Europe 2001-2 Paris, France. July 1, 2001. & Bern, Switzerland, does anyone speak English, so I can use this ËËÈing card!?

Paris Eiffel ©2001 By Stacy Poulos
Paris Eiffel ©2001 By Stacy Poulos

Paris, France. July 1, 2001.  & Bern, Switzerland

Paris, France
Paris, France

Date: Wed, 4 July 2001 12:39:40 (PDT)
From: Stacy Poulos
To: Group
THE EAGLE HAS LANDED in EuROPe, and the eagle has very, very, very, tired feet. :0
wHERE DO i START<<<? fOR ONE <<<<i^M NOT ON DRUGS, iM a dyslexic, on a Swerland computer, which is in a German language, yeeks! With all these extra ¸®$£‡ÈË!?` stuff where something else used to be. So I can^t find some keys? Bare with me here. I apologize for the extra e^mails. I`ve used Yahoo for years but never tried to `cc anyone. Anyway….
We landed in Paris on Sunday, I lived through my fear of flying gracefully. The plane was full of people from Tahiti, who also spoke French. So I got warmed up on the ride over not understanding anything. I have learned to point to a map, and act out what I want, or draw it. Ice for instance, after three tries with the waiter today, who happened to speak Spanish (as well as German and French), I pointed to the water he brought me, that I did not order, then
as he intently attempted to understand me, I drew a cube on my place mat and pointed to my coke. He finally got it. “Yellow!” he said. (‘ice’ in Spanish, actually ‘Heilo’).  It’s a game of charades getting what you want, and where you want to go.
I finally know what it feels like to be a foreigner. Leaving Paris, I gave it another shot to call home to let my mom know I was alright. I bought a prepaid phone card and tried several times to call. I even had a man help, show me what to do, then another woman, then with the pressure of our train leaving to Swerland soon, I finally yelled out in the train station: “Does anyone speak English, so I can use this ËËÈing card!?” Two brave French women who spoke a little English helped me, then they got frustrated and went away as well. So I had to leave without calling again. When you pick up a phone in “The States”, as they say here, i.e. USA, the per-recorded operator gives you a choice to press “1” for English and “2” Spanish, they say the options in English, and then in Spanish. Here it^s just a prerecorded French operator that says something I don’t understand. That’s one situation where you can`t draw pictures or mimic what you need.
So what was the city of Paris like? Paris is beautiful. The buildings are 5 to 8 stories high and no more, unless it’s a monumental building of some sort. Every corner you turn is a 8 story long BLOCK of buildings with not even a crack between each other. Our first night out we were out longer than the metro and walked the streets home. At that time of night, I had a sense of “Gothem City” in the movie Batman. It was very strange to be there, somewhere so different and so far away from home.
We have been so busy hitting landmarks, catching metro^s (i.e. BART^s) We did not get to see the ^Eiffel Tower^ until our last day. I would have been too embarrassed to report back without seeing that. It’s very tall. It was built for the world’s fair. The French actually didn’t like it.
French people spend a lot of money on burring dead people. Every major street leads to this monument, “Arc de Triomphe”, where they honor the solders who protected their city. Facing that monument on the other side of town several miles away, is Napoleon’s Tomb. Also a huge building surrounded by beautiful sculptures and paintings. What I like most about the French is that they honor Art and Artists. And everywhere you turn you are reminded in some grandeur way.
Fortunately, we met a very kind woman named Sarah who spoke English and French. She was from “The States”, Florida to be exact. She helped plan some of the hot spots and volunteered to be our guide before she left. The one that I liked most was going to this area ‘Montmartre^’ that overlooks the city. You could see the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre (a world famous Museum that holds many treasured arts such as, The Mona Lisa, Michelangelo’s works, all who I got to see, and many more). From the view point you can also see Notre-Dame (famous in my eyes from the movie The Hunchback Back of Notre-Dame.)

Vincent van Gogh's The Cafe Terrace
Vincent van Gogh’s The Cafe Terrace

Before you get to the view, you have to go through the crowded streets of cafes, street artists, restaurant’s, etc. It is like a summer street festival that has the ambiance of tranquility. I wish this was something I saw on the first day. I just cannot explain. This is where many artist paint “store front french cafes” and “restaurants.” I believe this is where Vincent Van Gogh was inspired to paint Vincent Cafe, A Night Cafe Scene in Paris and Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec. Other artist like Dali, Picasso, Erik Satie, Mistinguett and Dalida  also lived and/or worked there.  Here is what the cafe looks like today [click].

