segunda-feira, 20 de Outubro de 2014

Oh so american: Thrift Stores

I thought that would be fun to share with you guys american lifestyle thru my eyes. In these series I’ll post about what I've seen only in USA that I’ve never seen in other countries in the World.
I decided to start with Thrift Stores because they are one of my favorite things about USA and you can find these kind of stores in every state you go.

Thrift Stores are places where you can score great clothing, kitchen ware, books, decoration items and mostly everything you can think of for a very cheap price. You get to buy a book for 0.50 cents or 1 dolar, a jacket for 3 bucks, an amazing painting for 5 bucks. How does it work? People clean their closets and find things they don’t want anymore so they donate to thrift stores. Mostly of the thrift stores I’ve been are non-profit, all the profit goes to community projects and to help people in need and all the staff is volunteering, usually retired people. (this is a great way to spend your time doing something useful for the community!)

Besides the recycling part of thrift stores  I also love when I find vintage items from USA, they are so pretty, especially the white pirex with retro designs. It’s a pity I cannot bring this stuff with me in my backpack, it can break easily, it’s heavy  and common I don’t want to carry glass all the time with me. I’d get a lot of vintage stuff from thrift stores if I was in USA for 2 or 3 weeks and back to Portugal but this situation never happens because flights are pricey, it’s pretty far and I have the time so I stay at least 2 months around here.

So, you can consider a thrift store as a second hand store (you also can find new items with tag on) but they have different names around the World, like in Australia they are OP stores but exactly same concept as thrift stores, maybe with the profit part.

To finalize this post I’m going to show you the stuff I found in Meals in Wheels Trift Store in Lakeport that I didn’t buy, when looking for Pirate items for my costume for Halloween.

I loveeee these mugs! A backpacker needs a rainbow mug right? Not! :) And oh these orange vintage flowers. If I'd live in USA I'd have a huge kitchen closet for my 1000 mugs.
Always a sucker for owls, especially with my favorite colors and Happy Autumn, my favorite season. Maybe it's good to have a plush in your backpack when you feel lonely. Not!!!

 Mushrooms and flowers? Yes please. I almost bought this shirt to sew an handbag but then when I'm gonna make it? I don't even know when I'm back in Portugal (if I come back...)
Don't judge books by their covers? Not in this case. Look at this delicious cover and yep I'm interested in natural cooking, not sure if this info is updated though. 

What do you think about thrift stores? Do you shop often there? Any great scores lately?

sábado, 18 de Outubro de 2014

Cheers to my blog readers!

You see the biiiiig smile in the photo above? It's for you my dear readers, the ones who keep me carry on with this blog. It's not easy at all for me to keep up with any project. This blog is one year and an half old and I keep update it 2-4 times a week, wow! I'm impressed with myself but I gotta thank you because your emails, comments and messages motivate me to write more. I wouldn't be honest if I'd say that this blog is for me or for you, is for US.

The other day I was reading my favorite blogs when I read this title "Travels: 3 blogs I love" (sorry it's in portuguese) and guess which was the first one? Shanti Free Bird!! I jumped of happiness and run to tell everybody around me about it. Yep, this post made my day. I believe that blogosphere community is to care for eachother and mention blogs when they deserve, when they made a difference, when your learned something.

Hopefully my blog will inspire more people to travel or show the World thru my eyes to people who can't travel. Let's go on this trip together :) I LOVE YOU * Thanks millions for all support!

segunda-feira, 13 de Outubro de 2014

Hitch hiking Stories :: From San Francisco to Willits

“The bus is only at 3pm? No way, I’m not gonna wait, let’s hitch hike!” This kind of idea we have, you think it’s brilliant but then you go back and you go like “Sh*t!! Why this stupid thought ever came across my mind? WHY?” I’m gonna tell you guys all the details.

We arrived California finally. To get here I had to rideshare to Lisbon and then rideshare again to Porto, get a flight to Barcelona, a flight to Stockholm, wait 4 or 5 hours in the airport and fly to San Francisco.  Jet Lag kicked me like crazy this time so I looked like a zombie the first 3 days.
We wanted to be with our friends and the only bus to Willits was at 3pm, I didn’t want to walk around the city with my backpack or wait in the bus station so hitch hiking sounded right. Bruno’s mom called Elsa is with us and agreed so let’s do it! 

We walked more then an hour to reach the exit to the North, right before the Golden Gate Bridge. After 30 minutes, Peter, our first driver kindly pulled over his van and left us in Sausalito a tiny village that I definitely recommend a visit if you are in San Francisco. You get to see beautiful views from there to the brigde, bay and mountains. I wished to stay one more day there.

Then a Mexican boy picked us up but only for few miles, he left us in San Rafael in a really good spot. From there I was hoping to find a ride directly to Santa Rosa and we’d be half way. A girl stopped and said that she lived pretty close but is a better spot to hitch hike, we trusted her but she left us in the highway. Seriously? Everybody knows that you can’t stop in the highway, it’s completely illegal and dangerous. We cursed million times the girl and went to the exit but only few cars were passing by. Bruno said that he wanted to try his luck in the highway. Three minutes after a police car pulled over right after him, I couldn’t believe in my eyes. My first thought was “First time Elsa is hitch hiking and we’re having troubles with cops already”. He was mad, asked our passports, we were 2 meters far from him and he kept asking to step back. Of course we followed all his directions, but I was feeling like a criminal. Two more police cars came, I started getting really nervous. The police man said that this time we were getting a warning but if it happens again we are going to jail. Ooopppsss! Why do I have always warnings by police when I’m in United Stats? I don’t get it =)

We had no choice but wait 30 minutes to the next bus to Santa Rosa. This bus took 2 hours in all small towns you can think of, making stops every minute. When we got there we found out there’s no bus to Willits or Ukiah and I had the final prove that transportation in USA sucks big time. Let’s hitch hike again, shouldn’t be hard. It was veryyyy hard, mostly of the drivers either were locals or a woman driving, they won’t stop for three people. After more then an hour a guy full of tattoos picked us up, he said he was going to Garberville which is after Willits and I jumped of happiness. When we were in the car he said I misunderstood, he was going to Geyberville, few miles away where he picked us up. Oh noooo!

The driver literally left us in a desert exit, we thought we had to camp somewhere around. Third car passed thru and we begged for him to stop and he did! Took like 2 minutes, I couldn’t believe. We were heading to Ukiah so we were getting pretty close to Willits. It was 6.30pm and getting dark but we didn’t give up. We watched the beautiful sunset from the road and suddenly a pick up car pulled over, it was a Chinese old man. When he found out we were going to Willits he made a sad face and said he was heading home, not so far from we were. When Bruno said he was with his mom, two seconds and we were in his car, the mom inside the car with the driver, me and Bruno outside the pick up. I missed so much being in a pick up, feeling the air in my face and hair, watching the sky and the trees. When he stopped in the middle of nowhere I swear I almost had an heart attack. First I thought “Is he going to leave us here??” and then “Or is he going to kidnap the three of us?” He opened his car door and brought us a blanket with a huge smile: “For you guys, I’m afraid is going to start rain soon”. How adorable! When we finally reached Willits I couldn’t believe when the Chinese fellow gave us 20 bucks to buy a pizza in the best pizza place of the town. He thought we didn’t have any money and we were about to sleep in the street!!

This is the main reason I love to hitch hike, you’ll have another story to tell your kids. The feeling of adventure, make your brain re-think of a plan B and C, adrenaline all over your body…  and I can say the very first day in California was unique. In the end everything worked out perfectly, happy end =)

Are you interested in my hitch hiking stories? Should I write more often about them? 


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