Posts Tagged With: Dance

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

Torn pants… A successful Oktoberfest 

The day at Oktoberfest can start as early as you’d like, but considering our morning in Hurry up and wait! we chose to enjoy the slow beginning and take our time. Plus, we planned on spending a majority of the day walking around the festival and soaking in the warm sun. For a past similar experiences, check out Oktoberfest, outside of the tents.

To start off, we headed for the main train station and walked from there (with the other few thousand). 

    
   
Arriving to the festival, you’d think you were at any other state fair or large amusement park.  With happy crowds of all ages, the sound of excited kids is barely heard over the screaming from the passengers strapped in to the sky high carnival rides. The smell is sweet at times of all the roasted nuts and candy coated treats. If you’re near the edges, the scent of bratwurst battle the air with fried chips and smoked fish.

     
This stubborn German (such a rare find – to be said in an exaggerated voice) said I could only take a photo of his “stein tower” if he was in it or I paid him.  Jokes aside, I got the pic. 

      
 
2 things about the next collage. 

#1. I love the sea of dirndls and lederhosen sitting so patiently waiting for the ride.

#2. I wonder if the graphics on the backdrop would be allowed in the United States. Just a thought.

   
 
Even our girls hopped on one! 

 
Check out these swings.  A single person or doubled up… I want to do both! 

   Not up for the stomach twisting tilt-a-whirls? Just hang out with the other thousand sitting by the famous Bavaria Statue.   All of the upside down activities not treating you well? Just look for the red cross balloon!  
After hours of wandering around, we decided for one last hoorah in a tent. Instead of the rowdy group, we went for an old fashioned tent with traditional dancing and locals that… lets say… this isn’t their first go round. 

     

   
  This was a first for all of us. Chairs up and last ones out of the building? I’m honored. 
 As you can imagine, leaving the festival provided a show for itself with stumbling toes, unrecognizable conversations (if you call them that) and plenty of smiles. I’ve been coming to this event for years and there never seems to be room for fights. I think that’s amazing considering the amount of adult beverages consumed in such a short time. Keep up the spirited energy! The bottom photo is Florian actaully passing out high-fives, well done my friend… Well done.
 Coolest photo of the night was snagged by Carina. Gorgeous!    
The final train ride home and a walk of fresh air was the perfect ending to our festivites. 
  
“Hayden, are your shorts torn”? Oktoberfest was a success!

 
I predict a solid night sleep ahead…

  

Question:

If you only got one day at Oktoberfest, would you choose an outside experience or a day inside the tents?

 

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Dear Feathers… please move.

K-A-D-O-O-M-E-N-T (sounds like kuh-doo-ment): Is the grand finale parade that draws the ending to the week of Crop Over. Formerly called “Harvest Home”, Crop Over is a traditional festival in which celebrated the harvesting of the sugar cane plantations during the colonial period. In 1688 it began with singing, dancing and music from shak-shak, banjo, triangle, fiddle, guitar, and bones. They had eating and drinking competitions as well as the popular event of climbing a greased pole! (Imagine that one in costume now days). Time to fast forward to the present…
Caution: The following post may have questionable content for all ages.  

Just like last year, we got the privilege of a hired bus (thank you Aldo and Jane, who I’ve officailly titled the Unofficial King and Queen of Kadooment) to pick us up and drive us to the beginning of the event. That doesn’t sound like a big deal until you realize the other option is a controlled chaotic way of tucking and rolling from your ride as it swerves through the round-a-bout as it passes by the starting line. That might be a little exaggeration, but the bus… its prime!  

    Waiting at the beginning gives everyone time to greet friends, adjust costumes and make the decision if the stage is worth passing over this year. Confession: I crossed my first two years… then not again. For the fun of it, here’s what the stage looked like back when I made a run for it.  

