Tag Archives: travel

Sometimes, judging can come in handy

6 Aug

I overheard a pack of girls talking behind me today.

“He goes, ‘I will pay you five thousand dollars to spend the night with me.’ and she was like ‘Ew, no, you’re the ShamWow guy.’ “

This happened on my way down to the beach at Horsetooth Reservoir outside of Fort Collins, Colorado, which is about 20 minutes from where I now live as of 4 days ago. ..More on that later.

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It got me thinking about this ShamWow guy. I’m sure you know who he is; the guy seems to have a neck-craning tendency along with just having a troublesome face in general, plus those eyebrows. I’m guessing he was probably the kid who sat in the middle of his seventh grade class drawing unicorns while all of the cool kids sat in the back flinging spitty pieces of paper at the back of his neck, which actually might explain the craned neck tendency.

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Anyway, I thought to myself, “It’s really no surprise that Mr. ShamWow tried to bribe a 20-something girl from Colorado into having sex with him. He kind of looks like a d*ck, and probably has a lot of free time on his hands outside of filming ShamWow commercials in which to bribe young girls and snort cocaine.”

At that moment, I learned something about myself: I am a seriously judgmental motherf*cker. I’m not sure exactly when I became like this, but it may have started the day that I got punched by a drunk homeless guy while I was waiting for the bus at a train station. We had been “talking” about his radio (he had been sputtering on about “FM” and “radio”) and I got tired of saying “What? I can’t really understand you” when I guess he got mad and decided to take it out on my face. I stood up and yelled “WHY DID YOU DO THAT,” ran inside and started crying like a baby… he staggered across the highway towards the Motel 6 while I sat in the back of the police car, still crying.

After that, I no longer bought candy bars for smelly people standing outside of 7-11’s, or made eye contact with kids my age sitting on a sidewalk with a dog and a cardboard sign. Basically, drunken radio-man made me assume that all homeless people were threats that should be avoided.

Due to being brainwashed by Catholic high school, it’s always been in the back of my mind that judging people is BAD. It’s just something that stuck around because maybe I agreed with it as a moral thing rather than a religious teaching. (Please note that I’ve been an atheist since about 10th grade).

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But sometimes judging can come in handy. Like when you want to determine whether someone is white trash, you can use these visual cues:

white trash

I’ve been known to attend white trash parties

White Trash Checklist

Clothing: Bud Light/Coors Light swag, sleeveless tee-shirt, denim carpenter shorts positioned low on the hips, bikini top + cutoffs when 20+ miles outside of swimming areas

Accessories: Wallet chain, cigarette behind ear, hunting hat, Sketchers sneakers, Busch Light can, bicep tattoo or tramp stamp, belly button piercing + overweight, “sport” sunglasses

Activities: Feeding soda to children, listening to Creed, buying cigarello’s at Tedeschi’s, referring to a cigarette as a “butt”, hanging out at Wendy’s

Or if you want to know whether someone will make a good boyfriend or girlfriend:

Problematic Significant Other Checklist

Activities: Recycles stuffed animals from past relationships for new relationships, works part-time, fights with parent(s) in front of you, lives with parents

(Unfortunately, I formed these assumptions AFTER breaking up with the guy that helped me form them.. so they came a bit too late. But they’re definitely useful for the future.)

So… I don’t feel so bad about being judgmental anymore. After reflecting, most of my judgments are actually keeping me safer by helping me avoid punches in the face, white trash, and unappealing boyfriends. And that’s just fine with me.

It’s about to get all cat lady up in here

20 Feb porn

Thanks to this blog, a photo of a mutual cat friend of mine has made it to the elite Facebook page The Tiniest Tiger; third in popularity only to  Adults Shorter than Danny Devito and OKCupid Red Heads. I’m really proud to be responsible for this huge feline accomplishment. Special thanks to Michael Bench who chose that photo over about 400 other photos of cats.

In the spirit of the moment, I’d like to share with you a collection of cat photos taken over May to August 2008, in Lake Powell, Arizona, when my cousin Jenn Berry and I tore up the Southwest and “worked” as watersports instructors. The kittens in the following photos are named Blackout and Beaver, siblings to Optimus Prime, Megatron, and other Transformers autobots and decepticons. So put your Tigger sweatshirt and elastic waistband jeans on because it’s about to get all cat lady up in here.

cat with tampon

Wow, way to be discreet with the feminine products.

oak leaf

porn

Ooh, caught you looking at porn.

cat swimming

Swimming lessons!

pervert

Sure, that’s normal.

blackout

Thanks for watching.

