Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October, 2008

Hippie Hollow…In Winter?

I’ve been corresponding with a man I met at HIppie Hollow this summer.  It’s completely platonic.  He had to suddenly go up to Austin for business last week and told me after the fact that he wished he had thought to take me with him so we could go back to Hippie Hollow.

I remarked at how nippy it’s been getting and pointed out that that wouldn’t have been much fun. It’s one thing to be naked when the sun is beating down on you, forcing you to take a delicious dip every once in a while. It’s completely another when the breeze is uncomfortably cool.

He pointed out that the lake was too big to get really cold and the sun is shinning enough still to make it tolerable, if not entirely perfect. He then went on to say how he’d been up there every day of the year, even January and December.

For those unfamiliar with Texas, down in the southeast here it gets pretty darn chilly.  I know you northerners might scoff at the idea of anything above technical freezing being considered “cold.” But I’m a California girl.  It took me a full winter of me blasting my heater before a Philly gal told me to just get a down comforter (a life saver if ever there was one).

But I’m nothing if not open minded. Next time he offers, I may just go.

Read Full Post »

Gas

Yesterday as I was driving home I noticed that the gas station near me, which has admittedly always been a few cents cheaper than most stations, was selling regular fo $1.89.  I thought it was odd, and not just a tad unsettling, when it started going down 10 cents every day for the past few weeks, from a high of just above $4.

Houston has always been cheap in the gas department, but now it’s just gotten to the point of lunacy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m milking it for all it’s worth while it lasts, though I do still plan on going back to taking the bus to work in the morning once daylight savings is over.  It’s just too bad this had to happen now that summer is over.  A trip to Hippie Hollow for some nude swimming would be just the break I need right about now.

My only hope is, they don’t go raising prices again once the next driving season comes around…Thanksgiving to Christmas.  Naturally I’m not driving home to LA (been there done that!), but I am taking my much anticipated drive up the coast to visit all the nude beaches along the the Pacific.  Since most car rental companies have yet to jump on the hybrid bandwagon, I’ll no doubt be “upgraded” to a less than ideally fuel efficient car and, California gas prices being what they are, gas will be one of my major expenses.

Finger’s crossed!

Read Full Post »

Once upon a time I thought maybe my idea of going to Vieques or Culebra would have been tight consiering I was headed to Puerto Rico for a conference.  So I extended the trip by three days.

Now I’m determined to spend time in Fajardo to enjoy the Seven Seas Beach, Playa Colora (red sand!), and, the ironically named,  Convent Beach (i.e. unofficial nude beach).  I found a site detaling each beach.  This of course means I have to spend a day in Fajardo, which is no problem.  Nude beach going trumps all.

But then I discovered that the ferry does not run from Culebra to Vieques on the weekends…for some insane reason! So basically, after spending Friday at Fajardo, I must go to Vieques that evening and stay put.  I guess I’ll be missing out on the world’s 2nd most beautiful beach this time around. 

The sunny side is, it gives me an excuse to go back.  Plus, I’ll get to use it as a jumping off point (or detour) on my way to the US Virgin Islands, which are right next door.

Read Full Post »

To date I have a measly 5 bottles of sand under my belt. This means I’m sorely lacking in my quota for the month.  Fortunately I have a trip to sunny Puerto Rico coming up which should at least double my current collection.  A little bird told me that there is even an unofficial nude beach to be found.  I’m not sure how that will work with me being at a conference for work, but I’m determined to fit it in.  Especially since they mentioned red sand.

Right now my bottles are housed in a little hidey-hole in the hallway to my bedrooms. What with the glass vases, guardian angel, and sea shells also being housed there I know it’s going to be time to make a change soon. 

I have been desperately trying to find an appropriate shelf that was not too deep and, hopefully, had a slight border to keep the bottles from accidentally falling off.  I saw these:

 

They are tins measuring 4 inches diameter and have magnets on the back. I thought maybe I could have an entire magnetic wall of sand tins.  Then I thought about how that would be either awesome or awesomely tacky, and I wouldn’t know which until it was too late.  Besides, I would have had to change the title of this blog to 1000 Tins of Sand.

