Cosmopolitan, busy, dressed for business.

They commute without acknowledging each other.

They walk purposefully towards their destination of business.

Some wander aimlessly, some sleep on the pavements, cold and homeless with no where to go.

Security guards look purposefully alert, protecting the elite, well dressed shoppers choosing the latest designer handbag at the emporium.

Students, tourists, street performers, protesters gathering to complain.cityphoto.jpg

The pace quickens, the masses merge, the concrete jungle expanding, boundaries vanishing, diminishing quickly.



Sharon Karyasa © 2016

Scarlett Voices in the Shadows – An excerpt from my memoir

Scarlett’s Journey is an epic tale, sometimes naughty, sometimes sad, sometimes horrifying and sometimes funny.

Here is a naughty snippet, thank you for taking the time to read an excerpt from my upcoming novel.

“Ok then it’s a good thing you are dressed Scarlett dearest because after we drop these darlings at school, we are spending all morning at a trendy new Café drinking coffee, eating cake and gossiping. I want to know everything that’s going on in your life and particularly why you were so distraught last night when you have just spent the last two weeks jaunting around the USA looking like a Rock Star” 

As we walked into the Café I felt an immediate sense of comfort. The trendy interior was decorated in an Art Décor style with an interesting eclectic collection of different tables and chairs scattered artfully. The walls adorned a unique collection of photographs and pictures.

Zoe directed us to a cozy nook with a comfortable red sofa and wing back chair. She proceeded to order a variety of sandwiches, cakes and the essential cappuccino which was placed in front of us by a good looking waiter dressed in fashionable jeans and a black t-shirt.

I blurted everything out as quickly as I could. I told Zoe about falling head over heals in love with Joel and how he had cancelled our romantic holiday to Bali and Lombok at the 11th hour.

I told her about how my heart was aching as I was feeling riddled with guilt over Ryan being on holiday with Andrew, Janet and Simon for six weeks. I told her about Mike and how he was waiting for me back in Death Valley. I told her how much I was missing my Mother and that Victoria was also struggling with grief nine years after her death.

I continued my story with ferocious speed about booking my around the world holiday. As I began to recount my solo whistle stop tour of the USA, I was fascinated by the interesting exploits I encountered along the way.

Zoe sat wide eyed as I told her how after arriving at a Youth Hostel at the seedy end of Hollywood Boulevard in LA, I transcended into instant travel savvy mode as I was confronted by a stoned woman shaking uncontrollably on the bunk bed of the dormitory room I had booked. The woman was obviously strung out on some drug of hard substance, my immediate reaction was to run which is exactly what I did. I grabbed my backpack and headed directly to the caged reception booth.

The booth was occupied by a transvestite who wore a name tag Daisy, Daisy looked as though she had walked directly off the set of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I laughed silently thinking that what I was experiencing surely wasn’t real, maybe I was having a hallucination from jetlag.

All the reports I had read about Hollywood’s nick name La La Land were undoubtedly true. Daisy gave me a sideward glance, when she finally decided to acknowledge me she spoke in an uninterested tone,

“Yah honey’

All my instincts were telling me to charm her so I replied:

“Oh hello Daisy, that golden lame top you are wearing looks amazing, your eye shadow is exactly the same shade of gold”

She raised one perfectly penciled black eyebrow, just as I was convinced she was onto my transparent trick of flattery she surprised me by saying,

“Honey is that a real Australian accent or are you practicing for a casting?”

I was quick to respond that my accent was real and I that I had just arrived from Melbourne. I explained that I lived in a majestic part of Victoria close to where the famous surfing brand Rip Curl was founded. She completely ignored me and started talking about how much she loved Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, she was drooling over Russell Crowe in the movie Gladiator and how she was turned on watching his performance as the character Maximus was the hottest gladiator she had ever seen.

She was babbling on and on recalling every movie Russell and Cate had ever appeared in. I was astounded that she additionally knew all the movies premier dates and theatre locations. I let her speak a while longer before I tentatively interrupted, 

“Excuse me Daisy I was hoping you may be able to help me, I had already booked and paid for four nights in a dormitory room, however I have terrible jet lag and would love some privacy, do you have a private room I can upgrade to?”

