Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Scammed and Scrammed!

Greetings from Hanoi!

In the past couple of weeks I have:
  • Come uncomfortably close to being scammed (and quite possibly held for ransom) for $26,000 by some Philipinos in Saigon. It's an unbelievable story and would make a great movie-ette!
  •  Quickly fled Saigon (see above)
  •  Been really really hot, then really really cold
  •  Seen a bunch of overpriced tombs and pagodas while starving on a bunk dragon boat in Hue.
  •  Eaten at least a gazillion spring rolls. 
  •  Gone on a very long hike to see some very short phalli (yes, that's what she said!), the enormiosity of which was grossly exaggerated by TBWSNBN! (see previous blog post)
  •  Lost all my shirts except one. Lost items include my "cowgirls need more than an 8 second ride" shirt, which I am still mourning. I think it must be somewhere in the vicinity of Angkor Wat - dang.
  • Realized that apparently all the stupid t-shirts in stupid Vietnam are made of synthetic material which I refuse to wear (see dot #6)
  •  Been up the coast via sleeping buses to: Na Trang, Hoi An, Hue, and now Hanoi. We had to skip some places on southern itinerary due to dot #1 (see above).
  •  Come to terms with the fact that everything in this country is marked up about 400% for honkies. I am not exaggerating. It gets exhausting  bargaining for a cup of coffee, a bunch of bananas, a place to sleep - argh!
  •  Bought a ticket to Bangkok. (see dots # 1-10 above). We fly out tonight on Quatar Airlines. I ain't never heard of Quatar Air - have you? Please send energy of the "happily and safely airborne" variety!
  •  Tried and tried in vain to log onto Facebook. Damn commies have it blocked. Not too big on freedom of speech. Facebook's dumb anyway - screw it!
  • Acquired a kickboard and have been toting it around since Saigon- man, I'm such a swim-dork! At least it doesn't weigh much!

And now I am off to pack once more...
I'll be back in Thailand by this time tomorrow...will write more later from civilization, where it's warm and safe and they have soft clothes!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Bible-Backed Python Survives Saigon

There are approximately 10 million people in Saigon, and somewhere between 6 and 7 million motorbikes. There may or may not be some sort of road rules; if there are, no one, and I mean NO one, is following them! So crossing the street, any street, is an excercise in blind suicidal/homicidal trust. The Book-Which-Shall-Not-Be-Named (ok, it's Lonely Planet, but shall herewith be referred to only as "TBWSNBN") suggests the following tactic for crossing the street without getting maimed, killed, or otherwise hideously impacted:

How to Cross the Street and Live to Tell the Tale
If you don't want to wind up like a bug on a windshield, pay close attention to a few pedestrian survival rules when crossing the street, especially on the streets of motorbike-crazed HCMC and Hanoi. Foreigners frequently make the mistake of thinking that the best way to cross a busy street in Vietnam is to run quickly across it. This does not always work in practice, and could get you creamed. Most Vietnamese cross the street slowly - very slowly - giving the motorbike drivers sufficient time to judge their position so they can pass on either side. They won't stop or even slow down, but they will try to avoid hitting you. Just don't make any sudden moves. Good luck!

Penny is blind in her left eye, which we have found very helpful in street-crossing. We put Penny on the side closest to oncoming traffic (that would be the left side, yo), while I hold onto her right arm and look straight ahead. This way, neither of us can see what's barreling towards us and therefore we cannot freak out/freeze/otherwise put ourselves on the brink, 'cause we just don't see 'em coming. So far, this seems to be working alright. That said, if you don't hear from me for a couple of weeks, then perhaps this wasn't such a great tactic after all... :)

motorbike blur


There's an old Vietnamese man who walks around our neighborhood with a bible and a pink back scratcher - you know, one of those plastic jobs with a claw on the end. He makes daily rounds through the streets talking about jesus and heaven and sinners and hell and what's gonna happen "when you kick the bucket". I'm not sure where the back scratcher fits into the picture. Maybe he uses it for some good ol' fashioned bible-thumping when he gets far enough into his spiel. I've found that saying "NO JESUS!" in somewhat loud and devilish voice usually makes him mosey on over to the next potential recruits. Mind you, I wouldn't mind a good back-scratching, but the price seems a bit steep...(also, where the hell did he learn a term like 'kick the bucket'?)


