hotel where the bars where, "the bad ones, like in the movies" I would say -she looked at me funny, pointed some are in the map and II gingerly set of to find them ball popping girls, miraculously managed to get a scooter taxi (best invention ever, although I am normally twice the size of the Tiny Thai driver), get down and sure enough there are tons of bars, food stands, and people selling from Rolex watches to Bob Marley aprons; I walked like a camel in search of water, miles and miles and miles of bar after bar and no ball popping girls, in fact it was all quite healthy: families sitting around, sipping lemonades and watching over their kids lovingly as they held hands... all quite disgusting, really! where are the Lady-boys?? the razor spitting girls?! the scary looking transvestites??the massage parlours with multitudinous happy endings??!! NADA, cero, nichts, niente, rien, not a thing!! there were a few young drunkards who appeared to be on a fraternity/bachelor trip and girls pulling them from the arm into dark corners, there were some girls walking around and those frat boys cat calling and inviting them for drinks... but me? ME??? nobody even looked at me!! I was invisible.
I know that there are people who are a magnet for trouble and whilst I am well aware that I am a healthy one, but could I possibly have started sending granny signals?? am I invisible??!!
I just wanted to be really bad for a day or at least see really bad things.
I am soooo boring, not even in Bangkok do I see action!
D'oh!Posted by Gala
February 12, 2010 12:28:48
I just booked my flight from Phuket to Bangkok and a hotel in the Asian Sin City, where I will be spending 3 days by myself.. some friends are betting I will break my vow of celibacy there... hmmm... wanna bet again??
Let us examine the evidence:
1) There are like 5 million (born as) women; seemingly all of them are young, thin, delicate, cute, readily available and easier than 1+1.
2) then you have the male population where 90% are young, thin, delicate, cute, readily available and easier than 1+1 AND way more feminine than I will ever be. (the remaining 10% are midget sumo wrestlers).
3) Lastly, those ex pats who are looking for young, thin, delicate, cute, readily available and easier than 1+1 girls OR boys (really doesn't make a difference there).
Adding ALL of the above to the fact that I am not into one -or 3- night stands plus the fact that I am stupidly mourning lost loves that were never meant to be, well... what can I say?
I will save myself for marriage.
D'oh!Posted by Gala
January 28, 2010 21:47:38
Walking around Patong and seeing SO many blonds, and British -2 of my fav things put together- I could not help to wonder if I ever will date again, it would be lovely but I just don't think so... seems SO far away, so complicated!
The whole love thing appears to be such a fleeting, unreliable and deceptive feeling which invariably ends up in pain and/or suffering, it just doesn't seem worth the risk and effort.
Perfectly happy just window shopping those surfers and cute looking foreigners in Thailand.
I do hope I eat my words at some point in my life, but just now I can't even bring myself to even consider for a MINUTE to have an affair... This would be unheard of 2 18 months ago, even 6 months back!
Scary what a cocktail of guy disappointment and a Muslim country can do to a woman's spirits, the first most disheartening of all.
D'oh!Posted by Gala
Wed, January 27, 2010 18:25:49
Having a GREAT time in Phuket, this place is awesome!
Since it looks like I will most certainly be by myself and homeless 2 weeks in Feb, I just might spend that time here in Thailand (curse men!!)
Sun, beaches a tiny bikini and internet, a girl does not need more!
D'oh!Posted by Gala
January 24, 2010 02:43:45
Tonight is my last night in Khunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll Republic of Maldives.
D- E - L - I G - H - T - E - D
I have accomplished all that I set myself out to do here and then some: learned TONS of things in terms of work and a brand new industry, made GREAT new friends who will last me a life time, realized that I can pretty much live anywhere under almost any type of circumstances -provided I have internet-, fell in love with Skype all over again AND...
Got my PADI license for diving!!!!
... of course, being me and the way I am, I got it the day I am leaving, so I can't dive any more...
I guess I will just have to sacrifice and move to Thailand for a month and live in one of those surfer/diving /sea side places...
life IS tough!
(did I mention surfing place?... as in full of SURFERS?!!?
Those of you who are old enough, sing to Simon & Garfunkel:
And here's to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
(Hey, hey, hey...hey, hey, hey)
D'oh!Posted by Gala
January 22, 2010 19:01:33
Just finished working for the cheapest lamest most unsophisticated person I have come across... and he is supposed to manage a high-luxury resort, imagine that!
