My Bday

Mushy Stuff /

Posted by Gala
Wed, March
17, 2010 17:21:14

I just turned 42 and had the most wonderful day ever! had everything: with
friends I really like, in an exotic location, loads of work I liked and made me
feel useful and good about myself; over 100 messages in all, considering that
people never know my whereabouts I think it is just extraordinary that those I
care about thought of me and took the time to post a note!

Got tons of flowers, all beautiful and one unexpected and very touching,
chocolate, a silver necklace, MORE fancy chocolate, a yummy-yummy bday cake
-cheesecake!- a very cool chocolate bouquet left in my room as a surprise..
told the whole WOLD it was my bday;

The Awards ceremony was on MY day and I sat by the side of one of my fav actors
for whom I have had this silly crush for years, British, of course.. what is it
with me and British men?? I don’t have a childish crush on anybody, really, so
all filled of bravado I went right up and chatted with him, flirted a bit (with
very good response) and then, true to my nature I clammed up again, but hey! at
least I did it… and I think I could have… or o I like to think!

Mmmhhmm… I wonder if I can get his email?

GREAT birthday!!

Make a wish…

D’oh!Posted by Gala

Sun, May 30, 2010 18:55:21

When I wished that my Ex-Husband Frank (AKA Horrible Dr. No) lived happily ever
away land, i did not mean for him to take my Children along!

Geez! I need to be MUCH more specific when I tap into my magic powers…


D’oh!Posted by Gala

Fri, May 14, 2010 13:34:18

I did not have enough of Vietnam, need to
go back and do Sapa, re-do Hanoi and back to Hue; it is such a shame I have
absolutely no concept of time! I actually believed I could visit my 12 points
of interest in 10 days… I guess this is my overwhelming female logic which
also leads me to believe that my (yummylicious) butt fits in a S size.

WONDERFUL place Vietnam! all my preconceived notions -not that many, to be
honest- have come crashing down, particularly those regarding the American war,
known to me ALWAYS as the Vietnam war; being heavily influenced by the USA,
their history, mentality and society, to me Vietnamese were just a faceless
mass of people, and being the pacifist anti-imperialist I am, I always thought
that US involvement in conflict was a horrible and senseless intervention but
the thing is, it was the young American soldiers who perished there who were in
my thoughts and to a lesser extend the Viet-cong casualties… my, oh my! was
this trip an eye opener! I will not go into detail of the museums, Chi Chi
tunnels (sin albur!), prisons, torture devices, jungle, diseases, the 3 million
Vietnamese who died or the 56,000 American boys who never got to see their
families again… no, I won’t get into that because it affected me seriously
and also because it is too darned boring, so I will just go on with my lighter
hearted posts and ask the very profound question:

little man produce such copious amounts of mucous and the force to spit it
-cannonball it is more accurate- MILES away?! It is not pleasant waking up to a
phlegmatic symphony and YOU KNOW I am not talking about the emotionless
disposition of the British when I say phlegmatic.. I am actually talking about
disgusting phlegm.

The other amazing thing, specially in Saigon (now Ho Chi Min city) as every
traveller will tell you is crossing the street… road signs are decorative,
traffic regulations don’t even amount to romanticized guidelines; one must be a
true dare devil or city slicker to throw oneself onto the oncoming traffic, oh
yes! scooters (6 millon of ‘em in the city) do not stop even if their life
depended on it… and sometimes it does!

The trick is to make eye contact with the driver, let him know that YOU are
gonna walk through and you are ready to kill him and his first born if he
doesn’t let you go through, let him feel the rage and the hate and then just
throw yourself at his vehicle, chest pumped forward .Do be sure you look both
ways for those in a hurry who are riding on the wrong side of the road invading
not the second, but 3rd and 4th lanes.

Another trick is to swing a bag like a traditional hooker: make BIG circles
with it so it becomes some sort of weapon, bicycles, tuc-tucs & motorcycles
respond really well to this technique. a word of advice: ensure your purse is
zipped and you don’t have loose objects on the side pockets if using a rucksack
or you will find yourself running between cars to retrieve your items from the

Another personal favourite is the Matador style: think of ’em cars as bulls and
you are in the middle of a Faena or better yet! the Pamplonada! one must show
courage, strength and focus while running across, a little red handkerchief
tied on your neck looks nice but not of the essence, I find that shouting
OLE!!! every time I pass a car gives me confidence.

Lastly, those dance moves come in really handy! the swaying of the hips is
ideal for avoiding lusty or pick-pocketing hands, as well as knocking over a
cyclist, don’t be afraid to moonwalk between cars on a red light and most
certainly do the ballerina thing of putting your arms over your head while you
tip toe and hop among vehicles, f anything, they might slow down a bit to take
a better look at the crazed foreigner.

More unwanted advice coming your way soon.



Mushy Stuff /
Posted by Gala
Tue, May
11, 2010 15:23:33

delusion |di
an idiosyncratic belief or impression that is firmly maintained despite being
contradicted by what is generally accepted as reality or rational argument,
typically a symptom of mental disorder.

I just met up with a… friend. It is funny how we use the word so loosely…
it seems that any relationship that we are uncertain about gets thrown it in
the “friendship” bin be it somebody we know for 1 month or 10 years
but never really keep in touch; one can sleep with somebody 30 times and be
uncertain if we are friends and the truth of the matter is that if push comes
to shove, that person would probably be the last one we would turn in case of

Luckily this day and age provides us with a full coloring palette of terms:
just friends, guyfriend, galfriend, fuck friend, mate, homie, bonk fried, FWB
(friend with benefits), bro, bff/ bmf (best female/male friend) and the list
goes on.

Still, I’m unable to find the adequate term for this individual… in any case
it was just such a horrible encounter in almost every way possible; man! what a
disaster! I don’t think anything at all went well… what I thought was
a nice couple of hours turns out was awfully unpleasant for him as I came
across as an abrasive bulldozer in the attempt of giving him a tour of the

Worst of all? I was completely delusional! I walked into this thinking I would
meet again with this amazing “somebody” who has been occupying my
thoughts for quite a while and what I found was this complete stranger who
seriously had not the most remote interest in anything that had to do with me.
Needless to say, to him it was equally disappointing to meet with a hysterical
monster that I turned out to be, ah! but you see, I should consider myself
lucky as i got some hugs so I would not feel bad, as I later was informed…
pitiful affection, the nerve!!

