Archives – January, 2005

Yoga Center Trip April 2004 – Part 4

The Day After

The next morning I had a legendary hangover, let’s just say the free yoga class was scratched off my list. I dragged my massively enlarged head to the breakfast table. I had what would have been nice breakfast, but my mouth was numb. I then tried to converse with the couple from New Zealand but they just turned everything I said into rude, self important anti-American comments. What the hell did we ever do to the Kiwis? Anyway, with that I went back to sleep.

I re-woke about 10AM to find the yoga class in full swing. I watched as what seemed like every pretty woman in Negril stretched and contorted themselves in that yoga sort of way. Realizing I probably looked like Aqualung in a schoolyard, I retreated to my cottage for a cool shower, a few bananas and a three Extra Strength Excedrin’s.

After the Yoga class was safely over, I wandered out to the breakfast table. The whole crew was there chit chatting with an unusually high level of animation. “Hmmm,” I though to myself, “I should try this Yoga thing.”

Yasmine was talking to the yoga teacher who also hailed from France, or at least had a French accent. I’m not sure which is the chicken or the egg here, was it the cool summer breezes, French wines and cheeses, or the practice of Yoga, but Damn! The yoga instructor was probably fifty, but looked thirty. She had a girlish skip in her step, and deep romantic eyes. “Hmmm,” I though to myself, “I should try this Yoga thing.”

Alan was there too, talking to a new arrival. She was introduced to me as Brenna from Saskatchewan. She was young, twenty one or so, her muscular build, and relatively short hair, combined with my Philadelphian male sensibility (or lack there of) made me immediately think lesbian. I find it easier to think of women I can never have as lesbians, it keeps the sting of impending middle-age at a safe distance.

Don’t get me wrong, me thinking her a probable “girl-only girl” didn”t stop me from enjoying her youthful good looks. I don’t know how a girl from Saskatchewan should look, but Brenna makes me want to go there to see! She was a tall brunette with green eyes and a great figure. In my mind”s eye I picture her on an idyllic Canadian farm, hauling large bales of hay from a faded red 1953 Ford pick-up (all in slow motion of course). Ragged corduroy shorts, long muscular legs, well worn work boots, and rippling abs. A thin half shirt straining to cover her large, full breasts with a grey bandana keeping the hair off of her sweaty brow, but I digress.

She was a sweet bubbly girl here in the real world, right on the cuff of being referred to as a woman, as if the woman part was keeping the girlish part at bay. Traveling alone and in Jamaica for two weeks, she had already been out to Ocho Rios and Mobay. My own daughter was about eighteen at the time and I admired Brenna’s ability, to strike out alone. Of course, Alan, Yasmine and I were all traveling alone, but even young Yasmine had ten years on her and was a world traveler in her own right. In the end Brenna and I had nothing in common, except for my love of large firm breasts and her having them, but we did enjoy each other’s company from time to time that week.

I was out of beer and money, so I took a walk into town. I was feeling very cosmopolitan walking through this familiar third world town. I hit the ATM at the Scotia Bank and grabbed 10,000J, which sounds like much more than it is. I walked all around downtown, meeting people and generally checking out the scene. I decided to walk up to the cliffs for lunch, but the hill rising out of town on West End Road got the best of me. So I turned around and went into the Jamaican version of a fast food chicken joint. Lunch gave me new energy, and I walked down by the craft market and onto the beach.

I took off my shirt and sandals. I walked along the water line. I’m not much of a beach person, which I’m sure seems weird for a guy who goes to Negril at least once a year, but I love walking in the surf, and sitting at a beach bar is one of life’s great pleasures. I found one such place somewhere near Bamboo Beach. There was a picnic table with a big yellow umbrella and a bartender delivering 100J Red Stripes.

“Does it get any better than this?” I thought. Just then I looked up to see Brenna walking over in a bikini, “Ok it did get better!”

I bought her a beer while we made chit chat, and I tried to keep from ogling her chest. We talked about Saskatchewan and sadly I found out she didn’t work on a farm baling hay. What I did find intriguing is that she wouldn’t say what she did, just that she worked. She finished her beer and ran to catch-up with a few Italian guys she’d befriended.

By this time it was late afternoon and I needed some ganja and a nap. Back at my cottage I laughed at my lightweight self, seeing the spliff that had me pretty high the entire day was less than half smoked. I finished it and headed for the hammock hut.

I had a hard time negotiating the hammock. You can’t really climb in from the side like a bed, but that’s what I did and was glad no one was there to see me look so clumsy. After about ten minutes of jostling around I was finally comfortable, and began to read a book by Alan Watts, “The Wisdom of Insecurity.” For some reason I like to think big thoughts while in Negril. The energy of the place seems to demand it and the tranquility definitely allows it. As I lay there thinking my big thoughts I noticed a ferret-like animal checking out the compost pile in the far back corner of the property, he was like a cross between a ferret and a groundhog. He scampered away as Alan came into the hut.

Alan stepped over the hammock, sat on the scrunched material, lifted his legs and slipped comfortably and easily into the hammock. I laughed at my lack of hammock savvy. I asked Alan about the large rodent and he said it was probably a wombat. I thought he was kidding, but it kind of made sense since I’d noticed animal burrowed holes in all the garden beds and under some of the cabins and porches.

Again I’d slept through sunset. Alan was gone and I was alone in the hammock hut.

Leave a Comment January 31, 2005

Yoga Center Trip April 2004 – Part 3

The Message Board Comes To Life

Sunday Brunch at Selina’s is like a Negrilaholics Anonymous meeting.

I’d found quite sometime before this trip, but it was only when I began really planning did I discover the message board, and what a revelation it was.

I posted a note asking for information and suggestions regarding The Negril Yoga Center, and in minutes I had responses. Good responses. I expected a few, “Yeah Buddy, I got your Yoga Center RIGHT HERE!” type responses, but instead I received thoughtful emails from several people who had recently been to the Yoga Center who gave me honest, helpful opinions. I even got an email from Marcia from the Yoga Center management inviting me to check out the website.

I don’t know exactly when it happened but somehow I became a boardie! I changed my lurker moniker to Vinny_From_Philly and I was on my way.

One Sunday, still months before my trip, I was minding my own business when I came across post from “The Negril Crew” stating, “SELINA’S SUNDAY BRUNCH – JOIN US LIVE NOW!” Intrigued I clicked through to “The Real Negril” Webcast and before I knew it I was in Negril, chatting with people I’d seen on the board and listening to the Jamaican Cowboy. I was hooked! Over the next few weeks I became a Sunday morning regular at Selina’s, and I also stopped in at Three Dives a few times for a Negril sunset fix.