Even Homeless People Need a Coffee Break; and Other Things I Learned on my Eurotrip

13 Jul

That Fateful Day - see bulletpoint #3

Oh hello, I’m back from my 2-month Eurotrip. Back to reality where money has to be made rather than spent on French wine, inflated museum admissions, and Croatian conditioner, the latter which I mistakenly used as shampoo for about 2 weeks. Feats accomplished:

  • Accidently visited a male strip club/potential gay brothel in Rome
  • Realized that sour cream does not compliment a day at the Croatian beach (should have gone with the container that said “Jogurt”
  • Was homeless with a guy named Jeff for 22 hours in Croatia. He wasn’t homeless; we got separated from our two friends who had the address and directions to the apartment we rented. Though I write this now in good humor, let me just say that you would probably never want to get lost overnight in a foreign country while wearing a little black dress. That being said, here is the postcard that I wrote to my best friend while Jeff and I were taking a homeless coffee break.

Sunset over the Adriatic Sea - Photo by Me - For Actual Postcard Please Visit MyiPhoneDeletedHalfofMyEuropePictures.com

JUNE 12, 2010

The arrow that you see on the front of this postcard is where I slept this morning from 6 to 8am today. Yes, this means that June 11th, the day of my birth, was spent walking the streets of Zadar in Croatia (never go here) trying to find the location of the obscure

Aw, look how happy I was just hours before wanting to KILL MYSELF

“B&B” where we paid for 2 nights, without an address or street name, only the first name of the 62 year-old proprietor “Jozo” who we met at a bus station upon arrival in Zadar (don’t go here). The night began swimmingly with wine and bread and cheese, and I saw my first sunset over a sea — the Adriatic. Myself and a Canadian named Jeff left our 2 friends to use the banya, and that’s when we last saw them. However, our friends were kind enough to leave us our bottle of wine (minus half) and a pack of cigarettes, which would sustain us for the next 15 hours of wandering the city. We still haven’t found our friends. We don’t know where we’re sleeping tonight. I love you, wish I talked to you on my birthday. [Then I bought a phone card and called her]

  • Decided I hate Croatians At Work:

Croatian Taxi Driver: “My shift, it is over. You must go. I will leave you here” [at a random neighborhood bar miles away from town]

Croatian Train Worker, Job Description Unknown: [Enters train compartment, mutters something in Croatian, I pull out my ticket and give it to her]. “Passport.” [Eyes close halfway in annoyance. I give her my passport.] “You must take off your shoes before you put on the seat.”  I completely agree. These chairs are nearly spotless, there are definitely no pen marks or mysterious streaks of brown crud embedded into the casino carpet -colored upholstery.

And any attempt to order a coffee from a Croatian Barista has been an absolute sham. The response to “espresso with cold milk” or “espresso with milk and ice” — even spoken in Italian — is always “No.” Is there a run on ice in Croatia?

"Really? Did you really just flip me the bird? And get down from there, don't even pretend like we're the same height, because we're not"

  • Saw major French penis at a nude beach then bought some pretty perfume
  • Rode the train through Tuscany listening to this Ludacris song
  • Had an affair with Italian chips
  • Decided against kidnapping a stray dog in Venice and naming him Ciao

Of course, while travelling I Found Myself blah blah blah — no, but mostly the trip emphasized something I had learned a couple years ago while travelling within the US. No matter where you go, everything is exactly the same. Whether you’re in Massachusetts, North Carolina, or Arizona, shopping plazas are the watering hole of suburbia, Walmart is always down the street and you’re never completely lost until you don’t hit a Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts after 5 minutes of driving. It’s good to get the f–k out of the US every once in awhile, or at least once in a lifetime. I personally can’t wait to go back. :)

Manarola, one town in the Cinque Terre, Italy

Trevi Fountain, Rome

Hot Dog only 3,50 - Street Food in Paris

Cape d'Ail, my favorite beach in the South of France

Noli, a beach in Liguria Italy

Bathroom Etiquette

27 Jun

Girls who snore, drunken Michiganites urinating on the floor beside my bed, showers that smell like toilets and the occasional sound of two people eating eachother’s faces in the bed beside mine. These are the things I’ve grown accustomed to over six weeks of hostelling in Europe. Coming up on my seventh and last week, there is but one thing that I just can’t seem to get used to: poor bathroom behavior.

Knock knock.
“Someone’s in here!”

It’s a simple exchange unknown to essentially every backpacker of every nationality. The knock is meant to gauge whether the toilet area is occupied or not. The verbal exclamation is to let the inquiring party understand that, Yes, There is Someone Inside, Wait One Moment Please and You will Have the Room to Yourself for Relief, Primping, Masturbation, Whichever Activity your Heart Desires. …But I don’t need to tell you this, Interneters, because I give you the benefit of the doubt that you perform the courtesy-knock prior to violently yanking the bathroom door handle.

