Posts Tagged ‘travel’

Just some observations

Wednesday, June 6th, 2012

  • The state of Kerala, where I spent the first month of my travels in India, is a democratically elected Communist state.  Because of this, the literacy rate is in the 90 percentile, there is virtually no homelessness and unemployment, and it is very clean in comparison to the rest of India. Most people of the younger generations know some English, and all want to practice it with you.  The conversation usually consists of, “Your name is?” “Where coming from?” “Time in India?” “Do you like?” and always accompanied by huge smiles.  One tradition here, which took us a couple hours to realize was not some kind of scam, is that Indians want to take pictures with tourists.  When first being asked, I thought Dore looked like some Bollywood star, but we later found out, it is just part of their culture.  Now, we gladly appease by smiling in pictures with complete strangers.  It would be fun to try on the streets of a US city sometime, walking up to obvious tourists and asking to take a picture with them.  May try it sometime just to see how it goes over.
  • Taking a bus in India is a great way to get a full body workout.  If you are lucky enough to get a seat, your arms and core will still be worked out as you hold on and engage to stay in your seat as the driver makes quick sharp turns.  If you have to stand, the legs are added into the workout, in what often proves to be a harrowing ride.  There are hardly any rules to the road here.  Passing with oncoming traffic is standard, and horns are used all the time.  Some sound like boat horns, some like trains, some have their own jingles.  They are used to say “Hi!” “I’m passing!” “Let me back in!” “Get out of my way!” and probably some other things I haven’t realized yet.
  • India is known for it’s mangoes, as some might remember GW traded India nuclear weapons in exchange for some yummy mangoes.  Well, I have officially embarked on a mango tour of India, as Dore says she is just along for the ride, as I purchase a different kind of mango almost every day.  Some are sweet like candy, some are sweet yet finish on a sour note (like a lemon), some are floral, and the only one we haven’t liked tasted like saltwater.  In southern Kerala, mango trees are everywhere, all different varieties and sizes, you can hardly go a mile without seeing one.  I have to admit, I am having a slight addiction problem with them, but as we all know, there are worse things to be addicted to.
  • On another fruit note, the variety of bananas here should leave us feeling shamed to the two varieties we have in the states (our common Chaquitas and the Cuban finger bananas).  Here there are similar ones to our common variety, several different fingerlings, in addition to green bananas (yes, they are ripe) and red bananas (delish).
  • It’s funny how cultural differences and reality can clash.  On a guided walk in Thattekad, we heard wild elephants.  Our guide told us lions not dangerous, king cobras not dangerous, but wild elephants very dangerous, run for your life dangerous.  Back in the states, most people would probably relate the other way around lions and king cobras very dangerous, elephants not so much.  The danger from the elephants comes from the fact that they are very smart animals with very good memories.  Here, when they come too close to human territory, they are greeted with stones and fire crackers.  This, they remember, and in return, they will charge humans when they see them in the wild.

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It Takes a Village…

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

Most have heard the saying, “It Takes a Village,” and here in Varkala Beach, it is to haul in the days catch.  I was awoken yesterday morning by a melee of boisterous voices coming from the beach.  When I stepped out on my balcony, to have a look at what was going on, I saw about 20 men bringing in a huge fishing net, surrounded by a large group of onlookers.  Apparently, the way they fish here is for a man in a canoe to bring this huge net about 200 meters offshore. Then, the other men back onshore haul the net in to a call and response rhythm.  Once the net is onshore, with fish, calamari, and whatever else in tow, it is separated by size into large plastic colanders.  There is a broker who negotiates the price for the catch with the main fisherman, and then the others leave with some of the catch for themselves.  It was such an interesting process to watch, as there were also several women and young boys around, some seeming to help and others just there to be a part of it all.  I love how this is the morning activity for so many here, and happens most days of the week.

