Travel

sketchfest.jpgThis past weekend I was in San Francisco for The 8th Annual Sketchfest. This was a two week long Comedy Festival with comic performers ranging from Stand-up, One Person Shows, Improv Groups, Sketch Companies and then there were shows that sort of defied description. Some of those were the ones I took part in. 

I was lucky enough to see a few shows besides our own.  I saw The Lampshades; the best fake lounge act I’ve seen in a long time.  The physical work they do is sublime and hilarious. I took a peek at 2-Headed Dog, but they were doing a sketch that had three men running around in their underpants and little else. They were dancing in a manner that had their peculiar distributions of body fat jiggle in a way that caused me to run out of the theatre.  I’m not saying I’m the Venus DeMilo, but I don’t choose to subject anyone to the sight of my sorry flesh sac.

The Theme Park Improv Show had Scott Adsit from 30 Rock and Oscar Nunez from The Office. They were outstanding, but what was really impressive was two of the performers in the troupe were the event promoters. You just never figure people that talented would have it together enough to pull something like this off. They did some of the best improv I’ve seen in a long time.

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plane.jpgLast week I endured the two most dreaded days of my life each year for the past 20 years. FAA mandated 'stewardess training,' formally known as "CQ." Stands for 'Continuing Qualification.' Ladies and Gentlemen, this has nothing to do with serving you drinks and meals, listening to all of your problems, helping you stow your 100 pound compact suitcases, with an everlasting smile on my face.

"Grab ankles, bend over, stay down. Release seat belts, leave everything, come this way, jump and slide two at a time" Repeat 1,000 times in two days but wait....if you're on a 747, upper deck, remember to say 'sit and slide'  as it is a long way down. If you're on a MD88, remember to grab the flashlight as it is dark in the tailcone. But wait, that's if we crash on land; it's all different if we land in the Hudson River. We bought another airline last year so now we have 20 different airplanes instead of 10 and it's different on each plane. 

We are paired into small groups and my group had our plane hijacked. It's no different than a screenplay in how it is meticulously choreographed. I can't divulge the information but I did come home knowing that I am prepared.
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ladies_market_hong_kong.jpgCruising Hong Kong’s street markets is a savvy shopper’s dream come true.  Fashion hounds can score bagsful of famous label clothing copies, counterfeit leather accessories, faux pearl necklaces, and fake jade gewgaws.  Gadget buyers gravitate to stalls overflowing with cameras, watches, and electronic gizmos.  On a recent ramble through a bustling night bazaar, none of the above were on my list.  I was seeking a somewhat more authentic trinket.  Snakes.

Some cultures regard serpents with fear and loathing.  Not the Chinese.  A person born in the Year of the Snake is considered wise and cunning.  Able to slip in and out of tight situations with ease.  A formidable foe and a staunch ally.  Cool, calm and collected.  Strikingly beautiful.  Exotic.  Sensuous.  If one is not fortunate enough to be born in the lucky year, there’s an alternative way to pick up a little snake essence.  You can eat them.

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cataloniaA couple of summer months filled with many beachside lunches of paella so good and so long ago that I am still chasing the memories of a perfect paella. My sister and I were in the Catalonian village of Arenys de Mar for a good part of the summer. On the wide, white beach surrounded by rugged hills were a handful of rustic 'restaurants' that made only paella over wood fires. They were makeshift structures covered with bright pieces of miss-matched canvas tacked down to keep the strong Spanish sun and ocean breeze at bay. These little makeshift restaurants were always busy for lunch, the only meal that they served and I had my favorite one.

The beach side paella restaurateurs were waiting like gulls as the little boats motored back to port around 10 o’clock in the morning. Each boat filled with the fresh caught fish and shellfish still moving violently seeking to be set free. There was fish to fillet and chunk, stock to make, onions and peppers to chop and most importantly the wood-fire had to be started, time was of the essence.

My favorite restaurant had a round stone fire pit built on the sand. A variety of wood collected from the beach was piled into the pit covering yesterday's scrunched up newspaper which was barely visible in the center. A wooden match was struck and the day's cooking commenced. When the flames burned down, the cook balanced a grill on top of the stone pit.

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Borago1A long time ago, I made the choice to remain single. I really did not want to deal with relationships and I was genuinely happy to take life’s journey on my own. Little did I know that the Universe had a completely different plan for me. I met my (now) husband on September 12, 2012 at a wine tasting in Beverly Hills. Fast forward a year, and he proposed on September 12, 2013. Keep going… we got married April 12, 2014. Why does this matter? Well, it leads me into this restaurant… Boragó.

My husband and I have always had South America on top of our lists for travel. So when we planned our wedding, we planned it specifically to coincide with the wine harvest in South America. (If you’re a wine-o and you know it, clap your hands!) So April was an easy choice. Before we went on our honeymoon, we did our research and made sure we hit up the top restaurants. So begins the story of Boragó… a progressive restaurant in Santiago, Chile that collects its ingredients only from a 150 km radius of the restaurant.

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