My, my, my! how very unpleasant and confusing it all was! what a mass of
contradictions and mixed signals! how badly I respond to uncertainty and
contradictory messages! How can anything go SO wrong in absolutely every

The question that pesters me is: when we met last year and encountered pure and
absolute magic, was it all fake then? did I imagine it all?! how can somebody
be so incredibly different?! we are not talking a little I mean, this was to the level of “show me your
passport and birthmarks cause I just do NOT believe you are the same
person”; unfortunately my reactions are utterly disproportionate (I curse
myself) and i started doubting everything and wanting to run away just to
comeback again… it was like being stuck in an episode of “the Twilight
zone” where everything appears normal but in reality nothing is what it
seems… VERY unsettling!

I think I am just not cut for this romance thing; It makes me rethink my stand
on arranged marriages: it is OBVIOUS I am just crap at choosing for myself, I
don’t think anybody else can do a worse job.

Totally bummed out.

Psyche Layers of

Mushy Stuff /

Posted by Gala
Sat, May
29, 2010 11:30:09

This morning at breakfast there was a
table with about 6 Japanese women; they must have been between 28-35, perhaps a
bit younger, always so hard to tell with Asians and their wonderfully taken
care of skin; in any case they were a lively bunch: loads of giggles
ooohhhh!!!’s and aaaahhhh!!!’s, hiding behind the napkin shyly and cutesy
poses… in short: the type of women I would like to -furiously- bitch slap

As they were leaving a couple of them were
actually doing bunny hops and “Singing in the Rain” routines, looking
up to the sky extended arms, going in big happy circles and all…. it was not

They were all dressed in that seemingly careless way which leaves no detail
unattended; hair messed up with a loose pony tail tilted to the side with a
flowery hair band, handkerchief around the head, long beach dresses kinda
unwillingly see thru (not sluttish, mind you) the lovely beaded sandal, a je ne
sais quois tied around the hip; I am rubbish at describing, but they did look lovely
in an allegoric Tim Burton meets Hello kitty sort of way.

Observing the girly -childish, really- behaviour, I could not help but think
how intensely popular these type of ladies are with men, especially western
men, gosh they DROOL around them! putty in their kiddie hands! Aahhhh!! And the
girls know it, the know soooo well and the more one salivates the more baby
like the other becomes.

I came up with a twisted theory about this… normally this girls are small in
every way: somewhat short and tend to be flat chested, take away the frills and
the gloss and they are quite androgynous looking… VERY difficult to tell men
and women apart in the way one cannot differentiate a pretty little boy from a
little girl except for the long hair and girlie clothes…. could it be that
these women satisfy the paedophile buried deep in the psyche of -almost- every

Please do not misunderstand! I am dead against any sort of abuse on children, I
think it is despicable and abusers should be castrated (and the female
equivalent). I do find it a mental and social disease which must be punishable,
persecuted, eradicated, yet one thing we cannot deny is that there is this
primitive, animal dark side that we all have and are mostly are unaware of. We
might suppress it, ignore it or simply be in utter ignorance of its existence,
but it is there, ooohh it lives there, in all of us.

I believe that quite often our actions respond directly to that dark side;
might catch us by surprise and we might not understand where certain reactions
come from or it might manifest itself in more socially acceptable ways, such as
going for girlie girls.

What ever the case may be, and as much attention and longing these woman/girl
may generate, I would not like to be that way, I do think they are lovely!
Pretty, feminine in a seriously ridiculous way; they know their stuff and use
it to their advantage: they get tons of presents, money, trips and a nice
parade of men running behind them carrying parcels; still I cannot be like
that… disregarding the fact that I am double their size and most probably
would scare the living s*it out of the guys who like girlie girls;

Except for their ability to accessorize, I am not jealous of them at all. There
is something for everybody and I have my own public… oh yes! another niche in
the twisted psyche: the straight men who dig “amazonic” women…
which is polite for “she has balls the size of meteors and the manly body
that goes with them”…

Some other time I might explore the lure of the boyish hips and six pack abs…
Because yes Darling… I got a pack o’ those…

On the road to

Mushy Stuff /

Posted by Gala
Sun, May
30, 2010 19:30:54


I met a really very nice fellow, German, actually… go figure! but he is also
Pisces, so I guess that sort of redeems him…One of his many accomplishments
(unbeknown to him) is having started the process of restoring my faith in
men… NOT mankind but actual men.

I believe (now) that yes, there are still actual good guys out there who don’t
play games nor claim not to while they REALLY
do (really, really!)
; guys who are polite, well mannered, chivalrous and
Oh! SURPRISE!: straight.

I have learned that I can still find men 42years and older who have slim waist
line, a full head of hair and a body that puts any any 20year old athlete to
shame (and everything that goes with it… oh yes…).

I was reminded that going out is fun and not a competition, that I don’t have
to be at all times guarded so I am not caught by surprise when he makes his
“move; great to know that not every guy want to get in a girls pants…
not as a first or second -even third!- intention anyway.

Best thing? WONDERFUL not having to decide or take charge, lovely to meet with
a Man with a Plan.

It was all so very nice and despite the fact that he is not the Guy for me, I
am delighted for these couple of weeks I got to know him; I am in the road to
recovery and at this very moment I can happily and OFFICIALLY declare that
after 12 years:

The Horrid Reign of The Cowardly
Undecided Men is finally over.

No more flaky dudes for this Browny! (Aha, you Boys know who you are…)

So bring ’em on! those Real Men with tight tushes!

El Mundial

D’oh!Posted by Gala Wed,
June 23, 2010

World Cup

It is that time again, wonderful, exciting
bonding World Cup.

It is the time when Muslims, Christians,
Democrats, Republicans, Communists, Capitalists, Socialists, Anarchists and
Monarchists, gay & straight, lady-boys and butchy gals come together and
hate each other for refreshingly different reasons; it is the time when
historical grudges are revived, old war and economic wounds are re-opened and
about the only chance crappier countries might get to have a fair shot at those
more powerful; where else can you see Cameroon beating England? Or the Mexican
eagle having the French Cock served on a platter?… that came out wrong, but
you catch my drift.

