Edibles!

7 years ago today…

What were you doing on this exact date 7 years ago? I was zipping up my backpack to load up before my mom dropped me off at the Sacramento airport for the first day of an unpredictable journey around the world. I can recall having no fear or at least no hesitation in the adventure I was about to embark on. Just excitement and a new found enthusiasm for life!

As each year unfolded and my passport filled to the rim (with about 80 stamps!) I encountered new friends, adopted cultural traditions and continued to allow my mind to expand. Sometimes it’s surreal when I look back on the photos as it usually feels like I’m talking about someone else from a book I read or movie I saw. If you want to see a clear layout with links of my first exciting year on the road, take a look at the 2012 archives!

I was going to make this post about some of my favorites from around the world, cuisine, music, architecture, etc. but as I began to write I felt more drawn to explore what kind of lessons I gathered from a variety of places. Could be that I’m 9 months pregnant and my sensitive hormones are on high, or simply because I’ve never really stopped to ask myself such a question.

So Erika, where did you learn some significant lessons and how did you walk away from it a better person?

PERU – Although I visited several different cities throughout the country, a little village has always stood out to me. I rarely go back to a place I’ve been, but the magnetic pull was too strong for me to ignore in Huambutio. I was invited to volunteer there in a variety of things from teaching English to painting walls, cooking and even to coach gymnastics.

The lesson here was simple, appreciation for the simple things.

Sounds obvious or cliche, but there were a few events that triggered this conscious thought. First was the toothpaste. We taught the kids how to make their own toothpaste (that they got to take home) and the importance of dental health. The enthusiasm and gratitude they showed was outstanding! Something we may all take for granted or even see as a thoughtless item we look for on sale at Target, but these children guarded their portion like it was gold. Makes me wonder if they had ever used any… ever. Next was meal time. The children’s breakfast everyday was 1/2 of a hard boiled egg with a scoop of plain oatmeal (not your Starbucks brown sugar, toasted nut and cranberry shenanigans, but warm oats and water). We would divide an apple into 1/8 slices in order for everyone to get a bite as a snack and occasionally got to accompany it with a few pieces of toasted corn. Lunch and dinner was whatever we picked that day from the garden. A clear memory I have was the evening they said we were goin to make corn bread. Now, I was aware enough to not aimlessly look for a box of ready make Betty Crocker, but I was on the scout for cornmeal and the rest of the ingredients. I can’t remember how long they let me look before informing me that we actually have to go pick the corn to start the process. After I was done blushing, off to the garden we went! An experience that made every bite of that bread savored as if we had spent hours preparing it… because we did!

I suppose all of this hit me harder than I was expecting when I flew out of Peru into the states to visit family. My first stop was Dallas, Texas… home of everything huge! I had my apple bits, a few nuts and some cash to get me buy as I plopped down in the food court during my layover at the airport. A family sat next to me who didn’t go out of their way to be discreet. The children were clearly mad at the toy they got in the happy meal, a meal that they didn’t want to finish for whatever reason. After fits and French fries on the floor, the meals went into the garbage. I’m not claiming that we need to starve to appreciate fullness, or go without toothpaste to love a good sale at Target. I will admit however, that I may have judged this situation in the moment, but looking back now it was an opportunity that invited me to reflect on my own behavior. Had I carelessly disposed of food that could of been leftovers or compost? How many times did I complain, especially as a child, about the items in front of me with no gratitude that I even had options!?

Moving from food to activity, we ventured to the outdoor area and I was pleasantly surprised at the creative use of items that would typically land in the trash. Used plastic containers, snack wrappers, laundry bottles, juice boxes, warm out shoes and more. I loved it!

This experience as a whole opened a new part of my character to this day (even ask those close to me), it’s left me very aware of waste, unnecessary abundance and a love for keeping things simple. I am that weirdo that has 1/4 of an apple in my fridge with full intentions of eating it. I order a to-go box with my meal whenever we enjoy the luxury of eating out. I choose not to go to Costco and buy a village sized pack of paper plates on sale because I “might” need them someday. By no means am I claiming some sort of award winning lifestyle, just sharing the lesson that 7 years later still sticks in my everyday existence. And now with a little girl due any day, I hope to carry this in our family and raise a grateful human that appreciates her surroundings and has gratitude for our simple luxuries.

