A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about beach

The Tie Dye String Bikini


Yesterday i drove into Hale'iwa looking for a place to buy a new bathing suit. Somehow I came to Hawai'i with only one suit, and it is stretched out so the elastic is unreliable.  I was feeling like a mother should probably stay covered at the pool and not be flashing people when she went to pick her son up, or not lose her top when she lifted him out of the ocean waves, as happened to me several times. I decide I must go buy something that is more amenable to these conditions... attractive yet modest.

So, i naively walk into the first store I find, one of many surf shops, and ask, "do you have bathing suits?" The salesgirl looks at me like I am a purple martian with four heads, and says, "uh, yes"... obviously it was the most absurd question she had been asked that day.  She then recovers, and tells me they are all against the back wall.  I go over and tell the girl I am looking for something with a little more coverage, maybe more 'conservative'.  I pick out six of these more conservative one piece suits, a nice bikini, and one tie dye suit that is a one piece string, with a strip over the belly but open along the sides.  I try on all the one pieces, and although several are nice, they are frumpy.  I know it is what I said I wanted, but I don't like how I feel in these. I try on the string tie dye piece- it's completely crazy, not something I would typically choose, but I just love it.  I am encouraged by the girls in the store: buy it, buy it, it looks great, who says a mom has to wear something conservative? who says age matters?

So I do it. And I drive home thinking, what got into me?  I know... it was something they said about being able to still feel good about how you look even though you are a mother.  Yes, I thought, I can be a role  model for that...  I am allowed to look good, to still wear what I like, to not feel the rules have all suddenly changed with motherhood in terms of what is appropriate to wear and what is not. So I walk out of the store carrying a brightly colored string bikini with a strip down the middle, probably the sexiest most outrageous bathing suit I have ever owned.  Hey, why not?  IMG_2827.jpg

Posted by globalmomma 13:37 Archived in USA Tagged beach surf swimming hawaii suit sexy bikini bathing Comments (3)

Guilty Pleasures

sunny 28 °C

I am currently feeling a bit guilty, since the Eastern Seaboard is about to get pounded by hurricane Irene. And last week there was an earthquake centered in Virginia that shook the coast. And Seattle has had one of the gloomiest summers on record. To have all of this good fortune and summer is really more than one can expect. It is downright obnoxious. I can feel the loathing and jealousy... Yet, this lifestyle is not for everyone. It is filled with its own set of irritations and difficulty. We literally move day to day, and so do our finances. There is not much advance planning or saving. There is not a lot of consistency or rhythm to our days. I worry about the stability of our household as it might affect our son. The only real stability in his life is in our core family, and the fact that we are always here for him, always around, providing a comforting and secure environment...I think it is enough. I think it is what is most important. But he doesn't have the space for large toys and swingsets, his own hand-painted room or backyard. His playground is the local church lawn, where we played yesterday while waiting for Daddy to get out of his interview. The beach right down the street. The cobblestone streets and piazzas of Lucca, where we spent several wonderful weeks. The great room at his grandparents' house, where he could go up and down stairs and throw items into a fountain. He sees everything around him as a toy, a playground, as entertainment. Maybe all children do. I am not sure, because we don't have toys to distract from the interesting play of the world around us. Sometimes I want him to have those things: a doggie, a train set, a plastic playhouse in the yard. Other times I am happy for the way he has learned to entertain himself with everyday items, and I wonder how that will carry over into his adult life. Hopefully he won't be bored, and will continue to look at the world around him as if it were filled with wonder and play.

He did recently take a couple of toys from his cousins that he took to right away...they are called Zoobles. They are small balls that expand when you push a button. They go from eyes closed/ball form to eyes open, arms wide, awake. I must admit, they are interesting, and he now carries one in each hand, wherever he goes. He has even figured out how to open and close them with the push of the small button, our little engineer, always curious about how things work. His second favorite toy is his Daddy's keys, which close up also to be a rectangular black object, but when you press a small silver button, the key pops out. He loves to sit on the floor and open, close, open, close, that key with delight!