You can surmise from this story that I am no longer at the ashram.  About 5 days in, Dore really wanted to leave, and I was in agreement, so we finished the two week program and made our way to a lovely, simple resort called the Oasis on Odayam Beach in Varkala.  This is my first time vacationing on the Arabian Sea, and it feels so good to be by the ocean again.  Nice waves, just big enough to play in, but not dangerous, and it is off season here now, so it is very quiet and very inexpensive.  Our beachfront room is costing us 400rs or $8/night.  The seafood is deliciously fresh, lots of fish and prawn curry, and calamari tandoori.  The salads and juices are really fresh, and so far, knock on wood, been kind to our stomachs.  Thank you GSE (Grapefruit Seed Extract, excellent for everything).  We had planned to stay 3 or 4 days, yet the casual laid-back atmosphere, and other friends from the ashram being here, has extended our stay to almost a week.  After the 5:20 wake-up call at the ashram, it is lovely to wake-up naturally, do yoga everyday at one’s own will, read, walk the beach, relax.  Yet, we have decided to leave tomorrow, continuing to head north to the ashram of Amma “The Hugging Mama.”  A night or two there, and then to explore the backwaters of Alappuzha and Kottayam, before we head east through Munnar and Tamil Nadu to the east coast of India and, specifically, Pondicherry.

My last blog had left off just before our 30 hour train ride south. It was actually a very easy ride.  We splurged for the 2nd best accommodations, so we had a 4 person air conditioned compartment.  It was a really nice change, leaving the city of Mumbai to view the countryside.  Big mountains, rice paddies, tropical trees, lots of water, and cows.  The first couple we shared the compartment with were traveling from Mumbai to open their summer home in anticipation of their children and grandchildren coming to visit with them.  Apparently, several train stations in India are known for certain tasty delights.  When the train stopped at one station, this couple bought us upuma sandwiches, basically a potato patty on a bun with a spicy/salty seasoning, and this (wherever this was) was the place to get them.  Their stop was about 6 hours into the trip, when they were replaced by a mother and son who were heading south for her niece’s wedding.  They too were very friendly and generous, and they are from Renigiri, supposedly famous for it’s mangoes.  She gifted us a can of mango puree, which we actually finally got around to having today, sharing mango lassies with the other people staying at the guesthouse.  They departed about 6 hours before we arrived to our stop, and we had the space to ourselves at that point.  Playing cards, reading, watching the countryside pass.  Here, people come out to wave at the trains as they pass by, with big smiles on their faces.

Upon arrival in Trivandrum, we negotiated a taxi to the Ashram, and after about an hour of driving through dusty winding roads, we arrived to the Sivananda Vedanta Yoga Center in Neyyar Dam.  While checking in, we were informed of the many rules to be followed, and the busy mandatory schedule.  Since I’d read the website countless times, this was what I’d expected.  I was very excited, so looking forward to a dedicated yoga practice for a month, and the location was beautiful.  Our simple room was two beds, some shelves, and a desk.  They provided us with sheets, a pillow, and a mosquito net, which was definitely needed.  Our view was of papaya and mango trees, and tropical forest.  In the distance you could see a temple on top of the highest peak around.  We ended up hiking up their our last morning for an incredible view of the dam, lake, and mountains, and our morning meditation.  We had neighbors from Spain on both sides of us, one of the couples became our friends and are now at the beach with us.  There were lots of really nice people on the program, from all over the world, and many travelers to hear stories from and share tips with.  Yet, in the end, like many things in life, the ashram had it’s pros and cons.  The pros, in addition to the beautiful, peaceful location, and other participants, were the food (yummy vegetarian fare twice a day, as much as you wanted to eat.  Lots of coconut and fresh veggies) and some of the yoga teachers (there were a couple in particular, who really helped me to improve my yoga practice, 4 hours/day, especially headstand, shoulderstand, plow, and crow, all poses I’d been struggling with/working on for years).  The cons were some of the other yoga teachers who just were not good, and the director who completely lacked in spiritual leadership (it turned out it was a strictly Hindu program, but without explanation, they just expected people to blindly follow), as well as in educational ability (we had 1 1/2 hours of lecture each day, which just turned out to be incredibly boring.  The one thing I came away from the lectures with was that Siva created 840,000 yoga poses, of which 84,000 are meant to be practiced by people, the rest by plants and animals).  There were 2 days that the 8 limbs of yoga were touched upon, but not once the Yoga Sutras.  Honestly, in the end, I stopped going, as there was nothing expanding on what I’d already studied in Yoga teacher training and on my own.  Also, they had a way of treating everyone like untrustworthy children, which didn’t resonate with either of us, so we have moved on and are looking forward to experiencing other yoga in Mysore, Rishikesh, and other locations.