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Travel talk, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Homemade Kahlúa!

It’s one of my favorite unique gifts to provide during the holiday season. Great for family, friends, neighbors, work partners and my personal favorite, the wrapped gift for a white elephant game!

If you want to get fancy with a long list of ingredients and a lengthy process, I suggest going online and searching recipes. However here, you’ll find a simple list of 4 items and easy approach that’ll make a quality liqueur you’ll be proud to share!

Ingredients:

1 1/2 Cups – Your favorite vodka! (only 1 cup if you want it less strong)

1 1/2cup – Richly roasted dark coffee (I use locally roasted beans)

1 1/2 Cups – Organic cane sugar (use up to 2 cups if you like sweeter)

2 Tablespoons – Organic Vanilla extract (I use Madagascar Vanilla for a rich flavor)

Step 1. Brew your strong coffee.

Step 2. Add the sugar while your coffee is still hot. Stir until sugar is dissolved then add the vanilla.

Step 3. Let cool to to room temperature before adding the vodka.

Step 4. Funnel into a large container (I love using mason jars) so it can marinate as long a you need it to before distributing into adorable bottles that seal. While your masterpiece is developing into beautiful flavors, feel free to create artistic labels. If you’re gifting it, selling it or keeping it, labels just make it seem to take it up a notch. I like to use non adhesive tags so my recipients can re-use the bottle for something different once it’s empty.

So there you have it, a simple and delicious way to spread some love to those around you! I like to let mine sit for at least 48 hours before distributing, however if you’re in “need now” crisis, feel free to enjoy immediately!

Just in case you’ve never experienced the splendor of a coffee liqueur, here are some tasty ways to enjoy your new bottle in the cabinet!

-mix with milk over ice (and a splash more vodka if you want an extra kick!)

-freeze to make cubes and drop in, well, any beverage! Whiskey, chocolate milk, etc.

-top over ice cream

-use with coffee and creamer

-layer in a shot glass starting with Kahlúa, then Baileys and topped with triple sec

-splash with hot cocoa and top with whipped cream

-throw it in a blender with cream, ice, whipped flavored vodka

-add to recipes! Tiramisu, brownies, cheesecake, coffee cake, truffles, cupcakes, cookies, pie, fudge, frozen yogurt… you get it!

Disclaimer: I didn’t make any of the recipes below nor did I take any of the photos. I just want to show you a few of the several variations this delightful drink can provide.

Although most of the ingredients can be purchased at your local grocery store, here are two links to the non-edible items from above.

Glass Flip-top Bottles

Labels with twine

Enjoy! Eat, drink and be Merry!

Categories: Art, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Here comes the bride! 9-28-17

The term destination wedding refers to a location outside of your hometown that generally involves a gorgeous landscape in a distance place. Typically it lands at a snow capped mountain resort, inside a foreign castle or in my case, on a stunning tropical island. I called Barbados home for just long enough that it really wasn’t a “destination wedding”, however for a handful of our guests, it most certainly was!

If you’d rather just skip to the amazing Wedding video, click here!

Let’s begin with the landscape. Well, for starters it’s a beach!! We chose a quaint little surfers bar overlooking the southeast coast called Moonraker at Surfers Bay. It offered a partially covered outdoor seating area with a U shaped bar and an open section for my favorite part, the dancing! Our guests had the option of kicking their shoes off and walking in the sand, dancing on a wooden deck or socializing around an oversized bonfire. So we had love, earth, wood, fire, water, sun, stars, open air and an abundance of positive energy from all of the friends and family that gathered… a recipe for the perfect wedding.

Accommodations – Surfers Bay restaurant and bar was conveniently on the property of a colorful hotel called The Moonraker.

