We The People Are Greater Than Fear

Happy New Year, my loves! Here are a few highlights from my hometown: San Francisco, California!


Ciao,

Your Woman

**My next adventures will be in Paris, Geneva, and Zimbabwe**

Something to be Thankful For

Thanksgiving holiday will always remind me of the violent way that my mother died this time around five years ago. I almost didn’t want to celebrate this day this year but traditions have a way of making us remember how we were once loved by those who have left us and how we need to appreciate those who want to love us.

Highlights from the Aloha land:

Tokyo Escapade

I am falling in love again with the other, the foreign, the unimaginable — my sense of adventure burrowing deep, coming back to me again.
Here are the highlights!

  • View from the hotel in Shibuya:

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  • Breakfast!

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  • A part of the Meguro river in the hipster Nakameguro neighborhood:

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  • Busy Shibuya crossing on a Sunday morning:

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  • A rustic café on the border of Ebisu and Shinjuku:

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  • Lovely narrow passages for couples to sneak in a hug and kiss. Displays of affection are quite rare here:

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  • Sea urchin (uni) over grilled scallop at Tsukiji Fish Market!

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  • I haven’t been a seafood fan lately due to allergies, but I had to try the delicious Japan uni over rice:

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  • Paying respects at the Meiji shrine on a gorgeous day in Tokyo:

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  • Hundred-old trees and beautiful moss at the Meiji park:

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  • The old Ginza Kimuraya bakery is famous for their sweet and savory anpan. Really tasty bites:

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  • Lined up for Ginza Kigari’s most scrumptious chicken ramen! I will always have stomach space for this:

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  • It was a fortuitous day in Ginza for us because of the Olympic and Paralympic parade. The fans expressed so much love for their sports ambassadors:

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  • Farmers’ market in the middle of busy Shinjuku:

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  • My friend and old flatmate treated me to La Maison Du Chocolat eclair. A dose of Paris 40 floors up!

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  • In crazy Shibuya, a tasting of affordable sushi at your nearest kaiten is a must. Ordering food like this, from an iPad and no interaction with a human, blew my mind:

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“I think all of us understand that we don’t understand anything about Japan.” — Anthony Bourdain, The Parts Unknown

Love,

Your Woman

**Next on the hit list: Seattle, Washington DC, New York, Paris! :-)

**Follow me on Instagram (@chariteee)

Oh Canada: Vancouver City

Our first time in Canada took off beautifully via road trip from Seattle airport. Here are the highlights of our road trip:

  • Ketchup crisps were mildly exciting for me, as I haven’t seen these outside of Canada:

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  • Our first day in Vancouver made me smile. Blue skies, friendliest people, cool vibes:

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  • We were cycling around Stanley Park and passed through this bridge. I loved the texture of this city — so green, mountainous, water like glass, clear sky:

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  • Our cycling trip took about 6 hours, and I didn’t expect to see a beach at Stanley Park! I wanted to leave my bike and dive into the water:

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  • We did a bit of window shopping in Gastown, a hipster-like area of Vancouver. Bar Jules looked so lovely in the afternoon light that day:

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  • Chambar Restaurant served French Canadian dishes and accommodated our request for a late, late lunch. They became famous for their waffles but their mussels were more delicious!

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  • If there’s a place I’d come back to, it’s Beaucoup Bakery 🙂 …So mouthwatering. We bought nearly 10 things there and each item tasted amazing. That scone? Heavenly.

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“Diversity is the engine of invention.” — Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Love,

Your Woman

**Next on the hit list: Seattle, Washington DC, Tokyo! :-)

**Most photos were taken using my iPhone and published on Instagram (@chariteee) with the Lark filter

London City

A quick visit with friends in London punctuated my summer across the pond. Here we go, highlights from London!

  • My friend treated us to A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Shakespeare Globe Theatre. AMAZE:

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  • A stroll in Covent Garden:

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  • I checked out the Sunken Cities exhibit at the British Museum and learned the ways in which Egyptians and Greeks influenced each other. MUST SEE if you’re a history buff:

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  • My room at the old school Covent Garden Hotel:

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  • I visited the underwear exhibit at the V&A Museum and sat in the garden with my tea and scone. A nice thing to do solo when friends decided to stay in the house:

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  • Wowed by the Old Gentleman’s Club architecture in Hyde Park:

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  • Delicious British Indian home-cooked meal, thanks to my friend’s mom:

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“Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind…” — William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Love,

Your Woman

**Next on the hit list: Seattle, Vancouver, Washington DC! Happy summer to all of you:-)

**Most photos were taken using my iPhone and published on Instagram (@chariteee) with the Lark filter

Scotland Summer

I joined friends for a holiday in Edinburgh and Fort William in the highlands of Scotland. Here are the highlights (also on Instagram @chariteee)!

