Sunday, March 30, 2008

Life in Denver

I am still living out of a bag. I wouldn't have it any other way, really. I wouldn't know what to do.
I feel unsettled and secure at the same time. I know that I have a job at the Bull and Bush, but the longer I am there, the more I realize that maybe it was a mistake to return. I mean, I have friends. I know that people missed me and are glad that I am back, but what does that mean? for them or for me?
I have felt so refreshed and relaxed and then I was told that a few of the servers are pissed that I have bar shifts and that I am bossing people around. I had no clue that this one server was so sensitive and it really bothered me. I asked for something to be done and the next thing I know, I am a dictator. It was completely innocent from my perspective.
I know that I am sensitive, too. I do not want to step on anyone's feet in my return. I want to be in Denver and it is frustrating that I am dealing with the insecurities of others. And it is frustrating that it is so incestuous in restaurants. I know that I need to challenge myself in other areas, too. I have two shifts a week and I need to focus on what is important to me--travel and living life to the fullest. I do not need to get caught up with the bullshit of others. I have never felt so relaxed in my life.
And, I know that I do a good job. I feel confident in my efforts and i enjoy it. I am so stoked that KU won the game. I cannot wait to watch the KU/UNC should be fantastic.
I am working this week and my goal is to stay refreshed and happy. I let go of so much on my journey that I am unwilling to take it back on.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

My first day of winter

I woke up to go to yoga this morning to feel more positive energy. It kicked my ass but I feel so much better for committing to the class. I liked the routine and how she changed it up from the normal C1 classes. Typically, at Core Power Yoga, they follow a script for the beginner's class. It becomes lame and I get unmotivated because I know the next move. I was pleasantly surprised today.
After I left the class, I realized how gloomy it was. It isn't snowing and it doesn't feel cold enough for snow, but it is a winter type of day. I suppose that I needed to experience at least one for 2007-2008.
My friend, chef Ben from Santa Fe, is doing a guest chef appearance at a restaurant in Denver. I am excited to see him and pay him back for the fantastic meals that he has made for me. I missed him last week when I was in Santa Fe since he had a prior commitment. I figure that this works out just as well since I can show him Denver, if he has the time.
I know that I need to do the Best of the World, and I will. I have been busy attempting to readapt to life in Denver. I need to convey that I want to be here and committed to work. I am, but I think that my bosses are leery of putting too much into my employment since they know how much I enjoyed my experience. I want to be here in Denver. I would love to continue my traveling, but I want to spend time in the States, too. I missed my friends and family and I missed working. Any suggestions on how to cope?
I figure that I will enjoy the period of limbo, uncertainty and make my own way. I haven't been too motivated on finding a place to live since Jimmy and Bryn have both been accomodating. I enjoy living out of the bag, for now.
Have a fantastic day and I will do my best of shortly. I am still reflecting on the inner peace that I have found.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

work at the Bull

It feels so weird to be back at the job. I picked up a serving shift and it was slow, but it was great to attempt to be normal. I waited on the lawyers, this group of men that frequent the Bull during the week. They are demanding and overwhelming, at times, but it felt like home waiting on them.
Last night I checked out the Migan Table at Billy's house. I showcased my stir fry at Bryn's and am trying to figure out my next location for home in Denver. Jimmy and Bryn have been accomodating and it has been lovely, but I know that I cannot outstay my welcome.
In terms of the is recovering nicely. I check it, hourly, to make sure that it doesn't go septic, infected of green. Tea tree oil is an amazing solution for bites. I think that I will check into another round of acunpuncture if need be.
I know that I sound lame right now, but I am trying to readapt to the craziness of Denver in my own way. Some people have changed, others, not so much. I am trying to find my niche again and retain the serenity that I have found while on my trip. I am positive that I will be able to keep it. I want to.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Denver and trying to get online and the result of the mosquito bite