 This year I decided to hang around and enjoy some quality conversation with friends. These lovely ladies are originally from Australia and now live in England after being in the Caribbean for sometime. I love it!  
 The winner of best Crop Over cup goes toooo… Aldo!   
My roomie, my homie… the one and only, Jason!  
Look who I found (or actually found me)! Dwayne is one of the first I connected with years ago. Here’s a collage of our kadooment days.   
Dark clouds and a cool breeze is an amazing break from the scorching sun however, around here just means water from the sky is coming soon! My favorite seen was this bunch huddled under the nearest tent trying to avoid a feather soaking.  

 

How did I dodge the free shower? Found a friend that was in a frontline costume (the elaborate one) and ducked under their tower of feathers. Ladies, I love the team work here! 
 Similar to J’ouvert, the real party starts when the soca music rolls through the crowd that has already huddled around the drink trucks (a mobile bar traveling at a walking pace serving only participants unlimited beverages of their choice). Like a herd of preschoolers being guided by the ice cream man, we start our way on the path celebrating what traditionaly is known as the grand finale to Crop Over.  
     

  
   

  

    
    
 It just keeps getting better! This bright eyed girl has caught my attention every year since we met. Sincere, independent and one-of-a-kind. Thanks for the smiles Katherine Ann!  

 A few more then and now comparisons!      

 Dear Feathers… Please move.
  
What parade would be complete without spectators lining the streets?

    
     

I saw these adorable kids on the side dancing along with us, so I went over and offerred my jewelry. The innocent smile at the end was well worth the small pause on this brilliant day.      
Watch out now, if you get too close you have the chances to becoming a part of the dance routine.    

 Leave it to Ryan to carry out the duty of including everyone… even when they don’t want to (although they really do). Check out the expressions on these faces when I zoomed in. Priceless!  

If you can’t find Ryan jumping around the crowd or grinding on an observer, just look up.  Often you’ll find him birds eye view with a smile.  Last year and this year I caught him!  
For the rest of us, just keep dancing!
   
 
I’ll end this post by highlighting the (my) official King and Queen of Kadooment.  Aldo and Jane, thank you for opening your home, your arms and your perfect pool for our Crop Over neeeds.  Your love doesn’t go unrecognized.  Much gratitude! 

 

Categories: Fashion from a backpack, Fitness, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Digital Graffiti at Alys Beach

It’s been labeled “Photo Bombing,” “Guerilla Projection” or my favorite, “Urban Projection,”. This is when underground artists use huge structures, such as sky scrapers, to cast their own digitally animated images for display.

“Digital Graffiti” at Alys Beach is the first outdoor festival specifically organized to showcase these unique talents. It reminds me of the white walls in Malaysia that welcomed local artists to draw, paint and tag till their heart was content in a structured and encouraging environment.

For one night, this beach-town of white stucco buildings turns into a living gallery. A dark neighborhood is lit by pathways of colored lights and innovative artwork. The event coordinator explained it simply, “Our town literally becomes their blank canvas.”

Here’s a day time shot to give you an idea of the distinctive buildings that make up the famous Alys Beach.

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After the sun went down, the stimulating lights came on and the digital art was displayed for all the guests to view. If you’d like to see video of these photos in motion, go to www.digitalgraffiti.com.

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After observing the extraordinary art scattered about the neighborhood, we found ourselves at a dance party, otherwise known as my “happy place”. The Dj did a fine job keeping a crowd along side a chill Vegas-styled pool (that was extremely tempting as we all stood in the Florida humidity trying to look cute and pretend that you didn’t feel the sweat dripping down your back).

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A complimentary photo session invited friends to line up and pose for a picture that would probably be used later as friendly bribery and/or memorable laughing material.

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Before going on, I’d like to point out the gorgeous blonde in the photos from above. Julia Cole is an upcoming singer/songwriter that I met through Tyler (the gentleman in the post “Beaches, boats and ballads”). I highly suggest checking her out (my favorite song is “Sweetheart”) and let me confirm, her stunning looks match the remarkable voice that comes out of her sweet smile.

