Travel

Natalie in Nevis (Part 3)

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Holy white legs.

Anyway, went on a hike up the volcano.  It was wet.  And muddy.

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Terrifying friggen volcano cave.  I am 100% sure there are bats/zombies/bat-zombies living in there:

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As you know, I love graveyards.  I visited one was at the top of a hill, adjacent to a church that was built in the 1600’s.  You can just like, walk up the hill, open the door and walk in and chill out, church-y styles.

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Nevis used to produce and ship sugar-cane, but it stopped at some point because it wasn’t profitable enough. Because of that, there are TONS of discarded sugar-cane manufacturing machinery pieces around the island, just like, sitting around.

Our guide took us to the last sugar-cane manufacturing site, now abandoned and all rusted-over.  I love how you can just like, go up to a rusty, old abandoned building in the middle of nowhere, and just hang out and have a picnic and take pictures of machinery from the 1800s.

Check out that huge crank:

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Sugar bowls of algae!

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There was the clear and present danger of the following:

1. Tetanus;
2. Collapsing Roof;
3. Algae Poisoning; and
4. Sugar-Cane Zombies.

But still. SO COOL.

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Also visited a few of the luxury hotels on the island.  First, Golden Rock Plantation, which is essentially a luxury hotel made up of old sugar cane plantation, in the middle of a super-lush rainforest.

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This is a cinnamon leaf.  Cinnamon leaf smells SO GOOD.  Better than cinnamon bark.

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Next, the Hermitage Plantation Inn, which is a bunch of tiny gingerbread houses in the middle of the rain forest, with a big main dining hall filled with antiques.  It’s amazing.

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Finally, Montpellier Plantation, which was my favourite.  It’s like an art deco plantation from the 20’s with like, a Miami-style pool.  So baller-y.

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At Montpellier you can apparently have a big fancy dinner in this sugar-cane silo thingie.  It’s apparently ridiculously expensive.  Damn rich people paying money to eat in abandoned silos. Crazy.

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A quick trip through Charlestown.  Did you know that Alexander Hamilton was born in Charlestown?  He’s apparently some big important American person.

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Bye, Nevis.  It’s been fun.

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Natalie in Nevis (Part 2)

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So, while in Nevis, I did a lot of the following:

1. Drinking;
2. Sitting around; and
3. Drinking.

The place I was staying was all fancy and stuff, which is great I guess, but sometimes I feel a little out of place around like, clean, fancy, rich people, being none of those things.  Thankfully, about half a mile down the beach there was this *very* casual, like shutter-board closet of a bar called Sunshine’s.

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Apparently, Sunshine’s is known worldwide for this drink they make called the Killer Bee.  The ingredients are a secret, but my guess is that it has some kind of locally-made, illegally-made, deliciously-made, high proof ‘moonshine’ in it.  That shit gets you F-ED UP.  See below.  That is like, a 5 ounce cup of Killer Bee:

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Seems piddly, yes?  Two of those will get you CA-RHANKED up.  Like, you might die.

So I basically went there every single day that I was in Nevis and got drunk.

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It also had Wi-Fi.

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Oh HAAY – Another day, another series of Killer Bees.  The objective every day was to drink more glasses of Killer Bee than the day before and not die.

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Inside of the bar is filled of pictures of the owner, “Sunshine”:

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Here is a picture of actual Sunshine taken from Sunshine’s:

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HOW MANY TIMES CAN I SAY SUNSHINE?  Many times.  Here is another picture of another Killer Bee from another day of drinking at Sunshine’s.

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In addition to drinking at Sunshine’s, I also drank in the sunshine while sitting at the beach:

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Look at this tiny shell.  IT’S SO TINY AND PERFECT.  IT’S, LIKE, THE TINIEST SHELL…

I am a speck of nothingness in the broad expanse of the universe.  JUST LIKE THIS SHELL.

Tiny perfect shell freaked me out a little.  Just saying.

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I soon overcame my feeling of insignificance and took a selfie to celebrate.

