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Archive for March, 2010

Traveling – places, people, experiences, all unforgettable. The happy warm days just wake up in me an even stronger desire to do more and there are so many opportunities around the corner. But where did it all start?! …I have to pay tribute to the greatest adventure in my life that unlocked that hunger to see and feel everything…

On August 26th 2007 I boarded a ship in Ensenada, Mexico on a journey to circumnavigate the world.

THE WORLD IS A FASCINATING PLACE…

In 100 days, I…

Sailed from Mexico to Honolulu aboard MV Explorer
Explored the island of Oahu
Enjoyed swimming at Waikiki Beach,

Dove from the Waimea Bay Cliff at the North Shore

Sailed to Yokohama, Japan in 10 days

Took the captain hat touring the Bridge

Drank a beer atop Japan’s tallest building
Survived Tokyo’s nightlife and train system
Picked sushi from a conveyor belt
Saw geishas in Gion, Kyoto

Sampled sake in a sake brewery in Kobe
Sailed from Kobe bay to Qingdao, China
Toured Tsing Tao Brewery

Did an exchange program at Peking University
Carved my name on the Great Wall of China
Visited the Imperial Garden and Temple of Heaven
Saw the Olympic Stadium, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
Took ‘Star Ferry’ across Hong Kong Harbor
Sailed to Ho Chi Minh/Saygon
Ate pho…
Took motorbikes as taxis
Participated in a Cao Dai ceremony

Crawled through the Cu Chi Tunnels

Shot a Kalashnikov

Toured Angkor Wat at dawn

Played hack with local kids in Cambodia

Received a bracelet “you are my eye” from a local girl

Had a crazy tuk-tuk ride to Siem Reap

Visited a floating village on the Mekong Delta

Sailed by Singapore en route to Thailand
Took a bath with an elephant in Pattaya
Got real Thai massage

Sailed down the Chao Praya river

Saw a lot of Buddhas in Bangkok

Rode the sky train

Strolled around the Grand Palace

Sailed through Bay of Bengal to Chennai, India

Got lost in Madras on a rickshaw

Saw the Red Fort and the India Gate in Delhi

Got stuck on a train between Delhi and Agra for 6 hours
Fascinated at the Taj Mahal during sunrise

Explored Fatehpur Sikhri

Was told I look Indian

Received bindi as a present from a local 14yr old buy

Creeped people out as a gypsy for Halloween in the ocean

Took anti-pirate measures while sailing through the Gulf of Eden

Cheered at the Sea Olympics passing through the Suez Canal
Met two local guys who guide us around Alexandria, Egypt

Read a book in the Alexandria Library
Rode camels to the Pyramids in Giza at sunrise

Got stuck in the dunes on a Jeep safari

Experienced the Pyramids Sound and Light Show

Rode a local minibus (маршрутка) to Cairo
Took boat cruise on Nile River
Crashed a friend’s room at Hilton Cairo and ate his breakfast

Saw an unwrapped mummy in the Egyptian museum

Haggled at the Khan El-Khalili bazaar

Enjoyed the view from the Mohammed Ali Citadel

Was told I look Egyptian

Learned to count in Arabic

Scuba dove over Lighthouse in Alexandria

Smoked hashish with scuba instructors
Sailed past Greek Islands to Turkey
Explored Istanbul – only city on 2 continents

Watched football in a local bar in Taksim

Met a Turkish TV star and talked to him in German

Danced to live music in a gypsy bar

Had a fight with a taxi driver who tried to cheat us
Smoked too much hookah and drank raki

Experienced a Sufi Dervish ceremony

Listened to a Turkish metal band

Felt at home, as I looked Turkish of course

Sneaked banitsa on the ship and ate it with lutenitsa

Sailed under Greece en route to Dubrovnik, Croatia

Explored the old city and walls of Dubrovnik
Conquered the Dalmatian coast by rental car

Slept in that car for 3 days with2 more people

Bought tangerines from road stalls

Visited a winery and almost got caught by the dean

Got stopped for speeding for the first time

Smiled my way out of a fine in broken Croatian

Ate cevapcici and lots of burek

Ate Thanksgiving on ship, next to Rock of Gibraltar

Sailed under Italy en route to Cadiz, Spain

Experienced England for the first time in Gibraltar

Drank wine in a tea room that turns bar
Ate tapas and drank sangria in Seville
Cut my hair

Was mistaken for Spanish

Stayed in a 14th century convent

Saw a flamenco show

Met Moroccan students and watched Constantine in French

Climbed to the top of the Seville Cathedral to take in the city
Sailed on ship to Miami, Florida USA in 12 days

Dressed up for the Ambassadors Ball
Fell out of shower due to rough seas
Took final exams, wrote papers, chilled at the pool

Wore hats and sweaters in 90 degrees for life boat drills

Saw many gorgeous sunsets and sunrises
Said good-bye to new best friends…

WOKE UP FROM MY DREAM ON DEC. 7th,
and continue to process what I just did…

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800 days ago I started the greatest adventure in my life till now. On August 26th 2007 I boarded a ship in Ensenada, Mexico on a journey to circumnavigate the world.