I don’t follow sports at all, None except
one: The Blessed World Cup; I get ridiculously excited over it! Follow game by
game, keep a tidy calendar, suffer through the matches like a WAG* IF they
would understand the game. Even used to dress my Boys as tiny Mariachis and
taught them to make La Ola and all 3 of us would make The Wave (great Mexican
invention) like mad every time Mexico played.

And now El Mundial is happening, and I am
missing it!!!! It caught me totally by surprise in Indonesia where games take
place at 2am, I have no TV in the rooms I stay in and it is sheer torture; I
catch bits and pieces at airports, or some sports bars (it is not cool- nor
wise- for a woman alone to be bar hoping in the middle of the night in Muslim
Indonesia). So if I cannot get a hold of an internet Café I grab a news paper…
an Indonesian newspaper.

There are several difficulties about following
the Cup in a foreign country which in addition has no real football history.
First and foremost, the names of the countries can differ significantly in
Indonesian, some are real easy to guess, like Jerman , Spanyol, Cili (Chile?),
Jepang , Korea Utara or Meksiko (taxis are called taksis, so that also gave me
a pretty clear indication of the “x” thing) some other ones, however a tad more
complex: Alfsel (south Africa), Inggris (England) AS, Korsel, Yunani, Ajazair
all of which I have not figured out yet, but I am confident they will not make
it to the next round anyway.

I have realized the world Cup can be
highly educational as well: all teams had a little flag beside their in
comprehensive –to me- names and I knew only about half of them, rendering me
incredibly ignorant; so I took notes and checked them on the internet and came
to the conclusion that we are incredibly unimaginative when it comes to
designing national emblems.

I also learned about history, alliances
and animosities; I was surprised to see Indonesia supporting Holland in a game
against Japan and detracting from other matches of the orange team; turns out
that being a Dutch colony there is a healthy level of grudge against them but
nothing compared to the hatred for a certain Japanese invasion which was
unnecessarily cruel. Timor might love/hate Portugal for the same reasons and
people here have no clue about Mexico as some believe it is in Europe and those
better read believe it is an appendix of USA.

The first game I “saw”: Meksiko- Alfsel
1-1 and being it the opening game it was pretty clear it was South Africa (but
what the hell with the name?!) now the next days I read in the paper Meksiko 2-
Prancis 0 and THAT created an inordinate amount of confusion as the picture in
the paper had no flag and they were mostly black players; which African country
was in our Group?! I tried as hard as I could to recall all the teams and came
up with nothing; as it turns out Prancis was France and for some reason the
team is unusually dark this year… I thought the French despised all African
immigrants but that is The World Cup in all its beauty, reminds me of the
Christmas Season when we are all filled with love for all mankind.

I so love the World Cup.

*WAG; term coined by the
British to designate Wives and Girlfriends of the players, the Queen of all
would be Posh Spice –or whatever- the wife of David Beckham

more world cup

D’oh!Posted by Gala
Wed, June 23, 2010

A couple of days ago I had my head buried
deep in the newspaper, trying to find out how Mexico had done when this
Indonesian man approached me; normally I don’t socialize at all and to be on the
safe side I keep a distance from local people as my experiences in this
beautiful place have not been all pleasant, I have been swindled left and
right, groped, seems that everybody has something to sell and men make advances
which are totally uncalled for; people in smaller places get a bit nervous
around foreigners so they tend to point at me, giggle and laugh while the
braver ones might yell out a phrase they might know in English. After 3 weeks
it gets a bit tiring. So I mumbled a “hello” back to the guy and proceeded to
ignore him completely. He got up and I was happy to see he would leave when he
pulled out what seemed to be a big calendar, OH MY GOD! It was the schedule for
the Cup, all updated!

He did not speak but a few words of
English, which was double than my command of Indonesian, but we managed to
establish that Bola (soccer) rocks, that Inggris (England) was doing very badly
(by making pucking sounds as I pretended to put my finger down my troat)- and
that Mecsiko was awesome –this was me with both fists up un the air and yelling
“ME-XI-CO, Yeaaahhhh!!!”.

He refered to me with the word
“Fanatikst” several times, accompanied by a smile and a shake of the head.
Going through his calendar I saw his “pronokstike” and did NOT see Mexico
making it to the next round but Prancis, and he got a royal scolding, reminding
him that Meksiko 2 (showed 2 fingers) and Prancis 0 (showing a big fat zero
with my whole hand) and also informed him that they were almost out of the
group (making a cut throat sign).

For the Final Match his pronoskstike was
Brazil-Argentina which was met with great scepticism on my side (by means of
leaning way back from and looking at him sideways with squinting eyes),
vigorously shaking my head and my index finger I told him he was wrong: “maaf,
maaf” (sorry, sorry), so he asked “who then?” (raising eyebrows, shoulders and
hands, all at the same time while pointing at the final match); I thought long
and hard about this very difficult question. Why must it always be the same
ones? Germany, Italy, Argentina, Brazil? Last year was a great surprise with
Portugal, so why not for once give the underdog a chance?!

“Meksiko -Spanyol” says I. He just gets up
, shaking his head and mumbling “Fanatikst” , sitting two rows away from

What does he know…

Ok, so how much…

D’oh!Posted by Gala Wed,
June 16, 2010

Bargaining: the national sport in every
Asian country… and I suck at it.

There is a skill –if not a gene- required
to be a successful Bargain Master, as I travel it has become obvious that I
absolutely lack it; I have gotten better in some things, though: tuk-tuk
drivers in Bangkok now fear me, but for all the rest? Rubbish! Absolute

I understand that people need to make a
living and the fluctuating tourism industry can be a bit of a bitch, I am
sensitive to the fact that I am in a privileged position always and more so
compared to the working class in these parts of the world; I agree that I
should pay higher rates than locals when it comes to entertainment such as
museums, sites, landmarks, theatres, etc. after all, it is their country and they should have feasible access to their own

I don’t mind if things are more expensive
for me as a traveller, not at all! At the end of it I have the choice to either
take it or leave it; what drives me absolutely mad is been (being?) taken for a
fool, seriousy anger me! And bargaining certainly lends itself to abuse.

There has
to be some common sense to it! I know it is a different mentality and all, but
COME ON PLEOPLE!!! You can’t possibly expect to pay off the mortgage from that
single cab ride with the Swedish tourist! Have some morals for goodness sake!