Here’s my problem. I’m from the suburbs of Boston, a place best known for people who use road rage, sarcasm, and inappropriate personal comments on a daily basis. But any time I’ve been to any public bathroom in any neighborhood whether in the suburbs or the city, people here still have the decency to knock on a bathroom door. It’s almost as common as shaking hands or waving goodbye. In fact, anywhere in the Northeast it’s pretty much the same. It’s just decent.

Over six weeks of travelling, someone knocked on the bathroom door while I was inside once. I don’t know who this phantom door knocker was because he or she was mysteriously absent when I emerged. (Did the urge to ‘go’ suddenly vanish? Did you prefer a more natural setting such as the outdoors?..) All other times, I’ve been enjoying the solitude of the one private place for budget travellers –well I mean I wasn’t like having wine and cheese next to the toilet or anything but mainly just savoring silence while washing my hands or something– and YANK someone pulls on the door handle, scaring the crap out of me.

The only logic I can see behind this is that knocking is strictly an American thing. Either that, or there are a buttload of creepers hoping to surprise a girl with her pants down.

Either way I’ll never get used to it.

Tourist-Bombing in Europe

6 Jun

*Note to US officials: I am not a terrorist nor am I in any way affiliated with Al Qaeda. The phrase is catchy, that’s all.

This post is dedicated to Kevin-Raphael who works at Ivanhoe Hostel in Rome, who spent some of his nightshift last night reading this blog. Ivanhoe Hostel is a place where dreams are sewn onto clouds in golden thread, and every so often a breeze through the window or down the street brings just the faintest aroma of sewage. Having a shower here means hoping for a tolerable medium between scalding hot and ice cold water, which would be bearable if either temperature were evenly distributed over a wide spray rather than in a single firehose.

I’m on my fourth city of eight on my solo Eurotrip to France and Europe. So far I haven’t flashed anyone or done body shots, though I have accidently visited a nude beach on the French Riviera and stumbled upon the apparent cultural norm that it’s okay to fondle one’s penis while sunning oneself. Not that I fondled my own penis, that would be weird. Because I don’t have a penis silly!

It was in Pisa last week that I had a revelation. In between taking the tourist money shot (‘holding up’ the leaning tower of Pisa) with two girls from New Zealand that I met on the train, I started stealing pictures of other people awkwardly doing the same thing. It’s quite easy because you know you’re never going to see them again, and anyway they probably just think you’re trying to get a unique angle on the Coloseum or whatever the nearest tourist trap might be. Anyway, I started taking pictures of posing tourists, except from my angle it just looked like they were cupping invisible breasts while making their face look retarded. And I didn’t stop there. I found an old guy slouched over with 40 pounds of travel accessories, fannypack included, resting his Teva’d feet. I found someone who was making a face like the Stink Eye girl in Mean Girls. I guess you could say my revelation was that that day I discovered the best travel game that provides hours (minutes) of entertainment even under the worst possible tourist conditions. Maximum capacity trainrides laced with B.O., freakishly tall Germans with no spacial understanding of where their collossal feet and mine begin, little Spanish/French/Italian women that have wordlessly designated the sidewalk a one-way street for their family of 4 unruly children (it’s okay, I like the prospect of death by vespa in Italy, the title alone would make a good post-humous biography).

You might be wondering why I’m describing photos instead of posting them. Long story short, the computer here at the hostel may or may not be telling me in Italian that there’s no space on it’s disk, so you’ll just have to use your imagination.

Other notable tourist-bombs I’ve done so far are snapping a black Santa Clause getting some sun on the beach in Nice, France, and most recently today I sat and watched people pose with a statue of Julius Caesar pointing his arm up to the sky (can you guess how they posed? I bet you can’t guess). Snap, your stupid Facebook default picture is going in my photo album, bitchessss.

With four more places to go, I’m excited about the endless embarrassing moments I can capture on film in about a month more of travel. Croatia’s next; we’ll see what happens there. I honestly have no idea about Croatian people or culture, but I’m hoping people there will be a bit Borat in nature. Yakshimash!

The Italian equivalent of Engrish:

And proof that other tourists are generally bad at taking their own kind’s photos.

Last Night at the Rodeo

14 Mar

In case I didn’t mention it, I’ve been in Texas this past week for spring break. I’m here in Dallas visiting my cousins, partly to get some sun, and partly to see if this is where I want to move to when I break out of the death grip that is college this May. So far I love it here. We visited Austin last weekend (more on that later), and spent the rest of the week in Dallas.

