To organize a sort of online portfolio I’ve arranged a bit of my work on a new blog which you can find on grashinagabelmann.wordpress.com
I attended a local couchsurfing event in Newark, Delaware. The “theme” if you want to call it that was pot luck with everyone bringing a dish. This made for an interesting menu that consisted of edamame, Coors Light Beer, stromboli, and other little snacks.
It was a fun night, considering the fact that everyone was meeting for the first time. However, when the shared passion is traveling, it makes for never-ending conversation. As the sun went down our hosts’ roommate and two of his friends decided to put on a fire-spinning show on their front lawn. I was told that Madison Drive (the street where they live) is where local fire spinning enthusiasts meet up once or twice a week to… well, spin!
It was so mesmerizing that I offered to take some photos, which they absolutely loved. I was even invited back to come and photograph them later…
“It’s going to be hard to find a room because Wimbeldon and Glastonbury festival is going on right now”
I was standing in front of the hotel booking agent desk trying to figure out my options. Sleeping in the airport was not an option as I couldn’t get back to the gate area as I was now stuck. By this time I had already spent twenty pounds on two phone cards that ran out at least five minutes short of the twenty-eight allotted minutes. During that time I was able to call my friend and my mother to let them know what happened.
“Is there anything a bit closer to the hotel available?” My eyes felt puffy and irritated and now that I was nearing the twenty-third hour without sleep, I was just running on the idea of being able to get a hot shower and falling into a bed.
“Well if you don’t mind waiting, I’ll call around and see what I can get for you.” God… everyone is so helpful and nice. I thanked him and waited. I walked to a newsstand and bought the Glastonbury Review issue of NME and some gummies in order to break change for the internet kiosk. More emails were sent and I went back to the desk.
“Ok so there was one room left at the Comfort Inn. It’s going to be 170 and that includes the ride from the shuttle to the hotel and back in the morning in time to check in for your flight.”
I’ve written before (and its my belief) that to be a successful traveler, being able to easily adapt is key. My adaptation and flexibility have all been put to the test within the past twenty-four hours. I should be in the U.K. by now unpacking my bags and getting ready for dinner. Instead I’m sitting in my living room trying to decide what to have for lunch.
After arriving in the airport, checking my bag, and getting through security (suprisingly) with ease I headed to my gate. Checking to see if my flight was on time, I saw the word DELAY and my heart drop. To find that you have a delayed flight is the worst news, especially if you have a connecting flight. It can almost have the same effect as an adult telling five- year old that Christmas has been cancelled. For a split second I could feel a tantrum coming on, but common sense and maturity are on my side.
After five trips to the customer service desk and two calls to U.S. Airways customer service lines I realized I wasn’t going to make it to London until Wednesday. My mind immediately went to my friend Shannon who some where over the Atlantic totally oblivious to the fact that she would be arriving at Heathrow alone. Everything got settled once I spoke to the lovely Irene who, although looked exhausted, helped to book me a direct flight on U.S. Airways. She even hooked me up with a first class seat, which is a first for me. So, I leave tonight for London. It’s going to be a seven hour flight and an even longer haul to Stevenage with my huge suitcase, but that’s the thing about traveling. There will always be hurdles and sometimes you feel like you’ll never arrive, but you do… eventually.
at least here in the States. It’s Memorial Day and it always seems to be the holiday that kicks off what I like to call the Grilling Season. Hot dogs and hamburgers are usually de rigueur. However, the equation for a great grill session is:
Grill + Food + Beer + Music = Good Times
This usually works no matter where you are because it’s simple and easy to remember. If you have access to a pool… even better. For me it was grilled cornish hens and sausage and Red Stripe.
Oh and I can’ forget about the tunes…
I just had to share the good news: Just had my first officially published article.
Make sure you check it out, and tell me what you think.
Today I had the best, and only, warm, home-cooked meal since I’ve been travelling – and it came out of a dumpster. As part of Black Rose, an anarchist’s book shop and gallery, the People’s kitchen is a place to communally cook dumpster found food. ‘Dumpstering’ and cooking are done in turns and those having done neither will do the washing up.
When I came in a group of about 6 people were preparing dinner. There was scooping-out of papayas, pealing of potatoes, ripping of lettuce, boiling of rice and whisking of batter. The result was a super healthy dinner consisting of rice, ratatouille, vegetable couscous, cabbage and onion stir fry, steamed broccoli and cauliflower, boiled potatoes and fresh salad with tomato and cucumber. Dessert was pancakes with warm pear compote. And the portions of all of the above were enough to satisfy the 12 people that arrived through out dinner.
Most people at the People’s Kitchen live in squats and hardly spend money on food. If the dumpsters won’t get them dinner a ten finger discount will. Dumpstering is done at night time when stores and restaurants are shut and have gotten rid of “gone-off” food for the day. Tricks and techniques must be learnt and applied since security guards, padlocks and bolts are making life hard for the dumpster dependent. Anything can be found: basics like rice and pasta, dairy products, baked goods and vegetables and fruits in masses. It’s not only disgusting how much perfectly edible food gets thrown out but how difficult some stores are trying to make it for others to have the food that they can, or won’t, sell no longer. If you don’t want it why can’t someone else have it?
The dumpster lifestyle also includes table-diving. Tables, for example at university cafeterias, are carefully observed then once a person leaves leaving half eaten food behind you dive in and devour that shit. Biggest enemy here are fast moving janitors that turn your lunch into garbage before you can get there. Cafeteria dumpster are also meant to be a gold mine so if the cafeteria’s inside ain’t filling you up, head outside.
So, I’ve been in Sydney since Tuesday morning now. I spent Tuesday and Wednesday exploring on my own as I was staying with a family that had saved my, what I thought was, abandoned ass. On my first day I walked through the whole city down to Darling Harbour, through China Town, financial district, got on a random bus where I was told to get off at beautiful beach, was driven around King’s Cross (Syndey’s backpacker and red light district) by a guy and his mom I met while strolling the beach, had dinner with my Syndey family and slept for 14 hours.
Next day I walked the town again, got to the Opera House where I spotted Susie Bubble, a well-known London fashion blogger, I was only mildly impressed by this coincidence as they seem to happen all the time, got on a random ferry only to get off on a random, what I thought was an island. Learnt that I was in Balmain, traditionally a working class residential area that has gotten more affluent these past years. I walked the whole of Darling St., its main shopping street, and then got on a bus that took me back to Sydney where I learnt that I couldn’t have been on an island after all.
This to me was traveling. Exploring a city on my own. When I met my CouchSurfer Tim and his flatmate Tas I began living. There is a huge difference. Traveling means seeing things out of your perspective, taking in for taking-ins sake, exploring. Living, especially made possible through CouchSurfing, is treating the place like real life. Getting immersed in another person’s life, perhaps even following them around like puppy dog hence getting a real feel of the city. Grabbing a slice of someone else’s life.
For me this has meant hanging out at Tim’s work (a used book store with a tapas/cafe/bar courtyard out back), going to a warehouse party with an Aussie hip hop drum’n’bass band, getting up at 12am to go to a Chinese poetry session the boys have to record and document for a project. I’m still wandering on my own but instead of traveling through Sydney I feel like I’m living here even if it’s just for 8 days.