Roes of Stuff

There are plenty of things to do in Singapore that could qualify as fun. Parks, beaches, shopping, all of it. My kind of fun involves fish markets and naked, hanging chickens.

I started my day in Little India, staying in a Hilton Garden Inn that has the most impressive air conditioning system I have ever encountered in life. It was freshly refurbished, and still smelled of new carpet and wet paint. It’s easy walk to bus stops and subway stations made it ideal for me to spend some time here. Plus, I would get a little culture that I wouldn’t if I’d have stayed in the business district, for instance. I wanted to see beyond the port and the splashy hotels, and it ended up being fantastic.

One of my first stops was the Tekka Center, a large wet market just down the block from my ice box of a hotel. And oh my goodness, this place was awesome. I entered through the fish area, in flip flops.  On wet, fish juiced, puddely tiles, with gently sloped floors so all the fish juice puddles can collect then drain. But it was so, so clean, and despite swishing around, the water didn’t even splash up over my toes. Sorcery.

It was fish for miles, shrimp, crabs, other creatures I have never seen in real life. A nice man hacking the head off a dinner. Moving down the aisles meant changing cuisines. From the fish came the meat, parts were familiar, other parts not so much. But if nothing else, it looked super fresh and made me wish I knew how to cook or cared to learn.


The Tekka is enormous though. I saw fruit I have never seen before, and a store front dedicated entirely to eggs. They sold only eggs. And that’s the amazing thing about these stands: they sell one thing and one thing only. Fruit. Meat. Fish. Home goods. Shoes. Even plastic bags, like for other vendors to buy for when they sell their items. It’s both curious and brilliant in its execution. One stop shopping and yet not.

While I was taking photos, I found the proprietors were all too happy to pose, or keep working so I can get a good shot, or stop what they were doing to properly fasten my umbrella. The kindness of these strangers was both off-putting (eh, I’m from Jersey) and heartwarming. I could get used to it, but will likely continue to harbor a healthy reasonable doubt.


This guy was tickled by my interest in their every day lives, and was all too happy to stop pruning the beef to pose for a photo.

I ended up spending far too much time here for someone who doesn’t have a kitchen. But that’s because I found the food court portion with all the stalls that sell so much good food, fresh from the stalls around the corner, so I helped myself to some obscene rice and a coconut juice smoothie.

I eventually stepped out into the blazing midday sun, and headed in any direction where the sun was at my back.


Is this Utopia?

I mean it. Is it? Is Singapore some kind of utopian society where the food is delicious and cheap, the transportation is spotless and easy and the people pleasant and friendly?

I have never been in a place where they frown heartily at citizens owning cars and to make up for it, have concocted the most wonderful mass transit system I have ever used. It’s like the Jetsons in a still-on-the-ground kind of way.

One of my favorite things to do when visiting a new place is use mass transit. It’s so easy to get around, makes me feel safe if I get a little too lost and I feel like a real, local commuter. So naturally, I had to find the train station and go for a ride to Chinatown. The subway was clean, so so clean! Did they clean with Magic Erasers?? And cool! Air conditioning! Wifi! When I got off the plane in Singapore I saw the future and it is underground.

Suffice to say, my first stop was Chinatown because dinner. And amazingly enough, the subway exit dumps you out right into the middle of the street. Storefront after storefront of Chinese, Singaporean and Thai restaurants, block after block. Where does one even go? There were people everywhere, tables filled, roasted ducks dangling, it is sensory overload.


The best part is, so much is under cover that even when it rains, you can still walk around unaffected. This whole area was chock full of new food, new things to see and taste. It is easy to get lost, save for the fact that Chinatown kind of loops onto itself, so you can’t really get lost in the confines.

After aimless wandering and damn near starving – given that I slept until almost 4pm – I settled on a joint that favored the Ninja Tree Frog and decorated the whole place with them. I couldn’t quite put it all together but they had an English menu so I felt safe in that I was not going to accidentally eat an actual Ninja Frog.  Since I was mostly still delirious, I stuck to the familiar and had the most insane egg fried rice I have ever had. I shoveled the whole plate into my face hole, no regrets.


