Recently in Trippin': A Travelogue Category

Spent the better part of today on a road trip. 

During a necessary coffee stop, the waitress was kind and maternal. "You girls should try the cheese cake here. I am not in any way affiliated with the baker, so this is a totally personal endorsement. Try it."

At protestations and feebly offered vague excuses along the lines of "figures being watched", she leaned forward on the back of the empty chair and dramatically stage whispered: "This is the only restaurant in South Africa where the cheesecake is entirely DEVOID OF CALORIES," thereby expertly twisting our (rubber) arms.

I've tasted heaven. It resides at a farm stall/coffee shop in rural South Africa (towards the bottom of the country) and it is certainly NOT calorie free! 
Even though it is already early evening, a gust of steamy air engulfs me as I step off the China Airlines plane at Taipei's Taoyuan Airport. Even after experiencing this same suffocating level of humidity at Hong Kong's Airport just hours before, it is still a shock to my system following the mild winter weather I've left behind in South Africa.

The airport terminal, although air conditioned, still offers little respite and I suddenly feel like a hot, sticky mess. However, I suspect that this may have as much to do with my uncontrollable nerves as it does with the heat. I can't believe that this is finally it; that we are here at last and that my adventure as a mature-in-age-yet-childlike-in-attitude-and-personality as a HomeStay participant is about to begin. I never in a million years thought that I would ever have the opportunity to experience what it is like to be a foreign exchange student of sorts, especially not as an old foagie in my mid-thirties!

Not having learned her lesson before, my editor kindly waits for me so that we can go through immigration together. For some reason, I never received the customs form to fill out on the flight over from Hong Kong (perhaps I didn't stick out like a sore thumb quite enough among all the Asian passengers?), so I have to complete it at the desk. Once again, Ms. Editor patiently waits for me while I deal with yet another immigration official. Luckily everything goes without a hitch this time and we walk into the arrival hall together.

A group of sign-wielding, beaming SayTaiwan volunteers are there to welcome us and to make us feel like total celebrities. Smiling and introducing themselves in broken English, they usher us towards a meet and greet area off to the side of the terminal. It is here that we at last meet Taiwanese Southern African and our overworked SayTaiwan coordinator, Alice. After having communicated by Facebook for the past two and a half months, it is wonderful to meet her in person at last. Accomplished and amazingly multilingual, she is so much younger than I had expected her to be, but every bit as beautiful and kind as I had imagined her.

Guided by more volunteers, we are given a goodie bag containing a Motorola cellphone loaded with 300 New Taiwan Dollar (NTD) in credit; a smart card to be loaded with money for use on Taiwan's public transit systems; and an ID badge. The latter is large and laminated and contains our full names in the front along with the fact that we're "International Guests" and the name, address and telephone number of our host families at the back in Chinese characters. I find this oddly comforting. We are instructed to wear it around our necks, and we obediently slip it over our heads. Ms. Editor runs over to get my number and promises to remain in touch, before she is off to meet her host family who has come to meet her at the airport.

After signing a release form to indicate that I've indeed received the Motorola, I quickly unzip my big suitcase to give Alice her present: the biggest box of Weetbix cereal sold in South African grocery stores. Shortly after befriending her on Facebook and learning that she is originally from my neighbouring country Namibia, I asked her if she had requests for any goodies from home that I could bring for her. "Weetbix!" was her first and almost immediate reply. She accepts it gratefully and tells me that she's not held a box of it in about three years.

"My" kind Taiwanese volunteer then leads me to the bus stop outside and kindly waits with me for the bus to arrive that would transport my luggage and I to the high speed rail station from where I will board train that would take me to Taichung City to begin my HomeStay adventure with the Hung family.

