to manchineel or not to manchineel

definitely not to manchineel.

when you are a child and your parents strictly {but lovingly} warn you not to eat wild fruits, i would hope that this sage advice stays with you longer than it did me. but first thing’s first…
why am i not in london?!
it’s not due to the chaotic traveling “adventure” that i just had a few days ago, but is simply a precursor to my time spent there. before london, comes a vacation in beautiful barbados with my cousins, and a get-to-know-you with henry. he’s a total doll-baby. after three days spent beach-combing and diaper-changing, i have never felt more at ease with such a tiny person. and he’s not that tiny! at eight weeks, henry weighs an average 11-ish pounds but is in the top 90th percentile in height. he must have my grandfather’s genes. he was tall, kinda lanky. loved to dance. loved to vacation on the beach and drink and be merry. i remember his version of santa clause the best, played charismatically, whiskey on the breath. i miss him and the fun he instilled into my family. it’s nice to think that his vitality runs through the generations.

as i was saying, barbados is where the action is. lots of action. laughing, puking, healthy crying, playing. on their own, not as exciting, but all-together equals one contented baby henry.

barbados, baby, on the beach, vacation

{we are all acclimating to the heat of the island very well – including this guy}

baby expressions are fantastic. no matter what is happening, their faces either read utter amazement or complete misery. they are learning to use every little bit of their bodies {eyebrow experimentation is my favorite} and i’d like to think that children are the rawest forms of humanity. they tell it like it is- with little to no social influence. this emotional honesty is a thing to marvel at. [reminds me of this cute movie]

little baby feet, sprawled toes

{“even my toes are full of raw emotion!”}

so, what is this about a manchineel??

whilst lying on the beach yesterday, keeping a watchful eye on napping infant-baby, my attention was captured by a pretty green miniature apple. or so i thought it was an apple. every bit of advice my parents gave me concerning this situation flooded my temporal lobe – “do not eat strange fruit that falls from strange trees!” in that infinitesimal but critical battle between my curiosity and wise words of wisdom past, i would have to say that i settled somewhere in the middle betwixt gorging myself on this delectable little find and disposing of the alien immediately. my two front teeth sank into the rough outer membrane and into the fleshy center, but i pulled away before ripping a big enough amount to require chewing and swallowing. in that way, i was able to taste and entertain, but not actually eat.

big mistake.

here is a little bit about the manchineel tree and it’s poisonous fruit.

the adventure guide to barbados

{my favorite bits are: “highly poisonous fruit”, “potentially deadly”, “mouth to burn“, and “stay well away!” – in a book called “the adventure guide to barbados” by harry s. pariser}

green manchineel apples


apparently, everything about this beach tree screams poison. it literally reads that herds of cows standing under these trees during a rainstorm have been known to lose their hides from the acid that is secreted from the manchineel’s leaves and sap; it travels down to the animals via the falling rain. can you even imagine? i knew i had a problem when, still at the beach, my mouth began to tingle and then burn. painfully and irritably. it was comparable to the feeling of eating an extremely hot pepper and being completely unable to rid your tongue and inner cheeks of the spicy burn. without internet and trusty google, i resorted to tracking down a local and asking them about the mysterious.. and now entirely evil apple. when they said “poison,” i knew my curiosity had taken me too far. {whatever happened to “look, don’t touch!” ??- or in my case, eat!} dumb, dumb, dumb.. yet also somewhat interesting and definitely educational. below is an actual sign on the island of barbados. these signs are fairly common {meant for the most “curious” of tourists} but alas, i had obviously missed them until now.

warning not to touch poisonous manchineel tree or it's deadly fruit, green apples fall onto beach, found in barbados, eaten by me

{the post bar}

bussa, the emancipation statue

{bussa – the emancipation statue – such a powerful statement in statue-form}

luckily, a run to the pharmacy in holetown was all the help i needed. after some antihistamines and a glass of whole milk [consumed slowly], i was back to enjoying barbados and all of it’s strange sights. and there are many of them. after being claimed by england in the 1600’s, barbados became a popular trading port and eventually, a profitable producer of sugar. it’s history with the slave trade is also quite intense. the villa i am staying in is located just north of holetown, which used to be known as jamestown and was the first settlement on the island. this link has some fascinating and equally appalling information about the vast amount of slaves that were brought here to work in the sugar cane fields and the uprisings that eventually led to their emancipation. history shapes modern-day culture and the story of this people’s journey to freedom on barbados is imperative in understanding the island today.

it’s hard to imagine that my big adventure has barely begun, that i will not be going home but on to london after this wonderful escape to paradise. already, i have seen so many interesting things {and eaten the absolute best breakfast of my entire life at the sandy lane hotel.} barbados is lovely.


