Chameleons

I got a couple rough hours of sleep and woke up drenched in sweat. After mopping myself up, I went downstairs bleary-eyed and puffy, to meet my new guide. Lionel was waiting for me wearing a turtlenecked sweater, straightlegged jeans and brand new black Converse tennis shoes. I bet I’m older than his mother. Actually, …

Fireworks

The next day, Malala collected me for a tour of the city. She was late because the streets were packed with people celebrating Madagascar’s national soccer team, who had just played in the semifinals of the Africa Cup. They lost, but after the first sting, it didn’t matter.   The Africa Cup happens every year, …

Starting

The morning after the night I arrived a day earlier than I should have, I woke up to sunshine and a text from Brett asking when I wanted to leave my temporary hotel to head to the center of the city and my real hotel. I suggested after lunch. “A perfect plan!” Brett responded because …

Quickie

Ok, so I am going to write about my two days in Madagascar's capital Anatanavario later. I've got to wrap my head around some stuff. I've moved east to a kind of cloud/rain forest with bumpy roads and trees and mist and lemurs and I'm settling down a little. Hooray! I have about 20 minutes …

Here

Not to ruin the suspense or anything, but I made it just fine to Hôtel le Relais de la Reine, a lovely hotel where Brett had scored me room about 30 minutes before. I was pretty frazzled (didja notice?) and I didn’t want to leave my phone in the taxi (I’ve done that twice already …

Finding Myself

I know a lot of adult women who stand up with square shoulders when life gets rocky. There’s Ramona, my neighbor who goes to meetings  at the high school for me, pretending to be my boys’ real mother because I hate fucking meetings, not to mention leaving the house, listening to people talk,  and showing …

Veracity

During our ten day China trip, we had three different guides in three different cities. Olivia was the first. You’ve met Oliva. Of all the guides, Olivia was the most fervent at finding western toilets. “Here!” she would say. “This one!” I didn’t have the heart to tell her the squat toilets are cleaner than …

Notes

A FEW NOTES: Dumplings are delicious for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The older and shorter a Chinese woman is, the harder she will shove you out of her way. This theory includes, but is not limited to, old women in wheelchairs. Every Chinese city is the “Best” at something. As are Chinese museums, roads, trains …

Olivia

  Oliva collected us promptly on the morning of our first day. She bustled us down the alley and loaded us into our emperor’s van. This time she wore a long dark wool coat with a felted shapes on the back, mostly a rather menacing and undernourished Santa Claus-like figure holding a scroll that said …