Pole Dancing, Craft Beer, Good Times in Boise, Idaho

I am going to crave those scones from the little coffee shop in Ellensburg. They were the most delicious scones I’ve ever eaten in my entire life. Then again, most coffee and baked goods would be comforting after hauling across a snow-covered pass with all-season tires for almost an hour, hoping 18-wheelers don’t bash into you coming down the other side. No, actually, the scones really were that good.

It was difficult to choose, but the cinnamon peach ones were calling to me, and I grabbed a whole grain apple scone for good measure as well. They were good company as I drove through a thick haze up another pass and down into the Yakima valley, where a good portion of our local fruits and vegetables are farmed. Not too much more will be growing in this frost.

I was hoping to get my car to Utah before snow fell, but I can’t complain!

Once day broke and I entered the Snoqualmie area, less than 40 minutes into my drive, most of my view for the rest of the day was white, either in the form of snow-dusted foliage or dense fog.

After several more snowy mountain passes, and miles of pure white road, I emerged into the farming valleys of Idaho and rolled into Boise.

Downtown Boise and the Capitol Building. The brand new Whole Foods, the first in Idaho, opens the day after I leave, of course.

I passed through a few blocks of downtown, saw the capitol building in the distance, and met up with my couch surfing host, Andrew, in a neighborhood nearby. I told him how much I loved Boise already. Nothing is really that far, and everything in the greater downtown area is easily bikable. After one more pass through downtown I would come to realize it’s about the size of Reno with the feel of Portland.

After a stress-free ten minute drive I was clear on the other side of the city (compared to the one hour or more it would take to do that in Seattle) and at Ophidia Studio. Aerial Yoga, Poi (fire dancing), and Belly Dance are just a few classes that compliment pole training at Ophidia. I met the owner, Allison Holley, at the Pole Convention in LA this past summer, and decided to stop by for a visit.

The main room features hanging aerial yoga silks and a wooden floor, a classic fitness or yoga studio look. The back room is where all the pole magic happens! A small raised stage surrounded by mirrors features a pole in the middle. Another six or seven spinning poles adorn the rest of the room. Each pole can be set to spin or static and reaches, honestly, much higher than I have been used to climbing in the last few months!

Our first class at 6pm focused on a few spins, holds, and tricks. At 7pm we donned our high heals (she has a few pairs of loaner shoes for students) and learned a simple but sexy routine. At the end of each class Allison dims the lights and lets us rock out for a song or two. No matter how hard you work on new moves or gracefulness, pole is meant to be fun!

Ophidia Studio’s Sexy Pole Room!

I joined Julie, my other couch surfing host, for a post-pole recovery meal of beer and poutine at Bitter Creek. I’m in Idaho. I have to eat the potatoes. Julie told me about a nearby burger and fries joint that features several different kinds of potatoes and yams, that you can have cut into any shape.

“You can get purple curly fries if you want,” she told me. I may have to do just that, after a bit of sleep.

Return from Dunedin


Reason #87 why I love New Zealand:
Racing along the country roads towards Queenstown at 2am listening to dub step in a car with four new couch surfing friends and a small dog.

Just minutes after midnight I stepped out into the Dunedin night air, walked down the hill and stood on the corner of South Rd. A moment later a car sped around the corner, headlights headed straight for me, and stopped just before where I was standing. Alex opened the boot and I squished my backpack in. Off we went into the night.
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Waking up to Auckland

A beautiful Auckland morning. I almost can’t believe I’m here. This is the third year in a row visiting the southern hemisphere. When I went to Australia and New Zealand for the first times I was told that I would never come back (to the states). Now I feel that both parts of the world are equally my home. I am thinking of all my friends in Australia, who I will most likely not get to see on this trip, and the cities I have woken up to in other travels. Spring time is here and frosty, chill mornings give way to blue skies and fresh sunlight bathes the countryside and our faces. After living almost five full months in Queenstown, it is strange to be in the big city in New Zealand, though I love the metropolitan feel of it.

Harbour Bridge

I am staying with Glen, my couch surfing host who lives off of Karangahape Rd (K Rd for short), just south of the Auckland CBD. Last night we went to a fun Zumba class at his gym, Club Physical; the instructor kept it lively and interesting with her choice of songs and a bit of freestyle. Afterwards we had some delightful Malaysian cuisine at Sri Pinang. The woman who took care of us was friendly and helped me choose the perfect dish. I had fish with vegetables in a strong chili sauce, full of flavor and just the right amount of spice, while Glen enjoyed the Nasi Lemak.

Partying: the sure cure for jetlag

Went to the weekly Auckland couch surfing happy hour at Bungalow 8 near the harbor downtown with my host, Chris, and fellow surfers, Elly and Muriz. All couch surfers get a free tap beer, house wine or vodka drink before 9pm, and 2-for-1 appetizers! Continue reading

New Zealand, My Paradise

New Zealand is a land where the beauty of the people rival the beauty of the landscape.

Back to the Dramatic New Zealand Landscape

When I arrived in Auckland and exited the plane around 6:30am this morning I couldn’t keep a smile off my face; it was the smile of a child with a secret they are bursting to share. I felt the chill, damp air from outside and as I made my way through the airport the light in the sky became brighter. My next international adventure was beginning!
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Day 16: Laguna Beach

A slide show of my travels on September 1st, from Vista up along the Orange County coast, concluding with an Evening Art Walk at Twilight!

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