On this particular night I split up from the girls to meet them later. It just so happens I bought a very unique cool bottle of Evian water (From the very near French Alps) that I wanted to bring home. It was uniquely shaped like a woman’s figure, the lid had a loop on it, for sort of a handle. As it got darker I went to walk home, or to the Metro before it closed. There were these birds flying wildly around those Paris looking tiki type lights. I thought it was odd that they would be flying around at night, maybe there’s a special Paris type bird that stays out late like the French? As one came close, it dawned on me that they were bats, at the same time I had that thought, one swooped down attacking me. I gripped the loop on the water bottle and swung at the attacking bat, the handle stayed griped in my hand, as the bottle flew off into the sunset. I started running away and did not look back. They hung around lights because that’s where bugs hang out. Every once in awhile, they like to entertain themselves and watch tourist run for their lives, like I was.

Paris Eiffel ©2001 By Stacy Poulos
Paris Eiffel ©2001 By Stacy Poulos

After these 3 days of walking, standing, and taking the maze of the metro everywhere, my feet were tired. Soooo very tired. I just wanted to get to the Metro before it closed and back to my pad without missing my train and ending up stuck with the bats. Trying to find my way home with French street signs I could not pronounce.
In Paris people don’t just point you in the right direction, they walk you in the direction. Several blocks. On our first night out, one man followed us for at least 20 Paris blocks. They also walk fast like they are on a mission. Deana kept up with our guide while me and Nachelle tried to keep up, as we wonder why we are following this man we did not know?
I thought it was just that night with Deana and Nachelle and that guy particularly. When I was on my own and a little freaked out about the bat situation, I didn’t mind that some man walked me 6 blocks to the Metro.
When we first arrived in Paris off the Train from the airport, the girls were tired and frustrated because we got off the wrong exit. But I was soooo happy and excited I was levitating, it was like a dream. (Luckily I had a refrigerator strapped on my back (my backpack) to hold me down). Here I lived through a long flight, which I am scared to death to fly, and I’m alive and …in Paris!
We had to walk many blocks to our hotel, but I was enjoying every minute of it, tapping my feet all the way. When we finally got to our “Hotel Notre-Dame,” all 3 of us could not get in the elevator at the same time with our back packs. When we open the door to our room, we all laughed. The beds were so small they looked like children’s beds. There was just enough room to walk around the beds. Deana got on one of the beds and said “This is two doubles… (as in the AD she read when she booked the room) notice the dividing line between them.” We cracked up laughing.
We went cheap, we were determined to pay only $60.00 US dollars a night, $20.00 for each of us. Deana made the reservations in the US. We had 42 days to pay for hotels. It ended up being 1,230 French franks (Approximately $176.50 US Dollars) for 3 nights. When I went to sign my credit card bill it said “Montant: (Amount) 1,260,00 FRF… Signature Du Porteur” Meaning when I get home I’m going to have to pay this off… 1,260 FRF! That I do not quite understand? Deana assured me it was OK. I was reluctant to sign the bill. To cover myself and understanding what I am obligated to, I put on all my receipts “Apx. the amount I thought, sooo… (In this case I put apx $162.75 US). That way if I had a dispute this, this is what I signed for. It’s very unnerving to sign for such an amount when you don’t quite get the exchange thing. I went through the same thing getting cash. Do you want 5,000 10,000 20,000 franks? etc.? It’s not good to stand at a ATM machine at midnight with a calculator in your hand like me and Deana did. Yeeks! That will be 8,500 for that Happy meal! “…Bono petite.” Most of the time I sat there like when I was in the Cayman Islands looking at my change as though my hand has transformed into this ugly hairy arm. The wise thing to do before you buy something is to do it with authority, like know just about what something is going to cost before you go up, not give the –the deer in the head lights look, hold out all your money so they can take what they need.
The toilets were similar to the USA except for the flusher. It was more of a large button than a handle. And nothing spit water at you like I had been told. The most frustrating thing that I ran into was about the electricity situation. I was to bring the blow dryer, and Nachelle the transformer. She brought a converter, which our US plugs, plug in the back of -converting the plugs… Not! Transforming it! A transformer changes wattage. Their 230 watts in to our 110 watts. Watt’s of electricity is what powers things, and kills people who get the electric chair. Science question: What happens to an American 110 watt maximum capacity blow dryer when you plug it into a European wall. A plug that belts out twice as much electricity then it needs, 230 watts of raging electricity? Answer: It lights up like a Christmas tree, smokes like a fire before it pops and never works again.
The worst part is that I bought a $3,000.00 camera that I need to charge the batteries for and couldn’t the 6 weeks we were there. Without the batteries the camera is worthless. You can not get a transformer in Paris either. We looked in many locations. You can get the plugs that will allow you to blow up your equipment, but not the transformer. This created a lot of stress. Especially when Deana was not happy with her hair.
NOTES: July 4th, 2001 better known as the “Fourth of July” in America. We are safely on the train, together with everything minus one blow dryer. I’m wearing my gray Old Navy tank top with the American Flag on it, pondering over the French country side from the window of the Euro train. I’m excited to be moving onto my next destination, Swisterland. I lean over to Deana and Nachelle and say “Happy Forth of July” and smile. “I guess they don’t celebrate the Forth of July over here.” No. Especially when we probably kicked their butt. (So I was wrong it was the British, what can I say I slipped through the cracks in school) I realize at this moment that there are other American traditions and holidays they don’t celebrate. Somehow, I feel as though I am being woken up about the world around me and the traditions I have known. Like Thanksgiving, one of my favorite holidays. It’s a time to see my family and pig out on Turkey.
As I ponder out the train window –I realize, have really made it to Europe!