THE WORLD IS A FASCINATING PLACE…

In 100 days, I…

Sailed from Mexico to Honolulu aboard MV Explorer
Explored the island of Oahu
Enjoyed swimming at Waikiki Beach,

Dove from the Waimea Bay Cliff at the North Shore

Sailed to Yokohama, Japan in 10 days

Took the captain hat touring the Bridge

Drank a beer on top of Japan’s tallest building in Yokohama
Survived Tokyo’s nightlife and the train system
Picked sushi from a conveyor belt
Saw geishas in Gion, Kyoto

Sampled sake in a sake brewery in Kobe
Sailed from Kobe bay to Qingdao, China
Toured Tsing Tao Brewery

Did an exchange program at Peking University
Climbed the Great Wall of China in platform sandals
Visited the Imperial Garden and the Temple of Heaven
Saw the Olympic Stadium, Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City
Took ‘Star Ferry’ across Hong Kong Harbor
Sailed to Ho Chi Minh/Saygon
Ate pho…
Took motorbikes as taxis
Participated in a Cao Dai ceremony

Crawled through the Cu Chi Tunnels

Toured Angkor Wat in Cambodia at dawn

Played hack with local kids

Received a bracelet “you are my eye” from a local girl

Had a crazy tuk-tuk ride to Siem Reap

Visited a floating village on the Mekong Delta

Sailed by Singapore en route to Thailand
Took a bath atop an elephant with it at Pattaya
Got real Thai massage

Sailed down the Chao Praya river

Saw a lot of Buddhas in Bangkok – emerald, reclining, golden

Rode the sky train

Strolled around the Grand Palace

Sailed through Bay of Bengal to Chennai, India

Got lost in Chennai/Madras on a rickshaw

Saw the Red Fort and the India Gate in Delhi

Got stuck on a train between Delhi and Agra for 2 hours
Fascinated at the Taj Mahal during sunrise

Explored Fatehpur Sikhri

Was told I look Indian

Received bindi as a present from a local 14yr old buy

Creeped people out as a gypsy for Halloween in the ocean

Took anti-pirate measures while sailing through the Gulf of Eden

Cheered at the Sea Olympics passing through the Suez Canal
Met two local guys who guide us around Alexandria, Egypt

Read a book in the Alexandria Library
Rode camels by Pyramids in Giza at sunrise

Got stuck in the dunes on a Jeep safari

Experienced the Pyramids Sound and Light Show

Rode a local minibus (маршрутка) to Cairo
Took boat cruise on Nile River
Crashed a friend’s room at Hilton Cairo and ate his breakfast

Saw an unwrapped mummy in the Egyptian museum

Haggled at the Khan El-Khalili bazaar

Enjoyed the view of the city from the Mohammed Ali Citadel

Was told I look Egyptian

Learned to count in Arabic

Scuba dove over Lighthouse in Alexandria

Smoked hashish with scuba instructors and named their dog Panda
Sailed past Greek Islands to Turkey
Explored Istanbul – only city on 2 continents

Watched football in a local bar in Taxim

Met a Turkish TV star and talked to him in German

Danced to live music in a gypsy bar

Had a fight with a taxi driver who tried to cheat us
Smoked too much hookah and drank raki

Experienced a Sufi Dervish ceremony

Listened to a Turkish metal band

Felt at home, as I looked Turkish of course

Sneaked banitsa on the ship and ate it with lutenitsa

Sailed under Greece en route to Dubrovnik, Croatia

Explored the old city and walls of Dubrovnik
Conquered the Dalmatian coast by rental car

Slept in that car for three days with two more people

Bought tangerines from road booths

Visited a winery and almost got caught by the dean

Got stopped for speeding for the first time

Smiled my way out of a fine in broken Serbo-Croatian

Ate cevapcici and lots of burek

Ate Thanksgiving on ship, next to Rock of Gibraltar

Sailed under Italy en route to Cadiz, Spain

Experienced England for the first time in Gibraltar

Drank wine in a tea room that turns bar
Ate tapas and drank sangria in Seville
Cut my hair

Was mistaken for Spanish

Stayed in a 14th century convent

Saw a flamenco show

Met a few Moroccans students and watched Constantine in French

Climbed to the top of the Seville Cathedral to take in the city
Sailed on ship to Miami, Florida USA in 12 days

Dressed up for the Ambassadors Ball
Fell out of shower due to rough seas
Took final exams, wrote papers, chilled at the pool