I woke up early Sunday morning. I was so excited to get to Selina’s but had to chill because it was still only 6AM. So, I took some time getting ready for my webcast premier, I shaved, poofied my hair, put on a good pair of shorts and a loud Hawaiian shirt. I topped it off with the Philadelphia Phillies baseball cap I’d bought especially for the trip. Not being a “Hat Guy,” I tried putting it on in different ways. Tilted, backwards, sideways, finally I looked in the mirror, “Face it, you’re 40, cool is escaping you.” I didn’t care, I was un-cool in Negril!

After some herbal mind enhancement I walked out to the breakfast table to find my friend Alan talking to a very pretty young woman from Paris. Now, being from the US, I’m supposed to dislike French people out of hand, but looking at this demure beauty, dislike was far from my mind. Her name was Yasmine and I was smitten.

I sat next to Yasmine and made small talk and Claudette the chef brought some coffee. Time seemed to stand still as I listened to that sexy French accent telling the story of the trip to, and arrival in Jamaica via Amsterdam and Havana. I hung on her every word as if she was Buddha teaching the path to enlightenment. I clumsily told her of several plans I had for the week and opened several doors of invitation. She seemed kind of interested, or maybe she was just too nice to burst my caffeine and ganja induced bubble. Soon it was 9:30 and I had to get to Selina’s. I bade goodbye to my Yoga friends and headed to meet my boardie friends in person.

Armed with freshly stirred testosterone, I set out to walk the half mile to Selina’s. Of course, I only made it about a hundred yards when a taxi driver made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and in seconds I was at Selina’s.

I walked from the road into the brightly colored and crowded brunch hot spot. I wondered if I’d recognize anyone, but no sooner was the thought completed that I spotted Rob (Mr. RealNegril Webcast), Selina and the Jamaican Cowboy sitting together at the bar near a laptop computer. I walked over and made my introductions. I took a seat at the bar with a good view, ready for whatever was to happen.

I knew there were people here I have spoken to via the board, but I had no idea who was who. How was I going to figure this out? I began thinking nametags would have been a good idea, but a “Hello My Name Is” sticker didn’t seem like the island way.

The Jamaican Cowboy started his set as I ordered breakfast. I remembered The Jamaican Cowboy from the “Hedonism Island Picnic” almost ten years earlier though I couldn’t place him. Maybe he changed, maybe I changed? There couldn’t be two Jamaican Cowboy’s, could there? Anyway, this guy was kickin’ it old school to some sort of Jamaican rockabilly. Whatever it was, he held the place spellbound. His gruff yet melodious voice, his piercing hazel blue eyes and his buddy on the rumba box keeping the bass line, had us all a-tapping and a-swaying.

This was my first trip to Selina’s, the coffee was fantastic, and the Jamaican breakfast was spot on! Selina herself was everywhere. She knew almost everyone in the place, and the ones she didn’t know she met. I don’t know her story, but she’s from Canada, she says “about” in that funny Canadian way, and she really seemed to find true happiness here in Negril. Big Roy her husband was in the kitchen and her beautiful children were scampering all aboot the place.

Suddenly, halfway through the attack on my plate, a smiling woman, who also seemed to know everyone, walked up to me and said, “You must be Vinny From Philly!!”

“That’s me!” I said cheerfully, guessing the Phillies hat, now on the counter beside me acted as the afore mentioned nametag.

“I’m Meg,” she said and welcomed me to Negril as she introduced me to her group. Her husband Tom, Patty, Erin, Lisa, a guy named Frank, his wife and a few others.

They seemed like a lively bunch and I was invited to stop by Kuyaba later that afternoon. I joined in their conversation from my bar perch and I began looking forward to the impending party. Here I was thousands of miles from home and these folks made me feel as if I was back on South Street in Philly. Negril is a special place, and it attracts special people.

I listened to The Cowboy, met more boardies and waved to the several friends and family I’d told to look at the Webcast at exactly 11AM. The coffee, turned to Bloody Marys, and then to Red Stripes, while most of the brunching boardies headed back to their hotels. Too Soon the Webcast was over, and after a hug from Selina I was off to explore Sunday afternoon in Negril.

The Kuyaba Party Animals

The midday sun and the vodka from my Bloody Marys shortened my planned beach walk to town, so I cut through Travellers and hit the Yoga center for some bottled water and a nap in the hammock hut.

I woke several drooling hours later. Wow, I felt great! I ambled back to my cottage to find the maid had changed my dark blue bedspread to a loud bright pink tie-died one. Now pink isn’t normally a favorite color, but this bedspread rocked! I took it as good omen for my night. Chicks dig pink!

About 6-ish, I walked over to Kuyaba and the crew was in full party mode. Frank was regaling the crowd with a story of island adventures from the previous days. I don’t remember the story but he had all of us roaring. The next thing I knew it was dark, I was feeling no pain, and somehow I’d switched to a drink called a Dirty Banana.

I’m not a hundred percent sure what happened next, but Erin, Patty and I kind of paired off, trio’d off would be more accurate. We had a blast. The memories are blurry. Teary eyed blurry, we laughed for hours, and we didn’t even visit Tedds! These two were awesome; we were three of a kind. On vacation, blowing off steam and not the least bit self conscious.

Sometime during the night I must have remembered I brought my camera because I took a series of drunken photos, mostly of Patty and Erin and several of nothing at all. I must have slipped into the obnoxious Philadelphia picture taking drunk, because many photos are of my new gal pals obviously saying, “STOP TAKING MY F#$%&>? PICTURE!” The night somehow ended without the torrid threesome I was envisioning in my demented alcohol addled brain, which was good because I don’t think little vinny could have handled these two vixens in such a drunken state.

Slinking back to the Yoga Center, I felt like a teenager trying not to wake the family as I stumbled to my cottage. I opened a beer, and attempted to record the fun filled night in my journal, but to this day I have no idea what the scribbley gibberish means. Other than I must have had a good time.

– Vinny :)

Leave a Comment January 28, 2005

Yoga Center Trip April 2004 – Part 2

My first full day in Negril

IIn some ways this was my favorite day. I did practically nothing, so this section will be short.

I was up at dawn and walked across Norman Manley Boulevard also known as Beach Road through Shields Cottages and out to the beach.

Negril at sunrise is beautiful. On this end of the beach you can see big ships on the horizon and small to medium sized fishing boats dotting the foreground. The air is cool and light, much less humid than in the later warmer hours. I walked up beach for what seemed like an hour, but when I crossed back out to the road I was just up past Selina’s. I walked back in the early morning cool, feeling good and soaking in the positive vibes of post dawn Negril.