It doesn’t have the same appeal.

I was desperate enough to go to Home Depot and check out the wood to make my own damn shelves…until giving up. Then I headed to the Container Store, where I originally purchased the bottles, in the hopes that maybe they had some sort of stand for them that I could use to display them.  And then the heavens opened up.  I saw this:

 

The bonus is, I measured my wall at 104 inches or about 8.5 feet. These are 48 inches so they will fit perfectly side by side on the wall with a sophisticated little space between them. It even has the border around it! I’m not hot to trot about the little silver holders peeking out, but that’s easily fixable with paint.

To avoid impulse shopping I promised myself I wouldn’t buy one until I had enough bottles to fill it. I figured it at about 32. So 27 more to go! I’m thinking Puerto Rico and California will take care of that.

Of course by the time I get 32, they’ll have discontinued the whole damn line.

Read Full Post »

One of my planned trips next year is to Amsterdam.  I know a fellow there and he promised to show me around.  Originally the plan was to take the train to Paris.  Now that I’ve been introduced to nude beaches I’m not so hot on the idea any more. Instead I’m thinking of hitting the beaches of the Netherlands.

Of course my handy dandy nude beach guide informed me that the Netherlands has more nude beaches per capita than any other European country (or something like that).  Considering Amsterdam, is it any wonder?  Since I have no doubt my friend’s willingness to serve as host does not particularly extend to taking off his clothes in public, I was at a loss as to how to get there on my own.

God bless the European’s love, or perhaps just need, for public transport.  I found this site, which pretty much tells me how to take the train to several nude beaches.  The only problem now is how to fit it all in!

Read Full Post »

In researching my upcoming trip to Puerto Rico I was happy to find that Flamenco Beach on Culebra was noted as #2 on the Discovery Channel’s top 10 list of the world’s most beautiful beaches.  Of course I couldn’t subsequently find that list anywhere on the web. But I did find a longer list on the Travel Channel.

You can view it here.

Not only is Flamenco Beach listed (or rather Culebra as a whole…I guess the whole island is spectacular) but Vieques is as well.  It’s unfortunate that they don’t list specific beaches, since I know for a fact they differ from one another on Vieques.  But I’m still looking forward to the trip that much more.

And now I have  list to use as a guide for future travels!  Of course their idea of a “beautiful” beach is probably vastly different from mine. Especially since my focus is mostly on the sand…and ability to go nude.  The last thing I’m interested in is yet another white sand beach with crystal blue water and lots of annoying tourists.  Give me an isolated cove with dark water and interesting pebbles filled with bold nudists any day.

But I love beauty as much as the next person, and some of the destinations sound rather interesting (Phi Phi Island?).  Besides, on my trip home for Christmas I can knock more than a few off the list:

  • Carmel
  • Coranado
  • El Matador
  • Hermosa Beach
  • Laguna Beach (whatev)
  • Newport Beach
  • Santa Barbara (ties in perfectly with one of my nudist destinations)
  • Venice Beach (already on my to-do list.  What trip home would be complete without it?  I don’t know about “beautiful” but it’s certainly “interesting”)

Read Full Post »

Unbottled: Dimona, Israel

So after getting the extended tour of Tel Aviv after missing my stop on the train and making my way back to the hotel with an honest taxi driver (who I swear didn’t speak a lick of English, making the dinero transaction kinda hard), we had our last dinner with my sister who was leaving a day early.  In the spirit of goodbyes I ignored the fact that it took 5 restaurants to finally get one that we all (“we all” meaning my sister) liked.  After going to many a restaurant where pork chops were on the menu and the chocolate souffle cake after dinner was (rightfully) served with good old fashioned vanilla ice cream, we actually ended up at a bona fide Kosher restaurant…right on the beach.  In fact that’s where this photo was taken.