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Host: Photographer / Filmmaker Stacy Poulos
Author of ‘Life In A Nutshell’
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Europe 2001-1 Start here, Innies & Outies, Onezy-Twozy’s – Intro To Europe


Europe Map 2001
Europe Map 2001

Innies & Outies, Onezy-Twozy’s Frome the book Life In A Nutshell by Stacy Poulos

Some people have “innies” and some people have “outies” (belly buttons). It used to bother me that I had an “outie,” boys have “outies.” As I got older and more womanly like, I developed an “innie.” Basically, I got fatter and my stomach grew around my belly button. Now it bothers me I have an “innie.” Which brings me to another pointless point about “number one” and “number two”. It’s very traumatizing for a child not to know which is which. This is one of those tricky questions children ask you outside of the class room, “do you need to go ‘number one’ or ‘number two?” After awhile, I realized you don’t say “number two” under any circumstance, because I realized that meant you had to go “poop.” And that’s far too much information and ammunition for a child to have on you. Growing up can be traumatizing. It seemed as though everyone else got a manual that I didn’t. Even the how to ask embarrassing questions of other kids. I always seemed to have the wrong answer, I was a target for them. Going to the bathroom has been a stressful thing for me since elementary school. Even in college I would have people run the water so I could concentrate on peeing. If you had to use a butt gasket, the person in the next stall would know what you were up to.
Somehow I slipped through the cracks and never knew what was the true answer was until I was about thirty-four. By high school I was too far gone to ask, and I never trusted a friend well enough to ask either. I guess my mom never covered the ‘onezy-twozy’ thing because she called it like it was, where ever it was… “Honey, do you have to take a shit?” Not that turning to my grandparents was any better. I suppose it was passed down from generation to generation, because I recall my Nana saying the same thing. If you are a parent, even if you call it like it is, make sure your children know the difference! So here I am breaking away to Europe with little knowledge about the way things are out there, concerned about special European toilets spitting water at my ass.
Not too many know what goes on in my head. But for someone who didn’t do well in school, I think about a lot of fine details. I think a lot has to do with the combination of my mom and older brother. My mom’s a freak. If you have a cold, she doesn’t want you to touch her or anything that comes in contact with her. And my older brother likes to point out microscopic stuff. Like when he showed me a close up of my favorite “Blue Cheese” and the “blue” was mold. I haven’t touched it since. When he talks about any subject, he says it with such authority and conviction as though he invented it himself. That’s why we called him “Scout Master” as a young teenager. When I would ask him, “How do you know?” He would always reply, “I just know.” So I am very aware about microscopic things. Like did you know flies go “number two” and puke every time they land? That’s what the Scout Master joyfully told me. So I freak out when one lands on me or anything  they touch. Whenever I see, one I’m self-conscious of where they are located, and I sanitize what they touch or not eat if they land on my food. My dad said that you catch people’s colds if you shake their hands. Hearing this leaves an imaginative three dimensionally visual person paranoid.
Before starting my adventure to Europe (the other side of the world to me), I went to the Pride parade in San Francisco with some friends on BART. Eventually we got separated,but I still managed to have a good time on my own. A few minutes before midnight I realized I only had five minutes to get to BART for the last train home. Well! In a panic, I ran out of this club looking for a cab to get me to the BART station. I had no time to wait so I ran like crazy to BART and caught the last one. Whew! Fortunately I already had prepaid for the ticket because that takes me a long time to figure out how to get the ticket out of the machine. Next thing you know I woke up forty minutes later at the end of the line in Pleasanton, eight miles from my stop (Castro Valley) where I should have gotten off. In a daze, I asked about a train going back. They said it was the last one of the evening. So there I was, at one A.M. in the morning, two days away from leaving for another country and I have to call my mom for a ride home because I missed my exit. Nothing like trying to make my mother worried, on top of worrying about me leaving the country. “What the *@&%!, I can’t believe you fell asleep on the F*@&%ing train!”, she says. Her way of encouragement and parental advice. My younger brother picks up the phone at the same time. They argue about what an idiot I am. My brother hangs up. My mom says, “What are you going to do in Europe?” I said, “Look at the bright side, I’m not calling you from Germany needing a ride. Deana will look out for me. Besides, our tickets are no good unless we are together.” Extra insurance! As I sat in the cold waiting for my mommy, I thought, “What if I was in Germany?” Yeeks! I tried not to think about it.
It just so happens there was a lot of coverage in the news that Europeans rip off tourists. The news show 20/20 did a report on how people stole wallets, etc,. Even though people never really talk about Europe, it seems everyone I talked to, talked about the pickpockets, and how they come up and cut the straps of your purse and run. Considering I’m bringing $3,000.00 worth of camera equipment, etc. I prepared myself. I was as prepared as I could be, I thought. I had reinforced my purse straps with cable wire so no one could cut it and run. I had an alarm I could attach to my bag and a chair, if anyone tried to move it, it would go off. I had mini locks on all my zippers, as well as a money belt. A metal cord went from my camera to whatever I hooked it on with a lock on the end, so it wouldn’t leave without me knowing. I had a warm sleeping bag, blow up pillows, eye patches, sanitizing wash, a mini first aid kit, a flash light, two alarms, two watches, one watch with three time zones and an alarm, two money calculator converters with alarm clocks, a waterproof container for my passport, as well as many other mini gadgets. I scanned the girls and my ID’s, passports, and our tickets and burned them onto a mini CD as big as a business card and kept it with me, and one at home in case we lost it. I was covered, and I knew what “number one” and “number two” was. I also had a lot of room on my VISA card to charge my way through Europe and home again. But I had nothing that would prevent me from getting lost or separated. I bought three walkie talkies so we could find each other in a two mile range. We lost one before we got on the air plane.