I am sure there are some International
Unwritten Haggle Rules or Code of Hustling Ethics, SOMETHING!!! Even Pirates
had a code of honour! Well, if there is one it and certainly has not gotten to

It is sensible to hike up a price, don’t
know… 50% maybe? Vendor offers 20, costumer 10, both agree on 15. I think this
is pretty reasonable.

What is NOT reasonable is to pimp it up to
500% for crying out loud!!!

Went to buy some fruit at the local market;
the faces of the vendors literally illuminate when they see me approaching
their stalls and I can assure you it is not my shinny personality; they
frantically wave and shout “Hello?! Hello?!? Want apple? Want mango? Come buy
me, Mister!! (not a good start if they are already calling me butchy dike…) so
I take a look at some bananas, safe enough fruit I don’t need to wash and
requires n preparation other than peeling it;

I point at 3 teeny puny little bananas and
the woman, clearing her throat and looking me dead in the eye says:

“15 thousand”

I stare back thinking “she HAS GOT to be kidding me

“Excuse me?” I say, slightly squinting my
eyes in what is the beginning of an evil look.

“15 thousand rupee” fruitlady repeats

I leave the bananas and just walk way,
almost offended that she would think me that
stupid, al the while she is calling me back “ok! Ok! How much you want to

While I’m cursing away under my breath I
see a taxi driver buying some fruit and paying 75cents for 1k of
bananas. Unbelievable. He offers to drive me which feels like a great idea as I
am fuming both from the Banana Incident and the unbearable humid heat; I am
just not quite sure how far the hostal is:

“perhaps I can walk there?” I ask him; he
points out that it is not far but it is so hot I should just jump into the cab.

“how much?” says I

“30,000” responds my driver

“Oh… that seems a bit much… is it that far
away? better use the taximeter”

“No, not use meter! It will mark only

Couldn’t believe it!

“so you want to charge me 25,000 more just
like that?!”

He laughs

I shut the door and walk away all the
while I hear him

“Ok! Ok! How much you want to pay


D’oh!Posted by Gala Sun,
June 06, 2010

Still trying to keep the vegetarian front
strong, what a challenge this is in the Eastern world! oddly enough I thought
that it would be a walk in the park to get veggies everywhere as in most
countries meat is a pricey food than not everybody can afford, BIG FAT mistake
that was, they sprinkle beef, chicken, pork, fish seafood on just about everything,
including desserts.

I have accepted the fact that
I am a weird eater… no pasta, potatoes or rice and I stay clear of fried
stuff as much as possible, I keep it healthy and keep it fresh. In Asia they
have 3 elements in their menu: animals, fried and rice/noodles; add to the mix
the fact that I am unable to communicate and it is quite a circus.

I am ashamed to admit I do
not learn any local words beyond “please” and ” thank you”;
I am -however- extremely fluent in sign language which can get me pretty much
anything: from a size 9 silvery pair of sandals to a Brazilian bikini wax; I
have learned that unfortunately this does not go so smoothly when it comes to

Starving! I stop at a place
next to the guest house to have a much needed meal, I always favor markets and
street stands… I like to live on the edge; so the Guy has all sorts of things
on display: pig heads, ducks, teeny birds and chunks of brownish beef serving
as a buffet bar to several dozens of flies. He also has those lovely baskets
with Dim Sum (snacks, the local equivalent of Tapas or Garnachas).

I embark on my Mime language and point to
some round shaped things asking what they were (by means of an upward nod and
raising shoulders and hands, palms up) and the Guy breaks out into a lively
monologue in –what I guessed was- Thai so I tell him I want to eat (cupping one
hand and simulating chop stick-feeding motion with the other) and ask again, he
obviously doesn’t understand me when a BRILLIANT idea hits me; my guest house
was literally 3 doors down, so I motion the international sign of “wait a
second” (thumb and index finger a couple of inches apart) which
unfortunately is often confused with the “you got a really small
willy” sign

I run to the reception and
ask the kid to write down in those Thai cute little symbols: “I
am a vegetarian, please give me dinner with no meat, thank you”
he hands me the paper looking somewhat bewildered and I go back to my Guy; he
looks the note and looks back at me with a blank look on his face and a pointy
fork in his hand.

By now I am truly famished, so I say: “NO MEAT” a bit
loudly…perhaps speaking in a very high pitched voice helps? but nada, so I
start making noises and saying whilst I shake my head:

(shake head) NO Muuuuuuuu!
(shake head) NO Quack, Quack!
(shake head) NO Oink Oink!…this one came out pretty
well, snorting noises n’ all
(shake head) NO Cluck, cluck cluck!… at this point
I was doing the chicken dance, walking in circles around his stall, knees bent
and clucking with my hands tucked under my armpits.

The Guy just stands there
looking at me like I had just grown a second head. I point to the paper so he
reads again and looked up a bit frustrated/// at that moment I saw the the
proverbial writing on the wall: ALL China-like decoration and symbols… this
was a Cantonese restaurant and the he only spoke Chinese… not a word of Thai.

I took the little note from
him, folded it neatly and put it in the back pocket of my jeans, held my head
up saying ”Domo Arigato” (Japanese, I know, but it is the closest I have to
China) and walked away to get me dinner at the 7/11 next door.

Don’t worry, be happy

D’oh!Posted by Gala Fri,
June 04, 2010

Off to Indonesia tomorrow;
all I have is a plane ticket and a bag packed full of lovely Asian style silky
No map, no hotel, no plan, no
guide book; got some tips from friends and that’s about all I need, the rest is
to be found out as I go.

I’m at the top of the world
right now, so very happy and things are looking wonderful from where I’m

To the untrained eye I might
appear as homeless, over 40, unemployed an so single I have become nuveaux
spinster (been single so long that I actually am one, 15 years I believe it is
all I need to get back into the club… 3 years to go!);

Aaah! but appearances can be
deceiving! I am actually living a long cherished communal dream: that one where
we all want to say a big fact FU*K you! to the world, flick the bird and leave
it all behind, no remorse and go live in an exotic place and travel the world?
ya know? that fantasy we all cherish at one point or another? well: that IS my
life right now.