The wardrobe – Most of you have read a story or few that included my dear friend Bree. From our adventures in Chiang Mai, Thailand to her first visit to Barbados, she’s been a beautiful addition to my traveling adventures. What you may not of known is that when she isn’t backpacking, she’s an incredible fashion designer that has even worked in NYC for Ralph Lauren (friend bragging moment). As her gift to me, she designed and tailored my gown start to the very last pin before I walked the aisle. Matt wore a classic beige jacket that was once wore by his dad who was there with us in spirit.

The jewelry – I felt so honored to walk the aisle with an arm full of authentic bangles and an ankle decorated with jewel covered bands, all from India (another gift from Bree and her family). My wedding ring set is a combination of Matts opal birthstone and a diamond band given to me by his mother, a ring that was once given to her by his father…. again, I’m honored. The unique funky earrings? Those were $7.99 from Claire’s (a handy accessory boutique in the states).

The flowers – Instead of pre made bouquets or red roses, I went to a local florist (the day of the wedding) who so graciously allowed me to pick 12 flowers from a variety of local bundles in their back freezer. I don’t know too many businesses elsewhere that would of been so eager to help a last minute Gypsy bride.

The ceremony – my walk down the grassy aisle lead me to a dozen of my dearest girlfriends from around the world, each holding a single tropical flower. As I hugged and thanked them for their friendship, attendance and love, I collected each flower leaving me with a bouquet tied up by a strip of lace that was left over from my dress. This was all being serenaded by Matt on the guitar before he passed it along to come and greet me for the rest of my walk. The service was guided by our dear friend Derek who peacefully spoke about higher connection and divine love. We said our own vows, exchanged rings and sealed it with a kiss.

Drinking and dining – The Bajans and their heartfelt gifts. Instead of presents we asked each local guest to bring a dish to share. (If you’re wondering what the island cuisine consists of, take a moment to check out the posts Welcome to Barbados, let’s eat! and Mr.Delicious doesn’t serve pig tail . Our wedding spread ranged from traditional recipes to creative desserts and most definitely extended beyond what any catering company could of offered. Drinks? Not a dry mouth in the place, if a guests didn’t bring food we invited them to bring a beverage to place on the open bar. Wine, champagne, cases of local beer, liquor, juice, soda and what Barbados festivity would be complete without rum punch! Música! Personally speaking, I can survive any party regardless of food, drink or decorations as long as I have happy people and good music. As if our plans couldn’t of gone any smoother, in walks Dj Trev! He perfectly mixed every genre we wanted to hear, left out all of the songs we didn’t want and had a dance floor that never went empty. He was the icing on our wedding cake!…and the party kept going… and going! I’m so grateful for the experience and love we were able to capture, I’ll hold it dearly forever!

…to be continued.

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Love in the shape of music, art and traveling sand

Ok, catch up time! I’m currently sitting on the floor of the Fort Lauderdale airport. Why the floor? Ever have the time and space for stretching, flexing or relaxing? Use it! Check out my favorite airport session in the post Workout and rest up in Asian airports

Ok, why am I in route and where am I going… I’ll get back to that after I do a quick round up of the last few weeks. Here’s a few events that I probably should of done entirely separate posts for, but I didn’t, so here we go.

Music, art and beach time!

I’ll give you one guess on the talent that mom and I chose to spend time with? After the  several posts I’ve published on here, you’d have every right to assume it was the band Heritage. How lucky we were that my talented friends Dannica and her brother Ben were starting it off! Schatzti and the String Boffin opened in this backwoods feeling venue with grass as the dance floor, fire pits for warmth and a wooden built stage. Look familiar? This was the original venue in which I was first introduced to their happy and healing tunes. Welcome back to the Backyard Boogie



Art comes into play with a birthday! Matt celebrated his back on October 26th by hosting his first art reveal! From creative paint to photography and light painting, there was a variety of eye and mind stimulation. Go ahead, take a look around! 

Like what you see? Check out the real deal on his website by clicking Here!

We created a little bit of food art to compliment the drinks for the guests attending.

What goes well with food, drinks and art? Music of course! He brought in a few of his instruments for a proper set up and led with an open invite for whom ever wanted to participate.

What a stunning sunset to close out a successful birthday event!