Julia, thank you so much for the pleasant path crossing, hopefully next time we’ll get more time! Cheers to you and the journey ahead.

Ok, so this is where my night goes from amazing to heartbreaking. Without boring you with the details, just know that at this point, my body signals the call it a night siren and I decide to head home. Enter sad pouty face here. Feeling like a 9 year old that gets sick at Disneyland, I exit the fantasy evening holding high hopes that I’ll get another opportunity to experience it to the fullest.

A special thanks to Tyler and Andrew for making this a possibility for me!

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Please note, many photos from above were borrowed from other sources.

Categories: Art, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

An “Orbit Gum” commercial, Bajan style!

I’ve been lucky enough be inducted into the local scene of Carnival here on my favorite (yes I said it, favorite) island in the world, Barbados. Crop Over festival is the most popular and colorful event hosted here and I’m honored to be a part of it! Its origins can be traced back to the 1780’s, a time when Barbados was the world’s largest producer of sugar. At the end of the sugar season, there was always a huge celebration to mark the culmination of another successful sugar cane harvest, hence the name “Crop Over”.

With several different options for excitement, it’s in ones best interest to pick the favorites and go big! One of events I most look forward to is Jouvert, pronounced joo-veh -meaning “day break”. This coincides with the emancipation from slavery in 1838 when people smeared themselves with mud or paint to avoid being recognized while partying down the street late while the wealthy were sleeping.

The collage below is a splash of last years shinanugins. Click here and enjoy the mud and paint post from 2012!

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This year I’ve returned to visit my darling friends and of course partake in the high energy parade full of Calypso music, dancing, mud and paint! What a perfect combo for a welcoming party. Let the Foreday Morning Jam begin!

Step one – prep the shirt.

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Step two – Eat a solid dinner that will last you for the next 12 hours. We went with local fish, steamed veggies, beans and rice, sweet potato, garden salad and plantains.

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Step three – Get to the bus that shuttles you to the starting point and let the morning begin!

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If you recognize this fun gentleman, that’s because Ryan was my host last year as well. We met years ago and have maintained a connection while being oceans apart.

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This is what the crowd looks like as we all eagerly await the moving of the midnight launch.

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1:15am – A typical Bajan late start with no worries and all smiles!
With the motion of the drink trucks (a mobile bar that travels with the parade so that all participating remain hydrated with adult beverages), the shuffling of 10,000 excited participants start what is the next hours of dancing covering 3.5 km (a little over 2 miles).

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1:45 – Mud has been distributed ever so equally and gently amongst the… Yeh right! Mud and paint has started to fling, smear, fly and cover the crowd with the excitement gaining momentum. I could narrate the next set of photos, but I’ll just let them do all the talking!

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All righty, I’m assuming by now that you’ve got the point. There’s mud, there’s paint, there’s people and a whole abundance of white teeth!

As the sun starts to rise, we round the final corner where we can find the shower (a water truck unloading gallons of water through a fountain). This is also accompanied by breakfast which is fish or chicken sliders and corn soup.

We sit, eat, rinse and head home for a bed time of 8:30am.

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A quick shout out to an up and coming local photographer that clearly has a talent behind the camera. Here are a few energetic shots captured by Luke De Freitas. For more of his work, please check out his website at www.lukedefreitas.com

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Germany meets Folsom in Costa Rica

Meet Charles aka Chaps (and “Charl-les” if you’re in Central America). He is the most intelligent teddy bear that will keep you smiling until your cheeks crave a rest. This week brings him right into San Jose for work, which happens to be the exact city I’m picking up my next surprise guest! Here we are at my departure party back in 2011.

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And now we reunite in Costa Rica for a quick weekend of fun. Tonight is bowling with his colleagues. Yeh, I didn’t mention that I had done it before (sneaky giggle here).

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These guys invited me to take a tour in there home country of China. Is my journey about to take an unexpected detour? Maybe!

