Back to the past to prep for the future

So here I am on this dark, warm, rainy night.  Here I am on Maui. In the middle of the Pacific Ocean.  I arrived to its shores late last night. Instant relief.  Not to dwell on the fact that it took nearly 48 hours of air travel, but... well it took nearly 48 hours of air travel... 

 I was walking through Makawao town this morning heading down to Paia to take care of some things that I do once a year on this soujourn back home and thought about the scene that was taking place; the smells wafting through the air.  This was so incredible to try to decipher each individual scent; Plumerias, freshly cut grass in one yard, sweet grasses, etc. 

I moved on to just take pleasure in the visual array of local style homes I was passing by.  Pele's hair hanging from the fence of one house so thick that it covered the chain link fence.  I entertained the thought of taking a cutting or two for myself and L-fezz for our Istanbul apartments, and I might still take it upon myself to accomplish this task... The colors of the modest homes. The plants growing in haphazard mazes that are so happy because of the perfect weather Hawaii experiences all year long.  The various states of cars parked in the yards ranging from local style to local style beaters; some with plants growing in/around/on them as if the vines were taking prisoner these odd metal heaps.

Roosters crowing, or whatever it is called that they do. Dogs barking. One can almost hear the flower petals bursting forth in the rush to display such beauty and await the eventual falling of dewdrops atop. Trees rustling from light breezes.

Yes so anyway this is my reality here.  It's a really sweet reality that I thirst for when not around honestly.  I was thinking about this as I walked.  I looked up and saw a 'tweaker' (a rather endearing yet disturbing term for a drug user here having an apt description of their behavior) coming towards me.  I kind of chuckled a bit as, well, it just seems to Maui.  We both looked up at each other briefly and did the total Maui-style acknowledgment of one another by barely shaking our heads upwards.  Yes, I really felt home in that moment.

I continued on my journey.  Once I hit the intersection of Makawao and Baldwin Avenues, I turned downhill to head to Paia- my HQ for everything on this island really. I gently stuck out my left thumb in the requisite "hey, can you give me a lift" position and continued walking.  I walked in this manner for about 10 minutes.  Finally, as I passed the vetran's cemetery, a car stopped to pick me up. 

What I love about returning to Maui every year is this scene exactly; I am free!  I can throw on a tiny dress to cover up my bikini and have a destination in mind and just go.  Someone will pick me up.  We will have interesting conversations and make a connection for about 10-15 minutes and then BAM, I'm out of the car and we each go on about our lives as we see fit.  It is a beautiful thing, this type of freedom.  I never had this freedom the nearly 20 years I lived here because I had a car and worked, etc.  Now I get to see Maui in a different lens.  I have effectively adjusted THE kaleidoscope.  Man is it fun. 

She was a bit older than me.  She greeted me and moved the stuff off of her front seat- as all rides do.  Again, this is so Maui to me.  It makes me smile.  I plopped down and we were on our way.  She looks at me and says, "I didn't think you were going to smell of body odor so I decided to pick you up!"  I laughed. We both laughed.  She further offered, "I stopped picking up hitchhikers years ago because I got tired of the B.O." 

We then got into our oratory styles of offering little anecdotes of our current purposes in life, etc.  As she digested my story of just arriving back to Maui shores after living in the Middle East for 2 years, her eyes hungrily told me she wanted more.  I was happy to oblige.  I listened to her story as well.  We talked politics.  We talked about how we have both been on Maui for so long (her 30 years), and we just talked story.  Once in Paia town she was, of course, trying to find the ever elusive parking spot and I offered to just jump out there because that was going to take some time. 

Poof I was gone.  Poof she was gone.  Just like that.  In a Maui minute, we parted.  Hitchhiking is fun like that.  I meet the most interesting people, and I meet the most normal people.  But, you know what, everybody has a story and everybody like to be a storyteller as well as a listener.  So yes, this has become most interesting for me getting around Maui in summers now.