Just gave my uniform back, cleaned my PC and I am BACK to my jeans and MacBook, working in a cool event, on my way to a Thai holiday.
Life is sweet!
D'oh!Posted by Gala
January 17, 2010 22:45:40
Got a gig in Abu Dhabi... SO exciting! 3 weeks in UAE, working with my mates in something I REALLY like and it will enable me to live for 1 year in Thailand (or 2 weeks in Florence...)
There is a God and She loves me!!!
So, according to my master plan I will meet my best friends in Phuket, then off to Berlin with my Boys, if I get lucky a few days away with that elusive oh! SO terribly desired Mr. a Destiempo somewhere in Europe OR traveling... gawd knows where.
The land of Liberty is singing my name, luring me like a chubby Sexy Siren and I cannot wait to be there.
Candles are burning
D'oh!Posted by Gala
Wed, January 13, 2010 00:16:47
Ok, so I screwed up...
I let my hot temper get the best of me... the Guerrero got to my head... and my head got chewed big time.
So now that I am cool, I have a ton of things to say, but he is so DAMNED mad at me I'm afraid I can't do a thing.
When the hell did I get to be the bad guy ALWAYS??? Granted, I a ain't no saint, but I own up to my fu*k ups, and just cause I take responsibility doesn't mean I am the ONLY one at fault.
Darn... gotta find a place to stay now... how did I go from a romantic getaway to living under a bridge?!
10 days left here! toc toc tic toc...
D'oh!Posted by Gala
Thu, December 31, 2009 00:10:07
Just watched "Alfie" starring Jude Law...
It is just too much to bear, watching those baby blues and pouty lips complaining about loneliness and want of a better half...
Small debate aroused with a friend and colleague about the shagadelic qualities of Jude Law and I for one have declared myself all for the cause, so after admitting all sorts of preferences, I am happy to list the lucky winners:
1. Mr. Jude Law. Any time any place, preferably a romantic setting.
2. Mr. Matthew Mc Conaughey for a wonderful summer love affair (with his shirt off at all times).
3. Mr. George Clooney for a long lasting relationship which will lead nowhere.
4. Mr. Brad Pitt as arm candy and nothing more.
5. Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal for "I will marry you and have your children even if it takes a scientific miracle".
6. Mr. Julian Mc Mahon for "Ok Darling, you may take me to Paris for dinner and butter my croissant in the morning".
7. Mr. Ewan McGregor for "boy next door" syndrome.
8. Mr. Leonardo di Caprio to satisfy the Ms. Robinson crave.
9. Mr. Will Smith to have a weekend of fun and dismantle any racist theory on my taste in men.
10. Mr. Hugh Jackman to restore my faith on the possibility of finding a slim waistline and full head of hair after 40.
Mr. Ashton Kutcher for "I'm over 40, divorced with kids and I will rock your world" and "yes please! 1 cutie pie to go"
Stay tuned for blast from the past where you will most likely find the likes of Mr. Rock "Who cares you bat for the other team" Hudson and ambiguous bad boy James Dean.
We might even go for a top 10 pin up girl with Ms. Ava Gardner at No 1...
I have effectively become homeless come January 23rd ... in fact I might be unemployed end of March if I don't play my cards right.
How funny is that?!
Iti s soooo incredibly exciting! I'm giddy n' all! will grab my backpack and after Berlin I have NO clue where I will live... I think I should lose myself in Indonesia... or Thailand... these are the only places I can afford to travel around aimlessly.
THE WORLD IS MINE
(add mad -scientist laughter)
D'oh!Posted by Gala
December 25, 2009 07:40:52
Love that warm vapor that comes out of dry cleaner shops.
That -to me- is the smell of cleanliness.
Evokes a perfectly pressed white dress shirt...
Few things get me going like a a man in a well cut & immaculate white shirt, first 2 buttons undone... just a glimpse of collarbone and a drop of perfume.
Yes, that is the most erotic scent combination: dry cleaner + manly aftershave.
D'oh!Posted by Gala
December 20, 2009 17:17:24
Lady Liberty just winked at me and got me all excited.
Mmmhhh.... could it be that I swap Asia for the Americas?!?
Shamelessly flirting with the idea.