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Tag: vacation

Honey, We Are Riding to California!

One of the first stories I remember is the story of the Bear that lost his tail. Well, one day, Mama Bear asked the Little Bear to go with her and try some honey from their neighbours, the bees. Little Bear refused and started crying: honey was not something he ever craved for or had any desire to try. No matter how much Mama Bear tried to appease him with stories about the sweet taste of the golden liquid, Little Bear wanted to have nothing to do with it. But Mama Bear never gave up. She kept on trying to convince him, until one day, tired of hearing the same stories over and over again and tired of Mama’s nagging, Little Bear gave up and said: fine, I will come with you to taste the honey. Mama Bear was thrilled and lost no time: grabbed his little paw and they both hurried to the bees’ heave to try the miraculous honey. Little Bear closed his eyes, and preparing himself for the worst, took a tiny little bit of honey on his paw and quickly licked it. Then he took another one, and another one, and soon enough he was biting off the honey comb! Honey was delicious! Mama Bear tried to take him away  but could not so she called Papa Bear to help her and both were pulling Little Bear by his tail until the tail broke! And that is why, up until nowadays, all Bears have no tail to be pulled by and they all love honey! I am just like Little Bear, but instead of honey, I got hooked to riding.

When my husband first told me that he would like to ride to San Francisco, I threw another one of my many temper tantrums. Yes, I am predictable: every time I feel I have no voice or I have a too weak of a voice, I throw a fit. And I hope my husband will listen. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. And this time it didn’t. He pushed along and with his amazing organizing skills and patience, researched roads and hotels, points of interest and history of the places, gas stations and coffee shops. Because a ride, just like a trip, is better with company, he invited some other riding friends to join us in this trip. Soon enough,  his vision for a vacation was not a vision anymore, but a very well planned and researched commitment to ten people on eight motorbikes.  At the start line, there were only five bikes, seven people and one “service” car.

I was hardly thinking about taking the training when he already was planning this trip. We all know that at the time, riding was really not my priority nor my passion or Bucket list item or prefferred means of transportation, ore my dream. It was just a frightening sport that I wanted to have little or nothing to do with.  Fast forward a bit over six months, and here I am, riding my own bike and embarking on an adventure like no other: a 10 day riding trip Vancouver to San Francisco and back. No, I am not riding my own bike yet: it is a little too much, too soon but I am a passenger on my husband’s bike which allows me to experience the riding excitement without the work. A bit of a cutting corners, if you want but nonetheless, daring for a middle aged woman who really has no adventurous bone in her body and still thinks that riding is not for the faint hearted.

In a matter of a year I not only learned how to ride a motorbike but I came to enjoy the wind in my face, the twisties and the hair pins along the way, the brotherhood of the bikers (the real ones not “the wanna be bad ass,  look at me in awe and fear” kind), and a new found connection with the roads and the nature. I still have my moments when I go in panic mood, and go through all the reasons and dangers why I should not ride but somewhere along the way, I lost my tail and now, I can not have enough.



Naked Manners

Back in my early 20’s I used to spend every summer at the Black Sea. I loved the sun, the fun and the somehow care-free way of living. As anywhere else, there was the family sun-bathing areas where the bikinis were mandatory, and then the less formal areas, where naked was the norm. These were the places where you could always find all the black market goods – an industry that during the communism was flourishing. This is where we would always buy the Marlborough, Kent or Viceroy cigarettes, the contraceptive pills, different brands of luxurious soaps and shampoos, and other import goods prohibited during the communist years. You can easily imagine that the naked beaches were quite crowded with people from all walks of life, looking for a bargain.

One summer, I was enjoying a beautiful vacation with my friend and her brother and sister in law. He was a doctor at one of the best hospitals in the area while his wife was a high school teacher. One day we decide to go shopping for some cigarettes. There was a particular naked beach where we could get Salem, a menthol light brand of cigarettes, meant for ladies. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I come from a very formal culture. We take pride in our manners, and make a point in showing them off. Smoking the white slim cigarettes as opposed to the stinky local brand was another way of showing our class.

You can only imagine the scene that followed shortly after getting to the place. First, as you can easily guess we were all naked, walking around the beach when my friend’s brother hears somebody calling out his name: Dr B! Surprise! And what a surprise this was! He ran into one of his former patients. Obviously, as the formal code of manners dictated, our (naked) Dr B introduced his (naked) wife to his former (naked) patient who had to respectfully bend and kiss her hand. Fortunately enough, my friend and I were a few steps behind so we watched from the distance the awkwardness of the meeting and had enough time to wipe our smiles from our faces before joining them again.

I guess, what I am trying to get out of this story is that what seems to be perfectly normal and appropriate in one instance, will be awkward and embarrassing in a different one. Learning and adapting constantly to the changes in our lives should always include our manners and the approach to a new culture, a new environment and new people.

But what do you do when you run into a client, or an acquaintance at Wreck Beach for example? Do you look the other way? Do you  nod and move on? Do you stop, shake hands and have a quick conversation? Do you introduce your naked partner?

Whatever you decide, this is what you will not do:

  • Check the other one out! Yes, I know, you are both naked, but this is not an invitation to check the other person; for men, the same rules as in the washroom apply when meeting another man.
  • Introduce your family or friends; why subject them  to some embarrassing moments? It is very easy to feel comfortable when you are among strangers, people that you do not know; as soon as we start knowing names and details about each other things change.
  • I would not recommend a hand shake either; but this is my personal preference. Not to mention hugging or kissing a lady’s hand (europeans!)

These days I am not spending any time in places like these but what would I do? I would simply wear my very dark sun glasses and pretend I haven’t seen you. Nothing personal but some things are better to be ignored than dealt with and this would make it in the top of my list!




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