The beach visit of this post has a warm undertone as there was great purpose for mom and I to wander to the shore with an empty container and camera. My sweet Grams back in Oklahoma has never seen the white sand of Florida and often questions the texture and shells that lay within. With this knowledge, mom had a brilliant idea of collecting some and bringing it back to her home in middle America. Good call mom!

Side note, I really did bring it back to her and it’s now the hot topic of her visitors (who are all used to the red dirt and rocks of Oklahoma).
So that wraps up a few pages to the last chapter, and yes, there’s a new one about to begin!  Thanks for supporting and being such a grand part of this incredible journey. I now invite you to love yourself and those around you with the pure kindness. Cheers to all of you beautiful souls! 

I’m being asked to stand as they just announced, “Now boarding, flight 385 direct to Bridgetown, Barbados.”

Next stop… Sandy toes and sun kissed salty hair!

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Excuse me glamper, did you say S’moreberry?

Some girls go to Vegas, others hit up Mexico (I’m guilty of both) and a few hit the sticks! Mom and I joined our dear friend Gloria for a ladies only camping weekend! Or maybe we should classify it under Glamping, defined as – a style of camping with amenities and in some cases, resort-style services not usually associated with “traditional” camping. Of glamour.

Meet the girls!

Now welcome to our weekend view! This beauty is located at St.Andrews park in Panama City Beach, Florida.

Sun-up is our alarm for a walk into the hmm, can’t really call it the wilderness and it’s not a town so we’ll just go with, a walk in the outdoors! 

Things you may see on a stroll through the paved wilderness. Birds, berries, butterflies, Bambie, bikers and the random tree huger.

As you trek the great pavement, you get to see how others have set up their site as well as where these campers have ventured from. I originally took photos of all the different license plates to show you, but then I realized that may or may not be crossing personal information boundaries. So, for what it’s worth there were over a dozen different states in just a short 1/4 mile stretch.

A bit up the way we explored an old Mill. I felt like kids on a field trip!

Other things we saw along the way.

This woman was collecting trash throughout the property. Thank you ma’am! 

What’s this? An adorable set up that appears to provide a stage and seating for special events. To me… a handstand podium!

Arriving back to the site brought on dinner followed by a friendly round of games complemented with a proper girls toast. These are those moments that, through laughter and genuine conversation you try to appreciate every beautiful second. 

Confession: the main reason I go camping is for the fire at night

How many girls does it take to open a folding chair? We don’t know.


On this evening, we brought out the ingredients for traditional s’mores (a delicate sandwich-like treat composing of chocolate and toasted marshmallow being held together by graham crackers). As we’re roasting, or in my case igniting, the marshmellows, mom gasps with excitement. “I’ve got it! What would this taste like with a warm strawberry inside?” Of course the next step was to try this campfire creation. Thus, the new dessert she appropriately named S’moreberry.

A special thanks to Gloria for sharing her space, energy and time. Our conversations are still present in my mind and I’m so grateful for the love and support. Cheers to the gypsies at heart!

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Cliffs, Caves and fish cakes!

Once upon a glorious backpacking trip, I went to visit my cousin in Japan and had an amazing time! You can check it out by clicking on any of these posts. During the events, I came accross this happy guy that brought an abundunce of laughter to the already entertaining journey through the country of sushi and hi-chu’s. Craigg and I connected quickly while belting out Alicia Keys seen in This girls on fire! After years of attemted and failed reunions we’ve finally managed to make it happen and wherelese besides good ol’ Barbados. Along with him is Kristina, a vibrant little lady with a passion for adventure and new experiences… My kind of girl!


First things first, Legendary fish cakes! “Legendary” is this sweet well known shack that sells out by lunch and simply closes after the last cake is gone. 


Craigg captured me giving a brief explanation of what these little jewlels are made of (typically it’s a ball of fish, potato, bread crumbs and herbs deep friend and served up with a dipping sauce). You can also get it “in bake” which means in a homemade bread roll.  A proper order would be “2 in bake and 2 fish cakes with peppa sauce”. 

