Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The Blizzard Got Us to the Emirates Palace

Christmas Day in Oklahoma... my mom and I are in our nightgowns watching the news cover the blizzard that hit the North East.
I am supposed to fly to NYC the next day which is right into the eye of the storm ...on my way to the United Arab Emirites... but-  all of the airports are closed in NYC!

I have been planning this trip with my best girlfriend Joslyn for months... where we Jet Set our way from NYC to Oklahoma then Abu Dhabi to Goa, India and ending in Dubai before I return to NYC.
Joslyn and I travel so well together because we both have a joie de vivre for culture and craziness! Thank God for Dr. Joe (Joslyn's Dad) is all I have to say. He and Joslyn were up till the wee hours of the morning re-routing our trip to the UAE via Chicago instead of the NYC.
So off we went...Gypsy Style!

A nice 6 hour layover in the VIP lounge...where I spent my time practicing yoga on the floor before helping myself to the wine at the free mini bar. We boarded the plane, had some more wine, some Emirati food and watched Eat, Pray Love (Again bc I LOVE that movie) as we flew across the world.

Landing in Abu Dhabi, I was greeted by Sheiks and shishas...and a nice warm breeze.  Abu Dhabi (“Father of the Gazelle” in Arabic) is the capital and the second largest city in the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western coast and is filled with expensive hotels, developing high rises and expats.
This is a Gold ATM...where you can buy gold pendants and coins by just a swipe of the credit card! I was tempted... but was already wearing my gold bling necklace my mom gave me.

Midnight (UAE time ),only a few hours after we arrived from the airport, Joslyn and I got all dressed up and headed over to the Emirates Palace: the 7 star palace hotel that is the hub for Royality and all the wealthy people from around the world. 

Joslyn's boyfriend is the manager at one of the fancy shpancy restaurants there and he invited us to join him for drinks. He is such a sweet heart! 

This is a 12 MILLION dollar Christmas Tree in the middle of the Emirates Palace. It is decorated with gold and jewels...beautiful but an absolute waste of money, in my opinion!

After a few bottles of champagne... we headed to Etoiles, the hot night club inside the palace. It was just like any other posh night club any where in the world; filled with women in tight dresses and high heels, predator men with bling bling and all american hip hop and pop music. Luckily they played some Arabic music and Joslyn and I ruled the dance floor, as always...yalla yalla!

This is the Emirati Michael Jackson breaking it down in the club. And to the right we have ex-pats grooving to The Electric Slide! LOL

Coming home at 3 am... it was a nice welcome to the UAE! Ahlan Wa Sahlan (Welcome in Arabic)

Tonight Joslyn and I are headed to Goa, India where we will welcome in the New Year... basking in the Bhav!
I have no idea where we are staying or who we are is going to be revealed to us when we meet with Joslyn's friends friends.... but I know that it will be a wild and crazy and amazing next few days!Happy New Year Everyone! I affirm that 2011 will be all of OUR best Year EVER!!!
Health Wealth and LOTS AND LOTS OF LOVE!!!!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Get Shaktified

Happy Navaratri! Durga Ma!

the Hindu festival of Navratri: The word Navaratri literally means nine nights in Sanskrit, nava meaning nine and ratri meaning nights.

It is 9 consecutive nights dedicated to Devi, the Goddess. To Shakti, the feminine principle of strength.

"The beginning of spring and the beginning of autumn are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are taken as sacred opportunities for the worship of the Divine Mother. The dates of the festival are determined according to the lunar calendar. Being the oldest religion in the world, Hinduism has numerous belief systems.

In Hinduism the adherents believe in one omnipresent Deity but may worship Her/Him in any of the numerous manifestations that are prevalent all over India. Navaratri represents celebration of Goddess Durga, the manifestation of Deity in form of Shakti [Energy or Power].

First three days
The goddess is separated as a spiritual force called Durga also known as Kali in order to destroy all our impurities.
[edit] Second three days
The Mother is adored as a giver of spiritual wealth, Lakshmi, who is considered to have the power of bestowing on her devotees inexhaustible wealth, as she is the goddess of wealth.
[edit] Final three days
The final set of three days is spent in worshipping the goddess of wisdom, Saraswati. In order to have all-round success in life, believers seek the blessings of all three aspects of the divine femininity, hence the nine nights of worship."

