Photo of the day: Summer Finale

A splice of beach life in the little surfing town Whangamata, Coromandel peninsula, New Zealand.

This weekend marked the end of summer in the Southern Hemisphere. Tragic. Luckily ever changing weather patterns mean summer will stick around a little longer…

photo-54

Bounced by a shark

Stranger things have happened. Was it all a delusion, or was I actually bounced by a shark?

I’m back in beginner surf land, up in the sharky waters of New Zealand’s far north. I can’t help but reminisce of one afternoon last summer.

I get the thing with surfing, I really do. The road trip, the stunning backdrops, the adrenaline rush… but it still kinda terrifies me. There’s attempting to Eskimo roll when a giant wave is coming, and then there’s sharks. I still sometimes hear jaws music when I’m clutching my board.

Last summer I did a fair bit of attempting to surf. A beginner’s board was lying around where I was staying, and so I was playing with that.

I must have been getting ballsy, because one day I found myself out quite far from the shore in some deep water. A rather large wave came roaring towards me, so I chucked my board away and dove underneath in an attempt to avoid the onslaught.

I was flung at the wrath of the wave in various directions. Next thing I hit into a large, rather smooth, solid mass and bounced back to the surface of the water.

My board was to my far right, and being so buoyant, there’s no way it could’ve been under me. The next thing to rule out was the ocean floor. I was miles out, far from the shallows. The next step in the process of elimination was of course a shark.

In a state of sheer terror, I exited the water at an accelerated speed. I paced the beach, and considered what has just happened. What had I bumped into down in the deep sea?

After much deep breathing and rationality I reasoned that even if it was a shark, it must have been a friendly fellow. I could probably safely go back into the water now. I was being ridiculous. I went back in, but clutched my board tighter than usual.

I still wonder, what was a bounced by? A sand bank? A large fish? A shark?

From dancing like a pole to a Latina

I’ve done dancing on and off since I was a kid, yet when my friend and I travelled in South America the locals told us we danced liked poles.

And they didn’t mean in a sexy pole dancing way, but in a rigid inanimate object kinda way. Years of jazz and hip hop hadn’t taught me latino hips. I was apparently, doing it all wrong. I was devastated.

Nightclub upon nightclub the feedback was always the same. Our olive skin and curly hair didn’t disguise us. “Where are you from?” they could tell we weren’t locals as we looked so funny dancing.

Upon returning to New Zealand, we quickly sought to rectify this. One beginner salsa lesson at a time, we were inducted into the ways of Latin dance. It’s all in the hips. And slowly but surely my “pole” dancing was rectified.

My Kiwi personal space bubble was also quickly destroyed. Here in NZ, we have a rather large personal space boundary – don’t get too close! Yet this didn’t go so well with the Latin dancing. They dance close and intimately. While I initially hated Salsa for this reason, I found my space bubble quickly shrunk, and I was happy to be flung around the dance floor.

A year of Salsa under my belt I went back to South America. The transformation was amazing. I danced my way across all the local dance floors, and nightclubs and was showered in compliments by locals who couldn’t believe I was from New Zealand not a Latina.

Funny to think how all this inspired my dancing today. Call me a Latino at heart but I still love the dance and the culture. It’s vibrant, it’s exciting, but most of all it’s fun.

Now I just need to master actual pole dancing.

When my 2 blogs collide. Re-blogged from:

http://vivadanceblog.com/2013/11/13/from-dancing-like-a-rigid-pole-to-a-latina-the-story-of-what-inspired-me-to-learn-to-dance/

Capoeira street dancers in Rio

Capoeira street dancers in Rio

A Bolivian Parade Dances by

A Bolivian Parade Dances by

A Tango Milonga in Buenos Aires

A Tango Milonga in Buenos Aires

Argentinian Street Art

Argentinian Street Art

Adieu Wellington!

They say all good things must come to an end, and after 10 weeks in Wellington I’ve bid my farewells.

I feel like I have a new lease on life. I came here dissatisfied and uninspired. I’ve gone home having come full circle: fresh, inspired, optimistic.

While my outlook may have changed, circumstances remain largely the same. I’ve returned home needing to find work and a new flat.

The thought of living at home temporarily “contracting” at the sprightly age of 27 is less than inspiring.

