Secrets, tall tales and turtles

Do you want to know a secret? I have a tattoo! Not many people expect me to have one, so they are always surprised if they catch a glimpse of it.

The tattoo is a souvenir from Venice Beach, California. My friend K and I spent two weeks in the US back in 2000 or 2001, first by Los Angeles, then in New Jersey, staying with relatives of hers. It was a holiday full of fun, food, shopping and adventure! One great memory (in hindsight) is getting yelled at by the highway patrol because we jumped the queue at an exit. It was quite innocent, really, but since we are law abiding citizens, having the police yell at us over a megaphone scared the pants off us! We got into trouble because K was having problems deciphering the map and could never make up her mind as to which exit we should take. Luckily, once the police saw our shocked faces and the big map trembling in K’s hands, they gave us a friendly wave and drove off.

Another fun episode from this holiday – except from being taken for lesbians all the time, because we both had really short hair – was getting stuck in the immigration queue in Tijuana because we had forgotten that little immigration slip that we completed upon entering the US and that should never leave your passport. We had to wait in line for ages with lots of Mexicans who wished to visit the US. When it was finally our turn, the nice immigration man rummaged through his shelves and pulled out immigration forms in Norwegian! He was pretty proud of himself, as he rightfully should be; I’ve never seen one of those forms in Norwegian neither before or after.

So, my tattoo is a (quite painful) souvenir from Venice Beach. K was supposed to get one as well, but she chickened out, and instead sat and gave me encouragement while I was sweating from pain. Consider this a warning: Since there’s very little fat under the skin in your lower back, it’s rather painful getting a tattoo back there. 

Though selecting a sea turtle for my tattoo was rather random – I like to swim and we were heading for the beach? – it has got me quite hooked on turtles. Apart from having a large selection of decorative ones in the attic, I also go out of my way to take pictures of them. The turtles in the photos in this article live in a pittoresque pond in front of the San Giacomo di Corte church in Santa Margherita Ligure. There were loads of them in the pond, some swimming slowly around in the water, others sunbathing in the heat.

More photographs from beautiful Santa Margherita are coming later this week!

San Giacomo di Corte church is beautifully located at the top of a hill, overlooking the harbour
The pittoresque turtle pond, surrounded by palm trees
Lots of turtles everywhere, both in and out of the water
This rock is much like all popular spiaggias (beaches) in Italy – squeeze in where you can, no matter how tight the spot!
The beautiful bell tower of the church – and a plane high up in the sky