We had one day trip, for which we hired a taxi with 5 other women who were on the program.  We started at an elephant sanctuary and bathed a huge female elephant in the river.  It was so amazing.  What a beautiful docile creature.  She ate bananas from our hands.  To bath the elephants, they chop pieces off a coconut shell so you use the rough husk on their skin.  She seemed to love it, and it was very cool to connect with such an enormous creature in that way.  Then, we went to Ponmudi and climbed to the highest point in the state of Kerala.  From there, we were right near the border of the state Tamil Nadu.  The scenery was amazing tropical forest, so many layers of green, it was just gorgeous, and peaceful.  As we were on the peak, clouds rolled in to envelope us.  Next, we went to a beautiful waterfall and went swimming in our clothes in the pool below.  As women, it is disrespectful to show your bodies, if you do it may be mistaken by men as a come-on of some sort, so that is why swimming in our clothes.  The pool was so cool and refreshing, in a tropical forest.  Really great.  And then it started to pour.  Hello monsoon season.  We returned totally soaked to the taxi, and decided to just wring out our clothes, which were really already wet anyway, and then went to eat.  Delicous masala dosa, rice pancakes stuffed with potatoes and veggies, served with a couple different sauces.  And that was it for our free day from the ashram.

I want to say thanks to everyone for your comments and replies to my blog.  I’m sorry that I haven’t been able to answer each one of you individually, but I am grateful to hear from you.  Hopefully, at some point soon, the internet capabilities will be more consistent.  Until then, signing off…





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Wow, India

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

What an incredible adventure this has been already, and it’s only been 4 days.  We have already learned some valuable lessons, and experienced some amazing and interesting things.  To start, Mumbai is everything one imagines, and more.  Busy, crowded, loud, dirty, dusty, smelly, and poor, yet also beautiful, friendly, and energetic.  We spent the first two nights in Juhu beach, northern suburb of Mumbai, at Iskcon Ashram, a Hare Krishna Temple recommended by a friend, Revati, who’s dad stays there when in India.  It is listed as one of the top places to stay in the affordable range here in Mumbai, and at 3500rupees/night, about $70.  It was a great place to start, to get a slight grip on this somewhat confusing city, and to reset from the jet lag. 

Our first day we wandered Juhu quite a bit, found the beach (not as inviting as ours at home), saw a few wedding processionals (which reminded me of a second line, but with the groom being escorted in an elegantly decorated horsedrawn carriage), and got a feel for the street life here.   At night we ventured to Juhu Chowpatty, the beach which turns into a carnival at night.  It was lively, loaded with children and families (kids just started a two month break), and there were vendors hawking everything from balloons to hair ornaments to all sorts of food. 

Day two was a day of lessons.  Our goal for the day, to buy our train tickets for Trivandrum, where we will set out for the ashram from.  So, this only took us about 5 hours, 3 rickshaw rides, 2 cab rides, and 3 train rides, in addition to lots of money.  First lesson, the taxis and rickshaws have meters in them, but unknown to us, the number on the meter does not refer to the price, but rather to a number on a chart which refers to the price.  We did learn this on our third rickshaw ride of the day, when that driver was nice enough to tell us this and give us our own chart so we would no longer be ripped off.  We also paid about five times too much for a taxi ride, but so glad that we learned this lesson early on and not days, or weeks, into paying too much.  After arriving at one station, we were told we had to go to another, and upon arriving at that one, to another.  When we finally got to the right place, we were told that a ticket could not be purchased without a passport, which Dore did not have on her, so we decided to learn to use the train line.  Inexpensive and takes the same time as a taxi, and the trains have “Ladies Only” cars, which are wonderful because Indian men will gawk and grope.  Some very interesing things are hawked in the women’s cars on the trains, everything from bindis and makeup to kitchen scrubbies to coloring books and rubek’s cubes.  After we finally made all the trips back and forth and got our tickets, we stopped in the neighborhood of Bandra.  Basically, a huge street market selling all sorts of food, clothes, accessories, and other wares.  It was very fun and lively, and easy to bargain here.