I spent the rest of the morning meditating, reading, and writing in my journal. It was decompression day. Only in retrospect did I realize how kinetic I’d been the day before, bouncing from place to place and making mental lists to fill my every waking hour.

I guess that’s how Jamaicans can tell you just got here. You’ve chilled out, but only in American terms, not by Jamaican standards. By the time you’re here four or five days the new arrivals look stressed and harried to you too.

I napped through sunset, chipped in with the security guys for a delicious Brown Stew with rice and peas, and generally kept to myself that night. I read, wrote, drank a few Red Stripes and smoked. I knew I was headed for Selina’s in the morning so I was asleep by 10.

Leave a Comment January 28, 2005

Yoga Center Trip April 2004

From Philly to Negril

It was cold for an April morning in Philadelphia as I walked the quarter mile from my house to Crestmont Station. I was rushing to catch the 5:51AM train to the Airport when I began to panic.

“If I miss this train, I’ll never get to the airport in time!!” My panicked brain cried out. Maybe it was the caffeine, maybe I really needed this vacation, but whatever it was right after crossing Old York Road I began to run. It’s not like I ran too far, maybe a hundred yards, but I felt better as I stood breathless at the deserted little depot.

I decided on this trip when a woman I had a crush on with since the 9th grade told me she had gotten married, again. Yeah! She’d married two men that weren’t me! I think it’s time I lose the torch! I was invited to a reception thing in Houston on a Saturday in March, so I figured I’d take a week off, make an appearance, and then explore Southeast Texas.

Screw that! I’m sure Galveston is great but if I’m spending a week at the beach, I’m going to Negril! I flew to Houston for a day and booked a week at The Negril Yoga Centre a few weeks later.

“Nice Shirt!” The conductor shouted as I climbed up onto the train.

“I’m on vacation!” I said excitedly, as the conductor pantomimed climbing into my suitcase.

“Yeah, I’m on vacation,” I thought, and as I sat in the hard plastic seat, and already I could feel the stress begin to leave my body.

About a year before this trip, I’d finally left the restaurant business. In twenty years I’d taken only six weeks vacation. In my new career, regular vacations were actually encouraged, so on my first day I promised myself no less than a week per year in Negril.

Soon I was at the airport, through security, and in the air.

The flight was uneventful, thank Jah, and by 10:30AM I was on the immigration line in the stale, humid air of Sangster International Airport. There’s a timeless quality to Sangster, from the ladies singing that same old song to the over eager Red Caps. Maybe it’s the government issue paint job or the dated style of the employee uniforms. I can’t put my finger on it, it’s welcoming but at the same time you can’t wait to get out of it.

I dodged said Red Caps, found a driver named Gordon and negotiated a $50 trip to Negril. Gordon was an older gent who didn’t say much as we drove through downtown Mobay. I asked him to please make a stop for Ting and Red Stripes, he just nodded, motioned forward and drove on. A few minutes later we stopped by a little bar where Gordon seemed to know everyone. I bought two Red Stripes, a Ting and a pack of Rizzlas.

Back in the van I cracked open my first Red Stripe. As I raised the beautiful sweaty brown bottle to my lips, Gordon hit the gas and my first swig went down my shirt instead of in my mouth.

“Woo Hoo!” I laughed. Even down my shirt this stuff was refreshing! I chugged half the bottle.

Gordon looked at me like I was crazy. Then he took the pack of Rizzlas out of my bag, looked me over and said, “I got a guy down near Lucea.”

“Cool, we’ll check it out,” I said, not wanting to seem over anxious. We drove in silence for the next thirty minutes.

The new road to Negril was finally done, and though it still wound though many small towns the clear parts between towns were able to be run at much higher speeds. I guess there was less romance to it, or maybe I’m just older and less romantic.

Just past Lucea, we met up with Gordon’s “guy”, and after a smooth transaction we were on our way. The section of road between Lucea and Negril was even faster, and in what seemed like minutes we were pulling up to the Negril Yoga Center.

The Negril Yoga Center Day One

I walked through the gate of the jungle like Yoga Center. I made my way along the path and came to a small cabin with open shutters and a small office sign.

Marcia stood in the window smiling. “You must be Mr. Vinny!” as she came out to greet me. “My name is Marcia.”

Marcia was tall and very pretty. Like many Jamaican women she held herself with a kind of dignity that both demands respect and is very sexy. We shook hands and walked into the small office. We did all the paperwork and went through all the rules and quirks of the property. Then she then walked me to my room, Bamboo One, and showed me around.

Alone in my new space, I began to explore. My first impression was that the place was too rustic, but as I unpacked, changed clothes, showered and shaved, it was definitely growing on me. I got over the bright pink walls by referring to them in my journal as “coral.” The cabin was a classic Jamaican eight sided hut with a bamboo and corrugated zinc roof. It had a nice queen sized bed, with a locally woven blue bedspread, plenty of shelf space, an armoire and a very cold refrigerator.

I opened the package I purchased from Gordon’s “guy”, took my pack of Rizzlas, and rolled a phattie. I sat on my bed, and enjoyed this refreshment. Soon I was sitting in meditation feeling the energy of this place coursing through me. MMMM! This place is great.

One of my goals for 2004 was to get a handle on my spiritual self. I had been very influenced by Eastern Philosophies through the works of Alan Watts in recent years, and I knew a Negril trip would help me focus my quest. A little ganja can help to disconnect from the distractions of life.

Moving from my room, I began to explore the Center. What a cool place! There is a yoga pavilion with a highly polished wooden floor and mats stacked in the corner, very yoga-ish! In the back corner of the small property was the hammock hut, a thatched roof hut with no walls, several hammocks and a few benches. All over the property are sitting areas with beautiful mosaic tile tables by Alan, an amazing artist who was then residing at the Center. The energy of this place was inspiring. The mature plants and trees seemed each to have a story. The entire place was more a garden with a few cottages than the other way around. I felt as if it was their domain and I was their guest.

I walked into town to get some J and to stock up on provisions. This was my first visit here off-season and the vibe was more laid back than I remembered. The Burger King looked remodeled, almost new. I wondered who went there. Who would? I crossed West End Rd and walked into the Hi-Lo Market. I bought a liter of water, a six-pack of Red Strip and a few bananas. After paying in US dollars, I decided I wanted to use Jamaican dollars on this trip, so I hit the Cambio and cashed in $200US for about 12,000J. The two bags of groceries were also heavier than they looked, but I refused the boy who offered to carry it back to my hotel. I tipped him a buck anyway, for effort.

