Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Snakes, Islands, flat tires, and a moral dilemma

I finally watched the video that inspired Danny to want to do this trip.  It wasn’t youtube... it was actually an episode of Top Gear, which is a british car show.  This particular episode they do just what we did (or we them really). Buy bikes in Ho Chi Minh, and drive to Hanoi. If you’d like to get a visual idea of what we did, and laugh till your belly hurts, watch these!
We left off last in Hoi An. What a quaint and charming city. We sat at a little riverside cafe, indulging in local flavors, relaxing enjoying the atmosphere that I picture for Barefoot Village! Open, airy, a bit disheveled but well thought out, natural, inspiring, and with fantastic views :). We took a little boat ride with a tiny little Vietnamese woman (she being more than happy when I wanted to help paddle). We partook in Hoi An’s biggest claim to fame: custom clothing. This was just plain fun. I went thru magazines, picked out whatever cuts I wanted, whatever fabric I wanted, whatever fringes I wanted. I bought 5 dresses and Danny 4 suits. Went there 3 times for fittings and adjustments. And they made it ALL in 24 hours. One day! Crazzzzzyyyyy!  Can’t wait to wear them in 2 months! hah ;). Then to the beach where we had a swim, a sunset, a margarita, and a great conversation w/  a lovely local girl named Lan.  Her father was in the war. He was injured and could never work again. He won’t talk about it, brings back bad memories. I bet:(.  She says she thinks a lot of US people say they are from somewhere else when here. I have intense mixed emotions about that. I couldn’t do it, even though a couple times (around old men especially) part of me pondered if I should, but I just couldn't.  This RTW trip has shown me more than ever what an absolute extreme incredible blessing it is to be an American, and for no reason will I ever deny or dismiss that.]

Great sign at Slow Food, an awesome cafe
Despite the brown water, Hoi An is super cute :) 

She hugged me when I gave her extra $. Love her :)

Loookkking sharp in a custom made suit!

From there, we drove to Hue. Hue was the capital of Vietnam from 1802 till 1945, a UNESCO site, and supposed to be well worth a visit.  Our plan was to leave early for the 3+ hour drive, stop at marble mountain (caves and climbs and a zillion statues = super neat) and spend the afternoon touring the 100km perimeter moated citadel, in time to catch our scheduled 5pm bus (We needed to buy some time in order to do all we wanted up North).
The drive, by choice, ended up taking forever. Marble mountain was too neat to speed thru, a stop at the famous China Beach seemed appropriate, and then we reached the Hai Van pass. This section of road was p-h-e-n-o-m-i-n-a-l.  Oceanfront, thru the mountains, a green and blue heaven. Amazing views and barely any other traffic. I got neck cramps from looking around so much ;).  Ammaaazing. If you’re a road tripper, add this one to your bucket list. Once thru the mtns, we pull into a cafe for lunch. It rained while we were eating and stopped before we were done. How convenient :)   We drive on, intending to gain some time for our Hue visit, when my back wheel starts tweeking. Luckily I was able to stay upright, and fortunately we were only one block from a shop. How convenient. :). 30 mins repair, pay and drive on. Unfortunately, five minutes later, second flat. One block from a shop :). 30 mins, a new tube this time, we pay and drive on. Five minutes later, a THIRD flat! Obviously something in the tire, a hand signal/ demonstration/ somewhat humorous request for an extra thorough search thru finds a sliver of steel the others had missed. Whew!  We got to Hue at exactly 5pm on the dot. Bus was late, so we had time to baby wipe wash up, reorganize our packs, and get some snacks.  So much for our Hue adventure! We did get to see a bit of the moat and the outer wall from the bus window ;) HA!

Marble mountain treasures :

I've never been around so much cheese in my life ;) 

Heeellllllooo Hai Van Pass!

Truly awesome drive
Flat #1. He did a super thorough patch on the inner tube... 
HUE! ... from the bus ;) 
This may seem like an afternoon of inconveniences, but we both felt like it must have been meant for us not to see Hue. How lucky that every flat tire happened to being right next to a bike shop and to arrive exactly at 5pm? Too perfect.  Maybe Hue was a place we’d have gotten attacked my killer slugs? Who knows, life works as it’s supposed to :).