Saturation Point

…So…Singapore. The cleanest, most well organized city I have ever seen. Truly a vision from the future, a city that all others should aspire to. But it’s also one of the wettest. Wettest, she says? WET-TEST. Let me be clear, Bangkok was humid, expectedly. My jeans slid clean off my hips from the soaked through nature of the fabric and could no longer support their weight. But I knew that was going to happen. I went to Thailand fully aware and prepared for the heat and humidity, even in what we North Americans call ‘winter’.

Singapore, however, snuck up on me. I spent most of my first day wandering around, warm but not uncomfortable. It was hot, sure, but nothing I couldn’t handle. Somewhere in the middle of the day, however, things changed.

In an instant, a cartoon flash, a comic book BANG!, I became overwhelmed with unrelenting, complete saturation. Literally out of nowhere I would find myself dripping sweat off my face – not down, OFF – down my neck, my clavicle, drops raced to make a home in my shirt, ensuring it would adhere to my body as if an immobile cotton exoskeleton. This was quite a surprise given that I was so dehydrated in Denver, I could etch my name in the dry skin on my legs,  a condition from which I am yet to recover.

I continued to sweat profusely without explanation for several mid-day hours. My shoulders became greasy and slick and could not support the strap of my bag; it slid further down my oil streaked skin with every step I took. Desperate, I searched drug stores for ancient eastern remedies for hyperhidrosis. I used bits of tissue and napkin to mop my brow and then had to pick soggy bits of balled up paper off my face. Most I would get, some I would find melted into my skin hours later; I’d walked the streets of this lovely city with toilet paper freckles.  I would break to drink water, cool off, combat this silent destroyer of my humanity. It was to no avail. I had no choice but stop what I was doing and seek refuge.

I raced back to my hotel to shower and change, freezing the second I hit the frigid air conditioning and started the evaporation process.

Sometimes I buy the English cucumbers that come individually wrapped in plastic. Occasionally, I cut one end off and try to shimmy and slide the cuke out of its shrink wrapped home. I never succeed. That’s exactly what it was like taking my pants off. One cucumber leg at a time.

Here’s the thing: it’s really not that hot!


Singapore Delivers

Whoever said this was the golden age of travel clearly never flew from Denver to New York, sat in the rathole airport for a bunch of hours and then flew to Singapore by way of Tokyo. In economy; it was on sale and therefore a worthwhile decision.

After a week in Denver, dry, delirious and chugging Pedialyte faster than Walgreens could restock it, I was thrilled to be back at sea level to experience weather again. But I had to sit at JFK, a member of the unfortunate trifecta of the worst airports ever known to man.  Anyway.

A few hours after landing in New York, I began my sojourn to southeast Asia, which sounded like a good idea at the time I booked it. And it was and is, but still.

Four hours to JFK, four hours sitting around, 14 hours in economy to Tokyo, two hours to shop and sweat indoors, 8 hours to Singapore. So that’s four airports in about 30 nonstop hours of flying, sitting, waiting – if you’re keeping score at home.

Then I arrived in Singapore, finally, around 1 am, roughly two days after I departed, what with the international date line and such. But also because it just felt like two full days. And I landed in the future, I know that much. Fan-tastic.

My first impression of Singapore was a great one: most best airport I have ever been to, and it wasn’t even the much-lauded Terminal 4. I was so impressed and in love, even at that hour, I could have moved in. Easily the nicest mall-airport-living room I’ve ever been in. It was an especially visceral shock given the airport I started in. But you know what really shook me to my core? Caused me to stop dead in my tracks and the breath to escape from my lungs?

McDonald’s delivers 24 hours. Ordering via app.

I know, it took me some time to process, too. I slept just about the entire flight from Tokyo and didn’t eat, which was fine as the airplane food isn’t exactly the sustenance I needed after being in the air for so many hours. I arrived at the hotel in the middle of the night, so nothing’s open. The girl at the front desk of the hotel told me to order McDonald’s. Who what now? Had I been in the states I’d sooner go to bed starving. But I love trying familiar foods in new places, even this qualifies. I ordered with the app, paid with credit card, and confirmed my order would arrive in 45 minutes. Either this is the freshest damn fast food I’ve ever had or locals like to party at McDs. That seemed like an eternity to wait for sweet and sour chicken on a black bun and some fries, but I was wide awake like I had slept for months so I was content to unpack and shower and wait.

