What the DRAG?! Why can’t I be a queen? ūüĎĎ

“Ladies and genders,

rupaul seen it all

…But I can tell you, you have NOT. The purist drag queen community is shaking on its full coverage foundation since a girl from Belgium decided to turn her brain on and ask herself a fundamental question even Quora can’t answer:

Can anyone, and therefor also ME as a woman, be a drag queen?

Old-school drag purists: (Gag)

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Now this is how it all started…

Me: As you all know I, Evelien Delgouffe, am a woman of many faces and interests. I am interested in everything that lights a little spark in my eyes and makes me forget the mess that we as humans have to face on a daily basis. Yes, I like to live in a self (wo)manifested dream world.

Therefor I am a fan of movies, series, adventure, science fiction, comics, cosplay, fantasy creatures, make-up… etc!

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And since a while, my most favorite way to let off steam after a rough day is watching 1 or 10 episodes of ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’. It’s a little hard to explain, but those men dressing up as¬† queens makes me feel good about myself.

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TV-show host and drag supermodel extraordinaire: RuPaul!

You: “Ahm… About yourself Evvy?”

Me: “Well yeah, whenever I watch an episode of RuPaul I feel a small change in my behavior. As if I’m suddenly sliding down a rainbow of Charisma, Uniqueness, Nerve and Talent. Feeling good about myself and my womanhood.”

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I am also inspired by the different looks and how these queens carry themselves as almost alien like, supernatural creatures.

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… Vogue-ing, parading, skedaddling, lipsync-ing and even death dropping for their lives.

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… Topped with the occasional bitch fight of course.

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I decided to take my fascination to the next level and dive deeper into this magical world of drag.

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Since I am an investigative journalist (and not a ‘wannabe’ like my arch rival Lois Lane; she’s a drag but definitely not a queen…) I decided to do my research properly.

Now, asking the question ‘Can a women be a drag queen?’ turned out to be a stupid one since 1 search entry in Google taught me that women across the planet have been dressing up as drag queens (and I don’t mean drag kings, fyi)¬†for many years.

Why didn’t I know?!

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According to my good friend Google:Picture 2018-06-02 om 09.04.02

See? ‘Artists of all sexualities’.¬†So it’s totally fine for women to dress up as drag queens too!

Well… not really.

To begin with. Female drag queens are nicknamed ‘faux queens’, which is not really a name to take pride in.

Further research taught me there’s actually an ongoing vitriol surrounding female drag queens. Old-school drag purists don’t like women to act or perform as drag queens at all and even boycot them.

You: “If men dress up as women…Doesn’t it make more sense for women to dress up¬†as men… in order to bypass that nasty ‘faux queen’ nickname?”

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Me: “Well yeah, but for me, aesthetics-wise, it is much more interesting to dress up as a drag queen and explore new depths of my femininity.”

Old-school drag purists: “But why would a woman want to parody a woman? It’s a complete oxyoxymo…. a complete TRAVESTY!”

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¬†Me: “Look errr… girl… That’s just one transvestite calling another transvestite a transvestite… You know, you really shouldn’t put people into boxes like that.”

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Me:¬†While let’s face it: drag queens would be nowhere without women AMMARIGHT?”

Old-school drag purists:

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Doing this research I suddenly realized that the idea only man can be drag queens is unfortunately also promoted by my favorite TV show. In ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’¬†only male identified drags can compete. Faux queens are not welcome. Transsexuals neither. #Dafuq?

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I wondered what RuPaul’s opinion on the topic of faux queens was. Does he actually support ladies in drag? Or not? Big was my grief when I discovered an interview of RuPaul with The Guardian in 2017 where he made the following statement:

RuPaul: ‚ÄúDrag loses its sense of danger and its sense of irony once it‚Äôs not men doing it, because at its core it‚Äôs a social statement and a big F-you to male-dominated culture. So for men to do it, it‚Äôs really punk rock, because it‚Äôs a real rejection of masculinity.‚ÄĚ

Old-school drag purists:

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In the meantime RuPaul has publicly changed his opinion on the topic but still, coming from an LGBTQ ambassador, it was quite a controversial thing to say. Why should drag queen-ing be a ‘men-only’ sport?

Old-school drag purists:

Bianca_olhos

“I’m sorry Miss Delgouffe but we have to stop you right there: why would you even bother to do drag up? Why would you emulate what you AL-READY are? What is the illusion???”

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Me: “I’m pretty sure when I cover my eyebrows with a glue stick and draw on new ones, that’s called an illusion…”

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Old-school drag purists: “Funny how women always depend on men to give the right example.”

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silence

RuPaul: “The time has come for you to form a conclusion, Evelien.”

Me: “Well hang on RuPaul, let me just call up a dear friend of mine to close this case on my behalf…”

how this turns out

*Drrrriiiiiiiing driiiiiingg*

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Me: “Miss G, I urgently need your help on something. Could you come to RuPaul’s ‘Werk Room’ real quick?”

(5 min later)

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Me: “Queens, I present to you the only woman who has ever been really accepted for performing as a drag queen. Bow down for the one and only…. LADY GAGA!!!”

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Me: “Now that I have all you queens’ attention. I would like to let this marvelous artist explain to you what drag, regardless of gender, is all about to her:

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(Thank you hellogiggles.com for the nice layout of this immortal Lady Gaga quote)

Me: “See? We are all looking to fill up voids in our lives. Whether it’s with money or with glitter. We are all eager to lift ourselves to the most fabulous echelons of whatever universe we want to belong to. Faux queens or real queens, in drag there is no room for misogyny, sexism nor racisme.”

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“It’s about expressing what femininity means to us and defying sex-role stereotypes. It’s about art and performance. Whether it’s political, aesthetical or just satirical or for entertainment purposes. It shouldn’t be a ‘boys only club’ since we have so much to learn form each other.”

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“Let us try to see drag as ‚Äėgenderless‚Äô until it becomes the new norm and (meno)pause this ongoing bitch fight right here.”

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“Or to say it with the words of a wise wo-man:”

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Me: “Heu…well thanks Momma Ru, but I actually meant that other thing you always say…”

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EEEEEEEEEEEEXACTLY

Now can I get an Amen up in here?

mother ru approves

Disclaimer:
This blog post was a sponsored feel good message brought to you by ‘I don’t give a Tuck’.¬†You can be a beautiful individual no matter what. Appearance and good looks are mostly a matter of behavior and perception. If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, then add on as many illusions as you want until YOU, the beholder in the mirror, finally feels comfortable with what you see…PS: The Kardashians do it every day.

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After publishing this blog only one drag queen has decided to take a step back (…)

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…But now that the rest of the purist drag community has opened the boundaries, all¬†‘femme bodied individuals who want to try on drag every once and a while, for real or just for fun’ are more than welcome to play along!¬†

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As for me, I thought about where drag will take me. Since ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ maybe isn’t that representative for my understanding of the drag art, I will take my interest just a tiiiiiiiiiny step further….

…By going to a show in my local area and hope someone mistakes me for a real guy!

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To be continued?

All in favor say AAAYE!

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XO

 

 

Everything you need to know about STAR WARS in exactly 6.000 words

(*** Caution: this post consists of 0,5% silly wordplay, 0,5% nudity and 99% spoilers)

Has it ever happened to you that you totally unexpectedly meet a person with whom you have ridiculously many things in common, almost getting the feeling as if the Universe was plotting to unite you all along. The feeling of absolute bliss and understanding, the feeling of utter completeness, the sound of angels singing and happy bells ringing.

But then, all of a sudden, a big obstacle the size of a second Death Star arises?

(…)

This is what is happening to me… I have met a SUPER DUPER GREAT person, but there is one big obstacle…

The force isn’t strong in this one.

He doesn’t like Star Wars…

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I swore I would never get involved with someone who doesn’t like this mega awesome saga but sometimes you can’t always get what you want…

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Since he doesn’t like it *kuch* (LOSER) and I am obviously very passionate about it, I want us to share this interest, even if it’s just a little and I want to see if I can train him into becoming a Jedi Geek just in time for the 14th of December.

Him: “What’s the 14th of December?”

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For him it’s just a regular day of the year. And this is exactly what needs to change in his feeble little brain because the 14th of December is the day all STAR WARS geeks (at least in Germany and the UK) are living for. It is our Christmas, New Year, Easter and birthday combined. It is the day Episode VIII: THE LAST JEDI arrives in theaters.

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You: “So why doesn’t he like Star Wars, Evvy?”

Ha! I guess he doesn’t want to jump on the mega mainstream train. Or something went terribly wrong in his childhood… BUT he likes comic books so there is a little REY of NEW HOPE that the FORCE can be AWAKENED. (See how I just made a triple Star Wars reference? Anyone?)

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Even though he might be a ‘loser’, he’s not a lost cause.¬†I just need to use the right Jedi mind tricks to tickle his Star Wars interest. So far I came up with:

  • A gorgeously hot woman in a golden bikini

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  • Kick-ass action sequences
  • Funny droids
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  • Aspirational characters like Han Solohowareyou.gif
  • A ‚̧ storywalkingcarpet
  • A walking carpet
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  • A general sense of understanding of life and the importance of staying on the right track => certain schools actually teach Star Wars philosophy classes!!!
  • … Ahm… Merchandised popcorn?

I will continue to explain him that if he opens his mind to this wonderful universe he will be enchanted by its depths, he will be able to connect with like minded people, he won’t feel so left out anymore in daily conversations, he won’t feel as if he is missing out and he will understand TV shows much better:¬†Friends, That 70’s Show, Family Guy, Big Bang Theory… ¬†They all make references to Star Wars and there’s nothing more frustrating than missing the joke.

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Also. And this applies for every not yet Star Wars fan: You can run but you can’t hide. Considering the pace with which Walt Disney is refueling the Star Wars craze (they have just announced AN OTHER trilogy) the Force will probably haunt you until the end of your days. If you can’t beat them -and believe me you can’t- then there’s only one thing left to do: TO JOIN THEM.

Ok so let’s commence the training!

A long time ago in a galaxy far far away 

Every Star Wars film starts with yellow letters floating into outer space. This is called: the opening crawl.  It basically unravels a background story in a couple of seconds, opening the floor to whatever is about to happen next. It enables you, the viewer, to be sucked into the action straight away instead of having to endure 1 hour of film before you come to the good part.

I made a little opening crawl just for you. Click here!

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What’s quite extraordinary is that the very first Star Wars movie (Episode IV: ‘A New Hope’) starts somewhere in the middle of the big Star Wars narrative. Without any character or scenic introduction the yellow letters inform us that the Rebel Alliance have stolen plans from the Death Star in order to destroy the Galactic Empire and bring peace to the Galaxy where …

Him: “STOOOOOOOP!”

Me:
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Don’t freak out. When the yellow letters rolled over the screen the first time in 1977 no one knew what the Death Star was or how the Galaxy looked like. You will get there! … But maybe I can’t jump to the plot line just yet….

Let’s go through some fundamentals first. In order to understand Star Wars you have to get an insight in its time line as it’s a little tricky with the different trilogies, episodes and spin offs.

The important thing to know is that:

Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope¬†chronologically is the FOURTH film out of the series even though it’s the FIRST one that was ever made. Released in May 1977. 40 years ago to be precise.