I did my business (taxes and banking for the previous and upcoming year) and then headed to Mana Foods, of course.  Mana Foods is an ethnographic study at any time of day/night.  I love this place so much.  It is THE coolest health food store on the planet.  It has had several metamorphoses throughout the years and it is a slightly different entity at my every return.  I simply LOVE to roam the aisles and soak in the sights; the different juices, health remedies, juices, hot foods, etc.  Just everything.  I could go crazy on a shopping spree here, and I do- every year.  Man did it feel good to buy my beloved Acai frozen packets so I can make the most incredible breakfast in the world.  I mean I am addicted to these Acai bowls.  I am addicted to Mana Foods. 

As I'm figuring out my food for the next few days I, of course, run into Big Bruce.  He is one of the first peeps I run into every year.  It is so refreshing to see him and reconnect.  We chatted amid all the chatty peeps in Mana and fought our way through the crowd vying for the prime spot in front of the salad bar fixings.  I asked him what he was doing.  He was just off work and getting ready to head up the hill back to Makawao.  I eagerly said I was too so I would join him in a hitchhiking festival! 

We headed out together and started walking to his 'spot'.  Now Big Bruce has been hitchhiking this route for nearly 30 years and has the 'wasta' like no other hitchhiker on island.  This I am sure of.  Within 30 seconds our ride stopped.  One of his regulars, Thomas.  We hopped in and I continued my current story about the Tajikistan job.  Other highlights were: Gobekli Tepe, Iran, Islam, Maui, etc. Again, another great encounter with a complete stranger sharing a few words among miles. 

That's all folks.  I feel a jet lag episode coming on!  Tomorrow (today) is here and there are more Maui roads to cover.  I'll give a preview for you all of my tomorrow (today) upcoming adventures: a ride into Wailuku town in the morning. A walk to Ka`ahumanu Center to get my Maui sim card in working order again.  A Maui Bus ride to Paia.  A visit with Guga at work and pick up my mail for the past year.  A walk to Baldwin Beach so I can sit still and read my current read, Shantaram. From there, who knows.  The world is my muse and my thumb is in working order.


notes on Bahrain

with my most humble yogi

It's still officially the 'bewitching hour' here.  The 3:50 am call to prayer made me realize it's time to lay my head down on my pillow soon- before sunrise anyway...  I have 2 weeks left here in my tiny island host nation before I head back to my bigger island in the Pacific Ocean.  I do have a stop-off in Turkey for a few weeks first.  Istanbul calling me- always.  The Aegean Sea is calling me LOUDER.  Looking forward to some adventures with treasured friends & collaborators :) 

Yes, bikinis are staring at me from my closet here.  They are all so sad that I'm hardly ever in them.  they find it strange that I could ignore them for so long...

I have to say, it's tough not having a beach to HANG at. I know there are pools here, but it's just not the same.  I need sand.  I need waves.  I need ocean energy to wash over me and absolve my sins :) 

Bahrain... Bahrain has been good to me.  I won't soon forget this place.  This experience that seeped into my body and sprouted roots and took a firm hold- for a time.  Now it is time to transplant those roots- to another experience.  Many more experiences.  It seems I have a habit of 2 years. Two years here.  Two years there etc. We shall see what develops in the future.  I don't necessarily feel like placing roots firmly in any one particular place really.  So far, Turkey and Hawaii are my roots that keep me rooted.  But being rooted means I can pick up anywhere and everywhere.  This. THIS is a luxury.  Yes, luxury can be had on a shoestring.  I have nothing and so much at the same time. 

What has truly endeared me to Bahrain are the friendships I've made. I feel that I made a place for myself here.  I got comfortable here.  I felt at home here.  Sweet A`ali village I will miss.  My trips to Delmon Pottery to see Masjid and his family and buy pottery for presents and hang out in the back watching the potters spin their craft and all the new litters of kitties scrambling about.  This was sweet and made me feel rooted.  Reminded me a bit of local-style families back home on Maui.

