Scarlett Johannson and Penelope Cruz will be panting breathlessly– all swollen, crimson, pouty-lipped in anticipation of my arrival. I just hope they haven’t tattooed my name on their bosoms…


They’ve fantasized about a threesome with me ever since they filmed Vicky Cristina Barcelona and were forced to make fake-love to Javier Bardem. I could take it or leave it, but my insecurities prevent me from hurting others’ feelings, so I’ll likely go along with their plan, bored though I may be.

This will be the last MAN ON THE FRINGE blog posting for a month as Maureen and I spread our linguistic wings and head in-flight to Barcelona to plug away in a downtown classroom for 4 hours daily on our Spanish expletives…

You see, I’m not satisfied embarrassing myself only in my home country. The rest of the world should know that not all Canadians are the cliched polite, self-effacing, half-intelligent, hockey-stick toting, igloo-making, parka-wearing, maple donut-gorging, making-love-in-the-snowbank, Mountie-lovers that they think we are. It is never a great idea to be deluded by stereotypes of nationality. I intend to set the record straight for the poor Spaniards who lack a true understanding of poutine-laced Canada and Canadians!

You can follow our trials and tribulations of learning ESPANOL on another blog site…just link in here  for our stories and adventures.And because we’re off a-wandering, this seems to be just the right moment to segue to my travel “bucket list”. I’ve been to all of Canada’s provinces and territories, and now I’m setting my sights on each of the continents, as well as all 50 states of the good ole U.S.A. I’ve set foot on a piece of :

  • North America (Canada, US & Mexico)
  • South America  (Peru)
  • Europe (all western except Spain, Portugal)
  • Asia (China)

and with a (I’m assured)finite lifetime, it’s time to get my sorry ass out there. My own list follows…if you have some ideas of other “must see” places you think I should go, please pass them my way!


MY personal list of  8 “GO-TO” places:


  1. Russia—the Cold War era was a part of history that I grew up in. The former Soviet Union and now Russia and its affiliates are still a very foreign entity and culture in my mind. The food is different; the language is guttural and intriguing. The stereotype of hard-drinking vodka-swillers in large fur Ushanka hats lives on in my mind. It’s time to see and experience this country and either reinforce my typecasting, or kill the stereotypes dead in their tracks, like so many steers lined up at the abattoir doors.
  2. Africa—a continent of thin, black primitive people living in mud huts on a desert plain with wild animals waiting on the prowl to devour them. An accurate description? I’m guessing not. Once again, a pigeonholed vision waiting to be crushed. This huge landmass is almost forgotten by North Americans unless there is a relief drive to save drought-savaged starving people. Surely this amazing continent deserves more attention than it has attracted so far.
  3. Antarctica-it’s just sitting there in its icy-frozen place at the bottom of the world with penguins and ice floes. I don’t even know if there is an actual landmass that makes Antarctica, well, Antarctica. As a part of my quest to visit each of the world continents, Antarctica needs to be on the list. Bonus, I figure Morgan Freeman must live there, since he is the voiceover I hear every time I see a documentary or film about Antarctica!
  4. India—like with Africa, I grew up hearing great tales of a place filled with starvation, swollen-tummied children with flies in their eyes, and disease, but with super spicy, aromatic food. India is a huge country with lots of climates and cultural and religious varieties. I don’t think you could visit India and not be mesmerized by the complex mélange of colour of life within its borders.
  5. Australia– well, because it’s a continent with weird, poisonous animals and insects. And crocodiles. Sounds terrifying. And kangaroos and wallabies…we all love those. I have to see it to understand why some people actually want to live there, other than to visit the Sydney Opera House.  Would go just to acquire the cool accent! G’day mate!!
  6. Alabama– Really, I could have picked any southern US state.  I haven’t been to any of them save Florida (which isn’t REALLY a part of the true “South”). Civil War, grits, racism, Mississippi River, Tom Sawyer, Sweet Home Alabama. There are countless tales of life in a country that’s just like mine, but ISN’T when you head south. Even northern-state Americans talk about the south like it’s a different country…kind of an American Quebec. Who wouldn’t want to visit a place where everything eaten comes in huge, deep-fried portions? And where they say “Y’All”?

    Alabama Emergency Room…

  7. Turkey—a life wouldn’t be complete without a trip to a historic Ottoman Empire country, situated at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. Huge mosques, the Hagia Sophia, and dry landscapes combined with Muslim culture and exotic foods make this a must-do, just as a sharp spiny breath of culture shock.
  8. Israel– it wouldn’t be fair to visit an Islamic country without the counter-balance of a sojourn to the one and only Jewish state. The tension…two sides of the coin, yin and yang, positive and negative, black and white, Judaism and Islamism. A gutsy, belligerent, tiny young country surrounded by a sea of antagonistic hordes. What kind of people can live their lives in this sandy ocean of tension?

So, look after yourselves while I’m away. Dream of your favourite places you’ve been or would like see. Start to plan for your future “bucket list” of travel, or any adventure that makes your heart beat just a little more rapidly. Make YOUR life just a little more “well-lived”!

Sorry, but I hear Scarlett and Penelope calling me, they need help rehearsing a torrid love scene they have coming up in their next cinematic outing with Ryan Gosling. Being a teacher and mentor to their fragile hearts is such demanding work.

Why must they be so needy?