Our ride was a sleeper bus (which I didn’t even know existed) with double decker chair beds. Awesome. I slept all thru the night, and our bikes came along in the storage compartment underneath. I suppose we ‘cheated’ in our cross country adventure, but certainly I still feel like an accomplished road tripper :) We arrived to Hanoi at 6:30am the next day. The big reason we jumped ship on driving was a famous 3day-2night excursion to Halong Bay Danny had heard of. We wouldn’t have had time if we’d driven. First thing we do is go to the booking place, only to find out there’s a typhoon coming and all trips to Halong are cancelled today and tomorrow! Shucks! Instead, we take a very leisurely 2 days exploring Hanoi.

Free deer rides at the Botanical Gardens

Sweet dragon at the Temple of Literature
I’m quite impressed with this place actually, Hanoi. We stayed in the Old quarter, just a mess of crazy streets with zero rhyme or reason.  Each street is set up as a seller of certain things. There are a few exceptions tossed in, but for the most part, there’s an entire street selling stuffed animals. Plastic goods. Handiman stuff. Swimsuits. Flowers. Mystery meat. You name it. And my shopping weakness: shoes! This street was hard for me to ignore, but the thought of haggling helped keep me away ;)
Hanoi, like any big city, is a crazy mess of people.  A zillion bikers (saw one guy carting huge ceramic pots and a goose!) and haggling galore. Danny came up w/ a hilarious (to us) joke that the haggling in Hanoi is hannoying ;) heheh. The bikes are a very welcome escape. I love freedom. We go see some sights, take a lake swan boat ride in the rain (to make up for the missed one at Ta Cu), have ice cream on a giant boat shaped like a dragon, and my personal favorite, we drove around the entire West Lake!  This was awesome. +/-90% of it is right on the water!! Such a great medley of Hanoi in less than an hour. Definitely some of the swankiest parts of the city, mixed in with the little tiny fish shacks. Tons of fishermen, expats, even some swimmers, a ferris wheel, architectural gems of temples and pagodas, giant dragon statues, and... ginormous ponds of lilies!!! Soooo cool! Some had giant pink flowers on them, loved these! We came across this honestly (even though now I see it's all over the internet) so it felt like we discovered a real treasure. Glad to see others enjoy it! :)

As you can see, the swam are immaculately maintained ;) 

Our last two days we got to do the much awaited Halong Bay trip, and it did not dissapoint! This place, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, is absolutely amazing. The bay consists of some 1,600 mostly unihabited islands! They have been formed in a similar fashion as the Pinnacles I just visited, by millions of years of erosion, but these jut up from the water, creating this simply wonderful polka-dotted-island-venice-type-water-journey unlike anything I’ve seen. The islands themselves are beautiful, being on a boat of course just a pleasure, plus then you come across these little floating villages-- where some people live their entire lives, never setting foot on the mainland! Wow!!!  At the place we went kayaking (which was super neat, going in and out and thru little caves and tunnels) there were two little boys about 3 and 5.... interesting to think they may not know what running thru a field feels like.  We toured through a ginormous cave (also reminiscent of Mulu), and spent an afternoon on one island with a beach and a stairway to the top for a 360 view. Wow-- this place is amaaaazing! Boat jumping, drinking and Becky’s famous games followed on our overnight boat stay ;) At one point, I decided to sneak off for a midnight swim to see what the other boats were doing, which may or may not have have resulted in the freaking out of staff when I turned up missing, the launch boat being sent to look for me. Oops! Luckily I was almost back by then and they were actually quite chipper when I swam on by yelling how great the water was ;). Hhaha. Probably not the best decision I’ve ever made... at least I was conscious enough to take a life jacket ;)

Best vantage point ;)

Approaching the amazing!


Up close and personal

Floating village
Floating 7-11 ;)

View from the cave. We weren't the only ones that thought this place was awesome.
It was a bit like Disneyland in some part
This cave was humungous!
Kayaking thru mini caves!