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Natalie in Nevis (Part 1)

So I recently went on vacation to Nevis, in the West Indies, which is basically an f-ing volcanic island paradise sitting in the middle of the Caribbean.

It was pretttty nice.

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SO MANY LIZARDS.  I wanted to catch them and hold them in my hand, like a gross person who catches lizards, but they are like, friggen lightning rods and scoot around too fast.

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I played golf once.  I usually don’t like playing golf because I want to be immediately good at everything I do and I guess you have to like, PRACTICE or some shit when you play golf.  Turns out I’m pretty good anyways.  Check out that FORM, GIRL:

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So there is this giant herd (or whatever a group of monkeys is called.  A bunch?  A school?) of monkeys that lives off the golf course and when you hit the ball in their area they would come and inspect it to see whether it was a delicious cocoa bean or something of that nature.

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This guy has the right idea – butt down, legs up, lovin life, mad-chillin, etc, etc.  Just waitin’ on those chewy, chewy cocoa beans:

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Here is a big tree:

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Also went on a snorkeling trip to St. Kitts. On the snorkeling boat, they give you tons and tons of local beer and play Bob Marley on repeat.  Basically the best.

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Snorkeling site was an old rusty shipwreck.  I love that they just take you to Tetanus City and chuck you in the water and are like “Yeah, don’t be an idiot and cut yourself on that old rusty piece of shit. But definitely go check it out in your bikini or whatever.”

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I didn’t cut myself, AND I happened to see several HUGE sea turtles which has been a big ambition for a while.  Every damn time I went snorkeling, I wanted to see a damn turtle, and every damn person other than me would see one, and then I damn-ass didn’t.

BUT THIS TIME I SAW THREE.  Once I swam with one for like 15 minutes.  And by “swam with one”, I mean “I swam over him while he tried to swim away but I didn’t let him then he had to come up for air or else he’d die and he was SO CLOSE TO ME.”

Anyways, more pics in Part 2.

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One Day in Santa Fe (Part Two)

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When I found out I was going to have some free time in Santa Fe, my first course of action was to go into my bank account and calculate how much money I could spend on superfluous pieces of turquoise jewelry and unnecessary southwestern textiles.  Do I need either of these things?  Fuck no.

First thing I wanted to go see was the Native American Vendors Program, which is a government-sponsored/organized section of the local Governors building where Native American artists and vendors can sell their work to walkers-by.

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There was a LOT of turquoise, and I pretty much plottzed.  I guess I thought because I was in New Mexico, the turquoise would be super cheap, and although it was definitely not as expensive as it is in Toronto, it really wasn’t crazy reduced.

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There was lots of great silver-work, too.  I wanted this damn braided bracelet SO F-ING bad, but it was like $250 bucks and even with my superior bartering skills, I can’t afford that shit.  So I left it.  Devastating.  DEV-A-STA-TING!

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First objective: get rings.  I liked this one, but the guy wasn’t budging on price and I was all like “forget you, guy”, and went on to the next booth.  As you can see, I am a shrewd and savvy negotiator.

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In the end, I went a little bananas.  Three turquoise rings, and one sliver one.  I love them so much.  Even though they highlight the piglety-ness of my fingers, I shall wear them as often as I can.

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My second objective was to do some vintage shopping, which is becoming an all-consuming need when I visit a new place.  I have a desire to buy something so that I can be all like “Yeah, whatever, I got it at a vintage store in <insert town here>.  No big deal.”  Since I only had one day, I did a bit of research before coming, and this place called Double Take came up many times.

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Double Take is huge and has like, a bunch of sub-stores within it.  There is a main “regular thrift” store at the bottom, a “western and cowboy vintage” store to one side, a full-on crazy antique and furniture store on the top level, and like baby and kids stores on the side.  I went to the vintage cowboy section first.  OF COURSE.

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I considered getting a pair of cowboy boots, but then I remembered that I have probably about seventeen pairs of cowboy boots already and I never wear them.  I actually restrained myself.  So proud.  Especially after my turquoise binge.