Moving on to our mini island tour. This is the same ride you’ve experienced with me seen in If these walls could talk, would you want to listen? Except now, I’m the driver (enter eyes wide open face here). First stop is straight up to the Animal Flower Caves. This is located at one of the most northern points of the island in the parish of St. Lucy. 

I’ve done a post on the history of this place, so I’ll leave it up to you to do your own research if you’re interested in the actual historical sight. For this round, it’s just picture time!



Walk around to the more eastern side of the point and you’ll find cliff sides embracing the power of the the North Atlantic Ocean.


Next stop was the view from top of Cherry Tree Hill

Finally, no East Coast tour would be complete without a stop at Bathsheba.


So for all of the tourist that check into your accomodations on the south coast then don’t leave the souvenir shops or swim up bar, I invite you to branch out and explore beyond the hotel rum lunch… I mean punch! Rum punch.

Kristina, I hope you thoroughly enjoyed your short and sweet visit to this magical place. I invite you to travel with your heart pure, your mind free of expectations and your ears and eyes wide open! 

I’m sure you noticed the spectacular quality of most of the photos above. I give full credit to Craigg, his camera and a little (a lotta) bit of talent. 

Please visit his website at doublegphotography.smugmug.com or follow his eye catching work on Instagram @ craiggjb_

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Off de road, Trinidad Carnival 

So you’re on the side of the road watching this glorious event and you’re thinking… Will they ever stop? Do these energizer bunnies just drink their way through Port of Spain for 12 hours straight?! I’m sure there’s a few that do, but for the majority there’s a lunch stop included with your costume package. This year, I’m connected to the section called Bliss. Representing Bikini Cabana, I was the hairstylist provided for all touch ups, pin ups and extra love to help the girls feel refreshed before heading back out to the madness.  
First let’s walk around the lunch stop.  There was different venues providing food and drink options as well as a variety of promotional stands giving away complimentary gifts.  

 

The bathrooms? These were of higher quality and cleanliness than half the concerts I’ve been at in proper venues. I’m sure it makes pulling up the tights over sticky sweaty skin a bit easier(ish).

Now to our tent! This is inside before the sun kissed, bedazzled (slightly beat up) group arrived. My little section is on the right with two chairs, a steady table and an abundunce of hair product.

      

A quick wipe and mouth rinse, why not?! Chilled bottles of beer and Prosecco as well as ice-cream and water. Yes please! This is all of course in addition to the complimentary lunch options ranging from fish, meat, veggies and salads to basic sandwiches and snacks. 

  They’ve made it! Try to imagine for a quick minute how they must be feeling. A combination of excietment (they’ve waited a year for this!) exhaustion (walking and dancing for miles) overheated (we are in the Caribbean) giddy (playing all day in fun costumes with some of your best friends). Did I mention hungry? Now bottle all of that up and try it on for size! 

 Jumping over to my small part in this massive performance…     

     
While some were getting all dolled up, others were taking an appropriate cat nap. I can imagine this was their first opportunity to actually sleep since who knows, last Thursday maybe!? Check out the blistered heel, I’m sure this was just one of the thousands of battle scars acquired during the festival.

 Suited up, rested up and ready for de road!

  

As the last feathered headdress disappeared into the soca blasting streets, we were left with an empty tent, drops of Prosecco and some remaining cups of ice cream.  “We” being me and the amazing group from the restaurant Kato’s Place.  They were here and popular by demand do to the tub-o-bubbles they brought with them. Next time you’re in Trinidad please make time to check out the cool vibe, excellent service and top rated happy hour at their new joint! A huge thanks to my new friends, personal tour guides, Roti trying, Prosecco providing, all smiles of a crew! Samantha, Ashleigh, Tiffany and Shaq… Wouldn’t of been the same without ya!  

 
Another thank you to Vanessa and Bikini Cabana for the opportunity to be a part of this spectacular event! Looking forward to the next round! 

 

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The greatest show on earth

Monday and Tuesday make up the grand finale of the previous weeks celebrating Carnival in Trinidad, “The greatest show on earth”. Costumes were distributed to the participants and they’ve been gearing up for the next 48 hours of prancing, dancing, drinking and eating (only if you dare while squeezed into those barely there bikinis). 