“Sure honey that will be $500.00”

With a sigh of relief I handed over my credit card quietly cursing myself that I was thirty nine years old not a carefree twenty two year old anymore. I was annoyed with myself that I thought I could travel alone without any problems.   After Daisy handed me my key she said,

“Honey are you sure you are not an actress? You are a sexy lady, great cheek bones, actually you have a strong resemblance to Candice Bergen when she was younger and actually if I think about it you look very much like Kristin Johnston from 3rd Rock from the Sun”

When I opened the door I was pleasantly surprised to discover a delightful bright clean spacious room full of old-world charm, with wooden floorboards and Queen Anne bedroom suite and matching dressing table. I felt as though Mum was standing next to me smiling at the identical suite she had in her bedroom I recalled from my childhood. I was grateful Daisy had given me a lovely room.

I looked in the mirror and thought, imagine if I really did become famous Mum would be so proud. I fell asleep with Jon English singing me a lullaby in my head to his hit song Hollywood Seven,

Hollywood Seven, rooms to rent, till your name goes up in lights Who-oh,

Hollywood Seven, dream your dream for seven bucks a night

Zoe called over the waiter and ordered more coffee and cake. She insisted I continue with every detail of my journey. She told me how her life was tedious and her only interaction with women was connecting with boring school mothers most of who have never worked a day in their lives.

Zoe had previously held position as General Manager of a very large travel agency that had merged into the European market. She was thrilled the company had kept her position for her return to the work force in six months time.

Harry was almost twenty years older than Zoe and was due for retirement from the police force and was looking forward to his new role as a stay at home Dad to the twins.

I smiled warmly at my dearest friend thinking how much I had missed her, although our lives had taken different paths our bond could never be broken. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to Zoe and Harry for opening their home and their hearts. I snuggled up close to Zoe and said to my dearest friend,

“You know something Zoe, I can’t thank you enough for having me stay in your home, I feel as though you have saved my life twice now”.

Zoe brushed my words aside and in her usual manner said,

“Come on then I want to know if there are any salacious details of the journey you are omitting Miss Scarlett, remember they didn’t call us the Nossek Twins for nothing darling, I know you are holding out on me, hurry up and fill me in on all the hot stuff. I am living through you my darling, I certainly don’t hear about any horny fellas at the School pick up area”. 

I looked at her and burst into laughter. When I finally composed myself I began to continue my story about what happened in LA. I was fortunate enough to meet a lovely young woman called Felicia at the hotel coffee shop, who had also just arrived in LA from Phoenix Arizona to apply for jobs as an assistant scriptwriter.

We connected immediately over our love of writing. I confided with Felicia about a diary I kept as a journal detailing my most private thoughts and travel adventures. It was fun hanging out with Felicia who was busy organising interviews and meetings for perspective jobs.

We went out in the evening to a hip bar. I would never have known it existed if it wasn’t for Felicia and her ability to source out the happening places in Hollywood.

Felicia whispered to me to look inconspicuously over to the far right hand corner of the bar where I would see Quentin Tarantino. She was reciting in detail his incredible talent relaying his repertoire as a script writer. She was enthusiastically telling me that he had written, directed and acted in the 1992 neo-noir crime thriller Reservoir Dogs in addition to writing and directing the very cool Pulp Fiction movie Phenomena which was coincidentally released the same year Ryan was born in 1994.

Felicia’s knowledge of the movie industry seemed to be as comprehensive as Daisy’s. I was about to tell her how impressed I was with her knowledge when we were interrupted by a man standing behind us who must have been six foot five feet in height,

Excuse me Ma’am I wanted to tell you how lovely you look this evening and wondered if both of you ladies would like a drink”

The man’s name was Troy and he was a twenty nine year old American Soldier who had only just come back from the war in Afghanistan. His piercing eyes were a gorgeous shade of hazel and when he spoke it was with a deep South Western drawl.