A couple of days ago, we went on a boat tour of the Mekong Delta which was, surprisingly, as good as it sounds. We went to a honeybee farm and drank fresh honey-lemon tea with a sprinkling of bee pollen, then proceeded via our wee little canoe to a coconut candy factory, which was vaguely reminiscent of that famous "I Love Lucy" episode...same same but different, as they say.

But wait, there's more!

At said factory they had, somewhat incongruously, a 20-liter jug of snake juice, which allegedly increases a man's virility.

 Since I am:
   a) not a man; and
   b) virile enough already,

I drank some just for the heck of it. It was quite nice, actually, if you're able to overlook the 10 or so snakes coiled up in the jar...
snake juice

During said tour, we made friends with three wacky Indonesians, including a fabulously gay guy self-named Ivan the Bitch,  and made plans to meet up later for a  "must-see" Vietnamese Water Puppet show. This was hands-down the most dorkazoid activity we've engaged in on the trip thus far. So afterwards, we went out with the 'nesians and washed the experience down with a heaping helping of grilled fish, self-sauteed beef, and a fresh coconut chaser. We followed this with a foray into an ultra-posh club called the Q-bar. It was full of backlit bars and  feather-boa chandeliers and a DJ who played crappy house music and had never heard of Queen, funk, or the Village People.
I ask you, what kind of DJ is that?
Nonetheless, we danced the night away, as the Indonesian trio were dance ho's on a par with yours truly. Dance, baby, dance!


Oh, yeah - before I forget: I put a mofo python around my neck and here's proof:

crotch python

Luckily, that was before I drank the snake juice, or things may not have turned out quite so well. I'm pretty sure that pythons don't take kindly to people drinking the juice of their kinfolk!

I am now shutting my cake hole.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Big ol' Dong and Friends

Some haiku for you:

Pig Rip Bear Trim
Pig spit face to rear
slowly consumed by those who
then go trim their bear.

drinking your nectar
teeth nibbling at tender flesh
devouring the young...

bungalow amputee
unsettling dream of
a bungalow amputee
clawing ground beef flesh

big ol' dong
adolescent minds
giggle at 'nam currency
heh-heh! she said "dong"!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

But this book is different!

Angkor Wat is stunning, amazing, incredible, awe-inspiring, and marvellous.***

It is also highly photogenic:

sunrise at angkor wat

me lean, tree lean

Another striking thing about Angkor, Siem Reap town, and Cambodia in general is a little something called 'touts'. There are adults, children, amputees, tuk-tuk drivers hawking everything from silk scarves to coconuts to bracelets to dirt cheap bootleg photocopies of books (ha! take THAT, Lonely Planet!!). You name it, they've got it.

And everything seems to cost $1, no matter what it is.

t-shirts: $1
jewelry: $1
blessing from a nun: $1

no kidding.

It's like the ultimate country-wide dollar store...the tourists are like walking ATM machines, just like the actual Cambodian ATMs, which for some reason spit out US currency.

These hawkers are relentless, especially the kids. One guy was selling copies of bootleg books (asking the surprising amount of...you got it...$1!). I'd already said no several times and in several ways, such as:  "I don't need a book", "I already have a book", "Go somewhere else with your books", "why don't I tell you where to put your books" and so on.

So he comes up with the best line I've heard so far:
                  "But this book is different!"

He gets points for originality...

However, being the logical little monkey that I am, I immediately shot back with:
                 "ALL books are different!"

This brilliant bit of logic stopped him in his tracks. 

Tout: 0    Jingles:1

This interaction inspired me to come up with a few other efficient and effective hawker-repellant techniques which I'd like to pass along to you future recipients of touty accostationism:

1) Make "bloop-blooping" noises like a fish while making swimming motions, thereby forging a path through the sea of venders. (this both confuses and amuses)

 2) Start Skipping at the critical moment just before verbal contact is made (this stuns the tout long enough for an escape, plus is a good aerobic workout!)

3) Make insane sounds and facial distortions. (actually, this doesn't work as well as I'd hoped, but will do in a pinch - mostly the kids just laugh and keep pushing for a sale...)

4) Poking in tout's direction with a sharp object (method still unproven, am saving for grabby Saigon tuk-tuk drivers)

5) Wild animal growl and lunge (for extreme cases only - this one even scares Penny!)

