Why Write?

Originally, I created this blog to document my trip to India. Upon my return, I realized that I couldn't shake the writing bug.
So, feel free to read about my adventures in India and stay tuned for my traveling updates!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Kissed the Girls and made HER cry

I have met some real characters during my nine months of traveling. In some ways I feel like I have seen the best and the worst of mankind. Unfortunately, one theme that stands out is the number of men who cheat on their wives while traveling abroad. And, the number that flirt dangerously close to disaster, is staggering. I apologize in advance if this post offends anyone as I may include some “choice” language while I retell some of my encounters. You may not like what I have to say but this is my blog and I have to get my thoughts out. These are the stories of the unfaithful. 

Just today, while standing in the customs line in Chicago, I overheard a trio of NFL referees bantering back and forth about their “travels.” They talked of luggage blunders, unfamiliar hotels, and being apart from their families. Just when I was about to award these men imaginary points for being caring husbands, one of the referees stated, “Yeah, each night I travel is one less night I’m sleeping next to my wife’s “ass.” The other responded, “Well I MAY miss sleeping next to my wife’s “ass” but I have a substitute “ass” that I pay for to keep me company.” Oh boy, did I ever want to unleash my sailor’s mouth on these fellas. But I bit my tongue and gave them a long “squinty-eyed stare down.” 

Like I was saying earlier, I have met many people along the way. I’m not going to lie, I have had a number of men approach me with questionable intentions. I always tell them, “I’m taken.” The thing that has shocked me the most about these encounters are some the responses that I have gotten. A good number of men have replied by pointing to the band on their ring fingers while shrugging or saying something similar to, “That doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time.” Each time this happened, I couldn’t help but think of the women they left behind. You know, the ones who go to bed each night thinking of their husbands and looking forward to their return.   

And the worst part about it all, the part that saddens me the most, is this trail of unfaithfulness seems to have infected our men in uniform as well. It’s frustrating that many good men fall into this snare while serving in the military. Prostitutes are RAMPANT overseas and our men in uniform spend so much time away from their families that it’s an easy trap to fall into. Freedom really doesn’t come free especially when the families have to suffer. I am not trying to undermine their sacrifice for our country as I have a tremendous respect for their dedication and work ethic. But rather, I am sharing my real life experiences and I became weary and discouraged by the behavior that I witnessed. I truly wish I could go back to the time when I was blissfully unaware of how the world really works. I would give just about anything to go back into the safety of my rosy little bubble. 

Now if you are still reading this blog post, I’m sure you are wondering about the women who cheat? I know they are out there; but I didn’t encounter any. In my opinion, this cross-cultural dilemma seems to be mainly a male epidemic. Don’t get me wrong. Not all men cheat. There are still some good ones out there. For example, I had an interesting discussion with an Israeli man on this very topic. He is married with two children and he chooses to stay in his hotel room while his colleagues see traveling as a license to go out and sleep with prostitutes or hook up with the women they meet at the bars.  My response to his disclosure was less than lady like and I know I used a few choice words in retaliation against these men. He stopped me from my verbal fury as he said, “Amy, it’s not the cheating that makes this so bad, it’s the loss of intimacy that these men will encounter with their wives as a result of their choices.” Well I say, a HUGE props to the men who stay faithful and DOWN with the ones who don’t! 

Monday, September 24, 2012

9 Months and 7 Countries Later…


Tomorrow marks the final leg of my tour around the globe! I began my trip in Colorado, flew across the Atlantic Ocean, and simply kept heading East. Crossing over the Pacific Ocean in route to Colorado, will officially make this a 360° trek across the world map. 9 months and 7 countries later and I will finally be setting foot on American soil! The funny thing about this trip is none of it was truly planned, life just happened and I rolled with the punches.

Highlights include sipping champagne atop of the world’s tallest building, camping in the Sahara desert, riding the Marrakech express, and kissing a few camels. I watched my twin brother’s tear up the football field in Dubai, witnessed the Taj Mahal, attended an Islamic wedding, and hiked the islands of Hong Kong. Not to mention that I navigated my way through tire burning protests and lived in a country where the American flag was burned just miles from my house!
An extended visit to see my lover, one summer teaching job in Bahrain, a travel blog, and two graduate classes later, and I’m coming “HOME.” 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Mistake I Hope You Never Make

Lord help us all, or me for that matter! 

On my way back to the States, I decided to feed my travel bug by making a pit stop to see my Dad in Hong Kong. While in route, I committed the traveler's worst crime. I left my wheely bag on the airplane. Yep, I'm guilty! Unfortunately, this luggage blunder cost me an additional 16 hours at the Qatar airport.

(Large Tub of Nutella)
I will blame this crazy mishap on the man sitting next to me on the flight from Dubai to Qatar. Apparently, people in the Middle East don't adhere to the same airplane procedures as the rest of the world. Moments after we landed, everyone bopped out of their seats to grab their luggage. Mind you, the seat belt sign was still illuminated and the plane was still taxying down the runway. 

