Thursday, January 31, 2008


I arrived and the bus ride was pleasant. I suppose being waited on, with wine, and reclining chairs make a huge difference. My only problem is my damn long legs. Can´t do too much without more leg space. I did sleep and the bus wasn´t full and overall, I would recommend bussing around Argentina. I did watch some stupid movies, though...De ja vu, Die Hard 4, and Little Man--this one was in spanish and dubbed in spanish, too. It made no difference, it was a retarded movie.
I leave for the wine region on Saturday mostly since I want to maximize my time there. I bought my bus tickets, all in spanish and felt very proud of myself. I found a hostel where they speak english and it almost feels like cheating. There were two older ladies traveling together but they weren´t too hip on the 4th story flight or the space factor in the rooms. They were a little too negative on life for me, but they left.
Bariloche is renowned for its chocolate and of course, the lake. Let me tell you...from where I am sitting, it is amazing. I hope to sleep late tomorrow and enjoy a beautiful day and then head to Mendoza on Saturday. My spanish is improving because it has to. The know it all from yesterday doesn´t speak good spanish is what I realized when I left. She has been traveling in South America since November and so I felt bad for her that it is almost February and she can´t communicate well with others. That is probably why she talked my ear off and made me crazy.
On a side note--Happy Birthday, Dave Beemer....I e-mailed you early, but of course, the public notice was necessary. Remember, I always have the day right!!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

trade offs...

In exchange for an item i was in desparate need of, I had to listen to this chick talk about herself for the past 4 hours. She is never wrong. I think I would like to send her a book called--for those of us who are never wrong and love to hear ourselves talk. Seriously, she is making me crazy. And of course, she isn´t ancient--she told me this last night--she´s just 23. Lovely!
I am off to the south with a new agenda and positive happy thoughts of better people. I understand common courtesy, but no, not everyone wants to listen to your opinions of what you think you know all of the time. She had a view of everything and wouldn´t contemplate a difference. Frustrating...enough of the negativity.
I had a pleasant evening with the lovely Braziliian girl and shared a bottle of wine. She is interesting and I liked that she made me feel comfortable with my spanish. I am definitely being forced to learn more.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

solo en espanol...

I am trying to think in spanish as a way to help my vocabularly-understanding. It is a bit frustrating that no one speaks english, but in the long run, it is very helpful to me. I mean, really, I have 6 more weeks here and should be a pro by the time I return to Denver. Watch out Bull & Bush kitchen---i will now understand your insults-mockeries.
I met a couple from New Jersey today at the Museum of Fine Arts. They were retired and mentioned that they had met several people from the US and were surprised. I am not. I mean, the dollar is strong here and it makes sense to travel here. Plus, they are in an area where everyone is a tourist, thus, they run across many native english speakers. For example, there are Christian Dior Stores, Hugo Boss, etc in the Recoleta. Yes, it is trendy and yes there are Americans. I prefer the more native route with locals.
I went to the Evita Museum and it was brilliant. I read the text in Spanish and enjoyed the tribute to Eva Peron. I am convinced that I need to read more spanish and I will improve. I am hoping to meet Shari in Costa Rica and have no issues with the language. I want her to drive though. I am a horrible manual driver and fear for other drivers when I am on the road!!!
Maybe I will dream in spanish tonight.
Manana, yo ir a sur para 24 horas....very fun for me. I will miss you all, but hopefully will check this before I leave. My bus leaves at 1 pm....

with sleep...

Yesterday, I contemplated the rest of my time in Argentina. It was raining and so all I wanted to do was curl up with a good book and sleep/rest away the day. Instead, I went to lunch and was told that this woman could not understand that I wanted a menu in spanish. I asked her what the appropriate word was and she looked at me with no expression. I tried to ask a different way with the same result. Remember that I am speaking spanish here and so it is frustrating with my vocabularly. I knew that this woman was being difficult and so I left for a different place.
Later, I decided to stay at the hostel for a few more days and they let me switch into a room with a window and fan. i loved the coolness and found myself sleeping the rest of the afternoon away. It was raining and the museums that i wanted to go to were closed. I intend to go to the Evita Museum as well as the Fine Arts Museum. I look forward to doing that today after my trip to the bus station. I am looking at a 24 hour bus ride south. Can´t wait. I know that it will be spectacular. I just need to figure out when I will leave and possibly my return date to secure a bed at this hostel. The people are super nice and they have been patient with my spanish/english communication. In some ways, I wish that I could extend my trip solely for the purpose of learning more spanish. I would be forced to since no one speaks english here.
I met a guy from Chicago last night and immediately asked him if he had been to the Map Room. He said no and so I told to check it out when he returned to the States. I had a blast there last year, and like the owners as well. Brandon and Mark have always been wonderful to me and so of course, I will send people to their bar as much as possible.
I also spent about 3 hours with a Braziliian girl, named Renatta. She is super nice and helped me with my conversation skills. I definitely understand more than i can speak and so it was nice practice for me to speak with a person who was nice and patient. I felt comfortable stumbling through the translations. I think we are going to meet for some wine later today and hopefully I will continue to learn the arts of spanish.
Well, I am off to douse myself with OFF and have a medialuna for breakfast. Take care and enjoy some strong coffee. They have not made me a decent cup yet.

Monday, January 28, 2008


I met Gretchen and her two boys in the Palermo yesterday. I decided to walk there since it was a beautiful day and because I figure that i can learn more about the city by walking. I found this cute little cheese shop with wine which ultimately drew me in after our lunch. No cheese, but the wine was fantastic!
She took me to the Palermo which is an up and coming area in Buenos Aires. It was trendy, hip and I felt out of place in my traveling clothes with my back pack. Not much to comment on here. I am almost ready to burn most of my belongings, but for now, I need them.
Anyways, lunch was great and i enjoyed meeting Bryn´s cousin. I know her sister, Heidi, from Denver and it made me homesick for not only family, but friends, too. My friend, Teja from Slovenia, told me that at the 3 month mark, she was homesick and I think she is right. I definitely had twinges of wanting to see familiar people in my life. Plus, I miss some of the most mundane things--Burt´s Bees face cream, good peanut butter, shampoo and yes, normal feminine hygiene products. They do not have the ones that i prefer here. I understand the not having organic ones available, but couldn´t they at least have some variety?
Today, I hope to go to the Eva Peron museum and walk around the Recoleta area and figure out when I will head to the Mendoza. I would like to go to Iguaza Falls, but OFF is doing nothing in terms of protecting me against mosquitoes. I am a walking advertisement for bites at this point. Any suggestions on how to end this crisis???
Enjoy the snow and cold. The weather here is humid and very much like growing up in the midwest for summers. I prefer a more dry heat, you know???

Sunday, January 27, 2008

heat + mossies=no sleep....