I returned to Denver in time for basketball to begin. I watched the KU game at the hotel in Santa Fe and then drove to Denver. It was a pleasant drive and I knew that I would have the element of surprise on my side.
I walked into the Falling Rock and ordered a beer from my friend, Fosh. He jumped on the bar so that I could give him a hug and it felt great to be back in Denver. I went to dinner with Pocketsize and Steve. We briefly saw GQ and then I went to the Bull and Bush to surprise Jimmy love JOnes. He had no idea that I was back in Denver and it was awesome to see his face when I walked into the bar.
Since then I have stayed with him and my aunt. I am hoping that someone knows someone that needs a roommate. I would like to stay in Denver, work and readapt to being here. It is difficult to return after 5 months. I suppose that I shouldn't be too surprised since life goes on for everyone. While I was out soul searching, life continued here. I feel welcome and I did work on Saturday morning. I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to multitask with all of my serenity. I am tring to be positive, reflect and adjust. I am fortunate to have my friends in Denver and I know this.
I picked up my laptop at Bryn's house and tried to go on-line at Jimmy's apartment. He lives by a coffee shop that fortunately enabled me to go on-line. I need to find a place that feels like it is mine. Traveling has made me live out of my bag and I am still doing it here.
I asked my aunt to look at the notorious moquito bite since I discovered another breakout on my inner thigh. Bryn is a massage therarpist and my resident go to doctor. She looked at my ass and freaked out. She told me that I should go to the doctor and I suggested that I look into acupuncture first. She has a friend and I have a friend and so I called Dustin, my male massage therapist who also does acupuncture, and he saw me yesterday. He looked at the bites and told me that I had been bitten by a BROWN RECLUSE. I cannot believe that I have been walking around with spider toxin for 3 months. He told me that some spiders lay eggs--CAN'T WAIT TO FIND OUT ABOUT THAT ONE. He did acupuncture and suggested some essential oils. The recent outbreak looks much better and I have some tape on my ears. I look like a wounded dog, without the lamp shade. I feel better though.
I called my friend, Jan, in Phoenix and she said--go to the doctor, now, since you could die. I told her that I should have kicked it in Australia when it happened. I guess my immune system is good.
I hope to check this more often when I am more settled and with a secure connection.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Santa Fe--my favorite place to stay en route to Denver

I am in Santa Fe and I love it. Although, I look like a freak since I have no pants and everyone here is on spring break with families, families, families. They are skiing or boarding at Taos. Yesterday was the first day that snow boarders were able to board at Taos Mountain.
I had wanted to have dinner with Chef Ben and Melody and so I e-mailed them regarding my arrival to Santa Fe. Melody was able to spend time with me, but Ben was a no-show. Ironically, I had a glass of wine at La Casa Sena and met Cheyenne who was friends with Ben. It is a small world and we had an interesting conversation about Costa Rica as well as trying to decide what to do in life.
Later, I had dinner with Melody last night at Coyote Cafe and it was wonderful. We started with a shrimp stack which was on corn griddle cakes with guacamole and pico de gallo. She ordered the seabass and I tried the chicken. I ordered chicken since I wanted the green chile mac and cheese. That was awesome. We concluded with a glass of wine at the bar in Hotel San Francisco. I had stayed there a year ago, met Chef Ben, and so I had pleasant memories of that hotel. The bartender knew the guy that had waited on me a year ago. His name was Julian and we had a great conversation about traveling and loss. Julian is now at another restaurant and lives with my bartender from last night. I have enjoyed learning more about Santa Fe and the people that are locals here. Further, I have been accused of being a local and I don't mind it.
Today, I hope to watch the KU game and then enjoy the beautiful sun. I need to pick up my bracelet, too. My malachite stone fell out in Phoenix and so I returned to the Plaza to seek out the man who made it. I found his nephew and he was able to direct me to the uncle. I should be able to pick it up today and I am stoked!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Randomness and anxiety

