Local Currency

20140114-080537.jpg

I don’t speak French, Mandarin, Spanish or Arabic – but I know a handful of insults in each. My map-reading skills leave much to be desired, and I’ll only rent a car in the simplest of cities to navigate.

Instead, I rely on the navigation tools that have never lead me wrong: research, a friendly smile, and a pocketful of the local currency.

In Jakarta, Indonesia when navigating the airport shuttles became overwhelming, I hopped in a taxi and let the professional sort it out. And, thanks to my pocketful of Rupiah I didn’t have to pay the $6.00 exchange and ATM fee in order to finance the $2.00 transaction.

Street snacks, vending machines that sell wine, bathrooms, un-posted airport fees bring it on. I’ll be ready, I’m heading to the bank this morning to pick up some Turkish Lira.

Cat on a Corrugated Tin Roof

Everybody likes a vacation, but adventure is an acquired taste.

20140113-215716.jpg

– Courtesy, Google Images Contributor

When I told people I’d be going to a high school in Nanjing, China, an English-learning Kindergarten class near Ubud, Bali, or a wedding in Cartagena, Columbia I sometimes got a funny, “Why the hell would you want to do that?” kind of look. But, to me, I giggle inside every time I think of it.

My next trip – Istanbul and Izmir, Turkey (in just a couple days) has me giddy with travel euphoria. Eight days at the W: fashion shows, food, music, the Bazaar, the hypnotizing sound of prayer call; I will love (and hate) every second of it. There will be Asia belly, fierce hunger, awkward fiscal interactions and social obligations, getting lost, and the 40% chin quiver pre-cry. Then, there will be mouth agape, shocked, delighted, “Holy Shit! This exists!” moments.

The universe is about to rough house me with lessons from a place I’ve never been!