  • Princes Street Gardens, with everyone playing Pokemon Go:

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  • Stunning architecture:

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  • Edinburgh Castle, with terrific views of the city:

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  • Breakfast around the corner at Wellington Coffee:

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  • A week after the UK Pokemon Go launch, I was obsessed with the game and, being the third wheel in my group, I enjoyed catching Drowzees as I walked behind these two:

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  • It was sunny that week, featuring the greenness of Edinburgh:

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  • Bagpipes and kilts!

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  • St. Giles Cathedral and its minions:

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  • At Fort William in the highlands, after a 3-hour switchback bus ride passing through Glasgow and the Loch, I kicked back in my room and marveled at this view:

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  • Inverlochy Castle nearby:

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  • My friend arranged a ride on The Jacobite train, which inspired the Hogwarts Express and the James Bond fight scene in Skyfall. The experience was inexplicably exciting! We took it to reach the westernmost city of Scotland:

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“It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Love,

Your Woman

**Next on the hit list: London, Seattle, Vancouver, Washington DC! Happy summer to all of you:-)

**Most photos were taken using my iPhone and published on Instagram (@chariteee) with the Lark filter

Almost Summer in Copenhagen

I came to Copenhagen for a global conference and later met with my best friend K who flew down from Norway to catch up with me. I haven’t seen him since last year in Lisbon in the throes of his failing relationship with B. The hurt remained so I made sure that our Copenhagen agenda was easy: eat, drink, be happy.

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So here it is, friends! Hope you enjoy the highlights of our trip:

  • We had just finished breakfast at Mad and Kaffe when the Copenhagen marathon commenced along the Sørden Boulevard.

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  • Rosé is back in rotation for summer 🙂 which I thoroughly enjoyed at every meal. Here at Café Norden, we lingered all afternoon to watch people and eat a smörgåsbord of delicious stuff.

  • We walked to the touristy Nyhavn area to check out its painted houses, mercantile docks, and boats of love.

  • We also took a Saturday stroll along the Palace and saw this beautiful church next to it.

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  • And of course we had to see The Little Mermaid statue, which was a tribute to the genius of Hans Christian Andersen. But really, all we did was laugh at rude tourists who were trying to grab the mermaid’s breasts.

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  • Brunch at Café Dyrehavn was a delight. We loved Copenhagen’s healthy food culture.

  • The Central Station was pretty much the focal point of the city as we crisscrossed through neighborhoods, but we got a sense that Copenhagen wasn’t quite planned as deliberately as, say, Amsterdam was. It became clear that the Danes put a premium on the natural environment of Copenhagen. No wonder it is one of the happiest places on earth.

  • Enghave Kaffe’s simple but good breakfast spread got us going one morning. The tattooed biker staff were the friendliest of the kind we’ve ever encountered.

  • At our apartment: “Here we smile and greet each other.”

  • We stayed at my friend Andreas’ place in the trendy Vesterbro neighborhood, otherwise known as the red light district. You wouldn’t know it but across the street was a row of sketchy massage parlors.

“Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale.” – Hans Christian Andersen

Love,

Your Woman

**Next on the hit list: Scotland and Greece! Happy summer to all of you 🙂

**Most photos were taken using my iPhone and published on Instagram (@chariteee) with the Lark filter

Istanbul Break

My long weekend in Istanbul is rife with worry. We arrive on a humid spring evening and immediately start receiving alerts from the USG about a roadside bombing. There is also chatter about credible threats to Americans in the city, particularly around Taksim Square and other touristy spots. Bummer, I remember thinking to my sleep-deprived self. We are staying in the Old City in Sultanhamet, hardly a haven for tourists.

My adventurous brother decide to ignore the warnings and gather all of us to take a late night walk in the Hagia Sophia area. We are followed by cute but hungry stray dogs and accosted by Syrian families begging for help on the street. My heart breaks. They are mothers, fathers, three to four children. I give what I have. I can’t eat that night, knowing.

