London, Paris, New York… and Longmont

London, Paris, New York… and Longmont

It all started with laughter and a longing to be somewhere else. I don't miss my hometown. I moved out of Longmont, Colorado in 1994, and never wanted to move back. For me, crossing that town line is like stepping into a dark parallel universe of bad memories. It's a time machine that only goes back to traumatic events; to people who only knew me as the juvenile delinquent offspring of a narcissistic, alcoholic mother. People who said I'd end up as nothing, popping out kids, smoking crack and ending up dead in a ditch. It's the town where a loser who nearly killed me is still frequently seen walking around on the street. I still have some very awesome friends living in Longmont, and while I almost envy their loving view of the place, I simply do not share it. My home life was not as bad or as good as it could have been, but it was difficult. It had a...
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Girl Drink Drunk

Girl Drink Drunk

Everyone needs some kind of a refuge. A place away from home where they can go periodically to slow down, unplug and recharge their serenity levels. When I lived in Colorado, my refuge was probably the same as every other Colorado resident - some place at a higher elevation, up in the mountains, on a trail, near a lake or a river. These days, my refuge is much different. When I came to meet Olivier in France in 2005, it was my second trip to France, but was the first time I'd ever seen any of the country outside of Paris, which is the best part. I spent the first week of my trip at Olivier's apartment in Montmartre, (which a year later, would morph into our apartment) and the second week, we hit the road. We stopped in places like Blois and Dijon. We walked through castles and ate in restaurants. We stopped among the volcanic landscape of Auvergne to meet...
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Ciao For Now, Argentina

Ciao For Now, Argentina

For our last full day in Salta & our final free day in Argentina, we'd planned another tour. This one, however, was a bit different. This time, our guide & driver were two separate people. We rode in a little bus rather than a pickup truck, would be making fewer stops & wouldn't be hanging out in any strange, tiny outposts with mummies or singing gauchos. Instead, we'd sit in our comfy seats while our guide pointed out all the cool shit on the side of the road, the cool shit we'd see later & various stories about the area. Then we'd go check out a winery before being set loose to run amok in the town of Cafayate. Like our previous tour, we made a few stops to check out the scenery & take photos. The only problem with making these stops is that Olivier is part monkey & cannot resist the urge to climb on rocks & things, so he'd...
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Single-Serving Friends in Salta

Single-Serving Friends in Salta

I didn't know much about Salta. I was told there would be wine & mountains -- not wee fucking hills, but proper mountains. That's all I need to know. I don't require much more than wine & mountains to be happy. I'm kind of low-maintenance like that. After  a short flight from Buenos Aires & a 20-minute cab ride, we arrived at our hotel, El Castillo de San Lorenzo. Our first couple of days & nights at the hotel, we were exhausted, so we didn't do much. We strolled around the area of San Lorenzo, the tiny little town where our hotel was located. We passed a couple of horses, several dogs & a smiley hobo who decided to chat with a tree after he realized we weren't going to be very good conversation. Neither one of us could understand the poor guy. Not because we couldn't understand any Spanish, but because we do not speak tree. We stayed in & had dinner...
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Business in Buenos Aires

Business in Buenos Aires

The reason we went to Buenos Aires had nothing at all to do with fun. It was all about work. Specifically, Olivier's job. Occasionally, the company he works for sends people to Argentina, or puts some Argentinians on a plane for France. They'd sent Olivier to Buenos Aires for a week a couple of years ago, but I stayed home. It wasn't a sad thing, since I had a BFF from back home visiting me. About 6 months ago, Olivier was informed they'd be sending him again. But, this time I'd get to tag along & we decided to take an extra week just to spend time appreciating Argentina. After our insanely shitty flight from Madrid, we arrived on a Sunday morning to find Buenos Aires calm & still half-asleep. After showers & a Burger King fix (give us a break - there's no Burger King here, so we jump on it whenever we get the chance) we had a quick stroll,...
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The Airplane Personality Test

The Airplane Personality Test

I hate flying. When I was a kid, I traveled by plane often, as many children of divorced parents do. Back then, it was a fun & exciting adventure. Because I was a wee one traveling alone, I received special attention. The flight attendant would bring me a little plastic pin with wings on it. "A gift from the captain," they'd say. I'd read my books & listen to my Walkman. The person sitting next to me was always nice. Or, at least quiet & polite. Over time, things changed. I got bigger. My legs grew longer. My patience, shorter. I take more international flights now. The airlines have changed, too. Now there's a lot more seats crammed into a single airplane in order to squeeze more money out of every flight. Flying anywhere -- even a 2 or 3-hour flight -- has become a fucking ordeal that one must survive, rather than a fun & exciting adventure. It's no longer the happy beginning...
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