Coffee Rhetoric: travel
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

September 04, 2009

The Itch

An OVERWHELMING sense of wanderlust has suddenly hit me. A combination of this woman's blog, the incense, the comfy confines of my apartment, and the music I'm playing (Les Nubians) is making me itch with the travel bug again... and it has been some time since I've been abroad. The employment situation MUST work out (no if, ands, or buts) so I can start saving STAT.

January 01, 2008

Sensual Seduction

For the past couple of weeks, I've been watching marathons on the Travel Channel. Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern and Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations. Both shows are pretty much parallel to each other but, I've always been a huge fan of Anthony Bourdain, since the publication of his bestselling book Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Anthony Bourdain is brash and unapologetic with his gastronomic opinions about cooking, vegetarianism, and celebrity (faux) chefs. Moreover, his approach to food, ciggies, and drink seems almost hedonistic. Shamelessly hedonistic. No Reservations makes me a fan of his all over again. Last night I watched Anthony navigate the epicurean and multicultural splendor of Sao Paolo, Brazil. He and two Brazilian companions dipped in and out of the frenzied rehearsals of Carnivale, visited decadent food stands that touted the wonders of pork with all the fixings and various other kabobed meats. They chugged caipirinhas one after the other during their food-hops. But one segment in particular stirred weird emotions inside of me. Anthony, his crew, and his two Paolista friends visitied an Afro Brazilian woman's home. Apparently, this woman opens up her small, modest home to weary travelers (many of whom pay her a small fee) filling them up with a home cooked Brazilian meal (with roots born from Brazil's African slaves), wonderful company, and drink. I watched everyone... the production crew included... appear rapturous and hynotized by this woman's hospitality. Cheeks flushed, eyes glazed from the effects of good food and drink. She had full on seduced them. The scene that played out during that particular segment seduced me. It made me tear (or it could've been the pinot noir I was sipping, but who knows). I felt an overwhelming sense of wanderlust. And a strong desire to be in that particular mix... dancing, eating, my brow covered in a sheen of sweat as a side effect. It made me yearn to be abroad once more. Because that is the exact feeling I had when I frolicked, drank, and ate with abandon, whilst in Palermo, Sicily. I felt nostalgic and emotional because I was once caught up in the rapture of an exotic locale with people who relished and appreciated food and used it as a way to congregate and engage one another... as opposed to our (Americans) unhealthy relationship with food, eating, and feeling regretful afterward. Perhaps I felt a little emotional because 2008 for me, will present a new career opportunity that, if all goes well, may just allow me to experience that high once again. This past year was tumultuous. Not just with me, but universally. Hopefully '08 will offer a slight reprieve, if only for a moment!

October 17, 2007

Le John

Dear Cat,
I know you've been back home from your two week, work related jaunt to India for a minute, but I just want to welcome you back again. I enjoyed hearing about your sweet and sour experiences in Sri Lanka and various other places around India. While I found some of your calamities amusing and in essence poked you with a stick (so to speak), exacerbating your dismay, I begin to mull over your troubling encounters with India's toilets. When you said that many of them left much to be desired and others reeked of centuries old piss, your description of there being no toilet paper, but a hose and some "measuring cup" looking thing in its place, I must admit-- many unsavory visuals flashed and danced around in my sick head! I mean, I'm glad you didn't touch the hose. The thought of someone's pissy, dookey hands fidgeting with a hose & cup 'round their delicates and naughty bits, thereby tainting the hose, leads me to believe that said tools are ridden with all sorts of bacteria and germs. You had no clue what the cup was supposed to be used for and so you were smart and opted to pat down your delicates with the pack of kleenex you keep in your purse. Cheers and way to go with that! Smart. But I was still left to ponder how a traditional Indian toilet works, and so I took it upon myself to do some online research... and found this blog, with a picture of this diagram==> I'm guessing the idea is to use the hose to rinse down the ass and delicates after business is accomplished, and to use the measuring cup thing to douse one's business with water. I assume this makes the bits cleaner rather than using simple toilet tissue. Terrence Howard would definitely approve! Anyway, what is familiar to many cultures, makes those of us from the West bumble along and stew in a pot of ignoramus soup... I think I'll stick to tissue and Summer's Eve feminine wipes. Ignorance is indeed bliss during these circumstances. Enjoy!
Bisous Coffey

