48 hours in DC

Washington, DC is a city of hustle and bustle. Personally, that’s why I am so attracted to it. The people in a city that never sleeps is usually driven by ambition and a vision.  DC is a perfect example. There is always someone new to meet, places to see, and things to try. I have a deep love for DC because whenever I am there its like I’m on top of the world.

This time around in DC, I was actually there for originally an international fraternity conference called Phi Alpha Delta. This group is composed of undergraduate students, graduate students, and also those going through law school. We are collectively committed to the end goal of finding a career in the legal profession. I was still lucky enough to find time to explore the city in the short 48 hours my group and I were there.

We spent Saturday afternoon exploring a few key Smithsonian museums. The Air and Space museum was impressive because of the space and air history artifacts put on display. This had been my second time at the museum so perhaps it was less interesting to me. But, I had never been to the Botanical Gardens or the American History Museum before.

For anyone traveling to DC in the near future, I would highly suggest the American History Museum. When you walk in its not overly impressive, but by the time you finally get to the meat of the exhibits, the content and research that has gone into the exhibits have a profound effect. There is nothing like experiencing an overview of American History where many of the decisions about the outcomes have been made. The section on American war was perhaps my favorite. It starts out with the American Revolution and slowly transitions from war to war based on a linear timeline. But as you approach later wars and more controversial wars, like the Vietnam War, they are presented in a way that becomes very real for those visiting the exhibit. I don’t think ever been so moved by an exhibit, not emotionally but mentally. The American History of war Museum at the Smithsonian left me with a deep curiosity and new perspective on quite a few things. I suggest that if you can make the time, it would be worth spending an entire day or two at this museum alone.

The botanical museum was mostly just beautiful. The diversity of plants are astounding. The most interesting rooms were probably either the endangered species room or the room that featured various medicinal plants. I have always had an interest in botany so I found this museum more interesting them my counterparts but they still enjoyed themselves. This  botanical museum could comfortably be seen in an hour or two. But make sure not to miss it. I had no idea that it was even there until this trip. It is hidden in comparison to the rest of the mall. Instead of being directly off the National Mall, it sits directly to the right of the Capitol Building.

After the Smithsonian closed we made our way up to Capitol hill and toured the outsides of the buildings in this area. From the outside, the Supreme Court was by far the most impressive. It reminded me of  ancient buildings that I’ve seen  in citifies like Vienna or Rome. Its Roman pillars were larger then most redwoods. You had to stand a couple hundred feet back from the building just to get a complete picture bottom to top, but you were free to walk up on the steps outside of the building. Perhaps less impressive from the outside but still beautiful was the Library of Congress.  Although, if you do make your way up to Capitol Hill, make sure that you do it between the hours of 10:00 AM and 4:30 PM. Unfortunately, we arrived about an hour late and the doors were closed to the pubic. I would have bet though that the interior would have made up for the unimpressive exterior.

The most majestic moment that I encountered in DC was walking through the memorials during sunset. I cannot stress the beauty of the Lincoln Memorial with a gorgeous sunset behind it. The colored light was bouncing over the reflection pool and the area glowed of purple and blue.12118679_492143454288692_78464703576351655_n

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Napali coast… a wild adventure 

The Napali coast. It’s a natural phenomenon of which I have never seen anything similar to before. As featured in the Jurassic parks movie, it’s greenery and elegance are reflected in everything around it. The hills are best described as velvety green and the water that splashes onto the coast a turquoise blue. 

An upside to traveling with a professional rock climber is that they push your boundaries and test your adventurous limits. We left our condo around six am in order to drive up to the Napali coast where we would be doing our eight mile hike. Now eight miles doesn’t sound like a lot, but it is considerably more strenuous when half the trek is swimming through rivers, crawling through mud, and stumbling down boulders on near vertical surfaces. 

Our group of seven split up into two groups. Peter the rock climber, my friend Jess, and I (being the most capable for the trek) went up ahead and left the others to take a slower pace.  

As we neared the trailhead, giant warning signs greeted us.

 “Caution: flash flood area” 
“Caution: strong tide current”
“Cation: steep cliffs ahead” 
“Cation: falling rocks” 
The sight was slightly ominous. But there was a certain thrill in the air. It was almost like a challenge. It was pushing us toward the end of the world and unexplored territory. (At least unexplored to me)

It took us about three hours to hike into the back country where we would turn around and head back. The loop was 22 miles if you were to complete the entire thing. 

At the 4 miles we ended up at the bottom of the mountains near the turquoise ocean. But it was much more interesting then your adverage beach. The high tide had created a type of land bridge and a separate body of water in an inlet. It wasn’t exactly a lake, but rather a giant tide pool of smooth sand and guppies. It was only about waist deep at most, and the sun had warmed the water to almost hot tub temperature. Maybe around 90 degrees. Unlike the ocean which was staid by strong and dangerous tide, this pool was completely still even though it was only twenty feet away. It was also stunningly clear water. You could see every little detail on the bottom including variation in the color of grains of sand. It seemed surreal. 

On the side of the pool were cliff walls which opened into caves and large caverns. Being the capable adventurer he is, Peter had a head lamp so we took a look around but stopped when we noticed a deep dark underwater lake. There are very few things I fear, but I must admit this is one of them. There was an incident when I was younger that prompts me to have a fear of cave lakes and drowning in general, but we won’t go into that now. Either way there was no way in hell I was going into that water to continue. I was able to convince the others to turn back when we noticed another warning sign. 

“Caution: Do NOT swim. Possible flesh eating bacteria present” 

But as we weren’t to turn back we were handed a tempting offer. If you were to continue another two miles up the trail you would reach a waterfall with another pool at the bottom. He offered to take both Jess and I but we decided to decline once we assessed our water situation and found it was almost gone.  

At the end of the day we thankful that we had declined his offer. When we picked him up from his further adventure another four hours later, he admitted he was glad we didn’t join him. Evidently the condition of the terrain only worsened, the mid afternoon sun was scorching, and in the four hours we gave him before we picked him up he only managed to make it another mile. Worst of all, he didn’t even reach the waterfall. Given that he is a professional rock climber, this is a horrifying thought to consider how rough this trail really was. 