I relocated to a hostel about 2 blocks from the first one. I like it here, but it is so flipping hot that I cannot sleep. I feel, at times, that I am on a safari and will not be cool again.
I explored part of the city yesterday after my siesta. I am able to sleep during the day due to the quiet and coolness of the hostel. I think since everyone parties here at night that it is due to rising body temperatures. Anyways, I walked to the Plaza de mayo which was the meeting place for the mothers and grandmothers who wanted to know where the disappeared were during the Dirty Wars of the 80's. To me it is a sacred place, filled with emotion, inspiration and history. I started walking there and most of the streets were blocked off which I felt was odd since it was a saturday night. Anyways, as I approached the plaza, I see Jonathan Rhys Meyer, an actor, and realize that they are filming a movie in front of the plaza and that is why they have blocked off the road. I was surprised and felt it was wrong only due to the importance of that particular plaza to me.
I enjoyed watching people approach the plaza and be moderately confused as to why the streets were blocked off.
I had awesome pizza the other night, near my hostel. It was awesome and super cheap. I think that it was 85 cents a slice.
I am figuring out when I will head to the Mendoza as well as when I will go to Cordoba or Iguiza Falls. It is a quandary since there is so much to do and I only have 3 weeks.
I am meeting Gretchen today. She is a distant relative and I am excited to speak english with someone from the states. Although I met some others from New Jersey yesterday and they basically annoyed me since they refused to try to speak spanish. Actually, they assumed as I was from here which i did not understand. I mean, i have not met many tall blonds from Argentina. Most people assume that I am German which works out sometimes. I can just act like I do not understand when they approach me with i love you...Well, take care. I am enjoying the free internet provided by most hostels as well as the breakfast. For the most part, everything is fantastic in that realm.

Friday, January 25, 2008


I was distracted yesterday and so I forgot to mention a few things...
Worst rip off--
the shuttle to the airport from the backpackers. I arranged to be taken for 120 rand and so I left at 5 pm. Had I left at 6, it would have been 150 rand ($26). The guy drove like a maniac or like one of the black taxi´s taxi driver and when he dropped me off, he demanded 150 rand. I told him that I was told it was 120 and he said, I was wrong and that he was owed the money. It angered me but I had no recourse since I wasn´t given a receipt.
I took a few other cabs and really, I was taken in all of them. I overtipped and mostly did it to ensure that I would make it to my destination without being mugged or left in some shady area. I met locals who said they never tipped cabbies since they would get lost in order to increase the fare. I am not agreeing with that, but I know that I stood out as a definite tourist in these situations.
Best sandwich--
a shop on Long Street with a red awning. It was ham and cheese with dijon mustard and olive bread. It was all fresh and an amazing sandwich, really.
Best wine shop-- wine concepts in Stellenbosch. Remember that is where I got intoxicated at the wine tasting. It was awesome. I met great people and we danced. They just opened their establishment in November and I believe that they will be successful.
Best night of sleep-Stellenbosch backpackers
Best night of sleep on Long STreet--my last night when i watched basketball and was able to finally cool off.
Cheapest internet connectiono--5 rand an hour on Long Market Street, past the green market square, super cheap and the connection was fast.
There are ample markets, shops and book stores scattered along Long Street. i wouldn´t recommend staying there for those of you who appreciate sleep. I loved the atmosphere and had a blast. Of course, the dollar being favorable helped and I could have extended my stay there easily.
Well, now I am back to reality. I will relocate to a new hostel near the hotel. They offer tango lessons, free breakfast and internet. I hope to extend my stay there and also make time for a ride to Uruguay and the Mendoza. I have options and time, I just need to do it.
My boss is tying the knot tomorrow. Congratulations Dave and Lisa on your upcoming nuptials. Have fun and enjoy Hawaaii!!!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Best of South Africa

Obviously the wine was amazing...I spent 4 days in Stellenbosch and met some truly amazing people. I didn´t forget to do this. I ran out of time. Although my night spent at the airport at Joburg would have been the ideal time. I arrived at 11 pm, grabbed my bag and found a seat to sit on in front of the ticket counters. The locals and cleaners continued to look at me, like I was nuts, but I figure that this is normal in the whole scope of things. I was approached by a cop at 4 am who was spooky. He said that his shift ended at 7 but he lingered a tad too long. His eyes were bloodshot and so I think he might have been hanging out in the bar most of his shift...In South AFrica, the police hire security firms to protect them--nice, eh?
Anyways, I arrived in Buenos Aires and found my hotel. Before I left south africa, i acquired another mosquito bite about 2 cm from the first and so you can imagine how pleasant my flight was. Truly, i love mosqutoes!!!
I stayed at the hotel and enjoyed a lavish breakast this morning. I need to find a hostel and a tourist center to gear up on maps-whatnot. I think I will enjoy the hotels ammenties mostly. They have a gym and a spa. I think I am entitled to one spa treatment and I can´t wait.
Back to the importance of the title--BEST OF--

I stayed at two hostels and although I didn´t enjoy the noise of Long STreet, I couldn´t really avoid it. Plus, Nikki, Devin and Megan were awesome. They were accomodating and friendly. I really enjoyed spending time with Megan on the wine tour and look forward to meeting up with her next year, somewhere different.
The Ikaya Hostel in Stellenbosch was great since I had my own room. In reality, it was a dirty little hostel and the cleaning lady tried to come into my room, twice, without knocking and when she realized that i was still in the room, she left abruptly. I don´t know what her plan was since I don´t have anything to take besides dirty clothes and random books...
The safari tour by the AFrican Eagle was lame. I mean, they can´t guarantee the animals and they shouldn´t, but the whole tour was awful. I was the youngest--i know, normally a bonus for me--but it wasn´t a good vibe.
The Daytrippers Tour to Cape Peninsula was fun due to the bikes and the hike. The wind was not fun, but it is a fact of life in South AFrica.
On to the good--
The Best $60--The Africa Storey wine tour. Bruce is a wonderful guide and friend. I went on two tours in Stellenbosch with him and was not at all disappointed. He is knowledgable about wine and wants you to enjoy your day with him.
The best Mexican food--The Mexican Kitchen where I met Ross and was entertained with traveling stories. I enjoyed the fresh salsa as well.
The best experience of the trip was probably taking the 3rd class train from Stellenbosch. Nobody does it and that is why it is comical. It wasn´t scary, just another traveling experience. I would recommend to everyone take public transit.
The worst traveling--my shuttle to the airport. The guy totally ripped me off. I need to e-mail Nikki and tell her that the man who drove was a complete cheat/wanker!
I could probably go on forever....i really enjoyed South AFrica. I would love to return to explore more and drink more wines. I look forward to hearing about the continuning construction of the soccer world cup. It should be interesting to see how it all plays out.
Talk to you later--