I feel that I’ve accomplished a lot this past week. First, I’ve realized that not everyone in Texas is fat. Austin is teeming with runners, and I actually have grown so accustomed to seeing thin people in Dallas that I do a double-take when someone larger walks by. Which I’m not sure is an accomplishment, but whatever. Second, I’ve forged a relationship with my cousin’s two cats — a major feat because the older one, Rascal, is apparently a punk ass bitch to most people. I feel special. Oh. Two accomplishments might not be “a lot” on paper, but it was in my mind. But onto the rodeo topic.

awkwardface.com

Being my last weekend in Texas, my cousin Laura bought us 2 tickets to the rodeo. This entailed using lots of hair spray, squeezing into tight flared jeans (which I haven’t done since I was 17), and layering on the eye makeup. I felt like we were going to an 8th grade dance.

We drove to Mesquite, Texas, ended up at a dark, empty building (wrong night), and turned around and drove 50 minutes in the opposite direction. We ended up at Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, where we paid $12 to see Billboard’s newest sweethearts, Micky and the Motorcars. After seeing several cowboy hats, 2-steppers, and a girl in a baby tee, we decided to check out the rest of Fort Worth. = Sup tumbleweeds. Really, if you can avoid the city, do so please.

All in all, thanks for sitting through my anticlimactic story. I’ll have more interesting things to write about at a later date, when I’m not salivating over a Boboli pizza cooking in my cousin’s oven.

Not Crap Jewelry Opens its Doors!

5 Jan

Fueled by peanut M&Ms, I made 3 pieces of jewelry tonight. They’re up for sale at my shop called “Not Crap” on Etsy. I was inspired to make an Etsy shop by my friend Megan who makes awesome drum heads decorated with sexy ladies, and by my cousin Jenn who told me I make pretty good necklaces that people might actually pay money for. And money right now is much in demand because of my plans in May.

Which brings me to an announcement… I bought a round trip flight to Paris for my first ever Eurotrip!!! I’ll be leaving May 18th and coming back July 5th, and my plan is to visit France, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Germany.

I’m hoping to bring my iPhone along so I can check hostels and train times, and more importantly so I can blog a bit while I’m over there.

I’m very, very, very excited.

“Demain, le Bubblegum pour tout!”

2 Oct

“A very hard word. MASSACHUSETTS!”

I’ve dreamt about visiting Paris since January of seventh grade, when my foreign language teacher stopped teaching us Spanish (hated it) and began teaching French. She pulled down a map of the country and pointed out les Alpes, le Seine, and le big yellow star which was Paris. The first French word I learned: le crayon. French for pencil, in case you didn’t know.

louvre-museum-picture

In my third year of college, I signed up for an extra class to brush up on my conversational French. I planned to spend that spring’s semester in Paris. Two weeks into the class I realized only one class at a French university would apply towards my degree… It didn’t make sense.

I’m 22 and I’m still dreaming about walking up to the giant glass pyramid in front of the Louvre. I want to see the city as the Impressionist painters saw it (and I’m sure if I take out my contacts I very well could). I want to nibble on a croissant in a cafe like Gene Kelly did in An American in Paris (disregarding the fact that it was a cafe inside a Hollywood movie studio). I want to think fondly of my cute old high school French teacher and hum “Aux Champs-Elysees” as I walk down l’Avenue. I want to look up at the Eiffel Tower and imagine I am Sarah Jessica Parker except NOT sad about being away from my closest friends. Really, I just want to walk down the adorable little streets and hear people speaking that intoxicating language and see them going about their fabulous European-Union daily lives.

Paris_Street_on_a_Rainy_Day,_1877,_Gustave_Caillebotte

Homesick for Boston

24 Jul

I’ve been away from home for over 2 and a 1/2 months. With only 3 weeks left of my internship in North Carolina, it’s high time I started getting homesick for my hometown of Boston. Obviously, I miss my friends and family (Katie, Jess, Megan, Jenn, Devin, Mom, Dad, April, nephs, He Who Will Not Be Named…) Other than precious people, these are the things I miss the most…


1. Road Rage

Besides the drive-by shootings, I haven’t seen road rage once here. I actually miss getting cut off, then leaning on my horn and swearing at someone through two layers of glass and ample distance. It’s such a stress reliever.

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2. The North End

I’ve never had the money to go to Europe (hopefully that will change come next summer…), but there is no better local Italian than the stuff the families cook up in this little neighborhood. Dearest Mediterranean raviolis, a cannoli, and a cappucino, all for $20? I miss you.