At the 44-minute mark, I started to wonder. Seconds later, the phone rang and my delivery man arrived with my mysterious goods. I raced to the lobby at almost 3am, and met the kindly man on a motor scooter with an insulated zip bag perched upon the rear. He handed me my bag and it was so hot it almost burned me, then he disappeared into the darkness.

Overall the meal was meh, I didn’t love the sauce but the chicken was easily some of the freshest I’ve ever had. The bun felt like it was just baked and perhaps that was the reason I had to wait so long. It was soft and fluffy and black! as advertised. Go figure. The fries were also good but I skipped the seaweed shake seasoning because the lining in my stomach had to draw the line somewhere.

It was a huge score and I was glad to have it.

I did regret it some when I couldn’t seem to escape the smell of the grease that lingered in the air. I left the bag outside my door but I was haunted by the scent as I drifted off into my first Singapore Sleep™.


On to the Next

After 3 long, glorious and satisfying days in the bush, seeing animals beyond my wildest dreams, it was time to go. I checked with my mom during the planning stages. What next, I asked her. Anywhere you want to go, we go. Morocco, to source your own spices? Cape Town, to press your own wine? Madagascar, to harvest your own vanilla? What say you?

She say Egypt. Back to the pyramids I go. For the second time in 2 years. We pack up, and head out of Johannesburg to Cairo. Eight short hours later, we land early in Cairo and have the distinct misfortune of waiting in line at customs again.

As I stood in line for my visas, a man twice my size decides I don’t actually exist, and proceeds to cut in front of me, sticks his arm into the window and shoving me out of the way, to complete whatever transaction. I don’t kick him in the shins because mom, but the nice man in the window box shoos him away and helps me make my purchase. Little woman 1, jerk man 0.

Next is the Room of Immigration aka Hell’s Waiting Room.  Crowded, long lined, courtesy tossed aside like yesterday’s trash. I grab my mom and escort her to the line that looks decent compared to the rest and ultimately, I hope, the lesser of the evils. As we stand, my mom is silent, eyes wide. I ask her is she’s ok. She takes a deep breath and says she can’t ever believe I did this alone, and if she were me she would have cried. That’s how insane the room is: it makes a grown woman want to cry.

Anyway, we make it out alive and hit the ground running. With my tour guide waiting out front, we go. We go to the hotel to drop off our stuff and then to the pyramids. And they are still as magnificent as the last time. And I feel like now the fun is in seeing my mom see them for the first time. Even though there really is no way to be tired of the pyramids. How can you bore of one of the Earth’s Greatest Mysteries??? This guy doesn’t.

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We continued our whirlwind tour of the pyramids and headed further afar, to see them all, not just the three big ones. Naturally, I traveled via camel as one does, and my mom and friend / tour guide went via horse drawn carriage. I wish she took the camel but after the Great Head Whip of 2015, I am not sure she’s ever getting back on the hump. (Perhaps one of the best stories combined with a triptych of the best photos I have ever taken; I won’t share publicly unless given explicit permission or I risk actual death.)

It was a really fantastic ride through the desert with the pyramids in the distance. There’s a ton of freedom in bumping around on an ornery animal in the middle of Egypt. And ultimately, it was worth the ride.

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After admiring the view here for some time and playing with my camel buddy, we headed off into the sunset. The next stop was, of course, the local super market because there is nothing more fascinating than grocery stores and pharmacies abroad. Fewer things remind me of what I’m missing and how much there is to learn in the world. Also: skincare that isn’t available in the states.

Day 2 found us wandering around the Egyptian Museum. Some King Tut action, a healthy dose of running my fingers along the dusty displays and sneezing at the cloud I kicked up. Sneaking pictures where they shouldn’t be snuck. Viewing mummies and still having mixed feelings about it.

