Reykjavik

Dear Elly G,

It’s the ascent that gets me. Every time. That feeling when the giant metal tube you’re in careens down the runway and takes off, leaving your stomach somewhere between the earth and the sky and it feels like a lifetime of being at a 45-degree angle, just climbing. It’s always a while before I can breathe easy again.

Sometimes it’s easy. It’s smooth and uneventful, the plane cutting through clouds without resistance. Sometimes it’s hard. The ascent is choppy, like riding a skiff over rough waves, and I find myself wondering if that view of the city will be my last, wondering if maaaayyyybe I should’ve kept my shoes on in case the plane loses its battle with gravity and we plunge into the sea and I need to frog swim in the Arctic Ocean to save my life or at least prolong it, if only by a few minutes by finding a floating piece of wreckage and I won’t be able to do that if my feet are the first to go.

But I like ascents. I like the thrill. Humans weren’t meant to fly, and each time we take off, it almost feels like having a middle finger extended at the great wide cosmos: look at me now, Dad! I really should knock on wood thrice, because it feels like I’m mocking the fates. Unfortunately, there is nothing wooden to be found on the Airbus. I might try and find a catalogue to knock on, I suppose that will work. Paper coming from wood and all that.

There is a guy on this plane who seems to love that there is absolutely no wood to be found. A thinks he’s on something, very likely little purple party pills, because he keeps going up and down the aisles, just running his hands over everything. Everything. It’s weird. And gross – does he even realize how germy the interior of an airplane can be? He’s not running his hands over the passengers, at least. He’s doing it on all the surfaces of the plane he can touch, including the covers of the overhead luggage compartments. I’ve decided he’s some sort of shaman, blessing the plane’s interior with good juju. Between you and me, A is more likely to be right than I am, though.

Speaking of wood, we touched down in Reykjavik and the terminal is almost all wood. It’s warm, and cozy in that minimalist sort of Scandinavian way, all interesting angles and curves and mood lighting. I wasted no time heading for the mini grocery they had going on, to score some skyr. Passed a few displays of interesting salt. “Lava salt,” and all that, but I tasted it and it doesn’t taste like anything other than salt. Lies! I do have my eye on the cutest little figurine. It’s of a fat Viking, and it makes me happy to see it. We’re stopping over in Iceland again on the way back from England, so I’m sleeping on it for now. I didn’t get to buy the skyr, there were problems with my card or something. I’m hoping this is not a theme for when we get to England, because it is going to be annoying going around with le cash in le pockets. I have nightmares of a Dickensian London, with the Artful Dodger going around picking pockets willy nilly. Listen to me, sounding all first world Visa paywave and shit.

I could be a morning person in Iceland. It’s about 6:45 AM in Reyjkjavik, and it’s still black as night. We left at eight in the morning with no sunrise to be seen. I didn’t do a lot of reading up on Iceland, because it’s just a transit stop on the way to jolly old London, so that is going to have to be remedied.

Advertisements

Hairless Whisper

1/12/17

Dear Elly G,

The difference between a Brazilian done in Toronto and a Brazilian done in Dumaguete spans leagues.

The former takes approximately ten minutes. It’s quick, clinical, precise and expensive, barely even giving me any time to register the loss of body hair.

The latter starts with the aesthetician handing me a bathrobe, a towel and a small bar of soap. (“Ma’am, wash first?”) You know you’re in the Philippines when you need a clean vagina before the waxer even deals with you. That’s how we are. We brush our teeth before seeing the dentist. We wash our vajayjays before getting a wax. My usual suki  admitted to seeing her share of tampon strings. She would never think of asking her clients to wash themselves. I can only imagine the judgment meted out by a Filipina waxer if someone dared to come in for a wax while on her period.

She had me staring at the ceiling for the better part of an hour wondering what my labia must look like to someone who had a spotlight pointed at my crotch and was aggressively parting it every which way, hunting down stray pubes with a tweezer. (“Ma’am, pwede i-puller?”) No one has ever paid that much attention to my nether regions. Not A. Not my gynecologist. Not even I.

Also, so much aggressive rubbing! Each time she spread a bit of wax and applied the strip, she would apply pressure and rub like there was no tomorrow, ensuring the wax stuck to the strip so she could remove as much hair as was humanely possible. I wasn’t quite sure if I was supposed to orgasm. I wanted to ask her if anyone ever had, but concentrated on biting back my laughter and holding in a fart instead.

The best part was when I had to part my buttcheeks. Never underestimate the weirdness of parting your own buttcheeks while a total stranger plucks it clean of hair because there are some parts that wax can’t reach. I’m assuming there are some parts that wax can’t reach, anyway. All for the low price of PhP 550! Sulit na sulit.

 

Yours in hairlessness,
Nikka

 

PS: Traffic here is awful.

PPS: A motorcab had a sign on its rear that read “Ang mulusot pisot” in big blue letters.

Finally, Part Deux (Ex Machina)

Dear Elly G,

Now where was I? Oh yes.