{a home to be dreamt of}

beautiful purple flowers

{no landscape without flowers}

after the poisonous apple debacle {snow white, much?} i am now considering every little creature or plant to be extremely hazardous. upon leaning forward to touch this 7-inch long slug, i immediately willed my hand to retreat. i am henceforth using preventative action towards any possible poisonings. starting with this slug that was practically begging to be touched!

slug, barbados

{why must these things lure me so!?}

beautiful barbados, ocean, lovely beach

{too much beauty to handle}

now, onto the beaches. they are phenomenal. the west coast of barbados is known for it’s calm, swimming waters. snorkeling here is extremely popular because beautiful reefs are commonplace. the east coast boasts rockier waters and ideal waves for surfing {something i have always wanted to try!} my family and i will definitely be trekking to other fantastic beaches [including crane beach which travel channel has placed in the “top 25 sexiest beaches”]

here are just a few more wonderful pictures i have taken in the past few days…


{an adorable window shape that is very prevalent in this neighborhood – the view from my shower}

beautiful baby in barbados

{the first time i really held henry. since then, he has claimed a decent amount of my hair for himself}

grumpy baby

{his grumpiest of faces, he is still so adorable}

bags of fresh almonds

{these almonds were packaged in bridgetown, barbados – i am taking advantage of the inexpensive prices here because elsewhere, they are not so inexpensive}

blowpops taste so much better on the beach!
blowpops, america, barbados, sweets, candy, caribbean

what a way to spend my days.
this little family {my family} will be the center of my life for the next few months spent abroad.
i am so excited to see what opportunities await me.
what adventures arise.
and what fun there is to be had.

my family

you took my breath away

people speak of rebirth, the idea that one can begin again in this life, perhaps with an altered state of mind, as a holy commitment, or with a sparkling new view of human existence- the whys and hows. i came to venice to see the canals and soak up it’s history. little did i realize whilst bouncing about on the waves, clutching my belongings on the vaporetto, that the endearing charm and old world magic of venice was going to swallow me up whole and discard almost every bit of me back to my normal life. every bit of me, except perhaps a part of my heart, which aches from that labrynth city, calling me back every day since my departure..
from venezia.

my first, and only time here, was in august of 2012. so that this blog is as easy to understand as possible, i will do my absolute best to accurately represent the very title of my little work in progress, “the lady’s guide to adventure.” here is my brief but well thought-out guide to..

losing yourself in venice, italy:

  • just go.
    i spent five crazy weeks bopping about europe last summer and to be honest, albeit a lovely option,
    venice was almost overlooked due to the rushed timeframe of my trip.
    [three italian cities – positano, rome, venice – only nine days, including travel time]
    but i made it happen and i’m so glad that i did.
  • the logistics.
    are you vintage or modern?
    be sure to keep a notebook and pen (vintage) or a smart phone (modern) on hand at all times with important information such as: instructions to find your hostel or rental, a few phrases in italian, and a map of venice. you may also want to know the routes and schedules of the main form of transportation here, the vaporetto [vaporetti if plural] or “waterbus”, especially if you decide to visit the lovely islands of murano [murano glass] or burano. to be as helpful and specific as possible, i will include the exact instructions sent to me via email from the hostel where i booked a private, ensuite room. (remember, you have the option at many hostels to book private rooms and it’s still usually cheaper than a hotel!)

destination: locanda ss. giovanni e paolo
coming from: venice train station, venice s.l. santa lucia

  1. waterbus n. 5.2
  2. get off at stop ospedale
  3. (the cost of the waterbus is about 7,00 eur one way but you may want to spend more to get a twelve hour ticket, especially if you are arriving and have the whole day to explore!)
    prices* are: 12hr 18,00 eur, 24hr 20,00 eur, 36hr 25,00 eur and so on and so forth!
    *this may change but was accurate when i arrived
  4. go to your left after stopping at ospedale [hospital]
  5. turn right and walk fifty metres until you arrive in a small square
  6. turn right again into main street called calle del caffettier
  7. eighty metres further, there is a street on your left (calle dell’ospedaletto)
  8. the locanda is just a few steps down this street, you have arrived!

for two nights here including a lovely breakfast delivered each morning, the price was €196,00 – very reasonable for venice!

my point? please ask for written directions!
if you do not know italian, this is much easier than simply having an address, as the “roads” are usually no more than four feet wide and surrounded by beautiful but view-obstructing buildings. and keep in mind that you may be able to find your own room in a hostel for much less than we found ours – especially considering my trip was taking place during the 2012 olympics and during summer months, prices always go up! it doesn’t hurt to start your dreaming / planning now though! —>

  • look with your eyes.
    this may seem silly but you will have a million photo opportunites.
    everything is picturesque and you will want to capture it all but quickly! stop! it is important to breathe in the italian charm.
    feel the walls of the stone that was laid over a thousand years ago.
    hear the chatter of this language that is so robust and strong and proud,
    and while you are tantalizing your senses with the rush of these new physical and mental stimulants, keep an eye out for a little shop..
    it is called … il papiro … and is located just over the ponte san maurizio bridge (depending on which side you are coming from, i suppose.)
    it is here that i purchased my absolute favorite souvenirs / trinkets / baubles of the entire five-week long trip. more specifically, i walked away with a gorgeous wax seal stamp with my first and middle initals, some pink rose-colored wax just pleading to be dripped and sculpted, and some beautiful, hand-painted paper. this intriguing little store with it’s whimsical window-shopping, boasts handmade leather-bound journals, seals and their wax in every color imaginable, and superb stationary – it was like a dream to be there and i count it as an honor to leave il papiro with many of my hard-earned euros.
  • get lost.
    but remember to be safe while you are doing so!
    the streets of venice are more enchanting than the canals. i was never quite informed of how lovely the bones of this city are; it’s people, like the living marrow of the maze, and i dare you to lose yourself. you’ll believe you’ve died and gone to heaven.. or pehaps hogwarts.
  • and as for a bit of sound advice before i depart from this post?

    i do not often use capitalization but please know which one you are flying out of and learn from my stressful mistake,
    go to the right one the first time around!