The drinks kept coming until Felicia interrupted me by dragging me into the ladies room. I was quite drunk and began excitedly raving on about how fascinating it was to meet a real life G.I.Joe and that although he was ten years younger than me I found him incredibly sexy.

Felicia declared that there was no way she would find a white man sexy, even if he did look like Arnold Schwarzenegger. She did stipulate however that Troy was taller than Arnie, additionally she added that Arnie’s eyes where blue unlike Troy’s unusual colour.

I almost fell over giggling like a school girl until Felicia said she was going back to the hotel to study for her interview the following morning.   When we returned to the bar Troy had bought me an interesting looking cocktail and handed it over in a gentlemanly manner.

I was pleasantly surprised by the impeccable manners of American men, a far cry from the aloof macho persona of Aussie men.   Felicia squeezed me tight with an air kiss and looked straight into the eyes of the soldier,

“Hey Mr G.I.Joe this is my town now baby, you look after my girl Scarlett you hear, or you will be dealing with me and Mr Tarantino over there”

Troy looked at Felicia as she confidently left the bar and disappeared down Hollywood Boulevard and declared in a deep sexy voice,

“That girl has got real sass”.

Zoe interrupted me by instructing the waiter to bring us a bottle of wine that was kept in a fridge at the back of the Café, the waiter poured two glasses of wine while she urged me to continue,

I awoke in a small hotel room on Sunset Boulevard with my Solider emerging from the bathroom, I was gazing at his perfect masculine body and agreed with Felicia’s description of Troy looking like Arnie. He oozed charm when he said good morning and encouraged me to get out of bed as we both had only two days left in LA and he was going to ensure we had fun.

Troy had a car so it was easy to cruise around LA. He was the perfect gentleman taking me to lovely places for breakfast, lunch and dinner. After dropping by my hotel, I grabbed some clothes and spent the next two days frolicking around Santa Monica Beach, swimming, eating, watching street performers and then heading back to his room on Sunset Boulevard for marathon sessions of rampant sex.

I held back tears when we eventually said goodbye, my time spent in LA had been like a dream. Troy, Felicia, Daisy and even Quentin Tarantino had diverted my attention from reality.

Troy was holding onto deep pain. I knew his life had been an extreme trip from the small amount of information he shared. His life at such a young age had been overloaded with heartbreak and terror. Troy held me in his strong arms and told me that I had made him the happiest man in the USA and he would never forget our time together.

I caught up with Felicia before my flight to New Orleans. We squeezed each other warmly, both of us aware that we would probably never see each other again. Although my time with Felicia had been short she was like a breath of fresh air with her positive attitude and determination to succeed.

I assured Felicia that I had no doubts she would achieve future success and that I truly believed she would become a famous scriptwriter one day. I packed my clothes into my backpack and looked into the Queen Anne mirror, which reflected the lovely bed, I had only slept in once. As I closed the door behind me I could have sworn I heard my Mother giggling with delight.

Scarlett – Voices In The Shadows

Sharon Karyasa © 2016

Inclusiveness can be a reality

I visit a Balinese hair salon which is owned by my friend Nelli who is a Christian from the Indonesian Island of Sulawesi (where my husband’s two brothers live). Nellie is married to a Muslim from Java, Indonesia. Nellie employs Muslim and Balinese staff members.

The best part about the diversity for me is that I learn all about other people’s beliefs and customs. For example, one of the staff members today was fasting as we are now in the Ramadan time of the Muslim religion. Nellie informed me that she would be closed next week to celebrate Ramadan, as this is her husband’s religion.

Screen Shot 2016-08-10 at 4.57.21 PM.pngNext week we celebrate Galungan dan Kuningan which is a Balinese Hindu belief. At Christmas and Easter, Nellie decorates her salon with Christmas trees and Easter, trimmings. We respect each other’s beliefs and when its time to celebrate, we respect that the shop is shut. My prayer today is this.

“Oh Universe please please let all the world follow this acceptance and respect. That is my Balinese Hindu Pray for today. Om santhi santhi santhi Om”

Inclusiveness can be a reality

Sharon Karyasa © 2016