We also went to Coptic Cairo which is such an amazing place. I think it’s my favorite next to Giza. The history of the Hanging Church is just too incredible, as it dates back to the third century AD. I can’t even do the math in my head to calculate what history that building has seen. But it has seen Jesus and the Holy Family, per the basement.

It was meant to be a short stay in Cairo, and it was, but it was perfect. Such a fun and amazing place to visit. Not to mention we made it through without any kind of uprising and that pleased momma but made me sad because that would have been a much better story.


Rocky Road

Phase 3: We really get this show on the road. Or the dirt. In any case, this is the hardest, rockiest, bumpiest ride I have ever taken. Rickety doesn’t describe it. When I spoke to my mom, I felt more like I was chanting into an oscillating fan. How this vehicle even traverses this terrain, I will never know.  I do know that one should eat only a light meal prior to climbing aboard, lest they inadvertently barf it up.

I disgustingly digress. Safari! Kruger National Park, South Africa! We made it! Twenty plus hours of planes, a swift jog through Doha, lots of F words from my mom and one very serious promise that one of us was never, EVER again, going to fly that distance ever as long as she shall live…and we made it to safari. Invigorating. Curious. Far. Different. Otherworldly. All these things describe it and yet don’t – it doesn’t describe it enough. There aren’t enough adjectives to accurately describe how it feels to roll up on some rhinos who truly couldn’t care less that you were there.

In a matter of hours, we had seen the big five; it didn’t take long at all. But each and every time we came upon some animals, it was absolutely magical. The park itself was so quiet, you hear nothing but the birds chirping in the distance or the leaves blowing in the breeze. Even the elephant, trotting alongside the car, makes almost no noise. Just the gentle crunch of his padded feets hitting the dirt. They truly are light on their feet.


Nothing could prepare me, though, for the scope and scale of these animals. Their size is beyond imposing, and likening rhinos to the size of a large SUV isn’t totally incorrect. Seeing them outside and not locked up in a tiny zoo – it really makes you reconsider those types of things.

Learning about the anti-poaching measures in the park, and then being able to see how peacefully these creatures exist is nothing short of sickening. Suffice to say, between this and the zoos, my perspective has either changed or my convictions grown stronger. It is impossible, completely impossible, to not fall in love with one, if not many, of the creatures in South Africa. It’s easy to forget how real poaching is, even in a protected park like Kruger. You’ll be quickly reminded when shown the skull of an animal bludgeoned and shot for its horns. Sigh.

After a few hours of seeing animals I thought only existed in cartoons, and having my innards rearranged via tires, I was ready for a siesta. Back to the lodge for a nap and lunch, but not before seeing a pack of zebras hanging on the what’s essentially the front lawn. _DSC0975.JPG

By the end of the day, I had seen the big five, and some hyenas and birds that were such magnificent shades of blue I’d never identified before. The one thing about getting out of the Flintstones’ safari car is that as soon as my feet hit the ground, I want to climb back in.

Safari is real magic.


This Isn’t a Movie

Phase 2: We made the plane, no one suffered the indignity of sweating their eyeliner off, and everyone was happy. Fantastic.

Landing in Nelspruit was by far and away the most amazing airport – no, no, airstrip from a former military base – I have ever been to. It is really nothing more than a landing strip in the middle of the bush. It lacks the formality of lanes and markers and other general aviation identifiers one might see at a regulation airport. What it does have, though, is a healthy population of impala and monkeys with their little bums exposed. They were just scampering about the side of the paved road, having lunch and chatting among their friends mostly. It was the most bewildering landing and taxi I have ever been a part of and by far the most exciting. I have never felt quite like I have arrived! anywhere they way I did when I hit the airstrip.

After a few minutes of this, we sort of screeched up to the main building of the strip and parked on an angle.  And then we just… jumped out, grabbed our luggage and headed to the exit. Everything was dusty and brown and excited me in a way that was so new and different, I truly felt that I was someplace special. Someplace I can’t believe even exists in real life and not in a Disney kind of way. But it does. And I was there!