Monday, January 21, 2008

Wine Tour #2

Bruce picked Megan and I up for the tour to Stellenbosch. There were 12 of us, this time, and he had arranged to go to new wineries for me. We started at Fairview which is available in the States and also has a cheese farm attached. There were two others, Charlie and Lissie, that had went on a tour with Bruce and so we were separated from the group and had a private, VIP tasting. It was lovely. We tried 8 wines accompanied with 6 different cheeses. I loved their bleu cheese and a few of their wines stood out. I liked their semillon and quite a few of the reds.
Afterwards, we went to Chaminoux which was okay. I wasn't overly impressed, but it was new and they served us an apertif for dessert. Our next stop was lunch and I had a cabernet with my sandwich and then we stopped in the chocolate shop in Franschoek for dessert. I purchased post cards while the others ate ice cream. Did I mention that there were 3 Americans on my tour? They were from New York and quite friendly.
The last two stops on this tour were in Stellenbosch and places that I had been too. However, Bruce let me try other wines from each place and all in all it was a great day. I found sunflowers and the day was glorious.
Also, he gave each of us a bottle of wine to say thank you for riding his tour again. Plus, he mentioned that 3 people took his tour since I had recommended it. I suppose I am good pr/marketing when I want to be. Plus, Bruce is an accomodating tour guide and fun to be around. After he dropped us off, he came back to the hostel and drank wine with Megan and I. I had a fantastic day!
Of course, last night I woke up, completely hot and uncomfortable. I went out to the main room and turned on the tv to cool off. I found college basketball on and so I watched part of the Syracuse/Georgetown game and it was followed by the Texas/OSU game, which unfortunately started at 4 am and so I didn't catch much of that one.
I leave for Buenos Aires tonight and should arrive tomorrow at some point. I can't wait!!!
Take care and keep living life!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Transportation in South Africa

I took the train to Stellenbosch on Friday. I arrived at the station in time to board the 1st class car to the winelands. Everyone who told me to take the train advised strongly that I purchase a 1st class ticket. Outside of that, they said as long as I didn't travel at night, I would be fine. I got on the train and realized that they didn't call out the stations/stops. I decided that I would pay attention and after an hour of waiting, I would arrive in Stellenbosch. Thankfully, there was a guy on the train, who was also traveling to Stellenbosch and he told me that he would alert me when we arrived.
I arrived and headed into the 2nd oldest town in South AFrica. It has a college there that doesn't resume until February and so the town is quiet right now. I went to the Information Center for information about hostels/wine routes/what not. They recommended that I stay at the Ikaya Hostel which is centrally located in the town square and since I was tired from walking with my pack, I agreed. They also provided literature on a hop-on/hop-off wine service. I was planning on doing this on Saturday, but my plans changed. Anyways, I asked them about a wine bar as well which they had a flier on a place called Wine Concepts near the town square. I checked into Ikaya and since I was solo, they made revisions and I stayed in an apartment next door. I had a kitchen, bath and bed all in one place for about $14 a night. I felt like I was in heaven.
I departed for the wine store and interrupted a wine tasting. I tried Nordhoeck wines and met the young wine maker. His name was Arnoff and I was having some difficulty understanding his English. I am still trying to pick up the south african accent fully. Anyways, I ended up staying with this group of people until 10:30 pm. It was great. I ended up talking with Adolf and Terrine from here. Adolf is a surfer and student. He met his girlfriend after they were ice skating and he fell and she broke her arm. They were funny and entertaining. I met a couple from Belguim that went to Cape Peninsula and had a baboon enter their car and steal their food while they were sitting in the front seat.
As you can see, I was comfortable and not too concerned with my whereabouts. I walked back to the hostel and thankfully, they made me a sandwich since everything was closed. I woke up on Saturday and had little desire to go on the wine bus. Instead, I read and enjoyed the fact that I was alone in my little apartment. I went out for coffee and sat there for 3 hours while I wrote in my journal and people watched. I reflected on my prevoious night and how foolish I had been. When I told Terrine and ADolf about my train ride to Stellenbosch, they were shocked. They said, no, hire a car. DOn't take the train, it isn't safe. I was surprised and I guess that living here would be much like the south in the States. Only, here there is so much resentment and hostility from Apartheid. Nobody trusts anybody and so public transport is not taken by white south africans.
I rode the train back to Cape Town today, believing that I would be fine and that it was safe. What I didn't factor in was that I would get on the wrong car of the train. I bought a 1st class ticket, but rode on the 3rd class trains. I was the only white person on the train and really, the blacks were curious about me, but didn't approach me. I sat by a few different women who didn't want to acknowledge that I was sitting by them. It was during the day and I knew that I was safe, but it was fun as hell considering how terrified people make it seem.
I am back now at the Long Street Backpackers and tomorrow I will tour Stellenbosch with Bruce on a wine tour. TUesday, I will mail postcards and get ready for my trip to Buenos Aires. I am ready for a change of scenery, but frightened due to my spotty spanish. It will work out how it does.
Take care and talk to you before I head west....

Thursday, January 17, 2008

one of those days...

This morning, I woke up at 2 am to one of the girls in the hostel spraying bug spray on herself which indirectly I was sprayed with. I loved waking up that way to eating aerosol spray.
I went running and had every intention of being productive this morning. I showered and was prepared to go to a different internet cafe when I decided to locate my charger for my ipod. Of course, this cheap hotel shampoo had exploded all over my smaller accessories bag which had my chargers in it. I didn't pay too much attention to it until I tried to plug in the charger to the outlet. It shocked the hostel guy and that is when we discovered how damaged my charger was. I cleaned it up to no avail. It is fried and I must find a new charger.
I decided to pack up my stuff to relocate to a new hostel and found that my sunnies were broken. I don't think I am buying another pair of sunglasses since I either lose them or they break. Next, collecting my stuff, I found that someone had pilfered my milk which forced me to really leave Cape Town. I am in search of the hostel in Stellenbosch via the train and I hope to return in a better place. I couldn't believe that my charger was fried or that someone would be petty enough to steal milk. Damn, travelers...I have green tea and a purpose for finding a new hostel/charger if it is convenient. I think that I should leave now for greener pastures.
In other notes...the weather is fantastic again and all of the people in my dorm room are relocating to other towns or hostels. This couple, Tim and August, are traveling to Buenos Aires and will be on my flight next week. They are traveling for 5 months, though, solely in South America.