Let’s jump into history-hyperspace for a quick second:

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Writing the 1970’s. President Nixon had just burnt his hands on the Watergate scandal, many people withdrew from politics altogether and turned from a hippie way of life to a pop culture‚Äďeasy lifestyle. They listened to 8-track tapes of Jackson Browne, Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer and Marvin Gaye and smoked even more pot than they had in the 1960s. In general, by the end of the 70’s, many young people were using their hard-fought freedom to simply do as they pleased: to wear what they wanted, to grow their hair long, to have sex, to do drugs. Their liberation, in other words, is intensely personal -especially once the ‘personal computer’ finds its way to the people, which changed lives drastically- and science fiction finds its way into cinema.

People hear about¬†‘this far out movie’ being released in their nearest (drive in) cinema directed by ‘this guy named George Lucas’. It is¬†described being a ‘space opera’.¬†The people don’t really know what to expect but the movie poster shows some crazy cool glowing sword and a girl with cinnamon spice buns as a hair do. Totally revolutionary!

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Even though the science fiction genre was -at this time- not very popular and a lot of movie distributors turned Lucas’ story down. It’s even been said that when Lucas showed the film to Spielberg and De Palma they were pretty much disappointed. Or potentially jealous? The first movie, however, was an unexpected box office success turning Star Wars into a pop culture phenomenon in no time. It captured imaginations with an irresistible force and had a huge effect on the film industry later on.

C3PO PEOPLE

Catch the joke: a robot on the cover of PEOPLE

The first ever blockbuster was born and stayed record holder until E.T. decided to phone home and win the audience’s heart over in 1982.

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Remeber when E.T. bumps into a Yoda costume during trick or treating and refers to him as ‘Home’?

Two sequels followed: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983) making it into a trilogy. Throughout these three movies (respectively referred to as Episodes IV, V and VI) there are three important protagonists, played by three young performers who were instantly catapulted to superstardom.

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  • Leia Organa (Carrie Fisher), => Even though she passed away in 2016, she will continue to stay Princess Leia (aka the golden bikini girl) for all eternity. She will appear in Episode VIII for the last time.
  • Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), => He is the farm boy with the light saber. The franchise hero. This guy is a god. He will also appear in Episode VIII. Potentially for the last time?
  • and Han Solo (Harrison Ford)¬†=> He is the good looking cool guy with the space ship (Millennium Falcon) and the walking carpet (Chewbacca). Thanks to Star Wars he landed the part of Indiana Jones and went on to become one of Hollywood’s finest actors. He will still play a small role in Episode VIII but more on that later as I don’t want to give away toooooo many spoilers at once.

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    Harrison Ford and Steven Spielberg on the set of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Again E.T. is present. Not referring to the Indian guy in the back.

16 years after the very first trilogy, another trilogy was made. Again directed by -the at this point very famous- George Lucas. This trilogy, however, was not a sequel but a prequel. The prequel trilogy describes what had taken place over 32 years before the events of Star Wars: Episode IV A New Hope and primarily focuses on a young Darth Vader originally known as Anakin Skywalker (played by Jake Lloyd and later Hayden Christensen) and a young Obi-Wan Kenobi (played by Ewan McGregor). It was the last trilogy to be distributed by 20th Century Fox.

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Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999) was the first of the three.

OK brace yourself. Remember I mentioned E.T. before? Well… watch this little clip¬†from ‘The Phantom Menace’ and prepare to have your MIND BLOWN! => This is why E.T. recognizes Yoda in Spielberg’s blockbuster.¬†

Two more films followed: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002) and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005). These movies basically tell everything that happened until Episode IV.

Well yeah ALMOST everything, since the very recent spin-off ‘Rogue One’ (2016) also takes place before the first trilogy.

Him: “STOOOOOOOOP!!”

Me:That-70s-show-star-wars

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Me: “Ok then try to replace the light sabers with something you like, for instance … Errrr… French baguettes! And let’s go over it again in a nutshell.”

 

You have the original trilogy => Where the glowing sword and the cinnamon spice buns play quite a big part. Three movies that CHANGED the life of people all over the world until this very day => 16 years later another trilogy was established to reveal the history of the first trilogy that DIDN’T CHANGE the life of people all over the world since it kinda sucked => But the¬†brand new trilogy (VII, VIII, IX) which follows the original trilogy (IV, V, VI) brings back the sentimental feelings the original trilogy brought to this world now 40 years ago.

Bear with me darling. It’s about to get better.

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Let’s go through some fundamental lexicon:

THE SITH vs THE JEDI
Shit… AHM, I mean ‘Sith’ are basically the bad Jedi. They are overcome with hate. Jedi like Obi-Wan, Yoda and Luke Skywalker are good knights who use¬†the metaphysical power of the Force to guard justice in the galaxy. They greet each other by saying: “May the force be with you”.

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Ok then what is THE FORCE?
As Obi-Wan states himself in 1977‚Äôs Episode IV, A New Hope: ‚ÄúThe Force is what gives a Jedi his power. It’s an energy field created by all living things. It surrounds us and¬†penetrates us; it binds the galaxy together‚ÄĚ. ¬†The Force is mystical energy inside everything that can be controlled by certain people and is often said to be inspired by Taoist philosophy. Just like yin and yang, you have a light side and a dark side and they constantly interact with each other. On each side you also have masters/lords and apprentices. Darth Vader is the pupil of Lord Sidius (Emperor). Kylo Ren is the pupil of Emperor Snoke. Luke Skywalker was the pupil of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.

***

Let’s start chronologically:

What you ABSOLUTELY need to know about the first TRILOGY (these are the basics my friend):

  • The trilogy has 3 famous protagonists: Luke Skywalker, Leia Organa and Han Solo
    These are the good guys. Well, Han Solo at first doesn’t appear to be a good guy, he is a rogue, but eventually he turns out to become a hero. He flies the ‘Millennium Falcon’, which is a space ship, together with his BFF and co-pilot Chewbacca aka Chewie aka the walking carpet. He is a 7-foot-tall Wookiee, a hairy, bipedal mammal who only makes gurgling noises.¬†The two encounter Luke and Obi-Wan, a Jedi master, in a cantina in A New Hope¬†and go on to join them, and later Leia, in Rebel attacks against the evil¬†Empire. Luke has his own reasons to seek justice because his aunt and uncle -his legal guardians- were killed by the Empire.

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  • There are -of course- antagonists too¬†
    Darth Vader is the most famous one. But also Senator Palpatine (also known as Darth Sidious or the Emperor). They master the dark side of the Force and want to control the Galaxy.

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Senator Palpatine before and after his make over into The Emperor / Lord Sidius #plasticsurgerygonewrong

Jabba The Hutt is also an antagonist. He is the most powerful crime boss on Tatooine, who has a bounty on Han Solo’s head in ‘Episode VI: Return of the Jedi‘.

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Flattering character

  • The Death Star is the Empire’s ultimate weapon
    A huge spherical space station over 100 kilometers in diameter capable of destroying a planet with one shot of its superlaser. The Death Star is a very powerful and threatening piece of imagery throughout the saga. This space station is also populated by Imperial Storm Troopers. They are the troops of the Galactic Empire.

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    => The Death Star evolution:
    1. In Episode II the Death Star plans are being handed to Darth Sidious by Darth Tyranus.
    2. In Episode III the Death Star is under construction.
    3. In Episode IV the Death Star is operational but gets destroyed by the Rebel Alliance right after it blows up Aldaaran, the home planet of Princess Leia.
    4. In Episode VI a second and much bigger Death Star is being constructed but gets destroyed as well by the end of that movie.

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  • Luke Skywalker is Darth Vader’s son!¬†
    If there is any quote from the movie you know, it’s probably : ‘Luke, I am your father’.no
    These famous words are being spoken by Darth Vader at the end of ‘Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back’ and is until now known to be one of the biggest plot turns in history! Vader wants Luke to join him on the dark side to rule the Empire but Luke refuses since he’s a good guy. They get caught in a sweet light saber duel where Luke loses his hand but he finds a way to escape. One year later, after an intense training becoming a badass Jedi Knight, father and son Skywalker face each other again in the second Death Star. Luke defeats Vader and cuts off his hand in a revenge light saber match. The Emperor orders Luke to kill his father. Luke infuriates the Emperor because he refuses to do so. The Emperor tries to kill Luke but Vader intervenes and rescues his son by killing the Emperor. Vader eventually dies and Luke cremates him. The Empire is defeated. The people rejoice.
  • Luke and Leia are actually brother and sister
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    Luke doesn’t find out until ‘Episode VI The Jedi Returns‘ that Leia is his twin sister.¬†They were adopted by different families right after they were born. This causes a little bit of awkwardness since at first Luke crushes on Leia and they actually kiss in ‘The Empire Strikes Back‘. Yuk! But it was merely a trick pulled by Leia to make Han Solo jealous and eventually -after a lot of bickering- Han and Leia fall in love at the end of the third film. In ‘Episode VII The Force Awakens’ (2015) we find out that Leia and Han Solo actually have a child. A son called Kylo Ren. More on him later. And YES young Padawan (*): this means Princess Leia is Darth Vader’s daughter.leia and vader

(* a Padawan is a Force-sensitive adolescent who trained in the Jedi Order to one day become a full-fledged Jedi.)

  • Other important characters are:
    R2-D2 and C-3PO.
    Built by Anakin Skywalker, C-3PO was designed as a protocol droid¬†intended to assist in etiquette, customs and translation, boasting that he is “fluent in over six million forms of communication”. Along with his astromech droid¬†counterpart and friend R2-D2, C-3PO provides comic relief¬†within the narrative structure of the films.¬†C-3PO was strongly influenced by the Maschinenmensch¬†from Fritz Lang’s classic sci-fi film Metropolis, and played by British actor Anthony Daniels. Kenny Baker, a circus performer, got the role of R2-D2.¬†Standing as an adult at three foot, eight inches (1.12 meters), Baker was short enough to fit into the robot and strong enough to operate the heavy machinery a child would have not been able to do.droids
    Funny fact: While the film may show an unbreakable friendship between these two droids, the actors actually couldn’t stand each other and hardly talked to each other during filming. Baker passed away in 2016 aged 81 and got replaced by Scottish actor Jimmy Vee who will make his first credited appearance in Episode VIII this December.

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda.
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These are Jedi Masters and Luke becomes their apprentice. Yoda is that dyslectic little green goblin on the right. Instead of saying “We must destroy the Sith” he says: “Destroy the Sith we must”.¬†He is the most powerful of Jedi and dies at the end of Episode VI: Return of the Jedi at the blessed age of 900. Yoda plays a big part in the prequel episodes I, II, III since he is Obi-Wan’s master. Obi-Wan becomes Anakin Skywalker’s master until he turns into the evil Darth Vader. Kenobi then continues to train Luke Skywalker. Obi-Wan dies in the first film of the original trilogy (Episode IV) after a duel with Vader, his former apprentice. Instead of being cut into two he vanishes into thin air. A technique evolved by Obi-Wan and Yoda.