I will miss the A`ali Walking Track.  I've written about this a lot during my tenure here.  Two years ago it wasn't too popular, but now... Now men, women, families, etc. all come down once the sun sets and get their exercise on.  There is a small playground now and a man sets up a little outside 'cold store' pop-up shop of sorts.  There is a fitness area with bars and groups of well-defined young men are always doing gymnastics on.  Young girls are even running on the (brick) track.  Yes!  I love to see this.  I see couples walking on the track whose arms are dangling so close to each other's that I think they must want to join hands and proudly display their affection for one another- almost :)

It is with a heavy heart that I will have to give up my weekend escapades to BaYoga studio in south Juffair.  Man this has been my savings grace.  My yoga practice has deepened here for sure.  The atmosphere was the most pure that I've ever experienced in a yoga studio.  The House of Yoga and Zen in Makawao, Maui comes a close second for sure.  I really felt the union of yoga here; the union of body, breath and mind.  I learned so much about myself at BaYoga. 

One lesson that is so valuable that a value cannot be attached to 'it'; go forward with pure intentions and backbends can be amazing!  Thank you Abelish (not sure about spelling of his name) for providing such a sanctuary to practice in.  I learned so much from him- mostly in terms of how to approach difficult tasks or poses.  As with anything, go into any new endeavor with as much grace as possible.

Oh no... it's light out already... Ugh not even 4:30 am... I have to sleep...



The problem with nasal passages...

Friday morning and can't move off my bed... My normal routine has been to get up and head straight to yoga class but today I can't seem to move. I've got some sort of sinus thing going on, or I'm not sure actually.  For the past month the air conditioner has been on in whatever room I'm on.  Basically it's a necessity. Survival really. I'm not used to living this way and don't like it.  I think the AC can make people sick.  My unit seems old and like it needs to be cleaned out.  Anyway, for a few weeks now I've had a lot of phlegm in my throat just hovering around.  Not really going away, but not really dragging me down either. Gargling with warm salt water, Neti Pot, whatever. Nothing works. This shit is holding tight... I hate the AC. Evil, evil monster.

Last night though it dragged me down.  I was at my favorite Mexican restaurant here drinking Margarita's with my friend who was visiting from a little town in the desert north of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.  We were catching up on old times (Tunisia) and new futures (both of us getting out of the Middle East).  I was already spinning a bit, but when I got home my nasal passages were getting out of control.  All I could do to prevent feeling miserable was pass out, which I promptly did.

So now here I am, Saturday morning wishing I was in yoga class right now, but I'm not.  I'm in my bed with the AC on typing... Shit happens.  Must keep remembering that mantra. I'm looking forward to not needing AC ever again in a living environment.  Yea, that's right. Shift happens too!

In other news, last week I got excited a little early, so started to take apart my life in this apartment for the past 2 years.  Yes, in one afternoon it just about all came down and got packed away.  I've got four large suitcases full of my life here that awaits my life in Istanbul. The kitties sure were curious.  They were, and continue to be so, in various stages of lounge behavior on every suitcase.

I did a one last deep-cleaning (my style of deep cleaning) as well.  That was exhausting.  I see why everybody has cleaning people come to their houses to do this stuff.  I wasn't able to bring myself to do this though.  It seems weird honestly.  It's also weird taking an entire morning/early afternoon to clean.  Definitely not enjoyable, even while listening to heavy metal...

So my house is bare and I'm officially on bare-bones living.  Feels good.  It's only another month... Yes, I got a little too excited a little too early, but no matter.  It's done now and I don't have to deal with it in the coming weeks.  Better this way. Now I can just cruise.