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On to the hats.  I don’t know if you know, but I look *really* good in hats.  Like, all hats.  I think it’s because I have an abnormally large  gorilla-head, and hats balance out its size.  Here are some hats:

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I *wish* I had the nutsack to wear the black hat below around, because I think its so FUCKING bad-ass.  However, it is also in “crazy-lady” territory if you can’t pull it off well.  I chose not to purchase it, because I already think my friends kind of feel like I”m a crazy-lady based on some of the other hats I own.  No need to fan the fires of crazy-lady talk.

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Instead, I moved onto the vintage cowboy/southwestern wear and fell in damn-ass-poo LOVE with this off-the-shoulder southwestern fancy lady shirt.  BOUGHT.

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Double Take is also where I found this weird two stone ring.  Most turquoise rings started at at least $70 USD, even for ones WAY smaller than this one, but for some reason this one was priced at $25.  Neither me nor any of the salespeople were able to determine why it was so cheap.  Stones and silver all real.  BOUGHT.

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There was a *lot* of jewelry.  Bolo ties galore.  I really wanted that blue jug, too, but it was like $140 or some shit. Forget you, snooty expensive blue jug.

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The last (I promise) turquoise thing I bought was this SWEET ASS Zuni necklace below.  The design is called the “Squash Blossom”, and again, these are usually SUPER FUCKING expensive.  Like, we’re talking $1000.00 expensive (Google that shit).  I found this in a huge display case with other turquoise that was 30% off for some reason and there was a small little price written on one corner that said $89.  The salesperson was like… “I’m pretty sure that’s not the price”… and I was all like “Woman.  It says that price.  You have to sell it to me or I’ll sue you.” SO SHE DID.  I have no idea whether you can sue people for writing the wrong price on things, but it seems plausible.

I know it has a couple of stones missing, but I DON’T CARE. BOUGHT.

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OH YEAH.  I also found this Jil Sander skirt for SEVEN DOLLARS.

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YA, I SAID SEVEN DOLLARS.  Please visit here to get a frame of reference on how fucking unbelievable that is.  It also fit like a sexy butt-glove.  It says “as is” on the tag, but I searched for about 20 minutes and couldn’t find a single fucking thing wrong with it.  FUNKING BOUGHT.

The antiques and artwork in the upper level were also pretty amazing.  There is my blue jug, being all expensive:

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I seriously considered buying that “Canada” apron below but then I was like “where the fuck will I put that shit?” so I didn’t.  I also wanted the two posters.  But have no where to put them, either.  Le sob.

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YES.  Neon wolf howling at cactus:

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YES.  Happy skeleton lady, painted on a damn plate:

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YES.  1970’s tacky-amazing dishware:

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Sigh.  Popped into a couple of other stores, but to be perfectly honest, I had pretty much drained my budget at this point so I didn’t really have money to spend anyways.

Went back to my hotel and ate a delicious club sammie:

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Then they were serving s’mores in the lobby so I hauled my fat ass over for a s’more to eat while watching the sun set:

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FYI – the sunsets in Santa Fe are UNBELIEVABLE.  I felt like I was watching the end of a dramatic movie.  The light changes constantly and the colours are so vivid.  Eyeball boner.

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The best part is that as soon as the light drops out of sight, like thirty coyotes howl as loud as fuck.  It was like nature-magic.

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Since it was my last day I wanted to get a video of the sunset, so I took my s’more and ran up a steep hill to get a good view.  Here is my video.  You can hear me gasping for breath like an obese person because I am so out of shape.  Try to block that out and focus on the beauty of the moment:

Highly recommend Santa Fe.  Go.  I’ll leave you with my picstiched Insta of the sunset.  My hipster homage:

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One Day in Santa Fe (Part One)

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As previously mentioned, I was travelling for work last week and had the opportunity to spend a day on my own in Santa Fe, lovin’ life and other things of that nature. Having a single day to go through an entire place… especially one that was so full of STUFF to do, was understandably daunting, so I just put my little head down and conquered things one at a time.