A house or hotel room this time of year typically has a few areas designated towards Carnival.  Costumes, clothes, drinks, coolers, and enough random wrist bands from all the parties to create a chain-link fence. Here we have bedazzled tanks and itty-bitty bikini bottoms being stretched over chairs, believe me from experience… It’s necessary. A makeup table that looks like a production off a movie set accompanied by enough hair product to open a salon. An abundance of jewels, beads, chains, art supplies and one hot glue gun for the universal fix-it tool.


Complimentary survival tray provided by the hostess. Jax, you’re amazing!  

Ooh and what did we find here? Sneak-a-nap between parties (with the Barbados flag in hand.. way to represent Clint!)

 

My contribution to this controlled chaos? Hair skills. I found myself behind the scenes for this magical time of year with the honor of making each hair client feel even more spectacular that they already are. Here’s a look at what my hands were doing while all of this was going on.    

 

Where did I find the space for these lovely ladies? Thanks to Vanessa at Bikini Cabana I was able to set up a make-shift salon connected to her store. Here’s a few examples of what they offer (especailly for the “Monday wear” described below). How I walked away without giving in and purchasing something is still beyond me.

Carnival Monday is less intense in regards to the length of time they parade the streets and the extent of the costumes.  The women create their own “Monday wear” by adjusting dresses, customizing swimsuits or simply rockin it raw and casual. Carnival Tuesday is the “full shibang” with head pieces, feathers, beads, diamonds and sparkles. The following is a mesh of both days, random sights, a variety of looks and too much fun. 

     

           
  For some of the most brilliant photos of these costumes, please visit the page of an upcoming photographer who captured the vibrance exuding from the day.  World, meet Keshav D. Ramnath!

Towards the end of the day, I took advantage of a different perspective. Where was I? My new friend Ashleigh is close with the owner of Studio, a hidden gem that happened to have a portion of the bands crossing right in front! Funky decor, happy people, Prosecco and a balcony view… Perfect! 

   They even offered complimentary tasty treats (enter a puckered up sarcastic face here).  These are salt prunes soaked in Tequila. I was keen for the Tequila, not so much the salty prune.  I’ve had worse, but I didn’t go back for seconds. 

As the better part of the day continued, the party didn’t quit. The music still echoed through the streets of Port of Spain as the participants went strong in full costume.  How did they manage to keep that gorgeous fresh look?  I’d personally like to take partial credit. My position on these days placed me at the lunch break in the Bliss tent. I was there for any girls request to touch up their lovely locks. In the following post you’ll get a glimpse of what you don’t see from the road. Courtesy of Bikini Cabana, I was able to be front and center in my favorite spot… Behind the chair! 

  

Above photo by Peter Sheppard
 

Categories: Accommodations, Art, Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heavy peppa please!

I’m going to be honest here and let you know that I’m finding it a bit challenging to organize the 10 days of Trinidad that I just experienced. It was a whirlwind from farms to fetes, food to new friends and a lot of work with a touch of play. 
I’ll start with my favorites which is of course is amazing friends and tasty food! Before you read on, I invite to jump over to the post from last year when I tried everything edible within reach. Just click this little link and you’ll see much more of what Trinidad has to offer!

Breakfast: What trip to this island would be complete without a double or three? Doubles are a common street delight that contains channa, an option of pepper sauce and a cucumber chutney. Here’s a photo of famous George and his stand. Note to self and others: Please try other doubles on this island as they range so much in flavor and texture. Joe, thank you for ordering me three separate kinds so I could try the variety of sauces and spices. Amazing friend you are!

  

 Here’s what I’ve found in regards to Trinidad and their pepper sauce. “No sauce” is obviously the most mild, “Slight peppa” is supposed to be spicy but tolerable and “heavy peppa” is rarely ordered due to the extreme kick. Because I’ve ordered heavy peppa several times and questioned if they forgot to even add it… I can only assume they went light for the visitor since “you don’t know Trini peppa”.  