I was busy yesterday making plans for an Aegean excursion with L-Fezz. We will seek out our new go-to spot on the Aegean Coast of Turkey.   Now that our hippie camp has been sold on the Mediterranean, we need a new go-to spot. It's going to be epic.  The 3Hs: hiking, hangovers, hanging (at beach). Yes, this is what I do. I'm still an amateur at one of these endeavors, which makes dealing with the other 2 a little dicey, at times...

Well, since I've dealt myself a guilt trip for not making it to yoga this morning, I think I'll check on the pool; if it's still tolerable to go in, I will.  Likely the water is already too hot to partake in this activity though... Ugh, my last Middle Eastern summer. Period. Unless I was ever to move to Oman in the future... Again, LOVE THAT COUNTRY, in spite of how hot it is there.  Yep, IMHO, the only place to live in the Middle East (for me that is). Bahrain is sweet, but small.  Too much like back home on Maui in that respect (and only that respect).

Okay, carry on


"normal" is the new black...

Well folks, it's nearly 3pm here in the Middle East and this is not normal for me to be blogging at this time.  Perhaps because I've had such an abnormally normal day today... Who knows.  It feels right, even though I don't have my steaming cuppa joe right here next to me on my bed (swapped that out for a smoothie I made from bananas, blueberries, red grapes, brazil nuts, Macha Powder, Spirulina, flax seeds, chia seeds, Omega 3 oil, almond rice milk, dessicated acai berry powder and powdered vitamin C... Yes folks, THAT is normal for me... Is it normal that I cart most all of this stuff around the world from Hawaii so I have access to only the purest blends of superfoods?  YES. Completely normal, in my world. The only thing that would make that smoothie more normal would be if I had my Vitamix here to blend up all the ingredients. Unfortunately the Vitamix had to stay back in Hawaii- for 5 years now...  It's got a good home though. I do miss that machine-0-power!

The kitties are next to me in their various stages of sleep. Although it's already pretty bloody hot here, they seem to make-do and adjust.  Of course my bedroom is always blacked out... The rest of the house is sunny, but my bedroom always has to be cave-like...always.  Most definitely it's the coolest spot in the house, in more ways than one... Again, very normal HollyMissBerry behavior.

My day started off heading to BaYoga in Juffair. BAM. Afterwards we headed to the beach for some fun in the sun.  Again, this is all very normal for a day in my life- even here in the Middle East.  I have to say, I do tend to seek out the normal anywhere in the world that I live.  I can't always find my most favorite normal ingredients, accoutrements, but I make-do and  adjust... For example, I drink gin & tonics now to compensate for another normal that I can't often find here... No biggie. That abnormal might just be normal in Istanbul- the next chapter... In fact, I know it will be...

So, the beach (more like a lagoon actually) was calm. No one else was hanging out in a bikini (normal for here). No one else was really on the beach- except for a few residents/renters lounging about on their decks, etc. We did get to see a black stork descend down to the shoreline and hunt crabs and little fish. This kept us occupied for quite a while.  As well the buoyancy of the water.  You can float forever here in the Gulf. It's like there's no possible way to sink.

So, that's about it folks.  That's my day thus far.  Now it's time to turn on the A/C- a soon-to-be normal every day occurrence for the rest of my time here in my tiny island host nation.

Oh yea, napping is normal now as well...



I tell you...

April appreciation,

April has been a pleasant surprise this year.  The typical April weather has been evasive this year. April thus has shown a vast amount of modesty and restraint... I can still walk outside and not be met with an impenetrable wall of heat that forces me to momentarily stop in my tracks, gasp, breathe out slowly and continue on- quickly- to my destination, which usually consists of another air conditioned environment.

Instead, April has been lovely, tantalizing even! I've been able to run on the A`ali running track in relative peace. Sure I sweat, but it's not dripping into my eyeballs. The air conditioning in my room was on for a few days last week, but not the past few nights.  I've hardly had it on in my living room as well.  It's not even necessary- yet...

April has abated, for whatever reason.

