Someone is confused… “What do you Mean-o You-o Don’t-o Get-o My EYEtalian???? It’s Goddamn perfect-o!”
Last April, pigs flew. I boarded a cruise ship with my 74-year-old father. Let me rephrase that: I, who am terrified of boats and get seasick at the sight of water, went on an eight-day excursion from Barcelona to Monaco with a born-again, gun-collecting Tea Partier who [despite getting his uvula removed] snores like a drunken sow. And we shared a room.
[Ed Note: Seriously, do you know how many people die on cruises? The 2011 Costa Concordia disaster aside, every year during cruise season there’s like a story once a week about someone “accidentally” or drunkenly falling overboard – and don’t even get me started on the Norovirus… or the suicide rate of someone who has sat through one too many floorshows].
But then I was offered a cabin with a balcony (so I could always jump if need be) on the Azamara Cruise from Barcelona to Monaco. And before the Ambien I’d taken the night before could wear off, I was on the phone asking Daddy to go with me. When she found out, my older sister said what everyone else was thinking: “Have you lost your damn mind?”
BUT. Not only did the experience change our relationship for the better, we now have plans to do it once a year. And so, because I now think everyone should bond with their parents on a trip, I offer you some tips for how to travel with a parent:
Chilling in Afghanistan with Arnaud – the Swiss YUMM who lives in Tehran. Random, I know.
As those of you who follow me on twitter, facebook or tumblr may know – I just got back from attending the Afghan Ski Challenge in Afghanistan. And by just got back, I mean I literally still smell like the plane, despite two showers. [Ed Note: WTF is up with me and skiing this year? you'd think I'd actually know how to strap on a pair of skis by myself now and get down a green slope without biting it like 15 times... which I don't... or, you know, be super sporty... which, for a woman who's life motto has always been the Lemonheads song, "I Lied About Being the Outdoor Type," is mildly hilarious].
But despite the altitude, the three foot snow drifts and the mandated physical activity, I managed to find the bright side. After the jump, I present to you the YUMMs (Young Urban Mountain Men) who thank fully congregated in Bamiyan for your viewing pleasure:
I’m not even sure I can express how much I love Udaipur, India. the first time i went in 1996, I was mesmerized – I mean, how many cities have lake palaces that you have to take a boat to and you can stay in (it’s a Taj Hotel) – also known as Octopussy’s harem home in the Bond flick. Theres the main City Palace (above) and the Monsoon Palace (Khan’s home in Octopussy) which is on top of a mountain and has the most incredible views out into the mountains and over the valley. The women walk around in brightly colored saris and there are even elephants wandering the streets.
Chichi is cool for so many reasons – chief amongst which is: it has the largest indigenous market in Central America. Clearly, I had to go. And I was not disappointed. Mayans, for miles around, come in every Thursday and Sunday to sell intricately sewn textiles, death masks, chickens, dolls, sweaters, chotchkes, you name it, all at the foot of the 400-year old church of Santo Tomás. The church is built atop a Pre-Columbian temple platform, and K’iche’ Maya priests still use the church for their rituals, burning incense and candles and in really special cases, they burn a chicken for the gods. It’s kind of amazing – especially as I’d assumed all the Mayans died out years ago. I was wrong. Thank God. [Ed note: Mayan rituals are a lot like voodoo rituals - involving chickens, blood, candles, booze, cocaine, leaves and fire. I think it must be a universal fact that pluralist gods liked to party. A lot]. There was also a sick restaurant area in the middle of the market which served the best fried chicken I’ve ever had, hands down. Don’t tell Aunt Dee I said that. She’ll be pissed.
Anyone who knows me knows I love glamour. And nothing says sheer eleganza like Spa Castle in Queens, New York. I mean, come on - who doesn’t love a good, old fashioned, Korean scrub n soak in a Persian palace? Spa Castle offers things like “Chocolate Mud Wraps” (the mind boggles); Private “royal” body scrubs; and in “Sauna Valley” you’ll find Ice rooms and infrared saunas where “Each room, equally ornate in structure and design, offers specific healing affects through the combination of the infrared rays converted to heat with the natural essence of the room itself. The lining of each room is made from natural and authentic components, each organically beneficial to the body.” No, they are not kidding – sign me up!
One day you may find yourself in Bamako, the capital of Mali. I know – crazy, right? But never say never! And if you ever want to see Timbuktu (which I suggest you do), you will have to go through Bamako. Besides, as I learned the hard way, YOU JUST DON’T KNOW WHERE YOU ARE GONNA END UP! And, as some of you may be aware by now, one of my (many) mottos is: Poor Planning Pisses Me Off.
So, After the jump I present you with a list of fun filled, fabulously odd things to do in Bamako that may just change your life: