Wisdom from the Ages

I will have poetry in my life. And adventure. And love. Love above all. No... not the artful postures of love, not playful and poetical games of love for the amusement of an evening, but love that... over-throws life. Unbiddable, ungovernable - like a riot in the heart, and nothing to be done, come ruin or rapture.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Only Kind That Is Romantic.

Maria Elena: Only unfulfilled love can be romantic.

(from Vicky Christina Barcelona)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We Had It All.

Why can't we get all the people together in the world that we really like and then just stay together? I guess that wouldn't work. Someone would leave. Someone always leaves. Then we would have to say good-bye. I hate good-byes. I know what I need. I need more hellos.But then again, someday, when we both reminisce we'll say, 'There wasn't too much we missed,' and through the tears we'll smile when we recall ...we had it all for just a moment.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Tidbits of Travel Writing.

These are little tidbits taken from my travel journal that holds all my stories from China, Russia, Mongolia, Germany, Portugal, and France.

Friday, May 16, 2008- late night/early morning on the train Had a great night with the Russians- by night, I mean the drinking started by mid-afternoon. I tried to stay awake all night with them because Саша (Sasha) is leaving tomorrow. The boys made us a feast of cheese, kolbasa, smoked salmon, bread, and little croutons around midnight. We lost ourselves in our quest to empty two five-liter jugs of beer, remnant cans of Балтика (Baltika), and prolonged talks about Russia, Russians, being a soldier, and rap music. We slept in their carriage until early Saturday morning; when I woke up, it was freezing, and I looked right over at Тимур (Timor) who silently got up and draped his own blanket over me. And so even on the train in the middle of Siberia, Russia has made great promises and shown me that chivalry is not completely lost in this world.

Saturday, May 17, 2008- afternoon on the train, near Omsk. The worst part of the day was at four this afternoon when Саша got off at his stop. An hour before he left, he came into our cabin and talked with us wearing the tiny Canadian flag pin we had just give him in the morning. He told us how he never liked Canada before he met us because he loves Russia so much, he talked about dental school, patrolling the Russian-Chinese border, and then about being a dentist in the military. He gave me a picture of his home city and some chocolate. I said "Я люблю шоколад!" (I love chocolate!) and he replied with a small smile, his cheeks hinting of color, "Я знаю..." (I know...). Саша made the greatest impression on me with his sharp, but delicate bone structure and his light green eyes that reminded me so much of a dear friend, the kind of eyes that could never belong to a thief because they would give him away every time. He whispered how much he hates goodbyes and I felt my throat close. I found him delightful and I relished in his embarrassment in attempting to make himself understood to me, he'd stutter away saying "как сказат? не понимаете?". I connect so rapidly to people, especially when I'm travelling, sometimes I wonder if I am too quick to bond or if it really is possible to make such quick connections with practical strangers. I like to think the latter is the truth.

Thursday, May 29, 2008- evening in Lisbon, PortugalWent shopping today at Amoreiras, Lisbon's first shopping mall and then found our way back and shopped the Chiado district for trinkets and designer names only known on this side of the Atlantic. Our favorite European store is most definitely Pull and Bear, a funkier, edgier version of Abercrombie. Tonight we have planned to go to Lux- the famous nightclub on the river owned by John Malkovich that plays host to Portugal's young and restless. The Portuguese boys are indiscreetly beautiful with dark features and tans fresh from days on the beach at Lagos, they smile their white smiles and wink with thick eyelashes every time you walk by as if they have just seen the most beautiful girl in the world. They reek of danger like most beautiful people do. You can look at them and already feel the future heartbreak but then animalistic instinct overrides humanistic logic and all is lost anyways.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

A Greek Romance.

from Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants: Forever in Blue...Before he broke away he put his hands on either side of her face and kissed her, strong and sturdy and full of lust. It was a new kind of kiss. It was grown up and decisive. She knew without thinking how to kiss him back in the same way. The last thing he said to her was something in Greek. He said it with emphasis, as though she would know what he meant, but of course she didn't. The next day Lena was so preoccupied she got a sunburn on her back. She kept diligently at her dictionary when her friends went to get ice cream. She tried every spelling. Every grouping of letters until at last, with the sun at the top of the sky, she figured it out. κάποια μέρα- was what Kostos had said. It meant- "someday".

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Travel Bug.