Being back in the States has been interesting. I still haven't become my normal yell at all the idiot drivers yet and it has been nice. I am relaxed and calm. I don't now how long it will last, but I am enjoying it. I hope that I am able to retain this state of being.
I feel out of place at grocery stores since I do not have an urgency to run to my next destination. I day dream and I know that I look crazy for not being intent on getting out of the way. I have realized that people here do not smile. I have been walking around the southwest and want to talk to random people but they do not want to talk to me. I am used to making conversation with others and so it feels weird. I understand that cities are different. People like to be anonymous but every once in a while, a smile goes along way. I guess I am realizing that I wish more people were approachable and friendly. I can't have everything, though, right?
Maybe if you have the opportunity to meet someone new, that looks normal, take it. Why not? Why are we afraid to talk to people that we do not know? Any ideas?
Regarding the anxiety, I have been having bad dreams lately and not being able to sleep either. I think I am afraid to go back to Denver. I don't know why. I have family and friends there and I have missed everyone. I suppose I will embrace all of the changes that have occurred while I have been gone. I think that is what it boils down to for me. What if I get back and don't like what I find?
I am still surrounded by families traveling on spring break. I had forgotten what a true family vacation was like. I recommend watching Little Miss Sunshine for those of you who need a reminder. The reality can be overwhelming or at least the people, the State of Texas, that are traveling here. Until later.

Monday, March 17, 2008


I love spending time in Phoenix with Jan and Tom. Mostly, I make them go to Z Tejas for chambord margaritas, Los Dos Molinos for mexican and sometimes, Pizzeria Bianco for the best pizza in the States. Since the owner appeared on Oprah, I haven't been able to withstand the 3+ hour wait for a table.
Of course, we end up at 4 Peaks and then I feel like I live there. It is fantastic to see old customers and co-workers, but it is more corporate now and always extremely busy. When I worked there, I hated the parking situation and that was in 2001. It is ridiculous now. We went there today for St Patty's brunch. They opened at 6 am to accomodate the people that felt that they should be open. The breakfast buffet was nice and I enjoyed the atmosphere but I was unable to get a 2008t-shirt, which bums me out. I still have my St Patrick t-shirt from 2001. Granted it is faded and holey, but I love it.
Quiessence is a must now. I believe that we have dined there 4 times since they introduced it to me. The other night was amazing and it is always fun for me to dress down and watch people's reactions. The owner knows my friends and so he greets us with a hug and everyone around us had thought we were homeless, or probably, just me. But, I have been traveling and I didn't leave appropriate attire at their home. When I return to Denver, I have a rain coat for warmth. I need to learn how to prepare!
I made Jan watch the KU/UT game yesterday at 4 Peaks. I felt that she could enjoy the beer while I focused on the game. I am so excited for March Madness. I need to pick a place to watch the game on Thursday. My phone works, but I probably won't be taking calls on Thursday.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

La La Land

It is great to be back in the States, but I have retained some of my wide-eyed traveling mysticism here. I am in awe of the grocery stores. I walk in, stop and stare and try to look normal. There are too many options.
Driving--and most of you know how intolerant I am when i drive--has been interesting. I am relaxed and not really focused on how other people suck at driving. Instead, I am singing in the car since my cd player works and enjoying the ability to do it. I am sure that my road rage will return with my driving, but for now, I am enjoying my vehicle. Jan and Tom treated the volvo with care!
Every morning, I have coffee and it feels domestic, but still vacation. I went to 4 Peaks, again, for drinks and discovered that the bartenders are still on the archaic tip system that they were on when I worked there. Instead of hourly dividing the tips between them, they start a new pot when a bartender leaves the shift. The closing bartender always makes money and they do not rotate who is the closer. I felt bad for the people that worked there. It seemed unfair to any new person that found themselves in the bartending rotation. I suppose it is preferable to serve there.
Yesterday, I convinced Jan to join me on a skip day. She is a CPA and so this is her worst time of year to not be working. We went to the Phoenician for poolside drinks. My friend that works in the lounge hadn't arrived yet and so we opted to sit outside and enjoy the weather. It was awesome and we people watched. It felt nice to be tan for once.
Afterwards, we ate at Chelsea's Kitchen which is a Scottsdale hot spot and then chose to follow with Postino's--one of my favorite, must go to places. We shared a bruschetta with tomato, mozzarella and basil; white bean dip; proscuitto, fig and cheese; and fig, apple and brie with honey. It was a nice accompanyment with the wine that I had found. I tried a cabernet/petit verdot from Chile which was ideal. It tasted smoky and had the essence of leather. I loved it.
Today we are going to Quiessence for a slow dinner. It is a gem in Phoenix and not too far from their house. My friends live in LaVeen which is near South Mountain but feels like you are in the country, instead of smack dab in Phoenix proper. I have enjoyed finding new ways in and out of the neighborhood.
Enjoy the day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

not in debt.....YEAH!!!