My safari was okay. I was the youngest--i know, huge change--and for the time spent/money, it was okay. I saw a reserve of 7 cheetahs that seemed drugged and a beautiful male lion. His mane was amazing and he had two ladies to keep him entertained.
Afterwards, we embarked on a 5000 acre reserve where nothing was guaranteed. I saw gizelles, giraffes, zebras and rhinoceros. All was fairly close and pretty damn amazing. The gizelles were skittish, but the rhinos felt perfectly fine defecating in front of us. I was unsatisfied with the safari due to the food factor. For the fact that it was a game preserve, I was surprised at the quality of the food. They served us goat (I didn't eat) and a pork stuffed tomato which wasn't edible. They had ice berg lettuce, shredded carrots with canned mandarin oranges, potatoes, stale bread and hummus on cucumbers. I wasn't too impressed or satiated.
I returned to the hostel and made plans with Megan to have wine on Monday or Tuesday. She is a cool chick. She read my goddess cards last night and it was spot on.
Tomorrow I depart for Stellenbosch and then I return to Cape Town on Sunday. Have a wonderful day and enjoy the snow. The sun is amazing here!!!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cape Point Peninsula--where the two oceans meet

Yesterday, they picked me up at 8:15 for the tour of the Cape Peninsula. I admit it, I was bitter that they postponed my trip and so the first hour, I wasn't too sociable. Our group consisted of 3 Aussies, 1 Kiwi, 1 German, 1 French, 1 Brazilian and me--a fairly decent group of people. We stopped at the pier and could do an alternate trip to view seals for more money. I opted for coffee. I know that it isn't about the money, but I was still pissy about the day before. Anyways, I sat with the French girl and talked about traveling. Alex is in Cape Town for a week and intends to return for 5 weeks next year. She is a lawyer and an avid traveler.
Next, we stopped at Simon's Town to see the African Penguin. They are everywhere and quite funny. The first one was in the sewer, burrowing to stay warm. It was overcast and rainy all day yesterday; whereas, Monday was beautiful and sunny--ideal for this tour.
We drove to Cape Point and stopped the van so that we could bike 7 km to our next stop. Granted it was all down hill and not bad, but for awhile it felt like we were in a wind tunnel and I had no control over the bike. I kept seeing myself doing a tent stake over the bike and crashing horribly into the side of the road. I didn't and it was fun. We stopped for a brief lunch and then made our way to the Cape of Good Hope. The wind was crazy, but we prevailed and hiked up to the light house. The views were spectacular and there was this private beach that looked amazing. The guide kept saying--THE WATER IS FREEZING--and so perhaps, not the best place to be on the beach.
We hiked about 40 minutes to our next stop and it was here, that was the most treachorous part of the tour due to the winds. They think that the winds were going 65-70 km/hour and it was frightful. The path was narrow and considerably above sea level. My rain jacket kept pushing me to one side of the trail and it was difficult to hike down. I did enjoy the day and the tour was good.
I returned to the hostel and James, the resident drunk--I mean, Irish guy was exactly where I left him. On the couch, in the same clothes and drinking hot tea. He is out of money and so he doesn't do anything besides watch cricket or sports and follow the primaries in the States. My roommate, kate, took pity on him and after I had mentioned going out for a drink with her, she invited him along. I was annoyed since I knew that he hasn't done a damn thing in the 5 days that i have been there. Thankfully, he is returning to Ireland tomorrow since I think he needs a hobby or something. I mean, I could drink to oblivion in the States quite easily and still have income. I don't understand the purpose in drinking like that in a foreign country.
I go on the safari tomorrow and I have decided to relocate to a different hostel in Cape Town and then return to Long Street. Simon's Town was neat, but so windy and the water is cold. I am good on laying out in a shitty beach being pelted by sand. I did that in Bunbury, Australia, for a few days.
Laundry called this morning and I am making due with the continual rainy weather. Buenos Aires next week and then I make the descent back to the States, slowly....

Monday, January 14, 2008

dont talk to strangers or more appropriately--men in uniforms for me

I am taking a safari on Thursday and my trip to Cape Point got delayed by one day due to lack of people. I am planning to stay in Cape Town until Friday and then head south to Simon's Town or Kalk Bay for two nights. I will return here via train, and finish with another wine tour with Bruce on Monday. He told me that he would change up some of the places we could go and i figure why not go drink more wine? I really am enjoying the wines here and they are super cheap!
I explored the region and found myself at the Botannical Gardens. Innocently, I was walking around and taking in scenery. This security guard starts talking to me and of course, coming from the Midwest, I am up for conversation. He tells me that he is from Uganda and a refugee here in South Africa. He was promised work if he moved here, but the demand is too much. He got his job because he knew someone that could provide it for him. Anyways, we start talking about me and next thing you know, he is planning our restaurant here in Cape Town. He told me that by the time I came back (theorhetically), he would have everything up and ready. I was trying to find a way out of this conversation when he asks me if i live with my parents or husband. I am honest and then he tells me it is time to move on to a more 'MATURE" MAN--REALLY. He proceeded to mention that we should meet for a drink to get to know each other better and I said that I was on a full day tour. Plus, I mentioned that everyone grieved in their own way and that I wasn't interested in meeting a more mature man. He asked me for my e-mail and for once, I kept my wits about me and said that I didn't e-mail. I left and am e-mailing now.
I wonder why I meet the random security/bus drivers/police officers. I enjoy meeting people, but it seems like if I sit down somewhere with this type of man, I am then asked to really sit down on his lap. Funny how I attract the uniforms....
Books are good and I do understand why people want to move here. Truly, it is an amazing, vibrant city.
Take care--

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Sunday, lazy sunday

Last night I did not find Italian food. Instead I found Rick's Cafe, a play on Casablanca. I had a caesar salad and it was okay, but not italian. I thought it was funny that the staff stood in front of me and gossiped for 45 minutes. I wanted to approach them and say--won't you at least go into the kitchen? I don't want to listen to your conversation or better yet--ISN'T THERE SOMETHING THAT YOU CAN CLEAN?
I returned to the hostel and found that Andrew had been relocated since they wanted to keep my room the girl's dorm. With the addition of Kate, it was necessary to relocate him. I read and then decided to try to sleep. I wasn't too successful as I couldn't compete with the bars. I feel like i am in New Orleans with all of the bars and balconies around the hostel. It is a nonstop party here in Cape Town. No, ear plugs do not work. As a result, i took a long morning after my salt bath/shower. I did yoga this afternoon and finished dinner at a game preserve/restaurant with Andrew since it is his last night in South Africa. It was nice. We started with ostrich carpaccio and I had chicken as my main and he had a mixed grill. They did offer ostrich, crocodile, and a variety of other gamey type meats. I felt like chicken. I know--boring.
Tomorrow, I take a tour of Cape Point and then I need to decide what the following week holds. Do I want to go out of Cape Town or should I remain where I am at? I think I might relocate hostels purely for the sleep factor. Although, tonight they shut the bars down early due to it being a Sunday and all.
How are the playoffs going? How is my bball team???
Take care.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