We learned a few days later that the state of Hawaii requires proof of experience and a license to continue past the point I went. Oops.  

I’ve adopted it as a personal goal of mine in the future to return to the island and complete the 22 mile loop. Maybe like a bucket list goal, so to say.  

 

Travel Talk 

Here I sit in San Francisco, waiting for my flight.  Our flight was supposed to be at 2:30. Air port delays are often annoying but I actually appreciate the time to get stuff done. Stuff like write this blog post.  (I may as well, because I just learned we won’t even get more information until 7 am in San Francisco. That’s 8 am in Denver.) 

It’s always an odd phenomenon when one travels on a flight longer then 5 hours. You somehow manage to experience 24 hours of sunrises, sunsets, and starry skies as you follow th skyline in that short span. Four hours ago I left the Lihue airport around sunset. Now I sit in San Francisco enjoying a chai latte and watching the sunset through a terminal window. 

This latest trip for me has been different than most others I go on. I usually travel for the excitement, thrill, history, and adventure. But this time it was a nice mix of all this stuff and a decent amount of relaxation. You don’t realize how stressed out you are until you have the opportunity to sit on a beach and analyze your life.  And I’ll let you in on a little secret. Most of those stress triggers might be just completely irrelevant in the scheme of things. 

Now…. Onto the details about my trip! 

The condo we and our family friends rented was near Poipu beach. This is a beach on the southern side of Kauai, Hawaii. It was absolutely beautiful. 

Wildlife and animals: 

Because of the heat most mornings I had a hard time sleeping in. So instead of laying in bead, I would go for walks on the beach every morning. There is something pristine and perfect about green sea turtles which were sprinkled on the beaches this time of morning before people took over the area. The full moon would draw them out and coax the onto the beach.  Besides the turtles, I also happened across a Hawaiian seal one morning. 

All over the island and not just on Poipu, wild cats and chickens have taken over. They are everywhere and although I was surprised by it, locals have just seemed to accept it as fact. You would think that the cat population would keep the chickens to a minimum, but the cats don’t seem to interested in the chicken buffet. 

Another interesting spot for birdwatching is the light house and national animal sanctuary on the northeastern side of the island. Around mid summer, which happens to be now, redfooted boobies build there nests and hatch eggs. The whole side of the rocky oceanfront looked like it had been toiltet papered by a group of troublesome teens… But instead of trash all those white  speaks were actually birds. 

Food: 

My favorite food island was by far the fruit. The Mango, pineapple, papaya, guava, and banana on the island are all to die for. Sweet, tangy, and delectable are all under statements. The next runners up were the locally caught sushi and shave ice. There’s nothing like fresh food and a cool treat on a very hot day. 

Adventures:

Well I would update you about these now, but they are nothing without picture evidence as proof. For example, when I went exploring canvas and remote beaches on the Napali Coast (where Jurassic park was filmed) it wouldn’t have same the effect without context of an image. There are certain things you can’t explain with words. 

Surf’s up

Today I learned to surf. This might not sound like a huge deal, but considering I am from Colorado, it’s a pretty unique experience for me. 

It was just about as painful as I expected, but it was surprisingly easier the I thought it would be. The key is to fall…. A lot. This is true partially because you just naturally get better with practice. But it is mostly true because I’ve realized that when you get accustomed to falling you don’t fear it anymore and the natural feel of balance slowly comes. If you aren’t fearful of falling, you aren’t distracted by it. Focus and relaxation is a pretty big deal evidently. 

Unfortunately through, when I did fall the first few times, I fell hard. Little did I know that I would end up flipping my board over a coral reef and slicing open my right foot with about five sizable gashes. Also during this incident I managed to knock the wind our of myself.  Dazed and confused, is at there holding onto my board for dear life for a few seconds before the pain subsided.

The next rookie mistake I made was letting myself get pulled into a current that ended up with me spraining my hand when I landed on the beach. My right hand got stuck under my board. Don’t ask me how… I’m not even sure myself. 

Yet despite the pain, it was totally worth it. By the end my second hour I could actually catch a wave and ride it for a few feet before face planing into the sand. When you manage to successfully ride a wave you feel like pure sunshine. It’s like you’re on top of the world and nothing can bring you down. (Well except for maybe a shark or tsunami)  

 

LA? No way…  and other interesting observations 

I am not a fan of LA. 

Well, I suppose that judgement is a little presumptuous. Let’s just say I am not a fan of LAX, or it’s airport. I have never actually spent significant time in the city besides layovers. 

As you fly into the city a layer of thick pollution coats the city. From the sky you just see mile upon mile of dirty commercial sprawl with small residencies intertwined among the urban expanse. There is no greenery on the ground, maybe with the exception of a few palm trees. This is not surprising considering the entire city is made up of one large concerted block. I believe it was Amy Poehler who once said that she will never fully understand LA.  Now I know why. 

Once our plane landed we were forced to taxi around for about half an hour before we were able find our way to a gangplank. Evidently there was a backload of flights being held up because of various mechanical issues. 

Flight attendants tell you to remain calm and quiet in this situation but I am here to tell you that “calm and quiet” doesn’t happen when you have a connecting flight to catch in exactly fifteen minutes. There is nothing more aggravating  then being held captive on an incoming flight when the seconds ticking by are an annoying reminder that your plane started to bored and you are a sitting duck several concourses away. In a situation like this, there is no chill. 

Once we finally were able to make our way off the plane, it hit me just how  appreciative of effiency I am exactly. I remember complaining a few months ago about the inconsistency and inefficiency of the Heathrow airport in London. LAX makes their connection transportation system look like first class service. Once we made out way off the plane, we were stranded on a little island in the middle of the Tarmac so we had to take a bus back to the central part of the airport. Now I wish I could say this went smoothly and quickly. But we were put on a bus where we left in the 105 degree heat for quit  some time given our tight connection . Were obviously inconvincing her because she seemed to be in the middle of a a gossip session with one of her close friends. They literally started to braid each others hair when my family and I finally got the guts to ask if we could get a move on. With an eye roll and a snort she finally asked her friend to leave so we could get a move on. Like I said before, I am used to effcency and I appreciate people who take their jobs seriously and have a little respect for the airlines who pay them. Silly me, guess I needed a reality check. 

