Cold trip
D’oh!Posted by Gala
Thu, November 18, 2010 22:28:47

Shanghai.

This
city turned out to be totally different than I anticipated, specially
after the wonderful Beijing & Xi’an experience. This crazy portal
city -once upon a time a cradle of vice and all things sinful, fun and
decadent- corresponded more to my notion of a modern Asian City.

It was cold, the type of cold that chills you to the bone and doesn’t allow you to enjoy a single thing?
In
all honesty, I’m not sure if it was actually the weather, the tall
snobbish buildings or the fact that I most unfortunately, sadly,
unpleasantly, shockingly, suddenly, and bunch more “ently’s” and
“adly’s” parted ways with my travel buddy.

Yes, I believe that’s what put a damp in my trip.

Seems
my hot and at times irrational temper, mixed with an absolute inability
to comprehensibly communicate when upset, renders me pretty much
useless when it comes to dealing with disagreeable situations.

I’m
rubbish when I’m angry, it doesn’t happen often for I have slowly
learned to control myself, but when it does… well, I might as well
pack up and go… which is what i always do.

I thought I had
improved, I’m terribly disappointed, not so much for the travel mate,
really -which is always a bummer- and there were some issues besides the
fact that I cannot stand flaky or insensitive people but the point is
that I let myself down.
I just KNOW so much better than that.

Can’t one be passionate ONLY with the fun parts?!

*sight*

China
D’oh!Posted by Gala Fri,
November 12, 2010 22:44:15

I
have so far spent 1 week in China, Xi’an & Beijing and find myself
absolutely in awe; never EVER did I expect this country to be like this!

For
some reason I had imagined chaos, dirt and madness and found impeccable
cities, very well organized, relatively easy to move around it,
beautiful place, mostly friendly people, modern, well structured and the
food… oh my god the food is spectacular! I probably should have know
this, but the food passed as Chinese around the world is as authentic as
Taco Bell posing as a Mexican restaurant… yes, so dramatic is the
difference.

This trip will generate several blog posts, starting
with the crotchless trousers toddlers wear in the process of being
toilet trained, but now I must run and try to catch a shrine to Mao,
where I hear he is kept in a freezer and put to defrost several times a
day for the benefit of tourists; rumor has it his ear fell off once and
was rapidly stitched back.

LOVE China.

oh-oh
Mushy Stuff / Mariconadas
Posted by Gala Thu, November 04, 2010 10:43:25

Today
I allow my imagination run wild for a bit, I know it is a BAD idea as
normally I end up desperately chasing it back to unpleasant realms of
reality and this exercise leaves me invariably breathless and exhausted
in many levels.
I have promised myself it is just for today… just a few hours of pipe dreaming.

Surely
you have tucked away in the back of your mind that laminated card of
the “Ideal” guy or girl? we all know it is never going to happen, of
course! but nevertheless there it is, in that dusty corner where we dump
all things romantic.

Well, I just had a lovely call which
prompted me to take a look at my own forgotten little card and despite
the fact that it has evolved with time -I no longer seek for Simon Le
Bon’s identical and hopefully more available twin and now it doesn’t
seem that important whether he is into dancing or owns a black leather
jacket- it is still embarrassing to admit to it.
I secretly wish for
a tall, well traveled, fit and cultured Guy; passionate, decisive, self
assured and if he had salt&pepper hair, made me laugh and that
particular accent which makes me weak at the knee, then I would declare
myself surrendered.

Oh dear… this had all of that and then some. It was SO accurate it border-lined on paranormal.

For
a few minutes my guard came crashing down like thunder and there was no
place to run for cover. I held myself with as much dignity as I
possibly could, praying that my meltdown did not pour over the line like
a sticky gooey mess.

I will need to work double shifts to get
myself back to the the sanctity of my impenetrable tower but in the mean
time, my wildly curled head is somewhere in the clouds between
Kathmandu and Chiang Mai.