I am not unemployed: I simply
don’t have a boss
I am not single: I am free
I am not homeless: I have a
home AND A FRIEND wherever I put by bag down
I am not over 40: I have just
been born into adulthood

My intuition tells me I am in
the right path and finishing a stage with a BOOM! and starting another with a
BANG!; I am certain that the big wink lady Liberty gave me some months back
will finally materialize and my new found friend will soon be making travels to
Asia and write another chapter to our story.

This blog should not make
sense to anybody… heck! makes no sense to me but I am am feeling so bloody
good about myself right now, I just don’t care.


D’oh!Posted by Gala
March 29, 2010 20:45:29

Tomorrow I fly to Thailand to enter a
Monastery (I kid you not) for a 10 day (12 really)meditation silence retreat
with some Buddhist Monks down south…

Stone bed, wooden pillow (that has me very
impressed) not a word uttered in 10 days, 2 light vegetarian meals a day,
getting up at ungodly hours (schedule detailed below) and I don’t even wanna
think about the showers as i suspect they may not have hot water.

No internet, no computer, Ipod, books…
just me, my demons and my aching body… Oh dear, sounds horrid now that I put
it in writing!

I honestly do not know why I do these
things to myself

are the Basic Rules:

During the retreat, all participants are
required to observe some basic rules. This is for the ben­e­fit of everyone – a
very important part of getting you to the right frame of mind for med­ita­tion
– and because you will be staying on monastery grounds. You must:

* Keep complete silence throughout the

(exceptions: personal interviews from Day
3 to Day 8 and emergencies).

* Stay within the boundaries of the
retreat center.

* Keep the Eight Precepts, which are

* 1.Intend not to take away any
breath(abstain from killing).

* 2.Intend not to take away what is not
given (abstain from stealing).

* 3.Intend to keep one’s mind and one’s
body free from any sexual activity.

* 4.Intend not to harm others by speech.

* 5.Intend not to harm one’s consciousness
with substances that intoxicate and lead to carelessness (no alcohol, no drugs,
no smoking etc).

* 6.Intend not to eat between after noon
and before dawn.(what?! NO COOKIES??)

* 7.Intend not to dance, sing, play or
listen to music, watch shows, wear garlands, ornaments and beautify oneself
with perfumes and cosmetics.

* 8.Intend not to sleep or sit on
luxurious beds and seats.(they make
damned sure about that one!)

his is the moral code for those who seek
normalcy plus lightness and simplicity in living.

The abstain from killing and stealing
seems quite easy… now! but I am not sure if I would not break somebody’s neck
for a Hersey bar after day 4…

No eating between meals… no dancing or
singing…no sex (that is easy) and I do hope that soap, toothpaste and deo are
not considered cosmetics or pretty soon the place is gonna stick with all of us


(With some modifications on Day 9 and Day

04.00 ***

Wake up *** = Monastery bell


Morning Reading


Sitting meditation


Yoga / Exercise

07.00 ***

Dhamma talk & Sitting meditation


Breakfast & Chores

10.00 ***

Dhamma talk


Walking or standing meditation

11.45 ***

Sitting meditation


Lunch & chores

14.30 ***

Meditation instruction & Sitting


Walking or standing meditation

16.15 ***

Sitting meditation

17.00 ***

Chanting & Loving Kindness


Tea & hot springs

19.30 ***

Sitting meditation


Group walking meditation

20.30 ***

Sitting meditation

21.00 ***

(the gates will be closed at 21.15)

21.30 ***


Gourmet delights

D’oh!Posted by Gala

Mon, March 29, 2010 08:54:53

I never have thought of me as a picky eater, I really would gulp down anything
except for peas, hate those! and liver; however, being in Asia has made me
review my stand point… well that and being over 40 where the mere thought of
food gains me a few pounds and NOT in the right sexy places.

So I have slowly but surely reviewed my diet…

I steer clear of:

fried stuff
pasta, noodles, etc
things made of flour (except cookies, can’t quit those)
carbonated drinks
alcohol in general
anything factory like stuff like ho-ho’s twinky and such delights

Meat looks… not healthy here and visiting local markets has certainly given
me a glimpse of how many hands (feet and other body parts) touch the food that
will be cooked for me, not to mention fleas, heat, dogs and many creepy
crawlies roaming around the meat stands, so just to be on the safe side I quit
eating anything with a face.

Considering my health and travel insurance consists of a couple of band aids
and Vitamin C, I do my very best no ti get sick (Cambodian Hospitals don’t seem
very hygienic..) so I drink only bottled water and bottled tea.

Mmmhmmm… so what to eat? I love all greens, broccoli, green beans, spinach
and best of all: rocket salads

I went to a little street restaurant and asked for “a rocket and lamb’s
lettuce salad, with fresh cherry tomatoes (cut in half) diced goat cheese and a
bit of balsamic vinegar (Modena, naturally) sprayed, NOT poured, please and if
you have just half a table spoon of Olive oil (first press ideally, but second
will do). Absolutely no meat anywhere, if you could make REALLY sure, thank

The woman just stared at me with her toothless mouth open, totally baffled,
went back to the kitchen and 20 minutes later she brought me a Chinese
vegetable soup with noodles.

It was delicious!

Handbook to
Tourist Etiquette

D’oh!Posted by Gala

March 25, 2010 18:48:24

There are masses of us, stomping all over the planet; I consider myself a
traveller rather than a tourist, yet I do want to do the touristy sites and
then divert to my own thing.

Manners and common courtesy seem to be a thing of the past, so I will indulge
in a self righteous note here and jot down the:

10 Commandments of a Well Mannered

Stop Embarrassing your self and your
Country, ya Dumbass

1. Dress code: avoid high heels and
heavy make up specially when visiting various ruins and temples: your spiked
hills might be sexy while clubbing in Tokyo or Bangkok but here you are just
re-engraving ancient stones. Make up runs with profuse sweating and you look
damned scary.

2. General appearance: don’t try to
go local: dressing as a peasant does not bring you closer to the people: you
are a white New Yorker living in Manhattan’s Dakota Building… you ain’t
kidding anyone

3. Sun block: use it! beats wearing
layer upon layer of clothing! Asian ladies go to great extent to preserve their
pearl white skin, it is believed that a wide variety of colors, materials and
patterns all mixed together have better sun blocking effect, this includes:
black elbow length gloves, white t-shirt with a whacky print; bright green
flowery silk blouse (open to show off the T-shirt’s fun design); electric pink
cotton hoodie; chequered scarf; BIG straw hats or plastic caps about 20 cms in
length to cover face; massive fly style shades; silver plastic-like pants with
black embroidery (I kid you not, it matches the gloves..); golden sneakers; an
eye poking umbrella with Hello Kitty patterns; LV, Gucci, Prada or Carrefour

4. Hygiene: OK, so you are a
backpacker and like to rough it, we get it! but come on! a little bar of soap
and washing powder does NOT take up that much space! lose the Dope pipe and
make room for a Dove bar, for Pete’s sake!