Blog Post Powered by a Sony Vaio Y courtesy of Sony South Africa.
The ceiling fan lazily twirls, playfully tugging at the tied-back net curtains framing the sliding glass doors. I'm sitting cross-legged on the legless chair, the netbook on the low coffee table/desk in front of me. This floor level chair is surprisingly comfortable - even for someone who is as stiff-limbed as I am. I'm actually amazed at how entirely at home I already feel, considering that there is at least six thousand miles between this beautiful, spacious guestroom I'm in and my own minuscule place in South Africa.

I marvel at how lucky I am to be here and think of the journey that has brought me to this amazing place. During the long trip here, the reality of where I was going only sank in after I found my seat on the South African Airways Airbus bound for Hong Kong. I was suddenly surrounded by passengers of Asian descent, many of whom spoke very little or no English at all. I quickly realised this when I located my seat only to find a young Chinese woman in it. She was cradling a tiny baby and I apologetically asked her to move. When she looked at me blankly, I flashed her what I hoped was a rueful smile and pointed at the seat number on my ticket. When realisation hit, she immediately and graciously moved over.

Not having to make small talk for once was actually welcome, because I was exhausted. I almost did not get to be on that plane, though! Due to a 30 minute flight delay in Cape Town, which had been the starting point of my trip a few hours before, there had been just a few minutes to spare to make it to the connecting flight in Johannesburg.

On that flight to Johannesburg, I actually had a bit of a surreal moment. The man a seat over from me was reading one of the Afrikaans daily newspapers, and suddenly, when he turned the page, I glanced over only to gasp with shock. Right there, on the page he had turned to, was a full-colour and way too big photograph of MY awful mug! (Luckily I'd had the foresight to camouflage my body behind my laptop when I had my mom take the picture earlier that week.) The article was about this very trip I was embarking on. Just before we landed, I summoned up the courage to ask him if I could please have that section of the paper. Without a flicker of recognition, he handed it over. So much for my newfound "fame"...

Fellow SayTaiwan delegates Dan, my editor and I had to make a mad dash through OR Tambo Airport to get from domestic arrivals to customs and security to reach our departing plane on time. My editor had kindly waited so that she could meet Dan and I at domestic arrivals, so we all sprinted (okay, so perhaps it was more like slowly limped, in my sad case) all the way to international departures.

I was so excited at seeing my editor again, and that - coupled with my usual scatter-brain and our haste - caused me to run straight through the security checkpoint at customs. I only realised that I didn't have my carry-on case with me when we were already half-way through the terminal. I was remarking on how cleverly light Dan and my editor were both travelling when it suddenly hit me that I was also carrying a much lighter load than I had been just moments before.

"My carry-on case!" With those breathless words, I turned on my heel and this time REALLY RAN back to customs, my heart in my throat and panic levels rising.

When I arrived back at the security checkpoint where I'd idiotically left my case, the officers immediately knew that I was THAT GIRL WHO RAN AWAY WITHOUT HER SUITCASE. This must've raised their suspicions, because they all regarded me with stark faces.

The offending case was - I was relieved to note - still in one piece on the pre-screening side of the checkpoint. "Why did you go without your suitcase?" the one female officer asked, accusingly pointing a white-gloved finger at me.

"Erm... I'm sorry!" I said, harried and anxious to grab it and go. "I'm very excited to be going overseas!"

"It's good that you're excited," she said. "You only live once." I almost laughed out loud at the situation, which was becoming increasingly bizarre. However, any intentions of smiling, let alone guffawing, vanished when the official refused to hand over my suitcase so that I could make a beeline for the flight.

"No," she said firmly when I tried to reach for it and gripped it even tighter. "You have a bottle in here."

"I do?" As soon as I'd said it, I realised that this was a mistake.

"You don't know that you have a bottle in here?"she asked incredulously.

"No... I mean, yes, of course I know," I stammered, my panic levels soaring once more as I see my editor anxiously waiting on the other side of the gate. "I meant to phrase it as a reply, not a question."

"Open your case, please," she sternly commanded.

