Showing posts from February, 2012

Taking A Leap For Leap Year (Literally)

I blame it on Montreal. Roaming through  the streets of La Belle Ville means encountering all manner of circus arts, from stilt walkers in front of stores to aerialists on the streets. It's not the home of Cirque Du Soleil for nothing. I think such close encounters with high flying performers lodged a lot of curiosity in my mind. So when the notion of doing something unusual for Leap Year arrived what did I do? I signed up for flying trapeze class. I don't think this sort of learning environment would have seemed fun to me before Montreal.  I have not thought fully about all the details, I've just decided to do it.  After all, Chicago Trapeze School' s  motto is "Forget fear. Worry about the addiction."  Right. So have your travels inspired you to do anything you wouldn't ordinarily do?

A Hawaiian Hello

I was greeted with a variety of expressions when I visited Kaua'i. Besides the famous Aloha, which claims many layers of meaning, from hello to love, I learned that Hawaiians pour a lot of thought into saying hello. It's all about the Aloha spirit, which literally translates to sharing breath and being present in the essence of life. From younger Hawaiians, I heard, Pehea 'oe?  which means how are you or what's up?  I was also  honored with a traditional greeting of  gently pressing foreheads together, which threw me off guard initially. Now I understand that according to traditional Hawaiian beliefs, words and bones contain mana  or energy and spiritual power. The frontal bone of the forehead represents the true self and pressing your forehead against some else's opens the true self to each other. Most memorably, I was instructed in the Hawaiian "Shaka" greeting by the imitable Dickie Chang , above.  Dickie is a popular TV show host and a member of the

A Tea Tasting Trip

So I love tea. I won't have anything to do with coffee but tea? I have a special cabinet crammed with dozens of boxes and I never pass up a chance to sample a new flavor.  When the opportunity to explore a tea tasting trip arrived, you know I was there. A handful of countries  are noted for excellent tea. No, I didn't visit India, China or Japan, this trip unfolded on a frosty winter day in Chicago, at the Loose Leaf Lounge. I've experienced all sorts of tastings, from chocolate to conch but I never tried a tea tasting. There were many categories to choose from, including tea for health, unusual teas and intro to teas but I couldn't pass up dessert teas.  Just look at the teas we sampled above. I don't know about you but names like Chocolate Indulgence and Almond joi  are tempting just from the names alone. Our guide was the genial Lester, owner of the Loose Leaf Lounge. He informed us that his original idea was for a Kool Aid Cafe but I'm glad he got ov

Jean Paul Gaultier in Montreal

One of the most memorable experiences that I had in Montreal wasn't the Jazz Fest (sorry Cubano) or the impressive art and foodie scenes. I was actually blown away by "The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From The Sidewalk to the Catwalk" at the Montreal Museum of Fine Art.  I expected to spend a few hours browsing through this traveling exhibit but I ended up devoting six straight hours to this exhaustive, multimedia, display of  the art of fashion.  Walking up the black carpeted steps with Jean Paul Gaultier's name in lights, I didn't  quite know what to expect. This didn't look like any museum exhibit I had ever witnessed. How right I was. This was clearly unlike any museum show, fashion or otherwise. I was greeted by a talking mannequin of Jean Paul himself, shown above. He spoke in his own voice, in French, English and Spanish. The mannequin's face flashed with expressions and movements. It was eerie but fascinating all the same. The exhib