DO I LOVE SA wines or not???
I was picked up by Bruce this morning. He was born deaf and had cochlear implants when he was 10. You would never know that he was deaf. Anyways, he agreed to take me to L"Ormanin in Franschoek since I wanted to go there. We started in the Stellenbosch and it was okay. There were 6 people--4 women and two men. I wanted to kick the last person out of the tour since she was polish, lived in Vancouver. I mentioned that wine in Washington was awesome and she said--wine in Canada is just as good. I quit listening after that.
We had lunch and concluded with 2 additional wineries. I approached Bruce about going on another tour and he agreed to take me since I was 'nice". I know, American and what not, but nice works.
South Africa has fantastic wines and the people are interesting. I met a peace corps volunteer from nambia. She works with the Aids Project and as I was telling her about people sniffing glue here to get high, she topped me. Apparently, in Nambia, kids shit in a plastic bag, let it dry and the sniff it to get high. I know---NICE. I was so disgusted but understood that yes, it does happen. We are very fortunate in the States in spite of our current financial/political situation. Yes, I have encountered racists of my own traveling and yes, I have encountered people that do not particularly enjoy our president. SURPRISING, I KNOW.
Well, I am buzzed and in need of some sustenance. Italian always does the trick. Eat up and enjoy!!!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Table Mountain and other decisions...

So, I did yoga yesterday and made some other pertinent decisions. I am going wine tasting today at the Stellenbosch and Franschoek area with The African Story wine tours. I will head to Cape Point on Monday to tour the point where the two oceans cross. I am interested in seeing this and the penguins and just generally seeing more of South Africa.
I am indecisive on which safari I should pursue due to cost and location. For what I could spend on a two night safari near Cape Town, I could fly back to Joburg and go to Krueger Park for the same amount. That isn't an option in my opinion since I just got out of Joburg, fantastic city that it is. The question becomes do I want to do a two day safari and get screwed financially, or could I be happy with a one day safari and lunch? It is a quandary.
I went to Table Mountain with Andrew and will write more later....I am off to drink a lot of wine

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Mexican Kitchen

I arrived in Cape Town and decided to stay at the Inn Long Street Backpackers. I was advised to avoid some of the hostels due to the band in the hostel factor since I am big on sleep and not on noise. Anyways, I wound up with brochures of the area and took a walkabout around 5ish. On my way back, I saw a restaurant called the Mexican Kitchen and i knew that I would be eating there. I didn't care if it wasn't good, I wanted Mexican food. I approached the lady sweeping and asked her when she closed. She didn't understand me and so this man came forward and he was the owner. He started telling me about their corn chips/nachos and I was there for about an hour listening to Ross speak of his food, restaurant and his travels. He has traveled extensively in Argentina and of course, I was extremely interested in that. I had a Corona--I know, I haven't actually drank one of those in forever. Regardless, I enjoyed my conversation with Ross and I think he might be in Mexico when I return to the States. I gave him Vegas's restaurant to explore in Rocky Point and I gave him some restaurants around the States, plus the Bull and Bush if he made it to Denver.
I returned to have enchiladas and it was good. I liked the fresh salsa, cilantro, and guacamole. I felt like I was at home.
Later, I returned to my hostel and took a salt bath. Of course, the light was out in the bathroom and so they rummaged for some candles and I had a proper bath. I want my bite as clean as possible. I went to bed with ear plugs since Long Street is a party street. I woke up at 5 ish to consider running. This Irish guy, James, was drunk and very talkative. He suggested waiting until at least half 6 since there were still beggars out there. He was right and they were relentless. There were so many street people waiting for their handout and kids running up the street. It is a little unsettling to see the poverty and feel the lack of security.
We had an interesting conversation ranging from American football to the upcoming election. I think that he has followed the primaries more than most Americans. He watched the concession speech of Obama for New Hamshire and had a legitimate opinion on each of the candidates. I wasn't too surprised since most of the world is following the political situation in the States.
I suppose I will stay here for a few days and then either make my way east to Port Elizabeth or go on a safari or head to the winelands. Either way, I will make the most of it.
South Africa is beautiful. I look forward to seeing more of it.

Johannesburg/the airport/salt rubs

I made it safely to Joburg, collected my bag and had some chips (french fries) for breakfast. My sleeping and eating schedule was completely off since I have left Perth at midnight. Arrived in Sydney at 6 am and then for the next day traveled 18 hours and arrived here at 6 am on the 9th. A bit confusing and a lot of random airline foods to make me feel unbalanced.
Anyways, I hailed at cab from Gift, a nice man from Suweto. He told me about Joburg, places to visit and insisted that I would be safe walking around since I was staying in the wealthy part of town. My reservation said that I was staying 10 km from the airport which I felt would be a cheap cab ride. Actually, my hotel was about a 45 minute drive from the airport in an area called 4 Walls and Gauteng. So, no, my cab ride wasn't cheap, but I made it safely to the hotel at 9 am. Gift agreed to pick me up today at 9 am and return me to the airport. I arranged for lunch and dinner at the hotel and inquired about walking around the area. The girl at the desk said that it wouldn't be a good idea and that I should just wait to get to Cape Town. I had a large room with a bath and a shower and I was in heaven. I slept after my salt bath and then went to lunch. Two men eventually joined my lunch, but they were traveling on business and I was reading a book called, Poker Face. No, it wasn't interesting, but it was in my hotel room. I gathered from their conversation that one was living in New Zealand and the other was living in Australia. Both were from the UK originally. Their conversation wasn't too exciting and I was in much need of uninterrupted sleep.
Mostly, I slept and tended to my bite. Yes, now, it really is much better. Salt rubs are awesome and I can actually sit down without having to rearrange how I am sitting. It has been a great week.
I returned to the airport in search of an internet since the hotel's connection was down. I leave for Cape Town in a few hours and then I will search for a backpackers and figure out this leg of the trip. I wanted everyone to know that I am okay and that I didn't have any difficulty maneuvering the city. I was positive and continue to be that I will be fine here. The people that I have met are proud of their culture and heritage and I wish I had more time here. Two people told me I should check out the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg and I would like to on another trip. Gift, the driver, gave me his card and insisted on arranging a tour of Suweto when I return. And, he showed up at 8 am this morning to take me to the airport.
Take care. I will be 9 hours ahead when I get to Cape Town.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


I made it to the airport and have a 5 hour layover before I head to South AFrica. I sat by a couple from Belguim and they were quite friendly. Their daughter did a world tour, found an Aussie and now lives in Sydney. They spent the last two weeks with her for holiday.
The airport here is fantastic. They have many duty free shops and a lot of people are shopping. I am still in search of the gym or really, just not sitting for the next few hours. I survived the 8 hour stretch by sleeping, watching the Bourne Supremacy and The Jane Austen Book Club--yes, cheesy, chick flick, and concluded with Ugly Betty. That show is funny. I only caught about 13 minutes of the pilot, but I understand why people watch it. I enjoyed it and look forward to being able to marathon it on my flight to Joburg.
I am okay. The tea tree oil stings, a little, but I know that the bite is finally getting better. I am going to do another salt rub/bath once I get to Joburg. Plus, I think I will purchase some vodka to disenfect it if I can't find alcohol. It should be interesting.
I am fine, really. I am positive that Joburg will be an interesting place. And, the aboriginees are no picnic in Australia. Actually, the are frightful people who I avoided at all costs.
Until later....

