Wednesday, February 05, 2020

Luxury Lodging on the Road

Someone I used to work with (Rob) read my 2006 book Stalking the Wild Dik-Dik, and his primary complaint was "Why couldn't you have written about your entire trip instead of just the Africa part?" He hasn't traveled much at all, and he's curious about life on the road.

Of course, I started out with a story about the entire trip, but the publisher wanted an Africa travelogue, so that's what I wrote. I directed my ex-colleague to both the 2001 and the 2011 MariesWorldTour sites, but I doubt he'll get around to reading 24 months worth of blog posts.

But then I started thinking. What IS life like on the road? We have such fantastical ideas of travel—a world of luxury (ha, no) and adventure.

Yes, there is adventure. And my idea of luxury transforms to a car with a seatbelt after a few months of being crammed onto gearshifts and onto the back of motorbikes.

So here, Rob, is a look at the luxury of long-term travel. I pulled a bunch of photos of hotel rooms out of my photos database. I think this gives a pretty idea of the relentless nature of travel, as well as what a reasonable budget gets you once you graduate out of "on a shoestring" hostels.

Here are photos of a bunch of hotel rooms I stayed in during MariesWorldTour 2011. 

Friday, January 31, 2020

Last Century

My mom posted this photo of the two of us.

Late 2000 in my old studio on Avenue B. Cute.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Roof Shopping

I'm in the market for new drainage and a new roof for my house in Jersey City. 

I love having an 1895 row house that looks like a mini-castle. 

Until I started getting estimates on a new roof. Now my intricate roof seems more like a problem than a charming detail. 

David, CA

"Burbank is also home to the largest Ikea in North America."

I knew that and most of the other tidbits in this article, but I did not know Burbank was named for a dentist named David Burbank.

Maybe I'll just start calling it David.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

This One Alone Could Win Most Games of Strip Passport

I caught the bus to the other bus over to the DMV in Glendale this morning, so I could upgrade my driver license to the Real ID kind. The new one will have a star on a bear, so I guess that's good?

Immediately afterwards, I dropped my passport into the mail for renewal. It expires in June, so I can't really go anywhere on it anyway. I wish I'd applied for it earlier so I could fit in a trip to Baja for some whale watching, but it might get back in time.

I paused before I sealed the Priority Mail envelope.

My passport. This passport.

Spain. Morocco. Mauritania. Senegal. Gambia. Mali. Burkina Faso. Ghana. Togo. Benin. Nigeria. Cameroon. Gabon. Both Congos. Zambia. Namibia. South Africa. Madagascar. Thailand. Laos. China. Tibet. Nepal. India. Bhutan. Indonesia. Borneo. Brunei. Singapore. Australia. New Zealand. French Polynesia. Easter Island. Japan. 

And that was just 2011.

I'd gotten the maximum pages in my 2010-2020 passport. 100.

They don't make them like that anymore. My new one will have only 52 pages, so I'll never make it through the whole decade on one. I'm getting the card as well so I can go by land to Mexico without getting stamps. And god knows what my next photo will look like. I'm pushing the high end of "youthful" at the moment. I got three sets of photos this time before I liked just one of them. I know I'm ridiculous.

My 100-page passport will be returned to me, but with a hole in the corner. In the meantime, there's plenty of whales I can see in California.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Australia Day 2020

I make ANZAC Biscuits on Australia Day, because Turbo taught me to do this when I lived in Australia (in three-month increments for two years, 2002-2003, ducking out when my tourist visas were up), and it just became something I did every year. Sure, I've missed some years, like when I lived in Kuwait or Cairo, but mostly, I try to acknowledge Australia Day.

Why? I'm not sure. Maybe just to recall the life I might have led, and did lead for a while. I sometimes reflect on how I was still too...young to settle down? Unlikely to live in a rural environment for more than a short time? Impatient with other humans around too long? A bad match for someone equally as intimacy-averse? Only my therapist knows for sure. Or would, if I had one.

There are many days I wish I'd become an Australian. I wouldn't call it regret. More like a pining for a past life. Nostalgia? Maybe.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hanging Art

I finally got around to hanging some of the paintings I bought in Haiti.

It only took me 14 months, and I'm not done yet. There's plenty more to sort through. At least they're framed. 

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Saturday on the PCH

MLK weekend comes hot on the heels of the December holidays, and I'm always caught by surprise. Too late to make a plan, too expensive to buy a ticket to head out of town for the long weekend.

But that's okay as I have plenty to do in Burbank. But still, I like to take one day out of three to see something new.

The Eames House has been on my short list for some time. I looked up how to get there by public transit. Easy enough, assuming I have other things I want to see in Santa Monica. I bought a ten dollar admission ticket to see the exterior of the Eames House just under the village at Pacific Palisades.

But then I looked on the map and saw the Getty Villa was just down the road, less than ten minutes north on the PCH.

But the bus to the Getty didn't stop anywhere near the Eames House. Curses.

I rented a car and added more stops to my day's itinerary.

Friday, January 17, 2020

School Photo

Here's something my mom scanned in and posted. This was a couple of years ago when I was in school.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Aren't There More Important Things?

I boarded the plane on January 1 with a slight cold. Nothing serious. I went about my next few days with a slightly worse cold, but I didn't take it seriously until suddenly I was having the kind of coughing fits where my chest ached from all that work.

I stayed home on Friday.

Today, I convinced myself to go out into the sunlight to the #222 bus over the hill to the Hollywood Farmers Market. I wasn't in the market to buy anything, but I wanted to take a look at the refill stand. It's where you take containers and fill them up with dishwashing liquid, laundry soap, shampoo, that sort of thing.

I was wandering around after checking it out, when a young woman approached me and asked me to sign her petition to legalize magic mushrooms.

I didn't sign, but I didn't blink either.

In a day where I was already kind of disoriented, the moment made perfect sense.