Day three, we moved to the neighborhood of Colaba, old Mumbai.  The buildings here are beautiful, from a time of money and prestige, the time of British rule and before.  Yet, they are also in decay, as are so many things here.  In Juhu, we saw hardly any other foreigners, in Colaba, lots of them.  We visited Leopold’s for lunch, an establishment from 1861, that was a central hangout in a book I just finished reading.  It was packed with foreigners, and the food was very good, Chinese and Indian, as well as Continental, but the prices certainly reflected that we were in a tourist establishment.  Also, the atmosphere was so different than I thought it was gonna be, I expected more of a pub, this was more of a tourist burn and churn.  From there, we headed to the Gateway to India, a monument built in honor of King George V’s (I think)visit in the early 1900’s, along with the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel just across the street.  Both beautiful monuments, but the reason we come here was to catch the ferry to Elephanta Island.  The ruins of Elephanta are quite impressive.  There are a series of caves here with statue carvings of several Hindu dieties and stories relating to them, including Shiva, Vishnu, Paravati, and Ganesh.  I really enjoyed it for all that, the history, and the views.  No one really knows when they were carved, but the first recorded history is around 600BCE (more or less).  On our return, we decided to have a swanky cocktail in the Taj Mahal, and swanky it was at about 900R, $18, per drink, but we figured worth it.  We hadn’t had a drink together yet, and know that we will be cloisted for the next month, so what the hell.  It was fun, and very very posh, and drinks were good.  After dinner and a shower, we headed back out to a club where we met a very nice Indian man, Narij, who then took us to a local dance club.  It was as cheesy as any cheesy club in the states, with pulsing lights and mirrors, playing standard dance music, but still tons of fun, and probably one of the only times we will have an experience like this on this journey.

Today, day four, we found the Jewish Synagogue.  Beautiful building with stained glass and gorgeous woodwork, as everything else, in need of some TLC, hosting 50 families, about 250 people.  Only 5000 Jews remain in India, from what used to be a thriving population. We also finally ventured into the realm of street food.  We followed the one rule of very busy places only, and then added in our own rule, where women are eating, as well as men.  For 50R, $1, we had a fantastic lunch, are no longer scared of street food, and looking forward to exploring more.

We head south tomorrow, don’t know when the next post will be, but hope I will be able to include pictures.  Until then, thanks for your emails and comments, keep them coming, because I do look forward to hearing from you all.  Namaste.

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Three Weeks, Six Cities

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Three weeks in Europe feels like a whirlwind tour.  London 2 nights, Paris 4 nights, Antwerp 2 nights, Amsterdam 3 nights, Linhamm 4 nights, and back to London for 5 nights.  Today, is day 4 back in London.  I leave for India tomorrow, and in addition to being incredibly excited for the learning and growth experience I have ahead of me, I am so excited to be in hot, humid weather again.  Yet, that aside, I am getting ahead of myself.

My friend, Kari from Key West, met me in London 19 days ago, and the tour began.  The first 2 days were spent in London with my cousin and his husband, Adam and Hector.  They have been incredibly generous and hospitable hosts,Razor Clam Soup opening their home in Wimbledon to us, and feeding us incredibly well.  These first 2 days were spent exploring their town, and the night before heading to Paris, we went to the well known British gastropub, Fox and Grapes.  It was a delicious meal, and Adam claimed that if I did a food blog on my trip, he would be sure to read it.  Well, this is not going to be a food blog only, but I hope he reads it anyway.  For my main course, I had traditional beer-battered fish and chips with mushy peas.  It was delicious, but my favorite was Adam´s appetizer, a razor clam soup.  For pictures of London (beginning and end of trip), click here.