Monday, January 7, 2008

Sydney airport....

Didn't make it to flight check in was early and I spent $5.20 to transfer from the domestic terminal to the international.  I wasn't too impressed with being taxed to go through the airport.  I found a glass of Penfold's some tea tree oil and I am set for life.  Oh, and I broke down and had a starbuck's coffee.  It tasted great and I am patiently awaiting my departure to Joburg.
I arrive at 5:40 am and have a hotel booked with a hot shower and double bed.  I can't wait.  I will spend the night and return to the airport to fly out to Capetown on the 10th of January.  I am intrigued by the wine, Table Mountain and just checking out a new country.  
Catch you later...

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Caution--Watch for Cars or the best of OZ

Yes, they have signs all over Australia saying--Caution Cars. It kind of gives you an understanding about how they feel about pedestrians in this country. I thought the roundabouts were bad in New Zealand, but the drivers in Oz take the cake. You do not walk if there are cars on the street. They speed up, I don't know, hoping to hit you, but really, what is the point.
I have been meaning to mention that for some time. I figure that today is as good as any other good day especially since I want to talk about the best/worst of Australia. Here goes--
Best free meal--Govinda's in Perth. I did volunteer my time by prepping the kitchen and today, they let me scrub under the stove. Fun! Fun! Fun! I definitely earned my meal and it was fantastic. They even gave me fresh baked cake. I loved it.
Best bus ride--Sydney to Melbourne (12 hours overnight) I met Ilona and we had an intriguing conversation and I really enjoyed meeting her. She is mostly a native. She moved here when she was a child. I hope to keep in contact with her.
Favorite saying--How you going? It is wearing on me and I find myself saying it.
Best winery tour--McLaren Vale--no doubt about it. I woke up late, no brekky and they waited for me and took me to a cheese shop for coffee and a pastry. Plus, I did enjoy the wines tremendously.
Best winery--Penfold's--only because I really wanted to go there. They let me blend my own wine and it was fun.
Best sandwich--salami, sundried tomato/pesto and cheese from a deli in the Rocks in Sydney. It was a fantastic sandwich. I didn't enjoy the seagulls or that this one thought that I would actually feed it. He went back and forth between me and this guy eating McDonald's. No, I haven't succumbed to McDonald's, KFC, Subway, or Burger King.
Best meal--chinese with Teja in Melbourne. We went to some random chinese restaurant and brought a bottle of Penfold's to celebrate her last night on her trip. She was flying to LA as a stopover before landing in Slovenia. She recommended this restaurant and it was great. We had seafood lo mein and a clay pot vegetable mix. It was awesome--fresh all the way around.
Best market--Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. They are open 7 days a week. They have everything--produce, meats, seafood, clothing, wares, candles, tarot readings, massage, teas, etc. I enjoyed exploring the market and it was an essential part of Melbourne for me.
Favorite cities--Melbourne, Sydney, Perth and then Adelaide. Adelaide is boring. I loved the wine regions, obviously, but there is nothing else to do there. It was awful.
Perth is a wonderful, charming, city. It isn't bustling like Sydney and it has a very laid back feeling to it. I loved Margaret River and Bunbury too. The beaches were beautiful and the people were accomodating.
Sydney is a huge city. It is overrun with tourists and other backpackers. I was overwhelmed by that aspect, but could recognize how awesome it was. The botannical gardens were enticing and it was super easy to get around.
Melbourne is my ideal city in Australia. It has many activities and a laid back charm. The people were friendly and I can't say enough about the Market there. It was brilliant.
Apollo Bay was fun, too. I loved Molly and Reg and could have easily stayed at their hostel for a month. They were relaxed, friendly and positive. I really liked the vibe in that particular town along the ocean road.
I liked meeting people, other travelers in Australia. I already mentioned Ilona and she is a gem. Teja and Petra were also great to talk to and spend an evening with. I met Ricki from Germany and wish that I had her accurate e-mail address. I don't and so I can just mention that she was pleasant to talk to. Wendy from the UK was also a source of information. We met up at Bunbury and both recognized the inadequacy of that hostel's kitchen. She will be meeting her daughter soon to travel in Australia and she was a highlight of Bunbury.
I liked spending time with Chad, the Texan, on New Year's. It is always nice to be walked home. Jamie from Scotland was entertaining and I even enjoyed Jim Belushi from Canada. I did meet some incredible people this leg of the trip. Everyone is on some journey or another is what I realized.
The worst of Australia--
FLIES, did I mention them yet? They are horrible, ghastly little buggers that do not give up. Mosquitoes are a close second.
Whatever bit me sucked, too. I have been applying toothpaste which seems to dry it out and ease the pressure. It is an ongoing process.
Kangaroo--don't eat it. It didn't work for me
Cars, drivers--basically, anyone who isn't a pedestrian on the road was not fun to deal with.
I should mention the hostel factor too--
Emperor's Crown/SurfPoint Resort--Owned by the same company. Very clean and comfortable hostel, staff and I enjoyed my 8 days there.
Apollo Bay--felt like home hostel. I loved Molly and Reg and the proximity to the beach. They let me use their bike to check out waterfalls and they were helpful with activities around the area.
Nomad's in Melbourne--a party hostel, but very friendly. Sara helped arrange my wine tour, my accomodations in Adelaide and generally they were assist friendly. i didn't enjoy the loud music all the time, but it was a clean hostel.
Base in Sydney was okay. I liked the location, but I stayed in a room with 6 boys which is 5 too many. They weren't very clean.
The Shiralee in Perth--not really one of my favorites, but I did watch a movie marathon with Chris on my last night there. I watched bootlegged copies of Gone, Baby, Gone and American Gangster. I can look past the cleanliness when i am entertained like that. He was nice and they did have offer a great brekky with mueslix.
The worst--
The Blue Gulag in Adelaide--hostile owner. Very unpleasant man and not that clean of a hostel. i did like Daren, but he is moving to Sydney
Bunbury YHA--not very clean, kitchen was small and the owners would only check in from 4pm-9 pm. Very inconvenient.
Hay Market Backpackers--Muslim Hostel, need I say more? Not clean and kitchen a mess regularly.
I think I covered most of the hostels. I was in Australia for 5 weeks and so I could have forgotten something. It was awesome, but you would need 4 months to really check out this massive country. I wanted to take the train from Adelaide to Perth but they only offer that service 1 time a week. I didn't have time since I wanted to get to margaret river. Plus, I didn't make it to the sunshine coast or the Great Barrier Reef. I would love to return to see both of those and spend more time in Melbourne and Sydney.
I will be flying tonight and arrive in Sydney tomorrow for a brief stopover. I have a departure of 3:40 pm to Malaysia and then I have a 6 hour layover until I leave for South AFrica. I know, it sounds great. Can't wait. Catch you on the back side and I will only be 9 hours ahead then.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Countdown to South Africa...