I helplessly tapped my watch, and, realising that any further protestations would be futile, just surrendered at unzipped the case. She lifted everything out until she found the package that had so beautifully been wrapped by my sister.

"This one has the bottle inside," she said. I swallowed back the overwhelming urge to congratulate her on her psychic ability and just decided to resort to grovelling instead.

"Please?" I begged. "I'm going to stay with a foreign family and this is a gift for them to say thank you and to share our wonderful culture with them."

She clicked her tongue with what I mistook for sympathy and for a split second I was almost hopeful. But she was unmoved by my explanation. "You can check it in, otherwise we have to take it."

"But I'm going to miss my flight! I don't have TIME to go and check it in..." Arguing was just wasting even more time, so I simply ripped open the package and opened the box. "There, take this," I said, handing over the special edition bottle of Amarula. "But I'm keeping the glasses."

With that I was free to go. Needless to say, as soon as we reached the duty free shop, I promptly replaced the confiscated Amarula with an even larger bottle. Joining up with Dan later, I found out that he had been forced to sacrifice a bottle of wine to them. I'm still wondering whether customs and security officials at OR Tambo don't perhaps get a kickback on all the goods passengers buy at the airport's duty free shops to replace the items that had been confiscated by them.

We finally boarded the plane with just a few minutes to spare until take-off.

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Just as I had feared, I ended up breaking every etiquette rule in the book.

I blame it on the crocodile complex. As soon as you’re told that you should under no circumstances utter the word crocodile or even think about a crocodile, that is the ONLY reptile that slithers to mind, isn’t it? (Do crocodiles even slither? I know they have legs, but those are such squat little things, and... okay then, never mind...)

In case you have NO IDEA what I’m on about (as usual), I’m talking about my now-not-so-recent-anymore trip to Taiwan. At last. What can I say? I have always been known for my breathtakingly snappy, tell-it-even-before-it-has-happened style of reporting and blogging.

Oh, and yes! Hello! It’s good to see you again too after all these months of unexplained, deafening silence, my three imaginary readers!

I have begun diarising the trip in minute details elsewhere (including how I committed several cardinal sins with chopsticks), but before I either disclose the link to that site (doubtful, since it contains an unfortunate shot of my mug), or shamelessly copy and paste some of what I’ve written there onto here (more likely, since I’m notoriously lazy), I just have to tell you a few things I’ve learned about travelling to Taiwan.

I know I've titled this blog post “101 things about Taiwan” - since it has such a downright poetic ring to it and also since it has the added bonus of subtly paying homage to the towering Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei - but that by no means implies that I’m now actually going to dream up one hundred and one things. Because that is a LOT of things. Even someone who sucks at Mathematics as badly as I do knows THAT much.

So here then, just this one thing, for now, but it is a rather profound truth:

When you travel to Taiwan, get used to frequently hearing the following question before your departure: “So, you’re going to Thailand?” And after your return, get used to those same friends and even strangers coming up to you and asking: “So, how was your trip to Thailand?” 

For some reason, many folks tend to get those two vastly different (despite the fact that both are Asian) T(h)ais mixed up.

But instead of getting all knotted up about it (geddit? GEDDIT?) I patiently respond: “Not the land where they make  Ladyboys. The land where they make La-Z-Boys!”

TOLD you it was profound.

P.S. As for whether La-Z-Boy recliners are really manufactured in Taiwan? Google kindly confirmed it as fact. Never mind that I had to ever-so-gently manipulate the search a few times before it gave me the desired result...

I’ve been so busy trying to master a bewildering array of skills – not the least of which includes the art of eating with chopsticks – in preparation of this upcoming journey, that I’ve not had the time or the fingers left to reach out to this keyboard and let you, my three loyal imaginary readers, know what is going on.


