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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 5, 2014

Best Worldwide Halloween Event is in New York (Warning: post full of pics)

So there I was, headed downtown  on a tightly packed 1 train, full of  people in Halloween costumes, when I overheard two pissed-off, plain dressed  Brits saying that they didn't know how "big a fucking deal" Halloween was to Americans.

The pic that inspired many tasteless jokes, all of which would land me in hell.

Really? We been doing this shit for 41 years.  The Village Halloween Parade In New York is the largest celebration of its kind, worldwide. What began as a typical neighborhood trick-or-treat walk for mask maker & puppeteer, Ralph Lee and his kids in 1974,  gradually became Festivals  International's  “Best Event in the World” for October 31.

I feel like she was probably his second choice for the side-kick costume

Two hours earlier,  I was having a drink with a centaur and the Australian wolf man beside us, could barely contain his excitement about the annual Halloween festival that was kicking of at 7 pm sharp.

After taking over the DJ's table to sing Prince "Let's go crazy" and watching the entire place oblige at GROOVE NYC. I made my way to the potty and chatted with a red hot Trinidadian devil.  She had just bagged Wolverine who was waiting patiently with her whip in his hand upstairs.

I prayed for her blasphemous sacrilegious choice for a costume

After getting a blessing from the Pope we made our way through the festivities. I was run over by fast food while watching  an alley cat take a shit ...or the shit was taking her. A nun told me to mind my fucking business and I graciously turned down a peanut butter & crack rock sandwich from Tyrone Biggums.

Halloween was never just for kids. That's just when most of us were introduced to it. And actually it's not until you hit 21 that you can begin to properly enjoy this holiday. The costumes,the crowds, the local bars and lounges are outfitted to the nines.  By the time you reach 28yrs old  it's damn near an Olympic sport.  It's some of the most  intoxicating fun you will ever have and best excuse to dress up.

That is a "shit"

 There is no shortage of imagination, cross-dressing and nakedness in this parade. A quarter of a million costumes running around several dozen blocked off streets and you have one of the most exhilarating atmosphere's in the world -for one night only.  Please don't shit on our holiday. Because we certainly don't shit on yours.

Every time my waitress brought anything to our table she scared the bejeezus out of me


Oct 8, 2014

Finding a Turkey made of tampons is easier than finding Tampons in Turkey.

Photo credit - Thanksgiving has never been so absorbent

There are certain things you need to know before you travel to different countries.  For example eating unripe ackee in Jamaican will kill you. Introducing yourself as Randi in the UK means you're a horny bastard. (tough break if that's actually your name) Public drinking is no longer legal in Rome.  And female circumcision is real in up to 70% of African countries. So be careful backpacking in the bush ladies.( no pun intended)

Another need-to-know fact is that the tampon revolution has not, I repeat, has not infiltrated Turkey.  I mean this is a mostly liberal Muslim country.  Women wear bikinis on the beach (for better or worse) public displays of affection won't get you stoned to death. Women smoke in public. Wearing short-shorts won't get you clapped upside the head with a Koran. The clubs are totally westernized. And when the Mu'azzin makes the  call to salat (prayer), you don't see many people stop, drop, and roll onto prayer mats.

Photo credit Tampons are our friends

However, trying to (gently) explain  your "need to plug the bleed"  will be met with a look of genuine perplexity.  I mean the UK, Ireland and South Africans are familiar with these cute little cotton snatch-catchers. But Turkey is not having it.

Interestingly , in Turkey, men aren't skittish when it comes to picking up their lady's fem products. He'll toss them in the cart along with the weekly ration of yogurt, olives and peppers. He may even return with scented and unscented (because he wanted you to have options)

 But to explain or demonstrate, to either sex, how a tampon works can be akin to explaining how to perform open-heart surgery with two toothpicks and a butter knife (Macgyver style).  I suspect they don't believe that virginity & these beaver plugs mix.

It's hard to look away when they make the box look so inviting

Gratis.com is one of Turkey's fastest growing retail markets And they are owned by Sedesco Inc. which operates out of New York.
Their mission - "to globally source consumer products in the categories of personal care ...."
Their development team "Travels the world looking for products that are not readily found in the Turkish Marketplace.

Hey if you seriously want to differentiate yourself from other Turkish retailers, take a leap of faith and stock those shelves with some tampons.  If not for the Turks then do it for the elusive network of expat women who secretly covet & barter tampons like cigarettes in jail.

Sep 3, 2014

Green Space All Up In Yo' Face

So, Which "Woolly Wall Pockets" combination is this!?
Dave &  Henrie Whitcomb's 2500 sq foot vertical garden wall in New York's Greenwich Village

There's a certain sense of calm you get from having green."