Then, Paris for my 40th birthday.  This was my third visit to this amazing city, but it felt different as I was seeing it through the eyes of an adult.  I could just walk for days and days in Paris, admiring the architecture, the parks, the sheer beauty of it all.  And believe me, we did walk and walk for days.  We stayed in a budget hotel just up the street from the Maubert Mutualité street market, which happened to be open on my birthday, so we bought a huge spread and headed to Luxembourg Gardens to enjoy.  Fresh goats cheese, goose liver pate, apples, peas in the pod, and dried apricots, a mix of olives and bread, and a Birthday Celebrationdelicious bottle of Bordeaux.  It was a wonderful way to spend my birthday, sharing great food with a close friend in a beautiful city.  One could spend months in Paris and still not cover it all or see all of the attractions.  We did do a river cruise, under the light of a full moon, and of course,¨The City of Lights.¨ I loved this.  Each bridge in Paris was designed differently than the next.  No two are the same.  For some reason, I found this fascinating.  Many of them are artistically beautiful, as well as architecturally.  Other sights included the Pantheon, Champs Elysses and the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dame (which we climbed to the top of for the most breathtaking views of Paris), the Eiffel Tower (which we did not ascend), Musée d´Orsay (one of my favorite collections of any museum I´ve visited), and a classical concert at St. Chapelle (the most gorgeous stained glass ever).  And, for all who know me well, you´ll know that there was lots of eating and drinking, too.  Favorite meals, street falafel in the midevil Jewish/Gay quarter and vegetarian lunch at Le Grenier De Notre Dame.  Favorite drinking establishment, next to our hotel, La Lucha Libre, dedicated to the masked wrestlers.  It was just lots of fun.  For pictures of Paris, click here.

Next, off to Antwerp.  This small Belgian city is delightful for a short visit.  Famous for it´s diamond district, and it´s cathedral which adorns several of Peter Paul Rubens works, it also has several pedestrian streets lined with cafes and shops.  I have to say that my favorite meal of the whole Europe trip (aside In the Parkfrom the delicious home cooking of Cousin Adam) was at Fiskebar in Antwerp.  Mussels in a white wine-shallot broth, king crab terrine with tomato-basil-green apple, and whole turbot (the best whole fish I think I’ve ever had) with fingerling potatoes and salad.  For those who know Kari, you know she likes her thrift stores.  We found an amazing thrift store in Antwerp which specialized in lamps, furniture, and accessories.  Thankfully, we were not close to home because we both may have gone broke shopping in this place.  For pictures of Antwerp, click here.

After a couple relaxing days in Antwerp, we got back into the nonstop touring groove in Amsterdam.  My fourth time to this city, and like Paris, seeing it through different eyes, but still loving it.  To relate it to my life, Paris is like NYC.  Bustling, lots going on all the time, loaded with tourists as well as residents; not a place I´d want to live, but I love to visit.  Amsterdam is like NOLA.  Laid back, much to do but at a different pace, not nearly as crowded; and a place I could see spending some time in.  Add in the biking culture, and it´s got most of the things I really like; active outdoor culture, it´s on the water, and has great ethnic food.  It´s easy to get lost in the streets of The Other SideAmsterdam.  The parks are gorgeous, the canals give it a feeling that is unlike any other Northern European city, and the people are so incredibly nice, friendly, and helpful.  We stayed just across the street from Sarphatipark in a dumpy hostel, but it made no difference since we were out wandering the streets most of the time.  The hostel was in the neighborhood of the Albert Cuyp street market, which was open everyday except Sunday.  Our days began there with a fresh squeezed juice, and maybe some food, before wandering through the city streets.  Aside from time spent in Vondelpark, cafés and coffee shops, we explored the Van Gogh museum,  Dam Square and the Red Light District, as well as several of the cities other squares and markets.  Favorite meals, Golden Temple for Indian inspired vegetarian fare and Sonny´s falafel near the hostel.  Favorite watering hole, Rick´s Cafe.  For pictures of Amsterdam, click here.

Then, to Linhamm Ön.  For those of you who are wondering where the heck Linhamm is, it is a subarb of the Swedish metropolis of Malmö (there is a little sarcasm here), and the home of my very dear friend Michelle, her husband Morten, their beautiful daughter Luna, and their precious pup Elly.  It is also situated just across the Oresund Straight from Copenhagen.  My first trip to Scandinavia was a wonderful visit with my friend I hadn´t seen in over three years.  Yet, if anyone tries to tell you that it´s not cold there or that it´s not expensive, they are lying to you.  The northeast wind is frigid, and we did experience snow flurries one day.  All that aside though, it was interesting to explore a bit of this reserved culture.  Linhamm and Malmö are very quaint, Copenhagen Canalfishing communities.  The highlight of Malmö is the Turning Torso Tower.  It is an architectural feat, resembling a human torso, and is the tallest building in all of Sweden.  Copenhagen is a cool city with lots of outdoor culture, including one of the largest biking communities in the world.  80% of it´s 1.2 million residents commute mainly by bike or foot.  And Denmark and Sweden are leading Europe, if not the world, in their efforts to be ¨green.¨  The parks here are gorgeous, my favorite being the Assistens which doubles as a cemetary, or is it a cemetary which doubles as a park?  Regardless, it is beautiful and several famous Danes are buried here, including Hans Christian Andersen and Soren Kierkegaard.  Kari and I took a canal cruise from Nyhaven, which offered a really great history of this port city, and allowed us to see much of it we wouldn´t have been able to cover on foot.  Statens Museum of Kunst is a wonderful free art museum, featuring centuries of European art from the 1100´s til present.  Least favorite meal, sampler of herring three ways.  To make up for it, a delicious burger with fries (split between us) and four beers for $80.  Gotta love it.  For pictures of Linhemm and Copenhagen, click here.