Where did these past two and a half months go?! And why did I ever stupidly, naively think that it would be MORE than enough time to lose 15 kilos and finally realise my dreams of uncovering my cheekbones (long lost – since birth, actually); become fluent in Mandarin (HAHAHAHA! I can’t even say hello without putting the rising intonation on the wrong syllable and therefore changing what ought to be a safe pleasantry into a linguistic landmine of potential insult…); AND find the perfect wardrobe that would deceive everyone into believing that I DO have cheekbones. And hip bones. And collar bones.

On the upside: Thanks to inyourFacebook, I have already forged firm friendships with some of the other international delegates and cannot WAIT to finally meet them in person. AND I have gotten in touch with my host family! A process which makes me feel like an alien making contact with humans for the first time.

At first, I was informed that I had another host family in a different area. But then, just two weeks ago, before I had even said as much as a virtual hello to them, I was told that they withdrew. No reasons were given, but I suspect that they took one look at my awful photograph and the essays I had written, and were forever traumatised.

My new family is located in Taichung City, the third largest in Taiwan and, according to the Google oracle, about two hundred kilometres southwest of the capital Taipei. They consist of 21-year old Tanya and her younger sister Page, their mom and their dad. I’ve been in e-mail contact with the sisters, exchanging photos (yes, I figured to just get the harsh truth out of the way quickly) and they look and sound utterly adorable and so-so-sooo kind. They are ALREADY going out of their way to make me feel extremely welcome and I’ve already fallen for the lot of them. Their mom can’t speak English, so coupled with my lack of Mandarin, I’m bound to be a farcical picture of wild gesturing – which, really, is not too unlike my usual mode of communication. However, according to the research I’ve done, even such innocent charades could lead to plenty of unwitting insults and rudeness. Winking is considered vulgar and so is the way in which we use our finger to beckon someone towards us.

And speaking of hands and fingers, that reminds me: the training on the chopsticks… it is not going so well, I’m afraid. Then again, my crippling lack of dexterity even makes eating with the aid of pronged and bladed western utensils a right – forgive me – fork up most of the time, so it really isn't that surprising that my chopsticks-wielding chops aren't up to snuff. After all, I can't even play Chopsticks on the piano!

I could either starve, which is not too likely, since I have way too many fat reserves in my backside, front side and side sides to fall back on. If you think that this might just be the thing to make me lose all this excess weight I’ve been lugging around since birth (WhadoyouMEAN I can’t still call it baby fat at 36?!), my reserves will mean that even if I don’t manage to successfully transport a single grain of rice into my mouth for the next two weeks? I probably won’t even lose a gram…

(Blog post powered by this shiny new accessory I’ve been sporting…)

Airline check-in guy: "Did anyone else pack your belongings?"

Sister and I: "No."

Airport guy: "Do you have any explosives in your luggage?" (Although I have to say I was worried about my sister's potent hairspray, because I'm rather sure it's manufactured in Benoni. However, I wasn't going to tell Airline guy that.)

Sister and I: "No."

Airport guy: "Do you have anything sharp on you?"

Me: "No... well, except (and at this Airline guy looks a little startled, and then almost gleeful and I can see his arm visibly twitching to press some sort of panic button under the counter)... for my wit."

Sister: "And my tongue."

Luckily Airline guy had a sense of humour, otherwise we probably would have been promptly thrown in prison for life without formalities like court hearings.

P.S. No, I haven't been anywhere. This incident happened more than a year ago at Cape Town International Airport. My sister and I were on our way to Johannesburg to attend our dad's birthday party. So this is just the normal timely journalism that you've come to expect from me, you demanding beasts!

P.P.S. Today is my personal web goddess Emily's birthday. Go wish her, I beseech you!

Okay, better late than never. (Or perhaps you'd prefer never, when you read it!) Almost two months after my trip, here's a bit more of the travelogue. I promise to have the next installment done before we are all dead, but please don't try and speed me up by holding your breath!

Post Card I

We arrived on a night flight.

I looked out the small window, not expecting to see much beyond the dim outline of my reflection in the glass. So the view I was met with made me gasp as much out of surprise as out of the beauty and wonder of it. And wondrous it was!