Bottom line: Bodhi does not care at all where our home is. He does not seem to get the concept. Maybe that is for the best, in fact, maybe the concept of home tethers us down. He is content wherever we are, and wherever he is. Talk about a Zen master, living up to his name.

The hardest part about living day to day, moving place to place, is missing those that you love, especially as they are going through hard times, like hurricanes, hardships, winter. I miss the community, the connectedness of having shared experiences. I miss day to day contact with people I care about. This lifestyle is not all roses, but it still smells sweet.

Posted by globalmomma 19:18 Archived in USA Tagged winter beach buddhism summer weather hurricane hawaii warm sunshine community zen hawai'i Comments (1)

The North Shore

Turtle Bay, Hawai'i

sunny 25 °C

Ahhh, life is fine. The sun is shining on our 'endless summer', and although it is only August, we have been following the sun since we left Seattle in March. I wondered if I would get tired of the sunny days and the heat, but so far, the answer is a clear 'Nope'. Instead I feel it is incorporating into my DNA in the way a virus might, insidious and silent, until I realize I can not live without it. The sun in Hawai'i is like joy juice lemonade, making me smile as soon as my eyes open in the morning. I love walking to the pool outside our current condo in the morning, taking a cool dip with the baby before breakfast. I love stopping along the highway for a quick five minutes to walk along the beach, getting sand between our toes. Hearing the crash of the waves, smelling the salty, glassy, ionic air... I could get very used to this lifestyle. In fact, I think I already have, as I cannot fathom leaving!

We are running an experiment. On August 24th, we flew Hawaiian Airlines from California to Honolulu. We have a one way ticket, so there is no current set date to 'go back'. We are living each day as if we live here now, jumping in with both feet. When people ask where we are from, we tell them we have just moved here. I try this mental experiment in order to gauge my own motivations and desires. When I tell people a small fib such as this, how do I feel when I speak the words? Do I feel the sense of price and satisfaction I would expect from someone who is happy with their life? Or do I feel somewhat off, that this does just not fit, it is a square and I am a circle. With this particular white lie, I feel good. I want this to be the truth. I like the concept of moving to Hawai'i, so maybe that is just what we will do. Sometimes to get to your deepest, truest desires, you have to try out your thoughts by expressing them to others. This works wonderfully for me, so I recommend it. Another time it felt just right: I was in the auto showroom selling my car in March, before our trip to Italy. The saleswoman asked me, 'What is your work in Italy?". Offhand, I answered, I am a writer. I didn't mention WHAT I was writing about, or the fact that I am a doctor, I only mentioned that my writing was taking me to Italy. "Wow", she replied, "that's awesome". "Wow", I thought, "It really is". IMG_2791.jpg

Posted by globalmomma 09:05 Tagged ocean beach surf sand summer north bay shore hawaiian writer turtle hawai'i haleiwa Comments (1)

Ciao Italia!

sunny 26 °C

Cruel or marvelous, I am not sure, as I look out the window and see miles and miles of beckoning beachfront. Perhaps it is both at once. Marvelous to enjoy the scenes of Italy on our last day, cruel that we have to leave it behind as it taunts and leaves us longing for more.  A perfect sunny day on the coast, a Sunday filled with people out enjoying their weekend at the beach, wide expanse of ocean blue, fishing boats and sunbathers.  All this beauty outside the windows passing by, and we cannot get off and explore

