Friday, May 27, 2011

Bring It On Down to Liquorville

It's Friday afternoon. The vino is calling.

Before you pack it up and head home to kick off the holiday weekend, check out this clever video from last week's SNL.

Timberlake brings back his classic "Homelessville/Plasticville/Omeletteville" routine, and Lady GaGa plays along.

Enjoy the holiday weekend... and drink responsibly.
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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Beautiful India

The Asian sub-continent is a study in contrasts.

 A line of faithful waiting to enter the Lotus Temple/Baha'i House of Worship in Delhi 

Much of India is dirty, dusty and littered with garbage. It's a sight that can be hard to see and experience if you're used to a cleaner environment.

The beauty of India's people makes up for the fracas ten fold, what with their beautifully draped saris, brightly colored shawls, bejeweled wrists, ears, fingers and toes. And perhaps the most beautiful sight to see is a stunning smile stretched across the face of a man, woman or child - a greeting that needs no translation for anyone.

India's spirit is bursting with kindness and personal generosity. Most folks openly welcome visitors and each other with friendly engagement and warm, peaceful disposition.

It's enough to make you play along and respectfully bow your head, put your hands together and gently say, "Namaste."

 Indian Tourists Walking Around the Base of the Taj Mahal

I am typically the kind of girl who finds comfort in black clothing. The dark garb offers forgiving lines, concealing my extra curves and padded rolls. Indian women eschew any such cloaked drapery. Instead, they wear saris, salwar kameez and kurtas that are as bright as every color as the rainbow (though red and pink are popular colors as they are the color of femininity in India), adorned with special trims, embroidery, sequins, beading and other flashy finishes.

It really was quite a sight, going somewhere and seeing crowds of Indian people, especially women, decked out in vibrant, technicolor hues we typically reserve for more garish costumes.

It made me want to toss out my trusty, black cardigan and pick up a few neon colored wraps. (Shh, don't tell anyone - I did!)

Villagers outside of Jaipur who were not accustomed to welcoming tourists

My absolute favorite stop on the tour in India was the visit to a rural village.

After a week of battling touts and beggars, our guide decided to take us to a different village than originally scheduled. Our big bus pulled up to this rural community with a dirt road running through it. This community is off the beaten path and not a regular stop for tour buses, and its people haven't had much exposure to folks from the Western World.

We each stepped off the bus and were immediately greeted by the most beautiful people I've ever seen in the world.

The children were especially warm and curious about us (this community has not seen many white people), and walked up to us with warm smiles, some wanting to practice the Western handshake they'd previously learned.

The visit to the village was completely inspirational and spectacular, and well deserved of its own blog post. More to come.

The beauty of India is enshrined in so many obvious places - the Taj Mahal, the glittering palaces, temples and mosques. But the true beauty of this somewhat impoverished country is in its people, who greet with warmth, friendship and kindness.

It's an attitude I can definitely take to heart.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been

Gee, it feels great to be back home.

The Money Shot

I made it back home Friday afternoon after spending 12 days on the road, traveling through Connecticut, New York City, India (Delhi, Agra and Jaipur) and back to NYC.

The journey offered up some spectacular, perspective rattling experiences and gave me a lot to think about while traveling and in the days since I returned.

So many stories, observations and ideas to share with you all. I promise I won't belabor the point, but since I did travel to the other side of the world, revealing a little bit of what I saw is the least I can do, yes?

So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked. - Mark Twain

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Drying Toes and Ready Passports

We are ready to blow this popstand.

Got a quick polish change while Wingman scored some vodka for us in Duty Free.

Now we wait.

I am simultaneously excited and scared - this is the farthest I've ever roamed from home.

For all of his feigned annoyance, I know Wingman will keep a watchful eye and make sure I return to the US of A in one piece.

See y'all on the other side.


Friday, May 06, 2011

Life Imitating Art Imitating Life

Carrie Bradshaw's got 'nothin on me.