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What you ABSOLUTELY need to know about the SECOND TRILOGY:

  • N-O-T-H-I-N-G!
    Well that’s not entirely true. Let’s just say that the only thing you need to know is that the story evolves around Anakin Skywalker and his transition from being a young kid to becoming an adult and all the challenges related to it. The Force is very strong in him and he is believed to become a very promising Jedi. HOWEVER. When his mother gets brutally murdered, he¬†feels the pull of the dark side growing stronger in himself and his surroundings. He ends up killing a bunch of Jedi and turns into the evil Lord Darth Vader¬†(=> TAKE A MENTAL PICTURE: ANAKIN SKYWALKER IS DARTH VADER) 

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    His turn to the dark side happens right after he marries Queen Amidala (also known as ‘Padm√©’, played by Natalie Portman) and impregnates her. When she finds out Anakin is a baddie she slips into a critical condition. Obi-Wan confronts Vader.¬†The two engage in a duel which results in Vader suffering the loss of his limbs, severe burns, and damage to his lungs. ¬†=> THIS IS WHY VADER WEARS HIS MASK AND SUIT AND HAS TROUBLE BREATHING.¬†Obi-Wan leaves his longtime friend and former apprentice for dead but Sidious (The Emperor) rescues Vader and encases him in a life-support suit.

Queen Amidala dies in childbirth, and the Skywalker twins, Luke and Leia¬†are separated; Leia is adopted by Senator Bail Organa and his wife on Aldaaran. She grows up as a Princess and later on becomes a secret member of the Rebel Alliance.¬†C-3PO and R2-D2 are also in the custody of Bail Organa with C-3PO’s memory getting wiped in order to have the twins split-up and protected.¬†=> SO NO! C-3PO WAS NOT AWARE ANYMORE THAT LUKE AND LEIA WERE SIBLINGS WHEN HE SAW THEM KISSING

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Luke is taken in by his uncle and aunt on Tatooine but we all know what happens to them at the beginning of Episode IV …

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Roast beef anyone?

Kenobi disappears in exile on that same planet and from then on calls himself ‘Ben Kenobi’.¬†Luke, Leia and Kenobi discover each other in Episode IV A New Hope. They bundle forces in order to restore peace in the Galaxy since¬†Sidious and Vader succeeded in taking control of the Senate and later the galaxy forming the Galactic Empire. The two Sith oversee the construction of the first Death Star, a glimpse of the dark times to come.

I would suggest NOT to watch Episodes I, II, III but would advice to look for a re-cut instead.

Apparently Topher Grace (yep, Eric Forman from ‘That 70’s Show’) is such a big Star Wars fan he re-cut the three episodes into a 85 min film. That is the shortest Star Wars film ever made! He¬†showed the film publicly to about 50 people, but it’s not currently available to watch in any other way, likely due to copyright issues.

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Topher Grace playing Luke Skywalker in ‘That 70’s Show’

According to Slashfilm’s Peter Sciretta, who attended the screening, ‚ÄúTopher was able to completely tell the main narrative of Anakin Skywalker‚Äôs road from Jedi to the Sith,‚ÄĚ and continued by saying, ‚ÄúWhat‚Äôs better is that the character motivations are even more clear and identifiable, a real character arc not bogged down by podraces, galactic senates, Jar Jar Binks, politics or most of the needless parts of the Star Wars¬†prequels. It not only clarifies the story, but makes the film a lot more action-packed.‚ÄĚ

Or watch this clip where you basically learn everything you need to know about the prequels in 3 solid minutes .

And while you’re at it you might as well check this video (2015) too:

Of course this video doesn’t yet speak of the recent trilogy from which we’ve only seen ‘Episode VII: The Force Awakens’.

Therefor: What you ABSOLUTELY need to know about the THIRD TRILOGY:

  • It almost didn’t exist
    Chronologically ‘Episode VII The Force Awakens’ is set around 30 years after ‘Episode VI¬†Return of the Jedi’. Lucas originally planned a sequel trilogy in the mid-1970s, but had abandoned these plans by the late 1990s. The Walt Disney Company¬†acquired Lucasfilm in late 2012 and then announced the production of a sequel trilogy.¬†Unlike the previous two trilogies, whose films were released approximately three years apart, the sequel films are planned to be released two years apart. ‘Episode VIII The Last Jedi’¬†is set for release this December, with Rian Johnson¬†as screenwriter and director. Episode IX was to be directed by ‘Jurassic World’ director Colin Trevorrow but he¬†departed from the project. Shortly after, it was announced that Abrams would return to direct the film.¬†It is scheduled to be released on December 20, 2019.
  • It’s still very much a family affair (but maybe the last Skywalker one)
    It is very clear that STAR WARS has always been a¬†family affair (siblings kissing, father issues, children watching their parents die, a repetitive history of orphanage and exile, …) This road continues in the recent trilogy where Kylo Ren (Adam Driver), the son of Princess Leia and Han Solo, steps into the footsteps of his grandfather Darth Vader.
Kylo_Ren_Vader_Helmet_Chamber

Grand daddy issues…

Kylo Ren continues Vader’s legacy by setting up ‘The First Order’, a new collective of bad guys with the help of Supreme Leader Snoke (his mentor).

snoke

Snoke

FUN FACT! Snoke is being played by Andy Serkis who you may know as that other ugly creature…¬†

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Gollum

Just like with the original trilogy there is another father-son face off in ‘Episode VII The Force Awakens’, only this time resulting in the tragic death of one of Star War’s most loved characters: Han Solo. It’s all just a little bit of galactic history repeating ¬†but of course the fans love it. It captures the original Star Wars spirit where the prequel failed to do so.

  • There is a new Death Star and a new R2-D2 in ‘The Force Awakens’
    More history repeating!
  • > Starkiller Base
    starkiller base
    Starkiller Base was a mobile,¬†forested iceplanet that was turned into a base operated by The First Order looking very similar to the Death Star. It got destroyed at the end of ‘The Force Awakens’ by the good guys.
  • >¬†Meet¬†BB8
    BB8
    In ‘Episode VII The Force Awakens’¬†the ball-shaped BB-8 droid gets introduced.¬†In the film, the robot is the astromech¬†of the Resistance X-wing fighter¬†pilot Poe Dameron (Oscar Isaac).¬†Poe entrusts him with a map that must be delivered to the Resistance headquarters in order to determine the whereabouts of Jedi Knight Luke Skywalker.¬†While Poe is captured and interrogated by the sinister First Order¬†commander Kylo Ren, BB-8 flees across the desert of the planet Jakku¬†and finds sanctuary with the plucky scavenger Rey.¬†Eventually Rey, the renegade stormtrooper Finn, Han Solo and Chewbacca ¬†bring BB-8 to Resistance leader Leia Organa, and ultimately reunite him with Poe. ¬†=> This story echoes the story of ‘Episode IV A New Hope’ where Princess Leia hides the plans to destroy the Death Star inside R2-D2¬†along with a holographic¬†recording. R2-D2 flees to the planet Tatooine together with protocol droid C-3PO in order to bring the plans to Obi-Wan Kenobi but bump into Luke Skywalker first. From there on the saga begins.

    helpmeobiwan

  • Emancipation is a big thing now
    Aha! Finally something different. Luke Skywalker has always been the franchise’s hero and has now been dethroned by a woman. Not a princess, but rather a ‘female Han Solo type Jedi heroin’ named Rey (Daisy Ridley) who was left by her parents when she was a child. Much of her past and familial lineage is shrouded in mystery. And thus THE BIG QUESTION that keeps itching fans’ brains is: Who are Rey’s parents? According to director¬†J.J. Abrams :¬†“Rey’s parents are not in Episode VII The Force Awakens, so I can’t possibly say in this moment who they are. But I will say it is something that Rey thinks about, too.”

    Is Abrams just trying to throw fans off the scent of Rey’s real parents? The current online theories go from Rey being Luke Skywalker’s daughter to Kylo Ren’s sister, to being willed to life through an immaculate conception, to being the daughter of a new character played by Benicio del Toro, to being Obi-Wan Kenobi’s daughter, … More on that in this very interesting/entertaining read.

=> Personal note : Rey being Luke’s daughter could be the most obvious and therefor boring plot line but, nonetheless, makes the most sense. The original idea was that STAR WARS was going to be about three generations. You’d have the original trilogy, then go back to Luke’s father and find out what happened to him and if there was another seventh, eighth or ninth film, it would be about Luke’s children. However, Lucas changed his mind off and on. As announced by Lucasfilm, this recent trilogy also would mean the end of most of the existing Star Wars expanded universe, in order to give “maximum creative freedom to the filmmakers and also preserve an element of surprise and discovery for the audience”.

LET THE COUNTDOWN BEGIN!

Who are Rey’s parents? What happened to Luke these past decades? Will Kylo Ren move to the light side of the Force?¬†WHO IS THE LAST JEDI AND DOES THIS MEAN THE END OF THE JEDI ORDER???

What we know about ‘Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’ so far is that¬†the action picks up immediately after the events of 2015’s ‘Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens’¬†which ended with the film’s heroine Rey (Daisy Ridley) coming face-to-face with an elderly Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), now living a life of monastic solitude on a planet called¬†Ahch-To.

Star-Wars-Force-Awakens-Alternate-Ending

The only information IMDB cares to share is the following:
Having taken her first steps into the larger Jedi world, Rey joins Luke Skywalker on an adventure with Leia, Finn and Poe that unlocks mysteries of the Force and secrets of the past.

Details about the plot are being kept under wraps, but director¬†Rian Johnson has hinted that the film will be a war film, explaining that its¬†tone was influenced by¬†Second World War classics ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ and ‘Twelve O‚ÄôClock High’. “Particularly Twelve O‚ÄôClock High, a lot of that made it in there,” he said in July.¬†“It ended up being a really personal part of it.‚ÄĚ

Be prepared for some surprising plot twists. And potential kill offs… The¬†Star Wars screenwriters have never been afraid of going all ‘Game Of Thrones’ and killing off main characters. Think of Obi-Wan, Yoda, Darth Vader, Han, … I can only imagine more favorite characters are likely to die. Possibly Luke Skywalker since the next trilogy (it has just been announced that Episodes X, XI and XII are coming) will move on from the Skywalker family. But then again, this is merely personal speculation.

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14 REASONS WHY Episode VIII will be another box office smashing blockbuster. THESE ARE THE FACTS: 

  1. It’s tradition:¬†Star Wars is one of the most intergenerational movies in the history of cinema. Passed on from father/mother to son/daughter (trying not to be stereotypical here)
  2. It’s all about reconnecting to a lost childhood. #nostalgia!
  3. The movie¬†trailer broke records. This is the first time people were actually aware of a trailer being able to do that. The clip shows Luke training Rey to use her Force powers on his rocky mountain outcrop, before telling her¬†“I only know one truth ‚Äď it’s time for the Jedi to end.” WATCH IT HERE
  4. There are too many questions that need answers ASAP. For instance: WHO IS THE LAST JEDI? Conveniently, Rian Johnson cleared this up speaking to the New York Times in September, he said the title referred to Skywalker, but added that there might be “wiggle room” for other interpretations.¬†‚ÄúLuke Skywalker, right now, is the last Jedi. There‚Äôs always wiggle room in these movies ‚Äď everything is from a certain point of view ‚Äď but coming into our story, he is the actual last of the Jedi. And he has removed himself and is alone on this island, for reasons unknown.‚ÄĚ
  5. It will be the last time you’ll see old school heroes Carrie Fischer and Harrison Ford. *SNIF*¬†The film will include a funeral for Han Solo, who was killed by his son Kylo Ren in ‘The Force Awakens’. Fisher will appear as Princess Leia one last time as all her scenes had been filmed¬†by the time of her death in December 2016.
  6. These are films you just have to watch on the big screen.
  7. The Lucasfilm advertising machine¬†promises us a mind blowing, not to miss, experience. Already interviewed in 2012 after the announcement of the new trilogy, Lucas biographer Dale Pollock already said that he had, in the 1980s, read the outlines to 12 Star Wars¬†episodes planned by Lucas, but had been required to sign a confidentiality agreement.¬†Pollock said:¬†“The three most exciting stories were 7, 8 and 9. They had propulsive action, really interesting new worlds, new characters. I remember thinking, ‘I want to see these 3 movies.'”
  8. There are going to be more movies coming so you might as well jump on the train pronto if you don’t want to be left behind.
  9. It’s already a pretty sure thing that ‘Episode VIII: The Last Jedi’ will be a piece of brilliant work otherwise Lucasfilm would have never commit to hiring director Rian Johnson to helm a¬†whole new trilogy (X, XI, XII) if they weren‚Äôt impressed with his work. One more reason to be excited about this latest development!
  10. RED FLAG: Something HUGE is about to happen. It is said that this 3rd trilogy will be the last one focussing on the Skywalker family. And chances are pretty real the makers won’t wait until Episode IX to begin this big shift. The red letters are a major RED FLAG!