Today is my last full day at the backpackers. Tomorrow, I will check out and leave my bag at the Emperor's Crown until I depart for the Perth airport. From there, I will love a 5 hour flight into Sydney, pick up my bag, store it somewhere and head into the city for one final wine toast of my trip in Australia. I even think I know the place that I am going to go. It is called the Torres Family deli and they offer sandwiches and it is a gourmet shop. They have Penfold's wine which is why I noticed it in the first place. I thought it would be appropriate to celebrate there and end my venture with Penfold's since that is why I came to Australia. Next time, i will have to make more of an effort to get to the Great Barrier Reef and check out the east coast. I met some great people in Fiji who live in Brisbane and I would love to see them on my next adventure.
I will check this tomorrow since I will still have access to the free internet of the library. I love that it is conveniently located and user friendly. I intend to mail off post cards and volunteer at Govinda's which is part of the Hare Krishna faith. No, I am not being converted to umharmony, yet, but I do like their food and I can't believe that I am admitting this--I miss working. I want to help out and the other day they let me prep some food in their kitchen in exchange for a wonderful meal. They are pleasant people and outside of asking me if I wanted to go to their temple, kept to themselves. One lady is from the States and her husband is from Wisconsin. They do have a Govinda's in Denver at 14th and Cherry. I have never eaten there, but i will check it out when I return. I also met a guy from one of the islands off of Africa. It is amazing the people that I have met...different life stories, histories and perspectives. I am intrigued.
The german lady from Margaret River is staying at my hostel. I discovered it this morning and can only hope that she isn't in my room. She was so negative and I almost choked when I saw her in the toilet. We didn't make eye contact and so I don't know if she recognized me or not. Hopefully, she didn't since I don't intend on having another conversation with her.
I will do my best of Australia tomorrow since I am almost out of time. I have a full day of exploring Perth and trying to stay out of the hostel. The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day. I spoke to Steve Black last night and tried to call Pocketsize, but I was unable to get ahold of her. Answering machines are the worst.
Well, take care and enjoy!

Friday, January 4, 2008

2007 Recap...I can't believe that I forgot to do this....

I suppose I could blame it on not sending out a christmas card and that would be true. Normally, I would write a lengthy letter, all about me and send it off to each of you. So, here goes...
2007 started off with me planning a fundraiser for the Brian Thompson Scholarship Foundation. January was stressful, but I did manage a kick trip to Chicago where I met Mark of the Map Room and he escorted me to a Bull's Game. It was awesome and the highlight was definitely seeing Kirk Hinrich play. I loved Chicago.
In February, we had the fundraiser on February 28 and it went extremely well. We raised $25,000 on a horribly icy night in February. I was supported by family and friends and felt very loved. I was fortunate to have so much support for that evening. 200 people attended and I was so relieved when it was over. I couldn't think. I was stressed out about my speech. Afterwards, I made up for it with Michaela, Jade, Pocketsize, Sarajo and friends from the Bull.
In March, I tried to stay close to Denver and I enjoyed the madness of basketball. Of course, my team let me down, but I have high hopes for this season. At the end of March, I went for a western road trip and made stops in Seattle to see Jean from college. I went to Oregon to spend time with my sisters and I took Jade on her first ever wine tour. That was a trip within itself. I was proud of her, however, since she did try a few red wines and she liked them. I felt it was time to move out of the riesling only stage.
I then drove to Napa, San Francisco and eventually to Santa Barbara to spend the night with my cousins. They were great and I definitely owe them an evening in Denver. I had a blast with Scott, Jason and their friends. From there, i drove to Las Vegas and spent the night with Cedrick and Carrie. I had fun at the casinos in Summerland and spending time with Crazy Carrie from Phoenix. Of course, I ended up in Santa Fe and met chef Ben there. I was treated to a 5 course meal for Easter. It is always nice to meet chefs!
That is just a snippet of my year. I was blessed with food, travel and friends. The one other huge high light was my lunch at the French Laundry. I loved it and didn't want to leave. My friend, Jenn and I spent 4 hours for lunch and it was a 9 course tasting menu. I wasn't hungry for awhile after that particular meal.
I spent a lot of time in Phoenix with Jan and Tom and I had visitors from Kansas and Wisconsin which I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved hiking with Hannah and Kellen and watching them over take other people so innocently. I reconnected with friends from high school and I had a nice lunch with Hailey, Cory and Andrew in Denver. Every time we meet for lunch, Hailey tells me that she is pregnant.
2007 was a wonderful year for me in terms of friendship an d understanding. Thank you, everyone, for supporting me in this venture. When I got off the plane in Fiji, I remember thinking--"Did I really just do this?" I survived because of your support and care. I thank you for your friendship and can only hope that I will be able to return the favor soon.
Please enjoy your 2008 as I know that I am and will. Life is for the living and you must make the most of it. Be it traveling, spending time with your kids or just drinking coffee. If you are passionate about it--do it!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Emperor's Crown...

I love the hostel. It is clean and open and they also run the Surf Point Resort where I stayed in Margaret River. They are efficient and very professional. For instance, I am staying in a 4 room all female dorm room and two of the girls have been there for some time. On the door leading out, is a note from the manager telling those girls to clean the room up. It suggested using the storage bins that had been provided and if the situation did not change they would be charged or asked to leave. I was surprised and happy. No, it still isn't too clean. It looks like an explosion from a teenager's room, but I have a little space for my stuff and it is doable.
I ran into Jim Belushi from Canada. He is also staying at this hostel and surprisingly, not as annoying as at Surf Point. Maybe he was just trying to impress the other guys...I don't know, but he was subdued last night and I almost, felt like engaging him in a conversation.
I found the State Library of Perth, which is 2 blocks from the Crown. They do let you e-mail at this library, but it is a fight to get on a machine. There were about 15 people outside this morning waiting to get on a terminal. I rose early and feel victorious!
I bought papaya salve for my bite and it seems to be helping. I am confident that it will be better by Tuesday when i fly to South Africa via Kuala Lumpur. It will be a 20 hour flight with a 6 hour layover. I can't wait! I need to stock up on books and like I mentioned...the sleeping pills. I don't know how I will get through this flight.
It has been overcast the last few days. It picks up mid afternoon and then it turns muggy. It reminds me of summertime in the Midwest. You know, where you shower and then get out and felt like you never left the shower. You can't possibly get dry.
I need to check my e-mail and I am hoping to be able to get here early tomorrow with similar results.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

ailments of the new year...