6) Repeating word for word what tout is saying (works especially well on tuk-tuk drivers); also works to say "my name's not 'tuk-tuk'" (gives 'em a giggle and facilitates ease of escape)

7) Singing loudly and continuously (works especially well with Penny and I in tandem - no break in noise = no chance for a spiel)

8) Dancing like a freak (another 'stun-and-amuse' technique; plus, this is something I already do on a regular basis, so for me, it's basically just like any other snapshot of my day)

9) Logical arguments (see above anectode). I've said some shocking things in the name of logic, which I won't go into here lest I offend the gullistupibese among you :)

 ***For more redundant, repetitive and self-referential adjectives, see http://www.roget.org/scripts/qq.php

So there you have it.


I have now moved on to a place with white sand beaches, crystal clear blue water, palm trees blowing in the wind and mango shakes to my heart's desire. Tuk-tuk free, tout free, full of shiny, happy (and veeeeeeeerrrrrrry mellow people).

I happy.

This is Phu Quoc island, in southern Vietnam.  I haven't worn shoes in 8 days. I am brown as a nut. Went snorkelling all day yesterday. Having grilled fish on the beach for dinner. Just had a 60,000 dong massage on the beach (that's $3 to you and me). I am looking good, feeling good, up with the rising sun, reading Stieg Larsson like a maniac (if you haven't yet read the Millinium Trilogy, hie thee immediately to the nearest book building and get your mystery on!)

We're flying to Saigon on Saturday morning, so I'm heading off now to luxuriate in my last two days of lounging/swimming/mangoing/Larssoning!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cowgirls, Chaos and Coconuts

One of the three shirts I'm toting around says this:

need more than an 8 second ride

That has absolutely nothing to do with anything, but I think it's really funny. Very few people bother to read the fine print, so it's kind of a private joke between me and the shirt...


In other news, we have successfully and lazily lazed the days away on the island of Don Det in Si Phan Don; meanwhile, in the outside world it seems chaos was erupting all around...

Here are a few burning questions:

* What the hell is happening in the Koreas??!!?

* How did 410 people get trampled to death in Phnom Penh?!?!

* Will Haiti ever catch a break?!?

* When the time comes, will P and I be able to fly back home on our chosen airline (Korea Air - ha!) or will complete chaos reign?!?

* Should we start immediately procuring alternative passports that do NOT contain the words United, States, or America? Not a popular people, are we...a Lao guy I met called China a tiger waiting to pounce, and I'm pretty sure who's gonna be the pouncees!

* Will we make it to the end of 2012, when magical sparkly fairy dust will gently-yet-with-great-intention sprinkle from the heavens and make it all peachy keen?!?

All these questions and more will be answered on the next episode of  
"What The Fuck!!??!!?"


And now here I sit in a freakishly nice $10/night guest house in Siam Reap, Cambodia, and boy was it a bitch getting here. I've been a lot of places and endured a lot of rough travels, but yesterday definitely ranks among the top three...

We had braced ourselves a rough trip - 10 hours in a shitty bus on partially paved pothole factories (euphemistically called "roads") to get to our destination. Cambodian time-keeping is apparently a bit different, äs we arrived 18 hours later after an absolutely absurd series of events which I do not wish to relive at the moment. The final tuk-tuk race to the guest house was a Death Race 2000 cluster fuck (we lost the race and had to root around for somewhere to stay at 2:00 in the mofo morning!)
All I have to say about this is: private jet, private jet, private jet, oh what wouldn't I do for a private jet! (if anyone out there's got one laying around, feel free to send it on over, yo).


I am now safe and sound and going to go lounge around by the pool (!)  with a mango lassi and finally start reading Siddhartha!

C'mon, Whirled Peas!

...keep it crispy...


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tomorrow Never Comes...


So, Penny and I have been kicking around Vientiane for the past 8 days, excitedly awaiting the grand skydive-fireworks-parades-a'-plenty party celebrating 450 years as the nation's capitol. We thought it was supposed to start on the 15th; no wait, that person says the 16th; oh, this other dude's pretty sure it's the 17th.

This is pretty typical of Lao, so as of yesterday, we have purchased bus tickets down to the waaaaaaaaaaaaay south to a place called Si Phan Don (means "four thousand islands"). That's a picture of it above, and from what I hear, that pretty much sums it up. Looking forward to a few days curled up in a hammock with a good book and a box of wine (zip it - don't wanna hear it!) before we cross the border and tackle Cambodia and our journey to Angkor Wat.

Cambodia is a real shit hole - - we've received warnings not to carry bag straps across our torsos because when the thieves on motorbikes come by to slash the bag, they may accidentally slash us as well. Sounds charming, don't it? This better be one hell of a wat!!!!