I arranged for a transfer from the airstrip to the lodge inside Kruger because it was a good two hour ride. Our driver was a wonderful man who spent his life as a teacher, founded a school in some long forgotten area, turned it over to the village and then decided to stay working around Kruger solely for his love of the area. How incredible.

The ride was quiet for a while with not much to see. Until. Until the corrugated metal roof huts that were sized more like outhouses but were actually just houses. Some were in close clusters and others were farther away with some livestock scattered between. I didn’t see many people but if I were to describe it, I would say Sally Struthers needs to bring her infomercials down to the outskirts of Nelspruit. These little villages looked like poor people have too much money to throw around to visit there. It was shocking and heartbreaking and invited more questions than answers.

I could go on about what this looked like, but I don’t want to drag this down. But damn.

As we continued down the highway to the entrance of Kruger, the road started to turn from pavement to rocks to bumpy dirt. I was excited as the texture changed, because the surrounding area also changed. There were far more fences of varying heights keeping something in, or maybe just keeping me out. And then I see it. The most majestic giraffe I had ever seen. I am sure some of that is due to the fact that it was the first I had ever seen in the wild, but I don’t care. I loved her! And I know she felt the same. We were just so happy to see each other, you could feel the love flow through the air. IMG_2459.JPG

The ride was really quite long, but the animals along the road made it more than tolerable. Monkeys, buffalo, impala, all of it, bring it to me.

And then we started to slow down, as my guide noticed a car pulled over on the road. We approached and saw 2 young lions resting under a tree, having just dined on the dead buffalo in the distance.  I swear I could reach out and pet them as they relaxed, so close yet not disturbing them in the slightest. Apparently, they are so used to people rolling up, gasping at the sight of them, taking hundreds upon hundreds of photos, and moving along that they are no longer afraid. I am not sure if I am charmed by this or if it alarms me.


After a while, we approach a bunch of buildings and other people at the entrance of Kruger. We need to get our access passes here but that is all handled by our lovely driver. You need proof of passage into the park upon entry but you also need to hold on to and present the same vouchers upon exit.

Finally, we arrive. A sprawling property with a covered walkway and Toyotas parked outside. The dreamiest of safaris await.


I Am a Sucker for a Deal

So, the price was right. An almost round trip ticket to Johannesburg, South Africa, from New York for about $435. Sounds reasonable. I booked it. I was going to have a little dream trip and go on safari to Kruger National Park and see me some cuddly wild cats.

After much research and planning, and dragging my long suffering mother along for the ride, I had identified my lodge, my transfers and the end game for the trip.

Phase One: JFK to Doha, 14ish hours. Here’s the thing: the ticket allowed ONLY 70 minutes to change planes in Doha. When I called Priceline to try and get a different outbound flight, they denied me, saying I had enough time. WELL. You people are wrong. Dead wrong. We landed and after the small delay at JFK, and then actually getting off the plane, it was a full on sprint. Doha airport was beautiful and clean and a big blur. Some running, a tram, finger crossing, and a great deal of cursing, we were one of the final few to board the plane. The cursing, by the way, was from my mother to me for making her run and literally drip sweat. But we made it and that’s what matters. Right? Are we having fun yet?

From Doha, a city I’d love to see at another time, we had another 8 hours to Johannesburg. And I have to say, it was a lovely and relatively easy flight. At least for me. My mother shot me side eye across the aisle as I slept comfortably.

After 20 plus hours of flying, running and educating the locals on American expletives, we arrived in Johannesburg. Customs was a long twisty line that appeared to be a mess yet went by relatively fast with a fair amount of indoor sweat. Again. After winding our way out of the airport to the shuttle area, and shooing away every single person asking for a tip for reasons unknown, we arrived at the Protea Marriott. It’s a delightful airport hotel modeled after an airplane, it even has the corrugated metal detail. Just delightful.

We grabbed a shower – a shower, which, by the way, was in the bathroom area. An area, not an actual room, as the shower and sink AREA, was sectioned off by a hospital curtain. Literally, you pulled the curtain around to separate the shower from the bedroom. Different, but I guess it made sense in the interest of space, but still. At least the toilet had a door.