But, somehow we still managed to catch our flight because of some sort of magical intervention from above. We made the cut off for boarding by exactly two minuets. As I write this I’m looking out the window and admiring large expanse of ocean. But on our way from Denver to LA the view was a bit more unique. The Grand Canyon indeed looks like a giant crack in the earth compared to all the flat desert around it. It was an unusual site and one I felt honored to see on such a clear day. 

 Fun fact: it takes about four minuets to fly over the Grand Canyon in a commercial jet. 

Now on our other connection from LA to Lihui, Hawaii I saw something else amazing. From above cloud level, the Pacific Ocean appeared to be the exact same shade aqua blue as the sky above it.  The fluffy clouds in between the two layers looked like a thin layer of marshmallow in this sandwich of blue. It looked like the sky had been reflected into a mirror.   (See picture below) 

Finally as we settle into our little bungalow/condo I finally have time to tell you about my journey so far. I was surprised to find that the rooms don’t have air conditioning, but the soft ocean breezes and free wifi more then make up for it. The view off our balcony happens to be that of a cactus garden. This worries me slightly because I have a bad history with cactuses. The last time I was near a cactus garden the surgeon had to pull eight thornes out of my thighs, arms, and face.  

 

 

mosquitoes and mayhem

Fun Fact: I have never been camping.

Despite the fact I have lived  in the heart of the Rocky Mountains for 18 years and have a deep love for the outdoors, I have never been camping. Or, at lest until now….

Our little camping trip originally started as a week long group trip to Lake Powell but eventually after several road blocks we had a change of plans. It made me sad at the time to consider all of our planning we had done over the course of a month was irrelevant. But after reflecting upon the events of the last couple days, I know realize the verse had something else in mind for me.

It didn’t quite hit me until we were out in the middle of freaking nowhere without cell service how much I actually trust my boyfriend. Since our other friend decided to bail on the trip, it turned out to just be the two of us. As we drove mile after mile into the wilderness it occurred to me just how easy it would be to kill someone out here and dispose of the body without a trace. (What a romantic thought to be having while alone with your boyfriend… I know) Still, the thought of being outside the reach of reality and responsibility with such an awesome person for a few days was a awesome thought.

We reached our destination and started to set up camp in a little field on the edge of an aspen grove. We started to set up the tent.  I attempted to help, but felt like I was performing an SNL comedy skit. Not only was my clumsy disposition getting in the way but I had never actually set one up before. It probably looked like I was attempting to build a space ship for NASA according to the look of pure concentration on my face.

As sunset neared, so did the misquotes. They were literally everywhere. As we made smores for dessert we decided to try putting peanut butter on the gram crackers. Which is amazing and delicious for the record. But it turns out they are also attracted to peanut butter. I was already pretty frustrated at that point so my rage accidentally let itself out as I yelled “STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM MY PEANUT BUTTER!” The look on my boyfriend’s face was priceless because he assumed I was talking to him at first. oops. I have a feeling that this is the start of a long term inside joke.

Strangely enough, the award for most awkward moment of the night goes to the moment when we realized we had been set up. It was your classic situation. Unknown to my boyfriend, one of his friends had snuck a condom and a pack of beer into our camping supplies. Luckily we had a good laugh about it and I have a pretty solid plan to mess with his friend next time I see him.

I have decided that the point of camping isn’t to relax and enjoy nature. It is to go for an adventure, open yourself up to new experiences with friends, and see what kind of mischief you manage to get yourself into. Well, maybe all that plus enjoying the night sky. For the record: those stars were amazing.

Butterflies, strawberry pies, and perfection 

Yesterday: it could have not been more perfect. I know this sounds like a classic cliche and a boring story… But this is a story of perfectly timed adventures. 

I began the day early in the morning. For me this is a small miracle. It takes a special kind of person to coax me out of bed at eight am in order to meet for a morning hike. And I must say…my date is that very special type of person, because I would do it again in a heart beat. 

I am lucky to live in the mountains, it gives me a new opportunity everyday to explore a different place. So in place of coming up with more creative ideas, my date and I decided to go on a hike at a state park two minuets from my house. 

Usually I am extraordinary awka awkward on first dates, but yesterday just seemed to flow. We kept running into small little details that made for fun conversation and an overall brilliant day. 

While we were walking for example, we kept passing this lady with an official looking clip board. Turns out she was a conservationist whose literal job was to go around and count different species of butterfly. 

Eventually we got tired of walking and ended up setting up a hammock in a field of flowers and cuddling. 

As we were on our way to get food at a local grill, we decided to go pick up our friend. We walked in her house to find she was baking pies. The smell of Apple, cherry, and strawberry wafted through the air. Of course she invited us to come back once we got food and end the event with her eating pie and watching Pushing Dasies. For anyone who knows the show, you probably realize the perfection of this idea. Pushing Dasies and pie go together like movies and popcorn.  We gladly accepted her offer and indulged in the bliss of strawberry heaven. 

All of it seemed like one giant dream. Somehow what was supposed to be a short few hour thing turned into a thirteen hour carefree summer day. It seemed like something which I would awaken from any moment.  I usually write about the bitter satire in my life. But recently my sass has seemed to take a back seat.  Yesterday just seemed to call for recollection of perfection. And Yes, that rhyme may have been on purpose. 

An education in international relations 

As I sit here writing this, an episode of the Simpsons in Czech plays in the background. It’s slightly amusing even though I don’t understand the language the plot line is pretty simple to follow. Emotions and tone of voice is identical and gestures say all you need to know. Yet, this phenomenon proves ture for more then just tevevision shows. 

I walk into a nightclub last night called the “Harley”  accomplished by my cousin and a friend. We sit at a table near a bar and it takes a little less then five minuets before we are already being offered drinks by a groups of guys.  People from all over the world come to Prague to dance, mingle, drink, and enjoy the nightlife.  Three pretty girls was more then the guys were able to handle evidently because before we knew it we were being invited to bottle service tables, offered shots of Tennessee Honey, and pulled from around the waist into a twirl on the dance floor. We were especially careful about the drinks because of the growin popularity in date rape drugs. It made me feel much better about the situation to know I had a friend and and my cousin (who is pretty much my big sister) keeping an eye out for me. 