The Bahrain Heritage Festival is happening right now.  Music, food, crafts, people-watching, etc. The community spirit comes alive in the evenings here in Bahrain, as well as throughout the MENA region I have found. 

As I prepare to depart my sweet host country that I have called home for the past 2 years, many things vie for my attention: That Egyptian bakery at Al Waqif Souk, Muharraq old town, the coffee shop at the King Fahad Causeway in the middle (never seems to be open), hanging out at Capitol Mall 'shooting the shit' (talk story) with the basket weaver old man that has a twinkle in his eye,  the fabric sellers at the Manama Souk, cruising Bokawara 'hood in East Riffa a few more times to enjoy the carnival of affections taking place in carloads full of young Middle Eastern females and males in a parade of attention-getting techniques that will never cease to stop fascinating me, etc.

Yea, I have a lot on my list to take care of before I depart.  The frenzy begins to soak up as much of Bahrain as I can. This has certainly been a pleasant, unexpected stopover on my path... 

Pedal Power: One of the vendors had this lovely little set-up.  The table was full of traditional sweets

This old man was happily working away on his nets

Looking up at a shisha cafe


April Showers Brings May Flowers?

Perhaps you can't tell from the picture, but it is oppressively hot as well as engulfed in a sandstorm in the 'hood

I smell it in the air.  I taste it in my mouth.  It swirls around my feet... Yes, I just woke up this Monday morning to another sandstorm... Fortunately FaceBook Oracle told me all about it in advance as many friends in UAE & Saudi were already posting about the impending arrival here of another sandstorm. Thus meaning that I managed to close all windows before the storm hit... I don't usually manage to do that so I feel I'm already winning.  This year we've been getting hit by quite a few.  I don't remember this happening last year- at least with this frequency and intensity.

Speaking of intensity... I'm headed to the Formula One races this weekend here in Zallaq!  Again this year a friend is working the circuit so giving up his tickets to us :)  Again this year I do not have binoculars... Fortunately they are pretty decent seats situated above and near the 1st bend in the track. We saw some good action last year from those seats.  Not that the races themselves isn't thrilling enough, but the people watching is equally entertaining.  I mean, you see jewel-encrusted people there.  You see thobes with diamond cuff-links.  You see abayas dripping in Swarovsky crystals.  You also see a lot of normal looking peeps too... You will also see Starr, Dot and myself!  Hopefully the sandstorm session will be over.  Did I mention that Pitbull will be djing?  I'm looking forward to that as I'm a kinda-fan...

Last Thursday- that was the day. That was the day that the weather 'broke'. It was a definite feeling of the rise of temperature.  It seemingly went from high 70s to high 90s overnight. Everybody noticed it and talked of it.  I held off with the air conditioning until Saturday evening... Now, though, air con will be a constant I fear.  This is how the rest of my time in the Middle East will be spent- going from one air con environment to another air con environment, etc.

I managed to get back in my yoga routine at BaYoga. Just going inside that humble yoga shala makes me realize how much I will miss it.  It's such an easy vibe and no one is there to babble about yoga, etc.  Everyone is just into their practice, and then they leave.  Although, this past week I noticed some new people and a few in particular kept talking.  There is a point in class where there is kind of a little break and our teacher walks around and gives us adjustments, etc. Usually if you opt out, or don't take them, you just sit in meditation or Child's Pose, etc.  These girls decided it was time to talk-story as if they were at a cafe or something.  I don't know, but I thought it was incredibly rude.  Perhaps they just don't understand that yoga isn't simply an 'exercise' but a deepening of development to quiet the mind, as well as the body.  I let it temporarily affect me, but then I decided that I needed to become unaware of it and just let it go.  I guess I decided to turn the situation into a lesson for myself in my own personal development of quieting my own mind! 

