Category: Travel

Freedom from What?

This agnostic does not understand. How could those who profess “religious freedom” endorse hate and discrimination? This libertarian does not understand. How could those who preach capitalism tolerate turning away cold, hard cash-paying customers? More to come…

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Memories Made

Andra Watkins has been encouraging her readers to make a memory. I regret it’s too late for me to make any more memories with my mom. So, instead, I’ll share a few.

  • Discussing with two of my aunts my bosom size and how lucky I was to be well endowed. I was TEN.
  • Inviting my boyfriend (if you can even call him that) in the 7th grade and his mother over for tea. So embarrassing. I don’t even think I spoke more than 20 words to him the whole time we went steady, let alone stare lovingly into his eyes. Sorry, Bas.
  • Treating me like a princess for a day. I think I was 7 or 8 years old. Even though I was the only child living at home by that time, my mom still made a big deal out of it.
  • Insisting that I take private Portuguese lessons over Christmas break even though we had just moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil, and my language teacher had decided not to give me a grade as I was so new.
  • Not insisting that I continue to take ballet or guitar lessons. Thank you, mom.
  • Buying me a paperback copy of Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care two months after Christian was born. Perhaps it was her way of telling me I wasn’t doing it right. But, at least, she did not judge.
  • Walking through the snow and ice in Pittsburgh during the winter of 1979 to catch the bus out to Northway Elementary School. It was miserable, but we did it every school day for several months. We had just moved back to the States after 5 years in Western Australia. And, my new classmates were weird.
  • Walking everywhere. All of the time. Mom loved to walk fast.
  • Making and eating pie. Mom used to bake them when I was little, lemon meringue in particular. But, in later years, she was always on the hunt for a competent, made-from-scratch piece of pie.

Writing of these few memories reminds me how my mom taught me to be open minded, to embrace different cultures and experiences, and to love and be loyal to my family. I only hope I can provide my son with half of the memories mom left me.

Mom in Ushuaia, Argentina, 2004

Mom in Ushuaia, Argentina, 2004

Friends are Forever

This summer, I was privileged to reunite with two dear friends. Friends I had not seen in decades, longer than some other friends have been alive.

I’m a worrier. I worry about what people will think of me. I want to be liked. So, when Caroline, Margy and I decided to meet in San Francisco and started planning, I started worrying. Would they like the accommodations I had arranged? (did I mention I’m also obsessed with planning?) Would they still like me? Would they like my family? What would they think of Ken, the man I married almost twenty-two years ago? Had I changed too much?

I worried for nought. It was as if we had not skipped a beat, like we had just hung out the night before. Sure, we had catching up to do but there was no awkwardness, no need for getting to know each other again. The only change? We had grown up. But down deep we were still the same 10-year-olds that had last time together probably pretended to be ABBA, debating who got to play Agnetha.

My only worry now? When I will see them next. I want to start planning pronto. I hope we will meet here, where we once all lived as neighbors.

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Shooshi

I did it. I took a restaurant reviewer up on a recommendation and dove in. Manhattan is a daunting place–one does not decide what to eat but rather where to eat. It’s definitely not Charleston where there are maybe two or three worthwhile Asian spots. Leaning towards ordering room service, I checked the menu and nearly coughed up my lunch. $19.25 for a grilled cheese??? On my feet went my wide, white, I-am-a-tourist New Balance 940’s, and I headed down 7th Avenue, after a short detour to Central Park, to try my first izakaya.

Even more daunting was knowing what to order…such pressure to fit in, to be cool. So, I asked my new friends at the bar. I’m going back. To Sake Bar Hagi.

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wasabi pork dumplings

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roasted shishito pepper

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the scene

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fried squid legs

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look closely, it’s easy to miss

My Five Know’s of Air Travel

20130223-084608.jpgWe all know the don’ts of air travel: Don’t turn on your phone after the doors are closed or before landing, don’t carry on more than two items, and, by God, don’t dare think of boarding before your turn.

So, instead I present five of my do’s.

Charge! I have become extremely dependent upon my smartphone for just about everything (boarding pass, watch, book, magazine, messenger, planner, theater, and phone) that I take advantage of every opportunity to keep it juiced up. Many airports now have convenient charging stations and we no longer have to look silly sitting on the carpet by some isolated outlet. But such amenities are few and far between (i.e., a privilege and not yet a convenience). And, unless you’re sitting in first class on certain planes or on an overseas flight, charging above 10,000 feet is not an option.

Stand, Stretch, Walk Move! Instead of sitting at the gate, waiting impatiently and listening to annoying announcements, get up and wander around. Peruse the overpriced souvenirs. Blocking fellow travelers rushing to their gates can be fun, too! There’ll be time enough for lounging around later. 

Elevate If you must sit and wait at the gate, then throw your feet up on your suitcase like I do.  Yes, it may seem gauche to some, but who cares? Your legs and feet will thank you later. Socks or no socks, that’s up to you (socks for me). But, ladies, do take extra caution when wearing a skirt or dress.

Alleviate Popping a few pills before your flight may be just as important as staying hydrated. Two regular old aspirin to prevent DVT. I know personally of frequent fliers hospitalized because of it and that’s proof enough for me. Though, remember, I am not a medical doctor so best to consult one when in doubt.

Learn and Obey Get over it and learn to tolerate the Transportation Security Administration. They are here to stay. The TSA website is chockfull of useful information; everyone who flies commercially should review this at least once. They even have an app (gasp!). And, the TSA actually has a formal complaint process if you feel you have been treated unfairly…I highly recommended using this over making a scene at the airport. Really. Bottom line: THERE IS NO EXCUSE NOT TO BE PREPARED. And, you are dumb if you get into trouble for making snide remarks out loud.

Yes, no doubt, air travel has moved on from the days of glitz and glamour to comfort and efficiency.  What travel tips or quirks do you have to share to make it a bit more tolerable?

Everything’s Amazing

Today, I resurrect my life as a road warrior.

It’s Monday for many of us, so I thought I would add a bit of levity to begin the day: Louis C.K.’s rant about how we whine about everything amazing. Enjoy it during a smoke social break. I’ll still be laughing to myself as I sit on my chair in the sky.

(Be aware that Mr. Szekley is not known for family-friendly language.)