First – the New Mexico countryside is F-ING beautiful… like, with cacti and tumbleweeds and like, spiders dragging old pieces of junk across sand to build their spider-nests.  Exactly how you pictured it.  THAT’S HOW IT IS.

I decided to start the day with a hike around the countryside with a guide who was really knowledgeable and allowed me to take multiple pictures that slowed down the rest of the group. Bad for them, GOOD FOR YOU!  So many arty pictures of tumbleweeds and shit.

This is an old tree that couldn’t survive the drought one year.  Negatives: it’s dead.  Positives: It provides a dramatic frame for my “taking a picture of the landscape with a dramatic frame” goals.

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Below is a pear-cactus, which are all over the place.  They really hurt if you, say, trip while trying to take a picture, then submerge your knee bone into them.  Hypothetically.

Also, apparently they are tasty if you take all the pricklers off then slice them up into a delicious salad.  I never did this.  It’s just the rumour around town.

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Here is another cactus.  Dramatic frame for my picture?  SUCCESS!

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This is a Yucca plant.  The Yucca flower is the state flower of New Mexico – WHAAAT learnin’ things!  Apparently the native tribes in New Mexico used to/still use the little stringer things on the side of the Yucca plant to like, repair their clothing and sew their moccasins and other things of a “string-requiring” nature.  I tried to pull one out but it didn’t work.

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Dramatic tree-frame!

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So.  Seriously.  It’s pretty beautiful down there.  The landscape just folds out in front of you with hill after hill of browns that melt into each other… then the horizon undulates in rolling swells that become more and more transparent until you aren’t sure where one stops and the other begins.  POETRY SLAM WHAT!

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TREE FRAME, WHAT!

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ROCK FRAME, WHAT!

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After about 90 minutes walking around in the New Mexico desert/drylands/whatever-they-are-called, I decided to cross “Nature-Stuff” off my list and mosey on over into town.

Being a big ol’ fatty, the first thing I needed to do was eat something.  Some people really hate travelling on their own because they have to sit in restaurants by themselves and eat without talking to anyone.  Me?  I LOVE going to restaurants by myself and eating what I want when I want without people bothering me while I stuff my face.  Paradise.

There are quite a few restaurant options in Santa Fe, but I heard about one over and over called “The Shed” that has been around for a really long time and apparently is packed all day long with people wanting to get a table, so I tried it out.

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First, their patio is adorable.  Small enough to feel intimate, but roomy enough not to feel stifling. and full of bright umbrellas and stuff that makes you feel all happy and shit.

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Wheat beer in the foreground, happy family in the background… how much more idyllic can you get?

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I started with the Corn Chowder, which was AMAZING.  Really, I gobbled that shizz down in about 3 minutes.

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For my main I didn’t want to go too ‘outside of the box’, because I had heard that “New Mexican-Mexican” food was really spicy and different than most Mexican food, and I didn’t want to walk around with a “tummy ache” (read: the runs) all day long, so I went with “Light Huevos Rancheros”.

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Now, I’m not saying it was spicy, but IT WAS DAMN SPICY.  They put this “red chili sauce” and “green chili sauce” on it and it basically tastes like you are swallowing fire.  HOWEVER… it was definitely yummy.

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Speaking of New Mexican foods… there is this thing called “Frito Pie” in Santa Fe that everyone was talking about.

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Turns out Frito Pie is smashed-up Fritos with Chili poured over top.  At the Five and Dime (above), they literally open up a bag of Fritos, smash ’em up a little bit in the bag, then pour Chili INTO the Frito bag, then you walk out with a spoon and a Frito bag full of Chili.

Best idea ever or source of long-term diarrhea?  Both, I’m thinking.  I never had the privilege of trying Frito Pie as I was full of my Huevos.  BIGGEST REGRET EVER.