Here are the highs for y’all:

  • Ayasofya

  • Spring tulips

  • Blue Mosque

  • Mosque interior

  • Ceilings and arcs  

Love,

Your Woman in New York

**next month’s trip: Copenhagen (and Paris again!)**

**Most photos were taken using my iPhone and published on Instagram (@chariteee) with the Lark filter 🙂

Paris Spring

At last, I returned to Paris 🙂

And my group of loud and hungry family and friends came with me! They have never been here in all of their 30 to 40 years of existence on this earth and were thrilled as hell to get to know Paris. Here were two of them:

So I happily played the role of a tourist guide. Surprised myself actually with the amount of French I could speak and understand again. With my formidable Franglais, I felt pretty confident chatting with strangers and French friends and joking with the most sarcastic bartenders I’ve ever met in Paris 😉


Paris Spring (or French Spring, or Nuit Debout) was also happening, as you may know, due to the growing discontent about labor law reforms in the country. Many workers, including young people, were challenging the government’s new proposal to give employers a wider latitude to sack employees. Clearly, an affront to the very coeur of French socialist principles. At Place de la Republique, activists hurled sophisticated assertions and arguments to connect the reform with big issues like income inequality and the more recent scandal brought by the Panama Papers, which launched underlying questions of neoliberalism, corruption, and impunity.

The Paris Spring reminded me of the Occupy Wall Street movement in New York City and in other American public spaces of days gone by. More than that, witnessing these events made me realize that traveling really is a political act, a way to engage with the rest of the world’s suffering and awakening. My group and I debated and ruminated on these events in a typical café — our consciousness transformed, enhanced, inspired.


In and around the City of Lights, we just took it in and walked for about 10 miles a day. That included taking the Metro! My newbies wanted to see everything and do things they wouldn’t normally do in America…such as walking. We tired ourselves out, and happily so. Here’s the highlight reel for all of you!

  • The real Berthillon was closed that day so we had to settle for a restaurant selling Berthillon ice cream. Meh:

  • The Louvre past midnight:

  • My French Italian friend took me to this cheese shop last year. Now it’s my turn to pay it forward:

  • Notre-Dame Cathedral:

  • Chocolat chaud for a night cap:

  • Sacre Coeur. I’m not the pilgrim type but the hike from the base to the summit of Montmartre felt very good on the body:

  • Palais Royal – a super perfect day to get some sun after the rain:

  • Ah, yes, lamb brains anyone? Chez Denise and their ability to serve delicious food at 2AM:

  • Pig trotters in honor of my late mother’s birthday at Au Pied de Cochon:

  • Eiffel tower at night. We did this sober:

  • L’Avant-comptoir de la Mer:

  • The gorgeous Saint Germain neighborhood:

  • Morning croissant. I recently learned that you’re supposed to just pick it up and bite it (as opposed to breaking it off in pieces with your fingers):

  • Croque Monsieur, the obligatory:

  • Le Marais, my favorite neighborhood:

  • Chez Denise (once again), one of the last dying pillars of old-fashioned French cuisine:

  • This shop, Bleu de Paname, played slow-burning lyrical Talib Kweli tracks and had my favorite modern tiles. What’s not to love:

  • View from my friend Jacques’ flat:

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  • A woman in black (guess who):

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Love,

Your Woman in New York

**Most photos were taken using my iPhone and published on Instagram (@chariteee) with the Lark filter 🙂

**next week, Istanbul…

Winter Hibernation Ends

Hello darlings! I am back from a long engagement…103 days to be exact. The truth is, I channeled all my intensity into a deeply profound project and couldn’t really post about it. I desired normalcy, privacy, and intimacy all winter. I closed my eyes. Fell in love. Stayed there.

But of course, my other self — the voyager self, the spirited adventurer, the wild-haired chick — whom I left outside to freeze all winter, never ceased to bang on my front door. She had to be sated, or else. So here are a few highlights from January to March. Thank you for waiting and sharing your travel stories while some of us take a breather 🙂

(And by the way, I write this post from a terrific apartment in Paris. Spring has sprung the minute I arrived with my rambunctious tribe. THAT glam post is coming up next week, and I can’t wait to share it!)

1. January: A life in color.

  • Ritual Coffee

  • Local shrubbery

  • Fleurs from my fella

  • Istanbul memories

2. February: San Francisco and panoramas.

  • Dolores Park

  • Ferry Market

  • La Mision

  • Piccino

3. March: Hawaii, outdoors, me.

  • The Modern

  • Beach read for the intrepid

  • Sunset over Honolulu

  • Waikiki

  • The Veranda

  • Saturday picnic

Love,

Your Woman in New York