I am amazed though as Friday morning class is always full, but on Saturday mornings sometimes I'm the only one or there is one other person.  This Saturday there was another guy and myself. I always enjoy this class as instruction is so personalized.  I hadn't seen him before, but he looks like he will be a regular and is pretty dedicated to his practice. Our teacher had us strike up some rather complex asanas that took some mental/physical preparations to gear up for.  At one point my mind tried to take over.  I said, "Abelish I can't do this pose today", as I fell over. He did not falter for a moment.  He simply waited (signaling me that I was going to try again) and casually said something to the effect of, "Yes you can.  Don't tell yourself you can't."  What happened next?  I nailed the asana- right before I tilted over again!  It was Pigeon Pose variation(s) that looked like this:

It's amazing how one's mind can control one's body.  You don't even realize it and live your life like this.  I'm being dramatic, but to express my point.  It just hit home for me that my mind was resisting what my body could fully do, and I don't know why.  I don't know why both my mind and body weren't working in unison to bring me happiness.  Why did it take someone else to tell ME I could do it?  Well, that is a cerebral question with a cerebral answer... The lesson (re)learned is that you can do a lot, but you have to train your mind.  This is what a lot of people don't realize about yoga.  You are training your mind as well as your body.  It is discipline.  It is intense.  It is light-hearted.  It is the union of body and mind- yoga.

I  remember being burnt out on yoga a few years back- when I was still back home on Maui.  It wasn't the practice, but the perception of yoga that was starting to annoy me.  I kept hearing in many different classes with different instructors stuff like, "Keep it yummy" or "Doesn't that feel delicious", etc.  There was always this talk of 'heart-felt', etc.  I mean, yes okay but do we have to talk about it.  we KNOW it.  I just felt like so much superficial talking was going on.  I just wanted to deepen my practice and to do it in a group setting.  There was only one instructor that gave me this peace of mind where I could just be.  I could drown out all sounds and have my practice. This was at the House of Yoga and Zen.  Perhaps it's because of the nature of Ashtanga Yoga itself in that it is a specific routine that one flows though holding each pose for only 5 seconds.  You flow so fluidly that there is no time to let the mind wander, in my humble opinion.  As well, there is a way to channel one's energy into the body and give up the mind.  There simply isn't enough time for the mind and body to communicate together (meaning that the mind has no time to try to convince the body that something can't be accomplished).  I don't know, but it was at this point that I realized I needed to explore a deeper practice on my own.  I say this because I could not practice Ashtanga every day- as is needed with that branch of yoga- because I was always up early and working archaeology jobs on construction sites so couldn't make the 7am classes.  I could only make Sunday morning classes. 

That was also about the time that I moved to Tunisia so my practice had to go 'underground' so to speak.  Same thing as when I moved to Southeast Turkey.  I had to develop my own home practice, which is not an easy thing to do.  I still battle with it, and am fortunate enough here in Bahrain to have access to some great yoga classes.  It is freeing.  It is liberating.  I really missed the interaction of open classes- even though we are not necessarily interacting with each other during practice. At one point yesterday morning the teacher was adjusting Spencer and I was watching how he was adjusting (every yoga teacher is always fascinated with how another teacher gives adjustments) him.  We both caught eyes briefly and it was just a pleasant exchange.  That is all.  He was nailing the pose and I was excited and he was feeling elated I could tell.  It was just a tiny moment of sharing something together yet totally separate.

My friend Angie had friends visiting from North Carolina this past week so they had a full fun-packed schedule of events that I tagged along with for some.  Probably the highlight though was finding Farheen- an Indian woman originally from Bombay that lives here and does a kick-ass job of henna application, as well as teach yoga!  I'll check out her yoga classes soon enough, but I am really impressed with her henna designs.  She does it at her house and is just a wonderful person with a sweet vibe.  There were 5 of us so it was a full evening of henna, food and talk-story.  My kinda evening indeed.