Group jump!!!
View from the top of Titop Island :)
This place really is amazing.
Back to Hanoi the following evening, just in time to join a tour to Snake Village.  We’d heard of this Vietnamese tradition, of  killing, eating, drinking the blood of snake. I wasn’t sure about it but I thought I’d go and experience the culture of it. I found out something quite definitively about my adventurous spirit; it does not extend to killing of animals.  I’m not trying to be an animal activist, I am not a vegetarian, I don’t condone what the others did (well, mostly) ... I just couldn’t stomach it. Here’s a random, strange fact about me: I don’t like to eat meat off the bone. I will (and have) in circumstances that required it (like accidental orders or being offered or trying something like frog legs just to try) but in normal everyday life, I eat chicken breast, only. Not drumsticks, thighs, or any other part where I might see a vein or a bone, or god forbid that nasty poop line in shrimp. I don’t eat chicken wings, prefer a fillet if I’m going to eat a steak, and when served fish, lobster, crab, etc...I prefer it just the meat, not all the stuff that keeps it looking real. Pretty much I’m someone who prefers to not think (or see) that I’m eating an animal. Vegetarians and animal lovers please don’t hate me for that comment. And maybe don’t read on about what went down next at snake village. 
Eight of us go. At first it’s cute, there’s a dude letting us play around and hold the snake, being silly with it like putting it down our guide’s pants! Is that a snake in your pants or are you just happy to see me? ;) hah. Then the question comes, who want to eat a heart? 5 people say yes (Danny too!), that means 5 snakes have to die:(. Not even a question for me.. no way jose.  Then we sit. They bring the snakes. It’s not just eating a heart though, it’s actually slicing open the snake, and biting out it’s still-beating heart. Squeeze some blood into a vodka shot, and you drink that to chase it down. Then they turn and whack the snack against the ground to finish it off. I was thoroughly appalled.  On the verge of sick stomach actually. This is a strange paragraph for me to write. We killed a snake in Nepal because it could possible kill us. This though, just seemed cruel and unnecessary. But then again earlier in the week I ate a roasted pigeon (or sparrow or quail, we weren't sure which). I eat chicken, pig, cow frequently. Goats, lamb... here probably even some dog and rat, who knows. I just don’t want to see it done? I even tried the snake meatballs and some other tray of snake matter later in the evening. I’m a super hypocrite and I’m feeling sorry and uncertain about it. :(  I decided to drink excess amounts of vodka (plain vodka!) to stop my lips from curling down all night and my mind from fighting. It’s worthwhile to mention the tour we came with is one of the biggest party hostels, and our guide was suggesting shots about every 5 minutes. A few hours and a zillion bottles later, we’re smashed, me more drunk than I’ve been this entire trip.  I forget my heart string tugs, my thoughts that maybe I should go veggie, and party my ass off. It was a ridiculous night, yelling and jumping and chanting and dancing and making more local friends than I've made the whole 2 weeks. Lordy lordy I can be a wild gal. Still crazy sober, but insane drunk. I should not be allowed to have more than 3 drinks, ever!

"make a face about how you feel about all this"

A few hours... and bottles later ;/ Haa
But now I’m sober again. I’ve thought of it many times. I don’t like to be a hypocrite. A sugar coater. Obviously I’ve got a problem with the killing of animals (but spiders or ants are okay?). In 7th grade I couldn’t dissect the frog in science class. I hate seeing all these animals bunched up in tiny cages or overworked. I don’t like to eat things that look like an animal. Maybe I should become a vegetarian? Im super torn :(  Is this a moral issue? I don’t know, I just know I feel bad sometimes, but not when I’m eating a juicy cheeseburger. Is that what being a vegetarian is though? Just a conscious choice not to eat meat, regardless of whether you like the taste of it or not? Can you be a good vegetarian if you aren't strongly invested in that choice? Feel free to share your experience/opinion.
In the end, Vietnam was super beyond any thoughts I had of what it might be. It’s an absolutely beautiful place, friendly people, great new experiences. One complaint, it was definitely too short, missing the real bonding I like to get with more time! Still an excellent adventure... plus now I feel way better wearing socks with toe sandals. Way cool :) 

I sold my bike in the end for $75, tossed my amazingly wise helmet in for free ;) 

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Badass Bikers!

My pal Danny (remember the one that came to visit me for 4 days in Kolkata?) calls me a few months ago. He had more time off to take, an itching for adventures, and a Top Gear episode for inspiration.  What’s that equal?  How about a cross country Vietnam vacation, from Ho Chi Ming city to Hanoi, via motorcycle? :).   Took approximately .05 seconds to scream YES!!!!