In the afternoon I headed to Coyote Rooftop Cantina for some chips and beer.  The atmosphere was OK, but it was really hot and they were playing an awful radio statio… like Gin Blossoms styles.  Not in an ironic “remember when you were in high school and the Gin Blossoms were cool” – kind of way, in a like, “this is some cool new music – it’s called the Gin Blossoms” – kind of way.

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The town is quite pretty and magical and again, exactly what you would expect when you think of New Mexico – short, clay-like buildings and bright colours and stuff that makes you happy:

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Ok, so I checked “Nature stuff”, and “Eat a whole lot of spicy chili” off my list, and I decided that I wanted to spend some time getting all cultured, so I decided to stop by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum.

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So, I KNOW that everyone thinks of vaginas and vagina-related flowers when they think of Georgia O’Keeffe, but in reality, her vagina-related-flower repertoire is only a VERY SMALL part of her art and it really overshadows a lot of how TRULY AMAZING she is.

I went to the museum knowing little to nothing about her, which was a great thing, because I really learned a lot and came out with an amazing amount of respect for her.

Turns out she is BAD-ASS and a wicked-cool smart and strong lady and like, walks around with skulls and shit.

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Her artwork does have a sexual undercurrent, which is amazing and powerful.  What strong woman didn’t have struggles with gender roles and sexuality in the mid-20th century when women’s rights were in the forefront both socially and politically? Cue the vagina-flowers.

Her photographer husband, Alfred Stieglitz, took numerous, sexually suggestive pictures of her when she was young and starting out, and that image of her as a sexual being constantly overshadowed her work.  People searched for sexual meaning instead of just looking at the art.

Later in life, she decided to take control of her image and invited photographers to her New Mexico home (“Ghost Ranch” – what?  coolest), and her BAD-ASSERY was shown in full effect.

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A lot of her artwork was focused on New Mexico and the area surrounding Santa Fe.

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Being as hipstery as possible, I bought a print of the skull/flower piece below, along with another skull piece.  Skulls, skulls everywhere.  That’s how you know you’re cool.

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As you can tell, I haven’t said “peep” about my shopping and vintage item scouring, which is very detailed and lengthy, so I’ve decided to isolate that information into a separate, SHOPPING ONLY Santa Fe post, which I’ll put up like, within the next day.

Spoiler: I bought a lot of turquoise.

 

Posted in Arty Art, Delicious Food, Travel 1 Comment »

Santa Fe Next Week!

Next week I have some super-important-worky-business-type-stuff to do in Dallas and New mexico, which will leave me ONE WHOLE free personal day to explore downtown Santa Fe.

I AM GOING TO BUY SO MUCH TURQUOISE.  AND NAVAJO STUFF.  IT WILL BE GROTESQUE.

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Dublin Day Two – Monkstown & Guinness Storehouse

After a few days of working, I was able to have two and half days all to myself, which is personally very stressful because I usually want to do and see EVERYTHING and two days is not that much time.  So, I decided to get up at like 5:00 am every day, both to go to the gym and sweat out my croissant weight, and to maximize my “seein’ Dublin” time.  The first day was jam-packered with stuff.

First, a work colleague of mine who is from Ireland decided to take me for brunch in a neighboring town called Monkstown.  We went to “Salt”, this restaurant/marketplace thing, which is part of this chain of food and store marketplaces called “Avoca“.  Apparently there was this old abandoned mill in Ireland that someone bought, and they decided to re-open the mill and sell throws and rugs, then there was like, some woman there who started making food with local Irish ingredients, then they released a bunch of cookbooks, then it exploded into an National phenomenon.

Since I was on a strict “Don’t Be Fat” diet, I got the yogurt and fruit.  It was preeettty delicious.  I have no idea what those red fruits halves that are filled with weird egg-sperms.  Do you know what they are?  They were really sweet for things that look like sperms.

We then went for a quick walk, but it was rushed because I was cold and we had to get back to Dublin in time for my VIP GUINNESS TOUR.  Ballin’ large, what.