Back to London to wind down the European tour and prepare for India.  Kari and I spend her last 3 days here exploring the city.  London is very beautiful, with history that spans 1000 years, and we walked for miles here, too.  They are doing lots of work here in preparation for this years summer Olympics.  The City of Westminster is archaically beautiful, home to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, Westminister Abbey, and the London Eye.  The river cruise down the Thames offered a wonderful history of it´s bridges, including the London Bridge and the Tower Bridge, of the Tower of London and it´s gruesome history, and of the commercial significance of the river.  Amazing how the east part of the river, lined with what used to be shipping warehouses, is now home to renovated multi-million dollar flats.  Oh, the price of waterfront property.  The architecture is a true amalgamation of centuries old and modern influence.  It can be quite breathtaking at times.  We also explored the fun neighborhoods of Soho and Greenwich, and the Portobello Street Market.  And again, we have been shown the most gracious hospitality from Adam and Hector, and fed incredibly well.

Kari left this morning, and I leave for India tomorrow night.  As I stated earlier, I am looking forward to being in hot, humid weather again.  And, I am incredibly excited to be doing yoga again.  Aside from practicing myself, I have not done much since leaving Key West.  It is hard to find here, and cost prohibitive.  So, I am mentally preparing myself for Mumbai, which I expect to be the polar opposite of the European culture.  Yet, we will all have to wait until I arrive to find out just how different it really is.  In addition, we will have to wait for pictures because I have yet to figure out how to export to my memory stick without downloading to the computer I am working on.  Sorry about that folks, but it´ll be worth the wait.  Om namo…



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Journey of a Lifetime

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

After a year and a half of planning, and a few weeks of parties and goodbyes, I am finally about to embark on the journey of a lifetime.  Flying out of Newark for London in just a few hours, and so looking forward to the 3 weeks I will have in Europe with my cousin and close friends.  Meeting my friend Kari in London, heading to Paris for my 40th birthday, then to explore Antwerp and Amsterdam.  From Amsterdam, flying to Copenhagen and visiting with my lifelong friend, Michelle, in Malmo.  Then, back to London to visit with my cousin Adam and his husband Hector, and meeting up with my travel companion, Dore.  Dore and I will be flying to India for a life-changing and life-enhancing experience.  Dore and I will head from Mumbai to the southernmost point (a geographical destination I am very comfortable with, eg. Key West) of Western India, Trivandrum, and take an hour rickshaw ride to the Sivananda Ashram in Neyyar Dam.

While I am very excited, I am also nervous, anxious, and sad to be leaving family, boyfriend, and friends.  Even so, the excitement does trump the other emotions, as I step out into the unknown, into a realm of new experiences, cultures, and people.  And new learning opportunities to expand my knowledge, practice, and self-growth.

So, friends, family, and bloggers, I bid you a sweet farewell.  I look forward to connecting with you via the internet (a tool I didn’t have access to the last time I traveled extensively), to sharing my experiences with you all, and to hearing what is happening in your lives, too.

To view pictures from farewell parties, link here.  I hope it works, this whole uploading photos for public view is new for me.  The link will take you to one album, but if you go to my name, it will bring you to the other albums as well.  Sorry, the only way I could figure out to do it in a pinch.

Much Love, everyone.