When eyes meet, winks are exchanged, and a hand is offered in a gesture towards the dance floor, the signals are clear. Would an offer for a dance actually hurt anyone? Probably not. By the end of the night I had met a cute guy from Transylvania, four flirtatious Dutchmen, several Germans, loud and slightly older gentlemen from Scotland, some pushy hipster with a man bun (I never got his nationality), and a very sweet local from the  Czech Republic. 

It’s an interesting game…. Meeting people in a bar with hundreds of nationalities. At first you aren’t even sure if you speak the same language. Ironically, this is the only time I have actually used my high school Spanish. But after you concour the language barrier, the conversation turns into the game of “guess where I’m from.” It’s very much like the American teenage boy version of “twenty questions.”  Strangely enough, no one ever guesses I’m form the United States. Everyone always guesses Russia, the Ukraine, or once in a while France or Italy.  

The guy from Transylvania was more intriguing then anything else and slightly creepy. He had gotten there about an hour after we did. The whole time I could feel his eyes constantly on our group. At first I thought his attention was on my cousin, until she pointed out it was really on me. He barely did anything else except stare in my direction and smile sweetly. His move was actually quite brilliant, because I eventually got curious and made my way over to say hi. He was obviously taken aback but we managed to exchange a few worlds he explained that he had not come over sooner but, ” he was too shy and I was  so I pretty.” I almost snorted at the cliche, but was able to resist and only smile in response.” 

Now, I should probably explain the bottle service reference. As we were on the dance floor, a guy approached us and started whispering in my cousins ear. He then lead her by a hand to a nearby private table, one by one he returned and did the same with both my friend and I. I know this sounds like a major judgement lapse on my part, but technically we really only talked…. Until he hailed the waitress and she soon returned with a bottle of vodka and cans of red bull. The three if us shot each other a glance and took on amused smirks.  

I would be lying if I didn’t admit I was given some very strange compliments last  night.  While I was dancing, the same guy who wanted us to come party with him leaned over and whispered in my ear “You have a beauftil from. I’ve ne’er seen anything like it. Your legs are so long. I’ve fallen in love.”  At this point, I could no longer contain my laughter. European men have this type of well spoken and smooth nature to them. It’s like a type of classy elegance which is reserved for such occasions. But, this was simply over the top. 

The variety of mucus was amusing because one moment they were plaing hardcore metal  and the next alternative artists like Train. 

By the end if the night, I was thoughtly enjoying myself. If anything, the atmosphere was fun to observe and the flirtatious comments bounced around the room.  

I was taken aback when the hippy guy with a man bun randomly put his hand around my waste and pulled me onto the dance floor. It did not take long too notice he was entirely too drunk and too much of an ass to even deal with. We were dancing with our palms together when all of a sudden he pulled my hands down and placed them directly on his own ass cheeks. The look on my face was probably priceless.  He was clearly a European, probably Bulgarian from the look of him. But he was so proud to show off his own body he wasn’t too interested in touching home. Thank goodness, or he would likely be sitting in en emergency room now, praying he might one day be able to walk again. I would have made sure of that. 

It was then when I noticed the guy I would soon find out was a local from Prague. He seemed to be very perceptive to others’ emotions and caught on quickly that I must have been feeling awkward in my current situation.  As soon as I was able to ditch the show off, the cute Czech quickly cut in for his turn.  He was probably about 6′ 4″ and very blonde with a slender build. It is innocent fun like that which I actually enjoy. He simply seemed to have no other motives then to get to know me and enjoy an evening out.  We danced for a while, content to enjoy each other’s company without any other strings attached. By the end of the night he finally asked I if I wished to go get dinner with him in an evening or two… Unfortunately, I had to politely refuse. In his cute little accent his sadly said “Then is suppose we will never see each other again. Goodbye!” It was one of those lingering statements, one that echos in your mind. 

By that time it was about 3:30 am and we decided it was time to head back so we could get about three hours of sleep before our busy day that morning.  Crazy as it might sound, this wasn’t even half the stories which I could share from the night. My first nightclub experience was legendary to say the least. I realize that I’ll be getting a hard time from my cousin for years to come after this! 

Peace and love in Prague 

Today has been yet another inspirational day. I’ve realized something about travel. When you originally explore a city, you may feel tired, thirsty, and miserable. Yet after you sit down for a good meal and a rest your subconscious somehow sorts all the new things you have been experiencing and turns them into a condensed version of adventreous exploration. Yousomehow  forget how tired you felt hiking up a hill but remember the amazing view at the top for example.  After the day ends and you reflect upon your expericnes, you finally begin to realize the depth and importantce of them. This was certainly the case for me today. 

We left our hotel later then would have been ideal this morning. But we decided to hike over to new town Prague by the Charles bridge (a historic bridge lines with famous statues and epic views). There, we explored artists selling water colors on the street and finally found our way into a local Starbucks. I know what you’re thinking…. Why go to a European city just to drink Starbucks? Normally we would not have, but it was really cold outside and the location happened to be very convinent. 

Anyway after our coffee break we decided to venture onto a tiny side street as we followed directions to something called the “Lennon wall.” This wall is a famous street art project inspired by the Beatles to stand for peace and hope after the Vietnam war. All along the wall people have added messages of their own in spray paint. They usually represent a wish for change of current human rights violations. Today in blue paint was a message that read “happiness is a warm gun.” I will let you intepret that how you may. 

 My local friend and guide Hanka was telling me that only a few weeks before someone had completely white washed the wall, leaving it blank and desolate. People were so mad that a group of locals used an old picture reference to completely restore the wall to its original condition. 

Down the street from the wall was one of those famous love lock bridges. After reading about them for many years and seeing pictures of them in Europe it was amazing to stumble across one in person. For coupes visiting Europe together, it’s tradition to find a bridge and put a combination or key lock on it,  symbolic of an eternity together. Locks entirely took up the railings over the bridge and looked like thick vines of a metal plant. 

