Malta

The truth is, I saw a picture on television once, and decided I would come here. One picture, and I was sold. The first thing that strikes me is the heat, the oppressive, dry heat. The kind of heat that doesn’t make you sweat, but rather makes you feel as if you are caked in dirt, baking slowly. I get on a bus and make my way to Valletta, the city I once saw, an image I’ve held in my mind until now. The island of Malta has seemed remote, exotic, but in all truth it’s in the middle – accessible, a blend of European and the Middle East. A land fought for my many empires, a collaboration of culture, art, and architecture. Continue reading “Malta”

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Kingston

Cars speed past me, I stumble on the rocky resemblance of a sidewalk as I navigate my way through Kingston. Keep your bag close I’m told. “Hey Princess”, a guy calls to me, where are you from? He grabs my hand, kisses it, and I walk on. Sweat. Sweat is dripping down my face. I’ve not stop sweating since I arrived nearly a week ago. Jamaica is hot, Kingston is intense, smoldering, crowded; absolutely opposite of the remote Long Bay beach town I came from. I wanted to see Kingston, it’s just that I don’t know what to do with myself in this unwalkable, dusty madness. Continue reading “Kingston”

Gondola

I reach for the outstretched Italian hand that firmly pulls me onto an old, wooden gondola, into another time. I carefully step aboard the wobbly boat and take my ornate, velvet seat amongst the Canadians facing me. I feel them looking at my worn rubber flip-flops, the permanent ink sky on my foot, my elephant t-shirt. Where is she from? How old is she? I smile and they collectively question me. Yes, I’m American – yes, I’m traveling my myself, and I unwind the tale of my journey to curious Canadians as we bob into the wide canal, floating into another world. Continue reading “Gondola”

Wandering Warsaw

The sun has long ago set, the shops have closed, city life is subsiding, but I can’t bring myself to go in. The night is too perfect, the weather too beautiful, and I’m acutely aware that my time here is about to expire. I sip my tea, aimlessly roaming the streets of Warsaw, mesmerized by the cobblestone, the perfectly lined colorful buildings, and find myself at a castle in the old town. I can still hear the faint music of performers in the old town square, also savouring every last-minute of the perfect Polish summer night. Continue reading “Wandering Warsaw”

Queen of the Castle

Sunday morning I wake up with a busy mind and a desire to get lost. I grab a cappuccino freddo and set out on foot towards a distant castle, somewhere on the island. Dodging motorbikes, I ascend a road along the edge of a cliff, looking down at the maze of houses below, stretching out to the ocean. Indeed I get lost, looking for a path that will lead me to the castle. After making countless wrong turns, I realize the path I’m looking for isn’t a road, but a narrow staircase pathway. What seemingly is an entrance to a house is really a secret stairway leading to a quaint village on a beach. Continue reading “Queen of the Castle”

Joburg

Gritty, dirty, urban- a city that has its past written all over its streets. I walk down streets that resemble Harlem in New York, just broken down and without the diverse faces from around the world that make the urban hub so unique. I step over cracks, around trash, curiously looking at the empty buildings, the familiar graffiti art that adds character to the run down brick. I notice a guy following me, telling me about his penthouse down the street. He has been to New York once- Brooklyn, but can’t tell me where. I quickly duck into the only restaurant I’ve seen to lose my pursuer. Continue reading “Joburg”

Hungry Hungry Hippos

Floating papyrus greets us early morning as we navigate to a small island where mokoros are waiting. We are truly off the beaten path- the islands we are exploring cannot be found on a map. I get into my mokoro- a hollowed out boat with a puller standing in the back, pushing the boat through the flooded delta with a stick. We push off into the flooded grass, pushing reeds out of the way. I sit in the bottom of the boat, almost level with the still waters, dodging the papyrus puffs that threaten to hit my face, my arms parting the grass as the boat pushes through. Continue reading “Hungry Hungry Hippos”