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This is a native adult treat that is created with an olive being soaked in the local liquor. It reminded me of black licorice that had been set on fire then put out with olive juice. As you can see, some went unfinished… but I’m glad I got to try it!

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The next morning brings a huge present that is being shipped to me all the way from Recklinghausen Germany… Carina! Here we were in 2010 at the famous celebration of Oktoberfest in Munich!

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This round is it’s all hot weather, new food and bikini based adventures!

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“Carina meet Chaps… Chaps, this is Carina”.

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We decided to take a day trip to Isla de la Tortuga with his colleagues to enjoy a day of more sun, food, and new friends! The bus ride departs at 6:30am in order to get us to the boat on time. Then the festivities begin!

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After an entertaining 90 minute boat ride full of dance music, cold drinks and fresh food, we arrive to the island which welcomes us with more music, local food and more cold beverages!

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Although when translated, it’s “Turtle Island”, we were graced with the presence of these fun animals!

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Having fun in the sun! (Do you remember writing that in the your school yearbooks?)

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The ferry ride back to our hotel is all smiles and brings our last photo with all three of us together. Chaps, you made the beginning of Carina’s trip even better than expected. We are still sinking about all of the memories! Thanks for everything and cheers till next time!

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City to night life in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The captain comes on and announces our arrival, first in Malay then in English. This is when my heart picks up pace and I feel those familiar butterflies come alive in my stomach. I can’t believe I’m landing in Malaysia right now! Why here? Ill skip the first dozen reasons that include but are not limited to the culture, jungles, beaches, food, and so on…. and remind you of my new friend Kuldip. I met this fellow backpacker while we were volunteering together in New Zealand. We shared a log cabin along with daily chores that ranged from cleaning and gardening to canning jars of marmalade. Here are some recap photos from February in Akaroa, New Zealand.

Our shared cabin, working away and goofing off!

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You can imagine the length of conversation we had during our days of work and hours of tea time. Often we’d share cultural fun facts about our home towns following up with an open invite if either of us ever want to visit. Most of you know me well enough by now that with an offer like that… I’m there! Well actually, I’m here!

The first 48 hours consisted of errand running due to the fact that she’s leaving in two weeks to live in Australia for a year. No worries to me though, I’ve enjoyed riding along to see what the city life in Malaysia looks like.

The following are pictures from the passenger seat (in motion and with the windows up, so I apologize for the lack of extreme clarity).

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Yes Malaysia, you kept the streak going… Irish Pub!

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A peak of green in the city as we pass by a local park.

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For the first few meals, we checked out some street food. I’m so thankful to be here with a local who can look first and say, “No, too expensive” or “Not fresh enough” or “This is the best vendor in the city!”.

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I happen to have come at the right time as this night was a double celebration out on the town. Her friends birthday and another couple was sharing their 5th wedding anniversary with everyone!

The club we went to actually offered free makeup and complimentary professional photos. Pretty neat way to start off the festivities!

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Quick shout out to the DJ duo that kept the crowd alive! It was absolutely refreshing to dance to their mix. Well done! Thank you Werner’s on Changkat!

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Random snap pictures from the balcony and a quick set of new friends!

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Here are some of our posed professional photos followed by all the action shots!

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I should admit that when I dreamt of Malaysia, sky scrapers and smog didn’t jump into my vision. Now realizing that she lives in the capital city, I’m understanding the traffic jams and the amount of McDonalds I see. Although I enjoyed the experience here in Kuala Lumpur, I’m definitely ready to get out of the city lights and see what else this beauitful place has to offer.

Tomorrow we leave for Ipoh to visit her family… That means green trees, waterfalls, home cooked meals, traditional street markets and more trees!

Categories: Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What do you get when you mix 4 Germans, 2 Dutch and me?

A party in Amsterdam!