We are on the slow train from Lucca to Milan. Today is our last day in Italy and we are taking the scenic ride up the coastline toward Livorno. The scene out the windows is enough to make me want to jump out at each stop and go 'on the lam'. We cannot stay longer, our visa has run out, yet there are miles and miles of sea, and one can really never have enough of the Italian coastal towns. The rugged dark charcoal cliffs, small pockets of sandy beaches absolutely covered with colorful umbrellas and people, the glittering Mediterranean sea, a deep turquoise blue on a perfect sunny summer day in July.  My heart wells with sadness that we can't stay and spend the weekend enjoying the beach and exploring the Cinque Terre. I want to stay for so many reasons now. Lucca is less than an hour from these amazing beaches and stunning coastline.  We spent our last morning in the cafe next to our apartment... we have been many times, but I still want more. And as we are walking home, I am hit with disappointment that there are so many more places in Lucca and in the surroundings that I didn't get to see.  It is difficult to leave a place that feels so much like home, and a place that has so much to offer. Last night on our evening passeggiata, we went to the botanical gardens in Lucca. On our way, there was a spontaneous concert in the town square, an orchestra outside playing with hundreds of people gathered round. 

Perhaps we have found our love of this country after all, and are willing to overlook the sometimes infuriating parts and the challenges in order to have the good life.  It is difficult now to leave Italy, as rough as the start was, we are now truly adjusted to the lifestyle and feeling very much at ease here.  We are consistently getting by with our fumbling preschool Italian. Not glamourous, but it works. The other day we are in the train station, waiting at the coffee bar for our early morning cappuccinos, after our long trip back to Lucca from Paris.  It is busy and the baristas are rushing around. Our cappuccinos come and they are cold.  No sooner do I muse to my husband, 'gee I wish our Italian was good enough to complain and get new capps'... then I hear him call the barista and say, 'fa freddo'! (it's cold!) and explain to her that our cappuccinos are not warm and he is not having it! She whisks them away and brings us new steaming ones apologetically. I am thoroughly impressed and stunned that with his gesturing and enough language, he has pulled it off. It is essential to learn how to politely yet firmly argue your point in Italian - it is necessary to life here, and apparently, we are reaching that level of competence. To know what is appropriate to argue about, to know how to get your way without offending, to get a good price, this is quintessential Italian. This is where we are with OUR Italian, right on the verge, on the cusp of being conversational, and it is hard to leave it behind.  Our last week in Lucca, two Americans stopped me on the street and asked if I spoke English. Then asked me directions, and I actually was able to help them find the sight they were looking for. That same night, we were mistaken by a local for Italians, as she rattled away to us about Bodhi, her dog, the weather... and I said to Chris, apparently we are looking more the part these days.  It is always fun to look like you belong, and to pretend you are local for as long as the ruse lasts.  He can really play the part with his dark curly locks and tanned skin. Fairer skin and hair on me, likely never will I be mistaken for a native Italian, but perhaps as a misplaced Italian, which is our aspiration. 

The train to our airport hotel in Milan feels longer than it actually is, and we are already thinking about what our last meal in Italy will be.  Pasta? Veal? definitely antipasti and a limoncello.  Hopefully a nice half liter of delicious house wine and Bodhi will have his three favorite Italian dishes: pasta with olive oil, black olives, and sparkling mineral water. Ciao Italia, ti amo.

Posted by globalmomma 08:29 Archived in Italy Tagged beach native airport train day lucca italian terre sunny milan cinque conversations cappuccinos Comments (1)