Dear Trinidad, please follow through with your peppa threats… I like to sweat a little.



Feeling more for a green start to your day?  Option 2 is a farm in which invites you to walk, snoop, pick and eat straight from the vine (or in other words, my happy place). Welcome to U Pick vegetable farm and coffee shop!

 It’s a large open property located on Tucker Valley Road in Chaguaramas. There’s several green houses, rows of vegetables and my favorite part which was an indoor area that provides fruit, veggies, snacks and drinks. Lets work from the inside out. 

  

  If you’re similar to me, you’ll start selecting away until your arms are full and a staff member will politely (with a concerned look) offer you a bag or basket after you’ve almost dropped the melon. Here, they have creatively placed these adorable wagons for your shopping pleasure.  

Care to choose off the vine?  No problem!

 I was lucky enough to hop in the truck with Perry and head off to the corn fields. This immediately brought back memories of the post Can chickens smell a chicken? 

  If you ever find yourself on the green mountainous island of Trinidad, I highly suggest you make your way to this fresh farm, not only for your edibles, but an experience leaving you with a green thumb!

Lunch: I had a bundle of fresh fruit with me so I was in search of something to complement it. Look what I found! Homemade plain yogurt with crushed almonds and dates inside. I appreciated that there was no food coloring or artificial flavors. You could clearly taste the nutty enhancement from the crunchy almonds and the true flavor of the dates that were the only added sweetness to the combo.  Delicious! 

 

Dinner party (for the boys): Cards, drinks, meat and Mac pie.  

This wasn’t the Macpie that the restaurants slab on your plate, this was Auntie Linda’s homemade delight. I believe I gave her more entertainment than she expected as I jumped around the kitchen like paparazzi. I loved watching her try and contain the shy smile that so often smirked along her face. I asked her how many times she’s made this and her response was the same look you’d get from asking a surfer how many shorts they’ve owned or questioning the number of guitar picks a musician has jammed through… Uncountable.  

    
 

Now let me introduce you to my new friends (and dinner company) that so willingly took me under their wing in full determination to enhance my trip.  From left to right is Samantha, then Tiffany, Ashleigh and Shaq. Girls, it wouldn’t of been the same without you! (More events to come with these lovely ladies).

 My dinner with the girls above: Roti! Please notice there’s no microwave, ketchup bottles or machines around this stand. Just hard work, busy hands and real ingredients. In typical West Indies restaurants your options may include chicken, conch, goat, beef, shrimp and channa. Vegetables can also be added including potato, lentils, pumpkin, okra and spinach as well a variety of condiments like pepper sauce (hot sauce), a cucumber-cilantro(ish) sauce they call shado beni and a sweet chutney being the most popular. On the street, your options can be limited but never short of a tasty original Roti.

I ordered an all veggie with extra pumpkin and Ashleigh proceeded to get me a beef and potato to try as that’s more common around here. Perfect hosts if you ask me!
   

 It wouldn’t be right if you finished one of these with clean hands, so as a backpacker would, I raised my sauce covered fingers with (what I can imagine) a look of debate on my face. “Hmm, option A- wipe them on my pants. Option B- find a friend with a water bottle or… smile with pride when Ashleigh caught my attention”. She walked me over to complete my experience with the proper hand wash that most street Roti vendors offer. 

 

Midnight snack: (Of course typically taken on the way home after an evening of partying) On this night, we stopped for one of my favorite local flavors, Trini corn soup!  Every recipe is different but generally in contains corn, squash or pumkin, peppers, onion, garlic and spices.  Some venders will throw in dumplings and all will offer you pepper sauce and shado beni (the cucumber cilantro-ish item described above). Thank you Raj and Clint for treating me to this indulgence… And the friend who let me finish his.

 

Next post: The reason I’ve actually landed myself here in Trinidad.  Lookin forward to the beginning of fancy feathers, jewels, hairspray and hair play!

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Yes please, but why not both?