That bite is frustrating me. It feels like I now have a bump on that particular area. I have salved it with vitamin E and I am hoping to consider some other homeopathic remedies. Bryn--any suggestions? Bryn, my aunt, is the person I look to when I have medical questions. She supplies answers and hasn't been wrong yet.
I checked online since I am at the library again without access to e-mail and it suggested toothpaste, garlic, cornstarch/water paste and tea tree oil. I wondered if anyone else could suggest a remedy for either a huge mosquito bite or possibly a spider bite. The area is red and big and itches somewhat. Anything would be helpful. I am not ready to break down and visit a doctor just yet. I am a firm believer in healing yourself with alternative medicine. No, I do not embrace scientology or am I a disciple or follower of Tom Cruise. I did enjoy the movie, Lions for Lambs, and he acted like himself based on his interview with Matt Lauer a few years ago. I liked the idea of the film and don't remember it being hyped much in the States.
In other areas....I got a hold of a few people yesterday and my car is doing just fine in Phoenix. I feel better with that knowledge and no, Michaela did not answer her phone.
I was able to relocate to a cleaner hostel and it feels heavenly. I walked around Perth and considered staying at a YHA hostel, but it was next to the train station and I couldn't bear the noise. Also, it was the same price that was being offered by this clean hostel that has been raved about--the Emperor's Crown. I walked in to the hostel and knew that I had to stay there. I had looked at another hostel in Perth and although it was cheap, I knew that it was exactly like the hostel that I was trying to get away from. The kitchen was dirty and overrun with asians. I know that it sounds bad, but now that I have traveled a few months, I have noticed a few things. First off, asians do not travel solo. They group together thereby taking over a kitchen hostel. It is frustrating to try to prepare meals when there isn't space or proper equipment. I have opted many times to just go out for meals so that I do not get in the way of their cooking. Also, the last few places that I have stayed have not been clean. I watch people clean their dishes and they are either doing it with just water or with cold water and soap. It seems like a hassle to prepare a meal in this situation. It is worth it to me to pay extra to have a clean hostel/kitchen.
In more positve news...I checked out King's Park which is awesome with a botannical gardens also available in the park. It's huge and beautiful. I am staying near the art museum of Western Australia and many eateries. I can walk virtually everywhere from where I am staying and yes, it is a clean hostel. Actually, the same people also own the Surf Point Resort in Margaret River where I stayed for xmas and i loved it there. Clean backpackers, big kitchen and a nice manager.
I can't e-mail since I haven't figured out a creative way yet to do it illegally. I am working on it, but the library for researching is a viable option. Until tomorrow, be safe and good. Enjoy making your resolutions...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Yoga in the park...

This morning, I opted for some yoga. Fortunately, there is a park near the muslim hostel that I scouted out on New Year's Eve. I hit snooze on my alarm and so I had to do yoga a little later than originally planned. I was committed to it though and as I made my way to the park, I see this huge lawnmower and know that it will be an interesting day. I find some trees and set up my mat. I am fine for a bit, but then it begins to rain and the lawnmower keeps getting closer and closer to me. I felt like he remowed some of the park so that I could finish my routine. I did and now i am at the Perth library searching for a better hostel. This library is very strict about e-mail use. I tried to be sneaky and typed in my yahoo account only the screen changed and said--prohibited area. I will have to find another way to use the internet freely for personal use.
The flies aren't as bad here. Instead, I have mossies to deal with and I have been bit by either a mosquito or a spider. I can't tell, but it is huge. It itches and it is in an inconvenient place. I have vitamin E with me and so I have decided to fight it with that. I found vitamin E and sleeping pills in my alleve bottle the other day. I don't go very far without the alleve, but the sleeping pills were surprising. I might take them on my flight to South Africa or I might sell them if I get desperate. Who knows? I don't really do all that well on them. I feel like I would be on speed or something. My heart races and I can't calm down or at least that has been my experience in the past.
In other is an overcast day, but still pleasant. I have about 6 days left in Australia and then I will be heading closer to the US time zone. I called a few people yesterday and since there is a brief connection hesitation before it connects, I was afraid that people would hang up before I could talk to them. I was able to talk to Bryn, Jade and Jimmy. I left a message for my sister, Michaela, since she is a horrible screener. I don't know if I should try to call her back since I know that she never answers her phone!!! (hint--Michaela--ANSWER YOUR PHONE) It was great to have contact with my friends and family. I wish that I had had more change, but the owner of my favorite hostel wouldn't break my coins down. That man is truly awful, very short and obviously compensating for that.
Well, onwards and upwards...I am off to change money and find a new place to reside for a few nights. i don't think that I could bear the muslim hostel much longer.


I am in Perth. I arrived yesterday about 6 pm. Just in time to realize that most of the shops were closing or had already closed. I was able to search out a woolworth's since I was in dire need of peanut butter and of milk for breakfast.
Plus, I wanted to pick up wine for new year's eve. I questioned the hostel manager and he told me that it was a muslim hostel. He hoped that I wasn't "one of those" since they hadn't had problems in the past with guests. I told him that it was new year's eve and that I would be considerate of myself and the other guests. I couldn't believe the irony. Me, in a freaking muslim hostel. It doesn't advertise that way, either, on the internet. It seems all sunshine fresh and pretty. I have another two nights there and then I am hoping to relocate to other accomodations. Fortunately, Perth is a huge city and I do have options. I plan on checking out the nearby hostels tomorrow and perhaps the beach too.
I went running this morning and it was fantastic. There weren't many people up yet. I suppose most people were hungover from last night.
I was a good kid for new year's. I had wine, dinner and finished some writing. I was in search of chocolate--my big indulgence--and met a Texan. He insisted on purchasing my chocolate banana muffin and then he walked me back to my muslim hostel. He was quite the gentlemen and definitely from Texas. He is here on business and he was interesting. While I have been in Australia, I haven't met many americans. It feels like I am a minority at times....I am enjoying the people and exploring this magnificent country.
On a side note, I wanted to thank Jimmy love Jones for going to Las Vegas last year for Christmas. I have been meaning to mention it for some time. Christmas this year, was really like, a true christmas in July. It had little effect on my life since i wasn't with family or friends. Last year was my first xmas without Brian and I didn't want to do what I normally did. I asked Jimmy to go to Las Vegas and he said yes. We ate at Olives, Bouchon and the Eiffel Tower restaurant, purely for the view. I realized while I was here, how fortunate I was that he accompanied me there last year. He gambled and I ate a lot of food. Typical...
I hope that you all were able to celebrate in the manner that you saw fit. I believe my team plays on January 3rd. GO JAYHAWKS....