I was beginning to despair. I thought the whole weekend would be a literal wash, because it rained the whole of Thursday and it looked like the sun had dropped the mic and walked out on the whole program altogether. But a little redhead once said the sun would come out tomorrow, and it did, bless that little orphan’s heart. I’m glad it did; we wouldn’t have been able to appreciate the beauty of the Georgian Bay peninsula as much if it hadn’t.

So the second biggest reason A and I went north was to check out Flowerpot Island and the shipwrecks of Tobermory. I had plans to tour the island, but didn’t plan things properly on purpose – the weather was unpredictable and I didn’t know if it would rain. By the time we went to get tickets the island walk-on tours were all booked up and we settled for the non-walk-on tour instead. It wasn’t too bad. I did have a giggle, because their carved statue of a fisherman reminded me of penis.

IMG_3117.JPG
Did someone say bris?

I know, I know. I’m twelve.

Anyway.

Read More »

Gorgeous George and Chi-Chee Rodriguez, Une and a Half

Dear Elly G,

I guess when I said “gifs,” I meant “a gif.” Because I don’t want to overwhelm. Or overshare. Or both. Or who cares, it’s driving onto a boat and off of it after an hour and a half or so, and here I am gushing about it because I’m an ignoramus. Anyway, it’s just a really cool way to do it. Of course it’s squeaky clean, has a lounge, a gift shop (a Boatique, awww) and a surprisingly respectable cafeteria. I say respectable because it comes with its own popcorn machine, a nacho bar and a pretzel carousel. That’s on top of the full-service kitchen promising an all-day breakfast, fish and chips and even chicken curry on a bed of steaming basmati. (A: “I really like this boat.”)

Read More »

Gorgeous George and Chi-Chee Rodriguez, Part Une

Dear Elly G,

The biggest reason A and I went north last weekend​ was the M.S. Chi-Cheemaun. Ojibwa for Big Canoe, the ship is the only way to get from Tobermory, which is a town at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula, to the island of Manitoulin. We didn’t know anything much about it other than its prow being heavily decorated with colourful Native American art, and an advertised relaxing view. (Most of this research was done via quick, cursory glances at ads on the subway; pretty boat, Adirondack chairs, white people in shorts holding beer? Advertising works!)

Read More »

The Choices We Make

Dear Elly G,

So this is why that night was epic. Not only did you write, produce, direct and star in your own version of The Best Party Guest Ever, you also got hugged by a guy you are attracted to. And not just a boring, wimpy, ass-out hug either. A hug tight enough for you to feel his back muscles and biceps. We all know this is how you get your kicks – lingering physical contact with handsome, fragrant men you have a big crush on! After all that, I can only imagine the amount of pudding in your panties if you somehow finagled your way into XX’s arms at our looming high school reunion. I feel like someone would have to stand by with a defibrillator in case things got spastic. After the heady rush of that dinner party and its subsequent ending, ending up in a VIP booth with free drinks in a nightclub straight out of a Baz Luhrmann fever dream could only be the icing on the cake.

(Speaking of cakes, coming out of the kitchen with a candlelit cake, coyly singing Happy Birthday? Not the star of the night, my fat ass. If you weren’t, you certainly earned points for trying.  You do realize you just negated your claim to being self-conscious when you channeled your inner Marilyn, right? If I had been at that party, I would probably be Janeane Garofalo.) Read More »

Mi Ultimo Adios

Dear Elly G,

I don’t know why they call it the Dirty Thirties. I certainly haven’t dirtied up this first half of that decade. I hope you have, though. If not me, at least you should.

My thirties so far have been so clean they’re squeaky. Much, I imagine, like what the next decade is going to be like. Squeaky. As in rusty hinges in need of oiling. Because this is it. This is my last day being thirty-four. Being on Halifax time is only postponing the fact. In the Philippines, it’s already happened, and I am  already thirty-five. That’s it. I’ve hit the the peak and I’m teetering on the edge. Everything after 35 is just going to go downhill, like my boobs and my chin and my butt. I’ll deflate like an old balloon.

It probably won’t be that drastic, at least I hope not, but I’m starting to have days where I look in the mirror and I just…

I guess I’ll have to embrace aging gracefully, like Madeleine Ashton – except with less money. This means  I’m never going to be like the patron saint of life at seventy… I invoke thee, dear glorious Jane Fonda, I invoke thee! But I will at least attempt not to hasten the process overmuch. I’m buying a treadmill.

Yes, a treadmill. It was that, or gastric bypass surgery. Yes, all my remedies for losing weight involve invasive procedures. Why? Because I like my results the way my father likes his coffee: instant. I want to pop a pill and be reborn immediately without the work, the blood, the sweat, the tears. I want to wake up the next day and be resistant to gravity again. Isn’t that what we secretly whisper into the ether as we blow out the candles on our  birthday cake? I know it’s what I whisper. Except as punishment for having no self-control, I am no longer allowed to have cake.

So enjoy your last four days of being thirty-four. You are the only one left, the last man standing. Fight that good fight! And when Father Time wins, as he always does, don’t despair; you can join the rest of us already in the last half of our Dirty Thirties. We’re waiting for you, but there’s no need to rush.

Love and hunger,

Nikka