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November 2009

The Best Food in the World Comes out of Kitchens Like These

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The super rough-hewn, incredibly primitive kitchens 'round the world - those are the kinds of melting pots that manage to sling out mind-altering food.  It's not the high tech, it's not the most advanced.  Never has been, never will be.

This kitchen belongs to Am, my 4th World Love Field Director over in Indonesia.   His beautiful wife expertly manages a handful of meals pumping out of here every single day - for the whole extended family that happen to live on the premises and share everything.  Flavors you've never tasted, spices you've never heard of.  Deep unstoppable groans of utter joy with every spoonful. Food pleasure is the ultimate global language in my eyes.

Cut to me in NJ, still working on this TV show.  We just have a few weeks left and the one shining light in all of it - I've managed to discover some sick, sick food.  Everything from Afghan to Cuban to Portuguese.  I've got my favorite Mexican bodega where I grab cafe con leche and practice my Spanish.  There's the Cuban buffet that makes my heart flutter every time I remember the thick, caramely flan and the dancing owner.  There's the happy folks in Planet Chicken that we cater from - it's all about the paella there.  Across the street is the Portuguese BBQ joint - think huge chunks of BBQ salmon.  I've slurped down Thai iced tea from the Gods, and the Italian is always superior, no matter where you dine.

Go figure - a strip mall of dirty cities in Central NJ - tastebud haven. 

That said, I CANNOT WAIT TO BOLT!!!  And, never return.

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NY Times and Sailing - The Frugal Traveler

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Today's NY Times Travel section is all about the Carib and guess what trip is featured on the cover?  Well, remember that sailing trip I just did down on the 72' schooner in the Caribbean?   That exact journey.  And, Mr. Matt Gross, of Frugal Traveler fame, was kind enough to give me props in the article.  Like me, he was pretty suspicious of the set up - but, of course its all legit.  And, he spent a few weeks island hopping with some salty sailors.

Loved reading the piece and reliving the memories.  Love looking at pix of my own boat. Love daydreaming about escape.  Love the NY Times.  Love water.  Love, love, love it all.

Here's the link to the actual NY Times article:

http://travel.nytimes.com/2009/11/15/travel/15sailing.html?ref=travel

And, it was def. cool to see my name in the NYT - on an article about sailing, no less.  Life is a funny, funny thing...


What 80k Buys in Bali

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In my fave village in Bali are some new bungalows perched right on the beach.  They are so on my radar right now cause they're for sale - they're under 100k - and they just sit right in my soul.

I just don't ever think I will own in America again.  Huge hassle.  I could pop down some dough for one of these and just rent it out while I'm away.  I mean, RIGHT on the beach - just across from my 4WL headquarters - wild old Lombok. 

They come furnished; they have wi-fi; there's just a handful of them.  Within a few minutes walk, you've got amazing hiking, $5 massages (1 hour), $2 seared tuna caught that morning, incredible diving & snorkeling, 80 cent beers, and the most amazing locals you can imagine.  What a perfect jumping off point for the rest of S. East Asia.  Which is literally the next part of the world I need to tackle.  They be peeps sans dinero, but they sure do know how to live right.

It all makes me so very happy....and, the kind folks who own them rent them for you while you are away.  Insanity.

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Isla Mujeres is Where Smart People Land.

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I don't care what anyone says about Isla Mujeres - it is absolutely an island full of magic moments.  I'm not sure any place in the world flips my insides like Mexico does.  Well, maybe S. Africa.  And, of course Indo.  But, Mex - I can go back and back and back again.  In my mind every day, in my life - a few times a year.

And, there's no place that jolts me quite like the marinas in Isla do.  Probably cause they're the bouncing point to lands further south. It's where I met Captain MADD - a funny gent who spends time on his boat down in Belize, the Rio Dulce and then back to Isla for months on end.  He tells the best yarns I've ever heard, including tales about my own adventures that he literally pulls from the sky.  He's always up for the last minute invite.  He said to me - I always wonder, why the hell did I wait so long?  He just skitters along, making pals along the way and living in the exact moment of NOW.

I hope I run into people like him for the rest of my days.  People who thrive on loco adventures, folks who delight in a mess of tangled lines, power cords, rub rails, solar panels, wind generators, rickety wooden piers, and old bimini's - all just peeps trying to make a go at this crazy thing called life. 

And, to do it smiling all the way.  Beyond that, there is truly nada.

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In NJ, the Only Thing Happening is Memories...

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Really, the only thing to do whilst in NJ is dig deep into the memory bank.  Cause there ain't a lick of travel happening out here - not even food worthy of raving about.  Just long, long days of work.

My bud Lisa said last night that she loves the seasons changing - it's all pretty and leafy here.  I immediately responded with - the seasonal change for me is now the current of the Pacific ocean. Is it choppy?  Calm? Confused?  Pretty leaf or blue water - which would you rather have? 

Now, the above volcano is Mt. Rinjani over in Indo.  This is the place I turn to most when I'm deep in the trenches of production chaos.  Just that simple volcano and that beautiful village at the bottom of it full of my buds learning English in the 4WL community development center.  I just got this note the other day from one of our volunteers who just left the CDC.  Totally made my heart soar.

FROM AMBER:

Hi Misty,
 
Sorry I fell off the radar for a while, I've been busy getting back into the swing of things. I just returned to work last week, which has been somewhat of a culture shock after being in Indonesia for two months...as I'm sure you can imagine!
 
So the more I've been thinking about it the more I realize I really want to help Fourth World Love in any way that I can. The rest of the year is pretty hectic but in 2010 I really want to help you with fundraising and any other activities you have planned. I think it is impossible to go to Sembalun and not leave wanting to help. Such an amazing group of people! Likewise if you have any potential volunteers who want to talk to someone who has already volunteered feel free to email me and I would be happy to talk to them. Lastly, I wanted to compliment you. Unlike the other foundations I volunteered with, Fourth World Love was the only one where you can actually see the money that is donated going to good use and not just foundation "running costs" which was very refreshing..so thanks for a great growing, learning, and genuinely rewarding experience.
 
Ok now on to the fun stuff!
I definitely agree staying with a local family is the way to go. When I left I was balling...it is amazing how quickly you create a bond with your "family." Era, Ibu and her kids were all precious. I seriously LOVE them! The CDC boys are all great and hilarious. I honestly never wanted to leave the community center. Their positive energy is infectious. It is truly amazing at how evident it is that the CDC really makes a difference in the kids (and little kids) English skills. When I taught in the local schools I could tell within one minute which of them were CDC students, they were significantly more advance than the other students. The same goes for the older students. They were carrying dictionary and grammar books around with them everywhere...and some of them know better English grammar than I do. :)
 
So I am pretty sure I could go on for days telling stories, but instead I've attached a couple of pictures...I seriously took around 2000 pictures. I didn't realize you live in LA so close to me we should meet up sometime to reminisce, share pictures and speak Indonesian (even though mine is still really bad and the boys only taught me bad words and slang haha).

Here are some of Amber's pix - at a local school, on the steps of the CDC, and at the farm where they've been growing organic vegetables again with the help of 4WL.  Hi carrots!!!  So makes me happy and proud!

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