I decided to look at my balance to the Chase credit card that I had specifically for the trip and discovered that I am not in debt. Dad, don't worry, I am not in financial ruin. This convinced me that not only could I do it once, but some other time in life. I FEEL AWESOME.
I made it back to Phoenix and met Jan and Sandy at Los Dos Molinos for mexican food. I felt honored to eat mexican food at my favorite place in Phoenix. I am in such a great mood knowing that I didn't create massive debt where I would have to slave away the rest of my existence.
I want to reflect on the trip and what it meant to me, but it will take awhile. I learned a lot about myself--mostly, that I could do it. I have the confidence to travel and be free from the confines of normal life. It is okay to travel and live. It feels wonderful to meet people and taste life.
I urge all of you to do something different this year. The Dalai Lama said," once a year, go someplace you've never been before" and " Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to achieve it" and I support both of these principles. Life is too short to just be.
Thank you for supporting me in my quest of discovery. I feel blessed to have friends like you.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Stormy weather

I had hoped to lounge by the pool yesterday before I left for Belize City. I was also hoping to have coffee but the electricity went out due to the rain. I opted to return to Belize City at 11:30 am in an attempt to make sure that I made it here. I didn't want to find out that the boats wouldn't go because of the weather.
I boarded the water taxi with 40 people--i think. We stopped at Caye Caulker to drop off people and pick up more. It felt like we were sardines because of the proximity of other travelers. Plus, it made me thankful that I only had a travel pack and not a hulking bag. They couldn't find room to shelter some of the bags because of the crap people were carrying with them. This one couple stood up to protect their fragile gifts. It was crazy.
I was placed in a taxi with 5 other people which made me resentful at first. I mean, I felt that I should have to pay a fraction of the cost since it delayed my arrival and my bags were manhandled. I know that other people felt the same since 2 guys left our cab in search of another and I relaxed. It's all about the money, I suppose.
It is a national holiday today and so the post office is closed. Normally, I send out my post cards the day before I leave and so I think they will be sent from Houston or Phoenix--sorry. It is raining again, today and I find it calming. I have a few books and I am able to now get rid of some stuff that I won't need in my return to the States. It is liberating.
I will do the best of Belize later and I am considering a more substansial blog of best of my trip, but I need to think about it. I have learned that i have time and so I don't want to rush it. It has been an amazing journey. Thank you all for contributing to it.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

jayhawks look amazing....

I finally saw the jayhawks play and they are solid. wow, I feel blessed to see them play, finally. I caught the Stanford game too and they look soft and damn, UCLA came back to beat California. I think Cal lacks stamina. If only they could have held out! Of course, I am looking forward for the evening game too--UNC/Duke. It should be interesting.
Today, was stormy but I enjoyed it. I cannot believe that I will be home in 3 days. I had a massage this morning and it was great. The lady came to the hotel, whaled on my rhomboids and was thorough. It has been a wonderful day.
Tomorrow, I hope to swim, sunbathe and then return to the big city of Belize City. I purchased post cards and am set on sending them off on Monday. Life is good.
I am a little distracted right now and so I will check this later. Earlier, the computers were down and I had a comment to robin, but I lost it.
I walked into town and was told the bookstore was on Belize time, which means it is similar to Peterson time--about a half hour to an hour of waiting around for someone. I hope to check out the bookstore before I return to Belize City since it appears to be a real store with books. I need something for the return flight to Houston or I will be stuck reading skymall or the United Magazine since I have no music.