Here I am at my beach after yoga class on Saturday reading my book.  Yes, I'm the only person 'on the beach' in terms of a towel on the sand... A beach culture Bahrain is not!!!
a traditional Bahraini-weaved basket I got from a cool old man at the Capital Mall Artisan Collective.  He gave me a bunch of freshly-picked sprigs of basil.  Smelled delightful! Oh, also my beloved Alfonso Mangoes- which are to-die-for

I'll end with some other pictures of various hoods in Bahrain that I frequent and find fascinating

This is towards South Sehla. This hood holds lots of "BBQs"

This is in Al Hajer.  I go through here to take a short-cut to get back on the freeway when I want to avoid Budaiya Highway

The pet store where I get catfood is nearby to here

On the way to Starr's villa- in Al Hajer village.  I really like this village

an unfinished mosque in Al Hajer.  It seems work was stopped on it a few years ago, right after work started on it...

By the way, April showers are non-existent here in the Middle East...


Tuned in and Turned on- to MY frequency of love

8 am in bed listening so Antonio Carlos Jobim with a hot cuppa joe.  Kitties are gleefully playing around the house, now that it is (mostly) rid of sand from this  past week's sandstorm that came in and held my house hostage...  Yea, true story.  Sand everywhere.  I could track all movements throughout the house using my cleaning skills as an indicator of where there were still layers of sand I had not excavated deep enough & cleared.  Obviously, my cleaning skills lack but whatever...

As I woke up today I thought to myself, "Do I spring out of bed"  Do I get it together to get myself together and get in car and drive to 9:30 yoga class? Or, do I lounge in bed and drink coffee at a leisurely pace?"  Option 3 works for me today! 

Speaking of coffee, I'm quite excited about my Yemen coffee that I recently purchased... I am patiently waiting for the Starbucky's swill to run out so I can test out what I think will be an excellent brew.  Perhaps I should have gotten more? 

Yes, relaxation rules the day, or the weekend more appropriately.  The past month every weekend has been absorbed by travel and running around.  I am ready to simply sit and stare at walls... Yesterday even staring at walls was interrupted- by 11 episodes of House of Cards... Honestly, it takes me so long to watch these awesome tv series.  When I finally figure out how awesome they are, I go on an episode binge.  I did have intermittent bouts of house-cleaning, running, yoga and push-ups though so not all was lost in slackerverse...

Today.  Today though is all about the animals!  I'm catsitting for my downstairs neighbor and he just had his balls chopped off so... he needs some extra loving.  My kitties need loving too!  As well, they need food!  Yes, it's a trip to my favorite pet store on Budaiya Highway. It's a completely rural experience here and I love it that I can find gems like that here in this strange little island nation. 

Lastly, today is about the BSPCA.  Yes, it's a day to share some love with all the homeless kitties and doggies!  I suppose the animals are not exactly 'homeless' as they do have a home to live in while they await their forever homes.  There are far too many homeless animals here in Bahrain though.  Also, there are far too many assholes here in Bahrain that treat animals like shit... That is universal though.  I'm quite impressed with the large community of animal care-takers here honestly.  Some asshole burned a cat alive last week, in a cage, and got it on video.  It was posted to many websites (I was following the BSPCA Facebook page), and within a few days a few supporters got a reward bag of 600BD together (approximately 1500 US$) and within days, the culprits were turned in and, apparently are currently arrested.  I'm hoping for a positive ending with this (goes something like, "an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth...")

It got me to thinking about religion- all religion.  Isn't it supposed to be about love and compassion and acts of charity? Sick of all the hypocrits- from all religious backgrounds.  I'm not an aethiest by any means (to me this simply begs for inclusion into some group of non-believers that wishes to adhere to some group norms- such as a 'religion'). I simply pick and choose what I wish to accept at various times when I think about these things.

What exactly is a 'pious' act anyway?  Is this possible in the current state of the world? Can you be pious in advance so you can 'sin' at a later date and use that ace in your back pocket  as a 'get out of jail card' such as in Monopoly?  What exactly is a 'sin' anyway?  I vaguely remember what is represented during my youth spent in a Catholic Church every Sunday morning at 7 am... I have different opinions now.  Or, I've decided that it is a gray area.  There is no black and white.