Con Dao
PhotosPosted by Gala
Sat, October 30, 2010 02:10:17

Con Dao, Vietnam
It
is such a beautiful place, so much history! it used to be a prison in
the time of the French and the hideous tradition remained during the
American war (Vietnam war for the other side).
It is the location of
the infamous Tiger Cages and the stories are atrocious, blood curling.
20,000 people perished in these dungeons; the prisoners were mainly
political opponents, teachers, monks, women and even a few children,
most of them fled after the Liberation in 1975, yet some remained; in
fact there are 5 ex-prisoners still living in Con Son, 4 men and 1
woman.
The Islands of Con Dao are held dear to the Vietnamese; in
their history books children learn about the relentless spirit of the
people and incredible courage and temperance during war times; when you
walk around town, people are friendly and interested, quite wonderful to
feel that despite all the pain and suffering the spirit was never
broken.
I want this post to reflect the beauty of the place rather than its tragic history, so I thank Kevin for some amazing shots.
(the shi*ty ones are mine…)

Short stories
D’oh!Posted by Gala
Sat, October 30, 2010 01:03:37

I have written a few anecdotical short stories, which seem too damned long for a blog.

I posted one below, so if it feels like a punishment I just might trim it.
Feedback, anyone?

My name is Bond, Jane Bond
D’oh!Posted by Gala
Sat, October 30, 2010 01:01:17

Traveling
alone has very many advantages such as doing whatever the heck you
want, going where you please, change plans at the drop of a hat and
going back to the room at 6pm without the guilt and pressure of “we must
see it all and be on “discovery mode” 19 hours a day; despite the fact
that the positive greatly outweighs the negative, there are some less
than ideal situations in which a travel companion of any sort would come
In handy, specially a male one… please get your mind of the gutter and
work with me here.
Generalizations are not accurate but it would be
fair to say that in general terms in Asia –particularly away from big
cities- there is a culture where people seek the company of families and
friends for basically every little thing to be done, it is a place
where living spaces are cosily shared -putting it poetically- and where
going a few towns away calls for an entourage of at least 32 people to
tearfully bid farewell at the bus station. A western travelling alone is
cause of some wonder (why travel alone if you can do it with 14
others?) and In some places, a woman faring alone –believe it or not-
still raises some eyebrows.
I was advised to say I was married, some
girls go as far as having a fake wedding band to deter any lusty men
because, you see, men here believe that if you are alone you are single,
if single available and if available certainly groppable and hopefully
shaggable. I have always refused using the “idea” of a male to protect
me, I don’t need to make an imaginary boyfriend to keep safe, it is
insulting that men would think that he can’t have his way with me JUST
because there is some one else who already has dibs on me, NO WAY,.
“Let
me clear this up, you sorry attempt of a man: there is no way, no how
not ever a chance you will get anywhere near me. EVER; not in your
wildest dreams or my most terrifying nightmares; even if you were my
very last chance at a joy ride before I died I would not take it, got
it?!… sorry, what did you say?… (geez!!) it means NO, I DO NOT want to
try a romantic Indonesian boyfriend, thank you very much”
I am fully
aware that the fact that I tower over 97.8% of the male population
increases my already enviable self confidence, yet I am still a safety
first sort of person and don’t put myself at any unnecessary risk or
potentially dangerous situations; I don’t go bar hopping, partying,
socializing, I don’t drink or do drugs and like a sweet old grandma I go
back to my room and write postcards as soon as it gets dark. I live
enough at the edge by eating in street markets and riding taxi- scooters
with a pissing bowl for a helmet so I figure I need not risk it
further.
I had never had the need to resort to a husband to keep
safe, until recently; I asked the guys of the restaurant I had dinner in
to hail me a taxi and negotiate the price for me back to the bus
station, mainly so the driver knew I was not alone; I hopped in and sort
of avoided conversation, his beady eyes reflected in the rear view
mirror and gave me the creeps, but he insisted in talking to me; One
doesn’t want to be too friendly, but not rude either, not only because
it is not nice to be mean but also you never know how people might react
if they feel offended, so I gave the shortest possible answers I could,
trying not to reveal too much personal information (paranoid, anyone?).
I
had made the exact same route opposite direction so I had more or less
an idea of the location, so I when I saw that time and taximeter were
just flying and his questions more personal, I started to get nervous;
after the usual rap of where are you from. How long I was in town for,
where was I staying (I hate that one) it came to the boyfriend
question…. So I lied, I said that my boyfriend was waiting for me at the
bus station he was taking me to, all the while I had been fidgeting
with my mobile, I had no local calling card but I use it as an alarm
clock, so I was trying to make it ring some how; I activated the ‘select
a ring tone” application and proceeded to have a fake conversation with
my fake boyfriend, promising him I would be there in “how long till we
arrive?” I asked the driver “I’ll be there in 10 minutes, yes, I love
you too Honey, don’t worry, you can call me again if I am delayed” ( I
NEVER say “honey”).
The driver seemed a bit disappointed and went quiet for a bit after I “hung up” then he charged on, full force.
Driver – why isn’t he with you?
Me- because he just arrived to town
D: where was he?
Me: in Java
D: why?
Me; work
D: you said you don’t live in Indonesia
Me; I don’t
D: then your boyfriend is Indonesian (big hopeful smile)
Me: No, No, he is… Australian
D: why he work here?
Me: he has a special assignment because he… works with the police… International police… as a detective…