The man sitting to my right was in an awful rush to join the madness forming in the aisle. In a very loud voice he ordered me to, "Move!" I peered to my left and to my right, there was no where to go! The waving jazz hands appeared and he started shooing me towards the crowed isle, hands waving at me like I was a pesky animal. 

Flustered and preoccupied by the unpleasantries this man was inflicting upon me, I obeyed and fought for a place in the aisle. My routine, the one where I check my seat pocket 3 million times and feel around on the floor beneath me, was recklessly abandoned. Thus, I exited the plane without my luggage.

(Random photo of the baby changing room)
Unfortunately, I realized my mistake a little too late. Once you exit the plane there is no turning back. My pleas and cries to reboard the plane to get my luggage, fell on the deaf ears of the grounds crew. They informed me that it would take 3 hours for them to put the bag through the security process. I was given two options: leave at the scheduled time and file a baggage claim in Hong Kong (we all know how that would have turned out) OR stay at the airport for 16 hours until the next flight. 

I opted for the second option as my baby, aka my Apple computer, was nestled in the safety of my suitcase. You may laugh at my computer-baby comparison but it's no joke! My friends talk about giving birth to their children. Well, I joke about giving birth to a beautiful MAC! I wasn't about to leave my baby behind!!!

Two calling cards, multiple bars of chocolate, random photos of giant Nutella jars and baby changing stations, and four lattes later it was FINALLY time to board the plane.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Road Trip Gone South

Sophie and I set out for a little Arabian adventure.

This was just an ordinary road trip to get out of the city. Destination? Anywhere the wind would take us. We ate ice cream cones, kissed a few camels, and dipped our toes in the ocean, all the while keeping an eye out for that "perfect photo." With Tim McGraw blasting on the speakers and not a care in the world, how could life get any better? Little did we know that our "road trip" would eventually lead to disaster...

After visiting a camel farm, we decided to embark on the hour long journey south to see the famous Tree of Life, which is basically a huge tree growing in the middle of the baron desert. After the tour, which included driving around the tree and performing a photo shoot, we got OUR CAR STUCK in the sand. There was nothing but sand and oil rigs as far as the eye could see. Our efforts to push, dig, and finagle the car out of the sand was futile and only burrowed the wheels deeper and deeper into the sand. 

We gingerly guzzled the last drops of water from our water bottles and started trekking towards civilization, which appeared to be an industrial building about a mile away. With the Arab sun rays beating down upon our heads, the ominous thought that we might just die out there in the desert, crossed our minds. Just when all hope seemed lost, two locals in the form of tiny specks, appeared on the horizon with SHOVELS in hand! Help was on it's way! 

The local men, offered to help "dig us out." They shooed us to go sit in the car. Even though we felt guilty for sitting in the protection of the shaded vehicle, while the men were working, we gratefully accepted their offer. At this point, we were on the verge of heat exhaustion and feeling quite delusional. 

After about 15 minutes of digging, a white fan appeared on the dusty road. Knowing that we still needed more help, I got out of the car and started jumping up and down while yelling, "Over here, over here!" The men in the van, heard our cries for help, and they drove our way. Two husky American military men, out for a scenic drive like us, hopped out of their cars and joined the rescue crew!!! The local men abandoned their shovels and we all worked to pull our car out of the sand, with the aid of a sturdy rope and the strength of the van.

We were finally free! We waved goodbye to the hansdom military men as they drove off into the sunset. As we got back into our car, one of the local men, pointed towards his house, which resembled a tiny shack, and invited us for tea. Desperate to get back to the comfort of our own homes, we declined and went on our way. This may have been a "Road Trip Gone South," but we had an adventure!

This is our photo story...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Salma Gets Hitched-Bahraini Style

A whiff of fragrant herbs filled our nostrils as we approached the door to the wedding hall. Each step brought us closer to the booming sounds seeping through the door. Not knowing what to expect at our very first Islamic wedding, we excitedly opened the door into the unknown.

Our senses came alive as we walked through the threshold and into the reception hall, which was elaborately decorated in shades of vibrant colors. The bride’s cousin greeted us with a smile and a kiss on each cheek. As we were issued to our table I couldn’t help but admire the beauty of the ornately dressed women. Men and women celebrate separately for these events so it was fun to see the women free from their abayas.

The bride, who wore the traditional Bahraini wedding dress, looked absolutely stunning. As you can see in the pictures, her dress was woven with intricate embroidery and she displayed the same golden jewelry that her grandmother wore on her wedding day.

Towards the end of the celebration, the groom arrived at the ceremony with his guests, which is called a "baratt." The women scrambled to put on their head coverings as they formed two parallel lines in the center of the room. The groom, with musicians in tow, proceeded towards his beautiful bride as she welcomed him upon the stage. Flutes played and drums beat as we all cheered on the happy couple! 

The wedding was full of color, ceremony, local tradition, and 
plenty of dancing. I left feeling honored to share in such an experience.