When we finally got back to the hotel, ready to meet colleagues of my fathers, I inwas very suppressed by who I  saw. My cousin flew across the world to surprise me on my my eighteenth birthday. I knew my aunt and uncle were also supposed to join us, but her presence was also a very pleasant surprise. 

One to remember 

For all my friends back in the United States, there is about a seven hour difference beteern Prague and  Denver. So while I was experiencing the Czech version of jägermire, most people were off working day jobs and sleeping the Saturday away. Not to sound mean or anything…

Anyway, although today was a good day, the evening turned out to be even better. I mentioned in an earier post that Prague had a decent nightlife. That turned out to be an understatement. As we went to go visit the historic national museum building, we were disappointed to hear it was closed for the next four years because of construction. As we went to walk away, we happened to see a lady on the side of the box office. She was advertising tickets to a symphony. We were already interested at seeing an opera or musical performance so decided what she had to say. Turns out, she offered tickets to a symphony right here inside the national museum.

We were pretty skeptical when we heard that the cost was the equivalent to about twenty American dollars each, but decided to commit and buy tickets anyway.

As the six o’clock curtain call neared, we were sure there had been some sort of a mistake. A lady let us into the theatre and we went to go take seats. We walked into the building to find chairs on the stairs of the entrance to the museum. The walls were engraved with beautiful gold platelet faces and designs and red carpets adorned the large steps of four identical stair cases. Large golden lanterns lit the the main room and left dark shadows in dark corridors  of the remainder of the building.

My dad and I joked about how the museum was possibly haunted. The air was cool and the building was not heated.

When time for the concert to began finally came, a total of six musicians walked on stage. Three violins, a cellist, a bass player, and a pianist waked onto a platform which was set up with music stands. What I had believed to be a full orchestra happened only to be a chamber orchestra. For such a small group, their sound resonated beautifully. There only about ten people in the entire audience. For the small price of about twenty dollars, we were granted access of a private performance of Vilvaldi and Mozart’s most famous music in one of the most famous buildings of the Czech Republic.  For a reference, this building probably sees thousands of tourists a day in the summer and is reserved as a national landmark. Let’s just say I felt pretty special for a private performance in the middle of it all.

Afterword, perhaps a little drunk (no foreshadow or pun intended) on adrenaline. So we decided to take a sneak peak down the dark corridors of the abandoned museum. To be entirely honest, the wasn’t much to see. All the exhibits had been taken down, only dusty display cases were left as the moon shined though the large windows. At that moment, I almost believed it was haunted.

Now I should probably explain the jägermire reference. At dinner, since my 18th birthday is tomorrow, my dad suggested I be adventurous so the waiter decided to bring me a shot of the local  liquor. The tase would best be described as a cinnamon type mint, with a strong aftertaste of spice.  I usually don’t like minty drinks, but I must admit it had a really refreshing flavor. Despite being refreshing though, it was also very very strong.  After two glasses of wine plus that shot, I feel pretty loopy.

After being only my first whole day in Prague, I can’t wait to experience other crazy things in this unique city for the next nine days.

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A whole new world 

After nearly my first whole day in Prague I can say one thing for certain. This is a city, unlike other old European cities, that is still growing and developing its own sence of peonality.

Ever since the fall of the communist party here, Prague has been establishing a new culture. Since the city was not bombed during would war 2 all the historical buildings and gothic architecture stand tall and intact. From the cobblestone streets, up past the carefully detailed siding, bright redrooves, and up to the starkly contrasting bright blue sky, the city screams of its pride.  On the outside of town hundreds of ugly and cold apartment buildings can be seen falling into disrepair and rubble. They show proof of the communist party’s failed attempt at mass housing before independence was won for the Czech people.

Despite ancient buildings and historical streets, the city is beaming of youth.  At night the streets grow crowded and noisy as people flock to clubs, bars, restaurants, and concerts. Young adults from across Europe flock to the city on weekends to party and take part in cheap food and good alcohol. Beer is very popular here and the city is renoued for its various brews. They also have a selection of delicious wine (both sweet white and oaky red)… My favorites.

They are also unusually relaxed about rules and regulations. At dinner last night I ordered wine, since I am not yet eighteen they didn’t seem to care about age and therefor failed to ask me for identification. Although this is pretty standard around Europe, it still seems odd in contrast to the laws of the United States.

Cars park wherever they wish in the streets. Last night smart cars were scattered on sidewalks and larger cars jut out every which way on the street.  People also tend to be very aggressive  and fast drivers in this city. If you don’t look both ways before crossing a street, you have a very high chance at being hit head on at fourth miles per hour or more. Last night I was almost side swiped by a man on a little motorcycle.

Yet another variation which supposed me was the amount of smoke in the city. Unlike the United States, smoking is not only allowed …but encouraged in many public restaurants and bars. In the markets and major squares people use smokers to cook ham, cinnamon  rolls, and other classic street food. Instead of fried food, Prague seemed to have smoked food.

If you ever happen to visit the city, I highly recommend the local street food. I has some honey baked ham today for lunch and it was simply delicious. Tomorrow I hope to try other street food such as their famous potato crisps.

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adventures in the red light district

There are several words and phases to describe what I am feeling. It is something which is experienced around the world and has been since the beginning of humanity. For a few months now it has been creeping up in the back of my mind. It is something which slowly overtakes your consciousnesses and becomes your sole ambition in life. Although some may call it a disease, I prefer to consider it a blessing.

I have officially caught the travel bug. Ever since my early years of childhood when I first went to Mexico with my family, the feeling of discovery and exhilaration when exploring foreign places has become a central part of my personality. Barely a few months go by between trips before I start to become grumpy and unsettled. I could go on for years about my experiences across Europe and various parts of South America. But, I will save most of the details  for later posts.

One thing I will mention though is a thought which occurred to me while reading the Novel “The Goldfinch.” A few years back, my cousins and I found ourselves in a very precarious situation. After spending New Years Eve in Paris, we attempted to book a flight back to the US. Unfortunately all the seats were sold out and our chances were slim for about another week. We decided to take a train to Frankfurt, Germany.  Little did we know that Frankfurt happens to be one of the most dangerous cities in Europe. I’m not kidding when I say this city makes ghetto parts of New York look like Disneyland.

As we walked down the street, I recall hearing gunshots and seeing drug deals take place. In the windows red hearts glowed in the chilly late night air. (I later learned that the red hearts symbolized certified brothel) Turns out that prostitution is legal in parts of Germany…. We were literally in the heart of the red light district with no hotel reservations an no plan. To make things worse, I had developed a fever and had started to throw up. If it was not for the heart doctor from California we met on the train, I don’t now where we would have ended up. He caught us as we were lost and wandering down the street and offered to help us. He happened to have family in the city and was able to get us a safe place to sleep for the night.

I know it sounds funny, but I wouldn’t change a thing about my experience in Germany if given the chance. Because of a few full flights, I was able gain a new perspective on travel.  Because of a few full flights, I was able to experience a whole new country.

In “The Goldfinch” the main character describes the complexity of European train stations and the policies of international travel. He describes the customs and requirements of passports, even on a train.This part of the book would likely have been nothing more then a passing transition if I had not been able to relate to it.  After an international trip, there are so many more things you can relate to and so many more stories you have to tell. It broadens your perspective and raises many questions about the unknown. Although travel can be uncomfortable (as proven above) the overall experience is totally worth it. Even thinking about it makes me giddy to consider my next big adventure. Can we all take a second to consider the beauty of wanderlust?

the pun is greater then the pain

This morning, the universe decided I was going to make friends with a ditch and two strangers. Because I live in the mountains, snowy roads are not usually not an issue for me. I am pretty comfortable driving in icy conditions. Still, shit happens. While I was on my way down to the highway this morning, some idiot came barreling up the road taking up nearly all two lanes.  This forced me to swerve out of the way and ultimately make me end  up in  a ditch. Unfortunately, the snowplow had piled up the equivalent of three feet of snow into the ditch.  This made it impossible for me to free myself from the snowbank.

I sat there for a few seconds debating on the best possible course of action. Despite putting sand under my wheels for traction and switching into 4 wheel drive, I was still a sitting duck. I was pretty annoyed at myself for being stuck in this situation. Although it was not my fault, the feeling of helplessness irritated me.

Despite the frustration, I came to realize being in this situation restored faith in humanity. It felt good to know that almost everyone who passed me on their way down the mountain stopped and asked if they could assist me and made sure I was okay. Some people offered to wait with me while help came, others offered me a ride back to my house. Eventually one of my neighbors drove by and offered to pull me out with his massive truck and toe ropes.  I graciously accepted and it did not take much time to get my own little truck free with the proper equipment.  He and his wife were some of the most relaxed people I have ever met. This was probably a very good thing given my state of annoyed frustration.

After my little blue truck was free, I decided to give up on the day and simply head back home. The young couple teased me and gave me a hard time about skipping school since they had “just freed me so I could continue my important education,” before they departed.

The ironic part about all of this is the fact it is senior ditch day at my high school. This is the day where my entire graduating class decides to take a self proclaimed day off, despite the dismay of administration. If I had simply stayed home and had a relaxing morning, rather then trying to accomplish things, this would ever of happened. Between the time I had attempted to get myself out of the sticky situation and the time when help finally arrived, I had a very dorky and humorous realization.  I was sitting in a DITCH, on senior DITCH DAY. The pun, no matter how stupid or lame, had just made my entire day. I was literally sitting there in my truck unable to stop laughing. I am really glad no one drove up at that moment because they probably would have debated calling an ambulance just in case of head trauma.

The night I saw (almost) everyone

Today, I have learned two very important things.

1) You can not win a fight against the universe. You must adapt plans no matter what they may be to include this so- called “plot twist” in your day.

2) Negative people absolutely useless and simply annoying.

Waking up this morning was a struggle. Stuck somewhere between dream land and reality I faintly noticed the sound of my alarm clock. From the moment I fully awoke there was a feeling in my gut that today would be an strange one.

At school, people seemed miserable. There was something in the air which I could not explain. Every time I turned around, someone was bitching about something new or attempting to drag me into their drama. Possibly the best decision I made all day was tuning out the world and deciding to listen to chill dub step. The moment I the nagging and whining were blocked from my ears, my mood seemed to boost by a thousand percent. Little things like the sunshine pouring though the window warming my skin and the taste of my strawberry smoothie became my main focus. All the people in the room seemed so unimportant and superfluous compared to the beautiful little details in front of me. A friend of mine always says “enjoy the little things.” Perhaps I did not truly verify the truth of his advice until today. If you can manage to rid your life of negativity, even for a little while, awesome results will ensue.

Earlier on this evening, I agreed to meet up with a friend for dinner. I truly feel pity for all those people out there with good friends of the opposite gender. No matter where you go, it never fails for someone to falsely identify you as a couple. Tonight, this person happened to be my boss. But after she asked us if we were a couple we say her two more times before the night was over. Did someone say awkward?

Living in a small town, no matter where you go, you are likely to see someone you know….But, tonight was simply over the top. When we decided to skip dinner since we both weren’t very hungry, we decided to stop to grab a coffee instead. Biggest mistake of the night. There, we not only ran into my boss, but two of our mutual friends as well. At the gas station later, we ran into one of my ex-boyfriends who is still insistent we should be together. When we finally decided to hang out in a nearby empty parking lot to drink our coffee, five minuets later two acquaintances pulled up and parked next to us. Although they did not say anything, I’m sure I’ll be getting a hard time from them tomorrow.

Usually we solve this problem by completing the group that I have mentioned in posts past, but the third member of the party is off studying at her universality. Eventually we decided just to give up on our serious talk of travel plans we were originally going to arrange due to sheer number of interruptions,  and decided to make a game of how many people we could run into. Unfortunately we did not accomplish our original purpose, but we had a fun time and now a funny story to share and we likewise adapted out plans.

college, culture, and an overall crazy weekend

To say the very least, this weekend has been odd one. Overall, I have gotten a total of six hours of sleep this entire weekend.

Starting out Thursday night, I set off to go explore a potential college.  I wasn’t sure what to exactly expect at an overnight campus visit. When I finally arrived, I parked and walked into place where prospective students were meeting  to find a group of five of the most awkward looking individuals I’ve ever seen. Luckily the night progressed to take some very entertaining and unexpected turns.

To be entirely honest, I expected more of a structured program carefully monitored by “adults.” Yet, by the end of the night I was hanging with wasted college students doing shots while we all played cards Against Humanity.

Immediately after being given a short presentation about “behavior” by an admissions councilor, we were stuck on a tour bus with a few current students as a guide and whisked off for an evening out in downtown Denver. We ate dinner at a place called bd’s where you pile raw food onto a plate, right before handing it over to a man at a giant round grill who tosses it up and cooks it with two metal poles slightly resembling swards. We then walked to get ice cream at a popular local hangout. One thing that stuck me about an evening at a college campus was the 24/7 access to food. That stuff was literally everywhere. After dinner and ice cream, we went back to find they had set out more for free food for students on the campus from food trucks as part of a “healthy habits” type campaign. Around two am, one of the students I was hanging with ended up doing a Voodoo Doughnut run for everyone. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Voodoo Doughnuts, they are pretty much the most delicious things  on the planet and therefor a famous Denver favorite for locals. I completely understand why “the freshman 15” exists now.

As the night went on, I met more people then I could possibly remember. It was odd to end up being so comfortable with people I have never even met. The atmosphere was so awesome, it seemed that (unlike high school) people did not care about cliques or pre-set social groups. If you were open to having a good time, they would include anyone. I chose to stay sober for a couple reasons, including that I did not actually know anyone around me and therefore did not trust everyone. Still, no one seemed to care and the easy going atmosphere was contagious.

My room mate and I ended up heading to bed around three am. Outside the window and in the hallway I could hear the drunk students returning from parties. But right as I was about to fall asleep, one of my roommate’s friends started knocking on her  door singing “Do you wanna build a snow man?” as loud as his lungs would allow. Beside the fact it nearly gave me a heart attack, when the door came crashing open from his weight, it was still hilarious. It turns out that her door did not always close properly.

After breakfast and a quick sample lecture from a college professor, the visit wrapped its self up. Driving back home, I realized that I only had two hours to shower and get ready before another awesome night out in Downtown Denver. There is something amazing about that city, so bright, electric, and modern.

I was meeting up with two of my closest friends and we had tickets to the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Danny Elfman’s famous music scores in Tim Burton’s films. It was actually one of my friend’s homework assignment to go see the performance because her college professor was a member of the orchestra, and she invited us to join her.

As we walked into the theater, my friend said something which I will never ever let him live down. On display were lots of violins carefully hand painted with different scenes. All of a sudden he just randomly blurted out “look at all the mini guitars!”  It was so loud that people in a ten feet radius turned to look and give him angry glares. My friend and I were laughing so hard that we were barely able to give him a little friendly reminders that they were violins, not guitars. Once he noticed his little “blonde moment” he turned an nice shade of bright bubblegum pink. If he ever happens to read this post, he may never speak to me again. But I am willing to take that risk.

To be entirely honest, we looked damn fine that evening. Dressed like movie stars, we walked down the street laughing and having an amazing time as usual. We had no idea what an awesome treat we were in for.

That night I discovered an amazing violinist by the name of Sandy Cameron. To be entirely honest her skills rival those of the other well known artist Lindsey Stirling. As a violinist myself, I am extremely jealous of her skills as a musician.  Very few people are born with the natural ability that she has.

After the concert we drove back to my friend’s house and decided to jump in his hot tub and just hang out. The stars seemed unusually vivid and the cool breeze was relaxing. Perhaps that was my exhaustion mixed with a feeling adrenaline from the last two days, but that moment was perfect.

Today I stayed home to accomplish homework and cuddle with my puppy. Overall, I could not have asked for a better weekend.

I lik to spellz wurds

It’s  entertaining  how caught up people get on little details. Of everything there is to challenge individuals choose to fight the small battles, the ones which make little to no difference in the end. For many of my friends, their battle happens to be spelling. I like to focus on larger concepts and ideas.  I am much more productive that way. I openly challenge them to create their own blog, regularly update it with entertaining material, and use better spelling techniques. Wouldn’t it be neat to get a little competition going?

It is no secret I have issue with spelling. In fact, I literally run a magazine and am reminded of my weakness quite often. Yesterday, I was relentlessly mocked for my mistaken spelling of calm in my last blog as “clam.” But, quite possibly my biggest folly is the word minuet… wait no… minet .Hold up guys, I got this, MINUTE! There we go. In reality, it is totally on purpose…. I am just a really big fan of classical music.

It turns out that yesterday was the breaking point for errors. Gotta love my grammar Nazi. After my “clam” mistake, the memes started to roll in. I decided to share one because the irony was greater then the pain. After all, the point of this blog is to be entertaining.

I would like to remind the readers that a blog isn’t necessarily meant to be written as a formal college essay, but rather as a quickly written collection of ideas and concepts. Still, for the love (and maybe sanity) of my friends, I will attempt be become more accurate when it comes to proofreading. All this really means is that I spend a few more minuets reading over my work. Wait, minute. NOPE, SCREW IT. At this point “minuet” is simply auto-corrected into my word processor. They may as well just add my spelling to the Webster Dictionary.  Sorry. Just like those people who like to mix Skittles and M&M’s, I suppose you could just say I wanna watch the world burn.

I lost my car keys and my sanity

Life is ironic. The moment you dedicate yourself to something which has been so easy in the past, life decides to have another idea and totally redirects your fate.  I made a dedication to update this blog frequently since I often had time late at night to reflect on my thoughts. So here I am once again  attempting to overcome to chaos and provide you with  entertaining stories about my life.

Over the last couple months, I have developed a knack, no…. superpower! I now have this amazing ability to lose anything and everything in my possession.