OK,
I may have overdone it, but he man was just firing away! I felt I was
being interrogated by the CIA and really did not want him to know I was
fearful of him and making up stories, so I just shot out the first thing
that would come to mind; thing is, I don’t lie… I might omit saying the
whole truth and might embellish some stories, but they always carry
truth, not so much because I might be so godarned honest but more to do
with my terrible memory, I just forget what fibs I made up and end up
either making a massive totally incoherent story or being exposed after
question number two.
Driver: The Indonesian police?? (the police in Java are notoriously ruthless)
He was obviously impressed;
Me: yes, it’s a special mission
D: what is it?
Me:
it is secret… top secret., I can’t tell you because it is very
dangerous; he is very good friends with the chief of police, he is with
him now, actually! He just called me from his office, yes… oh… I mean,
not from his office no because… of course he is waiting for me at the
bus station.
At this point I was really getting into the story, so I
volunteered tons of information, yes, he is from Australia, Melbourne
actually, but we live in Spain, in a lovely villa by the sea (we take
stinky buses in Indonesia just for fun) aha, He loves me very much and
is nice to me. Always. He is very tall, almost 2 meters! Quite blond
indeed, lovely blue eyes, the loveliest dimples when he similes (I was
picturing Jude Law) he likes to take walks in the beach and candle lit
dinners… Luckily I stopped myself once I realized I was describing an
add from a lonely hearts club website.
My story served its purpose,
he just stopped asking questions, surely because he was scared of my
connections in high and dangerous places, not because my story was so
outrageously stupid that he thought me a volatile schizophrenic .
The
10 minutes came and went, I was SURE he was taking me somewhere to chop
me up, so my Australian boyfriend called again, this time really
concerned and pressing to know EXACTLY where his little dove was. “we
are here” my driver said, so I hung up.
Turns out he took me to the
wrong bus station, which was a really big issue as my backpack was left
in the other place, the problem was that he did not believe this was the
wrong place, I kept showing him the ticket with the address the woman I
bought the ticket from had underlined and he insisted we were right
there, I insisted we weren’t and started to freak out a bit, which did
nothing but sustain his suspicions regarding my mental condition “I have
the number, please can you call the other station?… my boyfriend will
be SO worried!” he pointed at my mobile and said “you call them and I
talk to them, I have no phone”
RATS! lying really is always a bad thing, I couldn’t get out of that one.
“I have no credit!” I said… wow! I might actually be good at this making up on the go stuff!
He
walked towards his cab hoping to be rid of me and looking very annoyed,
I had very little time before the bus left and here I was, stuck in a
horrible town, probably lost my back pack and had nowhere to go. I
walked behind him saying “not here, not here, please” he talked to a bus
driver and something seemed to dawn on him, so he said “I know where”
and we drove off, 15 minutes later we were arriving at the actual
station, which turned out to be the garage where buses were kept.
Man!
was I grateful toward him! In precisely 15 min he went from potential
rapist and murderer to a an angel who was sent as my salvation; I gave
him a big tip and a hearty handshake, he was walking with me making sure
it was the right place
“it is here, yes, don’t worry!”
“are you sure? And where is your boyfriend?” he asked, looking around the absolutely deserted place,
“oh… he is… in the bathroom”
He
looked at me funny, I grabbed my mobile and proceeded to take a call
(my phone did not ring) while I walked away and waved bye to him
“Hi honey, I’m finally here!” I said very loudly… to my boyfriend… the Australian detective…