Angkor Wat looks like this:

And this:

It's where they filmed Laura Croft: Tomb Raider, starring Angelina Jolie. She is both super-mega-hot and she does all her own stunts, so if the actual wat's a bust, there's always that to fall back on!

Last time I was in Cambodia, it was total anarchy...I had the continual uneasy feeling that I might be stabbed at any moment as a matter of course. It's hard for a country to keep it together when everyone with any sort of education has been tortured and killed.
Stupid Pol Pot.

Pol Pot looked like this:

And he did really horrible things to hundreds of thousands of people who now look like this:


Alrighty then - on that note, I'm off to the happy-happy-joy-joy islands!


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Deep fried chicken heads dream of Good Personal Hygiene

Hello Friends, 

As promised, here are some disgusting food pictures for your viewing pleasure. I wanted to take one of this splendid array of huge, grey and slimy unidentified organs, but the lady with the very large butcher's knife didn't look all that approachable. Anyway, this should do for now until the next disgusting photo op presents itself...
As you may notice, I lack the necessary blog manipulation skills to make all my pictures behave in an upright manner. So for now, just tilt your head leeward and everything will be just dandy! 

Last night I had a dream that I was browsing at REI and I made an impulse buy. Unfortunately, the item in question was a cat. What the hell was I gonna do with a cat - squash it into my backback and feed it chicken heads? It was a no-return policy, too. The lesson here is: don't impulsively buy any felines at REI unless you really mean it!!!

The other day, I finally remembered to wash the sock in which my PStyle resides when not in use. It was a little disgusting (but not in a fried chicken head kind of way), but now it smells like flowers-clad serafim...

Have I told you lately how much I love my PStyle? Life-changing, existence-affirming, pee-off-a-cliff wonderful! It's become such a part of my daily life that I've ceased my once-meticulous photographic documentation of my PStyle usage. 

Seriously, I'd be so sad if anything happened to it...I've peed in alleyways, bus toilets, urinals, public squats, on the side of the road, in the sand, on the rocks; you name it, I've peed on it! I now totally get why you guys just whip it out and do your business whenever the urge arises!

Ladies: hesitate not!
Order a PStyle today!
And I'm not just whistling Dixie!!***

ps - I'm kind of getting tired of looking down at a pink pee canoe all the time, so if you've been asking yourself: "hmm, what fabulous expression of love might I bestow upon Jingles, here's the answer, friends:

Green, purple, orange (just no blue, please. blue is a stupid color and I refuse to engage in it)

Give one to yourself! Your friends! Your mom and your granny!
Really, y'all - it's that good!

(***this message has been broughty to you by the PStyle Corporate Conglomeration of America. Any similarity to actual peers past or present is purely coincidental. No animals were eaten in the making of this testimonial. All Hail the PStyle!!!)

As a side note, I may have inadvertently developed a non-traditional positioning technique in squat toilet usage. In order to protect the squeamish, I won't go into details here (discretion is the better part of squalor), BUT - if you're willing and able to elucidate on your understanding or personal experience in such matters, let's talk.

I'm off to find some eyeball-free food now...


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rat-on-a Stick

These bamoo grubs were a little snack Penny and I shared recently. They're actually pretty tasty once you get over the idea of putting larva in your cake hole!  However, the rat-on-a-stick that seems to be a favorite here in Laos is just not that appealing. Really, who wants to eat a garbage-eating rodent? (Apparently, a whole lot of Lao...)                           
We have also entered serious dog-eating territory here in Vientiane - there is a reason that there are almost no stray animals here, and I have a theory that the words "buffalo", "beef" and "pork" may be mostly interchangeable with the word "canine-once-known-as-my-dog-fluffy". Pets are clearly marked with clothes, hairdos, manicured nails, and whatever else might distinguish them from food.

Word on the street is that Vietnam will be the most gustatorily adventurous place of all...meanwhile, I'm mostly sticking to eating things without eyeballs, but will make a concerted effort to photograph hyper-disgusting beasties for your viewing pleasure...

The 2-day slow boat trip down the Mekong turned out to be a giant multi-cultural frat party, which kind of sucked for those of us who were hoping for a mellow experience. It was one of those things that you just have to settle into and be thankful for the fact that everything is temporary, like super-long bus rides or sitting through a Catholic wedding!