The rest of the afternoon I stayed at the Yoga Center. Just before sunset I rolled over to Bar-B-Barn for dinner. I sat at the bar right on the beach. I had a great dinner and a few beers as I watched the sunset with a pretty Jamaican bartender. By beer four I found out she was not only a bartender but a part time working girl. I didn’t take the bait. I’m not above giving this pretty girl the business in particular, but call me old fashioned, but I think it’s disrespectful to Jamaicans in general, to use their women, however willing, as sex toys.

About 9PM I staggered back to the Yoga Center. It is so silent here. No, not silent really, but no man made sounds. I went to my room, put on some mosquito repellant and finished a spliff from earlier.

I sat for a while in a small courtyard and met a nice couple from New Zealand, who seemed freaked out meeting an American with a Phillies baseball cap and a loud Hawaiian shirt.

I also met Alan, the tile artist who had created the beautiful tables all around the property. He had been living on site in a tent for the last three months. He was a long time Negril traveler and a cool, interesting guy. He seemed to know everything about the Yoga Center, Negril and Jamaica. We talked for hours that seemed like minutes. By the time I looked at my watch it was 1AM, AKA bedtime.
Vinny :)

Leave a Comment January 18, 2005

Sandals 2002 w/ Dolores – Part 4

Part Four – The Sheriff of Nudie-Ham

It was our last full day in Jamaica. I woke early and padded out to the beach. The eastern edges of the starry black sky were growing purple. A cool morning breeze wafted lazily up from Panama which sent me to find my morning coffee.

Sandals is like a machine, walking through her empty corridors and pathways, even at five AM, she hums quietly. Laundry machines, clanking pots and pans, hushed young men raking seaweed from the pristine beach. It all works. As nice as it is, I know I wouldn’t be back. My next trip will be a smaller place where I’m not be so pampered, where I can visit one to one with people and places.

I walk out and sit on the jetty separating mellow Sandals from raucous Hedonism and re-dedicate myself to my sunrise experience. It’s lighter now. The stars are all but gone and the sun is beginning to rise over the island.

Fishermen dot the horizon as the sun begins to react with the low flat clouds miles out to sea. Sandals is waking up. A hundred yards down the beach several day trippers loading a thirty foot bay cruiser for a day on the water, the wives look nervous. My gaze is broken when a tall thin Jamaican angel walks my way in her smart Sandals uniform.

“You look like you need a refill,” she beamed as her impossibly beautiful eyes sparkled in the growing light. She was holding a carafe of hot Blue Mountain coffee.

“You guys Rock!” I said holding out my empty cup. She looked confused as she poured, “I’m sorry, that’s Philadelphian for Yes Ma’am, I’d love a refill!”

Away she walked as I enjoyed the view, and then turned to look back out to sea.

I finished my coffee, and strode back to our suite. Dolores was still sleeping. Remembering our Shroom Boom the night before I was amazed how clear my head was this morning. I guess you need a good mental floss once in a while.

After a shower and shave, I sat on our patio and fired up the day’s first spliff.
It was just after seven when I heard the shower running. A few minutes later Dolores joined me on the patio dressed in a cheetah skin one-piece swimsuit and a frilly black skirt. Her hair was pulled back in a tight ponytail and after 5 days in the Jamaican sun, her dark tanned face needed no make-up.

“You look beautiful!” I said smiling up at her, still in my sunrise over Negril trance.

“Awww thank you Mr. Smooth,” she said in a teasing way.

We headed to breakfast. On the way we met up with Ken and Barbie, they had finally relaxed and were loving Negril. Today they were headed to the Appleton Rum Estate tour and some sightseeing. They asked us to join them but we declined. Honeymooners need to be alone on their honeymoon.

Dolores skipped her morning kayak workout because we had a full day planned. Craft Market and Shopping before lunch, Waterskiing in the afternoon, dinner at Kimono’s (an Asian style steakhouse at Sandals) and then to Hedonism with Rain and her creepy boyfriend to party hardy!

After breakfast and a morning snack, we boarded a taxi to the Craft Market near town. We went from stall to stall looking for unique gifts for my daughter and both sets of parents. At high season there are so many people shopping that the sellers and higglers were much more laid back than usual and the Jamaican dollars flew like monopoly money. Every stall sells cigarettes and Red Stripe but many would not accept our traveler’s checks, so we decided to hit the Cambio across the roundabout to exchange them for J.

As we crossed the bridge we saw an old blind man sitting on a small crate, the cup in his hand told us he was hoping for money. Maybe he wasn’t blind but somehow he sensed us coming. He greeted us warmly and I put a US five dollar bill in his cup. We were about to walk away when he engaged Dolores in conversation. As they talked I was amazed how she stood there rapt with attention looking in his eyes as their connection seemed to deepen.

He reminded me of an old Rastaman I met years earlier on my first trip to Negril. I leaned on the bridge and allowed them to visit awhile, and I wondered if this chance meeting would have a similar effect on her.

After we said our goodbyes, we ran into a group of market ladies waiting to cross the road. They seemed very interested in Dolores’ meeting with the old man.

“Did you give him money?” One of the younger girls asked in a way that seemed aggressive.

“We gave him a few dollars.” Dolores parried. “And we had a nice talk, he was telling me a story.” She thinks he was at least. She really didn’t understand his words but they definitely connected at some level.

This made all the women smile. Dolores went, in their eyes, from some bitchy American tourist to the sweet good hearted person who I knew stood before them.

“Most tourists just walk by him like he’s not even there!” Another woman said. The word “Tourist” spat out with disdain. “Man spends his life working, now he too old for work, we don’t forget him, and you treat him with respect, that’s good!”

“He was a sweetie!” Dolores said as we all crossed the street together.

The whole event seemed to buoy Dolores’ spirits as if it was some cosmic test and she’d just made the dean’s list.

After that our cabby took us to a few more of his “special” places for some deals, we got back to Sandals in time for lunch with a big pile of goodies.

We took the loot back to our room and realized we’d have to get pretty creative to fit it all in our bags. The three foot tall giraffe seemed the most troublesome. I know, I know, what does a giraffe have to do with Jamaica? I have no idea. But one thing I’ve learned about women is just to say, “That’s nice honey,” break out your wallet and enjoy the day.

We joined the throng of Sandals lemmings for lunch. Yes, we’d decided to embrace the horror. People arriving today were looking at us how we looked at the all-inclusive people on our first day. When in Rome . . .

Now it was time for water skiing. Neither of us had ever water-skied and Dolores wanted to try it much more than me, so we signed her up at the water sports shack. A few minutes and some instruction later she was on the water as graceful as a swan. Well, not exactly. Water-skiing on a flat lake is one thing but in a bay with small swells is something different. She made several attempts and had a few good runs but the experience was pretty short lived.