Friday, March 7, 2008

San Pedro

The beaches are beautiful. I took the water taxi to San Pedro and my bottom was numb from bouncing up and down. I was grateful that I wasn't hungover because that ride would have sucked.
My hotel is outside of the town, right on the beach. I have internet access and my own thatched cabana. Everyone gets around on golf carts and there are numerous mini markets, cafes, restaurants and they have a book store. I am going to check that out later.
I met some nice canadians last night while I was enjoying a drink on the beach. The woman, Joanne, lives here from January-June and she was very helpful in terms of suggestions and conversation. They play horse shoes on Sunday afternoons at the Crazy Canuck.
This is all about relaxation and contemplation of my return. I love the sun!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Belize City

I decided to be realistic and find coffee today. I almost settled for nescafe, but they don't even had that around here. Basically, there are 4 mini markets which are set up for looking only. The owners of the establishment decide on your choices and you pay them through a gate. I walked past the university of Belize and found a restaurant with coffee this morning. Afterwards, I tried to find the book store--Angela's Place and found myself ensconsed in the tourist area. I found a better coffee shop, found the water taxi and decided to locate Angela's Place. Really it is called Angellus Press and it has paper supplies and some text books. No novels outside of Classics literature or religious books. I didn't want to spend $16-20 on a book that I could find used for 50 cents. I hope to find something tomorrow.
I purchased fish, rice and beans and potato salad off of a stand for $3 and it was perfection. There are many tourists here, but none of them are walking...just me, the crazy blonde lady who needs braids--I was told today so that I could cool off. I saw many horse drawn carts with tourists and thought, get out of that and walk around the mainland. There isn't much to see and I understand the money the locals make, but really, it all goes back to being lazy. WALK SOMEWHERE is what I wanted to scream at people. I didn't.
I returned to the hotel and loved the AC. Belize feels like Florida in August. It is humid. Tomorrow, I will depart for San Pedro and assume there is internet but don't know about the charging yet. I will check in later.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

First Class

I booked into my Taca airlines flight today and didn't pay too much attention to the seat preference. I only wanted to be as near the front as possible. I board the plane and she placed me in first class. It was awesome, luxurious and I loved every minute of the two flights. They combined for about 2 hours and 15 minutes. It was amazing.
I arrived into Belize City and took a taxi to my hotel. The population of Belize is 300,000. It is insane to be in such a small area and with few residents. The official language is english and so I am able to maneuver. It is humid and crazy hot, but I depart for Ambergris Caye on Thursday where I will remain until Sunday to return here. I am hoping to soak up the sun and relish in the end of this journey. I don't know how ambitious I will be in terms of diving, caving or just plain exploring. It feels nice to be here and safe.
I can watch basketball and enjoy the heat! Plus, there are no cockroaches in my hotel room, which is set up like a suite. I have a refrigerator, sitting area and separate room with a/c and an oscillating fan. It is cheap, too.
Until tomorrow or until I find some intersting facts about the country.

