The Trials of Traveling

Today was an interesting day. I woke up and decided to go out on the town (cambridge, doctor england)… but do I wear a long sleeve or short sleeve shirt? So I think to myself, symptoms “Maybe I will go outside to feel what it is like before I decide which shirt to wear and maybe I will lock myself out of the house while I am at it.” I didn’t really think that second part but it sure did happen. The fear set in as I heard the ‘click’ from the door behind me creating a rather large barrier between me and my cell phone. Realizing that I had seven hours before my host got home and the weather was definitely too cold to be wearing only pants and socks… I needed a game plan. So I scoured the fence to check all the windows and the back door… No luck! The mail man drops by and aside from having a good laugh he really isn’t very helpful. Hmmm, rheumatologist mail… hey, this mail has my hosts full name and address on it. Maybe if I walk (no, too cold to walk)… maybe if I run into town, I can find a post office that has her phone number? Ok, not very likely but it was just my first thought. Internet, maybe I can search the internet for her phone number. Ok, so now I need to get into town, and let me tell you… I will never complain about junk mail again because if you have enough of it, junk mail can make for a rather comfy shoe. So now, socks filled with junk mail I am almost ready to go out on the town. What can I use as a shirt? Well, there is a giant umbrella…. ummm, keep looking…. oohhh, a box that says “Don’t throw away” and what is inside… a shirt!!!! SWEET!!! Hmmm, this definitely isn’t a men’s shirt…. skin tight but it fits. Ok, let’s start jogging… about 2 miles and 4 giggling adults later, I have found internet and told my story well enough that she lets me borrow it and pay her another time. I find my hosts phone number and call her. What luck, she came home from work early… NOOOOOOOOO, she has been home the whole freaking time!!!! That’s right! She slept in and was still there when I locked myself out, making my day’s purpose to have a great story to share with you. 🙂

Moral of the story:  When locked out of the house in only your pants & socks, try knocking before wearing junk mail as shoes & jogging into town.

Atlanta Food

The food! The food! Here are the Must Eats…

Flyin’ Biscuit for breakfast – get the biscuits, mind fried green tomaters, recuperation & cheese grits (don’t ask, just eat)

Eclipse di Sol for the best veggie burger in the world & a darn good turkey burger(late night on Th-Su food is half price!)

Brick Store Pub – The largest and most obscure beer list I have ever seen! I hate beer but I liked almost everything I tried here. Try “Avery – The Czar” if you like Stouts, the “WEIHENSTEPHANER Hefe Weizen” if you like lighter beers or for something really different DELIRIUM NOCTURNIUM. WOW! For a snack, try the Baked Brie.

Java Monkey – Vanilla Latte and all espresso drinks. SoySages are good for breakfast too.

Knoxville, Tennessee

I drove 7+ hours for 1 hour and 15 minutes of dancing and it was worth it! After the dance, anaemia which is in a cute little used to be church, we walked across the street to Dan Parshall’s house for some “Porch Time”. This is exactly what it sounds like… chillin’ on a porch (with a little dancing of course). Oh yeah, I finally got to dance with Amy Nachtrab again for the first time in 4 years. A must dance for all the leads going to Knoxville. Actually, there are quite a few really fun follows out there now. Go Knoxville!

Russia is about as different as it gets…

If you ever go to Russia… make sure you have “borsche” soup, discount “blinyee” crepes, “pilmenyee” dumplings, “zsharkoye v gorshotchke” a meat & potatoes dish prepared in a small clay pot. MmmmMmmmMmmmm!!! I had a pizza with eel and flying fish roe on it, a sushi lover’s delight!

Hitch-hiking is a normal means of transportation and almost NOBODY wears their seat-belt. The drivers knew I was foreign as soon as they heard that ‘strange clicking sound’. Plus, the drivers are crazy! They weave in and out of traffic like the old arcade game “frogger” and late at night the red lights seem to mean ‘speed up because the faster you go thru an intersection the less time you have to get hit by the oncoming traffic’.