smells
D’oh!Posted by Gala Thu,
October 28, 2010 09:36:42

Have you ever noticed how different we smell in all different areas?
I am not just talking about those obvious hormone charged places in our body, but all of it.

Take
a sniff in the crease between our fore and upper arm, where nurses take
the pulse in movies (you might have to push your elbow towards your
face if you are over 30). now try the inside of your wrist, where we
ladies always (god knows why) spay/tap a few drops of perfume.
Smell the back of your hand, now the palm… it’s like 2 different countries, ain’t it?!

When
I was little I used to sit on the floor and clean my knees, I just
hated them being dirty; would sit there and smell them too, they had a
wood like scent… sound freaky, I know, but go on… try it next time,
it is totally different than the rest of your body.
We won’t even mention feet as there is a whole new menu of scents there.

If
your hair is long, grab a lock and take nose-full; we have established
-in previous posts- that boobs smell like sweet cream cheese.
If you are flexible enough to get a little close, you’ll be SO surprised when you stick your nose at the back of your knees.

Your fingers! have you tried those lately?!

It
is ALL different, isn’t it?!!! I’, sure there is a normal perfectly
logical explanation, but just right now, just for today I choose to go
with the warm, childish feeling of “WOW! Magic!!” that ignorance conveys
to such matters instead of searching for the noble truth in Google.

The most amazing thing? you are probably smelling yourself right now.

Magic, Baby, pure magic.

What’s in a name?
Mushy Stuff / Mariconadas
Posted by Gala Tue, October 26, 2010 01:04:18

Some
times a name makes the person; an Old Family pulling rank through many
generations of bankers, actors, manufacturers, royalty, inventors; many
of those beginnings were certainly more humble than those turned up
noses in the Hamptons or Pedralbes lead us to believe: immigrants with
relentless thirst for success, tireless workers, a lucky break, a
creative mind, and ingenious character, dubious morals is part of the
genesis of those big names.
Obscenely wealthy families have seen
their fortunes be born from actual piracy, other from having quite loose
morals and taking advantage of historic low points; you have the
amazing visionaries who stood their ground and set up shop, pursued
their inventions and as a result helped shape society as we know it. We
find unlawful land claimers who are now real state magnates; royal
families who are in the throne now after hostile takeovers, treachery
and murder; clans who started out selling tomato sauce from their back
yards or pharmaceutical emporiums which started out by putting a but of
cloth on tape an creating the first ever band-aid.
Carrying a name
like Astor, Windsor, Barrymore, Heinz or those archaic hyphened European
names indicating major or minor royalty: Los Borbon, Martinez de Irujo,
Los Duques de Alba; such names weigh as a heavy crown on the heads of
these people, no matter what they do, where they go or who they really
are they will ALWAYS be an Azcarraga, Oppenheimer or de Vedrines.
The
name MAKE the people. Can you imagine Paris Hilton been born as Patty
Harris in some hick mid western town? She wouldn’t be quite what she is
now, would she? probably would have been knocked up at 16, ran around on
her shot gun husband, had 4 kids by 22 and a bad case of cellulite.
There
are some other cases in which the people make the name, not only for
the obvious puns of Mr. Black, Ms White, Mrs Short and so on, but there
are times in which a name fits a trade like in the old days (Taylor,
Smith, Zapatero, Steiner) and other times in which it just fits their
personality; I have a girlfriend whose last name is Hidalgo, which
roughly translated would be “gentleman, nobleman” and nowadays, thanks
to Miguel de Cervantes, it has taken the meaning of a romantic figure
who stays true to his dreams and beliefs and will fight windmills for
the honour of his Dulcinea, who in reality is a hooker; it is a figure
strong in its convictions even if the world thinks he is mad. My friend
is like that, I have never told her so, but she is as inspiring as her
name; she has the sternness and poetry inherent to an Hidalgo, she will
fight for what she believes in regardless of anybody’s opinions and she
is a true romantic. The name suits her, even if it was originally her
father’s.
Alejandra Pasapera is my childhood friend, her name is out
of the ordinary, strong Spanish last name and a bit funny (literally
means pass pear) and that is exactly her, fun, beautiful, strong and she
is the type of woman men just want to grab a bite of, like a juicy pear
(she’d kill me if she read this!)
My last name is Guerrero, meaning
Warrior… oh dear! I have been told more times than I care to admit how
well it suits me and I had not quite realized this is true.
In the next post you’ll see why…