Let's just say that this Sunday morning I am reflecting on going to my type of institution of worship- a jungle back home in Hawaii.  Filling my body with Mana from the land. Having my body adorned with black sand from Maui's volcanic shores of the east part of the island.  Having seawater, (my 'holy' water?) in my hair to put a spell on me and not let me forget who rules the land, the heavens, the hells of my world. Jumping naked into waterfalls and feeling free.  Feeling like perhaps people are watching, but do they really care? No, not really.  Not in my world.

What else am I thinking about?  I'm thinking about how back home in the summertime I feel so free.  My HQ is up in Makawao- Cowboy Country.  I think about how I get up and decide to go to the beach and simply walk into town and hitchhike down into Paia and walk over to Baldwin Beach, or Tavaras Bay, or at the Youth Center.  I think about lying on the warm sand and how the sun eases away all the stress and tension from my body that has been building up from living in this part of the world.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy the challenge of living where/as I do, but I do need healing every year away from it.

I think about how not strange it is to be in constant movement back home.  Dancing in reckless, wild abandonment (and not in a thumping nightclub full of losers and hookers intermixed with a few like-minded expats). Choosing to do yoga on the beach rather than inside a classroom.  Want to do a headstand on the beach?  Why not.  Go for it.  No one will stare you down.  No one will even notice.  You have a teeny bikini on too?  Not a problem. Do your thing peeps. Smoke. Drink. Make out. Read a book. Whatever. 

You read my words this morning and you might think my mind is in the gutter.  Nope.  It's already back home on the shores of Maui. As well, my mind is projecting on my future home- Istanbul...

(how's that for a cliff hanger...)

The race is on folks...to get back to my 'normal'

... to get back to MY frequency of LOVE.  Soon come Hawaii...


Danger: High Voltage- Bring it on Home...

Tuesday morning in bed with coffee and kitties listening to Led Zeppelin's "Bring It On Home".  Damn, real rock and roll. Makes me swoon.  Now, it's story-time people- about swooning to 70s rock and driving on Friday mornings here in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

I've likely mentioned this before, but Fridays are the best *safest* day to drive here because it's the 1st day of the weekend and many are preparing for late morning prayers at mosque.  Mornings are especially empty of traffic.  At this time, I always find myself driving from A`ali to Juffair to BaYoga. 

Saudi Aramco (eastern Saudi Arabia) DJs are always playing 70s rock on Friday morning.  It's soooo soothing driving and rocking out in the car.  It has to be a funny site because I just can't sit still and listen. I'm all over the place rocking out so any random car driving parallel with me gets a show. 

Of course, these past 4 months have been 'winter' here so there is no need for air con so windows are open and music is blaring.  Blaring. I know it's 'haram' and I'm generally careful about being culturally sensitive but sometimes one just has to cut loose.  It's especially relevant because I'm heading to yoga class.  Therapy before therapy... I get to class and already am 'tuned-in and turned-on.'

Of course, the rest of the weekend the Aramco radio station is playing rock, but Friday mornings... That's some good shit man.  It's a blessing to feel 'normal' here, and y'all that know me well know what 'normal' is for me.

Speaking of 'normal', it's a beach day today :)

My favorite *not many other options* beach here in this island kingdom.  With Shamika from last April :)


Turkey Trotting 2015

I was recently in Turkey, for a few reasons. Here they are: Istanbul, Gaziantep, Antalya...

the cats of Istanbul

on a walkabout to Moda for some cold beverages

kitty kat capsule hostels


Ada sunshine

in the old quarter of Gaziantep

Chalet Settar

mating season

Nano Nano...

gallery hopping for the free booze

Antalya Archaeology

with Jamila Jordan ELF :)