 

This isn‚Äôt the first time the yellow logo has changed to red for a movie ‚ÄĒ both ‘Return of the Jedi’ and ‘Revenge of the Sith’ had red logos. Both¬†movies are the end of¬†their respective trilogies, and also both considered to be the darkest. In Return, we‚Äôve got Luke finally defeating the Emperor and the death of Darth Vader; with Revenge, we‚Äôve got the fall of the Galactic Senate, the death of¬†Padm√©‚Ķand the death of Anakin Skywalker. Knowing that both movies featured a prominent Skywalker dying (even though they were both Anakin),¬†this could mean Kylo Ren is going after his mother (Leia) and/or uncle (Luke) ending the Skywalker heritage?!

star-wars-red-logos-226723

  • Incoming: an evil R2-D2 !!¬†Has R2-D2 moved over to the Dark Side??? Well, no… But after the introduction of BB-8 in ‘The Force Awakens’ there is more fresh droid blood on its way! BB-9E will make it’s introduction in ‘The Last Jedi’ as the evil version of BB-8.¬†According to Disney he belongs to the ‚Äúastromech unit of the First Order that keep their starships and machinery operational.” We don‚Äôt know much more about BB-9E except that he‚Äôs probably Kylo Ren‚Äôs sidekick.
    170830125931-sphero-toys-780x439
  • Crazy Celebrity Cameos.¬†This is probably the main reason for fans of old UK boybands and the British monarchy to check out the movie. As it’s been said that¬†Take That-singer Gary Barlow has been given a character of his own, while Prince Harry and Prince William will make an appearance as Stormtroopers.

    gary-barlow-joins-the-star-wars-cast-in-episode-viii-01.gif

    I Sith you not. The royal brothers payed a visit to Pinewood Studios last April and were completely fascinated as they explored the backstage area, and showed off their sibling rivalry with a playful lightsaber duel.

    prince-william-z

    Actor John Boyega went on to confirm in a BBC Radio 4 interview that the royal brothers filmed cameos in the upcoming film Star Wars: The Last Jedi. The actor reportedly revealed that the Princes had non-speaking parts as Stormtroopers, although he believes their scene was cut from the movie. We will have to find out for ourselves!

    Tom-Hardy-Star-Wars-8-rumours-751344

    A big name that will definitely make an appearance as a Stormtrooper is TOM HARDY. Really following the footsteps of Daniel Craig (Hardy is said to become the new James Bond) who also played a Stormtrooper in the last Star Wars installment ‘The Force Awakens’. Find the clip here.¬†New major additions to the cast include Benicio Del Toro as an unnamed villain, Laura Dern as Resistance fighter¬†Amilyn Holdo, and Kelly Marie Tran as Rose Tico, another member of the Resistance.

    13. Look! It’s a new cuddly mascot!

    porgWhile ‘Star Wars: Episode VI ‚Äď Return of the Jedi’ had the Ewoks, a kind of living alien teddy-bear, ewoks
    The Last Jedi has porgs. According to LucasFilm these furry, birdlike creatures are native to the islands of¬†Ahch-To, Luke Skywalker’s new home, so it’s possible the Jedi has befriended a few of them.

    14. Make up your own final reason why you wanna watch Episode VIII and start crossing your galaxy calendar!

    YOUR TRAINING HAS COME TO AN END. THANK YOU FOR APPLYING TO THE JEDI MASTER CLASS. WE SINCERELY HOPE YOU WILL CONTINUE TO PICK THE FRUITS OF YOUR TRAINING THROUGHOUT THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.

May the force be with you

kick-sparks

XO

OH RIGHT I ALMOST FORGOT! 

Since I have spent days putting this post together, doing a lot of research, reading a lot of theories, digging deeper… I came up with a personal theory on the future narrative of the saga.

Investigating the background of Kylo Ren’s name, I discovered that the expression number of the name ‘Kylo’ is 9 which basically means the following:

“Kylo are idealistic who embrace the principles of compassion and forgiveness. Kylo are visionary who is wiling to make a better world and have the ability to influence masses. Kylo are also creative and imaginative that gives them an artistic talent.”

My educated guess? Kylo Ren will eventually step over to the Light Side and will marry Rey in some reversed Anakin-Padm√© story. ¬†They will have kids of their own who will carry out the next Star Wars generation and in their turn will flirt with the Light and the Dark Side of the Force. ‘The Last Jedi’ trailer basically confirms this¬†theory with Kylo Ren reaching out his hand to Rey.

Got any Star Wars theories of your own? Feel free to share them!

Thank you for listening, the exam will be TOMORROW.

XO

‚̧

 

*BERLIN HIGHLIGHTS* part 1 : BECYCLE + best breakfast bars

The next THREE posts I will share with you the THREE highlights of my recent THREE day THREESOME trip to Berlin.

The traveling threesome being:

Picture 2017-05-23 om 14.09.59

(L->R: my roommate @cedriclav, his boyfriend @michaelvdp80 and me @eveliendelgouffe)

First highlight: BECYCLE and Berlin breakfasts

Being a cycling enthusiast I was a little concerned about spending a weekend away from my bike. Usually I go riding every Sunday and I was worried my three day holiday would be a setback in my training schedule.

As we arrived in the middle of the night on Friday May 19th, we already did some research on the plane about where to have breakfast on our first morning. In the recent issue of Monocle we read about this place called ‘MyGoodnessBerlin‘.

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IMG_2607A nutritious and healthy cafe¬†where they serve alternative style breakfasts made from organic whole foods. They serve super natural smoothies, banana breads, muscle protein oat bowls, … To eat in¬†or take with you to work! None of us three is actually a vegan but we do love to try out new stuff and preferably when it matches our fitness regime. And it’s quite refreshing to discover the existence of¬†for instance¬†a turmeric or beetroot¬†latte. Or vegan Snickers balls!

The cafe is located in BECYCLE, a new fitness boutique studio, focusing on high intensity spinning workouts. The holy Mecca for cycling lovers.

Overall Berlin is a very bicycle friendly city. Everywhere you see people riding their bikes. And the roads are much more adapted to cyclists than here in Belgium. I kinda loathe the aggressive and dangerous behavior towards cyclists here.

Anyway, they have premium facilities and no contracts. Basically you can turn up, subscribe for a cycling class and for less than 25 euros you get to use GIRO cycling shoes, a big custom made bottle you can fill up with chilled water, a towel, a locker and a¬†futuristic¬†turbo bike for a 60 minute suffer fest in a room with the best Berlin beats (go to¬†their¬†SoundCloud here) 1 instructor and about 15 other sweaty cycling enthusiasts. The idea is simple: you just have to execute everything the instructor¬†tells you no matter how much it hurts or how fast it goes. The experience is unforgettable. And very rewarding afterwards. You feel happy and¬†energized throughout¬†the rest of the day and you¬†don’t have to feel guilty about indulging on a big breakfast after.

I went to check out BECYCLE¬†Sunday morning at 10.30 am after only 4 hours of sleep. I was out discovering Berlin’s nightlife until¬†the early hours. (More about this in the¬†next highlight!) But¬†after my workout¬†I felt FIT & FRESH.

Since we already checked out the breakfast here the day before, we went to check out another place to refuel: ‘Commonground‘.

Run by the guys from breakfast and coffee hotspot ‘Silo Coffee’, ‘Commonground’ is a place which strongly focuses on quality and where the chef, bartender or barista truly believes in the product they are making and serving. Being attached to the Circus Hotel, this place is located in a majestic¬†building, with amazing inner court. You can have breakfast until 4pm. And, fun fact: In weekends and on Friday evenings ‘Commonground’ has a strict ‚Äėno laptop‚Äô policy. They¬†kindly ask you to find another area to complete any work that you may need to do during weekends. Isn’t that great???

And again: the prices were sooooo cheap. We had breakfast with three people for less than 65 euros. Drinks included. And tap water is free of charge. In Belgium you could easily spend up to 80 euros or more for what we ordered.

1 x Berry Brioche French Toast : 8,20 euros
3 x Sourdough Toast with Avocado mash and Poached Eggs : 12 euros (x3)
1 x Home Made Granola with Chia Seed Pudding : 5,50 euros
2 x Latte : 3 euros (x2)
2 x Home Made Iced Tea : 4,5 (x2)

There are countless of eateries, bars, cafes, … in Berlin. This is just a tip of the ‘eisberg’! When you are in Mitte, Berlin and you don’t know where to find food or coffee. Just go to Rosenthaler StraBe and¬†Kastanienallee and surrounding streets and you won’t get hungry ever again!

Points where Berlin beats Belgium’s ass:¬†

  • Much healthier food, accessible for anybody (vegan, vegetarian, gluten free, lactose free, …)
  • So cheap to eat out! And soooo good! 9,8 euros for an exquisite roasted¬†lamb leg in rosemary and¬†garlic butter?! This is gourmet HEAVEN!
  • Much more bicycle friendly. Seriously Belgium, being a cyclist country, what’s up with that???? (This one really upsets me)
  • So much more healthy focused lifestyle with sports and nutritious foods.

‚Üď

STAY TUNED FOR NEXT HIGHLIGHT : The most exclusive nightclub in Berlin! 

XO

A cosplay special

Hello there intergalactic friends of the universe!

Today we are going to get crafty as I will tell you all about my BXL COMIC CON outfit and how I hand made it from scratch. Soon¬†the result will be visible on my Instagram (instagram.com/eveliendelgouffe) and Snapchat ‘evdelgouffe’ but here I am going to take you through every step of the making so you can create¬†your own DIY LEELOO FROM LUC BESSON’S THE FIFTH ELEMENT KICK ASS SUSPENDER ENSEMBLE.¬†

For a total cost of: 39,2 euros

WITHOUT ANY SEWING INVOLVED. 

sewing

Okay first off you need to :

  1. Browse the internet. 

Picture the character and how you can attain the look. You don’t want to start with a super chick dream image

leeloo

…and end up looking like this.

leeloofail

That just gnarly.

Get a good grasp of what the outfit consists off and what you already have in your closet that looks like the outfit and what stuff you still need to buy. Make a shopping list.

