Archive | January, 2011

Recently, I met up with travel blogger (redacted), who was visiting Seattle with her mom. They were both in town from (redacted), because (redacted) had a (redacted). Sigh. Let’s just call her “Redacted,” okay? And her mom can be Sue. That’s going to make this all a lot easier. (Also, names have been redacted for nothing sinister or bad. Some gals just like their privacy. I can respect that.)

Anywho, Redacted and Sue and I had lunch in the Pike Place Market, and I showed them around the immediate area. We tried to stop by the fish-throwers, who were sadly out closed for renovations (and still are. In 30 years, I’ve never known them to be closed. So sorry about that, ladies). As we were wandering around, I asked if they had seen the gum wall.

They hadn’t. And when Sue asked precisely what it was, and I started to explain, I realized just how ridiculous of an attraction it is.

Seriously, people of Seattle. I love you and all, but WTF?

The gum wall is in Post Alley, a winding mostly-pedestrian street that runs through Pike Place Market. The gum wall resides in a less frequented part of the alley – just south of the brass pig in the market is a narrow stairway that winds down and around. Follow it, and you’ll find yourself in a forgotten part of the market, dotted by a few bars and restaurants, a small theater, and the gum wall.

It kind of looks like a Jackson Pollack. Only grosser.

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Years ago, my husband made a crucial mistake when speaking to my mother.

He was honest.

I know, I know – the idiot, right? He has yet to live it down. The date of his grievous error was sometime in 2006. We had had a fantastic time visiting my dad in Germany before driving down to Italy, where we spent a few days hopping around between Milan, Como, and Venice. When we got back, my mother asked Rand how the trip was.

What he said, exactly, when he replied to her, is a subject of debate. I hold to my own, because my memory is a vast and incredible thing, and has rarely let me down. My mother (though she has yet to say it outright) believes that my account of history has been tainted by my feelings of affection towards my husband. And Rand has the memory of a goldfish, so he’s not really part of this discussion, even though he’s the reason for it.

My account is this: Rand told her, truthfully, that he while he enjoyed Italy, he was surprised by how much he loved Germany. Bavaria in particular had started to grow on him.

My mother’s account, however is this: Rand told her, to her face no less, how much he hated Italians, and Italy, and how Germany was far superior. Also, he obviously loves my dad more than her, and apparently, so do I.

Sigh.

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  1. View from our hotel. The black schmutz is a result of crap on the window.
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  2. Some of the wild dogs of Sofia, sleeping in the park.
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    We let them lie. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)

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Today’s guest post (the very first one of 2011) is by Lara, the enormously talented blogatrix behind Food Soil Thread. Not only is Lara a fellow Pacific Northwest gal, she has a preoccupation with food and travel, and regularly embarrasses her family by taking photographs of nearly every thing they eat. In other words, we have loads in common, and I sincerely hope we become friends (I mean, hello – she has a series of blog posts tagged “sweets“. That alone is enough to make me love her).

She was also kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule (which includes a comprehensive list of goals for the year that I endeavor to replicate) to blog for The Everywhereist. It’s short and sweet – the literary equivalent of eating a petit four - and perfect for a Monday morning. So I’m sending her some sincere thanks, and whatever the karmic equivalent of  batch of homemade cookies is.

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I brought back a few photos with me from my recent trip to the UK. I pulled a few of my favorites to share, on the off chance that Everywhereist readers are as big of Anglophiles as Geraldine herself.

While eating my third Full English Breakfast in as many days, I snapped a photo to highlight the lovely dessert options, or what I like to call The Worst Kind of Souvenir.

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2011, thus far, is full of contradictions.

I don’t know what to make of it. A dozen days in, and every five minutes, I change my opinion on what the year will be like. Thus far, it’s been punctuated by crappy moments – of both the national-newsworthy and the incredibly-personal variety.

I just found out a few days ago that a family friend/relation by marriage died, one month after being diagnosed with cancer. I had hoped Rand and I could have visited her on upcoming trip to London in a few months, but obviously it won’t be working out that way.

And just as I decided to throw in the towel for the night, and perhaps the whole month of January, I opened up an email to see a photo of a friend of mine, holding her brand-new son.

The pendulum keeps swinging. Crappy things happen. Then good things. I realize it’s true of everything, of any time, but in the last few days, it feels distilled. It leaves me not knowing what to think.

It seems too early to give up on 2011. Besides, I have such high hopes for this year. There are things to see. New babies to visit. So in the spirit of upbeat news, here are the links for The Week. I hope they make you smile.

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In the interest of being positive, I suggest you look at things in this manner.

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OMG. OMG. Space paintings. YAY!

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I cannot stop laughing at this. That man should be declared King of the Internet, if he hasn’t been already.

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I would be remiss if I wrote about Bulgaria and didn’t mention Paris.

Photo by fliplivin, courtesy of flickr.com

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Um, no. Not that Paris. Try again.

He's the one on the left. With the moustache.

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Yup. That’s him. I didn’t actually ask him whether or not I could use his photo on the blog, so I figured I’d give him a mustache, making him slightly harder to identify. Because there are probably tons of guys named Paris running around Bulgaria, and with his new-found anonymity, he could be any one of them.

Either that, or I really, really wanted to use Picnik’s new mustache feature. But I digress.

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I forgot to note something in my last post about Bulgaria. I discussed the good and the bad, but I seemed to have skipped over something.

Namely, the weird.

Because one of the strangest, and most disconcerting things about Sofia was the packs of wild dogs that roam through the city.

YEAH.

Seen roaming around the main shopping district of Sofia.

I bet you think I’m joking, right? She can’t possibly be serious, you think, as you rush to do a Google search about the wild dogs that live in Sofia. And there are results. Oh, how there are results. Some are horror stories – tales of dogs killing people in the Bulgarian countryside, or packs of wild hounds killing animals in the Sofia Zoo – while others just note the problem is a growing one. In 2009, the Bulgaria Academy of Sciences estimated that the total number of stray dogs in Sofia alone was around 9,000.

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I tend to make rash decisions. And once I’ve made up my mind about something, there’s no changing it. There are certain things that I loathe, and even though I might have forgotten why I loathe them, I continue to do so. Because my mind has been made up. There’s little indifference in my world. Rarely am I undecided on anything. Which is why my feelings towards Bulgaria, gathered over the course of our trip there a few months back, are so remarkable.

Here’s the thing: I think I hated Bulgaria.

And yet, when I type that, I wince a little. When I think of the amazing people we got to spend time with, of the quirky and delightful traditions of which we partook, I figure I must be wrong. I must have liked Bulgaria. We were treated so nicely by our hosts. People took us out and showed us around. They introduced us to their families and let us hug their children.

And I conclude that Bulgaria really was wonderful.

Then I remember how out of my comfort zone I was. How powerless and frustrated I felt after we got ripped off. How annoyed I was when I later asked the hotel concierge to call me a cab, waited out in the cold for it, and had some douchebag who looked like he just stepped off the set of Jersey Shore steal it from me. How I nearly lost it when I told the concierge what happened, and she proceeded to scold me that I needed to be more aggressive. Right. Aggressive. Against a guy who’s probably a member of the mafia.

And again, I think perhaps I hated Bulgaria.

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