The boat finally arrived in Luang Prabang, where we stayed for just enough time to find  an excellent crepe place (chocolate mango crepe-mmmmm) and realize that it's basically a Laos Disney Land  for people who don't wanna actually interact with the culture. Such a weird phenomenon.

We've been in Vientiane for a couple of days, exploring the city and starting a visa collection for our onward journey to Cambodia, Vietnam, and back to Thailand.

Vientiane's a trip - there's a baguette shop on every corner and a HUGE replica of the Arc de Triomphe right smack dab in the center of town. The US guilt-gifted a bunch of concrete to Laos to build and airport ("hey man, sorry we carpet-bombed the shit out of you and most of your countryside abounds with unexploded ordenances - here's some cement")  and Laos promptly used above-mentioned concrete to build this thing! It's a big ol' Fuck You, giving America the archy-finger. Airport - ha!

In a few days, Vientiene will celebrate 450 years as the capitol by having a huge 4-day party, kicked off by a shiteload of fireworks, parades, and 100 people jumping from an airplane and spelling out "450 years" with their plummeting bodies...it's gonna be awesome! It's also in the National Stadium, which is right by my new favorite place, a 25-meter damn commie swimming pool, where I have been happily swimming laps on a daily basis, drinking coffee-coconut smoothies with an  ice-cold coconut water chaser, and teaching the locals how to play gin rummy through a combination of French, English, Thai, Lao, and pantomime. Worked pretty well, although the fun really started when we switched to the universal language: Slap Jack.

OK, enough for now...gonna go for a stroll down the Champs D'Elysee and dine al fresco 'neath the arch-port!


Saturday, October 30, 2010

Floppy Necks are People, Too!

Hello, friends!

It's been 3 weeks since my last confession.

I have been avoiding electronic devices in an almost plague-like manner, stopped taking pictures, and started having pure, unadulterated experience.

It's been nice.

However, as I am about to head to Laos and hop on a rickety wooden boat to float down the Mighty (flooding) Mekong river, I figure I'd better post while the posting's good.

I just got out of an 8-day silent meditation retreat at Wat Rampoeng, on top of a mountain outside of Chiang Mai. I spent my days walking reeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllly rrrrrrrrrrrreeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaaaalllllllllllllyyyyyyyyyyyy slowly then sitting down and closing my eyes for extended periods of time.

It ain't so easy as it sounds, yo!

Here are a few haikus I wrote before I went off the pen (and thanks to all y'all who responded in kind!).

Blingy Blingy Wat
Golden-Jeweled Dragons guarding
the gate to Shinesville

Floppy Neck Karen
When Long Neck Karen
removes gold coils she becomes
Floppy Neck Karen

Eating Bugs
The bamboo larva
doesn't squirt juice in my mouth
like stir-fried silk worms

Faulty Logic
If all pies have fruit,
And chiken pot pie exists,
Chicken Pot's a fruit!

Sex Dream
Last night I had an 
inappropriate sex dream
about someone's dad

More Dubious Wisdom from Gypsy Grandma
Crystals Activate!
Atlantis rises 10.10.

Bangkok Fish Market
Wading in fish juice.
Doomed frogs half-heartedly hop,
bound by plastic bins

Skinned rat carcass beams
from Ayuttaya food stall...
gustatory bliss?

And now for something (sort of) completely different:


I had a really fucked up dream the other night while I was at the monastery. You're not allowed to read, write, talk, or otherwise distract yourself, so the subconscious goes ape-shit!
I would change the names to protect the innocent/guilty/myself, but ain't gonna. Ha!

So I'm in an auditorium, on the stage with my mom and there's a bunch of people seated in the audience, like maybe 50 or 75. My old boss strides up to me all smirky-like, and tells me that he has been advertising this event, and that said event is to be me talking about me for an hour or so. After sharing this news with me, he walks away.
I have been totally ambushed.
I have horrible stage fright, y'all - even speaking in front of 2 or 3 strangers scares the shit out of me, never mind a whole auditorium full of them.
I've got not choice but to forge ahead. I turn to my mom, who's still on stage with me, and eye-plead for her to HELP! me. She suggests that I start by asking the audience to say something about me so I have a jumping off place for an impromptu speech.
So I go up to the dais and gingerly make this request into the microphone.

Dead silence.

double fuck.

So I turn to her - you got me into this, now get me out! So she goes up to the dais and shares that she was hanging out with a couple of acquaintances of mine the other night, and that "they like her more than they think they do"!