Date: June 29, 2001. By Stacy Poulos v4 Published in “Life In A Nutshell” 2008.

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Host: Photographer / Filmmaker Stacy Poulos
Author of ‘Life In A Nutshell’
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Need a product or service reviewed?
Send it to: 
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Have camera will travel. 
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Postcards From Australia Love Cindy Postcard Travelers

Cindys LETTERs
Cindys letters

October 1998 my friend Cindy Kleinsasser went to Australia on this amazing adventure for over 2 months. She gave me permission to publish her letters and photos sent to her friends writing about her experiences. Enjoy. 

Date: Mon, 26 Oct 1998 18:55:23 -0800 (PST)

From: Cindy Kleinsasser
Subject: Hello from Australia
Hi Everyone,
I updated my address book so many of you may be getting my e-mail for the first time if not please write me and I’ll insert you and you can be on the frequent mailing list. Well I’ve been in Perth for about two weeks at the Globe hostel. I was staying in Freemantle
Perth is the largest city on the Western side of Australia but it’s still very small. A few gay bars with lots of straight people.
It is gay pride which has been all month long. I’ve went to two films being shown for the gay film festival. One was “Bent” and “Relay…It’s just sex” with Jennifer Tilly. Both were excellent.
When I arrived at the Hostel all my roommates had the flu or tonsillitis. I was fortunate until two days ago and I got really sick. I think bronchitis. So I’m taking it easy and drinking a lot of orange juice and tea. It’s helping. Just as long as I stay out of trouble. Australians party a lot and love to get “pissed” thats what they call drunk.
This weekend is the gay parade. I will go and then there’s a huge after party. Then after I that I will stay at Rottnest. A beautiful paradise island off the coast. The weather has been sunny but some days get cool. It should start to cook soon. This is
Australia spring and in the summer it stays in the 100’s. When I go up the Western coast I’ll be going at the worst time because it’s the wet season where it’s 90% humidity and over a 100 degrees. I leave up the Western coast Nov 13th. I will be in a big 4WD bus that will go up the coast for 14 days. I have to go. I pay for my e-mail time.
Kathy C quite e-mailing me electronic cards! The computers are often slow here and they use all my e-mail time. Just write a few words. How is work. I miss everyone. I hope all is well and there’s not a moment that I don’t miss everyone. Have a cuppa for me which is australian for tea. Cheers!
luv cindy kleinsasser
perth Australia
Perth Australia

Date: Wed, 11 Nov 1998 17:57:05 -0800 (PST)
From: Cindy Kleinsasser
Subject: newsletter from Australia
Hi Everyone,
It’s that time. Time for the Cindy/Australia update. Now where did I leave off. I went to the gay games in Perth and it was small scale compared to SF. But well worth it. Very well put together and not the bad mob scene of SF. The funny thing is that the population of Perth is small so all the gay people that exists in the area were in the parade so all the spectators were straight. I dressed up of course the drag queen that I am. I was about the only one who was in the crowd. I sent pictures to Kathleen and Deana so if anyone wants to check them out they are good shots. They won’t arrive for a week though.
TREE Australia
Tree Australia