And the question that vexed me when I came to Wellington still remains. Do I continue to pursue a career in TV/Film, challenging as it may be. Do I move into Communications like I studied? Do I get a “real job?”  – what do I actually want?

Do I escape reality and go overseas? Do I move overseas in the guise of looking for work in greener pastures?

No matter where we go, and where we come back to, these same age old questions still vex us.

We may aspire to be free, have no ties, but in reality this is not possible. Wherever we are we set up roots.

But I have returned to Auckland fresh. Things are looking good, I’ve got a few cards on the table work wise and I feel better equipped to play them.

And I’ve realised it’s the simple things in life that bring happiness. Long walks on the beach, good companionship, a sense of purpose and my daily green smoothie never goes amiss.

Life

Magic Padded Undies

Padded undies, a craze that’s long been popular in South America has recently hit Western culture. Thank goodness, we’ve all been anxiously waiting for their arrival.

The other night I stumbled upon these wee gems on www.asos.com an old favourite shopping website of mine.

Undies

Magic Padded Bum Pants. What a name. And the tagline reads “padding provides more volume that will give curves.”

Simply magical! Finally the flat bottomed lass, can have a booty like Beyonce and JLo.

Yet it surprises me we’ve taken so long to catch on. I spotted these when I was travelling through South America close to 4 years ago.

For all you men out there that thought all South Americans were blessed with a cushy booty, I can imagine it must be kind of disappointing.

And to disappoint you further, butt implants are apparently all the rage over there too. It can be hard to determine what’s real.

Us women are lucky that there are constantly new ways we can make ourselves more beautiful and attractive to the opposite sex. This pretty much sums it up:

Real-Man

It’s one of the many paradoxes of modern society.

In Brasil I greatly admired how every lady; small or large, bootilicious or not was happy to strut their stuff on the beach.

That is something I’d like to see in New Zealand. Luckily our bikini bottoms are ever so slightly larger, so you should be able to fit your padded undies underneath  – if you’re that way inclined.

Ipanema, Brasil 2010

Ipanema, Brasil 2010

And for all you women interested in obtaining some magic undies for that special night or day out:

http://www.asos.com/Magic/Magic-Padded-Bum-Pants/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=834085&WT.ac=rec_viewed

Picture from: http://www.getingo.com/fake-woman-seeking-real-man/

A rumble in the urban jungle

As the constant rumbling is becoming a norm, I’m becoming slightly more blasé about the shakes.

I no longer go into a state of sheer panic, intending to run around haphazardly like the Office Jogger (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q3aUcSiHw0A)

I now have a plan: “drop, cover, hold.” I’ve studied the safety video closely – several times.  I’ve even practiced under the dining room table.

I’ve also done intensive research on seismology, earth science and tectonic plates. I feel informed. I feel I understand the earthquakes.

And I’ve rationalised my probability of survival. It’s not as bad as I originally presumed. I’m feeling pretty good.

I’m awoken to the house rocking and rolling, I wait it out, and then I roll over and go back to sleep.

A rumble hits, I put my beer down, wait it out and then resume the beer. Life goes on.

But it seems as soon as you’ve forgotten about the earthquakes another will rumble, as a friendly reminder to keep your wits about you.

I’ve experienced more earthquakes in the last 4 days then some people will in their entire lives. It’s a strange feeling.

Earthquakes (like other natural disasters) are one of the few things that are completely out of our control. We are just a mere mortal at the fate of the elements.

They are unpredictable; we can only speculate what will happen next. No one is completely sure.

But, I think earthquakes have some benefits. They make us grateful we’re alive, and question what’s really important.

Browsing Facebook in the wake of a quake makes you realise how shallow modern society is.  And I’m just as bad as the rest of them. Maybe our urban jungle needs a bit of a shakeup.

And earthquakes are a humbling experience, because at the end of that day, who you are and what you do in society is insignificant.

They can hit anyone, anytime, anywhere. Whether you’re the homeless man on the street or the CEO on level 12 is completely irrelevant.

With that in mind, I’m back to a high-rise building in Wellington’s CBD today.  Wish me the luck of the Irish. Or whisky.

I have been enjoying the odd glass of whisky on the rocks lately to calm the earthquake nerves. It’s maybe an answer to one of the smaller questions. Whisky – a tonic for trembling tectonics?

Splash in glass of whiskey and ice isolated