Quick recap: I met Carina and Florian, years ago at Oktoberfest who introduced me to Julia and Sebastian this year. Denise and I met while studying in Spain last year and just met Ioni in Argentina this March. Since I know all 6 of these incredible people I felt more than than driven to connect us all at once. Success!

We met up early in the day to wander the streets before heading out on the town. I got to take them to one of my favorite open markets!

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I honestly couldn’t figure out if this was a real man. He didn’t budge or blink for the awkward moments I just stood there… I’m still not sure.

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We were extremely tempted to purchase snow suits and wear them out as a huge group, next time!

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Most vendors have some sort of design on the outside of their closed shed. Gotta love the one and only Bob Marley!

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After snooping through bags, books, clothes, tools, posters, jewelry, plants, and still trying to figure out if that guy was alive or not… we head to Dam Square to meet up with the rest of the bunch.

While waiting, I offered to take a picture of a group of lovely ladies that ended up being so sweet! Besides the great conversation with these intelligent girls, I now have a place to stay in Indonesia!

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Who took the group photo of us? Italy on my right and Spain on my left!

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All right, time to dance! Amsterdam is full of bars, clubs and offers a variety of entertainment every night of the week. We didn’t have any specific plans which led us on a walk to see what we could find.

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A crazy disco club? A loud sports bar? A classy cocktail lounge? Nope. An old school bar in which we were the youth by a solid 35 years… priceless! All eyes peered over in curiosity as we bounced through the entry way. I wonder what they were all thinking?

After only minutes I saw this woman ever so slightly shaking her hips to the tunes and that was my cue… That girl wants to dance!

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…and this was the beginning to our self-made dance party with new friends. I hope the locals will look back and smile remembering the enthusiasm we brought and the energy we left with.

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The first photo is the owner playing bottles of liquor with two sticks making them chime to some crazy Dutch song. Then naturally Carina and I end up behind the bar pouring drinks. We both agree that these taps poor differently than back home.

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As the evening wrapped up, we handed my camera to one of our new pals for a group photo.
Judging from the pictures, he wasn’t sober. Here’s what we ended up with! (In the exact order they were taken).

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The closing to the night was finding a solution to the growling tummy’s of my dear buddy’s.

What’s this? For those of you in the dark like I was, this is a form of fast food vending machine style! Instead of a bag of nuts or skittles, you have your choice of hamburgers, chicken strips, friend cheese, hotdogs and so on. This smile says it all!

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Carina, Florian, Julia, Sebastian, Denise and Ioni… I hope you stay connected as this evening should be the first of many! I’ve got to be the luckiest “tourist” around these parts, thanks for joining me! Doei and Tschuss!

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

Siesta’s and Fiesta’s in Spain!

The culture here tends to feel like a slightly more “grown up” version of the college life. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but they all seem to live it to the fullest and love it!

So what is this lifestyle I speak of? Let’s run through a typical 24 hours in Spain. Of course I realize that being in tourist cities can bring out the party people, but even when I’m with the locals, they claim that they do it bigger than the travelers!

7a – 10a
If you were to stroll the streets at this time, you would mostly find a few locals bringing in the fresh ingredients to prep their shop for the day or an eager tourist family patiently pacing the streets waiting for one of the vendors to put down their coffee and open the front door.
Me? I’m an early bird and thoroughly love strolling the empty beaches and quiet streets while watching the city wake up. Smelling the buttery batch of croissants and homemade bread from the corner bakery, watching the birds search for the first crumb, while listening to the family in the back of the restaurant argue about what should go on the “Menu del día”. (Momma always wins).

Here are some random shots of the beaches, cities and cafes at this time of day,
Awh… Buenos Dias.

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Here is the view from the balcony at 8am followed by a shot taken around noon.

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This is another duo picture with the first being around 9am and the second photo was in the afternoon.