After being in Perth for two weeks I wanted a vacation from the city and went back to Rottnest Island for a week with Marney. Now Girls this island is incredible. Its like Hawaii without all the tourism, people and completely untouched. I think we should plan a month vacation, rent out one of the cabins that overlook the picturesque ocean for cheap$$$$$$$$$$$$. We deserve this!!!!! Life’s tooooooooooooo short. Okay I’lll move on but I wish you all were here with me. I miss everyone by the way. Some nights my heart is heavy. But all of this is well worth it. I’m thankful I went out on the limb on this and said fuck it. I hope all of you if you haven’t at one time will do it eventually OK, Rottnest! At Rottnest I went snorkeling for two days. The island is surrounded by reefs and they are beautiful to swim around and see all the fish. I went running every other day where I run up a hill and when you reach the peak is fans out to a miraculous view of the ocean. I run down strip my cloths and dive into the water and swim out a ways and then swim back. It’s awesome!!! One day me and Marney rented Tandem bikes and rode bikes around the island. They are not as easy as they look. Lots of barbecues and eating. One night I had two bottles of the best wine. By the way Western is well known for some of the best wine and then continued with beer which are stronger here then the states and next day regretted the whole event.

It took about two days to recover and have not had a glass of wine since. I quit smoking and drinking coffee. After the stint with bronchitis I decided no more! It’s almost two weeks now. What helps is that my clove cigarettes are $11 each. OUCH!!
I leave for my 14 day trek up to Darwin Friday. So when I return I will have had a crash course in Western Australia. It will be really good. It hits all the beautiful stops on the western coast.
Most of it is really “bush” all natural. I hear that we don’t get a shower for four days. It will be roughing it. I think all my lipstick will melt out there. Not much civilization for my “drag queen” attire but if “prissila queen of the desert” could do it so can I. I’ll write when I get back in fourteen days. For now g-day mates.
Drink a stubby for me. luv cindy

Date: Sat, 28 Nov 1998 20:21:06 -0800 (PST)

From: Cindy Kleinsasser

BUS ride Australia
Bus ride Australia

Hi Everyone,

I just returned from 14 days of bush camp. Yes, the “bush”. Low laying trees as far as the eye can see. Its incredible. Well lets start from the top. I left Perth and went to the Pinnacles which are all these limestone pillars that formed when the sand was wisped away.
Then off to some gorges which are deep fissures in the earth.

GORGE Australia
Tropical Rain Forest deep in the Gorge Australia

We climb down into them and there were beautiful waterfalls where we were happy to get some refreshing swimming in. The weather is about 36 degrees to 41 degrees Celsius. Then it was off to Monkey Mia where the dolphins come up to the shore and right up to you. Two baby dolphins were present with the momma dolphin amusingly parading her baby around. Then to see Shell Beach which is a beach with out sand its covered in small shells. Then Ningaloo Reef. This is where I went snorkeling in the clearest water with beautiful tropical fish.

stingray Australia
Stingray Australia

Also went swimming with the Mantaray. The plane spots the fish and we quickly boat to it then jump out and try to catch him. He was huge. About the size of four people. I swan right with him the entire time and then all of a sudden he became interested in me and came right up and brushed up against me. I was calm and excited until the guide got scared and yelled out to me then I got scared and backed out. It was truly amazing. The next few days were all Gorge walks and bush camps.

Cable Beach Australia
Cable Beach Australia

Our showers were either waterfalls or natural springs. Which sounds beautiful but after a week with no soap we were all smelling a bit “French”. Plus no laundry and wearing the same clothing as the first day. As we moved up the north the gorges were less rocky and more tropical.

Australian BIRD
Australian bird

When you climbed into a gorge the most luscious foliage was there. Straight out of the movies. Where its dry and desert like and then deep in a fissure is palm trees, cockatoos and waterfalls. I’ve sent all the pictures to Deana/Kathleen so if anyone should want to see some of these sites they are beautifully portrayed in the photos.

And “swertie” this is Deana not Deanna Dias. Sorry! Then I went on a small Cessna and went over the Bungle Bungles.

Australia Postcard
Australia Postcard

These are massive natural rock formations. They are no longer accessible by road due to the Aboriginal claims. The Aboriginal people are incredible. I find myself fascinated to learn there culture and art. I want to get a picture of them but I don’t know how. They seem very unapproachable and there is history to some resentment that I sense. They are uniquely beautiful. I went to the art museum today where an aboriginal exhibition is displayed. There art is very traditional and all have similar style. I had a chance to buy an original piece in Katherine and now regret not doing so. Since the remote towns are so desolate then you can buy some of the art that isn’t commercialized.

Now I am in Darwin. Surrounded by beautiful ocean.
Australian CROCK
Australian Crock

But no one swims in the ocean because of the killer “box jellyfish and the saltwater “croc’s”.

These crocodiles are the most dangerous. I went into some gorges with fresh water croc’s and you see them sitting on a rock or swimming and the guide says lets go and he expects this city girl to enter the water. “Hell NO! After much trepidation I do and they don’t bite. The fresh water croc’s stay away but if you accidentally kick or step on them they won’t take a second thought of taking a nice chunk of your leg. The fresh water croc’s are much smaller than the salt water ones but the salt water croc’s can get to 6 meters long and easily eat you as a nice foreign delicatessen.So what shall I do in Darwin. There is a really nice pool at the hostel and I bought a book. I want to go on a croc. tour where they feed them and they literally jump out of the water. I also want to go to an aboriginal tour. Besides that I’m lying low. I have to say I am sorry if some people wrote and I did not respond. I try to respond to everyone but for numerous reasons I may not have been able too. The computer systems in some areas are quite archaic and and even whether plays a part. I do have to say I am with drawling for a while. Some of the trip has been a passage for me as some of my friends know. The e-mails are wonderful but at the same time they are remembrances of the love you have and at times sadden me to a point that I have a difficult time pulling myself up. So I am giving myself a mental holiday. I will not get to my e-mail for an undecided time. I love and miss everyone. I have sent pictures, postcard and letters. I hope you receive them. Stacy where are you.
I sent you some gifts in the mail I hope you receive them. A special gift is in the mail for you that I am sending you. I “bared” it all to get you this. Miss and love you all. G-day Cindy

Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1999 21:41:23 -0800 (PST)

From: Cindy Kleinsasser
Subject: Re:
To: Stacy Poulos
EXPLOAustraliatravelerstipsHey Staci,
I could use one of those days as well. Nothings wrong I would just love to see you again plugging away on the computer barely paying attention to the conversation with an occasional “uh huh”. But working hard at what you do best. I miss you. Tell me about how your doing with work and relationships. I leave for Kuala Lumpur tomorrow so I may not get to e-mail for a while but its not because your not in my heart because you are always in my fond thoughts.
g-day mate luv cindy

Date: Sun, 3 Jan 1999 23:00:25 -0800 (PST)

From: Cindy Kleinsasser
Subject: Aussie mail To: All
How’s it goin mates,
I’m doing great. Today is my last day in Australia. Yes I’m leaving the mother country of “crocs” and kangeroos. I’ll miss it but no fear I’ll be back!!! I want to see the east side so everyone get ready to pack your gear and come.
Now to update. I’ve had a really relaxing last month. I flew to Perth from Darwin just in time to miss the cyclone. Luckily it passed around Darwin. The last cyclone flattened the entire city. I was not about to sit through that. I want to come home in one piece. I took a didgeridoo lesson and loved it. Don’t worry I bought one and I will put on a concerto when I get home. I went to a concert last night it was Tiddas and the Waives. Excellent and a beautiful theater under the trees out in the bush.
Australias CAVE
Australia’s Cave

So let me back up when I got home to Perth Marney picked me up and I stayed there. Now at this time I was running out of money and did. Yes, not a “aussie” or American dollar to my name. You could say I was “shitting Bricks”. Then Santa Claus finally set my stock company straight and on Christmas Eve the check arrived in the best hands and Deana, who I can’t thank enough, rushed it to the bank and now, Yeah I’m rich!! Whew! I was scared. I stayed, yes, a block from the excellent coast of Australia. Yes, eat your hearts out. I payed $40 dollars for a month to stay here in a house with the ocean at my side. This is “aussie dollar” which would equate to 25-30 american dollar. SCORE!!!!! I have to thank Marney for allowing me to stay with her. I would of ran out of money a lot sooner if she wasn’t there. So I spent the last month of my stay at the beach basting in the “no ozone” sun. I did buy a skate board and am trying my skills in different ways. I learned to jump the curb. You have a lot of time on your hands when you have no money and no job. You have to be creative. I also mastered how to loose to Marney in Checkers which I still haven’t gotten over. This last month has been really relaxing and soothing. For Christmas I had a seafood brunch that was amazing and for new Years I partied until 6am. Yes the sun was up when I left to go out and the sun was up when I went home.