5. Pedicure: you are showing your
tootsies to the world and yourself with those beaded sandals you just bought,
how about getting rid of the 3 inches of dead skin which certainly make you
look taller? Black toenails are NOT the new French Pedicure! (Refer to point 4)

6. Pictures: making, taking and
getting out of the way of them:
a) When making a picture, do be considerate: there are 200 people looking at
the same chunk of rock, DO NOT TAKE SO BLOODY LONG! No matter what a massive
camera and lens you got, or what funky posses you might adopt to take the shot,
chances are the picture will not make it to National Geographic; anything over
18 seconds is too long.
b) When taking a picture for somebody else: make sure you don’t chop off head,
feet or make them look the size of an ant; show the photo to the owner of the
camera to see if he wants a retake, only 1 retake is allowed, for anything more
than that bring your own damned photographer.
c) Get out of the way: step aside if you see someone is about to take a shot;
If you see somebody kindly stepping aside, the rule is 10 seconds, not 18, a
Thank You! is in order.

7. This is an obvious one, but had to be said: DO NOT LITTER! Just because
local people treat their sites as open waste bins, that does not mean you can;
organic waste is not cool either, drop that mindset of “in this weather
that half eaten banana will be compost by tomorrow”.

8. Comparisons & qualifications:
so you are a big huge traveller and you want the world to know so you share you
invaluable (and seemingly endless) knowledge at the top of your lungs… news
flash: world does NOT care to know if this temple reminds you of that you
visited in 1972 in the western Pao Thang before the civil war “now THAT
was travelling, not like now”. No need to qualify either: we know it is
big, old, impressive, hot, amazing, beautiful, profound, funny, awesome,
incredible, etc so again: use your inside voice for such obvious statements.

9. Silence: please OH PLEASE do not
be screaming at all times! If your group of friends are on the other side of
the Pagoda, Museum, Temple, Building, Bridge, etc. do not attempt to lure them
by your side by yelling and pointing out to an amazing statue or pretty
picture; fights with spouses and children’s disciplining should also be done
quietly, we know you are a great parent, but watching you bitch-slap your kid
or wife is no fun. LOUD IS OUT.

10. Three words: deodorant,
deodorant, deodorant.

In Cambodia at the moment, loving

Here’s to Mr.

D’oh!Posted by Gala
March 23, 2010 22:12:51
I spent the last day in Laos running around Viengtiang, lovely city, amazing
temples; I took a tuc-tuc with Mr. Thong (I choose to pronounce it as tongue),
he drove me around all morning, I invited him for lunch and he took me to the
distiest hidden market ever, where I had some broth with herbs and tons of
chili; we barely exchanged a word and yet it was the most enjoyable meal I had
in a while.

I did not plan the Lao part of my trip properly, I did not inform myself and
was a lazy traveler who had high expectations without doing any research, shame
on me!

Mr. Thong reminded me of how wonderful the simple things are and I realized I
was being unfair to his country and behaving like an arrogant brat, ridiculing
a whole nation I don’t even know.

Perhaps I return after my retreat with the Monks, by then dry season will be
oven and vegetation obscenely lush (as opposed to the dry landscape I
encountered). I might redo Laos and a some of Vietnam.

Thanks Mr. Thong!

Friendship Bridge

D’oh!Posted by Gala
March 23, 2010 00:35:06

The “Travel Agency” promised it would be an 8 hour drive in a VIP
luxury bus and a 5 minute deal to get the visa from the Thai-Lao Friendship
Bridge, taken by private taxi to our bus; as an alternative they recommended a
truly breathtaking 2 day journey through the Mekong river on a slow boat to
rest our tired bones we would sleep in a lovely little village and proceed the
next morning to our final destination: Luang Prabang, proclaimed by UNESCO as a
World Heritage Site.

Allow me to illustrate..

The “private Taxi”… what can I say?

The VIP bus was a minivan filled to the last cubic centimeter with smelly and
tired looking backpackers, average age: 13, average height 2.20 (7′) so they
were folded into the car like noisy accordions.

We then switched buses and I was so glad!… and I was so wrong to be glad!

The ride took -count ’em- 16 SIXTEEN hours in a regular bus designed to fit
Asian people (average national height is that of a leprechaun), not only that,
but it was regular routed bus, which meant he stopped every 30 minutes to drop
off or pick people up… Lao folks are know for being laid back, which is
polite for “take your Royal time, why dont’cha??!!!” so by the time
they grabbed their multiple boxes and bundles of joy, got down got the money,
negotiated the price and waved bye-bye to passengers I was quite ready to break
their knees.

I did get to the the scenery, which was nice at some stages: bamboo houses,
kids running around, showers were a public deal (naked for the kids, in a
sarong for the ladies) it was quite unexpected that they showered at all, as
the smell of the people on the bus was unbearable, really. It also surprised me
tremendously to see that those dusty bamboo huts had a satellite dish… I
mean, women were picking fleas out of each other’s hair (I swear to God, I
think it was a social thing) kids were running around naked, the older ones had
only a dirty t-shirt and no underpants… no nickers but 87 channels and a
color TV (I could see them shining brightly through the holes and open doors
from the road), that is an interesting list of priorities… to each his own, I

Oohhh and there was entertainment, the driver was well equipped with multiple
tapes -yes, actual tapes- of cheesy pop Lao music, I have the sneaking
suspicion it was from Laos has Talent, Lao Idol or something equally bad; he
played his cursed music LOUD, I mean, he had the speakers going on all over the
bus, it was not unlike being in a live concert, all accompanied by his own
rendition to his favorite tunes, which were played extra loud. by the end of
the 16 -count them SIXTEEN- hours I could already sing some of the tunes, as he
also had a tendency of looping his Top 3. We did get a break every now and then
from this, periodically he would call his buddies on his mobile and held long
and quite animated conversation, all this while he was driving at night, on a
curvy dark road -which was largely undergoing repairs- only one hand on the
steering wheel while the other was holding the phone… constant oncoming

FINALLY we got to Luang Prabang, dropped off at a lonely bus station at 2am in
the morning.