Good meal. No ice cream with the chocolate cake (booo!). Managed not to strangle sister.  Put her in taxi. Go home and chat with mom.  Get most inoportune call from 22 year old Nigerian football player. Manage to realize in the nick of time and hang up before contact is officially made.  Say good night. Get good night’s sleep. Wake up next morning say goodbye to mom since I’m off with T to her hometown to view this festival they have going on and make my way to the airport later on that night.

So at 10 am sharp I’m standing outside of the hotel waiting for T, who promised to be there at exactly that time.  One full hour later she shows up with her cousin/brother/in law/whatever (you’ll find out that it’s hard to tell  the difference later on in this blog).  She at least apologizes profusely but gives no explanation. I assume it had something to do with the two riding in the front of the car.

We make our way through Tel Aviv with the radio blasting gangsta rap.  Side note: why oh why does the worst rap have to be the number one American musical export?  To avoid the dirty looks from old Jewish men driving around us, I decide to go to sleep…or at least pretend to.

At some point the music gets turned off.  I wake up to see what the deal is and find nothing more than the car entering the on ramp to the freeway.  All three of the other passengers have started praying, which was far more awkward to me than getting dirty looks from old Jewish men on the road. Of course as soon as it passes the gansta rap goes right back to full blast and the driver continues his litanyes of the Mother Fucker at everything that pisses him off on the road. 

The whole trip lasts a good hour and a half so we take a bathroom break during which they get french fries (which they then put ketchup and mayo on…yuck!) and I try my hand at the Doritos which have not a lick of English on them.  I have to choose between the yellow (plain I assumed), red, black with red peppers on the cover and this, which I, very mistakenly, assumed was guacamole:

It was some sickly sweet concoction which cemented my desire to return to the US and enjoy normal good old fashioned American fiery habaneros doritos.

I guess I should at this point explain what this whole trip was about.  Basically in Dimona, which is the bona fide desert portion of Isreal, there is a group of African Hebrew Isrealites.  Apparently way back in the 60s a small group of black people took Dr. King’s message about “getting to the promised land” a little too literally and decided to head over there. There being, of course, Israel.  Again, I’ll let Wikipedia explain it for me.  T, and her “relatives”, are all members of this community.  Which is apparently still going strong.

After a series of introductions to this family member and that one, I’m finally passed off to a cousin of T, Naomi, who turned out to be a very gracious (and informative) hostess…with the world’s most adorable baby.

Because T made it pretty clear that they were a “conservative” group (is there any group in Israel that isn’t?), I wore the one peice of “conservative” clothing I had, the black skirt which reaches firmly below the knees. She also made a point of telling me that “no one has to know about the nightclub!” Duly noted. I was feeling quite comfy as Naomi explained to me that on the first day of the festival everyone wears the same color (this year being red), and since I was dressed all in black she had some red  pants I could change into so I could fit in.  I got the idea it was more of a subtle hint than a suggestion. Sigh….

Because she was busy cooking she put her daughter (7 months) on the bed in her bedroom where I was changing. This is the part where all moms should take note: just because a woman has a vagina, does not mean she has a maternal instinct.  That stuff is obviously learned. Case in point:

My point of view: Baby crawls around on bed, gets to edge of bed, sees big drop, does what any rational human being would do…stop.

Mom’s point of view: Baby crawls around on bed, gets to edge of bed, sees big drop, doesn’t have the since god gave a rock and proceeds to “learn the hard way”.

Before you get to thinking I would have sat there and watched as the baby crawled right off the edge of the bed…I didn’t!  I’m not that lacking in maternal instinct.  I did however get a sigh and an “are you nuts” look from the mom as the baby started making a bee-line for the edge while I sat there assuming the above.  You can add this one to the list of reasons why I shouldn’t be a mom.

After changing into my non-sluttly clothes, I went back and sat with Naomi in the kitchen while she explained all about this nice little community of theirs.  You kind of have the jist of it from above.  Here is the rest.

They are vegan (boo!), English and Hebrew speaking, polygamous(!), all natural, non substance users (boo!), but they do make their own wine (thank goodness for the bible).  As it turns out Naomi was the second wife of her husband.