So now I leave tomorrow in pure chaos and histeria to Kuala Lumpur. I am alone and scared “shitless”. I believe that I arrive in the middle of the night and I don’t have a place to stay. NO FEAR, I’m getting used to the instability of travel but I am anxious. So the agenda is going to be intense. I plan to go Singapore, Thailand, Bali, Lombok and a few islands off the coast. I will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of Kathleen on Feb 15th in Bali. She is coming for my birthday and I couldn’t be more excited. If you want to give her a letter or get anything to me I would love to receive little thoughts from you guys, give them to Kathleen before the fifteenth. Nothing big because I can’t carry much with my travels. Kathleen/Deana I sent some things home because I had to lighten my load.
I’ve sent a load of pictures to Deana and Kathleen so if anyone wants to see some of my adventures they have them. Now I may not get to e-mail for a while I will be traveling a lot and mostly third world countries who may not have e-mail. It’s not that your not in my minds I will respond as soon as I can get to e-mail. I love my e-mails and I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a happy new year. I have to go for now. Have a “stubby” for me and g-day mate. luv

By Postcard Travelers Guest writer and friend Cindy Kleinsasser

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Host: Photographer / Filmmaker Stacy Poulos
Author of ‘Life In A Nutshell’
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Kauai:The Garden Island of Hawaii By Bev Brock-Alexander


Life is a journey, this is ours… postcardTravelers
Adventure Magazine



Kauai:The GardeIsland of Hawaii
A Les
son in Simplicity
Tips for Keeping Kauai Travel Cheap!

By Bev Brock-Alexander

Jun5 25, 1998 

There is one simple word to describe Kauai: beautiful. Even when there is rain there is beauty because the sun gently passes through the Kauai precipitation creating an enormous and vibrant rainbow that can easily fill Kauai Travel Cheapthe sky. The wind is constant and welcoming, fore without it visitors would be miserably hot. The mountain scenery is filled with lush, bright greens. The water is vast with a multitude of colors and clarity. One can’t help but embrace the beauty and gain a sense of gratefulness for living.

We managed to do a lot, relax a lot and allow all our stress to go by the wayside. The first day we simply took a ten minute stroll to the beach and flew a kite. My girlfriend is an exceptional kite operator. If you have never seen a skilled kite flyer then you are in for a treat. It was amazing to watch this little kite scream across the sky and twirl with ease. This is an example of what Kauai will give you: an appreciation for simplicity. While trick kite flying takes skill, watching and being exhilarated takes simplicity.

Day two we hiked a slightly challenging trail called the Kalalau Trail on the Na Pali coast which led to wonderful beach with amazing surf. The people you will meet on this trail are diverse. From locals to newlyweds to basic tourists like us. Day three we rode rented bikes to a vista point in Waimea Canyon which is considered the Grand Canyon of Hawaii. There we witnessed nature’s awesome creativity and a very cute pigmy goat. Day four we kayaked the Hanalei river. Day five was an exceptional morning of snorkeling in Puipu where we saw dozens of unique sea creatures with amazing neon colors. Day six was a trip to a local monument called Spouting Hole. A vista point where visitors watch water spray violently through a natural hole in the lava rock. Another case of simplicity. As each wave was thrust though the hole and sprayed sometimes 15 feet in the air there was an enormous sound, almost like a whale blowing air through its air hole, only louder. As onlookers to nature’s simplicity, we would all cheered in excitement with each spray.

Every evening we feasted on wine and gourmet food in our rented home. Kauai offers many unique seafood delicacies such as: Ahi, Mahi-Mahi and Opakapaka, or pink snapper. A wonderful treat because these types of fish are difficult to find on the mainland. In addition, you will have access to many unique and flavorful fresh fruits such as pineapple, mango and papaya.

OpakapakaIf you are one to avoid exercise while on vacation then you would do well for shopping and dinning action in the town of Hanalei. There you will find several big name resorts such as the Sheraton which offer many non-exercise activities on site. In addition, Hanalei offers many other activities, for example, a helicopter flight through Waimea Canyon or a dinner cruise around the island.

Kauai has something for everyone. It’s not Waikiki, as it is much slower and there are virtually no big cities. Kauai is also not as crowded and yet not desolate either. So if you are looking for beauty, simplicity and paradise then visit Kauai.


Tips for Keeping Kauai Travel Cheap!

I found there are many options for keeping the spending down in Kauai. The total cost for my seven day trip to Kauai was $553.00. This was inclusive of air faire; house, car, bike and kayak rental; food; wine and miscellaneous. With a little forethought, you can do it to. Here’s how:

  • Keep your airfare low

We flew stand-by on a companion pass because my cousin works for the airlines. The cost is 10% of a full faire coach ticket for that day, thus my round trip air faire was approximately $100.00 total. Flying stand-by is a double edge sword because on one hand you could be bumped to the next flight, yet on the the other hand you can be bumped to first class. In fact, we flew first class both ways because we chose flights that were not full and flew during off season. Thus increasing our probability of being bumped to first class.

You can also save up those frequent flyer miles for a free ticket. If you are a business traveler this is not too difficult. For us cheap average civilians, accumulating frequent flyer miles is somewhat of a challenge. However, it can be done through the use of any major airline frequent flyer credit card. Use your credit card whenever possible. The trick is to pay it off at the end of every month. I have a girlfriend who was able to purchase a round trip ticket to Sweden by using her airline frequent flyer credit card for all her purchases for one year. I’m talking everything from a mocha to an oil change.

