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I’m Louise. Blogger. Wife. Designer of TruLu Couture Veils + Accessories.  If you’d like to know more, check out my bio.

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Entries in Travel (22)

Thursday
Jul092009

A Quickie Question

*YAWN*

Mornin' ladies.

The sleepy Thirty-Something Bride is posting early this morning. I've got to head down to Atlanta today to the Merchandise Mart for a trade show. I'm only there for a night, so still have the weekend for wedding planning activities, of which I believe I'm behind on.

The good news is that the Atlanta Mart has wholesale jewelry and "cash and carry" booths that I plan to visit to hopefully find earrings and hair accessories for The Big Show. Wish me luck.

So the question: when the hell do I send out my invitations? My wedding is October 11, 2009. The RSVP's are due back Spetember 15th (I'm hoping this was a good date to choose). How soon should I send them out? I was thinking August 1. My mom thinks they should have gone out already. Anyone know what I should be doing?

Local Nashville Brides - Don't forget! You can still win tickets to the Bridal Show this Sunday! Scroll down to win!

Sunday
Jul052009

Farewell, Old Friend.


*Sniff*
A fond farewell to the best suitcase ever. And I mean ever-ever. I purchased this lovely Olympia 26" roller from TJ Maxx in Downers Grove, Illinois in 1999 for $74.99. This little baby has been places even I haven't (i.e., it's mis-route from Bangkok to Micronesia instead of Ho Chi Minh City)! She road atop a van, hitting all points of the India Golden Triangle (Delhi-Agra-Jaipur) and I do not even want to recall what I had to scrape off of her after that trip. She's "smuggled" bottles of wine from France, cheese from Amsterdam, knock-offs from Shanghai (before I knew better) and a myriad of Christmas presents to and fro. We've literally been around the world together more than 20 times.

All but her main zipper tabs have been broken off and I use a key ring to maneuver them. Her side handle broke off about a year ago and I thought about retiring her then, but simply couldn't let go..... I noticed the handle that was left was loose in Manila. I started treating her with care and fussing at bell-boys who grabbed her too roughly. I packed her lightly and stuffed the other bag with heavier objects. She lasted all the way back to Nashville, as if she knew her 10 year reign was over. When I went to pull her off the belt here at home, her solitary handle was dangling off.

I have tried in the past to replace her, even contacting Olympia. Sadly, her model has long been retired. Replacement is futile. I have no idea what to do. Farewell, my dear, old friend.

Wednesday
Jul012009

Mama, I'm Coming Home!

Today is my last work day here in India. I have two appointments back to back, then I come back to the hotel to clean up, check out, have some dinner and then head to the airport. I have a 12:50am (ugh) flight to Amsterdam, then to Detroit and then home to Nashville! I cannot wait. I have so much stuff to blog about that I just have not had the time to manage.

An update, my agent found my cell phone (I now feel less like I lost a limb) and rain storms have kept India on the cooler side (90's versus 100's). I haven't been locked in a bathroom in the last 24 hours, so that's good too.

I have no idea how I'm going to get everything back into my suitcases and home ( I received a lovely wedding gift from my agent and it's huge.). I'll deal with that later. For now, I'm off to the gym to start my day. I'm coming HOME!!!!

I miss my sweet, sweet Candyman.

Tuesday
Jun302009

It's Days Like This

Bitch-fest. Right here. Right now.

So I get to Delhi last night after being delayed in both Bangkok and in the air space over Delhi. I was supposed to get in around 7:45pm. We didn't land until 9:45pm. I didn't get to the hotel until after 11pm. I checked in and my room was disgusting. I've stayed here twice before and it was OK. The carpet was filthy, there was a layer of dust an inch thick over all. Nasty. I was too tired to fight it, but did in the morning. I had my room changed pronto. Annoying, at best.

I started out the day fine. I had a good meeting at the Noida Mart, a trade fair location. No shows are in progress, so the mart was VERY empty. I had to use the restroom before we left so walked to the end of a very long hall. I stepped into the restroom vestibule and into the single-seater potty. I locked the door and did the obvious. I went to leave, unlocked the door and the door would not open. The door refused to unlock. I locked and unlocked. I locked and unlocked. Nadda. I kicked the door. Kicked the handle. Nadda. I started pounding on the door. Oh, and by the way, no air conditioning on in the mart. In July. In India. In a 3x3 stall in India. I knew my agent would start to investigate soon, but still. I started pounding on the door and yelling. "HELLO! HELLO!" No response. I can whistle REALLY loud so started doing that although I was totally skeeving out at the fact that my fingers were in my mouth after going potty in the mart toilet in India. But, it was the loudest noise I could make. So then I hear a guy speaking Hindi and I'm like, "Yeah, hi! I don't speak Hindi! I speak English. Please help!" He said something in Hindi and left. A few minutes later, a timid female, "Hello?" Me: "Yes, hi. I'm locked in here. Could you please walk to the end of the hall and tell Manu Talwar that Louise is trapped in the toilet?" And a timid reply, "Of course." A few hot minutes later, Manu and a team of crack pot engineers (OK, security guards with keys) were able to free me from my Porcelain Prison.