Dinner was in the hotel since we could barely hold our heads up. We had an early flight the next morning to Nelspruit, just outside Kruger. I hope we don’t have to run to make this one.


Costa Christina

I beach hopped each day. I visited the ports – Porto Cervo, Porto Brandinchi, Porto Rotundo, Puntaldia, and Golfo Aranci. I shopped the stores for regular junk to take home, like magnets and t-shirts. I shopped the stores for clothes I will never wear and never buy, and honestly, I don’t know who would or how those places even stay in business. Somewhere is an unfortunately dressed woman who is going to credit Sardinia with her brightly patterned look of coral and tropical fish and locals the land over will cringe. She’s likely sitting next to a man in pants that are too tight, too short, too linen and too pink to be useful anywhere else.

I more than enjoyed the local scenery – limestone mountains, cliffs, sweeping seascapes. And I enjoyed the locals and the poor to nonexistent English. There’s something gently charming about being in a place where they can take you or leave you. I like this. Gesturing, pointing, trying to recall words that sound like other words in Italian that I have heard or read in the past, simply trying to fill my Fiat up with gas. It’s an adventure, each day a small challenge to be won.

My favorite is presenting my credit card and watching the merchant read my name. I often watch the expression on their face go from abject indifference to welcoming acceptance. On more than once occasion I heard something like, “Your surname….it’s Italian, yes?” Then it was like the front door of their home swung open, and I was ushered in, had a glass of wine thrust in my hand and sat at the dinner table. I was in. I just wish I was in enough to find out how they make a living and how much do cars cost and what the winter is like…

I found the whole island to be relatively undeveloped and therefore fascinating. The occasional roadside inn, pizzeria, food truck. A smattering of food stores and hotels. None such that you would know what you were looking at if you weren’t actually looking for it.

And each day was harder and harder to end, the sun just never set. Not until 10pm when it finally ducked behind the limestone mountains.  I didn’t feel I could end my day until the day itself ended.

I did spend many several hours on the beach and I was warned not to ‘overdue it’ but I don’t know what those words mean and now I am now permanently colored somewhere between rotisserie chicken and pulled pork.

Speaking of which, the food. Oh, dear, the food. The island itself is Italian, but it is very close to Corsica, which belongs to the French, and has some Spanish influence that dates back thousands of years. That being said, one might expect to find a thorough mix of these cuisines and maybe they can. But not me. That’s not my goal. My goal is to eat the Italian from morning to night. The fresh tuna, the blindingly tender clams and muscles, the mouth melting pasta – where does one begin? One evening, I went into the center of Olbia, and dined outside. I had an Ichnusa beer, the spaghetti with clams and panna cotta with a raspberry sauce that brought tears to my eyes. You know the food is fresh from the sea when along with the clams you chew a little sand. I didn’t mind much. So the dish was a little gritty, just like Sardinia itself.

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I spent each day exploring a different beach, fighting parking lot crowds because no matter how early it was, I simply wasn’t early enough. But I always found a good spot and managed to enjoy 10 or more hours reading, sleeping, and frolicking in the water. I snorkeled and picked shells; some already had occupants.


In the evenings, I explored the center of the town, the shopping areas teeming with bright colors and billionaires. I fit in quite nicely.

Sardinia is my little dream island. It’s small but had everything, and nothing more than is necessary. The water and beaches are to die for, each one more spectacular than the next. The scenery was stunning no matter where I went. I thought it would be amazing based solely on the adverts in Fiumicino Airport, and it was.

I had an entire week of beach days, no rain, no clouds. I bounced around among the glitterati on the most beautiful island I have ever stepped foot on. I would recommend it highly but I prefer to keep it my little secret.


I Said I Was Going

Last time I was in Italy, I passed large adverts on the airport walls for a land not too far off.  A land of white sand, crystalline waters in shades of turquoise and emerald; happy, tanned people frolicking along the beach. I, too, wished to be one of these people diving off rocks into cerulean pools on the Costa Smeralda.