I admit I don’t get VIP treatment often, but I am pretty damned sure that is
NOT the way it goes.

I know I am being mean, but it was a rough ride.


D’oh!Posted by Gala
March 18, 2010 19:55:58

I just had the weirdest episode.

I am in a Chiang Mai Guest House, packing my stuff as I will leave to Laos
tomorrow morning, I realize that my necklace, rings and bracelet are missing,
so I unpack again and NADA; normally I wear these at all times, so I am well
aware of them, except I took them out to go rock climbing and jumping around
the jungle.

I figure I left them in the old room for I had changed the nigh before, so I go
to the Owner, and older Thai woman who speaks no English and I point to neck
and finger saying things are missing, hoping she would open the old room, so
she says to wait, goes into a room beside reception and spends 10 minutes in a
hysterical screaming match with a man, I mean, they were LOUD!

I was waiting around pretending to read a newspaper in Thai, there is more
yelling and thumps, the woman comes out crying, whaling really and just told me
sob! sob! NO sob! sob! and kept on crying, leaning against the counter shaking
her head… I am standing there like an idiot asking if she is ok and patting
her back saying “there, there” so she grabs her little purse and goes
through money (I though she was going to pay for my things or something) gets
some keys out and walks up, I follow her thinking we would go to my old room
and she just goes in to hers, locks the door and after 5 minutes of me waiting
outside, I gave up.

I can still hear her crying.

A silver ring my friend Vanessa made; a silver bracelet my friend Magali gave
me; a silvery necklace, worn so often it was almost a trademark and my b-day
necklace from Abu Dhabi (those are the things I have noticed…)

AND she goes on crying -her room is next to mine-.

Not be be insensitive here, but what about my stuff????!!!!

Abu Dhabi

D’oh!Posted by Gala
March 16, 2010 18:20:02

So, 3 weeks in Abu Dhabi came and went.
Laureus was crazy and great for me in so very many ways…

I SO love Hugh Grant.

Arabian women: hairy, hairy hairy!! no wonder they wear burkas! turns out the
uni brow is a sign of beauty..

Makes me angry that they have to be covered up and walking 3 steps behind men.

Burping… I don’t care what a compliment that is or how culturally different
we are, expelling gas from any cavity at all IS NOT COOL.


D’oh!Posted by Gala
March 01, 2010 00:56:00

SO I spent 3 full days in Bangkok, doing the tourist thing and working just
enough not to feel guilty.
Several things made an impression, first and foremost the fact that on the city
map everything seems so close and it’s damned far when you walk, funny thing is
to stop a taxi, tuc tuc or scooter/taxi and invariably they will say that the
place is too close, too far or too much traffic to go that way…. err… is
that not the bleeping reason for me to take a cab??? because the place is
far??? If I want to take a tuc-tuc to save me 10 loooong blocks and be in time
to catch a movie I might as well forget about it! I never quite got the
“right” distance to be able to hail a taxi.

My friends have told me about the seedy, downright illegal Bangkok bars where
girls are capable of shooting -with brutal force- golf balls, razors and all
sorts of things out of their… birth canal , well I just could not believe
that! I mean, we are all equipped more or less the same, some prettier
accessories than others, I’ll grant you that, but it is just impossible to
achieve that no matter how many funky exercises a girl might when no-one is

So I ask the reception girl at the hotel where the bars where, “the bad
ones, like in the movies” I would say -she looked at me funny, pointed
some are in the map and II gingerly set of to find them ball popping girls,
miraculously managed to get a scooter taxi (best invention ever, although I am
normally twice the size of the Tiny Thai driver), get down and sure enough
there are tons of bars, food stands, and people selling from Rolex watches to
Bob Marley aprons; I walked like a camel in search of water, miles and miles
and miles of bar after bar and no ball popping girls, in fact it was all quite
healthy: families sitting around, sipping lemonades and watching over their
kids lovingly as they held hands… all quite disgusting, really! where are the
Lady-boys?? the razor spitting girls?! the scary looking transvestites??the
massage parlours with multitudinous happy endings??!! NADA, cero, nichts,
niente, rien, not a thing!! there were a few young drunkards who appeared to be
on a fraternity/bachelor trip and girls pulling them from the arm into dark
corners, there were some girls walking around and those frat boys cat calling
and inviting them for drinks… but me? ME??? nobody even looked at me!! I was

I know that there are people who are a magnet for trouble and whilst I am well
aware that I am a healthy one, but could I possibly have started sending granny
signals?? am I invisible??!!

I just wanted to be really bad for a day or at least see really bad things.

I am soooo boring, not even in Bangkok do I see action!


Back to Warm

D’oh!Posted by Gala
February 12, 2010 12:28:48

I just booked my flight from Phuket to Bangkok and a hotel in the Asian Sin
City, where I will be spending 3 days by myself.. some friends are betting I
will break my vow of celibacy there… hmmm… wanna bet again??

Let us examine the evidence:
1) There are like 5 million (born as) women; seemingly all of them are young,
thin, delicate, cute, readily available and easier than 1+1.
2) then you have the male population where 90% are young, thin, delicate, cute,
readily available and easier than 1+1 AND way more feminine than I will ever
be. (the remaining 10% are midget sumo wrestlers).
3) Lastly, those ex pats who are looking for young, thin, delicate, cute,
readily available and easier than 1+1 girls OR boys (really doesn’t make a
difference there).

Adding ALL of the above to the fact that I am not into one -or 3- night stands
plus the fact that I am stupidly mourning lost loves that were never meant to
be, well… what can I say?

I will save myself for marriage.


D’oh!Posted by Gala
January 28, 2010 21:47:38

Walking around Patong and seeing SO many blonds, and British -2 of my fav
things put together- I could not help to wonder if I ever will date again, it
would be lovely but I just don’t think so… seems SO far away, so complicated!

The whole love thing appears to be such a fleeting, unreliable and deceptive
feeling which invariably ends up in pain and/or suffering, it just doesn’t seem
worth the risk and effort.