So we met here last week, and first things first, we bought motorcycles. Yup. Best $275 I ever spent. I fully understand the appeal now: reward is greater than risk.  Car driving has never been my thing.  It puts me to sleep like a monotone teacher in a lecture class.  I like a lil‘ excitement you know, this is most surely why I swear by convertibles already.  Now, expand that whipping wind feeling, throw in good scenery, an open road, random smells, bugs smacking you every once in a while, a few close calls, and goooood vibrations...  and I now see the light :)   

A Motorcycle: can be used as a chair, a ladder, even for a cat nap.  Its easy to stop/go, get on/off, u-turn, reverse, and squeeze thru traffic :).  The best thing though, about driving a motorcycle, is the freedom.  Freedom to stop whenever, wherever. To park wherever. To go up pedestrian ramps and on sidewalks. To go the wrong way on a one way. To go where cars can’t and where public transportation won't take you. To wave/grin/ask directions or chit chat w/ fellow bikers or pedestrians. Basically awesome. I’m actually considering a moto in lieu of a new car once settled, wherever that may be :)  
The process to get the bikes themselves was a half day adventure mission.  We met a chain smoking guy named Son on the street, who was more than eager to show us a place, no doubt getting a cut for bringing us in. He drives us to a random neighborhood (not even in our guide book maps mind you) to a house/mechanic shop with 5-6 bikes to choose from. We take multiple test drives and spend 2-3 hours there having the guy fix the brakes/ change a tire so we can feel comfy dropping 5 million bucks (Dong that is;). Danny’s picked a grey Honda, I’ve got a purple Daenan that I've named Pinky :).  We make our purchase and then follow Son around the city. Bike lock, check. Helmets, check. Bike racks for our packs... uncheck. Nothing fits my random bike. Solution? Go to a welders shop! This was awesome. The dude (barefooted, no eye ware, no gloves) takes some rebar, and just straight up makes me one. They actually weld it to the bike frame, putting dirty water soaked rags over the engine and gas hole so they don’t cause an explosion! Scary. $7 dollars and 30 some minutes later--- custom bike rack! Loveeee it!  We scour a great local market (using hand signals and great acting skills) to find bungee cords... and there you go, we have officially entered the realm of badass bikers :).

Okay, maybe not so much badass. More like 'biker babe'.
Okay.... maybe not so much 'babe' either ;) haha

Is this Southern Cali?
Amazing ocean driving from Mui Ne to Nha Trang

We’ve had five full days of driving so far, between 7-9 hours door to door,  logging over 1100km from Ho Chi Minh City to Hoi An, where we are now.  For us odd Americans, that’s around 685 miles.  Bikes here have only about 100-150cc power, so don’t give us shit if you figure what our average is;). We’re thoroughly enjoying the journey, taking in all the great sites and people and side adventures. Plus Danny’s bike (named Betsy;) doesn’t agree with 4th gear, so we’re limited to around 60km/max (that’s a guess cuz neither of our speedometers or odometers work!). 

The first day was the craziest... mostly urban driving, in a city estimated to have between 4-5 million motorcycles. We meant to get an early start, but had trouble with that. Ended up leaving in the peak of Ho Chi Minh (HCM) morning traffic.  Oopsie! I loved it though! It‘s a life-size puzzle of Madness. Everywhere. It is an art, the moto driving. It’s like ants. No stop sign? No problem, you just arrive to the intersection, slow down, and weave thru. Bikes coming every which way in what would look like a recipe for disaster, but it’s actually quite logical, eliminating the annoying full stop when so obviously unnecessary. You just go on thru. Easy! There’s no such thing as rules of the road, so it’s nice to know you’re not breaking any:). The ironic thing is, they drive on the right side of the road here, but I’ve grown accustomed to the left over the last 7 months and keep forgetting! Habits are so easily formed, and broken!   A few people had said HCM wasn’t a place to spend much time. I think that’s because if you were trying to explore in a taxi, you’d get driven insane by the traffic and bikers.  Much better to BE the biker :).

At one of the few traffic lights. There are more motorcycles in
HCM than there are people in Los Angeles. Whoa
The urban madness is quite fun...but (as if there would even be a question), I prefer the natural scenery!  The drives have just flown by, everyday feeling even better than the one I swore was my fav the day before :).  One day was largely next to the ocean, speckled with little islands, marine traps, and little round bowl-like boats (called thung chai).  I love how the sun sparkles on the water and when there are rocks dotting the shore. We cross many rivers, packed with brightly painted fishing boats and houses on stilts. I’ve been surprised by fields of massive dragon fruits crops, seeing wheat being pounded out and packed up right on the side of the road (like, actually on the asphalt!), and the amazing vastness and perfect greenness of the rice fields.  But more than anything, I love the mountains. Be it winding thru them or seeing them in the distance, with that amazing blue haze that far off mountains get.  I think late afternoon, early evening is my favorite time to drive, with the flawless green rice just next to me, a far off line of darker green trees behind, backed by the dark blue of the distance mountains, and then the baby blue sky littered with gleaming clouds. Just after sunset being the ultimate in awesome, when the sky is lit up with all sorts of colors, the mountains making silhouette art on the horizon. Ohhh I’m so happy just reminiscing on the scenes as I sit here and write this!!!   Speckle these views with the cute little iconic asian round hats and you get a wonderful Vietnamese road trip. :) 