2. Visit your local crafts or carnival store and see what you can find.

Since I already owned:

  • black boots
  • white crop top

I bought:

  • golden leggings
  • orange hair chalk
  • 1 meter of orange felt¬†fabric for the suspenders
  • black tape

3. GET STARTED

Start with the most important thing first. The centerpiece of your look.

I figured if all the rest¬†would fail, there was one thing that would be indispensable to the ¬†whole Leeloo look & feel and that is …

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It’s an identification card/credit card/money card/etc all rolled into one. Pronounced as ‘Mooooltiee paaass’. You can find templates on the internet.

multipasstemplate

Just print one out in the appropriate size. If you have a lot of time on your hands you can even photoshop your own picture in there to make it that more real.

(Remember: nothing is real, it’s cosplay. But it feels damn good to walk this earth¬†as a supreme being for one day.)

supremebeing

A) Multipass necessities:

  • a printer
  • a crayon
  • two pieces of cardboard
  • colored paper
  • an x-acto knife

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You can find a basic stencil on the net to make the cut out.

Re-use the stencil to add the more detailed elements.

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Borrow¬†your father’s medication packages¬†and use them as a button or a switch of some sort to add extra dimension.

medi

Tadaaa

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Congrats! You got yourself a Multipass! Looking at it from a distance (as in: from another planet) you will barely see the difference with the real one!

Total waste: 20170222_162851

Total cost: 0 euro since I found everything I needed around the house.

=> On to the next challenge: THE ORANGE SUSPENDERS

fifth-element-leeloo-cosplay-costume-version-01-002

B) Suspender necessities:

  • a tape-measure
  • orange material¬†(I used orange felt. If you can’t find this, find another bendy fabric that you can spray paint)
  • an x-acto knife or a pair of scissors
  • a clear printed out picture of the lay out of the suspenders
  • a ruler and a ball point pen

First off: you need to measure yourself. Take measurements of your shoulders, waist and torso.

Take a sheet of paper to draw your exact outlines.

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Berliner is just my size.

Then draw the suspenders onto the paper using your measurements.

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Draw round circles where the wholes should be using a roll of sewing thread or any other round object.

Cut out the front piece. And use the same measurements to create the back.

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Try it on for size without tearing the paper.

See where it needs adjusting. As with me, the back part should be more narrow and elegant.

Use your pattern to cut it out on the fabric. I decided to do everything practically in one piece so you can just pull it over your head and attach the crotch with velcro tape. After all even supreme beings need to go to the toilet at one point.

Cut out the wholes. Velcro tape it together.

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Tadaaaa

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Congrats! You got yourself a pair of LEELOO SUSPENDERS!

Total cost: 8 euros for 1 meter of fabric, 1 euro worth of velcro tape.

=> Next step: THE LEELOO LEGGINGS!

leggings

C) Legging necessities:

  • a pair of light brown, beige or golden leggings
  • thin black tape
  • wide black tape
  • glue

Chances you will find ‘pret √† porter’ leggings like these are slim but with a minimum of effort you can create a great pair of Leeloo leggings.

Put your leggings on for size and keep the thin black tape in reach.

Start from the bottom of your legs and pull the tape all the way up your hip bone. Contour your knees. Take the leggings off and use glue (preferably a hot glue gun) to keep the tape in place at all times.

Now take the wider piece of black tape to create a belt.

Done & Done

Congrats! You got yourself a pair of Leeloo leggings.

Total cost: 12,10 euros for the leggings and 10 euros for the black tape.

***

And now for the finishing touch: HAIR AND MAKE UP

HAIR: 

hair

I decided to go with my real hair because wigs tend to degrade the outfit and just look too fake. I cut my hair a couple of weeks prior to this event to generate a similar look.

Wash your hair, towel dry it roughly, comb it. Take multiple locks and run through it from top to end using the orange hair chalk which only cost me 2 euros/piece. Repeat this all over.

Then blow dry your hair to see the result.

Create dread like locks using gel and hairspray. I also used neon orange hair paste (4,10 euros) to highlight some of the locks.

MAKE UP: leeloomakeup

The make up should be relatively ‘au naturel’. Don’t over powder yourself. Keep your skin light and pale. Use eyeliner, mascara and maybe a set of fake eye lashes. Keep the lips in a natural shade of apricot¬†or pink.¬†Don’t forget to keep¬†the eyebrows as light as possible. I decided to use some orange fake eyelashes to give my overall look that extra supreme-ness.

lashes

ACCESSORIES:

You can add cuts and blood if you want to go for the more ‘battered and bruised Leeloo’.

leeloohurt

Or you can even go for the non-waterproof mascara autowash Leeloo.

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With a brown ball point pen or marker you can also add a tattoo on your right wrist containing the four elements: earth, air, fire, water.

fifthelementtattooframecapturesmaller

Now all there’s left to do is catch up on the Leeloo lingo and you’re good to go!

¬į¬į¬įA little trivia to the Divine Language:

The “Divine Language” spoken by Leeloo was invented by director¬†Luc Besson¬†and further refined by Milla Jovovich,¬†who had little trouble learning and developing it, as she was already fluent in 4 languages. The language had only 400 words. He and Milla¬†held conversations and wrote letters to each other in the language as practice. By the end of filming they were able to have full conversations in this language.

Before we move over¬†to some useful catch phrases, it wouldn’t hurt to remember your entire name which is:

nameleeloo

Now all together:
Leeloomina√Į Lekatariba Lamina-Tcha√Į Ekbat De Sebat.¬†

Got it? Good. Then now you’re ready for the final step: The¬†Supreme being glossary:

‘Apipoula√Į!’: Hello

‘Big ba-dah big boom’: to make a splashing entrance

‘Eto akta gamat’: Never without my permission -> which could come in handy with all those gropey pervs¬†at comic cons.

‘San agamat chay bet envolet’: The case was stolen

‘Cornelius, ikset-kiba. Me imanetaba oum dalat’: Don’t worry, ¬†I know exactly where they (the stones) are.

‘Dot’: There

‘Danko’: Thank you.

‘Domo danko’: Thank you very much.

Domo danko for reading and sharing !

‚̧

meprotectyou

(This post was powered by Carnival stores ‘Las Fiestas’ (Aalst) and ‘Liebaut Feestartikelen’ (Aalst))

Making headlines

You guys! Something wonderful has happened! Something that will change the future of¬†Backpackersguidefortheblondeandtheclueless forever.¬†Your favorite blog¬†is breaking borders, is conquering ground, is changing the rules, is mixing guacamole with syrup, is …

You: “Yeah, yeah we get it. Something big has happened. Spill the beans already.”

Me:¬†“You are not going to believe this: The one and only DAILY PLANET has¬†reached out to me to do an interview on me and the blog!”

‚Üí Millions of readers getting to know BGftBC? – Hell yeah!

‚Üí Getting interviewed by Clark Kent?? –¬†Fuck¬†yeah!

clarkkent

I didn’t hesitate one billionth of a second¬†when they asked me!

… Unfortunately Kent couldn’t do the interview… The article is part of The Daily Planet’s Fashion Issue so I got to sit down with Lois Lane instead.

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We had a little chat and a photo shoot¬†at Korsakov. I’m super happy with the result. Although I would have liked some more pictures to make the article breathe, … And some creative questioning wouldn’t have hurt, but that Lois Lane is a tough cookie to negotiate with. Anyway. Here’s the result, hope you like it!

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You: “Hum. Exoticism?”

Me: “Shut up and continue reading.”

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You: “Aww Evvy, aren’t you the sweetest Cheerleader Goth.”

Me:  annoyedemoji

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** The End **

Me: “So… What do you think??”

You: “Honestly?”

Me: “Yes.”

You: “I think you should go back to interviewing people other than yourself. Now THAT¬†would be a great¬†look for you!”

emojiskull

To be continued.

The cycling of life

Writing January 2015. My editor gives me the look. The look he gives everyone who comes up with a lousy idea in a bid to try something new, edgy and different for the paper.

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Editor: “Look Evelien, I admire your… ahm… creativity? But we’re not gonna turn you into a cross cyclist. Why the heck did you came up with that idea anyway?”

Me being deadly serious over here: “Because I want to challenge myself, write about every detail and make people think, push them to step out of their comfort zones. In which ever way they want to.”

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Editor: “(shakes his head with a big male chauvinist grin on his face) Let’s not, okay?”

“Now, let’s ‘cycle’ (ha-ha)

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back to the daily reality guys. There’s been a murder 40K away from here. The wife apparently stabbed her husband with a pair of scissors and then tried to commit suicide but failed. She is now in the hospital where … ” His voice blurred into the background where it eventually muted. I was in my head. My silent bubble. My turmoil.

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Dreamer.

My choice for becoming a cross cyclist came forward out of frustrated ambitions, melancholy and heartache.

I wanted to rise above myself. Reinvent myself. Be proud of something I achieved.

I felt so damn ordinary.

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Stuck in a daily routine. One where no one seemed to allow me to break free.

Not on my terms at least…

I was a woman shouting in the desert.

The idea was so pure and simple. And many times commercialized throughout my childhood years.¬†I’m a kid from the MTV generation. And all I wanted was to be Made.

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But nobody seemed to listen.

I gave in. I decided it maybe wasn’t the time or place to become something else. That maybe they were right, and I should just go back to being normal. “Being normal is already crazy enough.”

… They should just execute people who dare to say¬†that out loud.

A couple of months later I crashed. Hard.

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I had become so restless, I just couldn’t walk away from it any more. It was the big elephant in the room. Stampeding. I was looking for so much more. But I didn’t know what exactly. Or¬†where to begin at all. I was scared as fuck.

It’s like jumping into the deep blue without knowing you can swim. Or end up piranha bait.

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Worst.Movie.Ever.

So -as you loyal readers of the blog already know- I quit my job and bought a ticket out of here. The furthest place I could imagine. Australia. And see from there.

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<Seeing from there>

People blamed me I was running away from things. As if it was a bad thing.

But there are two ways to look at the picture here. What does an athlete do? Does he run away from the start? Or does he run towards the finish line?

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“Touch√©”

In my head, yes, I was running away from something.

To run towards something else.

That made sense to me. And that’s all that mattered. No matter how tired I got of explaining myself to family, friends and coworkers.

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On my travels I adapted a minimal lifestyle. I shared a shed with deadly spiders, slept in the passenger’s seat of a car, drove around the Sunshine Coast in a Mini Moke,¬†kept the social encounters to a bare minimum, threw away clothes, insecurities and comfort zones. I let go. Trusted.

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I read somewhere that people who trust things to faith are happier.

I ended up in China in a Kung Fu school to gain more self confidence and defensibility. Better reflexes too. I reached Japan and realized I was out of money. I worked with what I had. And the universe helped me out with the rest. My long travels brought me back to cycling this summer. I was back in the circus where I got hooked on adventure and fell in love with bicycles two years ago while I was working as a one-time Tour de France reporter. The cycle of life…

And the idea grew back on me.

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TDF 2016

I want to ride my bicycle.

And participate in amateur road races.

Starting now my life will be concentrated to two wheels. Almost two years too late. But better late than never.

The greatest ticket to freedom, excitement, endurance, self knowledge, and the occasional fall on the face.

A metaphor for life.