Perfectly happy just window shopping those surfers and cute looking foreigners
in Thailand.

I do hope I eat my words at some point in my life, but just now I can’t even
bring myself to even consider for a MINUTE to have an affair… This would be
unheard of 2 18 months ago, even 6 months back!

Scary what a cocktail of guy disappointment and a Muslim country can do to a
woman’s spirits, the first most disheartening of all.



D’oh!Posted by Gala

Wed, January 27, 2010 18:25:49

Having a GREAT time in Phuket, this place is awesome!

Since it looks like I will most certainly be by myself and homeless 2 weeks in
Feb, I just might spend that time here in Thailand (curse men!!)

Sun, beaches a tiny bikini and internet, a girl does not need more!


D’oh!Posted by Gala
January 24, 2010 02:43:45

Tonight is my last night in Khunfunadhoo Island, Baa Atoll Republic of

D- E – L – I G – H – T – E – D

I have accomplished all that I set myself out to do here and then some: learned
TONS of things in terms of work and a brand new industry, made GREAT new
friends who will last me a life time, realized that I can pretty much live
anywhere under almost any type of circumstances -provided I have internet-,
fell in love with Skype all over again AND…

Taaaaa Daaaa!!!!!

Got my PADI license for diving!!!!

… of course, being me and the way I am, I got it the day I am leaving, so I
can’t dive any more…

I guess I will just have to sacrifice and move to Thailand for a month and live
in one of those surfer/diving /sea side places…

life IS tough!
(did I mention surfing place?… as in full of SURFERS?!!?

Those of you who are old enough, sing to Simon & Garfunkel:

And here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson
Jesus loves you more than you will know (Wo, wo, wo)
God bless you please, Mrs. Robinson
Heaven holds a place for those who pray
(Hey, hey, hey…hey, hey, hey)


D’oh!Posted by Gala
January 22, 2010 19:01:33

Just finished working for the cheapest lamest most unsophisticated person I
have come across… and he is supposed to manage a high-luxury resort, imagine

Just gave my uniform back, cleaned my PC and I am BACK to my jeans and MacBook,
working in a cool event, on my way to a Thai holiday.

Life is sweet!

Falling into place

D’oh!Posted by Gala
January 17, 2010 22:45:40

Got a gig in Abu Dhabi… SO exciting! 3 weeks in UAE, working with my mates in
something I REALLY like and it will enable me to live for 1 year in Thailand
(or 2 weeks in Florence…)

There is a God and She loves me!!!

So, according to my master plan I will meet my best friends in Phuket, then off
to Berlin with my Boys, if I get lucky a few days away with that elusive oh! SO
terribly desired Mr. a Destiempo somewhere in Europe OR traveling… gawd knows

The land of Liberty is singing my name, luring me like a chubby Sexy Siren and
I cannot wait to be there.

Wonderful project.

Candles are burning


D’oh!Posted by Gala

Wed, January 13, 2010 00:16:47

Ok, so I screwed up…
I let my hot temper get the best of me… the Guerrero got to my head… and my
head got chewed big time.

So now that I am cool, I have a ton of things to say, but he is so DAMNED mad
at me I’m afraid I can’t do a thing.

When the hell did I get to be the bad guy ALWAYS??? Granted, I a ain’t no
saint, but I own up to my fu*k ups, and just cause I take responsibility
doesn’t mean I am the ONLY one at fault.

Darn… gotta find a place to stay now… how did I go from a romantic getaway
to living under a bridge?!

10 days left here! toc toc tic toc…

Who to choose?

D’oh!Posted by Gala

Thu, December 31, 2009 00:10:07

Just watched “Alfie” starring Jude Law…

It is just too much to bear, watching those baby blues and pouty lips
complaining about loneliness and want of a better half…

Small debate aroused with a friend and colleague about the shagadelic qualities
of Jude Law and I for one have declared myself all for the cause, so after
admitting all sorts of preferences, I am happy to list the lucky winners:

1. Mr. Jude Law. Any time any place, preferably a romantic setting.
2. Mr. Matthew Mc Conaughey for a wonderful summer love affair (with his shirt
off at all times).
3. Mr. George Clooney for a long lasting relationship which will lead nowhere.
4. Mr. Brad Pitt as arm candy and nothing more.
5. Mr. Jake Gyllenhaal for “I will marry you and have your children even
if it takes a scientific miracle”.
6. Mr. Julian Mc Mahon for “Ok Darling, you may take me to Paris for
dinner and butter my croissant in the morning”.
7. Mr. Ewan McGregor for “boy next door” syndrome.
8. Mr. Leonardo di Caprio to satisfy the Ms. Robinson crave.
9. Mr. Will Smith to have a weekend of fun and dismantle any racist theory on
my taste in men.
10. Mr. Hugh Jackman to restore my faith on the possibility of finding a slim
waistline and full head of hair after 40.

Mr. Ashton Kutcher for “I’m over 40, divorced with kids and I will rock
your world” and “yes please! 1 cutie pie to go”

Stay tuned for blast from the past where you will most likely find the likes of
Mr. Rock “Who cares you bat for the other team” Hudson and ambiguous
bad boy James Dean.

We might even go for a top 10 pin up girl with Ms. Ava Gardner at No 1…


D’oh!Posted by Gala
December 29, 2009 16:19:30

I have effectively become homeless come
January 23rd … in fact I might be unemployed end of March if I don’t play my
cards right.

How funny is that?!

Iti s soooo incredibly exciting! I’m giddy
n’ all! will grab my backpack and after Berlin I have NO clue where I will
live… I think I should lose myself in Indonesia… or Thailand… these are
the only places I can afford to travel around aimlessly.


(add mad -scientist laughter)


D’oh!Posted by Gala
December 25, 2009 07:40:52

Love that warm vapor that comes out of dry cleaner shops.
That -to me- is the smell of cleanliness.

Evokes a perfectly pressed white dress shirt…

Few things get me going like a a man in a well cut & immaculate
white shirt, first 2 buttons undone… just a glimpse of collarbone and a drop
of perfume.

Yes, that is the most erotic scent combination: dry cleaner + manly aftershave.



D’oh!Posted by Gala
December 20, 2009 17:17:24

Lady Liberty just winked at me and got me all excited.

Mmmhhh…. could it be that I swap Asia for the Americas?!?

Shamelessly flirting with the idea.