The wind sweeping thru the rice adds another element of wonderful :)

Fish houses on the river

Sun saying hello :) 

Wheat on the road. Old Vietnamese man. Green Rice. Green tree. Blue mountains. Blue sky

Favorite time to drive

Mountain art

I'd love to try and paddle one of these :) 

This is a dragon fruit plant. Huge fields of these things. Then you pass stands with hundreds
of the pink and green fruits for sale. They are Deeeeelicious :) 

We’ve gotten rained on, had a tree branch fall on us (painless), had 3 flat tires (always within a few mins of a shop! See my luck?), and were blessed with an amazing (and free ;) ) lightning show one night.  We got doused by a passing semi’s huge puddle splash, we got shit on by a bird, got a butterfly in the mouth, crazy tanlines, and have been dirty as all hell!  We’ve driven inches (inches!) away from people carrying anything and everything from huge baskets of fruit to their dogs and mounds of grass to a kitchen sink. Reminds me of India, except you get the round hats instead of the red forehead bindi :). We happened upon an amazing night market and street of lights. We drove thru a real neat communist cemetery. We’ve eaten all sorts of things with no clue as to it’s identity. We’ve stop randomly to have tea and lounge in one of the zillion hammock cafes that line the roads (these are amazing btw). Actually everywhere we stop to eat/drink/rest is random, which makes it all the more awesome.  Stopped once for tea (really a ‘rest-our-sore-butts’ break) and practiced Vietnamese (very badly) w/ a great little local family.  Once we stopped randomly to get sand out of Danny’s eyes, only to have an adorable old man come usher us in to have bananas. He was running back and forth, served us water from old beer cans, cut us fresh limes from the tree. He was just precious :). We’ve driven until the sun went down and found a random place in a city (that remains unknown) in a hotel that tried to sell us the room for one hour. ha. We’re not that kind of friends;).  We took a cable car up a mountain and saw a 160’ reclining Buddha. We’ve swam in multiple spots of the sea, toured old 13th century Cham temples, and passed by a ton of other temples/pagodas. We went and saw the famous water muppets show! It’s just that: puppets in water. I’d heard mixed reviews about this but it was so unique and culturally significant I loved it, albeit a bit cheesy!!!   We went to a mineral mud bath place where I discovered how awesome it is to totally float (just added ‘float in the Dead Sea to my bucket list:) ).  On our one off day so far we went scuba diving!! Green coral + neon purple water slug + joining (without them scattering!) a huge school of fish = Major cool! 

Communist Cemetery

Cham Temple 

Danny and the ladies at the Water Puppets show ;) 

Sweet pagoda

Sweet tea :) 

They asked for my phone number, but when I said I didn't have one and tried to give my email instead, it became obvious they didn't have email. Doh! I felt like an ass! 

Buddha and I. He's my om boy ;) hehe

Cutesssstttt little ol' banana man ever :) 

Not a bad morning on the South China Sea!!!! 

I love mud :) 

We also drove up to Cu Chi, where we visited temples and I shot an M-16 (and knocked over the target btw!). This area is famous for the tunnels tour, a tiny sampling of the immense network of underground tunnels where some Viet Cong lived/worked/hid/fought during the war. It’s hard to enjoy this as carefree as I do most things, seeing that it had booby traps all over... for the US Soldiers. We also went to the Vietnam War Remnants Museum. This was a mind trip for me. My naiveté rears it’s ugly head whenever history comes into play.  I admittedly have very limited knowledge of the Vietnam war (or any war really), so this museum had me with sad eyes and a hand over my mouth for most of it.  It’s pretty anti-American. An entire room dedicated to photos of people all over the world protesting US’s occupancy. Another room dedicated entirely to the effects of Agent Orange, and yet another room dedicated to the devastation of the women and children, all attributed to US. Is this all wholly true or is it being construed here totally one sided? It’s hard to not agree with the photos, but then you also know our soldiers were just doing what they thought (or were told to do) was right. I feel like this is a subject I should really know more about, form an opinion about, but then again.. there are 1000’s of subjects I’d like to know more about.  If I could delve into everything that intrigued me I would never have my head out of books. So, I will leave this subject vague for now, try to have some convo’s w/ my stepdad or maybe some other vets (or civilians of the time) about their opinions, and for the time being enjoy instead the wonder that is in front of me. The Vietnam landscapes and great people who have thankfully, wondrously, not shown any sign of prejudice :). 