Is that a gun in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?
D’oh!Posted by Gala
Tue, October 26, 2010 00:57:30

Last
night, at midnight there were these loud knocks on my bedroom door, I
could see flash lights outside my window and I thought it was one of the
colleagues I share the house with; poked my head out and it turns out
there were Vietnamese soldiers, about 5 of them and spoke not a single
word of English, I told them to go away, shut the door, went back to bed
and 25 seconds later I actually woke up; they were still knocking on
the rest of the doors.
I quickly got dressed and went out to see what
was going on (none of my other 3 room mates had gone out) so I called
on the only Vietnamese roomy we have and asked him to come out -he was
NOT happy- and question these 5 soldiers as to what the hell where they
doing in OUR house at midnight making suck a racket; they talked for 5
minutes and my workmate looked somewhat scared and mumbled something
about them wanting some papers… then the Guerrero got to my head and
with big head shakes and hand gestures accompanied by a deeeeeep voice
that always comes out when I am seriously angry I said NO! pointing to
the entrance door, NOT NOW! I asked my Viet guy to tell them to leave
NOW, it was no time to come knocking and if they wanted something they
should come back at a decent hour, my workmate looked at me as if I was
mad and went pale, I repeated: TELL THEM TO LEAVE NOW, so he mumbled
something to that effect as I pointed to the gate with BIG arm motions
as I would use for herding cattle or directing traffic.
The soldiers
were caught off guard and didn’t quite know what to make of me, my hair
was scary too, almost afro and surely added at least 4 inches in height;
so I am walking beside them saying GO, GO, GO, looking really angry and
totally unfazed by their guns (either they were guns or those guys were
really excited to be there… couldn’t tell… it was dark).
One of
them was looking at me with that begrudging look of hurt manhood and
started walking slowly so I prompted him with little claps and saying
COME ON, COME ON, GO, Go, GO.
Slammed the gate behind them and told them TO STAY OUT and don’t comeback.
They
were standing outside our house, looking a little lost and no doubt
asking each other WHAT THE F*CK was that?!; They hovered around the gate
for a bit, surely pondering whether to get back in or not and luckily
(for them, jajaj!) decided not to.
I walked to the house, cursing
like a sailor with Roomy by my side, who all of a sudden was 2 inches
taller, puffed up and all bravery… now that they were gone.
Back in
my room I started thinking about the whole thing; it was a tad risky on
my part, after all, they ARE the army (The Island has a population of
6,000 and 3,000 are soldiers), this IS a communist country, I DO NOT
speak the language and I don’t even have my passport with me at the
moment, which holds only a tourist visa.
Last night I was a true Guerrero.
Last night I made my name and although it was a bit stupid, I felt good about myself.

Viva la Revolucion!!!