I recently had the pleasure of hanging out with hot Aussie animal activist Leigh -Chantelle of Vivalavegan.net. This little lady is one of the most motivated and inspiring animal activists I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her whole life is devoted to spreading the word about veganism, organizing life-changing events, and interviewing others with the same message. She will literally interview anyone, anywhere, anytime. I figured the least I could do was return the favor.
Denis and I started our day with late brunch at Kate's Joint, a great vegetarian place that has been open for years in the East Village. We had a very friendly server who kept us entertained and played some great 80s music, plus a security guard for Shakira or Shakira's drummer, or something... he did a bit of name dropping ;) I had the multi-grain Pancakes with bananas and walnuts, that even though a bit burnt for my liking were yum US$6.95
Early this morning Mark and Imber took me to the Portland airport where I then flew to Dulles airport at Washington, DC to attend the AR Conference which is one of the main reasons for my jet-setting across the world. Almost 5 hours later I arrived, losing a few hours due to the time difference. At the Dulles airport they have these buses set up like trains to shuttle you from one area to the other, bizarre. I'm sure it wouldn't have taken that long to walk... I've decided Dulles is worse than LAX as I didn't think LAX was as big or as daunting as everyone makes out. I got picked up by the Super Shuttle another of my favourite modes of transport in the USA. The bus was full as we headed to the Alexandria Mark Hotel. It took what seemed like forever to get to the hotel, combine this with a lady on the bus telling me I wouldn't be able to walk to Washington city from the hotel and I realised that I was actually quite a distance away from, well, pretty much anything.
They are pretty intense photos, but really great photography!
"Slaughterhouses in Umbria, Italy. Neatly packaged meat in supermarkets is often completely detached in consumers’ minds from the process of its production" is his description about his photos. See the PHOTOS HERE
TUESDAY 6th July: Hanging out with Mandi in Portland
Before I left for my US adventures, my friend Mandy from Vegan Era suggested that when I was in Portland, I should contact another Mandi from Chic Vegan who had just moved to the West Coast. Mandi and I sent each other a few emails before I left as well as when I had arrived in Portland and today was the day we were to meet!
I caught the bus into Portland and while I was waiting for Mandi a local African American guy tried to work his magic on me with his smooth (!) talk, designer branding on EVERY piece of his outfit, plus of course his gold and diamond accessories. Obviously didn't work at all and when he asked me for some money (!) I told him he should sell his (insert ridiculously expensive designer brand) diamond watch... He was devastated that my watch ring had fake diamonds and when Mandi arrived we tried explaining to him about the ethical issues for most diamond cultivation, but he didn't care. There is quite a lot of homeless people in Portland, but this guy was definitely not one of them. Most unusual.
The footage from my award and letter of recognition from Supreme Master Ching Hai has finally aired on SMTV. It's really wonderful to have Master Ching Hai as a huge supporter of mine. The video shows footage of the old version of vivalavegan.net as well as Green Earth Festival footage, my bedroom, my recycled clothing line and more.
See HERE for the video - about 2/3rds of the way through the programme. Hope you like it ;)
Tonight we went to dinner at Hungry Tiger Too for one of Imber's workmate's goodbye dinner. This isn't a vegan place but has a huge seperate vegan menu and half of the space is a bar and the other is the restaurant.
I had organised the blue Super Shuttle to pick me up from my hotel in Beverly Hills and drive me to the airport for my flight at 13:25 to Portland, OR. I got picked up at 10:15 and we only had one couple to pick up en route. Waiting at the LA airport is not fun at all. There's no good food places, just the regular unhealthy, fat-ladded, rubbish that is everywhere nowadays. Why don't we have more choices than 4 similar "restaurants"? So I thought I would wander around the airport for awhile as I like to do that, but there wasn't much of an area to wander around in. So I ended up giving a few friends in the US a call, chatted to a lovely family from Eugene and uploaded and edited my photos from LA.
My flight left at 13:25 and I arrived in Portland, Oregon at 15:40 and the weather was beautiful! My shuttle bus driver had said that it was raining in Portland on the trip to the airport and I was very impressed that the weather had cleared for me! My good friend, Imber and her husband Mark picked me up and we headed to Blossoming Lotus for a late lunch/early dinner.
MONDAY: Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, 30 Days and Real Food Daily
To begin my US adventures, Adele and I had a sleep over the night before and she took me to the airport the next day. Cam met us there to say goodbye. My flight left at 11:00 on Monday 21st June. The 13 hour flight wasn't that bad. The plane was completely full and I will be sending a recommendation email to the airport I flew with as they don't seem to know the difference between a vegan and a vegetarian - why is this so hard?! I had a pasta meal, roll and cooked vegetables (right next to scrambled EGGS!) as my three meals on the way to LA. Not as good as Qantas vegan meals...
I arrived at LAX airport at 7:00 Monday 21st June so I had another Monday but will be losing two days when I return to Brisbane. The airport wasn't as big or as busy as I had heard it would be, customs etc wasn't a problem either, there was just a lot of waiting around. I was pretty exhausted as I'd slept a bit on the flight but not too much. I had watched a movie called A Single Man with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, actors I love and had flicked through a few programmes on the flight as well as listening to my own tunes on shuffle - love the shuffle button - is there anything better?! The weather in LA was not as summery as I had hoped, it was overcast, windy and I was still wearing my scarf and jumper.
I'm heading to the US at the end of June for about 5 weeks for some Animal Rights conferences. I am hoping to get some media and promotion for vivalavegan.net when I'm there as well aiming to interview a heap of US vegans. I am looking forward to meeting in person my MySpace and FaceBook friends whom I've known online for years! Please see below for my press release: