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Welcome My name is Tess. I'm a 9-5 New Yorker and traveler. My hobbies include destroying suitcases, photo-bombing tourists in Times Square, and taking long romantic ADHD walks around the globe. Welcome!

Nov 20, 2012

Celebrity Spotting's in the City

Oh New York for all the crazies you produce, every now and then you throw a girl a celebrity bone - or two! Check out these celebs spotted in New York City streets.

Who doesn't love an angry girl with pink hair! Personally I have no comment  on Nicki Minaj's American Idol rant on Mariah Carey.  I applaud anyone who wears lace front wigs all-the-time. I understand those things itch like the dickens!  Like wearing a wool thong.  And then they gave her not one but two American Music Awards.  Who says bad behavior isn't rewarded?

 Oprah was totally gracious signing dozens of autographs before hopping into her chauffeured Maybach and fleeing back to "Rich-beyond-belief Ville. It's no wonder you're worth billions you reciprocate the adoration poured on you by your fans.

I told her she was hot, she told me I dropped my sweater and then we went our separate ways.
 Kerry Washington was at GMA promoting her ABC series "Scandal" where she plays a professional problem solver.  Well if she hadn't told me that I dropped my sweater,  it would have been lost forever - problem solved! Damn she's good.

OK folks till next time.  Keep it lose and Keep it tight - whatever that means! Happy Thanksgiving! 

Oct 29, 2012

Dear Coney Island - Mermaid Memories

New Orleans may have Mardi Gras but Brooklyn's got Mermaids?

 Once a year, hundreds of thousands of people pour out of the Stillwell Ave subway station in Brooklyn New York, and turn Coney Islnad's shoreline into a cross between the cast of The Little Mermaid and Ru Paul's Drag Race. This is how Coney Island has celebrated the beginning of the Summer season, since 1983.

Not only was Coney Island, at one point, an actual island. But it was also considered a major resort destination. It was kinda like the "Hamptons" of the early 20th century but within an amusement park. However, this ain't the Coney Isle of yore. It has changed quite a bit over the years, still it manages to sparkle - in one way or another.

Dear Coney Island - A few months ago, I washed ashore from being abducted by your queer Mer-People, during the annual Mermaid Parade.. And I am forever changed. And by "changed" I mean slightly traumatized. I don't know exactly how long I was gone for but I resurfaced
with nipple pasties

I've never seen a Japanese- Geisha Mermaid.
But then again I've never seen a 4-legged starfish...well actually
 he does have one more leg....wait wait is he a Seahorse?  I'm so confused

However, before I lost all consciousness, I recalled Surf Avenue was swamped with sailors, sirens and thousands of painted bodies dripped in sequins, glitter, gold and of course, nipple pasties.
 Hell, after a few drinks, I'm sure I also saw Puff the magic dragon, the Loc Ness monster and Popeye.


Like many of you, I was thinking; This must be a pretty amazing beach, if there is a parade in it's honor right?  But, Oh Coney, you're riddled with dilapidated rides, mediocre beaches and a boardwalk that makes the Jersey Shore look classy.

Add to that, water which looks like the run-off from the spin cycle against the back drop of tenament buildings. I mean I wasn't expecting  a Caribbean shore line but I guess I figured mermaid's had higher standards. Still, even way beyond prime, you are still so dear to the hearts of many Brooklynites.

Dear Coney Island - you take this costume sh*t very seriously.  I've been to the Village Parade on Halloween in New York and I've seen some pretty creative stuff.  But given the warm weather and the theme of this parade, there seemed to be  a severe lack of actual material for these costumes. There was however, no lack of imagination.

Dear Coney Island - the availability of alcohol on your boardwalk made it that much easier to observe some of the more scary sketchy characters. Unfortunately kids can't drink, so many of them just crouched down, low, in fear. Which is what I did until I found Corona's and cotton candy.

Dear Coney Island - Who released the queer Kraken?  Like this gent, there was no shortage of awe-inspiring costumes,  as an array of colorful characters sashayed down the planks. I even considered where I could purchase a few of the outfits I saw...and then eventually, I stopped drinking.

Dear Coney Island - I saw pirates, crustaceans, colonial women and women who were just plain ole topless - which is legal in New York.   But can you please explain to me: What does Jesus have to do with this?  I'm just saying, not that the son of God isn't welcome at all occasions.  But unless he is here to turn beach water into wine, then I think this borders sacrilege.

Dear Coney Island - Ever feel like the odd man out? Well i did!  Because nobody told me to me that the dress code was "half naked." I was so overdressed in jeans and a T-shirt. But seeing all this skin just made me want to get butt-ass-naked, strip the scales off a fish and drape myself in seaweed, seashells and a spanx body suit.

 Dear Coney Island -What I like about your Mermaid-mardi gras is that everyone and anyone could strut in your parade - they just need to register. Doesn't matter if they are from Brooklyn or beyond. There is also contest for best costume.  I imagine first prize would be two tickets to much nicer beach? Jus' sayin

Dear Coney Island - Yes the Mer-people were nice folks. They treated me well enough that i would return and stuff my face with boardwalk food while gawking at the participants who didn't seem to mind one bit, my open mouthed staring.

Would I participate? I love themed festivals, and I can tell you that I certainly wouldn't rule it out. And considering mermaids live for about 300 years, I've got plenty of time to think about my costume.
Well kids, I've still got some sand and seaweed in my crotch to rinse out. So, thanks for joining me! And now.... look at the rest of the damn pics!

Mermaids have families too

Dear Coney Island - I don't know who "knocked up" this mermaid.
But I think she came on shore looking for child support





Oct 11, 2012

They See Me Rollin......

Summer is officially over, but that doesn't mean the end of outdoor activities.

Did you know that many New Yorkers never actually take advantage of the plethora of  activities in their own backyard? While many locals may be shaking their heads in disagreement. Just know I'm not talking about throwing away $300 on bottle service at some stuffy night club. I'm talking about real activities folks. And for a really good price.

So me and my PIC (partner in crime) Baby G, always comment that one day, we will rent bikes  from those guys who advertise on the corners of 59th & 6th ave. So that we can ride around New York's famous Central Park.

The guys at Sayat Bicycle rented us bikes with baskets, helmets and bike locks included.
Did I mention they posed for this pic?

With the help of discount coupons from Living Social.com, we were able to rent two bikes for two hours at grand total of $30USD, which is outrageously well-priced for anything New York! Don't worry if your are sans a coupon, because you can still negotiate the same price - just ask them.

 Central Park, now sprawls over 843 acres of green space, and it is a national historic landmark. Amongst it's many perks, it includes a zoo,  performance spaces, athletic fields, playgrounds, skating rinks, swimming pools, a carousel and of course the bike trail full of muscles spandex and skin skin skin!

The bike trail begins at 59th street and Columbus circle and extends beyond 110th street. The trail is semi challenging, but so very scenic.   Determined to get nowhere fast, me and Baby G, raced around the park like maniacs, knocking over runners, small children and having several  near death experiences with the oncoming traffic within the park. If you haven't been on a bike in a while getting reacquainted is more fun when the chances of mangling yourself are high!

Taking in the views. 
The price of  just one of those apartments overlooking the park could probably
subsidize the cost of educating a small country for several generations  

Beyond it's beauty, this park has history. Did you know that prior to Central Park's completion in 1873,  it was originally home to some 1600 people, mostly poor Irish and English residents, as well as freed African Americans living in makeshift villages
However, after declaring eminent domain over the space, in 1857, and evicting those folks, the city purchased the land for $5M. Sounds like a lot of money right? But consider the fact that a  humble penthouse in midtown can start at that price. So I'm  thinking $5M for 700 acres ain't bad for New York.  

We peddled past quite a few hansom carriages as they are plentiful in the park
...and expensive

In addition to that during the construction of the park, more than 18,500 cubic yards of  New Jersey topsoil had to be imported into the park because, New York soil wasn't fertile enough to nourish the floral and fauna that was also brought to the park.  So to all you New Yorkers who say you could NEVER live in New Jersey, surprise! You already do! and you're reveling in their shit soil with every park visit! Cheers!

At $30 for 30 minutes You can take a gondola ride around central park's  ponds 

So,  After Baby G and I got the spastic cycling out of our systems, we actually slowed down for the next hour or so to take in the views and travel of the beaten path.

You are not required to stay within the park so you can get adventurous.  Stop at the Metropolitan Museum of Natural History or heckle the people who unscrupulously make-out on the lawn.  Or perhaps you just want to crash a nearby bar for happy hour.  Go for it! They provide bike locks with the bike rental and helmets for all you derelicts who like to drink and bike! 

Happy Trails!

Oct 8, 2012

Cut The Crap View the Pics

I traverse these streets daily, and still cannot believe some the outrageous things I see.  Some of you may be asking yourselves, Where do you find these people?" The answer is, they find me.

Sometimes I just want grab tourists by their long lens cameras and say,  "This is not what New York is about!"  But proving it can be a challenge because these brights lights can blind just about anyone.

But if you see these people,  Do-Not-Pay-For-A-Photo!  Grab your daughters and tell them that this is what happens when you drop out of school to chase pipe dreams or to follow fledgling musicians.

Naked never looked so shocking
Move over Naked Cowboy, because Geriatric Cowgirl is gaining popularity. Some of you may be disgusted, while others may be intrigued. It's all in the details, and by that I mean the pasties! Who am I to judge I'm just sharing folks. Gawd I'd hate to see what's under those hearts.

Side bar>>>Is it me, or do these two ladies bare a striking resemblence

I really don't know what the fugg Arnold Schwarzenegro does. But he is always shirtless and doing it! When asked, "What is it that you do?" He smiled then flexed his pecs.  Guess that means he's for hire as a prostitute personal trainer?

Calvin Klein, the original loincloth of Native Americans. 

In addition to small pox and the bubonic plague, who knows what else the white settlers may have given the Native Americans.  I can't prove it, because I wasn't there, but I'm almost certain that tighty-whiteys and dress socks were not on that list...I'm jus'sayin

Fried, dyed, and laid to the Side.

James brown is rolling in his grave right now. Listen this look barely worked for the godgather of soul, and he was a super-fuggin-star.

The 70s' called and Jimi Hendrix wants his Easter suit back!
This is the reason why dress-down fridays are being revoked all over corporate America! Becasue some people take things to far. He spent all his money on a new suit and now he's spending all his time looking for a new job.

Sep 23, 2012

Move Or Get Mauled

Migration is logical - right?

Met this Senegalese vendor in Rome. He has been in Italy for over 3 years.

Globally, species are born, hard coded from buffalo to butterflies, to know that movement is detrimental to survival. They are driven to move in order to live. It makes them stronger if they survive and more prepared for the challenge of moving again.

They don't hem & haw over whether it's the right time, they simply follow instinct. Those who get mauled to death by predators, were caught still eating, still drinking or still resting - in short, stagnating and contemplating their next step and ran out of time.

The Bicycle guys of Manhattan are almost, always from other countries.

Like me, many of you are curious to know, what it would be like to travel the world? To migrate from the place you've always known to places you always dreamed of going, and possibly putting down some temporary roots. Take a year off and migrate.

Perhaps you have contemplated busting into your boss's office to have a Dave Chappelle moment.
Afterwards, you shore up your dirty back-pack nest egg, say goodbye to everybody who told you that you're outta your fugging mind and hop on the first thing smoking into the global grid - right?

Amadou, a Senegalese vendor, has been in New York for more than 8 years

You start your world tour on Khaosan Road in Thailand, ride elephants in Bali, dance your ass off  at Tomorrowland in Belgium, climb mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, smoke your cares away in Amsterdam at the Tulip festival. And finally when you barely have two nickels left to rub together, you return home with some exotic rash, a distaste for the use of deodorant and a blog full of memories.

Welp, here's something else you may have realized immediately after that genial thought occurred: What the fugg am I going to do when I get back. And who is going to hire a nonconformist defector?

Have an idea of what you want, once the globetrotting is through
or this could be you.
Don't let that stop you. You are not the first and you will never be the last. Besides if your current circumstance was satisfactory, then your basic instincts wouldn't instigate such a drastic change. Chances are, you are in danger of being mauled to death by the passing of time.

And upon your return - if you do return - perhaps you'll be unsure about what you want, but  absolutely certain that you'll break out in hives at the thought of returning to a desk job.
Here are a few careers where your nomadic skills and lack of deodorant make you prime candidates for certain companies. Also check out this link. Some of these careers may even send you back out into the world!

My Top Five picks
  1. Wine Importer - cultivate your palette then pimp your skills globally.
  2. Excursion programmer/Trip planner - Put together packages for places you've already been. 
  3. Freelance Travel Writer/Travel guide writer - Let the world in on what you have learned from your wanderlust
  4. English as a Second Language/ ESL Teacher - it's not as easy as it sounds. But getting certified to teach ESL can get your foot into many domestic & international doors.
  5. professional vagabond -  I'm not sure how you will get paid for this one, but if you figure it out, email me immediately!
Can you  suggest other careers or companies for returning global drifters?

Sep 15, 2012

Groupon can take me to Africa?

"Who would use a Groupon coupon to go to Africa?"

So, I have been looking for mid-level budget package deals to Africa. And I am horrified at my findings. 

Planning my own adventure, is the way to go.  But traveling with family members who have expectations can complicate things. That's where the travel agency comes in and my money goes out the window.

Lone Zebra in Nakuru National park - Kenya

 This is not my first Africa rodeo folks.  And these " Packages" can stomp a several thousand dollar mud hole into your savings account. Holy sh*t you say? - Holt sh*t indeed my friends.  But this pre-packaged tour, is going to hurt way  more than my pockets.

You see, I am a rehabilitated chronic spender. And this "purchase" could send me spiraling  into the relapsed-chronic spenders version of a crack house with a dirty mattress and a smart phone buying shoes online.

Whites sands beach of River No.2 - Sierra Leone

The problem is, if I say no, I stand to disappoint. But if I say yes, I will probably be harboring a grudge for the next 6 months. Neither option is acceptable. That's when groupon came up.

When a friend told me about these all inclusive safari packages that groupon was offering to South and East Africa, I laughed. And then, I said something snarky like, "Who the heck would use a groupon coupon to go on a safari in South Africa?"

No seriously, who does that? I will tell you who; travelers who question having to fork out $4-$6 grand for 6 days of regimented, mediocre touring - that's who!

"But it's Africa!" you say, "a once in a lifetime adventure!"  Well folks, I digress, This doesn't have to be your only international escapade, simply because of the presumed restraints of a mid-level budget.

Lodge in Naivasha - Here,  you can take a walking tour of the grounds where hippos,
zebra, giraffes and other animals roam freely  just behind the compound.  

In my experience, it really depends on what you're looking for.  Sure there is a vacuum of information out there for "do-it-yourself travelers."   But websites like Travel Dudes, for travelers by travelers works as a great alternative for mindful folks looking to minimize costs without sacrificing a good time.

Not to discount the need for professionals who can alleviate certain concerns unforeseen or otherwise. But if you knew that you could do more with your budget (with a little leg-work) would you do it yourself?

I've also used AirBNB to find a great guest house in Tobago. No sooner than I dropped my bags off at Miller's Geust House  ,Winston, the owner introduced me to the other guests and I was whisked off to a local dinner party. From there I spent the next four days with an amazing group of locals and travellers.

Sleeping inside the safari Park at Sarova Lion Hill Lodge  in Nakuru.

All I'm saying is, weigh your options. If you're an adventurous solo traveler who's not afraid to do your homework to save hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars, then you can hit the international travel circuit as often as you like.   Sure, you might say that I'm a tightwad-dreamer  - but I'm not the only one....And I hope some day you will join us... And the world will be as one.

  This lodge in Naivasha gives their guests private tours of their grounds. Where they allow you to walk as close as possible to the animals.
  I love giraffes.......
                          ....They just don't love me back.
Staring at the baby giraffe that got away from my clutches ...not my finest moment, but so exhilarating.

Still not convinced? No problem.  Below are a few suggestions for these crooked-ass travel agencies, but also for YOU's, the traveler.  Think of them as demands. Ask for them, insist on them, and if all else fails  buy a fugging Groupon coupon!


My Africa Tour Package Wish list

"You paid how much to come see me?!
..and  you call  us stupid animals?" 
  1. First class, non-stop flight on anything that doesn't have the words American or Continental in the airline name. However if non-stop is not optional, then no more than a 2-4 hour layover. A great option is Emirates, Having flow with them, I can assure you that their economy feels less like Guantanamo Bay and more like the back of a modern SUV
  2. All meals included - ALL -   for the length of my stay. Several of which should be at local eateries.  Whether that means goats milk and cows blood in a Masai camp or Nyama Choma (BBQ) and banana rum at a local eatery in town, i want local fare baby!  
  3. Feeling obligated to tip transport drivers. If the agency gets a commission from my purchased package then so should the drivers. However, I will gladly tip the safari park ranger for not letting my ass get chomped to pieces by a hyena.
  4. Next, don't put me in a 2 1/2 star hotel and then tell me it's 5 stars by Africa standards. If you promote it as four stars then that's what I'm expecting. Not an adult hostel with a continental breakfast. I've seen the hotels in Africa and they are very first-world modern. So no cutting corners with my money!
  5.  Give me some options - if you are going to strip me of $3-$6 grand, at least take me to two countries. African countries are, sometimes, within a few hours drive from each other. I have travelled by car from Kenya to Tanzania within hours. Even pulling over to pee next to livestock, (not my classiest moment folks). Then  pulled over to to eat; pulled over by extorting policemen; and pulled over again to pee once more. Still arriving in less time than it takes to drive from NYC to Virginia. So take me to Uganda, The Gambia, Botswana Zanzibar -please!!  Chances are I will never spend this type of money again on a trip.... but treat me right and I might recommend you to someone else!
Fisherman in Lake Nakuru