Nope I'm not talking about the maybe-illegal-depending-on-where-you-live kind....  I am actually referring to the kind you luxuriate in - Nature.

Many of us normal folk' can attest to the statement above, made by Joe McMillan, the CEO of developer DDG Partners. But not on his level.  He and a bunch of other ridiculously rich Manhattan dwellers, are spending beaucoup bucks, some up to half a million dollars, to create green spaces on the terraces and roofs of their multi-million dollar penthouses.

70 Little West St.  battery Park.  Home of Fred Rich and his 2000 square ft Botanical slap in the face.
“I feel incredibly privileged to be able to pick and eat fresh fruit and vegetables in the city; the flavor of fresh-picked food is incomparable,” - Fred Rich, as told to The New York Post.  And from the looks of his rooftop, clearly he ain't referring to the aisles in Wholefoods y'all.

Japanese maples spruces, pines, thyme and fruit trees..... These people are growing Panera Bread salads on their penthouse decks and while we fumble around with  woolly pockets on our bedroom walls.

A clearer depiction of NYC garden terraces

My thoughts on this? Get tha Fugg outta here!
While I completely understand, I can't help but laugh. Here's why.
When I'm out dranking and yucking it up with my New York cohorts, they always say "why" or "That's too bad" when they find out that I am a suburban dweller. and I always shrug with an understanding smile.  But to be truthfully honest...... please keep your crummy sympathy.

One reason?  Because while these guys run to parks for green space, along side the hoards of bikini and speedo clad sunbathers, masturbaters, and crusty characters, I simply go into the backyard.
Many of them don't even know that their coveted Central Park was laid with over 18,000 yards of Jersey manure? Yup, it's true!

Central Park scavenger hunt for green space.
Photo credit: Flicker.com

For the love of Jesus people, let's stop acting like this city doesn't treat nature as an accessory instead of a necessity. It's awesome to work and play in the city that never sleeps. But when the party is done I skip my ass back to the abundantly green suburbs.  It's like living on the more developed part of a third world.  You know, like when you go to Jamaica and the resort is beautiful, then you step your foots outside the resort into Jamrock. (No shade Jamaica - 1-Love)

Honestly I think some of these urban dwellers suffer a little "suburb envy".  I mean how else can you explain it?  Perhaps you can get a landscaping job on this guys terrace

May 12, 2014

Drunktown is the face of Native America?

Before the "dripping in jewels" era  

As a perk of my indentured servitude employer , I’ll be going to see a few private screenings of the Sundance & Tribeca films for $Free.99, this year.  Among them is a film called Drunktown’s Finest.

When I read the bio for this film  I immediately went to the trailer so that I could gawk at the actors.  I wanted to know if these were the faces of real Native Americans Indians. 

Let me preface my next, and possibly biased comment by saying,  I’m pretty good with matching faces to certain countries. For example, countries in East Africa; I can tell Somalis, Ethiopians & a Kenyans when I see them.)  I can basically identify  Ecuadorians from Salvadorians & Mexicans from Colombians (because they've flooded the neighboring town - and thank God because it’s the only reason I can get decent produce indigenous to the Caribbean)

Brazil is home to over 60 tribes of  indigenous hunter gatherers 

However, I honestly couldn’t spot a Native American if I was standing on the reservation and my life depended on it.  For a long time, I thought  Lou Diamond Philips was the only Native American actor who made it out of the reservation hood and into stardom. And as far as I know, all the Quileutes in the Twilight series were pretty convincing. 

 Aside from existing images of traditional & noteworthy Native Americans,  I often think of modern day Native American features as a hybrid between Filipino and Ecuadorians. Or like the tribal people deep in Brazil. Or Samoans?  How many of you really even know what a Modern day Native American looks like?
Not every actor, but several of the wolf pack actors are in fact Native

So because you cannot be worldly without knowing a little about the people who originally inhabited the continent that they were slayed on, before the next wave enslaved people were brought in to develop it, I did my homework (read: Googled).  and here’s what I found.

P.S. There are 36 speaking roles in Drunktown's Finest and of those roles, 32 are Native American Indians.

·         In 1990 George H. W. Bush declare the month of November as Native American Heritage Month

·         The reason that so many Black Americans claim Native American Heritage, is because it’s true. Although not everybody actually is “a quarter Indian” there was a point in American history (slavery) where the ethnicities joined forces.

·          Lou Diamond Philips is not Native American

·         Julia Jones and Alex Meraz from the “wolf pack” in Twilight are Native American (and sexy as hell)

·         Sacajawea is the Native American face that you see on the U.S dollar coin

·         Actor Will Rogers was born to a well respected Native American Territory family in Oklahoma

P.S.  This is still a travel blog. …I think

May 6, 2014


Keep "seat-mate" chatter to a minimum. Because nobody wants to hear your
damn conversation but you!

