Category Archives: just silly

The (Impossible) Search for Change

The ferry to Uruguay was a quite enjoyable ride. You may ask if I knew I wanted to start my journey in Uruguay, why didn’t I fly into Montevideo?

Here’s why. I can sleep well on flights, and there are no direct flights to Montevideo from New York. I chose to fly into Buenos Aires on a direct flight and start in Colonia. I highly suggest this option as the ferry was quite nice as was the (nearly) uninterrupted sleep.

I also suggest getting small change prior to boarding so you can get something to eat or drink on the ride over because…

Once aboard the boat to Colonia, all I wanted was an apple juice. Remember, I had basically just taken an overnight flight, raced to the ferry and finally collapsed in my seat.

Back at the airport I had been so focused on getting Argentine Pesos for the taxi that I never thought to break them into smaller bills.

I also knew I was going to Uruguay so there would be no need for Argentine Pesos until I returned sometime the following week. So I had taken out only what I knew that I needed for the taxi fare. I was left with only 100 Argentine pesos, which is about $25USD.

On board, while the concession stand took both Argentine and Uruguayan Pesos, I couldn’t get change of 100 Argentine Pesos for such a small purchase. I even offered to add a bag of chips and a banana (my standard travel fare), still no luck.

The man at the register told me to check in with the duty-free shop on board to see if they could change my bill.

I walked into the shop, which had two floors, and it was like Black Friday in there.

How much chocolate, perfume and alcohol do people need?

As soon as the announcement had come on that duty-free was open, people rushed to the doors and I didn’t think much of it. Until I had to go in and try to change money.

I could hardly get to the register because of the number of people jammed between myself and the register, I was nauseated by the overdose of perfume in the air and I was overwhelmed by the number of people who wanted to shop. I wish I took photos because I had to laugh. It was crazy in there!

I quickly gave up on mission: apple juice and went back to my seat to enjoy the view of my river crossing from Argentina into Uruguay.

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It’s like playing a game of Paperboy

Do you remember playing the game Paperboy? I had it as a Nintendo game way back in the day. Loved that game! But I digress.

It might be different from a playing Paperboy on a bike in a suburban neighborhood but I feel like walking through parts of NYC are similar to that game.

You’ve got to dodge tour groups trying to assemble, crush of rush hour workers scrambling to get lunch, sandwich board people directing you to sell your gold, people handing out flyers (which I once did), pop up pocketbook stands, people posing for photos, groups of three walking on a narrow sidewalk, rogue bike messengers and homeless people begging for money. And on a rainy day…you can add in bonus points to dodge those golf umbrellas.

How do you deal?


Celebrate #indie30

Here’s prompt number seven for BootsnAll’s 30 days of Indie Travel Project — celebrate!

It was December 2006. The boyfriend and I had been in Italy for just a few days and we arrived in Florence in the morning on December 31. We had nothing planned. Just our accommodation — a room in a bed and breakfast that a former colleague had recommended which was half a block from the main square and the Duomo.

As we tried to figure out our New Year’s Eve plans with only a few hours to go, the owner of the B&B had told us there would be a large outdoor celebration with music and fireworks in the square at midnight. He had suggested we get to a nearby restaurant early, to try and get an impromptu table for the first seating and then head to the square for the party since everything else inside would have required advance reservations.

This outdoor party appealed to me 0%. While on a smaller scale, it seemed like it would be like New Years Eve in Times Square. Which is not something I ever want to partake in unless I am holding a glass of champagne looking down at the action on the crowded streets below from a heated high-rise building with access to toilets. Big public street parties with large crowds of people do not have any appeal to me at all. And to the boyfriend, even less.

We took the owner’s advice, we went to the restaurant early. We had a surprisingly short wait and were seated with another couple, both Italians. Just before we ordered, I had decided that we would slowly order appetizers, dinner and drinks, stretching our meal over several hours to get us to midnight to avoid the party in the square.

We were really taking our time and probably had just ordered our dinner when the couple seated with us had finished their meal, paid the bill and left. The owner came over to our table and I thought for sure we were going to be asked to hurry up and leave. Not so. Instead, he politely asked if we would mind if his nephew and his girlfriend could join us.