The video of it is pretty funny. I got the fifteen or twenty people there on the beach to cheer her on. So, on the tape you hear cheers and a few seconds later a loud AWWWWWW, then a cheer, then an AWWWWWW over and over again till the boat driver thought she had enough. The cheering section all applauded when she climbed out of the boat. She had no idea why they were cheering, but she gave a bow anyway. It was more than a year till she actually saw the video, then she finally got the joke.

Since we had more than an hour planned for skiing and it only took fifteen minutes, we decided to explore northward for the first time all week. To the north was Hedonism.

Dolores went inside and put on a skimpy bikini. I commented about it she dismissed me saying it was the only one she hadn’t yet worn. I smiled, hell it looked great, and we crossed through the security gate into the wicked Hedonism II.

Like our first walk through Sandals, Hedonism was pretty deserted, a few non-naked people milled around. I was surprised that I immediately remembered the layout. I was amazed how run down it seemed. The place needed a good paint job. Even the sailboats and watercraft were dull and faded, a striking difference to Sandals brightness and newness.

As we got closer the nakedness quotient began to rise, and before we knew it we were the only clothed people in sight. We were dressed almost the same as we were on our first exploration through Sandals where we felt under dressed, but here we were clothed and crashing some kind of wild naked party!

A few people started noticing us and we started to hear cries of “newbies!!” and “get naked or get out!” We tried to walk through and get to the beach, but we’d walked ourselves right into a naked dead end.

Now, most of these people had no reason being naked in public. Hell most of the men looked like me! Worse even! The women weren’t so bad, but the older I get the more I realize that any naked woman is a good naked woman.

Just when we realized there was no way out and it was some kind of Mardi Gras party, a big drunken loud guy pointed at us and made a bunch of loud unintelligible sounds.

“Hey, ah, hah, hey!! He drunkenly shouted waving his arms!

He seemed to be their naked leader, and to Dolores and me he will be forever remembered as the Sheriff of Nudie-ham who banished us from the forest of shriveled nakedness.

Thank God, somehow we made it to the beach. We found two empty chaise lounges, sat down and laughed about what just happened. No sooner did we catch our breath than did a Hedo security guard come over and told us we can only walk through and couldn’t use the resorts amenities.

We looked at her in terror! We have to walk back through the gauntlet of the Sheriff of Nudie-ham!!

We got out of there as fast as we could, (later we found out it was the ConneXtions Swinger’s Club annual Hedo trip) and as soon as we cleared the last few piles of cellulite we hit the gate back to Sandals. That was it for Hedo we’d hang out at Sandals tonight.

The rest of the day was uneventful. The sunset was especially beautiful that evening. We watched it from the beach while sipping martinis and promising we’d be back again soon. Later we had a wonderful dinner at Kimonos, and danced the night away, which at Sandals meant we were in bed by eleven ;)


2 Comments January 15, 2005

Sandals 2002 w/ Dolores – Part 3

Every time I go to Negril, I meet so many interesting and wonderful people. I used to think it was Negril itself, but I’m beginning to realize that it’s me in Negril.

Let me explain. When I go to Negril all the burdens of so called real life slip away, I approach people with the affectation of friendliness, openness and mutual respect. In return I get the same; more often than not at least.

It’s like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the movie Twins. Remember? He comes off the island where he lived his whole life surrounded by loving and supportive people, and then he goes to New York City. He starts greeting people with the same openness and friendliness he knew from his previous home. The New Yorkers, of course, think he’s crazy, but was he? Maybe it’s us and the way we live that’s crazy.

I have often said, you drive into Negril from MoBay thinking, “How do they live like this?” and you leave for home thinking. “How do I live like that?”

Garland Proprietor of Tedd’s Shroom Boom

After a quiet lunch at Rick’s Cafe, one of my Negrilian guilty pleasures, our cabby took us to the simple and unpretentious Tedd’s Shroom Boom.

What’s a Shroom Boom?

It’s one of those uniquely Jamaican anomalies, in a place where the ubiquitous ganja is illegal, mushroom are legal. Yeah, those kind of mushrooms! Jamaicans use them in tea, omelets, cakes, etc…

I’ve read, though I’m not sure, the Magic Mushroom’s legality has to do with its aboriginality. Ganja, on the other hand, was actually brought to the island by workers from India, you know, that whole British Empire thing. Gandhi? Ganja? Seems to fit, but I digress.

I was thrilled to see that Dolores “got it” right away. Tedd’s simple country charm was unmistakable and overwhelming. A brightly painted multicolored house that you just know was painted after the painter had drunk his tea. Several plastic tables were strategically placed in the shady yard, a big cushy chair on the porch, and a little boy, maybe six or so, played with a puppy behind the house.

As we approached the porch the little boy ran into a back door rattling off a string of melodious Jamaican patios. A man’s voice boomed in same foreign but familiar tongue as the door opened. He looked as if we woke him up from an early afternoon nap and it took a minute for the cobwebs to clear.

“Hi, we’re here for some of that famous Shroom-Boom-Tea of yours!!” I billowed as I shook his gentle hand. “I’m Vinny, and this is my friend Dolores. We’re from Philadelphia, USA”

“My name is Garland,” he said with a gentleman’s smile, as he and Dolores shook hands.

“Wow, I figured your name would be Tedd,” I said, while he gave me a “I hear that all the time” look.

“It’s Garland.” He restated, not giving me the satisfaction of an explanation.

Garland went and began preparing our tea so Dolores and I grabbed a few Red Stripes and went to explore the property. I found a nice seat under big seagrape tree while Dolores went off to play with the little boy and his puppy. The three became fast friends.

Garland walked out onto the porch. Seeing the puppy jumping all over Dolores he rushed to the railing, and just as he was about to tell his son to leave the nice lady alone, he stopped and a surprised smile came to his face. He just watched, enjoying their play. A few moments later he called us up to the porch, our tea was ready.

We sipped the horrid tasting stuff. It’s like your first swig of whiskey, it tasted like hell, but the promise of what came next kept you going. It tastes like strong thick mushroom tea, which is really gross.

This was actually my first trip to Tedds, I told Garland I’d been to the then defunct Mrs. Browns.

“When you been there?” He asked.

“About five years ago, a group of us came down from Hedonism,” I answered.

“I was running Mrs. Browns back then, Mrs. Brown is my mother,” he said as, in mid sentence, his mood darkened. “Was my Mother.”

A moment of silence as thick as our tea hung in the air. Garland looked away, pretending to watch his son play, but looking past him. Tears welled in his eyes.