After my delicious brunch I met up with my friend Amanda who flew in from London like a bad-ass to hang out with me for two days in Dublin.  First stop – a VIP tour of the Guinness Storehouse.  Not sure if I mentioned, but it was a VIP (Very Important Person) tour.  Due to my importance as a person.

First, a free lunch at a Guinness restaurant, a GIFT BAG containing MOUSE PAD AND SHOT GLASS, then a personal tour of the whole storehouse.

One of the most interesting parts of the tour was the advertising hall, which had tons of old ads and bottles and bottle openers and stuff like that.

Did you know that Guinness had this publicity stunt in 1959 on their 200th birthday and dumped 150,000 bottles in the Atlantic ocean with a numbered scroll in them for a free beer?  They are still being found today, as far away as Australia.

Did you know that doctors used to recommend Guinness to pregnant women as a tonic?

I told our guide Aaron that I KNEW SOMETHING about Guinness that HE did not – that you can apparently live for 7 years on Guinness alone.

Aaron told me, no no, stupid Canadian girl, that is stupid and whoever told me that is an idiot.

This is our tour guide, Aaron.  He was awesome.  Here he is getting us some Guinness for our personal tasting.

Then a trip to learn how to pour the perfect Guinness.  It’s serious business, just so you know.  There are six steps and all of them result in waiting longer to chug your beer.

  

Then we got our certificates for “Perfect Pours”, and walked our beers up to the Gravity Bar where we overlooked all of Dublin like ballers.

But wait, before that, Aaron took us to a “private VIP experience” at the “Guinness Beer Connoisseur Bar“, which is like really hard to get access to or something like that.  He said it was “the most exclusive bar in Ireland”, and since we are VIPs, that makes sense.

An interesting discovery while we were overlooking Dublin.  There is some tower with a green roof that is called “St. Patrick’s Tower”.  The reason I bring it up is because it looks like a penis with a boob on top. That is all.

After the Guinness tour, we were itching to go to a pub and drink.  We had a few recommendations from friends who were actually Irish, as we wanted to hang out in more “local places”, like every tourist wants to.  We asked our cab driver about them and he sent us in the right direction to Kehoe’s, which was very local even though it was so close to Grafton Street.  He also told us to  “get rid of dem Guinness Storehouse bags unless ya want to be robbed.”  Which was sound advice.

The place got crowded *really* fast with the after work crowd, and there were a lot of guys in suits and stuff.  The bar was really fun and it felt like we were just hanging out enjoying life.

One man became very friendly with us and spent the good part of an hour talking to us about Irish things including how drinking Guinness makes you go to the bathroom weird.  His name was Dave and he happened to mention several times that he was divorced.

Pay no attention to my potato nose in the following images:

BEER.

The plan was to go back to the hotel, change, then go out to a couple of bars, but I was so tired (drunk) that I felt like throwing up.  So we pretty much crashed that night.  Tomorrow we drink several more beers in different locations.  It will be riveting.

Posted in Drunken Observations, Travel 1 Comment »

Dublin Day One – I Was Tired.

Being a baller, I had the opportunity to travel to Dublin for work last week and tack on an extra couple of vacation days for some sightseeing (read: beer-drinking).  I have always wanted to go to Ireland because, in my mind, the country is full of emerald-green fields with red-haired tall men with accents wearing oatmeal-coloured Aran sweaters who know how to play the fiddle… and who wouldn’t want to be surrounded by that?  No one wouldn’t, that’s who.

For some reason the New Releases options on the airplane didn’t really interest me so I decided to watch Wayne’s World two times in a row (as you’ll recall, I am physically/mentally/emotionally unable to sleep in airplanes).

Just so you know, Wayne’s World is a fucking awesome movie and you should watch it again.  Soon.

I took the overnight flight and arrived in Dublin at 7:00 am.  Having not slept for 24 hours meant that I was very delirious and hungry and couldn’t really string two words together, and all I wanted to do was get a coffee and eat something delicious for breakfast.