3. Amvets

I tried shopping at the Goodwill here in North Carolina. It’s good if you’re looking for worn-out rayon clubbing -wear, I suppose. Shudder. I miss my Amvets, smack-dab in the middle of the ghetto, where I bought a J.P. Gaultier blazer and Vivienne Westwood jacket for $4 each. Because the average customer there doesn’t know Prada from Kathy Van Zeeland. It’s like stealing candy from a baby. :)

4. Wearing a sweatshirt in the middle of summer

Going camping in the summer in Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Rhode Island, or Vermont means packing a coupla hoodies for rainy candy bar Bingo days and cool nights.

5. Bob’s Discount Furniture Commercials with 1980s Special Effects

Color me crazy, but I love waking up to a cup of coffee and a miniature Bob dancing in the the corner of my TV screen.

6. Dunkies

I don’t need a therapist. Just a little box to yell “A medium hazelnut iced coffee with cream and three Splenda” at.

7. People who think they’re wicked smaht

One of my favorite reasons to go to Harvard Square, the Institute of Contemporary Art, or the Museum of Fine Arts is to stand next to the bespectacled smarties or hipsters and listen to the ridiculous things they say. “Ah, this plywood table with a tennis shoe stapled to it must represent the poor and oppressed being stepped on by the wealthy and priveleged” — “Ah, yes, I concur.” Actually, my friends, you just stumbled into the supply closet where Mr. BeeBo the learning impaired janitor was working on a craft project.

Where am I?

"Where am I?"

8. Die-hard Red Sox fans

If I hear one more Tarheels comment I’m gonna throw up. I need me some red and white.

9. Serious Accents

I go into a gas station here and hear “Ha, how’re yu doin?” — I bump into someone, say I’m sorry, and without fail hear “Yer fahn, yer fahn.” VOMMMM. I miss walking into a gas station and hearing “Howaya, c’i getta packa Newports? ..Thanks take care.”

10. Being LOUD and being around LOUD PEOPLE!

Everyone here is quiet and proper. It’s really annoying because I often get shushed in the workplace, or on my lunchbreak, or in public, or in general. I’m loud – it’s who I am! Let me be who I am, North Carolina!

11. That Northeast sense of humor

Whether loud and obvious a la Chris Farley, or dry a la The Office, I miss the Northeast sense of humor. People just don’t joke around here like they do up North. One time I tried to sneak out early from a TERRIBLE improv show (don’t ask) and the magician intercepted my friends and I on our way out. His dress shirt was ridiculously wrinkly, so I told him “Good job ironing your shirt tonight.” My friends were APPALLED – and he was too. Don’t they know that, in the Northeast, making fun of someone is a playful way to engage in laughter? You must not take these insults seriously! (Regretfully, after I said this there was just awkward silence.)

August 20th I go meet up with the family for camping in New York (my sweatshirt will come in handy I’m sure), then I’m going home! :)

No Gay Cowboys Here

15 Jul

Here in eastern North Carolina, I often get made fun of for reacting to things (such as the beach) like a toddler during her first ride on the teacups at the carnival. You know, she’s so exciting she’s shaking, and she can’t speak? Well, this weekend I drove 5 hours out west with a friend and saw my first, real, live, actual mountain range. Enter: The Blue Ridge Mountains.

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We climbed the oldest and tallest geezer called Grandfather Mountain. The hardest, longest hike to the top peaks began with a walk across the Mile-High Swinging Bridge, which was slightly disappointing because it didn’t swing at all! I mean come on, I wanted danger! It was very foggy, windy and cool when we walked across I frolicked across and my friend Rex laughed at me.

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Next up was the intense 4-hour hike to the peaks. What I liked most about it besides the views from the top of the peaks was the change in temperatures, and of course the fresh air. At “the bottom” (5282 feet) of the trail, the air was humid and warm inside the trees. At the top (around 5500 feet), it was still warm inside the IMG_0050trees but one step to the edge of the cliff and it was cold and really windy! Being a Northerner, that was refreshing after spending a few months in the humid South.

Before hiking Grandfather Mountain, Rex and I camped out at Linville Falls, a small national park off the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a tiny hike out to these beauties.

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We “failed to see” the NO SWIMMING signs and put on our bathing suits. But alas, it was too cold. What, you say? A Northerner thinking Southern waters are too cold?! I know right, who AM I these days? Nah, but in the end what was stopping me from plunging in was the slimy rock that I would have to make foot contact with. ::shudder:: Anyway, what I liked most about the falls was the other side which totally wants to be a siiiiick waterslide with its 45-foot drop.

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So that’s my time spent in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I was really really sad to leave. Can’t wait to visit the Smokies next!

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