The rest of the day was fine, except for the fact that I am jet-lagged as all hell. So Manu and I go to my favorite Indian hot spot called Shalom. Hindi's tend to fast on Tuesdays so the place was relatively quiet. His wonderful wife Vinny met up with us and we had a great time. I get back to my hotel and go to check emails on my Blackberry and I note that the pocket that holds my phone is unzipped. My cell is either lost or in Manu's car. Of course, I can't call him because his number is in my cell. Goddammitalltohell. I call Shalom with no luck. I will have to wait until tomorrow to see if I am cell phoneless, which would completely suck ass and I'm sure I'll have hell to pay for losing a work cell phone if it's gone. Goddammitalltohell.

It is SO time for me to get the hell out of foreign countries and to come home. Please someone give me blog love. I so need it. PLEASE let my phone be in Manu's car. Yes, I've already tried calling it.

Wednesday
Jun242009

The Boiling Point

Oh holy matrimony, Batman! The Candyman has gotten a hold of The Thirty Something Bride's blog! I have to admit, I'm curious as to what he's got up his sleeve regarding the sex blog. I'd like to subtly remind The Candyman that family members read this blog. 'Nuff said. However, I do think the poor man is allowed a little leeway - I have been MIA since June 8th. I think we both have sex on the brain.

First, I love the responses The Candyman is getting! So cool! Thanks to my fellow bridal bloggers and followers! Second, many thanks to The Candyman for stepping up and into blog-master in my absence. I couldn't even get onto Blogger for any website, much less my own in the last city I was in, Fuzhou, China. Damn Communists. I am now in ChangAn, which is close to Shenzhen, which is close to Hong Kong. The closer I get to Hong Kong, the happier I get and the more Internet access I have. I have to say it, I've reached my Chinese boiling point. I've been here for 16 days with 9 more to go and I want to start murdering people. I miss home. I miss obese Americans. I miss ordering my food by speaking, rather than pointing. I'm tired of eating my knees in coach class on China Southern airlines. I'm tired of the constant staring. There are so many Westerners here now - it's nothing like the old days when I was the only round-eye in town. You'd think they'd be used to it, or me, by now. Sadly, no.

I have to make a few things clear - make no mistake, I am the foreigner here. I am the one out of my element. The customs are not mine. I try to fit in as best I can though. I try to learn the language, but Mandarin is hard. It doesn't help that all the little villages I go to have different dialects anyway, so whatever I learn to say is wrong somewhere. There are just little things that drive me mad. First, the personal space issue. Here, it's a LOT closer than anywhere else I've been. People are just all up in your grill constantly. Waiters/waitresses hover over your shoulder when you eat, leaping to action at the slightest non-existent inclination that you might need something.

Although, there are little things that are sweet. Today I visited a factory in a Fuzhou village. Fuzhou is a mountain town on the southern coast of China. This factory had been a sub-contractor for a major factory my company used to do business with. This major factory has had massive internal conflicts and is quickly dissolving, much to it's sub-contractor's chagrin. So, a smarty-pants subcontractor got his own export license and invited me to visit his factory. Apparently, I was the first Gweilo (slang for 'white person') to ever set foot on his turf. He was mucho happy about this and drove me himself to the airport - quite an honor by Chinese standards. He also hooked me up with some local tea (the Fujian province if uber-famous for it) which will make The Candyman verrrrrry happy.

Sadly, when I got to the airport and checked in, I found out that my flight was delayed an hour. Left-overs from the level 1 typhoon we'd experienced the night before. Sweet!

I am now at the World's Most Annoying Hotel. I swear, I just don't get it. Here's the scoop: this hotel caters to Westerners and has been around for about 10 years. It's chock full of Americans and Europeans scooping up goodies to export to various countries from a plethora of Chinese ports. Yet not one person here seems to speak any semblance of English other than the bellboys, who really have the least use for it, in my opinion. These guys actually make conversation with me in the elevator.
Them: Welcome, miss. Where you from?
Me: The United States
Them: Ah, America. First time you ChangAn?
Me: No, I practically live here.
Them: Huh?
Me: Nevermind.
Them: I think you very beautiful.
Me: Really? You are very handsome.
Them: *looking down and away* Oh, I do not think this is true.
Me: Left or right to my room?
Them: Left.
This is the most extensive conversation I've had with an employee here.

The waitresses in the Japanese restaurant where I like to grab a quick roll or two, seem totally baffled by their own menu, printed in both English and Mandarin. I point to "California Roll" and they seem confused, write something down, run away to get a supervisor, come back and write something down again. Order the unagi nigiri and repeat. Order the grilled mushrooms and repeat. It seems part of the service protocol is to run back and forth to my table to get my order, serve or constantly move shit around on my table. I am left handed. I move things around to suit this (sake cup, chopstick rest, plates, soy sauce bowl). Every time I do this, they come to my table and rearrange it, AS I'M EATING. Every time, I have to shoo them away and rearrange again. This happens at least three times during the course of a 20 minute dinner. They finally stop when I shoo and scowl simultaneously. Eating here is exhausting. I swear every time I come here I'm going to order room service, but in reality, the sushi is good and it's not offered on the room service menu. Damn it all to hell.

I get to stay in The Most Annoying Hotel for three days, then I'm to Zuhai for a day and then back to Hong Kong to pick up luggage, repack and head out to India. Have I mentioned I'm exhausted?

So while this is more annoying-life oriented, then wedding related, I needed to vent. So far I'm on my 6th hotel, with only 3 more to go! I do have other wedding stuff to blog about, but I needed to get my bitch on, y'know. It happens.