Fortunately for me, my hotel is awesome-slash-I’m a baller, so I arrived to my suite and found a full fresh breakfast waiting for me with fresh cold juice and hot hot coffee.  I almost cried from joy.  Then I ate that whole basket of pastries like a fat lardy whale.

I had one day to recover from my flight before I had to go to work, so I decided to walk around aimlessly in a sleepless haze with no direction or end goal like a stupid idiot.  I didn’t have my bearings and was barely coherent and could have probably fallen asleep on the side of the road like a hobo and could have been kidnapped and turned into a slave in an underground Irish Aran-sweater knitting slave operation or something equally as dramatic.  So yeah, I probably should have taken a nap first.

All I remember from my walk is thinking “IS IT SPRING OVER HERE?  HOLY FUCK THAT’S AWESOME.”  Apparently I took many pictures of flowers and other spring-related things:

There was some art selling thing going on.  The art was actually really good I think.  I don’t remember too much.

In the background of the picture below it looks like some kid is kicking the lamp post for no reason.  Amazing.

IS IT FUCKING SPRING OVER HERE?  AWESOME.

I imagine all of rural Ireland is covered in this heather-y flower, forming a perfect backdrop for all the tall red-haired, fiddle-playing men just waiting to serenade me.  Note: I did not see any hot Irish fiddlers during my stay.

I guess I was aimlessly wandering towards Grafton Street, which is a big pedestrian touristy type street.  I walked around for a bit. Pointless, though, considering my lack of brain-power.

Finally headed back to the hotel and got an amazing dinner.

I know this wasn’t very interesting.  I promise it gets better tomorrow.

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dublin-bound

This time next month I’ll be drinkin’ a frothy beer in Dublin. If you have any input on great placesrestaurantsbarsshopping, etc., send it my way.

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konopište castle + puppet opera

Since I had a long and luxurious six days to spend in Prague, I wanted to take some more time out from the “tourists-in-Crocs” scene that was the city center and find some cool day trips and explore the countryside.

First trip was Bone Church and Kutna Hora, which was OK, but it took a little too long to get there and back, and there were just as many ‘tourists in Crocs’ over there, and there was that married couple in front of me eating crunchy chips with greasy fingers the whole way over there as per my in-depth description which sucked.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t have very high hopes for my second day trip to Konopište Castle.  It didn’t have nearly as many recommendations in my city guide as Bone Church did, and when I asked my concierge about it (because I’m fancy and I have a concierge that I ask things to), she was like “Yeaaaaah, I *guess* you could go there.” …which didn’t exactly blow my skirt up with anticipation.

There were two main reasons I wanted to check out Konopište:

  1. It was Franz Ferdinand‘s (the Archduke, not the band… i.e. the person the band named themselves after…) castle.  That dude who basically started World War I when he was assassinated… that stuff interests me; and
  2. Apparently Franz was *obsessed* with game hunting and has hunting “trophies” (read: horrible remnants of unnecessarily killed animals) all over his house.  This seemed too nuts to believe and I wanted to see it.

  

So you take the train to Konopište, which is actually a really pretty drive through mountains and countryside.  The train stop is at the foot of a beautiful park land, and the castle is basically at the top of the park land.  My concierge tried to convince me that I needed a car to drive up to the Castle, but I was all like, “No, I’m bad-ass”, so I walked.

You totally don’t need a car.  You can walk.  Unless you are like, an elderly person or on crutches.  You can walk.

I mean, look how pretty this shit is?  Why would you want to get in a stinky car when you can walk in this paradise?

October is  “off” season, and it was dead, and there was only one available tour.  BUT that was actually awesome… because the T.C.Q. (Tourists in Crocs Quotient) was extremely low.  There were four people on my tour including me, and no gross crunchy chip-eaters.

So… you are not allowed to take pictures inside the house.  Which SUCKS.  I snuck three – the one at the beginning of the post of the huge antler hallway and the two below before my tour guide got mad at me and swore at me in Czech.

 

Yes – that Mary figure is surrounded by goat horns from kills.  And that entry-way?  Again, more goat horns… and those fan-things around the top near the lights?  Pheasant tails.