-the end


I am scheduled for execution, along with another woman and two men. We are marched into the execution room, where four identical hopsital beds are lined up in a row, with four poison-filled IV bags next to them, waiting to be pumped into our veins.

Just before the injection of the needle, a phone rings. The 'you-just-got-yourself-a-pardon, partner' phone. So we all get up and go to the phone. It's for one of the men, who puts it to his ear, listens for a minute, hangs up, and says "I'm outta here, suckers!". He's been set free, won the stay-of-execution lottery.

The rest of us are not so fortunate.
We are marched back to our death beds.

I think about resisting, but I know it will do no good, will only agitate me, and I'd rather not be agitated and hysterical when I die, thank you. 

I am strapped into the bed, and wake up right before the needle hits my vein.

-the end

Welcome to my current subconscious.
All interpretations are both welcome and appreciated.
Man, I love dreams!

alrighty then - that's all for now!
love y'all, miss y'all, wish you were here, etc. etc. and so on...

xo xo xo xo

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Haiku Frenzy!*

A couple of days ago, I had a sudden burst of haiku creativity. Therefore, here is my trip to date, boiled down to it's essential elements.

These four are from last month at Tassajara...

"Kitten in a Blender"
You make me feel like
a kitten in a blender.
Grind up, rinse, repeat.

"Wake-Up Bell"
Before breaking dawn,
DING! DING! DING! DING! sprints down path.
Stupid wake-up bell

"Fooky Promotion"
I am Fukuten
Wash this! Chop that! Umpon-woo!
Feed monks' appetites

 "Oh Shit this is gonna fuck my car up And How!"
 Out of the Valley
 cursing the dappled sunlight
skewing rock-rut view

"Greyhound Blowjob"
Young meth addicts meet
in the back of the Greyhound.
blowjob soon ensues...

And onward to thailand...
"Ode to Keens"
oh I love my Keens
homely red potato feet
 cushioning my world

"Dogs in Clothes"
Back here in Chiang Mai,
dogs still wearing clothes so as
not to be eaten.

"Monkeys Suck and Here's Why"
Lopburi monkeys
attack! Pineapple war zone!
Victory: Jingles

"Gypsy Grandma"
 Gypsy grandmother
waves magic crystal pen o'er
scooter-broken foot

"The Yucks"
Yucks flock to Siam
Dirty old men cruise Thai whores
to get their yucks sucked

"Talking Bones"
Gypsy grandma says:
heed the talking buddha bone
haunting Doi Suthep

Bone or no bone, I'm going to rock some white clothes and meditate for 10 days at the end of the month at Doi Suthep:


Meanwhile, after a week in Chiang Mai, Penny and I are heading up to Chiang Rai tomorrow to check out the scene and visit an orphanage up there, then bound for Pai.
Pai-ku will surely ensue.

Well, that about brings us up to date. Pics to follow just as soon as I figure out how the hell to use a computer...


*Apologies in advance to all you haiku "must-mention-the-seasons-in-every-poem" purists.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

OuT of the WiLdeRnESs!

...and directly into a seriously freak-infested portion of the grid (which some euphemistically refer to as "reno").

Since my last post and subsequent descent into zen-monky-business, a gazillion things have happened. Not being sequentially-minded at the moment, here is a bunch of crap in no particular order:

1) the ocean ate my car keys (and did NOT spit them back up). This, of course, led to a whole expensive and time-consuming series of events involving locksmiths, tow trucks, a park ranger named Tina, a seedy motel, a Honda dealership, a cheeseball, half a Woody Allen movie and a beautiful sunset.

2) aside from the above incident, I spent five days in Big Sur, sleeping in a turnout overlooking the sea (which I soon discovered I was sharing with a dead guy - but really dead and ashy with a plaque and stuff, not all maggoty and decomposing - that would be weird). I woke up every morning to the crashing waves and the sun pushing it's way up through the fog, went down the road and had really good coffee and pastry at Big Sur Bakery. That bakery totally kicks ass and you should go there if you're in the neighborhood.

3) i got married.

4) ha ha - just kidding. That was last trip, silly!
(although, interestingly enough, that accidental nuptial did end up factoring in to my experience at Tassajara... my innards hadn't flinched that much in quite some time)


I'm off to sleep now in my comfy Reno bed at my fabulous Aunt Sweetie's house, and am reasonably sure that no one is going to run by my head ringing a wake-up bell at five in the morning...damn, that sure does suck sometimes!

more later,

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Truck Stops, Boob Jobs, Hot Dogs and Pee

Hello Friends!

