From Dollars To Rupees To Smiles On The Streets of Bombay

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The vada pao, Indian burgers

As beautiful as the world is, there is always a part of me that is saddened by the impoverished, less fortunate people and animals I encounter when traveling. It’s not unusual for me to return home carrying various amounts of guilt.

I donate to a slew of organizations including the ASPCA, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam, Best Friends Society, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Heifer International. I carry cat and dog food, and am always buying animals food on the go. Continue reading

Et Voila Madagascar!

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I recently came back from traveling through Madagascar. It is an amazing country with an amazing history. Some tidbits:

  • Madagascar is the 4th largest island in the world, and separated from the African continent about 135 million years ago
  • Over 40% of the population does not have running water or electricity, and 69% of the population lives below the national poverty level of 1 dollar a day
  • Once colonized by the French, there is still a huge French influence there and most of the population speaks both Malagasy and French, c’est super, non?
  • They have 103 species of lemurs and are home to over two-thirds of the world’s chameleon species, I mean if you can find them! And 6 of the 8 world baobab species are there too

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Citroens are their taxi vehicle of choice! Et voila!

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The Shame Shack

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In May 1999 I took part in a volunteer mission with a non-profit organization called Airline Ambassadors. My BFF Anne was a flight attendant for American Airlines. She signed us up with three other friends, making up a total group of 26 flight attendants and friends to trek through the Himalayan region of Nepal, delivering medical and school supplies to orphanages. Being an over-preparer for trips, I went trail running twice daily to ensure that I was in the best shape possible. I also bought extensive camping supplies, including iodine tablets for water, to prevent any type of water-born illnesses.

I’d be damned if I was going to get sick on this trek. Anne and I put the iodine tablets in our Nalgene bottles daily, making sure to only use that special water to drink and brush our teeth with. The porters even assured us that all the water they cooked with was boiled for purification, guaranteeing us further safety. But what we did notice, was that the porters washed our dishes in stream water, which was not filtered. Continue reading

Saying Goodbye To My Best Friend – Anne Hurley Obot

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Last Wednesday February thirteenth, my very best friend in the world, my BFF, my Anne, suffered an aneurysm and died. She left behind a loving husband, a precious three year old son, an incredibly loving family of Hurleys, and a slew of amazing friends from around the globe. I’ve known Anne for thirty years since we were classmates at Westlake High School. We used to say we were hetero life partners and even had to convince our neighbors when we lived together that we weren’t gay. We loved each other that much. She was beautiful, she was a ham. She stole Carrie Fisher’s pillow case on a flight and gave it to me for my birthday.

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We hiked Half Dome in Yosemite on our birthdays one September. We stayed up a bit late the night before polishing off some serious wine, and celebrated afterwards with more wine, and pizza.

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 4.06.10 PM Continue reading

Greece Summer 2010!

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(FYI this photo is a Photoshop virgin!)

My sister turned forty this year, woo hoo!  She organized a trip to Santorini a year and a half ago, rented a villa, and invited her closest friends to join her.  Kristen and I were obsessed with the movie Summer Lovers, with Darryl Hannah and Peter Gallagher, when we were in high school.  It would come on on The Movie Channel in Mom and Dad’s room and we’d watch it over and over.  A lovely tale about a threesome during a summer in Santorini.  It was the perfect 80’s flic with a great soundtrack that I’d dance to in front of the mirror.

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