Monday, March 3, 2008

best of costa rica

The best part of Costa Rica was spending time with Shari. I mean, she rented a car and so we were self-sufficient the entire time. It was fun to maneuver the pot-holed streets, with crazy drivers, taxis and of course, the semi. The road to Manual Antonio was crap which I remembered from my trip in 2004 with Brian.
Shari is a wonderful travel companion since she travels light and enjoys nature. She wasn't demanding or expecting me to wake at the crack of dawn for some crazy adventure. She enjoys life and the experience that is presented each day.
Once we got to Manual Antonio we found our bed and breakfast and I was sick. I think the heat, the drive down and nostalgia made me nauseous. I am sure that the owner couldn't wait to see more of what I could do!
He was a widower and the upkeep wasn't there, but he tried and we understood his situation. He was in shock, still, but trying to keep the business alive for the memory of his wife. The hot tub and pool were handy and in spite of the cold showers the first few days, it was the best place we stayed.
The hotel in Dominical was loud, without a tv/pool/hot tub and no breakfast included. Of course, it was fine, we can fend for ourselves and we found a lady to do our laundry. The roads to Dominical were trying on our little car, but it was an adventure. They are in the process of paving the roads to connect Manual Antonio to Dominical. I loved how rustic Dominical was. There were 5 hostels on the beach and a few hotels. Outside of this, it was mostly surfers, backpackers and no resorts. I could have stayed there the entire time. The beaches were beautiful.
In Cartago, our room was across the street from a famous church. Very beautiful, but I wasn't coaxed in. Plus, after the night I spent tonight at the computer, I feel like I was at a service. There are about 15 Christians on a mission and I had to listen to their meeting since my ipod was stolen. It was weird on several levels. I felt like I was intruding on their meeting and I felt like they were hurting my ears.
We had good food and spent time in the rainforest park in Manual Antonio and Mapiche, near Cartago. It was nice to enjoy the park without disruption since we went early. Around noon, Tico families came with picnic lunches and it was great to see.
The canopy tour was amazing and we have some great shots to prove it. It was uplifting and close to free. I guess, I recovered from my funk and didn't have anything bad to say except for the mosquito bite that wouldn't quit giving and the inconvenience of cold water. Really, Costa Rica is paradise...some of it. I do not enjoy all of the english speakers or the vacationing americans only because, there are so many of them. It felt like we flew into LA or Miami.
Take time to enjoy coffee, which by the way is fantastic in Costa Rica and enjoy the sun. They do have cbs, nbc and abc all tuned into Denver. Ironic, I suppose.
Tomorrow, I depart for another tropical paradise filled with tourists and english. I might get picked up by a cruise ship--who knows?


Shari and I left Herredia with the intention of making it to Alajuela, a mere 12 km, without getting lost. I did make her drive through San Jose which she excelled at, but it was stressful due to the pedestrians, taxis and dipshit drivers. We survived, loved the coffee at Britt and were determined to make it to the hotel in Alajuela. Also, at that point we would be about 2 km from the airport which is ideal for both of us in terms of getting there safely.
We take off, heading west and realize that we had went quite aways. There are no signs, anywhere, only cars, pedestrians and the desire to pick a direction to find the plaza in the center of town. We would drive by churches or universities, but they weren´t on the map and so we wasted an hour and a half to go 12 km. We finally spotted the church and were able to discern the restaurant near the hotel that we wanted to stay. Discouraged, I believe, we would have stayed at any hotel we saw, but there weren´t any. The hotel we wanted to stay at was booked solid for Sunday, but I arranged to stay here for tonight. In the book, it says, they have a hot tub on the roof-THEY DON´T. It isn´t ready yet. The hotel is nice with an open kitchen, fast internet and Diego Rivera prints as decor. I love him and so I felt right at home.
The hotel we stayed at last night was clean, but dark. We were overwhelmed by the disinfectant spray in the toilet, which was unpleasant, but we viewed our canopy tour this morning for free and the breakfast was nice.
The restaurant last night which was recommended in the book was disappointing. We both had chicken and I am convinced that I really want to become a vegetarian from this trip. It isn´t the first time that the chicken has been questionable and last night, it was sad. We walked around hoping to find coffee and dessert only everything had closed and so we found an helado place and had a sundae which was the fitting end to our tour of Costa Rica.
I hope that Shari enjoyed herself because it was wonderful for me. I hope I didn´t make her too crazy with my new mosquito bite. It was unpleasant to be kind, and this is the 3rd time I have tended to a wound on my ass. I am over mosquitoes!!!
I will do the best of later. I really liked spending the week here with Shari. Of course, having a driver was beautiful and we were able to see more with the car. I am ready to return to the States.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

still in costa rica

COsta Rica has been fun. We spent the night in Dominical and it was fantastic! Rustic, unpaved roads and not that many tourists. I loved being able to walk around and not be suffocated by the throngs of Americans. If you were here, you would understand.
Everyone speaks english and I am trying to continue to speak spanish. It is interesting. We drove to Cartago, which is south of San Jose to spend the night and currently, we are at, Britt Coffee plantation, loving life and coffee.
Tomorrow, Shari will return to the STates and I leave early on Tuesday morning for Belize. I am excited that I will not be staying at any other hostels until I am stateside.
Thank you all for your toasts and love--we felt it. The energy in COsta Rica has been fulfilling.