In a spur of the moment decision, with about 3 weeks notice, I booked a trip to Sardinia. Because why not. I had grandiose plans of visiting the caves and grottoes, seeing the ruins of Sardinia’s past and shopping in Cagliari. Well…

Turns out, there isn’t a lot of literature about this place, at least that I could find. And what I did dig up wasn’t very fruitful in terms of tourist friendly information. Is it possible I have found a land of relative seclusion? One where Americans are not the usual visitor? Turns out, yeah, I kind of did.

I flew from Rome into the most northern port, Olbia. And pretty much stayed there. Why? Because 30 minutes in any direction from my hotel was a beach. And not just a standard issue, regulation beach. But beaches so far into my wildest dreams, it was like I stepped clear out of my head and into those advertisements I saw on the airport walls. It is real.

From the road, you get glimpses of the coast line through the shrubbery, ragged and jutting into the sea. Vistas of navy blue water catching the sun, dotted by white – sailboats and yachts – mega yachts, even, that have dropped anchor just off the beach. Emerald and turquoise waters with gleaming silver tips, calling my name from miles away.

I had a hard time getting to the water each day. I was more compelled by the homes I saw, jammed into the cliffs overlooking. I wanted to pull into their ornate stone driveways and knock on the door, offer to be a live in maid or nanny.  Whatever it takes. I don’t need a lot of space, really. Or perhaps these kind people would invite me in to have a look around. I imagined sitting down on the veranda scented with gardenia to discuss the things I really wanted to know. What are your property taxes? What do you do for work? Is it expensive here? Did you build this house new yourself? Do you stay just in summer? Do you have a landscaper for these ornate and perfectly pruned flowers of purple and pink and white that caress your custom made entrance gate? If not, do you want to hire me? Do you have any sons my age? Is that lunch?


But I don’t because I have no interest in visiting a Sardinian jail lest it’s waterfront or has an infinity pool.

Anyway. Sardinia. Wow. It is one of the most rustic places I have visited. Rustic land, like upcountry Maui or Sicily or Montana. To get to the beach, I drive through dry grass, hills, sheep, rocky, unpaved roads. It seems like such a contradiction in terms. But it is real and it is wonderful.

But the beaches. My first beach required parking in a dirt lot. And here I thought arriving around 9am guaranteed me first crack at parking and a spot on the beach. Well, I could not be more wrong. I left my car in the middle of the alleged lot, grabbed my bag, and began a short hike to the beach, along with tens of other people. It was packed! It’s SO early! Ugh.

I eventually found a spot, dropped my hotel towel (thanks, guys!) and marveled at how pristine the sand was, how clear the water. I walked in up to my ankles, and looked down. The sand glistened and glittered like actual diamond dust. With every step, I kicked up chunks of sparkling sand that billowed into shiny clouds of soft powder. It was so shimmery, had so much luster, that I felt I could sit down and pan for actual karats.

I looked around, the water was clear and turquoise as far as the eye could see. I watched the sun hit the gentle ripples in the water, and it looked like chunks of gold were washing ashore. The way the light reflected off the water made me feel like I was swimming in liquid gold. I stood there admiringly for so long my shoulders began to burn.


That picture doesn’t do it justice, you’ll need to really envision my description.

I spent a whole 8 hours on the beach, in the water, reading, rotating like I was on a spit.

And for the next four days, I did pretty much the same. Laying about, admiring the view. Marveling over the water, the glistening, the warmth, the Italian spoken around me, the cloudless sky, the powdery sand, the yachts moored just off the coast inspiring awe and envy.

But doing all that nothing takes quite a bit out of you.

I can’t tell you how tired I was 10 – 11 hours later! The thing is this, the sun never seemed to set. I didn’t know what time it was, ever. The crowds never thinned out such to indicate a certain time of day or a certain meal is approaching. I suppose I would have known by my own hunger pangs, but I brought some stuff with me, so I never felt like I needed to eat. Not that it mattered, because I determined not to leave until I absolutely had to.

My first day was actually quite overwhelming, despite doing not a whole lot. I think I was so enamored of this island, the breathtaking beauty of it. The completely clear water and it’s warm yet refreshing temperature. I am not sure I ever considered such a place existed.