“You make every tomorrow faster by acting today. So even if you aren’t at the same level as everyone else, there’s only one way to get there and it’s by staying optimistic and giving it a go.”
(Ella Cycling Tips)

Let’s not kiss the asphalt on the first date. Nor the hood of a car. Or the side mirror of a big truck.

Note to self:

Stay real.

Stay alive.

Stay on your bike.

XO

BIG SALE / 

COMFORT ZONES

They’re all out of fashion guys. I’ve stepped out of mine.¬†People are stepping out of theirs.¬†(Have you checked out srprs.me? It is the best invention ever!!! Well… Since the wheel, obviously. People are purchasing¬†holidays without knowing where they’re going. I think I will treat myself to a surprise trip for my birthday this¬†month!)

Why do we build up comfort zones? Materialistic ones and psychological ones?

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Just think about all the junk you could get rid of. And how much you could actually gain from it.

Namasté all the way!

XO

You: Ahm Evyy?… Aren’t you forgetting something?

Me: Ehh…What?

You: Weren’t you supposed to tell us all about your¬†new boyfriend you referred to on Facebook?

Me: … I just told you all about him.

You: (…) Is … Is your bike your new bf…?

Me: … Mmyes.

You: giphy-4

To be continued.

Enter… the fireworks

You: “Evvy are you there??”

Me: “Yes…”

You: “Why did you stop writing us? Did you forget about us? Are you slacking off??”

Me: “Err, no… I’ve just been a little preoccupied… Why don’t you staff me already!”

I know I usually send out at least one blog post a week, usually on a Sunday, but this Sunday -I didn’t forget- I just didn’t.

You: “Because you’re slacking off??”

Me: “No. I just decided not to. To leave you hungry for more. CAUSE BOY DO I HAVE A STORY FOR YOU!”

After the last blog post I wrote, events took quite some unexpected turns.

The first thing that took an unexpected turn was my spine. I decided to do a little light training on Sunday and ended up with my back completely screwed for the entirety of the following week. The best part: it was my last full week in the academy and I really wanted to make the most of it. Especially since I felt in such good shape the week before. I was doing super hero kicks and my hip flexers didn’t seem to bother me anymore. Apparently it had all just switched to my lower back (it’s all connected) and I’m pretty sure my little tumble on the top of Mount Amos in Tasmania, when I was trying to save Helmut from sliding down the mountain, planted the seed of all back injury evil.

Note to self: never rescue old gents from sliding into a ravine. They’ve had their life.¬†

So on Monday I could barely get out of my bed. I could barely walk to the office. And I could barely confront my Shifu. I knew I would -again- disappoint him.

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I decided to do as much as I could that morning. But I already knew that running, explosive movements and kicks were out of the question. Which is basically the basics of our training schedule. First training of the morning I couldn’t participate at all. I had to watch the rest using their perfectly functioning bodies while I was doing some exercises on the side and practiced my form. After lunch I decided to meet up with the massage Shifu again. I must really be in pain if I voluntarily go see the master of pain to help me get rid of my discomfort. He fights pain with more pain; but usually you feel great after a couple of days. After the bruising and the swelling goes down from him massaging the shit out of you.

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Right before my back said ‘KRAK’!

I lied on his table of torture for an hour. Grinding my teeth again (I think I chipped a tooth) and thinking only happy thoughts. At the end, he rolled me on my side, cradled me with his elbows and broke my back. Well… he did not really break it, but I heard a KRAK alright. He told me some things (joints, bones, whatever) in my lower back were out of place. And he ‘assembled’ me back together. But from the moment I stood back on my feet I felt the exact same pain.

Translator translating massage Shifu: “You are not supposed to train today. And maybe tomorrow you should rest as well.”

Me: “B-b-b-ut it’s my last week….”

That afternoon I just sat there watching my team mates do Sanda (Chinese Kickboxing). The massage Shifu told me to stay absolutely still for a few hours. And keep my lower back warm with a hot water bottle. How pathetic am I?? I enroll in Kung Fu school, have only 30 days to make something of it and I have been crippled half of the time. I am not impressed with myself at all.

While my mind and body were arguing, I just glared over to the training. To my Shifu, who probably just thought I was being ‘a girl’. Not trying. Giving up.

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“Your so-called kung fu is really quite pathetic”

But unlike last time, I didn’t put depressed thoughts in my head. I was strongly convinced that the next morning I would wake up with an entirely new back. I just had to. And I decided to give myself an extra push by doing a 50 minute Qigong session. To restore myself from all injuries. That night I slept like a baby. But I woke up as an old lady.

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Still cripple, still hurting, still proper fucked. I even skipped Taiji that morning for the first time in my life. I couldn’t even bend over to tie my shoe laces, how could I possible do the crane movement, dipping down, digging up invisible earth, standing up with one leg stretched forward, dipping back down again? Instead I sat on my bed, ate my hard boiled eggs (protein) and thought of a plan to get through the week. The week that was supposed to be my moment of truth. The week where I would put everything I learned into practice…

That Tuesday training schedule was a little different than usual. And -lucky me- it worked in my benefit. Instead of doing Qigong and conditioning in school, we went to the mountain. It’s a steep hike, but somehow the steepness didn’t hurt my back so much, and I could just go at my own pace. I was pleased to feel my heart beating again. I was already looking forward to doing some Qigong overviewing the mountain. That’s like double healing power!!

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C’mon Chi, work your magic! Momma needs a new back!

After Qigong I felt completely re-energized. I even participated in the power training that afternoon. I just decided to lift some weights while the young kids were running their lungs out and from the moment they would continue with ground exercises like sit ups, push ups, planks, … I joined. Power trainings are brutal. Afterwards you feel so tired, you get into an elevated state of being. And you usually feel exhausted in a really good way. Afterwards I found my way to another Qigong class. I was eager to see if all this Qigong would pay of on Wednesday. It seemed to! I still woke up with my old back, but somehow I had found a way to work with it. I just decided to ignore the shit out of it and continue training like usual. That morning I went to Taiji and I even completed an entire lesson of acrobatics. Usually the worst companion for your back. But I thought to myself: Fuck it, no pain no gain. And I’m tired of being the injured person. I’m not gonna let a crucial body part intervene with my training. I signed up for this, I’m gonna give it my all. Wednesday actually went down pretty good. After every training I was basically limping to my room, but at least I had trained. So even though I was in a lot of pain, I was also very cheery since I felt good about training.

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In the afternoon we had Sanda again and I focused on my punches -the kicks were¬†still tricky- because I’m hoping to put my training to use soon in an actual fight.

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But first things first.

I still had to overcome Thursday training and NOT make my back any worse. Then I could possibly think about sparring on Friday.

However…

On Thursday everything went downhill. My back was killing me and I didn’t know what to do. At the same time I found out my travel insurance had expired the day before. Grrrreat. Here I am with a fucked back, already one foot in the ring, not being insured for anything that may happen to me. To top that I was encountering some romantic trouble with a guy in school -school just isn’t interesting without some physical chemistry- and after all we were living in a monastery where everything fun is forbidden.

Pulp-Fiction

But I guess you’re never insured for that kind of collateral damage. I don’t know how I keep getting myself in this situation but I always fall for the guy that ends up screwing me over. Not in a good way… Acknowledging this is not the guy’s fault, but completely mine is something I have learned overtime, but it doesn’t prevent me from feeling annoyed and sad for a couple of hours.

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I decided to flush Thursday down the drain as soon as possible and continue with my life on Friday. Whatever happens, will happen. I’m done fretting over it. It had seemed that the universe had given me an extra day to recover. Because of May Day coming up, the school moved the sparring to Saturday. So I had one extra day to mentally prepare. That day I woke up a new woman. D-day had arrived.

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My back was still hurting, but I would find a way to fix that with an effective combination: adrenalin and tiger balm! I had three days of weekend after that anyway.

I was mentally prepared to face the ring; But I was a little worried I wouldn’t be physically prepared enough. I couldn’t go all the way during Sanda classes this week and the back injury is making me a lot slower than I would like to be. That morning in line up, the Shifu asked who of our group wanted to spar that day. When I lift up my hand, he started laughing and pointing at me.

paimai

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Of course he saw me limping around school the entire week. I was shark bait. But I strongly believe in happy endings and transcending your own limits once you’re faced with them. This is everything I believe in. Not sparring (out of fear, pain or discomfort) would just be the biggest disappointment I could give myself.

I decided to stick with my guns and spar. And I decided to fight Teagan from the other Shaolin group.

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She’s a girl (well, woman) from America and strong as hell. She’s much more experienced than I am but I was told to spar a more advanced student in order to learn better. The fact that she would probably beat the shit out of me, was a minor detail I had to bare in mind.

That morning I quickly bought a mouth guard¬†from the school shop (apparently students have lost teeth before and these babies have cost me a lot of money to get them straightened, I’m not gonna let them be smashed) I was hoping that my Shifu would give me some pointers before the fight, but it seemed he just couldn’t care less. He left me hanging. I had hoped he might admire my guts, since I was the only girl in our group that had volunteered to spar, and I’m only in my third week. But then again, he’s not the one I’m sparring for.

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Ali wrapping me up

When I was getting prepped in the training hall (Ali was helping me put on my wraps and was giving me some punch advice) I saw Teagan entering the training hall. She was already dressed to fight me. Oozing so much confidence and zen it made my stomach feel queazy. She had bruises on her upper arms as if she had just rubbed sun tan lotion on her body and accidentally had fallen asleep on some newspapers. Leaving an imprint all over her upper limbs. Also: she was supposed to spar three girls in total that day. That kinda says it all.

Translator Susan: “Evelien, hurry up, you’re the first one today. Teagan is already ready. Put on your safety gear and go to the ring. Hurry hurry!!”

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Ali wasn’t even finished putting on my first wrap. And I still needed to take off my shoes and put shin protectors on!! This was going south already. But I had reached the point of no return. The next thing would be to step into that ring and acknowledge my inferiority.

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My Shifu was the ringmaster of the day. Figures… We bowed before him and he quickly explained us some basic rules. No knees, no kicking in the crotch, no head bumps, … basically no dirty fighting. Only the moves we learned in class.

Shifu: “Leady? Fight!”

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I looked Teagan in the eyes. She looked a little daft. Like she was in some spiritual place. Why wasn’t this girl nervous at all??? She didn’t even blink.

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I was thrown off by her zen-ness and¬†before I realized it she latched out and punched me right in the nose. Damn this girl’s fist travels fast! I didn’t even see that one coming. While I was still recovering from her blow, she threw in another punch. And another. Wow, I was seeing fists everywhere. I decided to take a few steps back and travel around the ring a bit, to give myself some time to recover from the surprise attack and get my shit back together. I started punching her but it seemed like my punches never reached her. I was slow as hell. Always giving her just enough time to block my punches and responding my sissy ass fist bumps with proper fighting punches. For fuck’s sake dodge the glove! My mind and body were having an argument again. My Chi was trying to intervene: “Guys this isn’t the time, knock it off! Rather knock your opponent out!” I was starting to get a little scared here. We’re not even one minute in the ring together and already am I going down quicker than the Titanic. I’m also breathing like crazy. This fighting thing is tiring!!! It all looks so easy from a distance, but when you’re in that ring: time crawls by and fists reach you quicker than the blink of an eye. I tried to jab and throw in a cross but while I was too busy remembering some good combos, she was hitting me over and over again. She punched the side of my head a couple of times. I was seeing stars. I was backing off, scaring away from her massive arms. She sensed my fear. And my Shifu was -again- not impressed with me. I could hear him think: “The best defense is attack!! ATTACK!! MORE POWER!!” I had already forgotten about the 80 students watching me get beaten up ages ago. This was something between me and Teagan. And the Shifu.¬†I started kicking her, hoping to affect her just a little but it felt like I was just tickling her. I was fighting like a girl (sorry for going all sexist on my own species). I decided to change my strategy from sparring to surviving. And remembering nothing is permanent, all pain shall pass, even this will come to an end.