Dolores took his hand and told him how lucky his mother is to have a son who loves her so.

“No one will ever love us like our mothers,” I said, and in that moment both connecting to his loss and projecting to a time where I will know his grief.

“What happened to her?” Dolores blurted out. Yeah! Just like that. I felt the urge to kick her under the table, but as usual she was much more emotionally connected to the scene than I was. Garland welcomed the opening and he told this story:

Mrs. Brown had built her business like so many in the early days of Negril. Quality food, warm service and the magical kick of matter of fact island charm. Mrs. Brown’s Mushroom House went from a favorite stop for those in the know to an outright landmark making its way into all the island tourist guides. As the years wore on, her family took on more and more of the daily responsibilities, and Mrs. Brown went into semi-retirement.

This is when she met Mr. Smith. I actually don’t remember his name so I’ll call him Mr. Smith. Mr Smith was a wealthy American businessman. Garland’s contempt for this man was undisguised.

In due course Mrs. Brown and Mr. Smith were married and she spent most of her time in the States. Garland kept busy with the business, he knew Mr. Smith was bad news, but his mother was happy. She was living the life of the people she so lovingly catered to her entire life.

When Garland got the news his mother was sick, it was too late. She’d passed away in the States, far from home.

At this point Garland’s melancholy turned to rage. To add insult to injury, Mr. Smith had control of the “Mrs. Brown’s” name and planned to capitalize on it. He was going to sell Mrs. Brown’s t-shirts and other such tourist knickknacks. He also went after the store.

Garland walked away and began Tedds. I never did find out where the name came from. There’s a new Mrs. Brown’s in Negril and I have no idea if it has anything to do with the Brown or the Smith families, but I go to Tedds.

By the time his story was finished so was our tea. It was one of those rare times when you realize a special moment as its happening; a moment not to be forgotten.

Garland asked us to wait, with a child’s excitement he ran into the other room and returned holding a small plate. On the plate were four dollops of honey with perfect fresh mushrooms standing in each of them.

“A gift for my friends”

It was nice, and we wished we could have stayed longer, but it’s a really good idea to get back to the hotel before the psilocybin starts crawling through your brain. No handshakes this time, hugs all around.

The ride back to Sandals was subdued. We had an emotional visit with Garland and the tea was beginning to send its gentle waves through our consciousness.

The Sandals “Trip” takes on a new meaning

When we got back to the room, we realized we both scheduled massages for 6pm. AAAHHHH! How were we going to lie still for forty-five minutes? We tried to cancel, we couldn’t. It was 5:30.

Now maybe it was the confusion of the Shroom Boom or that we’d spent the entire day together, but Dolores and I had a spat. She wanted to walk down the beach to calm down the shroomy effects. I knew that getting the blood flowing would enhance rather than mellow said effects. Well, telling Dolores she can’t do something makes her all the more committed to doing it. Off she went.

I fired up a spliff as I watched her go. She didn’t make it a hundred yards when a thin attractive, maybe even hot, girl jumped up and engaged her in conversation. About ten seconds later they went to the bar. I thought it was weird that her date didn’t even move, actually he didn’t even react, even as his date acted so aggressively.

Immediately vivid yet slightly perverse thoughts ran through my head. Just before I heading to the gift shop for some whipped cream and baby oil, I saw Dolores walking towards me. More like running, actually she was tiptoeing like a cartoon character, no really, she was kind of oozing towards me, damn was I wasted!!

“Did you see that Girl?” Dolores yelled from two doors down. This caused the girl’s date to finally stir.

“Yeah, you have a new friend,” I said trying to keep my brain inside my head.

“Her name is Rain! She was talking to me and I couldn’t understand a word she was saying!!” She confessed. “Hurry we’re soooo late for our massages!!”

I ran into the room to check the time. 5:41, I told her she was only gone eleven minutes. It didn’t register. Oh well, I guess we’d be early.

We got to our massages early but they were ready for us. Signing in was much more difficult than it should have been. Everyone was looking at us! They were talking about us! Paranoid much?

We were taken into separate sides of the beautiful spa, and a quick shower later I was stretching out in the hot tub. The heat and bubbles seemed to mellow the effects of the tea.

What was minutes, but could have been an hour later, I was summoned into the massage room by a little Jamaican guy. I toweled off and walked into a dark room with one of those aromatherapy candles burning, and the tea came flooding back. I found the table and rested may face in the hole of the table.

The masseuse came in and introduced herself. She told me to stay like I was so I didn’t even look up. A couple seconds later I heard another woman come into the room and it sounded like she was coaxing someone to lie on the other table in the room. This made me look up! From the corner of my eye I saw a shapely naked female. I was like, wooo hoo!! Not bad for sixty bucks!!

That’s when I realized it was Dolores, our eyes met, we were totally confused.

In unison we said, “What’s he/she doing in here?”

The masseuses seemed as confused as we were. “This is your “Couples Massage,” the older one said.

In unison again we said, “Couples Massage?”

Since we booked the massage together and at the same time, they figured we wanted Sandals famous Romantic Couples Massage. Another one of those “spice up the marriage” deals I’m sure. Dolores and I are spicy enough, but what the hell save some space for someone else.

Soon we were oily and naked on our adjacent tables giggling like morons. In fact, we were giggling so much our masseuses thought we were either insane or criminally immature. Finally we confessed. We told them all about Tedds.

Of course they were totally cool about it, and in true Jamaican “No Problem” fashion they gave us breathing techniques to help relax.

To say we were giggling is an understatement. We’re talking forty-five minute giggle fit. I understand it takes a real man to admit to giggling like a girl scout wired on Do-Si-Do’s, but I was there and it was fun.

After showers, dinner, many spliffs and drinks we found ourselves walking barefoot along the beach at midnight the only two people in the world.

Vinny :)

Leave a Comment January 14, 2005

Sandals 2002 w/ Dolores – Part 2

All Inclusive

Wow! What a great place! Sandals Negril is like taking a luxury cruise without leaving port. Marcus, an affable Jamaican gent showed us to our luxurious room. Walking to the room, we could hear the ocean, but could only see it in glimpses between buildings and foliage.

As Dolores doled out closet space, I struck out to find refreshments. In the yard I came across my good friend Marcus, I knew he was my good friend because he greeted me, “Hello, Vinny my good friend!”

I’m sure he was figuring he’d do well befriending a wealthy American like me. You see, I’m an average guy but Dolores looks more like she’s from Hollywood than from Philly. So people figure I must be loaded to get a girl like Dolores, or that I am endowed with what Jamaicans call “The Big Bamboo.” A-hem, I’m not rich, oh no, not rich at all.