For on this occasion of our first meeting – or so I fancied - the City of Angels had donned her evening best. Her lights sparkled and twinkled like diamonds that had been sewn onto a ball gown befitting the Oscars. She wore it so beautifully! It hugged her ample curves and sprawling valleys and trailed off into the distance.

Whoever said that big girls can’t dress up?

Post Card II

We waited for our luggage.

The woman who had sat next to us on the plane let her pampered little pooch out of its cage. As soon as the cute pup tasted freedom, it began running around in frantic circles, giving a few excited yelps.

The dog's energy seemed to rub off on all the travel-weary folks nearby. It especially affected two toddlers, who had been cranky from the long journey just moments before. As soon as they caught sight of the dog, they immediately stopped wailing. With tears still dripping down their bulbous cheeks but already long forgotten, they wobbled over on their unsteady little bow legs to investigate this novel little creature.

As curious of them as they were of it, the dog stopped running long enough to allow the chubby toddler hands to pat-pat-pat its coat. This new sensation brought along shrieks of delight and toothless, drooling grins from the toddlers.

Their parents, although grateful for the distraction from the crying, nervously hovered nearby. Not near enough, it seemed. In what I'm sure was merely an experimental gesture, one of the toddlers leaned over and gave the dog's tail a firm yank. The dog growled and snapped at the air around the culprit hand. No damage done, thank goodness. Just a terrible fright all around. As their parents scooped them up, the wailing resumed again with renewed vigour. The pup guiltily slinked back into its cage.

We picked up our suitcases and left.

Post Card III

In the bit of travelling I've done thus far in my life, I've discovered that every place has its own distinct smell. Los Angeles is no exception. As we stepped from the airport building out into the pleasantly cool, clear evening, I inhaled deeply (although I'd deny it should I ever run for office, har har), and the smell was good. SO much better than I could've ever imagined it would be. And imagine it I did. I've always been partial to places with year-round palm trees (might have a little something to do with my aversion to any weather temperature below 65 degrees Fahrenheit), so for that reason, I've always wanted to go to California. After so many years of imagining and dreaming, I couldn't believe that I had finally made it there.

Post Card IV

At the rental car place, I once again waited with our luggage. I insisted on waiting outside, because for the first time since I'd been in the U.S., the weather felt "South African." We hadn't even left the vicinity of LAX yet, and I already wanted to move there!

The wait at the rental car place seemed endless (even though it was already long after midnight, LAX and the car rental office were still remarkably crowded) and quite suddenly I was overcome with the fatigue that takes hold of you when you've had an extended day.

A Latina grandmother who had also been waiting for her daughter and son-in-law to pick up their rental car, started pushing her little granddaughter around in a stroller. I watched them go up and down the sidewalk and every time they passed me, I smiled at them. At one time we tried striking up a conversation about how long it was taking to get a car, but she couldn't speak a lot of English and I can't speak a lot of Spanish (except to say "Pardon me. I don't speak Spanish." And, of course: "Beer, please."), so we continued to just smile at each other instead. Finally her kids came out of the rental office. Luckily the boy wasn't too far behind, because at that point I was about ready to keel over.

He smiled apologetically, but it seemed that the long wait had been worth it.

Because he had pulled up in a zippy little convertible!

Post Card V

On the road from LAX to Pasadena, we had the windows down (the night air was too cool to have the top down). The combination of the invigorating air and the happy, lively Spanish tunes blasting into the car drove away the fatigue and immediately gave us both a renewed energy. I STILL COULDN'T BELIEVE I WAS ACTUALLY IN CALIFORNIA! I leaned out the car window. Tall palm trees stood at attention and lined both sides of the street like a formal welcoming committee. I grinned from ear to ear.