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Think happy thoughts

After 3 minutes my Shifu called it ‘a fight’. We took a bow (actually I forgot to do this, I immediately took off my gloves) and stepped outside the ring. I didn’t know exactly what to think about my performance, but I didn’t feel super bad about it.

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I did it, I survived and actually I was quite pleased I had tried. Of course I could have done better but considering the circumstances -with my back hurting and all- things could have been worse. I was fearless. And that is what Kung Fu stands for: to let go of all your fears.

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While I was limping to the side, watching the next fight I suddenly realized how my time in this school was coming to an end. It has passed so quickly. I only just got started. This was just enough time to be introduced to the mysteries of Kung Fu, to integrate myself into the school. I knew the next week would be rough, since I would have to say goodbye to something I didn’t want to leave behind yet.

I decided to latch on to the weekend and go for a never ending night out. Some people were celebrating their last day in the academy with a big party night in Yantai. A city a 1,5 hours drive from the academy. Before I entered this school¬†I made a promise to myself I wouldn’t drink alcohol for 30 days. Well, that promise stranded at day 26 cause that night I was drinking alright. Way too much actually, but it felt good. I was enjoying myself and I still was very much in control of my actions. That night I also rekindled with the love interest I mentioned earlier in this post.

Right after a Chinese lady came on to me and kissed me…

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What’s up with these girls wanting to kiss me?

I must have been putting out the vibe that night.

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Sexual tension was building up really quickly between me and the guy. I guess all this fighting makes you horny. And the fact we had been living like monks the entire time.

Me: “This is it. The moment I have been waiting for since my hormones got all crazy on me back in Australia.” (See blog post ‘Hormones’)

Sex was in the air. I had a double room all to myself.¬†And I’ve really been wanting to use the word gargantuan for a very long time now!gargantuan

When we arrived at the hostel together we could finally touch each other.

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You: “Way to go Evvy!! You had hot and sticky S-EGGS??”

Me: “Stop jumping ahead of my stories! I’ve warned you before!”

While he was lying on top of me -still dressed- and we were kissing heavily for about 30 minutes, we got so caught up in each other, really wanting to move things further, but somehow there was a barrier. We just couldn’t.

You: “… He couldn’t get it up?”

Me: “Oh he could get it up alright. It was something else…”

It was… conflicting Chi.

We had been doing all this Qigong these past weeks, all this mental training, learning not to live by our bodily needs. Somehow it just didn’t feel right to go all the way down to China Town. It’s not like anything could come from it anyway. This is just a fling. We should be able to surpass that and deal with it as monks.

“Less penetration, more meditation”

You: “It doesn’t necessarily have to become something. You can just enjoy yourself and have a good time, right?”

Me: “Yeah sure, that’s how you promote AIDS. But, either way, it just wasn’t the right time. And we both felt that way.”

In the end we were happy we contained ourselves and actually felt really proud of that achievement. Abstinence is pretty arousing as well. And we both knew some day the fire works would be lit. But no one was spreading his Chi tonight.

The next day we went for a nice dinner and that was it. I haven’t heard from him since, and that’s okay. We both have our lives to get back to.

On Monday I returned to the school. Due to the holiday we wouldn’t have training until Wednesday. Thursday night¬†I would pack my bags and say goodbye to the academy.

I was sad. It was nice to have a purpose in life. To learn Kung Fu. Now that purpose was going away and I would have to learn how to get by on my own again. I was getting so comfortable in the school (maybe a little too) not having to carry my backpack around. Challenging my mind and body. Living in the moment. Not worrying about the future. But you cannot escape certain responsibilities. And that’s also something I have to learn to accept.

The final training day was a lot of fun. They gave me the privilege to shout at morning run (usually only the monitor gets to do that) and I was in charge of warm up. At the end of the day the Shifu closed the training day with another line up as usual. Only this time he had a little word prepared. Since it was my last day he congratulated me on completing my training.

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Translator Susan translating Shifu: “Even though you were injured, you always kept training and never gave up. The Shifu thinks you are a very strong girl. He hopes you can take care of your body and you will continue to enjoy the fruits of your training in your everyday life.”

While Susan was translating the Shifu looked at me with the cutest face ever.¬†I always knew there was some kind of mutual respect, even though he didn’t always show it to me. I asked permission to say goodbye to each and every one of our group. While my team mates were still lined up I worked my way down the line, shaking everybody’s hand and saying something to each team mate individually since I shared a memory with each and every one of them. Things were getting a little emotional as soon as I had reached the end of the line and faced my friend Audrey. I didn’t say anything to her. We just did our secret handshake. After, I turned around. Shook the hand of the assistant Shifu and translator Susan, saving Shifu for last. When I looked him in the eye, my eyes all teared up. As soon as he noticed he directed his eyes to the floor.

Me: “Thank you Shifu. Thank you for everything….. It was … my pleasure.”

He probably was -again- embarrassed by me and my over emotional-ness. We have only known each other for a month and here I am sobbing like I’ve been here for five years. But I meant every tear. I’m really gonna miss this guy.¬†The Shifu kept his head pointing towards the ground and nodded. He is trained not to show emotions. But as if the Chinese gods intended it, rain suddenly fell out of the sky. Pouring down on us harder and harder.

“The sky is crying for you”, Rebekka, a girl from my group said.

I went to my room to collect my bag and said goodbye to my roomie Celine.

The taxi was waiting for me outside. And… also the Shifu. He walked with me towards the taxi. Videotaping me saying goodbye to some of the friends I made. …He has a very popular youTube channel and likes making videos… We’re his major attraction.

Audrey whispering: “The Shifu really likes you. He’s sad you’re leaving.”

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The Shifu? Sad? I looked over at him standing there all helpless and wrapped my arms around myself as a way to ask him if I could hug him. He smiled and gave his phone to someone to hold it for him. We hugged, and again I thanked him. I didn’t cry this time. I saved my tears for inside the taxi. When I saw the Kun Yu Shan mountains slowly but surely disappear behind me. It had seemed I left the same way I arrived. With waterworks.

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But a lot more strength both inside and out. Thank you… universe?… ¬†for this amazing opportunity. To many more adventures to come! Next stop: Shanghai!

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XO

BTW: My roomie Celine and I¬†celebrated our final night together in style. We heated up some chocolate with a candle and made us some chocolate fondue and watched a movie. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

The Sunshine Coast

I’ve always wanted to stay at a motel.

They have this fascinating atmosphere hanging around them and weird stuff always end up happening in motels. At least from what I learned from movies like ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’, ‘Me Myself &¬†Irene’ and ‘Mulholland Drive’.¬†I wasn’t actively looking for a motel room, I just stumbled upon a great deal through Booking.com that offered me a 70% discount.

I wasn’t expecting much even though¬†the reviews were excellent. I just figured they were filled in by drug addicts, under-traveled older¬†couples and poor people who were just glad to have a broken TV¬†they could¬†slam the hell out of. I was at least expecting cockroaches, stainy carpet and a leaking shower. But I just figured -coming from a shed, a car and a caravan- for the first time in two months I will have a room all to myself, with a queen size bed, a shower, a kitchenette, a terrace with pool access, a private beach access, a TV set and an all you can watch movie library. Oh and free WIFI too. To me this place looked like heaven.

And it was even BETTER!

It was incredibly clean. No carpet, but tiles! Clean tiles! Free cookies, tea and coffee, even fresh milk. Chilled water, tiny bath soaps, clean sheets, nice mattress, the pool in front of my door step, an extra bed to put all of my stuff on, a couch, ….¬†I love it so much I contributed an entire blog post to this place.

Well, at least 1/3rd.

You: “So a piece of heaven for 70% discount…. What’s the catch here, Ev?”

Well ahm… every hour a plane flies over really low and it’s kind of really loud (…)

Apparently the Sunshine Coast airport is just 5K away.

But I think it’s just A LOT OF FUN.

It feels like I’m right in the middle of Top Gun or better Pearl Harbor!

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(Nurse Evelyn)

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Go Rafe! Go get them Japs!

(To the Japanese community: I’m just in character here, I have all the respect for you and your reasons to go to war with America and killing off Danny. Even though I cried a lot when that happened.)

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Pic of dying Danny

The ‘Pacific Palm Motor Inn’ is rooted in Marcoola. It’s a very small town, but centrally located to get to some nice Sunshine Coast hotspots. Well, if you can get from A to B easily. Since I don’t have a car, I have to be resourceful. Take a bus. Trust my two Hobbit feet. Or -maybe- hitchhike. I’m still very sceptic about this subject. But maybe one good opportunity is enough to make me flip the thumb.

But for now, I just decided to keep myself busy in the surroundings. I heard the sunrise is supposed to be amazing at this mountain top called Mount Coolum. The base was only 2km away from the motel. Okay, quick math: the sun rises at 5.45 that means I will have to get up at….4.40 and leave five minutes later.

You: Yeah right, who gets up in the middle of the night to catch a sunrise?

“Well, me… (jerk)”

When I opened up the front door that morning it was pitch dark. I couldn’t see a hand in front of¬†my face. The entire way I had to use my tiny flash light, looking like a burglar since I had my black hoodie on to shelter me from mild showers. Since I didn’t want to walk next to the main road, I didn’t want to get¬†run over like a wild animal, I followed the beach path. In other words: the unlit¬†path.

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For about 35 minutes I walked into the darkness surrounded by weird noises, bugs and other things jumping on me or either rushing away into the bushes. At first I thought it were snakes, until I almost squished a toad that was just sitting in the middle of the road. When it hopped in the bushes the sound matched the soundtrack of the past 30 minutes. Phieuw, they’re just toads. When I arrived at the base of Mount Coolum the sky was already clearing¬†up and the sunrise was just minutes away. I was rushing to catch it on the top and almost tripped over some slippery rocks. It was a steady 25 min hike upwards. When I arrived to the top, all bewildered from the branches brushing against my head and hair, and all sweaty from the humid climate, there was no sun to be seen. It had decided to stay under its covers. Yo wake up you big lazy ball of lava (*), this is the Sunshine Coast, you’re supposed to be on every day!

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(*) The sun is composed of hydrogen and helium plasma. It is much hotter than lava. Actually it is a big ball of hot gases.

Tough break, but still a good place to have breaky.

An hour later I was enjoying a well deserved coconut cappuccino at a coffee place nearby. Over that cup of coffee I started thinking what I should do with my time here in Marcoola. Since I had just done the major attraction and still had 6 more days to go. I decided to just chill for a change. Enjoy my pool and private beach, walk the area a bit, maybe go all the way up to Coolum Beach. Around 6 K away. Just nice and easy. Relaxing instead of rushing from A to B and draining my energy levels. There, that sounded like a deal. We even shook on it. Once I arrived in my motel room it was only 10 am and I was already bored out of my mind. I had just finished the dishes when someone knocked on the door.