Choose to fly either at the beginning or end of the an off season. Then you will still be able to enjoy the tail end or beginning of lower air faires.

  • Rent a house instead of staying in a hotel

Rent a house and invite several of your fun friends and split the cost. My group of six each paid $170.00 for the entire week. With two couples and two single people, we each had our own beds in our own rooms (the two single people shared a room). One could easily pay $170.00 each night in a hotel in Kauai or anywhere in Hawaii. I suggest you call Kauai Vacation Rentals at 800-367-5025. Ranging from $600.00 to $3000.00 per week you can see pictures of their properties via their Web site. The house we rented was huge and comfortable. It had a lovely view of the ocean and Waimea Canyon from the living room, kitchen and the lanai (a Hawaiian deck). This house was a ten minute walk to the beach and we paid only $800.00 for the week-much cheaper than a hotel.

  • Bring your own wine

It’s well worth the extra effort to buy a case of wine and lug it on the plane. Remember, you won’t have to take it back. You will pay about $10.00 more per bottle in Kauai and your selection will be very limited. In fact, all food and wine is more expensive in Hawaii because they must ship the majority of it in from the mainland. So vacationer BE AWARE.

  • Cook your own food

Eating out is very expensive in Kauai or anywhere in Hawaii for that matter. For example, a simple hamburger, no fries, will cost you about $8.50. Cooking your own food as much as possible will save you a ton of money. You can cook simple or elaborate depending upon your preference. The fun part of cooking in Kauai is having access to unique seafood and fruits that are not readily available on the mainland.

  • Choose activities that don’t require a guide

You can save a lot of money by doing your own thing. For example, we spent the day kayaking for a $20.00 kayak rental fee. The gentleman at the rental place gave us suggestions of where to go, how long it would take and the level of skill required for each destination, and a kayak rack for our car for no extra charge.You can hike, walk, sit on the beach, snorkel, or visit breathtaking vista points all for free.

With a little planning you can cut your vacation costs tremendously.

You too can make your own blog at a Product of © 1989

Cake Mix By Stacy Poulos

Cake Mix
There I was, at my Nana’s side watching her mix up the chocolate cake batter, figuring out my plan of action to lick the bowl and leave my brothers to lick the beater sticks. My selfish nature is to get what I want. After all, I am the middle child. My little brother sits up on a high chair patiently awaiting his turn to get his licks in. ‘Oh gag me, that little twerp got to lick the bowl last time.’ I glance at him with the evil eye, and await my pray on the bowl. Of course, Nana’s the judge on who gets what.
Standing on my toes to see if the batter is done, I devilishly look over at my ‘happy go lucky’ brother as he awaits his cut of the leftover mix. You could see the happy hunger in his eyes. My cocky older brother is watching T.V. as if my Nana’s going to deliver it to him. If he got the bowl it’s only because of the bologna excuse “he’s older.” If my little brother got it, it would be only because he’s “the baby.” An even bigger bologna excuse yet. What about me! I always have to fight for what I want because I’m “THE MIDDLE CHILD!” Devilishly, I look at my little brother, turned my head to smile at my Nana, trying to win her over with my innocent charm.
NANA: “You want to finish mixing babe?”
STACY: “Sure!” my face lit up with joy.
She turned back to see if the oven was hot. I quickly stuck my finger in the bowl and whipped a taste into my mouth. Of course how could I be so stupid, now my little brother wants some and he’ll blow my cover.
STERLING: “Can I have some?”
My Nana turn’s to my little brother.
NANA: “You can lick the bowl when I’m done.” I wanted to burst into tears, I gritted my teeth and gave him a look to kill. He proceeded to reach over into the bowl to get a taste like I did and I pinched his hand, gritting my teeth. He started screaming as if I stabbed him with a knife.
NANA: “Hey, you guys!” she exclaimed. Sterling swung his arm to hit me. I dodged and he nearly fell off his chair. Him nearlynutshell_cover_but falling off gave me this satisfactory smile on my face, where just licking one of the beater sticks was enough this time around.

By Stacy Poulos
1st entry 8-29-93
Draft: 6 8-29-93 Published: Neighborhood Grapevine Vol 3-1 August 1-15 1993 Published in ‘Life In A Nutshell’ 2008

PostcardTraveler Adventure Magazine
Host: Photographer / Filmmaker Stacy Poulos
Author of ‘Life In A Nutshell’
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Need a product or service reviewed?
Send it to:  PostcardTravelers
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Have camera will travel. 
©2017 Postcard Travelers

internationally recognized award winning filmmaker & photographer stacy poulos