In Nizny Novgorod, here is the recipe for having a relaxing evening in a Finnish Sauna… Hot sauna, cold pool, hot sauna, cold pool, hot sauna, dance, cold pool, lay down on couches drinking tea and watching dance videos while getting a massage from 4 girls and 1 guy (not sure why the guy is important), hot sauna, cold pool. Repeat until your muscles feel like jelly, then wrap yourself in layers of warm clothing before going out into the cold weather. Oooo, sensory overload!

Went RollerDancing today. That’s right we strapped on some RollerBlades in the park and danced around for a few hours. Got some great pics, check this link… www???

Olga and I organized Moscow’s first ever Blues night and it was perfect. The dance was in a small underground club with a long shotgun style dance floor and a very cozy atmosphere. Ladies entering the door were presented with flowers and everyone got a free Blues Cd to take home. The dance floor was packed all night long and I had to kick myself out so we could go home.

Check this link out. http://www.leru.aha.ru/dance/footwork Some Russian dancers made a program that randomly picks footwork variations for you based on the variations you choose. You can even add your own variations to the program. Now I want to see someone add video to it, so you can see what your move would look like!

Also, it is very normal to change your shoes to slippers when coming in the house. This is because it is so cold outside and warm inside, you don’t want to wear warm shoes in your warm house but sometimes the floors are cold so you don’t want to be barefoot. They even have slippers for the guests to use too.

Oh yes, I now have a Russian haircut.

Venice – San Marcos Square and more

Wow! The most expensive cappucino I have ever had, ed 16 euros (about $21) but also the most worth it! The main thing you pay for is the 4 or 5 live orchestras that are playing right in front of you all night long and they are REALLY good. I bought 1 capp, sat down with my computer and worked on my website for 3 hours. They had wireless there, which might seem normal to you, but if you saw the place I am talking about, you would see that it is kind of like getting a wireless connection at the the top of the Sphinx in Egypt or in the middle of the Ruins of the Colosseum in Rome. This was definitely the best working atmosphere I could EVER have imagined. Recommendations while in Venice… eat lots and lots of gelato. Dance in San Marcos Square, visit the cute and picturesque town of Burano, don’t eat alone – you can’t get the risotto at most restaurants unless you buy for 2 people.

Dans Le Noir (French for "in the dark")

After the Summer camp, troche I went to Paris to eat in a restaurant where they serve you in a pitch dark room. Bryant Gover, Nathalie Scott, and Stephanie Lassiaz and I were issued into a dark room which is the intermediary room before you go into the restaurant. They close the doors behind you and it is now pitch black, you can’t even see your own hand in front of your face. Then they open the doors to the restaurant and you are escorted toga-line style to your table by the blind wait-staff. They sit you down and tell you, “Your wine glass is on your right and your water glass is on your left and there is a bottle of wine in the middle of the table.” Good luck pouring it suckaz! Usually what happens is you pour the wine in your glass (or so you think you do) and then you go to take a sip only to discover that you never actually poured any wine into your glass. You have to listen for the “glug glug” of the wine to know that it is actually starting to pour and you have to stick your finger in the cup to know when to stop pouring. Of course, we knew this ahead of time and so we had all the tricks of the trade nailed down. Except for, how do you deal with a sudden feeling of claustrophobia! Poor Steph, she was a trooper and eventually relaxed enough to really enjoy the experience. I chose to eat the “surprise” menu and so I didn’t even know what I was eating, but it was good! All in all, a great experience and highly recommended. If you can’t make it to Paris, there is also one in London and one in Moscow (www.danslenoir.com)

Barcelona

There was a foam party on the Dansbanan (outdoor dance floor) during week 4 this year. It was crazy. Dancing in foam up to the ears and being slid across the dance floor in a human sling shot were just a few of the highlights. However, store it wasn’t all fun and games. Someone split their chin open pretty good and I almost lost one of my follows to the foam pit when playing a trick on her. I did one of my “famous” dance moves (most of you probably know which one) and she went down in shock and never came back up… or so it seemed, apparently she came back up on the other side of the foam pit but I spent almost 2 minutes in panic looking for her under the foam.
Made a quick stop in Barcelona to visit the wonderful hostess, website like this
Marta Laurent Veciano, and have some dinners at Placa del Angels. Several times I have literally flown to Barcelona just for these two.