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10 – 14:00 (10a-2p)
The streets are coming alive… barely. It’s comical to look around and see the difference between who had a restful night compared to the ones who crawled out of bed to try and recover over coffee and toast at the local cafe. Let’s not forget the hooligans that are still going strong from the previous evening. The vendors are now open, the tourist are happy and the fresh sand now has little toe prints from the early birds.

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I stumbled upon this little antique street fair and caught myself wondering why things are so much more “adorable” or “cute” when you’re on the road, verses just at home.

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I passed by this venue that had chairs with little fish swimming around in the foot tanks. What? Sure I’ll give it a go! It felt like tiny little taps of dull needles all over as the hungry fellas nibbled off any old skin cells. Once in awhile you could see (and feel) a determined one get a little aggressive… And I thought pedicures tickled!

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As the heat peaks, you can see the beaches that were once made of sand now home to a number of umbrellas, towels and sun craving people.

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14:00 – 18:00 (2p – 6p)
Although not every shop closes for this length of time, most break for the typical siesta. No, this doesn’t mean the entire country goes home for a nap. After chatting with several different locals, I found that this time is used wisely depending on their personal life. Many spend these hours prepping their business for the busy night to come, others go home to take care of errands and chores while the kids are still in school. If you wander the streets, you may get lucky and catch a group of locals sitting outside appreciating this time with multiple generations of family.
If you’re a new tourist to this culture, you’ll find yourself lost in empty streets… hungry, confused and wondering if there was a bomb threat in which you didn’t get the memo to hide and cover.

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Here’s a main indoor market during “Siesta”. Only just an hour prior to this photo there were hundreds of shoulders squeezing their way through the crowds. The sounds of casual conversation mingled with the shouting of product prices and sales… Kids with chocolate covered faces playing hide and seek while their parents (with stress on their faces) reach for the last item before the doors close.

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18:00 – 22:30 (6p – 10:30)
For most around here, the earliest dinner isn't until 7p and the usual time to sit and eat is 8p – 9:30p. If you're not prepping dinner or finishing up your sight seeing, you might be out roaming the streets shopping again or in my case, having a cold beverage with a friend. Either way this is the down time before the fiestas kick into full swing!

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22:30 – Daybreak (10:30 – Sunrise)
Depending on how late your dinner or when the celebrations begin… once the sun goes down, the energy goes up!

Some evening pictures of the “calming before the storm”.

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The last night in Alicante, a group of us gathered for appetizers and drinks for a relaxing start. Pretty tricky to top tasty food, adult beverages and a variety of nationalities lounging to the relaxing sound of your friend on the guitar. Did I mention it was on the beach that sits below a castle? Kind of forces a deep breath, right?

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Here is a mess of photos that should give you a solid idea of the “party” scene in Spain (or at least the one shown to me!)

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To truly understand the excitement of my buddy Ian celebrating his 30th birthday at a show in Ibiza, you must first know TIESTO (funny that my auto correct puts his name in all caps). This DJ is award winning, Grammy nominated, and recently titled a “Universal phenomenon” after he performed at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles before an audience of 26,000 fans. That’s the largest single headline DJ show in United States history.
So here’s a glimpse of the Ibiza birthday night that started with a bus ride to a concert, traveled to the VIP section (notice that we’re standing slightly above the crowd) and ended to the sun coming up… Happy birthday pal!

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All thumbs up and a sunrise to hug us good night…

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

I heart NYC

I’m sure I don’t have to do much explaining for this ever so popular destination in North America. The songs, the shows, the movies and “Hollywood” does a fine job of providing every angle that New York City has to offer. For me, this weekend was primarily to reunite with several friends. First and for most, meet Jessica. An extremely kind girl with brains and beauty. We met in Italy last year and toured through France and ended in Spain together. During that journey we mentioned how cool it would be to connect again. All the way from Canada (near Niagra Falls) she flys in and finds me at the JFK airport.