Um?! What? Of course! We’re taking over a table for four with no reservation, we are visiting your country and it’s a money making holiday for restaurants. The owner was delighted that we had agreed that hesent over a round of drinks for the table.

We ate and drank and talked to our table mates. The guy spoke some English, his girlfriend only Italian. With my Spanish and better language skills as a result of the alcohol the boyfriend and I were able to hold a conversation with the guy as he translated for his girlfriend.

The boyfriend ordered a bottle of champagne for the table and to share with the very generous owner.

After the clock struck midnight, we made it onto the streets. At this point we should have probably gone back to the B&B and to bed.

This was nearly five years ago and we have still only been able to piece together our evening with a lot of holes that will probably never be filled. To start, the next day we found wrappers from Italian chocolates in our pockets. Neither of us recall eating them.

We had a few unplanned days later in our trip and we both vaguely remember chatting with some people on the streets trying to figure out where to spend those extra days as we made our way back to Milan. Neither of us are sure how we met these people, or how we started talking or what else we talked about.

As a result of (over) celebrating, we spent the better part of New Years Day, oh, who am I kidding, we spent all day in bed. We left around dinnertime to get some dinner. If I recall, it was ginger ale and rolls.

Once we got home we developed our photos eager to see what we may have missed. We had not yet gone digital so we didn’t know until another week or so what had transpired. The photos helped piece together some of the evening … red wine stained teeth, photos with our table mates, the owners, the waiter – as if we had known them forever and then photos with random people on the street.

So even though we can’t remember all of it, it still made for a very memorable New Years Eve celebration!

* Public safety note: We were young and dumb. We’re also very thankful we were not arrested, injured or robbed while we were less inhibited.


Locked out

Who forgets keys? Me!

It was raining so I couldn’t even just wait it out on a bench, so instead I decided to wander in the local CVS. There was so much that I could have purchased, but the thought of carrying it eight blocks in the pouring rain, even with my golf umbrella, does not bode well for me.

Plus my rewards card is on my keys.

Instead I decided to wander in the supermarket which is essentially across the street from my apartment building.

A couple of things I noticed as I wandered around to kill time:

  • Why does supermarket keep bottles of soy sauce on such high shelves?
  • Why do they keep the bags for your umbrellas in the middle of the store? Not near either entrance?
  • What demotes something to the  absolute bottom shelf? I mean I know companies pay for eye level or even kid eye level but do the companies with the stuff on the bottom just say ‘screw it if people really want to buy it, they will hunt us down anyway.’

To top it all off I wrote down notes for this post as I waited outside my apartment door for the boyfriend to come home as I was eating string cheese (total impulse buy) that I had just bought right outside of my door

That’s right. Keeping it classy.


Adventure is worthwhile in itself.

This was my fortune in a fortune cookie the other day.

Not only do I love this quote but I love how my local sushi restaurant still puts a fortune cookie in the delivery bag.


WAH WAH WAH

Why is it that the only thing that is a constant at a drive-through – whether it’s a bank, or a fast food chain – is that the speaker systems are terrible? Does Charlie Brown’s teacher work everywhere?!

With all the technology available to us in this day and age, wouldn’t this be one thing worth updating?!


Magazines stress me out

I feel like I have to read every single page and almost every article. I can’t just skim, though that’s how I start.

Then I go back and read, and then I tear out articles or things that I’d like to research or view online later.

Say I find a cute hat. I’m not ready to buy the hat so I send the link to my shopping email account for later. Then say, I find a good destination, I send it to my travel email account to file away for another time. What about a recipe? I need to rip it out and then put it in my recipe box.

So reading magazines is not just about reading the magazine. I’m going to have homework to do once I finish the magazine. I only get two magazines regularly – a once a week New York Magazine, and a quarterly National Parks Magazine.

One year the boyfriend used airline miles to gift me two magazine subscriptions. Granted the magazines were right up my alley – travel, food and wine – but I couldn’t believe he used miles for magazines (the horror!)

And I had self-induced homework for months following.

Now when I get backed up with a few issues, I put them in the activity bag – and discard along my travels!