I asked my good friend Marcus about that other form of Jamaican refreshment.

“Vinny wants the Good Stuff”, he laughed.

I explained to him I was an experienced Negril traveler and I knew what good stuff was and what it cost. He put up his hand and made a wait here motion and disappeared into an employee only area. He returned a moment later with a sample spliff, I love Negril! I hit the bar and walked back to our room with beer and juices.

Dolores had opened the drapes, and from thirty yards away I could see her sexy silhouette moving about the room. I slipped quietly into the room, snuck up behind her and placed an icy Red Stripe on the counter in front of her. She was wearing my favorite bikini, a gold lame number I’d actually bought for her. I slid my arms around her from behind. Our eyes met in the mirror, Sandals, the home of Caribbean Romance!

I lit the big spliff. She was nervous about the tell-tale aroma alerting the neighbors, but I waved her off, “It’s Jamaica,” I said and took a big hit.

“Ere,” I said as I passed the joint. A wicked smile came to her pretty face as the smoke expanded in her lungs.

We had thought we were relaxed before, slowed from the pace of real life, but the ganja; it took us to a whole new level.

What seemed like just moments later, but had probably been half an hour, Marcus and a friend appeared on our patio. They were looking all about as if to heighten the danger they were in for supplying us the evil weed. I didn’t fall for the ruse. When it comes to ganja, most resorts look the other way. They would rather their guests utilize the services of trusted, reliable employees than going off premises where trouble may find them, or worse yet, follow them back.

We made the transaction, I overpaid.

By that point I was feeling no pain and the sunny noontime day was calling us to explore this beautiful place. Dolores wrapped a pink flowery sarong my mother, of all people, bought her for our trip. And we were off.

I don’t know what I was expecting, I’d been to Hedonism several years ago it was an “All-Inclusive” too, but this place seemed so low key. No, lower than that. The entire place was deserted! The pool was almost empty, the bar was almost empty, the beach was almost empty, the dining room, however was jam-packed!

Lunch-time we thought, the munchies were hitting pretty hard, so we followed suit. Little did we know we were falling into the insidious all-inclusive lemming trap. The guide in the room said lunch was served from 11 o’clock till 2, but it was 12:15 and everyone was here. How could all these people be on such a schedule? Who knows? We got on line, filled out plates with beautifully prepared and creatively presented items.

Seeking an open table and realized everyone was dressed like they were at a country club. I had on swim trunks, and Dolores wore a bikini top with a sarong. We looked at each other, both realizing this at the same time. We stood out! Yeah, we were a hundred feet from the most beautiful beach in the world, dressed in beach attire, and we stood out!

The women, mostly middle-aged, had taken their hubbies to a “couples only” resort in an effort to spice up monotonous nuptial bliss. They glared at the Dolores in all her hotness, though the hubbies more stared than glared. Even though Dolores increased the spice their wives were looking for it wasn’t the place the wives expected to find it. They should have given her a medal, but many were downright rude.

Finally we saw our married friends who called us over. It was nice to see a familiar face. The Marrieds were very nice people. It was the second time around for both of them, and they seemed truly happy with each other.

We all had a nice lunch and several drinks. We discussed plans for the week and made plans to go to Rick’s Cafe tomorrow night. Dolores made sure to tell them to ask Ken & Barbie to come along too.

Beach Time!! I hate the beach! I know that sounds funny for a guy who goes to Negril once or twice a year, but it’s true. More accurately, laying out on the beach and frolicking in the water. I’m Irish, I have two skin colors, fish belly white and lobster red. Don’t get me wrong! I love sitting near the beach, better yet a bar near or on the beach. In the shade drinking Red Stripes and watching the goings on, and the walking by’s. I also love walking on the beach along the water line, especially at sunset, that’s living!

Dolores on the other hand is a fish; I mean that in the nicest way! She’s mostly Italian and gets a dark bronze tan. She loves water related activities. Her morning ocean kayak jaunts became a daily ritual, as did several hours a day tanning in the Negril sun.

After breakfast on our first full day in Negril, Dolores decided we were going to kayak out to Booby Cay.

I was all for it until she picked out a tandem ocean kayak.

“Tandem kayak?” I thought. Wasn’t that an oxymoron?

One of the nicknames Dolores often refers to me as is Mr. Smooth, for obvious reasons to all those who have met me, but in an that kayak I was far from smooth.

At first we were ok, we headed past the breakers into the deeper water, and like the crews who run the river near Boat House Row in Philly, we were in perfect synch.

Dolores was in the front and I was in the rear. At first it was playful, and then all hell broke loose!

“Follow my lead,” she giggled. Yeah, we were probably gaja-fied.

“No, the other way,” as she looked back with a playful “Kids Today” look.

Dolores was in great shape. Not only the owner and lead designer of her own women’s swimwear company, she was the company’s main model. Growing up with three brothers, she was also one of the most competitive people I had ever met. I helped her with productions issues, I ran her website, but I was about as far from being an athlete as one could get.

Short story long, we almost killed each other!

“I AM STEERING LEFT!!,” I less than calmly stated.




Need I go on? We laugh about it now, but we didn’t speak for several hours after we finally got back to shore. From then on she went alone on her kayak trips.

We also enjoyed long walks down the beach. Each day our goal was downtown Negril, though we never made it we got as far as Kuyaba one day.

We’d walk with no money. We’d stop at the craft stalls and visit with the people there. Passing closed or under construction hotel properties, we would stop and talk to the men working in the hot sun. We met so many awesome people. We’d tell people at Sandals to come with us, but they couldn’t divorce themselves from the hype.

It’s so easy to get caught up and become an “All-Inclusive Lemming.” Everything is there for you except the real Jamaica, the real Negril. Most of the people at Sandals get up, eat breakfast, lounge by the pool or beach, eat lunch, more lounging, eat a snack, lounge, get dressed for dinner, eat dinner, watch the nightly “Island Entertainment” have a few fruity rum drinks and go to bed. Then do it all over again the next day. And hey, for some people that’s great, and at least they’re doing it in Negril. But getting off the property; that’s where the memories are.

Vinny :)

Leave a Comment January 12, 2005

Sandals 2002 w/ Dolores

Part One – Getting There

Up until those days I ran restaurants, all kinds. Working in restaurants you meet a lot of cool people, many of whom are beautiful young women. Dating was frowned upon, but almost every boss was or had been married to a former waitress or bartender, including me. Anyway, this is how I met Dolores. We worked together for a short time.