The iconic symbol of the single 30-something chick, Carrie is respected and revered by women all over the world. The main character in the Sex and the City social zeitgeist of single ladies everywhere, Carrie is kind of the baseline for the neuroses, inhibition, restraint, drive and frivolity sometimes demonstrated in her three counterparts.

Man, oh man, I was so tickled when I got an exclusive invite to talk behind the scenes with Candace Bushnell, the creator of SATC.

Her publicist reached out to me and invited me to talk with Bushnell about her latest book, "Summer in the City," which is a follow up to a prequel series that highlights Carrie's teenage years before she morphs into a prolific column writer who wears Manolos and sips Cosmos.

I was supposed to head up to Kenwood last Saturday afternoon to see Bushnell (in true, sans-car style, I was going to hop on Metro Rt. 4 Kenwood), and decided to pop my head in my mailbox to collect the day's deliveries.

That's when sheer panic set in.

"Sorry we missed you," the card said. The postman had a package that needed signature for delivery.

I knew exactly what it was. My passport was en route to me after spending a couple weeks in NYC to get a visa from the Indian Consulate.

The days prior were filled with hurried phone calls and online status checks, all in the name of determining a) if my visa was granted and b) where my passport was at any given moment.

The scenario was kind of nerve wracking because there was about a 48 hour period where neither the visa provider nor the USPS claimed to be in possession of my passport.

I was so worried during this period that I literally chewed off all my finger nails and had begun stripping away the ragged cuticles and flesh around my fingers. It was very Black Swan, actually.

No passport = no international travel = no happy Kate.

I snatched the cream colored card out of the mailbox and careened out of my gate, my head swiveling up and down Walnut Street. I noticed the postman a few blocks away.

The time on my cellphone said it all. I could run to my bus and meet Bushnell, or I could trudge my way to the postman and put this passport issue to bed.

Card in hand, I stalked the mailman like a bulldog ready to nip on his blue polyester pants.

Waiting outside a building on Walnut at 13th, hand on my hip, the postman finally came out. I smiled and waved the card in the air and he told me my package was back in his truck.

Some more waiting, and I was finally reunited with my passport. Crisis averted. Destination: India, still a go.

What is the best way to celebrate overcoming great worry?

Why, getting a great pedicure, of course.

My tootsies and I walked to Incredible Creations on Vine St. and and got my toes done by the talented Nicole. She used a bright red polish on my toes called High Roller. My toes look dynamite.

I think Carrie would be proud.
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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Get On The Bus

I really try to walk the talk, er, ride the route.

I got rid of my car on December 27, embracing a "car-free" or "car-lite" lifestyle, getting around town by walking, biking, busing and carpooling.

Since then, several positive trends have cropped up in my life. Because of all the walking and busing, I've lost weight, saved money, helped the environment and made more friends.

I'm sharing the details of this year-long experiment at Ignite Cincinnati, tonight at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley. Cocktail hour starts at 5:30 p.m. and the presenters begin at 7 p.m.

You can learn more about the presenters and their topics here, and click this link to score one of the remaining few tickets.

See you there!

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A Big Welcome to The Grey Lady

Word on the street is that the New York Times is nosing around my neighborhood.

Facebook and Twitter is buzzing with the news that a photographer was spending time in Over-the-Rhine yesterday, snapping pics at Park + Vine and Neon's Unplugged. Other folks spotted the photographer snapping pics at Joe's Diner.

From the Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati Facebook page:

"The story is going to be a short piece that falls under the Travel section's semi-regular column called "Surfacing," about an up-and-coming neighborhood in a certain city. It's a brief intro about the nabe and then briefer-still write-ups on four or five of the nabe's businesses."

You no doubt remember when the NYT featured a great write up on Cincinnati in its travel section in 2009.

Intrepid Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Lauren Bishop mused on FB that this piece on OtR is rumored to hit NYT's pages on May 15.

If that's the case, Dad - will you save a copy for me?

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.