Trip to Thailand: The Real Story Please?

I’ve never been to Thailand, but I’ve heard the same stories you have about the sex trade there.

I’ve noticed that all the men I know who have gone to Thailand immediately cough up a purpose for their trip: they’re taking SCUBA classes, cooking classes, yoga, hiking.

Maybe they did go for these activities, maybe they didn’t.

Either way, it seems that telling someone about a trip to Thailand immediately necessitates justifying the trip with a non-sex purpose.

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How to Find Cheap Yoga in New York City / Manhattan

I come to NYC about one week every month or so. I share an apartment with a few people I work with in midtown (west).

Last wkend I decided to drop in to a yoga studio in my neighborhood. Then I looked at the pricing: $18 for a drop in? Wow.

The 10 class passes (which expire in 3 months) and other discount buys (unlimited monthly) would be difficult to extract value from, given the time I spend in NYC.

Then I found a great solution: the new student special.

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Many studios in NYC, in an effort to lure new customers, have specials like $20 for a week of yoga (perfect!). I looked at Google Local for all the studios in NYC. It’s quite possible to spend a few years hopping from studio to studio, enjoying new student discounts.

Another option is the “community” classes several of them have. These are classes taught by new instructors. The classes are discounted (one I am heading to now is $8).

Yoga has become so expensive – and I can see why. Any class is going to be expensive due to the cost of the instructor and space in NYC. But at $18 a drop-in, you think twice about doing yoga.

The “Me Vacation”

Every year, I like to take what I call a “me vacation”.

I started doing this 12 years ago.I like to go somewhere remote – the coast of Northern California and Oregon have been my favorite destinations.  I like to get a small, cozy place by the water.

Whereas typical vacations are usually about exploring your surroundings, I like the Me Vacation because I explore….well, me.   

I bring my laptop and my guitar.  I do a lot of yoga.  I bring books. I write.  I check-in with myself.This year I am finishing a work version of the Me Vacation.  People at work are referring to it as a “sabbatical.”  

I’ve been holed up for a week in my apartment designing the 2008 line of SEO products.There are some nice tricks to making a work week like this exciting (well, I love my work, so it would have been anyway).

I went to Trader Joe’s before the week started and spent $100 (which as you probably know, goes so far at that place) on tons of tasty, pre-prepared meals (well, I did cook once), and other treats.  They have a Cherry Vanilla “soy-cream” that is so amazing.And what made this week even more enjoyable was the rain.  

Having the heat cranked up, a hot pot of tea, and hearing the rain beat down on the roof as I designed exciting new products and listened to Groove Salad on beloved SOMAfm was my version of work heaven. 

On the topic of rain – I love the rainy season in San Francisco.  It reminds me of what a cozy city we have. 

New Yorkers and Consideration

New Yorkers have a reputation for being brash and pushy.

Having recently come back from Barcelona, I noticed a striking difference in cultural consideration.

Barcelona and NYC both have fantastic subway systems.

In Barcelona, when you try to get off a train, the people trying to get on don’t wait.  They walk right at you.

In NYC, everyone waits for people to leave the train before they get on.

New Yorkers have a gracious subway etiquette oddly lacking in Spain.

Tapas: Better in SF?

So, it was pretty miserable being a vegetarian in Spain.

Because this is SF and the food here rules, I found that I prefer the tapas places here MORE than in Spain.

Why? Because SF expects vegetarians in their restaurants.  Spain, which still allows smoking in airports, restaurants, and probably even in emergency rooms, is deeply rooted in old traditions.

And while Spain is a horrible place to be a vegetarian, it is a delightful place for the heavy weekend drinker (which is why Laurie came with).

La Sagrada Familia – The Modern Reality of Gaudi

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So this is La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi’s true masterpiece.

What’s interesting about it is that construction began in 1882 and it’s still not done.

I know what you’re thinking: if the Spanish didn’t stay up so late, take naps in the middle of the day, and eat that unhealthy food, they’d have finished it by now.

But there is more to the story.

“My client is not in a hurry,” Gaudi said.

I’m not sure if he considered God or humanity his client, but it was certainly one of the two (if not both) and so I can see his point.

He aspired to combine nature and geometry, form and structure. He wanted his buildings to look ALIVE.

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What better way to give a building a sense of life and growth than for it to be eternally under construction? Each architectural generation has left its mark.

But a recurring question I have is this: did Gaudi envision his parks and buildings only being populated by tourists?

For instance, the room in the below picture was designed as a place for people to go during “inclement weather”. The windows in the room gave them both protection and a view of the city to create a pensive atmosphere.

However, as you can see, it is now serves as a waiting line for an elevator.

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Imagine creating such beautiful parks and buildings for mankind, and in the end, they just become tourist ant farms.

The Rule of Three

So Laurie’s boyfriend Tom (see Tom Bennett Music – you’ll dig his music) has a “rule of three” for when you’re looking for a place to eat, drink, sleep, and “generally exposing yourself to a lot of stuff…I don’t know about women”, Laurie said.

Cruise by three places and then loop back and go into the best one.

Otherwise, you may make a hasty decision on a place when you’re hungry, thirsty, tired, or…well, I don’t know where Tom goes with this rule.