October 04, 2007


I'm a huge fan of the reading. Yes, in-between moments of self-indulgence, lamenting my non-existent dating life, self-absorbency, moisturizing, exfoliating, glossing, imbibing and the like, I manage to squeeze in time for some voracious reading. I've consumed some really tasty literary fodder the past couple of months-- but none as titillating as-- (my favorite author)-- Andrea Lee's latest offering, Lost Hearts in Italy. I finally stopped being a coward, and about three weeks ago went down to the public library's main branch, downtown, and got a new library card. A looming balance haunted my previous bibliothecal existence and so I stayed a way. The fine wasn't particularly hefty. It was under 20 dollars, in fact-- (some videos I'd returned late), but the idea of having a library fine intimidated me... Okay, fine, I just didn't relish having to pay one! In any event, I'm happy to report that in the lieu of the library's recent renovations and updated databases, my account was purged, apparently. And so I retained a brand spanking new card administered to me sans having to pay a dime. Loves it. Hungry for more Andrea Lee, who's previous offerings: The Russian Journal (non-fiction, memoir), Sarah Phillips, and Interesting Women (a collection of short stories)-- left me wanting more, and so I checked out her latest aforementioned novel, Lost Hearts in Italy. Andrea Lee, an Ivy League educated black woman from Philadelphia, is an expatriate living abroad in Turin, Italy (for well over ten years)-- where she raises her two sons and is married to an Italian baron named Ruggero Aprile di Cimia. They all live in a large, old, funky fresh castle. Yes, what I fancy my life to be. In any event, perhaps due to Lee's own circumstance, she goes the route of Henry James. Her characters tend to revolve around women of color (usually) living successful, sophisticated, and glamorous, trans-Atlantic lives abroad, while managing relationships with grandiloquent foreign men, who sweep the heroines off their feet. Lost Hearts... has all those same elements but is even more decadent and tragic, as it charts the disintegration of a young American couple's happy (interracial) marriage, due to the wife's inexplicable act of adultery with a surly, cold older Italian billionaire named Zenin. Who is seemingly fixated by the idea of possessing the protagonist's (Mira Ward) whole being. Needless to say, the affair reaches a crescendo and it consumes Mira, culminating in the bitter demise of her marriage and family. Lee's characters seem to encapsulate themselves in a life of grandeur and material success. Her descriptive, almost prose like descriptions of Italy's sumptuous locales makes it easy to get lost and wish you were somehow involved, if only to be in the luscious European backdrop of baroque furnishings and fancy almost hedonistic getaways ...
Heres an excerpt:

The call comes three or four times a year. Always in the morning, when Mira's husband and children have left the house, and she is at work in her study, in the dangerous company of words - words that are sometimes docile companions and at other times bolt off like schizophrenic lovers and leave you stranded on a street corner somewhere. There are moments when Mira, abandoned in the middle of a paragraph, sits glaring furiously out past the computer at the chestnut trees in her hillside garden and the industrial smudge of Turin below in the distance and the Alps beyond. Then the phone rings, and she breaks her own rule to grab it like a lifeline. And eerily enough, as if from hundreds of miles away he has sensed her bafflement, her moment of weakness, it is often Zenin, a man who once wrecked part of her life.

Oh, not Zenin himself, not at first. His billionaire's paranoia is too strong for that. He never calls her on a cell phone, always from his office, never from one of his houses, from his yacht, from his jet. The call is placed by any one of a bevy of young Italian secretaries, the kind who announce their names in bright telemarketers' voices. Pronto, it's Sabrina. Marilena. Or Veronica. It's different each time, but always the kind of aspirational Hollywood-style moniker that in Italian sounds slightly whorish. ---

September 03, 2007