Wore hats and sweaters in 90 degree temps for life boat drills

Saw many gorgeous sunsets and sunrises
Said good-bye to new best friends…

WOKE UP FROM MY DREAM ON DEC. 7th,
and continue to process what I just did…

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So, what do you do if you are in Fort Lauderdale for less then a day… Go to the beach and cry that you don’t have more time! Well, almost…

I arrived at the Hollywood International Airport in perfect 80s weather and hurried  to the city known as the Venice of America because of its expansive and intricate canal system. I checked in at the Courtyard Marriott right at the Fort Lauderdale beach but wasted no time in my amazing room and rushed to park my bottom on the warm sand. It was breezy and sunny, and it felt like heaven compared to the rainy and bonefreezing Boston… Girl Talk playing from my ipod, people surfing, cruise ships leaving the port, hot guys strolling around me, and the sun… I almost cried I didn’t have more time…

What else?!…Don’t forget to check out the city downtown – a shoppers paradise. Walk down Las Olas Boulevard after the sun sets and check out the small boutiques and specialty shops open late all the way to the city center. Definitely stop by the Shops of Las Olas but still leave time to wander through the piers and the numerous canals and admire the boats of the bold and the beautiful from the area. When the night falls head back to the beach promenade for dinner and drinks by the moonlit waves and really any seafood restaurant you choose will be worth it. Then hit the Elbo Room, a sightseeing attraction itself, being featured in the 1960’s film “Where the Boys Are” which led to the city’s former reputation as a spring break mecca. There you can drink the night away, having fun till the small hours and trying to forget that you have to leave to soon…

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I couldn’t wait… I canceled my attendance at two awesome parties but wouldn’t miss my last chance to go…

ICE  CLIMBING… one more down

It was the last weekend of February and the weather so warm that everything started melting, including the ice patches in the far away corners of New Hampshire. We headed to Kinsman Notch in the White Mountains at 6am to take advantage of the ice columns of frozen waterfalls that were already leaking from all sides. The trip consisted of Ashwin, Tony, Linda and me, all first time climbers and lead by Rick with the help of Scott, both with more than 7 years of experience.

Saturday was snowy all day, but the snow and ice made for a beautiful scene. We pulled over by the forest and got ready with helmets, crampons and harnesses before we headed up to the ice. Rick approved our gear one by one and sent us off to the trail, so I was the first of the group going through the trees, maybe 5 minutes after Scott went ahead. I was hiking alone up the steep hill with trees covered in white and little snowflakes flying around in the utter silence.  I kept going for about half an hour, confused if I was on the right track, until I finally heard a few voices somewhere above me that gave me some strength to continue. The climb up to the ice was so steep that I was already practicing my kicking skills with my plastic boots and using my little ice axe not to slide down the hill.

We all gathered at the foot of the ice wall to go over the climbing skills with Scott, while Rick went around to set up the ropes for top roping. On the side we practiced swinging the axes in the ice which proved a lot harder than it seemed. Finally, Linda was the first to head up the ice, and a bit after Tony attempted climbing a harder ice column a few meters away, as he was the only one with some rock climbing experience.

When my turn finally came to climb up the ice, I was crazily excited and a bit scared as I looked the others struggle before me. I was kicking and swinging, moving slowly up, as this was one of the hardest things I had done. My boot would not stay in the ice or my axe would not even go into it but rebound from the hard surface instead, and I would be me sliding down or just hanging in my harness. The way down was easier, just walking  backwards  perpendicular to the ice and still I would slip and crash into the column. I was so full of energy that I felt no cold. When I was finally down, the group named that column on me, as I was the fastest up and down the ice…so proud…so exhausted…

Ice climbing is definitely not a fast sport, so there was a lot of wait time between our attempts, during which we were struggling to stay warm. Talking about life, eating, drinking (water), and practicing my chicken dance moves with Ashwin kept me sane in the moments I did not feel me extremities or all I felt was pain and wetness… and the snowflakes kept falling…

My last climb was the hardest… I was excited to climb more  but my body screamed NO. It was absolutely vertical glassy column of bluish ice and my axe just refused to dig into it.  Almost halfway up, I had to take a rest so I told Scott who was ballaying me that I would hang for a bit. I let go falling immediately about 10 feet down as there was some free rope somewhere above me that he did not take into account… I wanted to cry for a second… those ten feet took me about 15 minutes to climb…and then again, axe, axe, kick, kick…pull yourself together for another round.

That day as much of a physical as a mental exercise of my persistence. So many times I wanted to give up and get back to the safe ground, and screamed down to Rick and Scott  “I can’t do it”…and then reaching the top, I would victoriously touch the end of the rope as if it would make me invincible…

It was already dark on the way down through the forest with snow still slowly falling on our heads…I survived! I did it! That day nothing else mattered…even though I still wish I went to that party…

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