Bear necessities

If you’re hiking in the Romanian woods and run into a bear, apparently you should play dead.

I’m not sure I’d trust my acting skills in such a dire situation. Then again, lying in foetal position in a frozen state of panic probably wouldn’t involve that much acting.

If the bear proceeds to try and eat you, apparently it’s then time to talk in a firm voice. I can’t help but wonder if he’d understand the Kiwi accent?

Bear etiquette 101. This was quickly googled after many a traveller returned from Transylvanian hikes proclaiming they’d smelt bears.

Yes, no joke. Apparently you can litterally smell them.

“What sort of smell is it?” I enquired, ever so casually.

“You just know. Go the other way if you smell them.”

Great. Very reassuring. Honey face masks probably not be happening this week.

But bears are not all grrrrrrrr. Sometimes they get depressed. I learnt all about it at the Libearty Bear Sanctuary in Brasov, Romania.

A lot of bears became depressed at the hands of cruel owners who used them to attract tourists. The bears would refuse to eat, or worse, self mutiliate – eating their own paws.

There were many other horrific stories as well. Bears with arthritis from being made to sit still for too long. Bears who had never been to the forest. Bears scared of other bears. Bears blinded from the flashes of tourist’s cameras.

When you see these fellas with their soulful eyes, playful paws and feigned cuddly ways you can’t help but feel incredibly sorry for them. But surely modern day tourists wouldn’t be so stupid.

At the sanctuary there were many huge signs, warning of the electric fences around the enclosures. Our guide kept reiterating not to get more than 1m close.

Next thing there’s a gasp, and everyone had gathered. As I got closer I realise someone had dropped their iPhone 6 in the enclosure.

“Who would be stupid enough to do that?” I muttered to myself.

“We did!” A couple next to me admitted sheepishly.

Opps. I feigned sympathy as they retold how he’d leaned too close with his phone, got electrocuted and phone went flying in.

Well at least now maybe the bear could take selfies? That seemed to help depressed people get a self-esteem boost.

I wonder what you should do if you come across a depressed bear in the wild? Give him a hug?

I’d like to hope they wouldn’t be depressed in nature. And luckily I follow the advice of google, not my desire to get the ultimate bear hug.

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Meet my friend Narcissus

Caravaggio's Narcissus

Caravaggio’s Narcissus

Narcissism goes way back to Grecian times, when we made stone sculptures to immortalise ourselves. As the Greek myth went, Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection in a pool, and died of grief as he refused to eat, drink or leave his own reflection*

Rather sad, gotta feel for the poor guy. I’m sure we all can relate to feelings of thirst, hunger and unrequited love. If self-love hasn’t lead to death you probably thinking you’re winning, but times are changing.

Today Narcissism is defined as excessive admiration of one’s physical appearance with a craving for admiration**

In our modern world of online media, I can’t help but feel the line between narcissism and self-expression have blurred.

We all know at least one chronic Facebook user. We cringe and groan in annoyance as they clutter our news feed with a never ending stream of selfies and posts.

Since upgrading to an iPhone, my love of photography has grown threefold. I like to post photos to Instagram and Facebook. I would argue this is a form of self-expression.

I like to capture beauty, I like to capture fun happenings, and I like to keep any selfies to a minimum.

I did have a lapse in self-restraint last week after a visit to the hair dressers. My shameless selfie received a whopping 68 likes and 27 comments.

This has got to be my greatest number of likes in recent times. Even bigger than me meeting Orlando Bloom. I find this rather perplexing. People should be discouraging narcissistic behaviour, not encouraging it.

And do such postings mean I am subconsciously craving admiration and affirmation from the masses? Or is it harmless to share my curly mass of hair gone straight once in a blue moon?

I haven’t died of starvation staring at myself in the mirror just yet, so I may be okay. But it definitely leaves me with a lot of room for thought — I just have to hope that the room doesn’t contain a rather large mirror.

*http://www.echo.me.uk/legend.htm

**http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/narcissism