When last we spoke, I was chicken sitting and counting the days until blastoff.

Finally, after much preparation and a satisfying series of goodbyes, I am on the road and well on my way to destination Zen...in fact, at this very moment I am sitting in a coffee shop in Lompoc, California.

In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that it's a Starbucks, but cut me some slack here, people...I have no idea where I am (yet).

Lompoc is Here
 I left Austin on Monday, drove 16 hours straight, and then discovered the wonders of a little thing called Rest Stops. Did you know that you can park at a rest stop and actually stay there as long as you like and sleep?
True story.

And it looks like this...
Man, I love my Honda Fit. The front seat folds down flush with the back seat, creating a completely comfortable and functional bed. Mix in a little down comforter action, soft pillows, and high thread-count sheets and you got yourself a luxury sleeping scene, folks!

I actually spent a few hours in LA yesterday afternoon, and it was everything I'd imagined and more...grotesquely opulent, decadent, seedy, plastic, boob-jobby, desperate-and-down-at-the-heely, traficky conglomeration of towns with no cohesive identity. The most notable trait in the more upscale neighborhoods  was that everyone was checking everyone else out, seeing and being seen.


I went to Beverly Hills and drove down Rodeo Drive, into Hollywood and up the Sunset Strip, down to Melrose, had a hot dog at Pink's (I had to do something famous-ish) where I spotted what may or may not have been some superhipster rock stars emerging from a BMW, through Brentwood, Venice and then got the hell out of there.
Glad I went, Glad I left.

Last night I drove up Highway 1 until it got dark, pulled into El Capitan state beach and slept in the Fit-bed until morning. I've been waking up really early in California time, so I was up and on the road before the booth people even got back to work...

One more thing before I leave you:

My new best friend...
Christmas is coming, y'all!




Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Slave to Chickens has a Slight Change of Plans

Hi Y'all!

Originally, this was going to be an all-ages kinda writing scene.  

However, due to my desire to say whatever the fuck I want to here, the Habibi's-Child-Friendly blog has now taken on it's own discrete life. You can find it here: jingles-n-change.blogspot.com
That one'll be me and Penny going to town (and country) in a "G"-rated kinda way.



I am now T minus 21 days and counting until I head West! I have procured a perfect and small backpack for the occasion, and am mostly packed and rarin' to go!

Right now I'm house sitting.

My current life involves living in a magazine-worthy farmhouse outside of Dripping Springs, making sure I get home before sundown in order to insure the safety of a couple of not-so-bright chickens (apparently the country is rife with nefarious creatures), murdering innocent crickets for the sake of lizard longevity, and hanging out with a couple of labradors.

I'm diggin' it.

Butt Eggs
The egg-laying chickens have made me evaluate my eating habits; do I really want to eat something that a chicken has pooped out of it's butt?

Why yes, I believe I do.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ants In My Pants

Hi Y'all!

This is me. I'm super-fancy in this picture; mostly I go without the mustache and mink. I'm more of a bare feet and cut-offs kinda gal...

In about a month I'm hopping into my car and heading to a Zen monastery near Big Sur. I think I'll drive straight over to Los Angeles then up Highway 1. Highway 1 is obscenely beautiful, at least the parts I've seen so far. I've never been to LA. Everyone in my orbit has told me I'd hate it, which has made me really curious. I gots to see for myself. I plan on playing "spot-the-boob-job" (if I actually dare breech the city limits)...I like to play games I can win!

Once I get there, I'll stay at the monastery staring at a blank wall and chopping a gazillion vegetables until either:

(a) My head explodes; or
(b) The end of September.

This is where I'm going: http://www.sfzc.org/tassajara/

After a few weeks of high-end monastic living, I'm gonna meet my friend Penny in San Francisco and we're gonna fly into Bangkok. We're both crazy-excited about it, and having a hard time focusing at work. Thus the antsy pants.

This is where we both work: http://habibishutch.com/

These are some of my friends from Habibi's. I've been teaching there for a long time and am really going to miss those little humans, some of whom I've known since they were in utero. This blog is a way for me to keep in touch with the kids, the Habibi's community, my fellow dancers, my old friends, my new friends, and whoever else wants to take a peek. I plan on posting lots of pictures from Asia...assuming I figure out how between now and then (I am a blogging neophyte).