Here we are in Florence…
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…and now in New York City!
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We stayed at the New York Budget Inn which is a hostel styled setting with some of the most friendly staff members I have met on the road this far. If you’re ever passing through and desire a great price, I highly suggest this be your choice for accommodations. Location, employees, comfort and cleanliness… all exceeded my expectations, thanks gentlemen!

www.newyorkbudgetinn.com .
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Here’s what my 72 hours looked like (excluding that crazy night in which I didn’t bring my camera… Good thing).

Walking the streets.
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I didn’t know they allowed small ponies to walk the streets on a leash.
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Remember the coconut jelly that I LOVED in Barbados? I found this woman selling whole baby coconuts. I get to drink the water, then eat the jelly! FYI: the flavor was nothing like on the island. I should of known, bummer.
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They were promoting the local tap water. “It’s not only OK to drink, it’s great to drink.”
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This has always amazed me for some reason.
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Hmmm, not tempted to eat here…
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Outdoor and indoor frozen yogurt, your pick!
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Markets! One if my favorite things to explore in any city.
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This vibrant artwork caught my eye in World Market.
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As the sun starts to lower the energy of the city is far from quiet. The vibe begins to rotate and the streets become darker yet louder.
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Turns out is was going to rain… a lot.
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Smile if you forgot an umbrella!
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This wet evening was far from drab as we got to eat at one of my new favorite spots. RAYMI is a traditional Peruvian restaurant that has brought authentic flavors right to your dish. How did I ever find out about this amazing treasure? On the flight home from Peru, I was seated right next to Erik Rameriz, one of the creators and talented chefs. I teased him on the plane that I would show up someday… surprise!
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With a reservation and a smile we walkEd in and were treated like royalty. Poor Jessica didn’t know how excited I was going to get when seeing so many familiar items that I’ve been missing from Peru. These are including but not limited to: Pisco, Chancaca, Cusqueña, and several fresh seafood options garnished with toasted corn and sweet potatoes!

Due to the gorgeous ambiance, I didn’t snap any photos so please click on the link to tempt yourself with the best Peruvian restaurant Kniwn to me! Thank you Erik for the wonderful experience, stimulated taste buds and a glimpse of my journey to Peru.

www.richardsandoval.com/raymi/ .

The following evening, we hit up yet another favorite of mine, Marc Forgione. Marc was winner of the next Iron Chef on the food network and joined up with an incredible staff to open this successful restaurant. One of the talented team members and GM happens to be a childhood friend of mine from Folsom. Matthew Conway (to be said in a fancy voice, even though we just called him Matt) allowed us to snag one of his beverage creations while nibbling on some unique bites.

  www.marcforgione.com .

On the way to dinner (in a cab to avoid the storm).
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After dinner we got a bonus reunion with my even longer time pal, Jimmy. The three of us grew up together and parted ways due to… Well, life. This night we got to hang out like back in the old school days. Here’s Jimmy with us on the way to the next stop. This is when the camera was put away.
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Fast forward to our last stop, non other then some New York Pizza to finish up the night! Matt is nearest on the right, then Jessica and Jimmy.
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…and of course we meet a group of friendly fellas! The one with the broken arm is getting married soon (enter smooshy love sounds here). What a fun group of boys, sure wish we could of connected sooner. Well cheers to you and your new chapter of marriage!
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Much thanks to Matt and Jimmy for not only making time for us, but enhancing our trip!

So it’s now the night before we’re leaving and I get a dental emergency. To spare you the details, we’ll just say I couldn’t have left without it being fixed. This is Dr. Peter Mann, my super hero in a white coat. He got me in within 20 minutes of a phone call and out within 30 minutes of sitting down. I’m so grateful for his calming work and the wonderful girl who greeted me with an “It’s going to be all right” smile.
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The morning we were departing, Jessica back to Niagra and me off to Madrid, we waited in the Grand Central Station for our bus. Handstand time! If you can’t find me, I’m the one with my feet in the air.
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Next time I touch ground… Spain!
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Categories: Accommodations, Edibles!, Fashion from a backpack, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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