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Life is a Journey, Savor it.


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Flying Solo, finding a balance

I like flying solo. I like it that my days are my own. I like that I get to set my schedule and go where the winds take me. I enjoy quiet meals alone, or alone in the company of a book.

I also adore afternoons spent with a friend, poolside and catching up in our respective latests. I like dropping by a friend’s shop and whiling away the hours laughing and learning words in another language. I enjoy showing up for a yoga class and then trying out a new lunch place with a classmate.

Life is in the balance. Finding time for myself creates peace and serenity. Too much time alone and without the warm love and stimulation of people to care about leaves me feeling dingy and isolated. Continue reading

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Beguiling Filipino “CR”

In th Philippines I eat pink chewable pepto bismol tablets as if they are candy. The candy is especially helpful on long bus rides inching along at top speeds of 25 kph through mud and muck in the middle of nowhere jungle. A recent 141km journey from El Nido to Roxas took four hours and included an impromptu stop that nearly broke both axels off of the lime green Roro Coach.

Waking up in the mornings there’s a gurgle in my tummy and a feeling of sheer dread. I automatically evaluate my restroom options for the day and in the immediate vicinity. Filipinos are fond of inexplicable devices that pass as toilets. A favorite is the itsy bitsy commode; these are white porcelain bowls the size of a toddler’s training potty and they are no more than a foot off the ground, usually pushed deep into a corner and smack dab against the wall. It creates a predicament for men and women alike: to squat or not..? Aim and good luck? Sit? (Heavens no to sitting!)

To say toilet paper is lacking would be a gross misstatement. To call it a luxury would also be a misstatement. Toilet paper is a precious resource retained by the ultra-privileged, the 1% if you will. It’s fitting then that we tourists seem to be the only ones concerned with its presence. Befuddlingly, it’s easy enough to procure TP and is readily available in most stores, yet it has been appropriated for a great many causes which do not involve its appellate purpose. The Filipinos utilize TP as FT, face tissue and who knows what else. At any rate, it’s lacking in proximity to actual toilets and so is soap for that matter. Befuddling.

The common Filipino nomenclature for the bathroom further drives home the fact that the joke is on us tourists, as if the name used to refer to restrooms is in itself specifically intended to administer a very small but inescapable dose of justice to balance the scales of dignity. Or perhaps the nomenclature is more benign than that and intended to merely perplex, amuse and describe… It accomplishes each of these feats…

Whether it be a deluxe apparatus with stalls, seats and flushing capabilities, or a mere hole in an outhouse or just a corner at over-that-there beach, each of these spaces is universally referred to as a “comfort room.” It’s the bane of many a traveler in The Philippines who find the CRs beguiling at best and cruel, punishing torture devices with a demonic sense of humor at worst.

One determination about the CR is beyond argument, you’ll find no comfort here.


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Flight Roster of Filth

125 passengers on a recent Tiger Airways flight from Bangkok to Clark air base (budget airport 2.5 hours north of Manila):

3 families (5 kids total)
18 total female travelers (2 older teenage backpackers, 3 white female travelers, 15 Filipinas)
~20 Filipino men (including a group of about 10 adorable, 30-something gay men)

85 (the rest): bald spots, sunburns, oversized, overwhelmingly middle-aged to older white men Continue reading


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Flying backwards at the Chiang Mai Night Market

I love the ways experiences unfold together, happening in a great and beautiful sequence. As I look back upon my past few weeks I can’t help but be struck with the sense that everything is occurring perfectly and just as it should. That every single event leads inexorably into the next and the following after that. Simple. Beautiful.

At present I’m sitting at a street corner getting a Thai foot massage. Continue reading