Living the lifestyle of health and fitness is just one part of who I am. Who am I today is a direct result of my many experiences and interesting people I’ve met.
Travel plays an important role in my life. It provides me the opportunity to see how other people live, enjoy different cultures, appreciate good health and be more open minded. I have been fortunate to have seen extremes: the very wealthy areas of Monte Carlo with the gazillion dollar yachts with their 24K faucets… to the poorest areas of Jamaica where a homeless family literally had an old ESPN banner as one side of the cardboard home. Evidently, we had been taping “BodyShaping” in Jamaica in the ’80′s and this man found the banner. What an interesting site that was, so long ago and I still remember it. When things are quiet (which isn’t often with a 2 year old racing around) I find myself thinking of all the experiences I’ve seen and wanted to share them with you.
South America: Some of most favorite include hiking up the mayan ruins at Machu Picchu in Peru. To think that the entire city was built before tractors or trucks- only using man and animal power to get those huge stones up to the top of the mountain is unbelievable. I reflect on that achievement whenever I feel that a task is too daunting. The thought of those gigantic stones being moved up the mountain makes most other tasks seem so small.
Our guide have us “coca” leaves to reduce our rapid heart rate before we ventured even higher and took a long train ride up to the top of the mountain. There we hiked all over the majestic ruins. It was spectacular. The ruins were gigantic boulders shaped like rectangles that made rooms. There were bedrooms, living areas and even a prison area. So interesting, I will never forget it.
At the Amazon River, I even saw a wild tucan (aka, the fruit loop bird) flying over the Amazon and got to play tennis on an authentic “clay” tennis court in Peru. We crossed the “Devil’s Throat” which is an extreme version of Niagra Falls except that there were 3 large falls merging into 1. The Devil’s Throat is much larger, much more dangerous as there aren’t any safety measures as in the U.S. You could literally walk right up to the edge of the steepest cliff I’ve ever seen. No railings, no ropes, guards telling you to “step back.” We crossed on a rope bridge while black striped butterflies flew all around us. When they spread their wings, the inside of the their wings were bright turquoise blue, yellow and orange. Amazing. Wild!
I didn’t have my video camera but found a great video of it on You Tube in case you are curious. It’s beautiful!
Machu Picchu Video
While in South America, we went to Brazil for the famous party: “Carnival” in Rio De Janiero! Beautiful, tan people, dancing in the streets, loud music, wild parties. Like L.A. on steroids! Huge hats with feathers, boas, tiny-tiny bikinis. (I think I bought a couple dozen.) It was a good investment since the bikinis were so tiny that they could double as “eye patches.” What was interesting to me was that they had exquisite mansions directly next door to the most poverty stricten areas. People living in card board boxes right next to 20,000 square foot homes. What a contrast. Reminds of the USC area. lol. Went to the capital of Brazil, Brasilia. The most beautiful futuristic area. The buildings were all white. The dark skinned, exotic people all wore white clothing too. The entire city seemed like a photo shoot for a magazine!?
Toyko, Japan: After graduating UCLA, when many fellow students were starting their careers or heading off to law school, I decided I wanted to be a Raiderette Cheerleader. Yeah, “that” went over well with the folks!? They got over it and I cheered for 2 years. During that time, the Raiders selected 10 of the 48 girls to join the Team to cheer for “American Football” in Tokyo, Japan and London, England. We had the best time and I still keep in contact with many of the cheerleaders. We went to the US Ambassadors Home for a dinner party, performed at the Yokohama Bowl and Wembley Stadium for American Football. Many NFL Legends were on the Team that year including Marcus Allen and Howie Long. The girls and I took the bullet train, did some serious power shopping and attempted to make the Guards at Buckingham Palace smile.
One of my favorite trips. Very active. Amazing once-in-a-lifetime-things to see. It’s ever changing so it’s always different. We took a 2 week cruise. I have to mention that I don’t love cruises. The “suite” we had was like a closet. How are you supposed to fit 7 pieces of luggage in there? We departed from Vancouver, Canada. Excited about what we’d see. One of the surreal moments was paddling kayaks in the ocean as killer whales were waiving their tales out of the water in a distance as bald eagles soared above me. A very Discovery Channel moment. Because I have worked in TV for over 20 years, I actually narrate the scene in my head. I know, TMI.
We saw the infamous Glacier Bay and watched as ice chunks the size of buses crash into the ocean. It made me feel very very small. It was difficult to gain perspective on the size as there wasn’t anything near it to judge. It was surreal. Seemed like a movie set. We took a helicopter and landed on a actual Glacier. What a thrill to walk on it with my glacier-walking-ice-pick shoes. I actually tried to bring back some of the glacier ice…for some reason it didn’t keep. Took a tiny bi plane to “Taku Lodge” where the owners made an Alaskan King Salmon dinner for everyone. A wild brown bear the size of a mini van licked the grill clean. His tongue must’ve been made of fire proof material.
The most exciting part of the whole trip was something I doubt I will ever dare to do again, especially now that I have a family. When I was single, I never considered, “what if’s.” It was more like, “what…that’s it?” We took a helicopter and “threaded the needle” where you fly through a hole in an ice peak that is barely big enough for the helicopter to fit through. Keep in mind we were flying over sharp, jagged ice peaks where you look down and the color goes from white ice, to blue, to black. There is no bottom to be seen. One wrong slight move and the propeller hits the ice and we all crash into the dark, never ending crevices of the ice peaks. It was so frightening and at the same time exhilerating. We all held in our abs and held our breath as if that helped make the helicopter a bit more narrow to make sure we fit. We fit!
Until next time. Kiana XO
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