That’s why familial relationships there are so…complex.  Number one, it’s a tiny community of maybe 1,000 people.  So even if you aren’t directly related to someone…chances are you are still related somehow.  Add to that, the fact that most men have more than one wife (and thus most children have more than one mom), well you get it.  Oh, and the best part is…they aren’t allowed to practice birth control!  So there ya go.  Of course Naomi explained to me that if a woman is “especially fertile” they have a drink she can take to tone things down a bit.  Considering she herself had 10 brothers and 3 sisters, I hate to think what “especially fertile” means.

But I feel like I’m being unfairly judgemental.  Aside from this lifestyle obviously not being for me (I love meat and would go nuts from having that many kids), the only real issue I take is with the polygamy.  In actuallity I honestly don’t think I would mind it.  It’s just the principal of the thing. The vegan food actually turned out to be not that bad…despite making my digestive system a little too operational later on.

After we (as in she, while I sat there and watched) finished cooking we went over to the festival.  This was one of those fortuitous events that you are so glad you got to take advantage of because when the hell else are you going to be surrounded by a bunch of Hebrew speaking black vegans (and the sprinkling of open minded white people that always congregate to these sorts of things) while they have their annual day of celebration? It was so absolutely awesome.  The rest is just photos…which I originally hesitated to post because it had this whole National Geographical feel to it, but I’m open to sharing.

The sign over the village itself:

Part of the village:

Everyone dancing.  Two things to note: most of the women don’t relax their hair (god bless em!), they all went natural or had these intricate braids (all theirs, no synthetics), which must have taken forever to do, but looked amazing. Also, all of these outfits were hand made, which almost made me sign up right then and there. I love sewing!  Each family had it’s own little design sewn in with the standard red.  The white with red flowers you see between the two men was that of Naomi’s (that’s her bio mom dancing):

 

Watermelon was the food of the day [insert exasperated sigh here]. Side note: I hate watermelon. It’s disgusting and messy to eat, but I ate it to be nice:

It’s hard to tell from this but they are doing something called the Nations Dance…aka Soul Train Line:

This was the stage with some preformances:

Some teenagers rapping.  Naomi made a point of detailing how they didn’t use any curse words or racial slurs.  In fact the whole village is pretty much crime free:

The children (and believe me, there were A LOT of children, way more than this) dancing:

One adorable little kid nearby:

Later on there was the parade in which all the youths marched/danced into the center square. I wish I had video because photos don’t do it justice: These are the young men:

Young women:

The soliders (despite Israel refusing to acknowledge them as full citizens they do their duty to the country):

Teenage girls:

Teenage boys:

So obviously I could never join this community.  I refuse to dance in public…at least not sober.

Afterward they had this awards ceremony for the “veterans” of the community.  Apparently the first people to start the village stopped over in Liberia for 2 years to “cleanse” after leaving the US, which was a bit of a struggle.  People got really teary eyed over this.  Despite their rebellious tendencies to listen to gansta rap and go to night clubs, everyone really loves it here:

Then there were more presentations.

A group of women dancing to step aerobics:

Some guys doing martial arts:

There was a show that was set to start at 8pm.  I had to catch a 1 am flight, and it supposedly took 2 hours to get to the airport.  So I was supposed to leave at 9. We were all hoping that I could get to see some of the main event but, of course, it didn’t start on time.  No comment. 

But what a treat!  And totally a matter of being in Israel at the right time and knowing a local. 

After being handed off from one relative to another I finally ended up with the brother-in-law of somone’s cousin who drove me to the airport, making absolutely sure that I learned all the benefets of living in the community and listening to their gospel music all the way there.  He was a nice enough fellow but I was far too anxious about making my flight to care.  I wish I had though…I only discovered upon hugging him goodbye that he was a wonderful treat for the eyes.

In fact, one thing I took away was that everyone there looked superb.  Obviously vegan living has it’s benefits.  Maybe it’s that or maybe it was having been surrounded by them for a good 12 hours straight, but I came back with a healthy appreciation (and strong craving) for black men.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »