Posts Tagged With: cafe

Smell with your eyes open

Getting directions from a Bajan is similar to listening to someone explain a story in a different language or maybe like having a toddler tell you about their new toy. They know exactly what they are saying and look at you as if you should too.  “I’m speaking clearly, why don’t you understand”? Now looking back, his instructions made sense only if you’ve walked the path before or possibly were born and raised here. Oh well… off to the market we go!

Last year I can remember arriving around 9am and having slim pickins, so this time I’m on it bright and early.

“So go out the back gate and turn right”. (Back gate of the yard? the neighborhood, the round-about?) 
Since I didn’t see a gate in his yard (turns out there is one… oops), I walked out of the front door and headed in the direction he had pointed.  So far so good!  

  His street started to bend so I looked left and behold, a gate! I think. The rickety linked fence stared back at me with a locked, rusted, jagged prison gaurded resemblance. Hmmm… I don’t know about this.  Eh, lets go for it!

Side note, probably not the most brilliant idea to hop this trap wearing flowing pants during a windy island day. No need to worry, I survived.   

 “Follow de road”  Got it. “Walk till you see the fountain and turn left”. 
 Ok, easy enough (there was even a cute little arrow confirming for me). Step two, success! 

 

No thanks, I’ll keep walking. 

 
I’m not sure if it was the euphoric state of mind I developed while walking in silence or simply the view that was before me (probably a combination of both), but at this moment, all was in alignment. This is a small piece of what I believe people mean when they suggest to “stop and smell the roses”.  

Getting to the market was my goal, but this… this was just as magical. 

 
Back to the directions.  “Once you get to the golf course, don’t follow the road, take the pedestrian path over the hill”. Well this looks very “pedestrian” welcome.  Not much of a hill as I was expecting, but off the main road is what he said, so here I go! 

 
He didn’t mention a split in the path.  Uh-oh.   

 
As I continued along the foot path, things just weren’t feeling right. So what do I do?  Keep walking. 

  

Not looking good my friends…  
A sign! Can you see it?  If that says “Hope st.”, I’m on the right track!  

 
Wrong. I now have the confidence that I shouldn’t have confidence in my current route. I did a 180 degree turn and headed back towards the main road. As I approached the first split, my eyes zoomed in on the hill” he must of been speaking of. Yep, according to my burning thighs, this was definitley more of an incline than the golf course! 

 
Here’s a quick shot of the view once I reached the top.  

When was the last time you stopped to smell the roses with your eyes open? 

 
It may not seem like I’ve been gone for long, but I should have been to market by now. Early bird gets the worm… or in this case, early girl gets to pick the best veggies before they’re gone!

Although I don’t mind  getting a bit turned around (in fact most of the time, I love it!) today I was eager to be there on time for the broad selection of organic tropical goodies! Awh, look at this. Help was literally parked at the top of the hill. Thank you Universe! 

These two kind gentlmen not only helped me along the way, but drove me a stretch in order to show me the next turn on my journey! If you look at the bottom photo, you can see that he stood and watched until I was on the clear path.  Angels. 

 
Once I stepped foot on the broken dirt path, things started to look familiar. What’s this? I’m finally here! 

  
With fingers crossed, I held my breath rounding the corner like it was the first day of school and I was the last one to class. Am I too late? Did I miss out on the very thing I came for? 

 
Turns out everone was on Bajan time this morning which means,”It’ll start when we’re ready”.  All righty, so my hour late arrival was actually an hour too soon. Lovin the island vibe! What to do while I watch everyone set up their booth… have a seat at the cafe and absorb it all! 

 
SIDE NOTE: The currency is about half the dollar, so the iced coffee below would be around $4 USD.

  
Slowly but surely, stands arose and the market was in full swing!  You may recognize some of the produts and people if you’ve been following years past. The Holders Market was a part of the post, The rest of Barbados in a coconut shell!    

   
    
 Can you feel me smiling yet?! The music fired up as I headed on my way back home. 
 
The walk back was just as entertaining as the adventure to get there.  Easier on the mind, but not so much on the body.  Who knew after years of breaking them in, blisters would appear from my favorite sandals! I got these beauty’s in Vietnam from the post Lady lady, where you from? Good thing I love to feel the earth under my feet!

 
Look who it is! Greeted with a smile, I walked over to give them the requested update on my Holders experience.  I couldn’t tell if the smirks I was receiving were from a joyful reconnection, or simply being entertained by this crazy girl! Either way, they didn’t hesitate for a photo and certainly didn’t decline my offer of toasted coconut chips that I had brought from the market.

 

I’ll leave you with my final stretch in which I came across a little cheeky friend.  Tourists think they’re cute (because they are) and locals think they’re theives (because they are).

   

   

Categories: Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Fitness, Not-so-happy trails, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“The Yao of cooking”

Again I start with the idea that people cross your path for a reason, a season or a lifetime. On this day, I’m confident to say that I acquired all three of them!

Days prior I met Claudia who was introduced to me by Bree (the girl I met on the flight to Asia). The three of us partook in Monk Chat that led us to a beautiful organic cafe with this sign posted:

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After meeting the enthusiastic owner we decided to return in celebration of her book release. Plus, free gourmet organic food, live music and a multi cultural crowd? Can’t really go wrong with any part of that!

Blending with us is on this little adventure is also sweet Maddi, a new gal in our dorm room that was easy to chat with and willing to join! When we arrived the double story cafe was packed full of smiles, glowing energy and enough bare feet to question the reason we even bother wearing shoes.

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Downstairs there were sample trays full of her own recipes from flavorful spring rolls and sweet dip to a pumpkin-veggie-nut mixture that I could have swam in. We over heard the waiter ask the owner “how much food will be served?” Her response, “…until everyone has had their fill”. That alone should give you an idea of what kind of woman we’re talking about. Up stairs introduced you to floor tables, bean bags and more shining faces. You really couldn’t frown in a place like this!

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Recognize that jolly bearded man? Yes, another brilliant unexpected path crossing as that guy was the English teacher for the Monks that we just met. Turns out he’s also a fan of this quaint cafe trying to make a difference in the community. What joy reached his face when he glanced over and saw the three of us smiling back!

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There’s so much to look at in this shop! Have wandering eyes? Me too.

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The food eating slows and now it’s time for sweet Yao and her colleagues to share a little bit about their goals in regards to supporting local growers and artists. This is when what I think is going to be a neat little taste of a locals perspective, turns and hits me with an unpredictable love-punch straight to the heart.
There were times I felt like they talking directly to me…. maybe in my teary eyed little world, they were.

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The band started back up and books start flying off the shelf. Not literally, but I do think there were definitely multiple reasons of why the books were jumping into the hands of all of these smiles. The author is a quality, personable human being that puts just as much effort into her community as she does in her recipes.

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Instead of paying a huge company to bind the books in large quantities, she found this local artist that personally hand-bound (I think that’s how you say it) every single one. When I approached the table, I took time to look at each design and picked my absolute favorite. She smiled and held my hand as she whispered “I only made one like that, I’m glad you chose it.”

Heart…melting…again.

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You can imagine the natural high I was floating on as we left this building of love. I met people who had just the right thing to say at that moment, connected with some that I plan on seeing again and bonded even more so with my dear friend Bree.

Dear Yao,
Your soft voice speaks in volumes through your genuine eyes and passion towards helping others. I’m honored to have met you and I give thanks for your encouraging words and devotion to leading by example. You are a hero!

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Categories: Art, Edibles!, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farewell Santa Catalina, I’ve been adopted!

My final days at Cabanas Time Out leave me feeling sad to depart from my new friends but eager to explore other parts of Panama. I get asked often of “how” I decide where to go next or just how far do I plan ahead. My response varies quite a bit depending on the situation. With major flights or extended volunteer programs, I plan ahead. With small city transfers or hostel hopping, I usually find myself making the decision on the way to the bus stop. This week, I got a call during my stay in Santa Catalina. I repeat… I got a phone call! Imagine the look on my face when the reception says, “It’s for you”!

On the other end of the line was a kind woman with a gentle voice that said something to the affect of, “You don’t know me, but my good friend Debbie knows your mother in Florida and we heard that you were injured from a fall”. (This is true and not my brightest moment). “We live in Panama City and are here for you if you need anything like a place to recover or a ride to the airport”… Well hello there unexpected sweet angel!

This my friends, is how the next “plan” was made. I cut my time short in Santa Catalina and found out my new friends from the hotel were also heading to the city. So, off we go together as I get excited to meet my new Panamanian family!

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Upon arrival I was welcomed by a family that made me feel like I was the long lost sister, or some sort of guest celebrity. A neat feeling compared to the usual “one more backpacker” greeting that comes complimentary with each hostel. I don’t have a photo of the entire family so I snuck this adorable holiday picture to give you a visual of my hero’s.

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With time for some arts and crafts and a warm dinner, the girls and I connect before
I settle in to get a luxurious night sleep on a bed… with two pillows…. in an air-conditioned room… and no bugs!

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The morning brings school for the girls and who leaves for class without braids if Erika is around?
Can you tell by their facial expressions just how excited they are to be up at 6am on the last day before holiday break? Oh memories of dreadful alarm clocks.

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As the lovely ladies are off in school, I get the pleasure of joining Lia (mom) to the fresh local market. My favorite!

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The rules for this maze of fresh fruit and veggies:
#1. Pay $0.25 to enter.
#2. Enter at your own risk.

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What stood out to me about this street market is that it’s a drive, park and pay. You literally drive around (in any direction) and when you see something you want, you park (anywhere you want) pick and pay for your goods, then get back into your car and keep going.

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Driving around the city brings us to a few fun sights. This is a huge building that serves several sweet dishes and treats from milkshakes to layered cakes.

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Crossing the American Bridge with a great view for the canal too!

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Handstand shot at the Panama Canal!

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These funky wheels are everywhere!

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In order for me to blog, I had to find wifi and Lia knew just where to drop me off. Here is my view as I type away.

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As a “Thank you” I brought her family one of their favorite goodies from the cafe. It was a croissant styled crust stuffed with warm cream cheese and slightly sprinkled with crystalized sugar. The tea was for me and I love the yogi quote too!

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Returning home I find the girls with an abundance of energy and creative enthusiasm that stretches way beyond a few coloring books!

It starts with a little dress up…

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Sweet little Allison doesn’t know what to think of this beautiful disaster!

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Next comes the make-up…wait, what’s the blindfold for?!

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She liked to zoom in… A lot.

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Some final photos before bedtime. I love my life.

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

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