Tiny voice: “Room service.”

I opened the door since I was standing right next to it and saw the wrinkly smiley face of what appeared to be the female hotel manager. Personally looking after my cookie, coffee and towel needs.

Wrinkly smiley face: “So what are you up to today, love?”

Me: “Well I don’t know, I was asking myself that same question actually.”

Wrinkly smiley face: “Oh are you into markets? There’s a market at Eumundi.”

Me: “Yeah I heard about it, but it’s a 2 hour bus drive even though it’s just 30 minutes by car. “

Wrinkly smiley face: “Oh and you don’t have a car?”

I looked at the vacant parking spot in front of my doorstep, sighed, and said: “No. No car, unfortunately. Say, you don’t happen to know if I can rent a bike here somewhere, do you?”

Wrinkly smiley face: “Well I can ask my husband if he takes you to a place where they rent out stuff. Maybe you can have a look?”

Me: “Coolness, thanks a lot wrinkly … I mean friendly lady. I’ll come by the reception at 1 pm.”

I decided to have a little tanning session by the pool first.

JC

When we arrived at the shop I met up with a guy named Tim. Turned out he only rented out scooters….And Mini Mokes.

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You see a Mini Moke is like a buggy, a golf cart even, but for on road purpose only. It’s built out of Mini parts -hence the first part of the name- and ‘Moke’ is an archaic dialect term for donkey.¬†It goes up to about 80 km per hour. 90 if you really push it. They stopped being produced in 1993.

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Me: “Err… I don’t know Tim, I was actually looking for a bike. Like a mountain bike or something. Besides this is way too expensive. I’m on a budget here.”

Tim: “Well I’ll throw in this day for free, since it’s already 2 pm, and I’ll give you a ten percent discount on each day because you’re staying at the Pacific Palm and I’m hoping to do future business with them.”

That little pooch was smiling at me like a little minion. I could already picture all the fun we would have together.

minionMe: “Okay Tim, I’ll take him!”

After some paper work Tim handed me over the keys. And therefor access to the super high way towards new and unforeseen adventures. Well not really the high way, I had to stick to the scenic routes since it only has 4 gears.

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When I switched on the engine I noticed just a miiiiiiinor detail however:

THIS THING IS A MANUAL?!

Thinking bubble: “I – I – I’ve never driven a stick here in Oz. It’s already hard enough focussing on the left driving.”

My conscience: “Errr.. I don’t know Evvy, are you sure you wanna do this??”

Me and my conscience having a mental debriefing: “I don’t know. I don’t know if I can do this. But I already filled in the form… I will have to try and see…We can always pull out if I don’t make it to the end of the street.”

Tim: “Something the matter?”

Me: “Err no, no everything’s fine! Say ahm Tim, does this thing come with a helmet by any chance?”

Tim: “No…”

Me: “It’s just, I noticed it hasn’t got any airbags…And tomorrow’s the 13th…”

Tim: “Your seat belt is your safety net. (knocks twice on the roof) Have fun!”

With those words I head off. And… I got the hang of it in no time. I still don’t know how I did it. But I found my way back to the motel effortlessly. Shifting gears, watching the road, driving on the left… Sometimes I just really surprise myself. The next day I was out of there in no time. I drove all the way to the Glass House Mountains, a one hour drive away. Quite challenging with all the steep inclines, winding roads and strong downhills. I felt like I was in an amusement park. The occasional showers made it even more challenging as well as losing navigation signal on my phone, almost running out of gas in the middle of nowhere and other cars pushing my ass forcing me to pull over.

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After one hour I finally arrived at the tourist information center of The Glass House Mountains. I had already climbed the biggest obstacle of the day, and it was just getting started. I was over the moon I got there safe and sound. The two guys at the counter helped me plan out my day. They were 70+ and could have easily been mistaken for twins. Identical tourist information outfit, even the same shade of grey hair and matching mustaches.

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They supplied me with other brochures for the area once they found out I wanted to roadtrip the Hinterlands. I had no idea what the Hinterlands were 24 hours ago. If it wasn’t for wrinkly smiley face, randomly mentioning them, I would have been clueless about them.

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Apparently it’s still a well kept secret in¬†the Sunshine Coast. Tourists do go there, especially the older ones, but mostly locals enjoy spending time in the little towns, national parks and amazing lookout points. See you don’t need all the planning in advance. It’s a waste of time and it eliminates the element of surprise.

Tourism office twins: “So you’re traveling by yourself? It’s not often we see a solo female traveler coming here. Especially not one driving a Moke. How did you get a hold of that?”

Me: “Long story. And I gotta be back before dark!”

I could already picture other¬†backpackers sticking close to the shore. Surfing the Gold Coast, getting drunk or high at Byron Bay. Doing these busy tours to Fraser Island. Well fuck Fraser Island. Who wants to visit a breath taking all sand island with a 4WD if they can’t even drive those big sand jeeps themselves?¬†Why would I go on a guided tour if I can manage my own tour just fine.¬†That day I had a blast. I walked for hours, enjoyed my lunch break with an amazing view and drove back before dark.¬†From now on I’m really roadtripping by myself. And all possibilities lie before me. Well it takes a little time to reach them, especially if they’re on the top of a steep hill, but I’ll get there!

The look on people’s faces when they see me drive by is just hilarious. It reminds me of one of those fair¬†carts I used to not get enough from as a kid. It’s funny cause I thought about going to Landsborough, the largest¬†commercial go-cart¬†track in Australia, and maybe an amusement park as well. But this is the all-in-one experience. Roadtrip, fun, me-time, sightseeing and adventure.

By next year I’m sure travel agencies will have made it into a thing. Moke safaris or something.

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I will put a video online shortly. Make sure to check it out on the official Facebook page (www.facebook.com/blondeclueless) and while you’re there give us a like ūüôā

If you’re looking for an authentic experience on the Sunshine Coast I would definitely recommend¬†a Mini Moke selfdrive. You will only be the second tourist to ever do it and it has been hands down the highlight of my trip.

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Isn’t this a beaut?

The next day I continued cruising the Hinterlands. I encountered some very nice sceneries on the way, great national parks, nice little towns to have a coffee stop, … At a certain point I decided to have a stroll¬†in a town called Nambour. Apparently this used to be the beating heart of the Sunshine Coast with lots of quirky vintage and vinyl shops. In recent years Maroochydore took over the sweepstakes. Leaving Nambour in a turmoil. The rent went through the roof, forcing shops to either relocate or close business turning it into a ghost town that attracts more junkies than tourists. Apparently drugs is becoming a big issue here. Even though they just erected a big methadone clinic, they can’t seem to get these kids off the needle.

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This is a needle I couldn’t stay off of myself. These treats are to be found right here at the Sunshine Coast at Sunshine Sunshine Espresso in Currimundi

“If these kids ought to be unemployed, they rather do it somewhere where it’s nice weather”. Talking is Leigh, he’s the owner of BackBeat Records, a record store tucked¬†away in the streets of Nambour. And the handsomest 57 year old I’ve ever laid…

… my eyes on! Gee, disturbed mind much?! He was wearing the typical Elvis short sleeved Memphis shirt with knee shorts. Every bit of his body was clad with colorful rockabilly tattoos. And his greasy hair was pulled back nicely in a full quiff. I started talking to him after I asked him if I could take some pictures of his shop for my Instagram account. He is originally from New Zealand and has a son my age who has traveled the world by himself as well. Even though he used to be a recluse as a kid. Leigh very much supported him traveling. It had opened him up to the world and kept him off the bad track.

Leigh: “A lot of young people are fighting depression these days. It’s good that you decided to travel to get to know yourself, make up your mind about where to go instead of locking yourself up, fighting demons. Sometimes the answers just can’t be found in your own bedroom and you have to just explore those horizons. I had a depression happened to me once. Luckily I climbed out of there by myself. I was unemployed and came to the coast to be unemployed and surf all day. Nowadays lots of young people come here to be unemployed and use drugs. If they don’t have money they steal. We’ve been getting lots of complaints recently. Locals are starting to worry, leaving town. Or die, since the people who live here are mostly retired.”

Leigh had touched a very important subject there. A lot of (young) people are very much¬†struggling with mental issues. In my opinion society just puts a lot of pressure on them/us. Pressuring us to find jobs, start a family, buy a house, making the economic system turn full throttle… With disregard of our mental health.

Especially my generation is suffering.¬†We are brought up believing that anything is possible, we can attend any university we want, pick any career we like, earn whatever wage we prefer. A big house and two cars? You name it, if you work hard, hand in your freedom and give up your personal life it’s all yours. Some people end up working hard their entire lives and start living once they’re 50+. But some people don’t get past that busy crossroad they reach in their early twenties. They stare to all those different directions and the image turns black. They freeze. And the longer they stand there, frozen, the more their self confidence melts down the drain. They lose faith. In themselves. In their future. The more society confirms the idea¬†they’re not achieving, not applying, simply throwing away all their possibilities, simply being useless. The deeper they sink.

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The worst feeling in life is failure. And the only cure is achievement. We tend to look for this in a job, a family life, a big ass TV, …¬†. Some end up using drugs. Because it’s the only way to get that confidence back, feel like they can conquer the world.

Well if you’re standing on that crossroad and feel lost, get even more lost. Go travel. Find out what drives you, what excites you, what fires your engine. Use some time to grow¬†within yourself, to broaden your horizons, and open your narrow mind to see that some of the obstacles you deal with can be conquered and you possess that power to do so.¬†A lot of people I know feel they aren’t succeeding in life. They feel like everybody else around them is doing so much better, they even included me to be one of those ‘in charge of everything’-people. Well if there’s one thing people are really good at: it is keeping up appearances.

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We love to make others believe we have the best jobs, the most compatible partner, the brightest kids, … Facebook and other social media are a big instigator to other people’s unhappiness. It’s a place where people throw the sprinkles of their lives right in your face. But maybe those sprinkles are sitting on a pile of shit, instead of a Chocolate Fudge Sundae? No one posts pictures of a rainy day. But believe me, nobody lives on the sunshine coast either. Everybody has his or her cross to bare and even on the Sunshine Coast showers are part of the daily life. They even happen 5 or 6 times a day. Heavy and abrupt. But after 5 minutes the sun comes out. And that’s the comforting part of it. And besides. 365 days of sun wouldn’t be much exciting¬†either, would it?

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I was getting a downpour here at the top of Mount Ngungun the other day. A colleague commented on this¬†picture, saying that rain is underrated. Let’s turn that into the quote of the day. Or the week even.

Let the sunshine in, don’t be a recluse and close yourself off from the world, the safe surroundings of your bedroom won’t¬†give you¬†the answers. But don’t get scared away by a little rain either. Take the good with the bad. And when things go wrong, just remember there’s something good or even better on the way. Just have faith. And let go.

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Mental health is one of the most important things you¬†can possess guys. If you lose your marbles it’s all downhill from there. I am typing this while Australia Today is reporting about a guy in Cairns¬†who has just stabbed his wife and mother in law to death this morning. Apparently when authorities arrested him, he was laughing.

Keep safe. Keep sane. And here are some more inspiring quotes from the greatest motivational speaker of all time.

XO