I could be good at this...  except, I'm not a gun fan.
Make love not war ;) 

Peak a boo ;) 
Actual war planes. This was before we went inside and got mind f'd.

What else? Hmmm.  Vietnamese people are not scared of meat.  I keep trying to order vegetarian things but it’s not happening!  Mystery meat in everything!  Puff balls pastries, noodle soup (pho), the baguettes stands (everywhere- especially popular for breakfast) include all sorts of random meaty looking things!  They also put items on the table that you would soooo think are included, and then charge you for them! Like napkins, like bread, like peanuts!! hah!  Lots of the restaurants have tiny little kids size furniture! Makes sense I suppose... small people + small space= small chairs :) My knees come higher than the table :). The currency is the dong, $1 being equal to almost 21,000 Dong, making quick calcs a tad bit more difficult! Communication has definitely been the hardest here.... words/phrases like “tea” “vegetables” “where is..” ”what’s your name”... I took for granted they would be known. They are generally not! Thank goodness for our guide books ‘words often used section.’  The best, most useful, and my favorite phrase, is “cam on” meaning thank you.  I use this for everything.. although it stills seems funny to be yelling 'come on' as you walk away and wave ;) 

Just close your eyes and chew.. it's pretty yummy :) 

Mini furniture everywhere! 
Driving has taken us thru scenes that pretty much cover the entire spectrum of poor to rich.  The resort town of Mui Ne has such perfectly manicured medians and flawless roads that one might think they were in West Palm Beach. It’s an interesting mix.  We are having quite a funky mix as well, traveling as backpackers (cheaping out on food, haggling for everything) all the while sleeping like royalty.  Danny hooked us up w/ 4 nights of the first 5 nights in the Sheraton hotels with his credit card reward points! The 2 nights in the HCM hotel were insane. They brought us a welcome fruit basket. What?! I’m not complaining :). The housekeepers came by to see if we wanted ice or extra supplies. The shower has body jets. They had robes and slippers (we donned them of course). Electric curtains. A sauna, ping pong table, free waters, shampoo, conditioner, lotion (remember I’ve been staying in hostels, sometimes you don’t even get a sheet) and then, after more than 6 months withdrawal, my much awaited bubble bath!!!!! Fabuloso :) Then, just to put a lil’ more icing on the cake, before departure we had (no kidding) the most extreme breakfast buffet ever. If there is breakfast served in heaven surely this would be it. Not exaggerating. Seriously Yum. 

Rags and riches :)

Then it was the Nha Trang Sheraton. Whoa. First five-star hotel I’ve EVER stayed in (pretty sure anyways).  We were on the 22nd floor with a balcony overlooking both the ocean and the city lights. There’s a glass wall between the bathtub and the room so when taking a shower you can see the sunset. That was pretty sweet, not gonna lie. 

City view from the Nha Trang Sheraton

5:45am. Not a bad way to start the day :) 
So what life do i prefer? All this fancy schmancyness?? Naaa. Its nice for sure, but I do like things to be able to stand out. A simple, balanced life suits me just fine, and if a bit of ritz and glitz comes every now and then, I’ll enjoy it with fervor, the way I did those four days. I see a pattern of this in many things in my life. It’s the same way I like to eat. Simple with a bit of gourmet every now and then. Same way I like to dress. Plain with a bit of glamour every now and then. I love the ability to get gussied up and look fancy on special occasions.. not everyday. Keeps me real. Keeps me grounded. Keeps things new and exciting! While we were eating the most delish b-fast ever, Danny commented that he loves how I get so animated over little things like pork toast, pistachio danishes and a green tea muffin.  Would I still be that way if I got it all the time? I think so (excited is my most frequent emotion) but still, I don't need it and for whatever reason don't want it.  So, although it’s been completely fab to be spoiled rotten... I’m happy to go back to barefoot and casual :)  I will miss the bubble bath though.. that I could have every day :). 

Confidence trumps fashion any day :)