Listening to: Outtrigger “Echo”
Attire: still in my gym attire
Smells: Clean – Cotton T-shirt
Out the window: Outlook dark (it’s 11pm, after all)
I sometimes get the question – “You travel a lot. What is the weirdest…” (fill in your favorite question topic here).
So let’s pat down the list of weird experiences during some of my travels (by all means, some of my travels are perfectly normal, mundane and not the least bit weird. Some…)
1. …food ever eaten?
I’m not a food snob, but there are things I wont put in my mouth – if I know what they are. Most often, I bite into whatever’s on the plate in front of me before I even bother to ask what I’m munching on. Needless to say my mindless naivety is stronger than my survival instinct. So, the weirdest things I’ve ever eaten – it’s a tossup between chocolate covered cockroach (not tasty at all – brrrr) or grilled goat testicles (surprisingly agreeable!)
2. …place ever consumed food?
I do hang out with foodies, so a lot of questions I get is about food. The weirdest place I’ve ever sat down for a meal was in the crater of an active volcano. No, it didn’t erupt. If it had, the BBQ I was having would have been a lot more caliente than what’s healthy…
3. …place for a cultural event?
Well, I’m a culture buff, and if there’s an opera somewhere within 300 miles, sign me up. So I tend to drag my poor companions along to places like Margitsziget for outdoor operas (2014 programme available here). However, the weirdest, and at the same time most wonderful place I’ve ever been for a cultural event was a classical music symphony at the underground church hall in Wieliczka Salt Mine. The entire room, frescoes, chandeliers and whole shabang is made out of salt. It’s chilly. But oh, so wonderful!
4. …explanation for a near-miss?
It was in Florens, an amazing town I wouldn’t mind dropping by again. But c’mon guys, all those vespas? On sidewalks, even? Yes, it was a near-miss that left me startled and puzzled, sitting on my ass on the sidewalk, for a moment unable to wrap my mind around what had happened. The guide that picked me off the sidewalk, not to mention off the mental floor I somehow had managed to sprawl my mind all over, declared with a shrug “Chaos! Italia!” as it was normal for tourists to be living speed bumps for locals. Than again, if it’s tourist season, surely you must be able to off a few…?
5. …reason to go abroad?
There are absolutely NO weird reasons for travel. But I’m a girl. A girly girl. In high heels and with a massive abundance of purses. So, when the only reason for me to go to Budapest one year is the finale of the F1 at the Hungaroring, some people (read: guys) raise their eyebrows. Once again, no reason is too weird, trivial or silly to go abroad. Get a ticket and just go!
6. …places you’ve been picked up?
No, it doesn’t happen that often as people seem to think, even though I often travel alone, or with female friends. But the weirdest place anybody ever tried to pick me up was in the very long line to a public restroom in Italy. He almost succeeded, too, which should say something about the charmeur-skills on that one. ‘Nuff said!
7. …thing you ever packed?
That would be a 1,3m tall Kohomba statue, carved out of a single piece of wood, that I got in Sri Lanka. I love that piece more than what’s considered mentally healthy. It was expensive, true, but I have never, nor will I probably ever again, come across a piece of art that grabs me so. A shout out to Mahinda, who carved the big, beautiful thing. It didn’t want to fit into my suitcase. I had to leave clothes behind. And I spent the entire flight home at the edge of my seat, hoping it wouldn’t break. It survived and now holds the honorable place in my living room. Best-Buy-Ever!
8. …disease you ever come down with?
No so much I, as everybody else. First time in Egypt, I was about 23 or so. I went with family, on a package tour, to a five star hotel. Every single person in our tour group spent a couple of days clinging on to the porcelain throne, negotiating with a newfound God (it’s strange, the places and times people seem to find religion). Every single person but me. Eating the same food, drinking the same beverages, swimming in the same pool. I can’t complain, so far, not a single trip has made me toilet-bound. Must be the sheet-metal lining in my stomach…
9. …compliment you’ve ever gotten?
I consider it a huge compliment when you succeed in blending in with the locals. I’m fully aware, and actually celebrate the fact that I am a mere tourist (and I don’t care what you call yourself – tourist, traveler, backpacker, explorer… if it gets you to new places, it’s all good to me!) and I don’t try to pretend I’m anything but. Being a tourist has it’s advantages. You can play the dumb-card whenever it fits and explain silly mistakes on the fact you’re not local. But when people talk in their native tongue to you, thinking you’re one of them, it’s the best compliment ever. Not as weird as just pure amazing!
10. …place you never got to?
Well, here’s the thing. I’ve been on my way to San Francisco (CA) about three or four times by now, I even had booked and paid for (in full) tickets there twice, and yet I haven’t had the pleasure. And while every bone in my body screams “Go there, you need to, you want to, you HAVE to!”, somehow, every opportunity fiddles away. Something always gets in the way. Like airline strikes, vacation time revoked or – and here’s the weird part – someone treating me to a trip to San Francisco in Cabo Verde. Of all places…
First part of the list – stay tuned for more weirdness…