It's a great evening after all

our road trip from Ischia to Santa Marinelli

Today we leave the island of Ischia and head North for our next week of adventures. First step is the ferry from Ischia to Naples. The ferry leaves at 10:30am. We leave the hotel, all packed up and ready, at 9:30am, and B takes his morning nap. All is going according to plan. But Ischia is a small place filled with one way streets, so we get turned around on our way to the port. Still we arrive early, but there is a long line of cars waiting to get on the ferry...so we get into the mix. I get out and try to find the 'biglietteria' to buy our tickets, while Chris navigates our Fiat through the maze of other cars all angling and wedging their way into line. I find the place to buy ferry tickets, I ask to purchase for 2 people, one car. Documents?, She asks. Oh no, I have forgotten they need these damn documents for the car. "Un attimo" (one moment), I say and walk quickly toward the line of cars inching their way toward the ferry boats. I find Chris in the line and grab the documents from the glove compartment.  I run back to the shop and buy the tickets, and commence sprinting back to our car in my mini skirt and flip-flops. I check my watch. Three minutes until 10:30am, three minutes until we miss the boat. I just paid 50 euro, so I really hope I get to the car in time to get on the ferry. I run in my flip-flops and little skirt all the way to the boat, where Chris is at the end of the line, talking to the ferry man collecting tickets. I hand him the tickets, jump in the car, and we pull on. We are the final car. After we pull on, the cranks start going and the back of the boat pulls off of the dock. Wow, JUST barely made it. I ask Chris, What were you going to do? Filibuster? iIf I didn't get back were you going to just stall until I made it? He said he wasn't going to take NO for an answer. I tell him I now understand how he is part-Italian. Every once in a while little personality traits creep through. Being in Italy, the land of his ancestors, gives me some further insight into this man I have been married to for 4 years and known for 11. He also has started talking with his hands while he drives, and mumbling insults at people who are driving poorly. Hmm.

Arriving in Naples is again a zoo of people and sounds and commotion. We get on the autostrada and say "Arrivederci, Napoli". We are excited about going North, and make it almost to Rome when Bodhi wakes and we need to get out, stretch, and get some food. I like the highways here - they carry steep tolls so they are not crowded with cars, there is not much traffic, and there are easy stops along the way. You don't have to drive through some historic little town looking for a gas station. There are defined exits for restaurants and gas, that literally only take seconds out of your way. Chris actually looks forward to these travel days on the highways because of the delicious and gargantuan "Autogrills" that are positioned along the autostrada (toll highways). They have salad bars with more vegetables than we have seen in any restaurant. They have warm prepared foods, deli sandwiches, wonderful espresso bars, and cheap wine and cheeses to make your own picnics. In short, a real experience if you are traveling around Italy. Nothing like the road stop depressions we see in America where to stop for food is to surrender to gross fast food or packaged chips and candy.

We follow the road northwest from Rome toward the coastal beach towns. We are heading toward the port town of Civitavecchia. We are looking for a place to stay along the sea, just for the night. It is a frustrating proposition, since it is a Saturday night, in a seaside town, on a summer day in Italy. There is not much available. We go from place to place and each place is either sold out, or exorbitant. We see family reunions, weddings, parties. Apparently the beach was not our best decision for a quick stopover for meeting our two criteria: available, and under 100 euros a night. We are getting desperate, & Bodhi, who has been exceedingly patient for the whole day's journey, has had enough. He is fidgeting and complaining. He is hungry and tired of being in a cramped car seat. I sympathize but tell him he is learning patience, as we all are. We almost decide to just take this place that is WAY over budget, and absolutely not worth it, with a cramped monastery of a room, no terrace, and no place to be once B falls asleep for the evening... We are at our wits end, bickering, pleading with B to last a few more minutes, and almost give in to this place... then decide to press on a little further. It is in these moments that test your resolve, that often you are rewarded. I think this is true in life as well as travel; those moments where you seem at your breaking point, to have reached your absolute limit, this is when if you keep going, you will be rewarded. We were rewarded, with a recommendation for an affordable but quaint place outside of the town of Santa Marinelli on the coast, called "Portofina". I called on our way there, and they had a room, so we backtracked five miles to the hotel. It was perfect. We walk in and there are small shirtless children running around the 'living room' in the lobby of the hotel laughing. There is a hippy-looking man with long curly hair who greets us, and I know instantly this is our kind of place. People are talking, children are playing soccer, and the beach in front of the hotel has rolling waves and is dotted with surfers. We found the surf town for Rome vacationers. I love it here. We get into our modest hostel-like room, get settled, and go outside. Bodhi gets to run around and play - there is a slide, a playhouse, a field of soft grass, and a beach filled with smooth large rocks. He is giddy with excitement. We play and laugh until it is time for dinner, and we have one of the best meals we have had yet. I have pasta with crawfish and salad with shrimp, arugula and fresh tomatoes. Everything so fresh and simple, and fresh from the ocean. After a long drive and an exhausting day, we have arrived at a wonderful stopover and it has been a great evening after all.

Posted by globalmomma 16:38 Archived in Italy Tagged coast beach town santa ferry naples ischia marinelli autostrada autogrill Comments (0)

Festa della Mamma

A day in Monopoli

may 9th
Yesterday was "Festa della Mamma" in Italy, party for Mamma. I like that wording better than Mother's Day; and in Italy, they do throw family parties for this occasion. We took our car and drove out of Alberobello, destination: the sea. We drove to Monopoli to check it out, and mainly, to get out and smell the fresh, salty sea air. I plugged a random point into the GPS and we arrived forty five minutes later, at a park on the coast. We got out to stretch, while Bodhi was still sleeping in the car, and I instantly loved this place. It is ancient with its fortress of light stone walls seeming to hold up the city against the green foamy waves. It looks like an acropolis, a hodge podge of ancient Roman ruins, Greece (or what I imagine Greece to be), Hawaii with its dramatic rocky cliffline, and South America with its rectangle block apartment buildings and newer city beyond. There is graffiti all along the park walkway by the city, and I imagine it is the teenage hangout for the region. I see young couples kissing on benches, families, and old Italians strolling. Everyone looks at us with odd expressions. They do not know us. We are not from here. We try not to stand out as Americans, try to blend in, but this town is small and so we are foreigners nonetheless. We try our Buon Giorno's... then they know we are not Italian tourists, but some other kind. I hear people calling to others on the beach, Ciao Maria, Ciao Beppe. Everyone is known here. We walk to a bed and breakfast called Bella Vista. We ring the buzzer. No answer. So we decide to try out our new Italian prepaid phone and dial the number. Chris attempts: "parla Inglese? Si. Do you have a room for tonight? Yes, I am here, yes, we will wait." He gets off the phone, and the man is coming down to show us the room. It is expensive, but maybe a splurge for tonight, if it's worth it. It IS Mother's Day after all. He sees the room while I am walking Bodhi around the cobblestoned old town. It's beautiful, he says, we will take it. I can see in Chris' eyes that it's a good one. The owner helps us haul in our bags, and I gasp at the view. There is one open window in the room, the view is all sea. I see aquamarine waves and cloudless sky. It is a perfect day, full sun and warm, like I imagined Puglia would be. We settle in and then set off for lunch at a recommended place directly on the sea, called Lugo Bianco. It smells of salt and fish and moist wind. I love it here. The menu is in Italian, "I am sorry for that" the waiter says. The fish and shellfish are all out on display, freshly caught right outside the window. Chris picks frutta di mare (mixed shellfish) all raw with nothing but lemon. They are amazing. We order prosecco, and Chris takes Bodhi for a stroll to take a nap while I sit and enjoy on Mother's Day. It is such a festive atmosphere. The restuarant is humming in a literal roar with people, families, big groups ordering food, wine, dolci, and sitting for hours.
A perfect Sunday, all day spent eating, talking, all dressed up after church. I watch them for a while, trying to decipher bits and pieces of conversations, and make friends with a boy nearby. We talk in sign. He asks, 'where's the baby?' 'Going to sleep', I mime. Then Chris is back and we have fresh pasta with fish and vegetables, then a tomato soup-based fresh fish. Then sorbetto. Everything is wonderful and indulgent. We leave the restaurant somewhere around 4pm. We stroll the old town and the main piazzas, seeing people out and about everywhere, eating gelato, having espressos, talking animatedly. We venture into a cafe for some aqua, since no stores are open on Sundays. Everything is shut down so Italians can spend their family day. We will have to make due for dinner at the apartment. We eat up on the terrace after I get the baby to sleep. The waves are glistening and pale. I can hear them rush against the rocks. It feels so romantic, and I know this already will become one of my favorite places we stay. Wonderful, magical day.

Posted by globalmomma 07:53 Archived in Italy Tagged food beach day italian mother's monopoli Comments (0)

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