It has been four months since I have last seen my car keys. I remember returning home from school one day to find them missing in the next morning. Baffled, I looked everywhere for them. I retraced my steps and even looked in the freaking refrigerator. Still, nothing. I was so frustrated I grabbed a spare set out of the garage before driving away. The dramatic irony of this situation was that I had placed a lanyard and multiple key chains on them to avoid this type of incident. To this day, despite my weekly effort, I still haven’t been able to track them down. At this point, I have accepted complete defeat. Keys.. one VS me… zero

I guess my searches have not been a total loss.  I’ve rediscovered some very neat stuff on the explorations through my jungle of a closet. I came across Japanese currency, a very  poorly written love letter from an elementary school crush, a box of unopened animal crackers, and an old indestructible Nokia phone.

Somehow I managed to stumble across all these ridiculous items before finding a simple set of keys. I have decided that the rule of the universe goes something like this “you will find literally everything else EXCEPT for what you’re searching for.” Unfortunately this seems that it doesn’t just apply to items, but careers and love lives too.

If I could just manage to find my keys, perhaps the universe would magically regain balance also.

The badgering brunette

I consider myself to be a relatively happy person. I’m a person who enjoys life and love to laugh among friends. When I say laugh though, I really mean share a good joke or appreciate a comical moment. NOT randomly giggle at awkward times in order to gain attention and annoy everyone around you.

While I was sitting in a library earlier today, I was attempting to write a paper when I was rudely interrupted by a prissy little teenager surrounded by her drooling following of men.

I wouldn’t have taken notice of the group except for the fact her giggles echoed around the quiet room. The high pitched echo sounded like nails against a chalkboard in contrast to the former peace ( no matter how cliche that may sound).

The laugher continued until it again to sound like a horrid cry for help in the middle of a haunted house. It was more of a cackling sound then anything else. Every single time a member of her entirely male group said something, she would giggle like someone had said the funniest thing she ever heard.

I wasn’t the only one who had taken notice. It amazes me that the group didn’t notice the angry glares and frustrated books slams as people stormed out of the previously quiet library.

The best reaction I happened to witness was an older bald man reading off his iPad. When she entered the room he literally had a look of utmost defeat and disappointment. He looked as if this was the last opportunity he ever had to experience silence.

I’m not saying she wasn’t pretty or attractive on the outside, but how on earth can men put up with that!?! The racket coming from her was enough to cause migraines. Five minuets in her company and I was tempted to duck tape her mouth shut!

Either way, I miss the days libraries used to be a sacred place of silence.

Curse of the fangirl

There are a few actors who will never be unseen as characters of their most popular roles in either a TV series or movie.

While I was at the cinema today with my family, we saw a movie about Sherlock Holmes or Khan/Smog (depending on your fandom) recruit Elizabeth Swan, from Pirates of the Caribbean ,and Tom Bransen, from Downton Abbey  to build a machine that would screw over nazi Germany.  I understand from a random perspective this would sound absolutely bonkers, but I promise you that is exactly how I was forced to interpret the entire plot due to my obsessive fan girl brain.  In reality we only went to see the movie the Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch.

Being a fan girl isn’t easy. Every time you turn around there is a new imaginary hot man you will never get to be with. Plus, imaginary men ruin the real ones for you.  Real men simply cannot meet the romantic expectations that are put into heads by some fictional literary characters. Also, many people are confused by references that accidentally slip our of your mouth. I’m disappointed in you, Sherlock. Still, this is not the point.

The point is that I almost… almost felt guilty about sitting there, not fully appreciating the heart throbbing drama revealing its self before my very eyes. I was simply too busy debating the implications of the interactions of each character, drawing parallels to each of their stereotyped roles in my head. You should have seen the annoyance on my mother’s face when I asked her why John wasn’t there asking stupid questions to Sherlock Holmes the entire time. This may sound crazy, but I prefer to call it the curse of a fangirl.

Your guide to pissing off Target employees

One thing that I absolutely love about my friends is their spontaneous attitude about life.

Three of us have a tradition of hanging out every Friday night. Unfortunately the third member of our “magic trio” bailed so we ended up becoming the “dynamic duo.” Either way, we followed through on our plan of going into town and having a night out.

We started out the night in a pretty dull way. Shopping for ski helmets. But as the night progressed so did the entertainment. While at the athletic store, I explained to him the magic of yoga pants. They are so soft and fit your curves really well. The poor guy just stood there looking a little lost. Although I tease him about being my gay best friend, he is in fact, completely strait.

By the end of the night, we were running around causing havoc wherever we went. While at wal-mart we somehow managed to attract the attention of nearby employees as we played with the hula hoops and tested out the sofas.

Before we headed back home, we had one last idea in the car. My friend has decided to start his own comedy YouTube channel (I will share the link in later blogs) His idea was to go around in public performing random stunts and pranks. So, I suggested that we stop by a nearby Target to take our prank ideas for a test drive. This turned out to be one of the better suggestions of the evening.

We learned that Target employees don’t have a sense of humor. Or, many of them didn’t understand that the things we asked for did not exist. When I was finally able to track down a sales associate, I asked him in a very serious tone of voice if they had “wireless extension cords” in stock. He look at me, a bit baffled, before looking on his phone at their inventory. I think he missed the idea that you cannot plug electric cords into thin air….. I almost felt bad for the guy, knowing that he would likely inquire about the producer later to his manager.

The next lady we asked  nearly started yelling at my poor friend when he gathered enough courage to ask for “heated toilet paper” in a serous tone. “ARE YOU MESSING WITH ME???” she said quickly began to get annoyed before quietly cursing us out.  I had to hide behind a nearby isle in order to keep her from seeing my muffled and uncontrollable laughter. I picked up a bottle of lotion and began to study it intently.   Her anger was almost comical, as mean as that may sound, simply because it was so sudden.. like she had been holding it in for just this moment.

Lastly, I asked the guy at the customer service desk for an “inverse printer… one that takes words off a printed page.” He looked at me and acted much like the first guy. He looked at me confused before I quickly added “It was on my college supply list for the spring semester.” I have to give him a few awesome points for how well he handled the situation from a customer service standpoint. He offered to help me track one down online, but I made an excuse about having to meet someone soon.

At this point my friend pretty much dragged me out the door and back to the car. I may have embarrassed him a little too much… Oh well….  He somehow manages to put up with me while still enjoying himself joining in shenanigans. Either way,  he’s simply awesome and the night turned out to be pretty decent.