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The Countdown is On

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

For those of you who have been following me, you know that I have an incredible journey ahead of me.  8 weeks from today I embark on the journey of a lifetime, and needless to say, I am incredibly excited.  Even so, I am staying present in the moment, completely enjoying what will be my last season in Key West, for at least a year.  We have had the most beautiful January I can remember in years.  There has been a wonderful balance of work and play.  My sister came for a visit.  Paddleboard Yoga and Yoga on the Beach have been beautiful and inspiring, and classes at Parmer’s have been fun, as always.  We are having an amazing season at Azur, I’m so glad the owners/chefs are finally getting the recognition they deserve.  Things are great at Isle Style, where I’m doing massage 3 days a week, in addition to my private practice.  I guess you could say that I am in the flow, or for you Abraham-Hicks fans, I am in the Vortex, baby.  Life is grand.

56 days from today I fly to New Jersey to spend a few days with my family before heading overseas.  Plans are made for 3 weeks in Europe.  London-Paris-Antwerp-Amsterdam-Copenhagen/Malmo-back to London.  I will meet up with my travel companion there, and then we are off to Mumbai where we have two days to figure out how to get to the ashram, which is about as far south as we can go.  It will be interesting, to say the least, as well as exciting, adventurous, and full of fun.

If you’d like to guarantee that you get my updates, subscribe to receive my blog posts by email, which you’ll find in the upper right corner of any page of my website.  I will love to hear from you all, too.

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Travels South

Wednesday, October 19th, 2011

Road tripping from Key West to New Jersey, and back, is often an eye-opening experience.  I always seem to be at some crossroad in my life, a place of growth, change, manifestation.  Spending so much time in the car allows me the opportunity for contemplation, insight, self-realization.  Sometimes I laugh at myself, and sometimes I cry, but I always end up feeling better, energized, excited for my destination.


One wonderful destination this trip back to the Keys was Savannah, GA.  What a beautiful town.  I love the European influence in the architecture and the city design.  The city boasts 24 squares, beautifully lawned and oak shaded parks, within its limits.  One of the many wonderful things about yoga is that you can practice anywhere, so the one morning we were there, my friend, Dore Ann, and I laid out our mats in one of those squares. We followed that up with one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had, at Clary’s.

Just a side note, if you are ever driving past the Cape Fear Botanical Garden in Fayetteville, NC, it is worth the stop.

Back in the Keys, we took advantage again, laying out our mats on the old Bahia Honda Bridge, practicing bridge, wheel, headstand, and more, at sunset.











If you haven’t heard me say recently, “I Love the Florida Keys,” well, I do, and it sure feels good to be home.

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Where to find me

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

This week I am excited to update you on my schedule and availability.  It is jam-packed, and I am loving the variety I find in my week.  Keep in mind that all massage and private yoga sessions are by appointment only.

Monday and Thursday mornings, begin your day doing yoga, overlooking the beautiful tropical waters of the Florida Keys,  from 8:30-10:00, on Little Torch Key, at Parmer’s Resort.  These classes are outside, and are a true reminder to why we are here in the Southernmost US, especially during the winter months.

On Monday and Thursday, I continue my day, offering massage in the studio I now share at Good Food Conspiracy, the fun and funky health food store and cafe on Big Pine Key.  I am also available for in-home sessions throughout the Lower Florida Keys.

Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday you can book massage appointments and private yoga sessions with me in the studio I share at the Heron Building, in Key West.  This historic Key West building was built over the water.  You literally “walk the plank” to the entrance.  It was also the filming location for the TV show “Flipper” in the early 1960’s.  I share this space with two other incredible women and teachers, Nancy Curran and Daniela Menardi. On these days, I am also available for in-home sessions in Key West.

On Saturday afternoons, you can find me at Isle Style Salon & Boutique, offering massage and working with my friend Oakleigh, in a beautiful Victorian building on Simonton Street.

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights I am waiting tables at Azur Restaurant, an awesome Mediterranean inspired restaurant on the corner of Fleming & Grinnell, in Key West.   All the money I make from this job will be paying my way for the trip I am currently planning around the world, with an emphasis on Asia, Australia, and New Zealand.  If you are planning to eat out in Key West, consider coming to see me there, for a memorable dining experience.

Well, that’s my fun-filled, jam-packed week in a nutshell.  Contact me with any questions or to set up an appointment.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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