The house was C-O-V-E-R-E-D with dead animal trophies.  I can’t express to you how covered it was.

You would go into one room, and it would be, like “The Mountain Goat Room”, and there would be 200 – 300 Mountain Goat antler sets on the walls – they would be from FLOOR TO CEILING.

And then there would be a huge eagle that had been stuffed and turned into a chandelier.

And then there would be three tiger-skin rugs.

And then there would be like, a stuffed wild baby elephant in the corner.

IT WAS INSANE.

At first you’re all like…”Dude, these things can’t be real.”  But then you look at them all and they are real.

And then you’re like… “Dude, there is no way that he killed all these animals.  Impossible.  He bought them or some shit”.

But then you look at the mountings and EVERY SINGLE set of antlers has a location and date of when he killed the animal.  And apparently there are COPIOUS records to prove that it was him that killed them.

FUCKING INSANE.

 

Apparently, over the course of his life, he killed just over 300,000 animals on record.

Let’s just pause here.  Being a mega-nerd, I decided to try and calculate this into “kills per day”.  Let’s assume that he started recording his kills at the tender age of 15 (which is even kind of young, I think, but still…).

Let’s not forget that he was killed early and died at the age of 50.  So that gives him 35 years of killin’ time.

300 000 kills / 35 years = 8571.4 kills per year

8571.4 kills / 365 days = 23.48 KILLS PER DAY

THIS MAN KILLED 23.5 ANIMALS A DAY EVERY DAY FOR HIS ENTIRE FUCKING LIFE.  F’ed up.

Anyways, aside from the fucked up animal trophies, the tour was actually really, super interesting.

Since his assassination was unexpected and the family basically left the castle almost as soon as the assassination happened, they managed to keep things almost exactly as they had been in 1914 when he died.  There were notes and diaries and journals on the desks, and his children has drawn pictures that were up on the wall… it was really interesting.

Also, he was really “modern” and ahead of his time – the house was one of the first that had plumbing and flushing toilets and even an elevator.

They also had the bullet that killed his wife on display as well as her repaired (yet still faintly blood-stained) dress.

Seriously, it was fucking cool.  I have no idea why a bazillion people would go to Bone Church and not to this place.

Anyways, we walked around the grounds for a bit, then back on the train for the return to Prague.

Incidentally, there was this guy in our train car who came in with a giant woven basket full of CRAZY F-ING mushrooms that were the size of your fist and like pink and red and brown like in a wicked-cool fairy tale.  He said that he went out and picked them in the park grounds and was going to take them home and eat them like a bad-ass.  I wanted to take a picture so bad but maybe it’s normal to walk around with a giant basket of freaky mushrooms in Prague and I didn’t want to offend the mushroom-carrier guy.  Just thought I would tell you because it was COOL.

So we get back to Prague and there was a balloon floating over the Charles Bridge out of nowhere like we were in oldy-time days. NO BIG DEAL:

Truly, the best part of Prague is the magical things you come across when you aren’t expecting them:

Tra-la-la-la.  Anyways, later that night I had a delicious dinner of truffled crepe in a soup:

Then off to the PUPPET OPERA.

Yes I said PUPPET OPERA.

They show Don Giovanni every night at this Puppet Opera show and I almost plottzed my pants when I found out, so we went.  I haven’t seen a puppet show in like 20 years so I was really excited.

Then I realized that they were selling tall boys of Czech beer for the equivalent of $1.50 Canadian, and then I was REALLY EXCITED:

Although the puppets were funny, we only stayed for two acts because Don Giovanni is the longest opera of all time apparently and the puppet theater wasn’t ventilated and all the kids smelled like farts and I felt like I was going to pass out from heat.  So we went for…

PALAČINKA.  OF COURSE.

I went with apricot jam this kind.  IT IS BY FAR THE BEST ONE.  Just so you know.

Tomorrow I go to the *actual* opera like a fancy person and I decide to come back to Canada for some reason.  Le sigh.

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