Ok, I know I’ve been slacking on the posts lately but let me explain why and catch you up. I’ve temporarily moved into an extended living situation on my favorite island of Barbados. My sweetheart of a friend chose to broaden her experiences away from the island and give Help-exchange a try! If you’re not familiar with Helpx, it’s a key part of how I’ve been able to travel for so long on a “backpackers” budget. I explain it in more detail in the post How do you afford all that traveling. Anyway, Maria asked for my assistance in planning her journey and thus she’s now volunteering on a farm in Hawaii! Me? I’m house sitting for her and taking care of her two paw babies. Quick tour of my (her) house starts with the outside.  I live in the upstairs with that sweet balcony!

 The top photo is looking left back towards the driveway and main the road. The bottom pic is looking in the direction of the south coast.

 A quick peek around shows you a few of her amazing decoration choices, items that I’d have in my place too! 

   

 Then there’s my temporary kitty kids totaling in with 8 legs, many whiskers and 2 sassy attitudes.  Meet Regina and Anastasia. Please feel free to pet them (if they’re in the mood) and don’t dare ignore them (if they want attention) and definitely don’t expect to type at the table or do a floor workout without them doing everything in their power to distract you. 

 
Time to welcome my first guest. Remember Carina?  The precious German girl I met back at Oktoberfest in 2011 and have traveled with ever since. Our adventures range from Germany to North America with a little pit stop in Amsterdam and many memories made in Costa Rica. Now we add Barbados! 

 

The past two weeks looked like this…

Food! Of course I got her to taste all of the local delights from fish cakes and rotis to doubles and Mac pie. She didn’t shy away from the rum punch nor did she decline the opportunity to try pudding and souce (thank you Ryan!) She saw the fresh farmers market and tried a bite from the drive thru at the popular Cheffette (thank you Alex!). What holiday would be complete without a liquid beverage of choice, I offerred a fruit smoothly or Bloody Mary.  Typical Carina response, “Yes please, but why not both”? 

    
   
A fish cutter from Cuz and pit stop at good ol’ Mr. Delicious before saying hi to Coconut Chris. 

    
 
I snuck her in to what I’d like to claim as my own personal hidden gem (that in actuality is a popular shop for the locals) to enjoy a piece of heaven form the ever changing menu. Another trip to Cafe Moya is a success!

 

We treated ourselves to a day at Accra Beach hotel and brought along some German games. Wouldn’t you?! 

 
Did she make it to the beach? I can honestly say I lost track of how many times this girl found herself with red shoulders, sandy toes and a huge smile. 

    
 

There’s no way I’d let her leave without experiencing Cool Runnings (thank you Annika and Robert!) and of course my favorite Tuesday night plans of gymnastic (thank you Shane!) Live music at Mullins Beach bar (thank you Dwayne!) and the Surfers Cafe (thanks Bodie!). We also watched a BVB futbol game (thanks Marvin!) and had some girls night out (thank you Annika, Irene, Monica and many more)!

   
How did we get around the island (if our amazing friends weren’t able for a lift)? Only another experience that one must encounter while visiting.  The local transportation! She expressed that it was like being on a carnival ride with the lights, music, people and incredible (ha ha) driving skills.

 

You’ve seen this familiar palm tree in many previous post.  This time the landscape makes an appearance with a duo handstand! 

 
Lastly, she was one of the bright smiles in the last post, Ms. Barbados, Queen of the sea in which we experienced the annual race around the island!  (Thank you Stewart, Jason and ALex!)

 
Palm trees, sunsets and sandy smiles pretty much sums up our unforgettable time on this magical island.

    

 
Last stop is the airport in which we were both departing on the same day.  Her heading back to the one degree temperatures of of Bochum Germany and me… Well, you’ll see! 
 
Carina, you hold an undeniable light that is constantly illuminating the world around you. Your sincerity, passion for life, and genuine nature has been (and still is) a magnetic quality that I miss when you’re gone. Thank you so much for the years of tummy twisting laughter, hours of silly games, moments of connection and the depth of friendship that I truly hope others get to experience. You are one of a kind and I’m so grateful to call you my friend (or sister if you ask anyone else)! Cheers to us till next time… And who knows where or what we’ll be toasting!? XO

Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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