Post Card VI

Woke up in the Hilton in Pasadena to a cloudy day. So much for sunny California! But I wasn't upset at all. I still thought the weather was gorgeous, pleasant and warm with low humidity. And later, when I glanced at the weather reports on CNN and saw the high humidity and warnings of bad air quality on the east coast that I had just left behind the day before, I appreciated the Californian weather so much more, sunny or not.

When I left the hotel at around noon to meet the boy for lunch, I saw something that almost had me weeping with joy: Just down the street from our hotel, there were these familiar trees bursting with lilac blooms. I know that sounds like a rather strong emotional reaction to have to trees, but the thing is, it was the first time since leaving South Africa that I'd seen any Jacaranda trees, and my South African hometown, Pretoria, is known as the "Jacaranda City." In fact, there used to be this superstitious tradition among students in the city to go and sit under the Jacaranda trees while they studied for their final exams. The belief was that if a blossom from the tree fell onto your head, you'd have luck and get a passing grade.

I scooped up a few of the fallen lilac blossoms and crushed the smooth silken blooms between my fingers.

From then on, whenever I left the hotel, I always picked the route that would take me to my beloved Jacaranda trees.

Why is it that our flight connection always seem to depart on the OTHER side of the airport from where we had landed?

We only had an hour layover at the airport in Phoenix, so we walked at a brisk pace. There was dire need for a caffeine fix, but a window display of beautiful wares created by local artists drew us into a store. We resisted the temptation of buying anything and quickly resumed our trek through the rest of the airport.

When we finally got to the gate, I fell into a chair while the boy ran to find the nearest coffee shop. I kept one eye on our carry-on luggage and another on a television tuned to CNN Headline News. Their story du jour was about Natalee Holloway, the high school grad who's been missing in Aruba for over a month now. At the time, the story was still new, and most of the people around me were watching the screen as well.

A beautiful redheaded girl (I always consider them to be freaks of nature, even though every single redhead in my life - including my mom - is beautiful. It's difficult for me, though, to see them in person, because it reminds me of all I should've been, if only my parents hadn't run out of the good genes to hand out. They spent it all on my three older sisters, you see) sat down near me and started talking soothingly to her carry-on luggage. But before I could silently gloat over the fact that she was clearly a bit insane and therefore not all THAT perfect after all, I noticed that the piece of luggage was actually a pet cage. The prisoner of the cage was a beautiful black and white kitty who regarded me with mild curiousity through the bars of the cage.

Damn, so the redhead wasn't crazy! I decided to talk to her about her cat to see if there were any shortcomings.

No such luck. Not only is she gorgeous, but she is funny, charming, clever and generous (she offered me some of her chocolate!). During the course of the conversation, I found out that she and her incarcerated cat, Molly, had been in the process of moving from Chicago to Los Angeles to be with her fiance. The boy returned with my coffee and joined in the conversation. He later casually mentioned my blog to her and the other day she actually left me a comment!!! (Hi, Lauri and Molly! See? I've finally continued the story and I've mentioned you! (Therefore you are now famous... NOT!) And just so you know, part of this had already been written by the time you left a comment! (Yeah, even the parts of you being beautiful and clever and all that. Really.) Please stay in touch, okay? And please send my fondest regards to one of the best-travelled cats that I've ever met.)

The universe must've sensed that I've been feeling rather pet deprived lately, because on the plane, the woman who shared our row had a small cage by her feet which, I was later to find out, carried the cutest little dog. What is it with woman who live in California? It must be the agreeable climate or something, because they are all beautiful! She was friendly to boot and for the duration of the flight, she gave us helpful advice on things to see and do at our destination.

We talked so much that the time literally flew by. Before I knew it, we were descending. I glanced out the window, not expecting to see anything since night had already fallen a few hours before.

However, the view that I was met with beyond the small window almost took my breath away.


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I was excited about taking an afternoon flight.

We were going to fly over places that I’d never seen before (except in movies and on television, but we all know that doesn’t really count) and I was looking forward to at least getting a bird’s eye view of these new and – at least to me - undiscovered places.

My hopes of seeing anything from the sky in daylight was almost dashed when we arrived at the airport to an announcement that our take-off was going to be delayed for two hours courtesy of stormy weather brewing somewhere in the direction of our flight.

Luckily for me, the days are longer in June, so when we finally did take off later, the sun was still clinging to the sky.

The boy had graciously offered me the window seat, and he didn’t have to twist my arm very much for me to accept. Before we had even left the ground, I was sitting with my nose pressed to the glass.

But alas, before we had even left the state, a blanket of thick clouds had enveloped the plane. These stubborn clouds didn’t dissipate, even as we climbed to altitude. So about an hour or so later, when the flight attendants asked everyone to draw their window shades for the showing of the in-flight movie, I gave up on the view, pulled the shade down and began reading instead. Up on the small television screens throughout the cabin, several Hilary Swanks were boxing their skinny little arms off.

When drinks were served after the movie, I asked the older man sitting on the other side of the boy if he’d mind if I’d put the shade up again. He looked at me as if I’d just told him to go and sit on the wing. He frowned at me and shook his head in disbelief. I’m still wondering what he thought I’d asked him!

After the shock of his reaction towards me wore off, I decided to take the shaking of his head to mean “No, I don’t mind at all, you charming foreign girl you!” and thus proceeded to open the shade.

Outside, the clouds had vanished, and below, a multi-coloured world was unfurling in the dusk like a giant patchwork quilt. We were flying back in time, chasing the sun, and it was still light outside.

The landscape soon changed. It was as if someone had bunched up the quilt, because the flat plains of earlier were, seemingly all at once, interrupted by rocky, jagged hills, which soon turned into steeper, snowcapped mountains.

I opened the airline magazine and looked at the map, and guessed that we were in the vicinity of Colorado. Until that moment, I had never been further west in the U.S. than Tennessee.

A few hours later we touched down in Phoenix, Arizona.

The sun was also descending; its last rays kissed the surrounding hills, causing them to blush. Beyond the desert, in the distance, the mountains were still as blue as a cloudless day. I suddenly felt sad that I wouldn’t get to set foot on that land, and made a wish that I would be fortunate enough to return there one day.

Flight Risk

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I love flying.

is a South African girl living in South Africa. That doesn't sound very original, we know, but you might find it remotely interesting when you learn that she has only recently returned to South Africa for the first time after a nine year, one month and two week (non-stop!) stint in the United States where she accidentally became an outlawed alien (also known, especially in immigration circles, as an 'illegal immigrant.' We prefer the term 'outlawed alien' ourselves). During her reversed exile from her homeland, she kept herself occupied by winning this website (but only after shamelessly bribing the judges) and thus being unleashed on the web where she slowly, leisurely became the World's Laziest Blogger; by being a nanny and by attending sci-fi conventions in search of other aliens. In the US, she also made her sailing debut, her international acting debut, tried and failed to learn the piano, and never learned to cook. She is hopelessly addicted to coffee, dogs (especially Labrador Retrievers), how-to books (with a particular fondness for her copy of the Time/Life A - Z Medical Encyclopedia), and she tends to grossly overuse parentheses (we're not kidding) during her attempts at writing, which you may - if you really have masochistic tendencies - subject yourself to by reading the words to the right of this column. If you REALLY and truly STILL want to know more, you can read her C.V. here.
Or you can stalk her send her some love via e-mail at: redsaid[AT]gmail[DOT]com

The Wish List (Because yes, she really does need more how-to books. Honestly!)


  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: Terra: YES! Wait... you didn't think that I would be this possessed to post for NO REASON, did ya???... [go]
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  • Marco Author Profile Page: I personally think it is a mindset that has been cultivated over the years, and one, if not stemmed,... [go]
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  • Redsaid Author Profile Page: I'm really really glad that I'm not the only one, Po! Sometimes I drive myself mad with all the what... [go]
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