"What is Shakti?  When you look within for inspiration, solace, guidance, it is Shakti that gives answer and Shakti that acts through you. It is the wisdom of your great-great-great-grandmother, encoded in your bones, the wisdom of the all-Mother that rises through each of us. Shakti does not only exist in women, but it is through women that it flows. It is our essential foundation, and it is that which goads us to change.
Shakti is not chosen, and we cannot control it. It the flood, the rush of endorphins, the giddy laugh, the flash of insight, the swirl of energy through the cosmos. We ride it like a wave. Sometimes it washes over us and knocks us off our feet. It is the effervesce of life.
Shakti is a Sanskrit word, but Shakti is beyond religion, race or nation. While the Hindu calendar recognizes Navratri, we are Hindus living the wheel of America's seasons. In Euro-American folk and Pagan traditions, these seasons are significant: Autumn is the time to enjoy the harvest, to prepare for the quiet wild of winter. As we enter autumn, the air grows crisp, the days grow brief, and we grow introspective. As the days darken, the leaves brighten. We see the colors of the Goddess: gold, orange, red. As Hindu Americans light flickering oil lamps to each aspect of the Goddess, the season blazes a tribute. This month of October, this season of autumn and Navratri, Hindu American Seva Charities is encouraging women to take the time to find, explore and express Shakti. You don't have to be Hindu to take part in ShaktiSeva service to the feminine principle, whatever that means to you. Talk the talk. Walk the walk. Reach out. Create. Heal. Celebrate in a way that is meaningful to you. Nine nights in a row, observe a ritual: it may be traditional, invented or a combination of the two. Call a friend. Light a candle. Help someone...or, ask for help.

Just as you already know what Shakti is, you know, deep inside, who you are.
This autumn, tend the light that glows within.

to create a Durga Pooja on this festival of music and dance..."Take a fresh silver or bronze or copper or earthen pot and fill it (upto its neck) with holy water place Pancha pallavas (five types of sacred leaves) or mango leaves. Kalash is decorated with haldi (turmeric powder), chandan (sandalwood powder) and kumkum (vermillion powder). Keep a coconut on the Kalash and cover it with a blouse piece. The coconut is also decorated with chandan paste."

Jai Mata Ji!
Durga Ma!
You are beautiful!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

On the Road with America's Gypsy

Hula Lovin'

Monday, September 13, 2010

On the Road to Idylwild

 The sweet gardener Chilo in Palm Desert
 Road Runners are everywhere in the desert! so cute and so much like the cartoon :)
 Driving from Palm Desert to Idylwild is delicious! It takes about an hour and its just you, the road, the mountains and the divine! amazing drive!

 California Highway 74
 ...Nestled in the San Jacinto mountains

 Gopala! Jai Cows!!! Its good to be a vegetarian :) these sweet cows are our friends!

 amazing sunsets!
 nature...cacti...colors...divinity in our homeland!

 Cresent Moon! Chandrama
America's Gypsy loves Southern California! Nature at its finest :)

Bhakti Fest 2010

 Bhakti Fest ROCKS! A 4 day festival in the desert of Joshua Tree...about 2 hours from LA!
Created by Sridar Silberfein, this is the 2nd year of this celebration and so far its been so much fun!

Bhakti means Devotion in its a 4-day ‘Devotion’ fest filled with Yoga, Chanting, Dancing, Music, Lectures, workshops and so much celebration!
 America's Gypsy rocked out to the Bhav in the Desert of Joshua Tree in Southern California!

the best dates in America come from Southern California! delicious!!!!
 ...delicious organic food!!

This is Howard Wills doing some healing. POWERFUL!

 Gypsies Unite!!

 ...amazing rocking Kirtan music- like Joey Lugassy, Krishna Das, MoMo Loudiyi, Shyam Das...

 I am a sucker for Chivalry :) Thanks Damien for helping me set up my tent!

 camping under the stars! amazing!

lush and historic Joshua Tree- about an hour and a half from LA. Humans have occupied the area for at least 5,000 years. The first group being the Pinto Culture...

The Joshua tree, the parks namesake, is a member of the Agave family and American Indians recognized the flora and fauna of the land for its useful properties: tough leaves made into baskets and sandals, and flower buds and roasted seeds made a healthy addition to the diet.
And now a bunch of happy hippies dance and sing on this ancient earth! Hari Om!

 So many wonderful people! You were so sweet Seth...thank you for being my angel at Bhakti Fest1
 Vapor Brothers!!! oh yeah :)
hope to see you there next year!!