 Let's face it, anything more than a six hour flight can be agonizing, especially if  you're wedged away in airplane Gitmo economy class.  For those of you who dread long flights, there are a few survival tips that you can take ...or leave.

Stewardess! Anymore of that brand X vodka!?
Make use of the free booze - Cocktails, beer, pick your poison and indulge.  Most people spring for the wine. I go straight for the hard stuff. Vodka and coke.  Because alcohol plus altitude equals sweet drunken slumber. Of course you could end up dehydrated & awake looking like a wild animal. Therefore red wine and Tylenol might be easier and a little classier. Just wake me up at dinner service.

Business class can kiss my ass!

 Self medicate - When booze doesn't equal snooze,  have something else on hand just in case. If you've got some left over oxycodone from that time you had your tooth pulled, then go ahead knock yourself out -literally. Otherwise, spring for some over the counter sedatives because sometimes ear buds don't drown out the screaming kid kicking the seat back. But drug induced sleep suits most everyone.
If he farts, will that bag inflate? And who's going untie
his Ziploc bag when it's time to visit the loo?

The right attire to retire - Don't own a hooded sweatshirt or an eye mask? Well you can still cocoon up in airline blankets.  Additionally they cover up trouble spots for example a drooling mouth, a swollen gut and the general drunk-off-plane- booze ugly face)  Because using a storage bag doesn't conceal these things. So hoard a couple of blankets and get your cocoon on.

Is that your feet or did you order the vegetarian meal

Free your feet with caution - I once sat next to a 10, but when he took his shoes off I wanted to throw-up.  I know you want your dogs to breath but no one wants to see or smell your hammer toes. If you take your shoes off and people start to clear their throats, assume the worst. Bring fresh socks that you can change into because planes are air-conditioned and your little funk buckets will freeze.   

A neck pillow can keep your head stable and your slobbering contained to your chin

Protect yo' neck - Invest in a neck pillow it will offer your head some "roll over" real estate, and if you're in an aisle seat, it can potentially  keep you from head bobbing into the aisle and being slapped in the back of the head by a passing penis.  I'm jus' saying.... 

I'm just waiting for your head to swing into the aisle.
Getting the window seat in an exit row is like winning the lottery in economy class. And regular window seats are a sweet snatch. With that said, if you have a seat preference, go online the day of the flight to see if you can change your seat assignment. If all else fails grab a aisle seat. You'll have a easier time unwinding and there might be an extra seat to stretch out on.

Now sit back relax and enjoy the ride!!

Apr 23, 2014

Experience Poverty ..in Luxury

Emoya Spa & Hotel make Luxuriating in poverty a guilt-free experience. 

Can someone tell me what this about? 
At first Glance, I thought this was the set for Beyond Scared Straight – South Africa. I quietly thought yea, this is a pretty shitty place to end up because shantytowns are horrible places.

And then I saw the video?  And I thought; is this even ethical?
Emoya's make shift shantytown, seen here, has heated floors and internet Wi-Fi!

  When I think of dream vacations for an African safari the idea of cozying up to a oil barrel of flames just outside of my ultra plush corrugated metal shack like the real poor folk of South Africa does not come to mind.

Sierra Leone - I have visited shantytowns and there is nothing luxurious about them.  Most times you want to be sure your vaccinations are up to date before going inside one. 

 And although nothing captures those special moments and creates  genuine memories quite like poverty housing. The lack of sanitation, the disastrous hygiene conditions, and water born diseases that really puts the stamp of authenticity on shanty town living scares the fuck out of me and is not to be mocked !

Emoya gives you a tour of the grounds! 
The YouTube audience is disgusted. Proof of that is in the comments section. 
One person suggested that the Emoya Spa & Hotel owners kill themselves. 
While other suggested more subtle things like hoping that their children get cancer (ouch)
I've heard of themed accommodations when traveling but some people take shit way to literal and beyond too far.  This is mockery.  As a black American I would be scared to death to stay here thinking that it was a trap and they would Solomon North me back into a pre-apartheid like era.

This is a very real Shanty in Sierra Leone. This pic was taken during my travels in 2009 if you cannot see the date stamp I so lazily did not edit out!    

Furthermore, If I had the dire misfortune of being one of the millions of South Africa's actual shantytown residents, I think I would burn this bitch down to manicured land these rat bastards unceremoniously built it on. Cancel my reservation and my apologies to the wildlife.

These are very real Shantytown residents.
Sierra Leone