It is nearly three in the morning. I am sitting upright in my bed writing this note. I am smothered in memories that lie in-between pages of Lonely Planet travel books that line the top shelf of my bookcase. The pages are dog-eared reminders of long days and longer nights spent in some of the most fabulous and seductive cities in the world- Moscow, Berlin, New Delhi, Lisbon, Beijing, Paris, Rio de Janeiro, New York City...I take "Paris" down from the shelf and it flips open instantly to the metro map with it's smudged black markings from all the stops I have circled in the past two years indicating locations of my favorite restaurants and hidden boutiques. I pull down the Nepali Phrasebook and re-visit the words that had once rolled off my tongue, but that in the past year had been replaced with Russian ones. My ears perk up to the familiar sounds of Nepali and I sense my heart yearn for Kathmandu and the stunning Himalayas as a backdrop to daily life. I let my eyes drift over "Switzerland" and my mouth suddenly waters at the mere thought of Swiss chocolate and the international flavors that converge in Zurich. I stop here before falling deeper into travel nostalgia. But then I am caught by my display of scarves from around the globe- football scarves from Brazil, Spain, Portugal, and Germany, a thick winter scarf with the Russian crest, a light yellow headscarf I found in Nepal, the blue silk scarf reminiscent of Mongolian tradition. Slowly, I look around and I am reminded of everlasting sun, hibiscus-breezes, and the turquoise oceans that sing to me from my seashell collection next to my bed. There are creamy pink conch shells from Waikiki Beach, the annual stomping ground of my mother, then little shards of rusty orange and white coral I picked off the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park in Costa Rica. Underneath the coral are tiny delicate white shells gathered from the powdery sand of St. Maarten and St. Thomas in the Dutch and French Caribbean. I fold myself deeper into my blankets, close my eyes and pretend it is the sweet warmth of a foreign sun enveloping me once again. Perhaps it is the sun blinking off the waves in Cabo San Lucas, or perhaps the lingering light as drenches Cafe Nicola, Rossio in Portugal as I take the slightest sips of a dark and bitter European coffee, watching life unfold around me. Perhaps it is not warmth at all but rather the descending smog of Beijing amidst the thousand lights of downtown as we make our way to the Philippe Starck-designed LANclub for a night of champagne cocktails in the Oyster Bar. Or better yet, perhaps it is the heat of a hundred bodies in Fidel, a tiny DJ bar in the heart of St. Petersburg. As I drift off to sleep, I decide it is the warmth of all those boys left behind- in truth, they are merely boys of the moment, but some, like Michel and Rene in Berlin, will always be of the present moment as much as they are of the past. (August 13, 2008)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


(excerpts taken from 'Wanderlust', written by Laura Fraser)

-There are his thick dark curls and Egyptian nose, his skin warmly brown from the Mediterranean sun. The Ischia sun. You pause to savor the memory of his rough cheek pressed against your smooth one, his quick kiss goodbye, his face fading into a crowd in the train station in Naples.

- The tales describe the endless varieties of love -- adulterous passion, courtly love, enduring marriages, homosexual love, forbidden love, infatuation. The moral -- if you can call it that, and why not -- is that fulfilling sexual desire is more important than any of the constraints society might put on people's inclinations to "forgather" together. As one storyteller comments after a tale of adultery, "And by proceeding with the greatest of discretion, they enjoyed their love together on many a later occasion. May God grant that we enjoy ours likewise." This, you think, is what Italians read in school instead of "The Scarlet Letter." No wonder they're better at flirting.

- It's a pity, he says. The problem with American men is that they are so superficial. They want youth and beauty right up front in their faces. That isn't interesting. European men like to discover what's beautiful about a woman. Your beauty, he tells you, sneaks up on you. He didn't see it right at first, meeting you over breakfast in a pensione on an island, reading your guidebook, asking practical questions, so serious. He had to figure out how to make you smile that soft smile. That's the pleasure.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Paradise Lost.

Just another little snippet of something I wrote as a homage to Europe, from an entanglement of stories that, if you separated each memory, would encompass all the experiences of each one of my friends that I travelled to Europe with over the years...

Proust said that the only true paradise is paradise lost and once again I find myself anxious to book a one-way plane ticket in search of paradise with every intention of losing it at the end of another summer. Perhaps it is true that when we are young we love misery. There are so many more chances for absolute misery in foreign cities where days are a blur of cafes and espresso and the nights fill up the darkness with music and introductions. I cannot think of anything more miserable than the memories of all those beautiful strangers who encompass but a slight moment in your life but who, during that moment, hold the essence of your soul in their arms- when we travel, it is the only time when we are who we are at that very minute, we have no history and no reputation to the people we meet, all we have to offer is the present, there is no past and no future. It has the power to turn strangers into lovers. And so I turn to wanderlust to satisfy my thirst for misery and the raw emotion that only comes from finding something spectacular that can never be mine.

We need that fix of moonlight conversations with Danish boys named Anders and Anders. We need the thrill of slipping on a pair of heels from our overflowing backpacks and doing our make-up in compact mirrors getting ready for another night. We need the rush of stolen kisses on Moscow streets and the song of foreign languages in our ears. We need the crossing of paths with our kindred friends- the ones from Australia that realize it the second you walk into the hostel and the ones in Beijing who welcome you with open arms into the story of their lives.The best part is the worst part, the goodbye. It is the most spectacular feeling because it reminds us of being human and of how time flies. What is more human than feeling the slow ache of letting someone go with the knowledge that you may never see each other again? You find yourself wishing for one more hour, one more minute. You realize how some people just fit into our stories so elegantly. And so here I am again, eager to write more into my story, into the many travel journals overflowing with receipts, mementos, slips of paper with phone numbers from across the globe carrying the hope and prospect of being used someday. Someday.