Over the next few years we became very close. Our relationship is best defined as “significant others “, definitely “significant” and definitely “other”. My dream of being the one in her dreams didn’t work out in the end, but to this day she remains one of my dearest friends.

In February of 2002 we went on vacation to Sandals Resort & Spa in Negril Jamaica, I wanted to go to a smaller cheaper place, but when you travel with Dolores you go first-class. Really, I didn’t care, I was finally getting back my Negril, this time with my beautiful Dee.

We got to Jamaica in late morning. As we walked off the plane I took a picture of her. She was squinting into the bright Jamaican morning, a dorky smile, no make-up and a zit on her chin. It’s one of my favorite pictures of her, her Jamaica debut.

Sangster International Airport, three Jamaican women in bright island dress greeted us singing “Welcome to Jamaica” to the tune of John Lennon’s “So This Is Christmas.” The old cinderblock building was hot, the air was thick and still. Dolores doesn’t sweat. Classy women never sweat, they mist, and after a few minutes of stifling Jamaican heat she was misting like a pig. To combat the heat she did that thing only a woman can do. She reached in her bag, pulled her arms out of her sleeves and wiggled around like Houdini in a straight jacket. Poof! She’s in a rainbow tube top. Amazing.

One of the good things about the all-inclusives is the lack of confusion at the airport. They come to find you. They did find us but, there was a glitch, we were informed, along with several other couples, that we would be bumped to Sandals Montego Bay for the first night. I snapped! Away went my cool, “I’m finally on vacation” attitude, and out came “Ballistic Asshole Man.”

As soon as I voiced my displeasure, I started feeling bad. Jamaica is no place for “Ballistic Asshole Man,” he’s for cable guy appointment mishaps between one and five, and dealing with the so called Microsoft “Customer Service Staff.”

We walked out to the Sandals bus. Still in the bump funk, I wandered over to a little refreshment stand and grabbed a few Red Stripes. It’s amazing how being the ugly American really ramps up one’s thirst. Then, in that “only in Jamaica” way, I took my first swig of cold glorious Red Stripe. As if by magic I was in on vacation. The changing of latitudes finally changed my attitude.

Lost in that moment, communing with that unnamed wonder that is Jamaica, I looked toward lovely Dolores. I wanted to share this feeling, to be ONE with her, both of us at ONE with this place! Our eyes met, she held my gaze, she opened the window, her brown eyes sparking and said, “AAAAAAAASSSSSHOLE, where’s my f**king beer!?”

Ahhh, you gotta love a girl from Jersey!!

The people at Sandals Mobay were way nice. They treated us like the King and Queen of Burundi. I figured they wanted just for us to be happy, good press and all. Maybe they were afraid to meet Ballistic Asshole Man in person, he’s scary! Either way they were great.

They placed us is a beautiful room, we had our own veranda right on a rocky section of the beach. It was three o’clock and we hit the beach right away. Sandals MoBay is beautiful, nicer even than the brochures. We loved it, until we realized how close we were to the airport. A series of airliners took off and landed right over our heads every twenty minutes, shaking the fillings out of our teeth.

We had a nice dinner and ran into our fellow bump-ees. There was an older married couple. They seemed to be in love, ya know, Mom and Dad love. It was sweet. The other couple, we got to calling them Ken and Barbie, were on their Honeymoon, they were perfect. He was tall, built and studly. She was the quintessential mid-west blonde homecoming queen, the uber-perky type who hates being referred to as perky. They were scary.

We retired to our private veranda, raided the mini-bar, sat quietly, and let the endless Caribbean Ocean gently hypnotize us.

We were all to meet up in the lobby at 9AM for the trip to Negril. Dolores and I were so happy and relaxed we almost danced to the mini-bus.

Our compatriots on the other hand, seemed haggard, they trudged their bags into the lobby. They hated this place! We couldn’t believe it. It seems the non-ballistic people got stuck in tiny rooms right next to the DJ booth! Thumpa-Thumpa-Thumpa all night long! They were pissed!

We listened to them spleen-vent half way to Negril, blah blah blah. Not being able to take it anymore Dolores and I started telling our story. How we yelled and screamed and then got treated like gold. how we got a great room on the outskirts of the property and, and, and. . .

By the time we reached Sandals Negril they were fit to be tied. Dolores and I got out first as the remaining two women schemed their attack. Ballistic Asshole Man did make sure his upgrade in Negril was worked out before he left the scene, and thus we were taken to our great digs right on the beach while Married and Perky attacked the poor defenseless Assistant Manager.

Finally we were in Negril, twenty hours late, but with a double upgrade! The vacation was actually looking to be worth the money I’d spent.

– To Be Continued

Vinny :)

Leave a Comment January 4, 2005

Blogging New Years Resolution

Hi Blog Fans,

Or should I say “fan”. One of my New Years resolutions is to blog more often. I write in my journal daily. I find it helpful to keep the voices in my head on paper. I want to mix my blog up. Sometimes drivel and sometimes more serious stories or commentary. Hell I may even try poetry, but I’m not too sure about that part. I dedicate twenty minutes a day to my “practice”. Sometimes I miss a day, but usually go for more than 20. Rarely is there anything worth publishing, hell you can barely read most of it. But I develop ideas and come up with stuff I can use later. It’s an ongoing process.

One of my favorite things is writing on the train. I pick a person or thing and write about it or them, but for just the time we’re on the train. I try to capture the person’s essence, what their thinking, feeling, or about to do. Having only a short time to do it causes me to get right to it. Brevity is the soul of wit. Or so they say.

Why? Well, when I write the “Great American Novel”, or gripping short story, I’ll have some idea of how to describe a thing with some sense of reality.

It’s funny, since I’ve been doing this I find my self more present in day to day situations. Like walking thru a deserted PATH tunnel or sitting in a Starbucks on 16th Street in Chelsea. I feel like the narrator in a 1950’s film noir. . . . as I sit in this dank corner bar trying to figure my options, in walks this dame . . . yada yada


Leave a Comment January 1, 2005

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Notes Book Club

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The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America
All the Light We Cannot See
The Martian
The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914
Full Force and Effect
Understanding Our Mind: 50 Verses on Buddhist Psychology
Starship Troopers
Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography
The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible
The Aviators: Eddie Rickenbacker, Jimmy Doolittle, Charles Lindbergh, and the Epic Age of Flight
No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State
Stay Where You Are And Then Leave
If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit
Winter Moon: A Season of Zen Teachings
Talk to the Hand: The Utter Bloody Rudeness of the World Today, or Six Good Reasons to Stay Home and Bolt the Door
Jackpot: High Times, High Seas, and the Sting That Launched the War on Drugs
Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story

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