Posts Tagged With: Festival

Cropover! My 6th, his 1st… not our last.

2017 was my 6th Cropover in a row. For those of you that didn’t indulge in those fun posts, I invite you to take a peek back and check out previous Kadooment posts! Last year Matt and I chose a few of the events to celebrate and went for it!

Foreday morning Jam! Mud, paint, powder, people and drinks. That about sums up the few miles we parade through the back streets of Barbados. Music trucks lead the way followed by mobile bars serving any beverage you’d like. Gallons of paint get thrown throughout the crowd with powder being launched into the air. The mud? Barrels (dubbed for mud baths later on after 6 too many rum punches) are towed behind trucks so participants can dig in and sling handfuls over their friends. This midnight celebration is nothing to miss out on!

The annual boat cruise that I’m honored to attend each year (limited guests with a waiting list) has got to be my favorite event of this entire week. Personally I think that’s made clear by the photos I walk away with each year! Click here to see one of the most highlighted cruises from the past!

This year, Matt was able to be my hot date and got to witness the shinaniguns of the M.C.Buccaneer!

There’s really no need for an excuse, however if I needed a reason for a shot from Daniel, it would fall in the hands of tradition. Every year past, he’s found me to fulfill our annual greeting!

The first collage is a combination of years past followed by a phot of the most recent. Kadooment marks the finale of the crops being over and introduces the grand parade that everyone has been preparing for. Elaborate costumes and skin jewel designs barely cover the bodies of the ones walking the street. If you haven’t read any of the past posts on this event at least take a look at Kadooment 2012, as it describes the history and present culture of it all. Here is a visual gift of the previous 5 years of Kadooment:






Last year I decided to get a little quirky and hand make a tutu to enhance my costume. A few more bedazzles and some added fabric made it all complete!

Matt had no problem sharing his office with glitter, jewels, fabric and glue until I completed my project… Well, he had no complaint until his confession of finding glitter in manly places that sparkles don’t belong.

Finally the day had arrived! 4am and a couple thousand friends means we’re on our way!

Pictures may say 1000 words, but videos share a million memories! Here’s the video created by Matt Stone (my amazing husband) of Stone Sharp Images.

Video of Kadooment 2017!

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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…



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


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Dirndl: a traditional dress typically worn in southern Germany primarily in Bavaria during Oktoberfest.

Lederhosen: a mans traditional outfit worn in southern Germany primarily in Bavaria during Oktoberfest.

Beer: the number one liquid (even over water) consumed during the 16 day festival.

Time to experience Bavaria Germany at the worldwide known event! Feel free to read Hurry up and wait! to see how we made it to this moment.

Once the doors open there are 2 rules, no running and no standing on the table tops.  Other than that, first come-first serve.  Ready, set, GO!  
Once  you’ve claimed your table, you sit patiently like children in the classroom waiting for cupcakes and chocolate milk. The menu is on the table for the ordering all day and the beers start flowing from out of nowhere!


 Quick story of the day: Carina and Jenni ordered Weisswurst (a white Bavarian sausage) that requires the removal of a thin skin before you can eat the meat.  I’m used to this process after witnessing in times past, however my sweet girls clearly had never seen such a thing. Please… please enjoy this sequence of photos I captured during the removal of the skin! 


Well that was fun.
All righty, lets take a look around and share the glorious energy of thousands of people gathering to celebrate! In no specific order, here’s a series of photos for your own personal tour through the eyes of my camera. 




Did I mention that we were still having a blast? My cheeks began to hurt from the laughing, singing and smiling. The energy all around just keeps you going!

   Year after year, we’ve kept our classic photo a tradition!


End of the day? Yep.

Hopefully that gave you a decent idea of the fun to be had inside the tents at Oktoberfest. Tomorrow will bring a solid vision of what’s happening on the outside during these festivities! 

Random Oktoberfest facts:

Oktoberfest started as a celebration of the wedding between Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig and his wife, Princess Therese. 

There is approximately 1.8 million gallons of beer served every year at this festival.

Paris Hilton is banned for Oktoberfest due to inappropriate dress attire while trying to promote a new product.

Over 4,000 lost and found items turn up by the end of these shenanigans. Last year items included 350 cell phones, 520 wallets, over 1,000 passports, 370 pairs of glasses, 425 sets of keys, 1300 items of clothing, and at least one set of dentures. Even 48 children were lost, then found. 

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Hurry up and wait!

The 4 of us left Bochum early to make our way to Munchen knowing the others would soon trail behind by driving themselves the following day.

11 hours on a crowded overnight bus (with team chatterbox behind us) made the 12th hour of transit seem refreshing and oddly easy. Once we made it to the main station in Munich, we took a small train called the SBahn to the nearest stop of our new home.  From there, we made the final stretch into a suburban neighborhood. I’m sure due to lack of sleep, the long walk was mostly silent. However, total exhaustion fuled random bursts of spontaneous giggles. You know the feeling!

So imagine this, 3 Americans, 3 Germans and me looking for a place to share. Considering the popularity of Oktoberfest, most accomodations are booked solid months ahead of time and if they’re not, the price is beyond unreasonable.  With 7 of us wanting to stay together, our other option was sharing a dorm room in a hostel which comes with a dozen strangers and a complementary shared public bathroom. 

Been there, did that… so we found something else!

Our perfect location was a treasure rental that is owned and operated by an extremely accommodating host.  With his gentle energy Jorj was there to meet, greet and help with whatever he could during our stay. I didn’t get a photo of him, so please check out his page by clicking here.

Just outside of the city, we (voluntarily) packed into a quaint 2 bedroom, one bath apartment. Down stairs provided an open kitchen, the bathroom with washer and a dining table big enough for all of us to gather around. 

 A couple of cute decorations added a bit of character to our little home away from home. 

 The bed I chose was down stairs tucked in a cubby that actaully provided some of the best sleep I’ve gotten on this entire trip! (Thank you amazing-o-friends for letting me have “first dibs”)

The rest of the crew had their pick from 6 spots upstairs. By stairs, I mean a completely vertical walking ramp with hand rails and a warning from the owner.  These things are dangerous with too many proasts at the festival!   

We’ve all made it!  

It’s early to bed since the morning brings a 4:30 alarm clock. If you recall in recent years, the chances of getting in a tent if you’re not there by sunrise becomes slim and hardly likely. For entertainment purposes, please read Inside the tents!  to see what the traditional morning race entails! Here’s a clip from the crowd of eager attendees in years past.
The 4 of us who have been before spent days preparing the others for the exciting bright rise and struggle to the gates. With success, we were all able to get up, dressed and ready (rememebr 5 girls, 2 boys and one bathroom) in time to beat the sun in the German sky. Awful photos, but you get the idea.

 On time and in transit!

Finally arriving to the festival grounds, we continued to amp up our group in regards to the battle that’s ahead.  The crowds… the elbows.. the sea of dirndls and lederhosen… are you ready!?  

WHAT?! Are you ready for an empty lot with a couple cleaning crew members and a few other confused people?  I don’t even think I knew what this wooden floor looked like from years past! We finally came to the conclusion that it was our first attempt during the week verses a Saturday morning. Turns out it’s easier when a portion of the city has to go to work.   

Well, we did what we do best… which is to make the best of it!  A few fun pictures, some hair play and 3 hours of meeting new friends as we watched the crowd slowly expand.       

What’s behind that door?  Our entire day of festivites patiently awaiting our arrival!


Doors open! To be continued…

Would you rather be 3 hours early or 30 minute late?


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Festival in Juayua, El Salvador

We’ve made it to the weekend food festival to see what we can find while exploring the tiny streets of Juayua, El Salvador. This celebration happens weekly and brings other locals in as well as the random backpacker or traveling photographer.

Instead of the usual “story”, I’m going to break this post down into easy to view sections to give you a clear idea of this energetic day. You really cant make a wrong turn as you follow the streets lined with venders, music, people, and entertainment. So, please turn on your mind and open your eyes as you enjoy these photos!
I’m going to start out with my two favorite pictures of the day that capture the essence of the youth to the elderly of this brilliant village.



Entertainment! As you devour the local food and shop through the vendors, there is constantly stimulation all around you.






Care to get your nails done mid festival?


I’m sure you’re hungry by now…






Crazy corn! On the cob drizzled with a mustard mixture and red sauce then rolled in parmesan.


This is a lettuce bowl lined with boiled yuca, topped with coleslaw, salsa and chicharrón (fried pieces of pork rind or some kind of fatty fried pork… Yeh, not for me).




Snow cones!


Tamarind balls coated in sugar.


Fruit and veggies (my favorite!)




Finally, let’s just take a stroll and see what the streets have to say.















New friends…



…and a handstand of course!


I’ll leave you with my “creative” photo from the day. Thank you Juayua!


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6 buses, 1 mini taxi and French Salvadorian food

We’ve seen the city, ate on the coast, stayed in the jungle and now we’re off to a small village called Juayua (sounds like “why-you-uh”). It’s about 3 hours by bus northwest of San Salvador and is known for their food festival and waterfalls, sign me up!
We could of payed for the easy route, but moms with me now (sneaky giggle here) so backpacker style we go with 4 bus transfers and a 9 block walk, totaling $1.70 start to finish.
Lucky for us, Walter was heading in the same direction so we got to tag along with a local for the trip. Let’s begin!

We start with a walk to the end of our block and catch #52 for $0.20 I would of snapped photos inside the bus, but it was standing room only which required a death grip on anything in site as the driver took this thing for what felt like drunken joy ride.




Next is a quick walk passing these mini venders to hop on the next bus numbered 4 at $0.25. Ps, it’s 6:30 in the morning.





For the third transfer we’re on a larger bus that takes us about an hour farther in our journey for $0.75. Here’s the bus terminal as we depart with a few pictures from the trip to our final bus.





Woohoo, final bus at $0.50. Not the one in the photo, I just got a kick out of all the bling. Check out the crowds and the goodies that they offer. Each time the bus stops, a few locals will hop on selling candy, fruit, bread or juice.






We finally arrive to our hostel in Juayua (description later) just long enough to throw down our bags and head off to a highly recommended restaurant in the side town of A’Taco. Side town? Yes, meaning another bus! I’m stoked and mom is… ready to eat. This bus included the usual sale of goodies and a mini taxi ride to follow.










Finally made it to our colorful dainty restaurant for some fun eats and tasty drinks. Introducing El Botón!






You may question our choice of French food in El Salvador, so let me explain. Tomorrow we’ll be walking the streets at a local festival eating from all of the venders plus, this magnificent place is known for organic goat cheese (made right here) and their sangria. Enough said.





Time for a handstand shot and a quick sample offered from a local woman who saw me trying to peak at what she was eating. The following picture of mom is while we were waiting for the bus home. Can you find our new friend? These are just a few examples of the kind people that compliment this beautiful country.





Finally the bus ride back for a good night of rest before the food festival. They always say “Do as the locals do”. So I did.


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Temple festival to a night market… What a day!

Even though there’s no secret pass word or handshake to get through the entrance, I was still honored to partake in this day at a festival in a temple. If I was traveling without a local, I would of been a bit hesitant to shuffle on in and check it out, but after being invited, I was all in!


On the outside is where you purchase they special made Poa that you bring into the temple to pray with.




Before entering, you’re senses are taken over by the amount of insence that is being burned. Each participate has their own bundle in which they carry around to each pot for prayer and distribute them amongst the different statues. These are just some of the sights outside of the temple.








Time to go in and lay out your offerings, light your incense, and begin prayer.











I wish I could read this:


After this eye opening experience, Kuldip surprised me with the perfect ending to our day…. A night market!

Similar to the morning market, there are several vendors with stalls prepared for whatever you desire. Fruit, veggies, hot meals, and sweet treats. This isn’t including all of the clothes, shoes, bags, tools, and other random objects that are displayed to grab your attention.



If you read my last post, “A ray of green light in Malaysia”, under the edibles page, you’ll find the struggle I’ve been having with the amount of fried, grease soaked and sugar based choices here in Malaysia. Tonight didn’t fall short of some prime examples.

Will start with some treats. The photos I didn’t capture this evening were the cakes, pastries, fried sugar, and fresh fruit that was soaking in sugar water. However, I did snag a few I hadn’t seen so far in Malaysia.




This is a fresh soy milk stand. They pour it directly into a bag then puncture it with a straw… Viola, a drink!



Before you see the next stall, I suggest you stand up and do a few jumping jacks first to get your cardiovascular system pumping.

This is a deep fry station. Already prepared for you on a stick is a variety of veggies, egg, tofu, fish or other kind of meats. You pick your sticks then drop them in the deep fryer. When you think they’re done, you pull them out and follow with the spicy cream sauce provided. Although this is not my ideal “snack” I just wanted to play! I snagged a green leaf stick that had a piece of fish on the end. Well… At least I tried it right?




Ok, maybe you should get down and rack out a set of push ups before this next one. A Chinese hamburger. A fried egg, cheese, deli ham with spicy sauce held together between two pancakes. I should of asked what the “chicken floss” was…



Here is a range of other offered items along the markets path. (Baby not for sale in the last photo).












Wait… What’s this?! A thin wrap lined with a non creamy spicy sauce, layered with fresh lettuce, raw jicama and cucumber, complimented with sprouts, and your choice of a vegetarian or fish mix… I found dinner!



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La Tomatina in Spain!

I’ve “Prost” through Oktoberfest in Germany, beaded my way through Mardi GRAS in New Orleans, danced through Kadooment in Barbados, spent Australia day in Sydeny, and dressed up at the Sevens Tournament in New Zealand… Now what?

La Tomatina Festival in Spain!

Welcome to one of the largest food fights in the world. A battle where more than one hundred metric tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets at tens of thousands of participants.

At around 11 a .m., the first event begins. A ham is placed on top of a cockaigne pole (a large, greased pole), and the tomato fight can begin only when someone is able to climb up and bring it down. People struggle against the huddle while climbing on top of one another. This is necessary in order to be “the one” to pull down the chunk of pork. With this victory (that I’m sure is claimed till the following year) a loud shot is fired from a cannon and the tomato-throwing begins.

After exactly one hour of chaos, a second shot sounds and all throwing stops and turns directly into a dance party in the streets!

Just a reminder, I’m with Ian and Bevan. Ian is my long time friend from Folsom California who randomly jumps in and out of my journey around the world. Argentina is where we last met the pleasantly crazy (I mean that with love) Australian, Bevan!

To reach the small town of Buñol the beginning of the festival it was necessary to catch one of the first trains out of Valencia.

Here we are before the crack of dawn patiently waiting at our bus stop.
Banana… Check.
Beer…. Check.
Goggles… Check.






Once you arrive you see food and drink vendors with hundreds of eager adults dressed in whatever the day calls for. In this case, clean clothes (to start with), protective goggles and shoes you plan on dumping in the garbage directly exiting the venue. Most of them have a beer in hand, a slight skip in their step and a smile that says “ooh pick me, pick me!”

Notice how clean we all are in the start of the walk towards the central of the fight.





We’re getting closer so we figure now is the time to fuel up for the day ahead. The boys make a pit stop for some pork in buns (I’m sure they would describe this meal with much more enthusiasm). Judging from my face at their kind offer for me to try some… I went for the tuna sandwich that, to my delight, came with fresh green olives and a Spanish hot pepper! Of course all of the above is nicely complimented with the local beer.








As we continue to march towards the center, the crowd grows to a massive sea of some of the biggest kids I’ve seen. Not one tomato will be thrown until the fire of the first cannon. This means we all mob to squish as close as we can to the road where the trucks will launch from.







As soon as the cannon sounds with a large puff of grey smoke in the air, the people go crazy!

It made me giggle because we were so far back, that when it fired the crowd went nuts and nothing happened for awhile. It was like the lights going off for your favorite band to come on stage and you scream… then shout and jump… and wait…. and yell again… and wait. Then you all kind of look around… and wait some more until finally, show time!

This is where I would normally insert dozens of photos of the real life action. However due to the fact that we only brought Ian’s camera and it was so mashed that you literally couldn’t move your arms unless you got aggressive, we only captured the before and after.

So, here is the walk back towards the train. Imagine dance music being drowned out by the sound of voices, these of which you can barely understand because they’re either really intoxicated or from another country… or both for that matter. The smell of acidic sauce sizzling in the sun with spilt beer flooding the streets. The sweaty liquid keeps the lost articles of clothing afloat as it all drifts down the road towards the center.











As you near the station, several of the locals bring out buckets of water and hoses to wash off all of the participants. Nice and refreshing after a day in the sun and paste everywhere. Sun dried tomatoes if you will (please snicker just a little bit here, for the jokes sake).





So the crowds have dispersed, the tomatoes are crusting over everything in site and we are heading back to recoup. I’ll give you one guess on what we DIDN’T have for dinner…


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This festival of Barbados was originally celebrated in the 1800s by slaves at the end of the sugar-cane harvest. A procession of carts and animals decorated with flowers would bring the last load of cane to the plantation owner, who would then provide a feast for the laborers. Now, Crop Over is the most anticipated event on the island. It begins in June and finishes strong on the first Monday of August with Grand Kadooment. This massive parade includes participants dancing their way through the local streets to Soca and Calypso music while dressed in vibrant, eye-catching costumes!

So you can imagine when Ryan asked if i wanted to join in… My response? Of course! All he needed was my measurements, (before I knew the details) I thought, “Cool, I might get a neat shirt or maybe matching shorts”. (This is where you can enter either his mischievous laugh or my nieve giggle).

Here is what I measured into:
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This is Jane. I’ll call her a new friend, but she felt more like a sister. Comforting and welcoming with a noticeable warmth… what a joy to be around!
Here she is with and her husband Aldo there son Ethan.  When I asked how soon the little guy got to “jump” in the carnival, dad said “next year” while mom just laughed.  On average the locals usually start between 14-17 years of age depending on the household.
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Its 7:45 in the morning and the troop is ready to hit the 6 mile parade!
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If I need to justify why the drink trucks are already up and serving adult beverages at 8am…Let me remind you that I’m in Barbados.
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First and only stop (the structured part of the day) is the arena where each “band” gets to cross the main stage and basically strut their stuff while representing their colors.
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After this talent show, the crowd blends and we keep on whining and chipping away the celebration.
NOTE: Please see the J’ouvert post to recall the dance definitions of chipping and whining.

Here is a glimpse of some other varieties of costumes.
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Although there are thousands of people, you are constantly running into friends. Some slow down to wait for the drink truck while others bounce ahead to their favorite song.
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It’s miss Sarah Jane!
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This is two of the dozen music trucks.  Some are live bands, others have awesome Dj’s that keep the groups moving!
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… And it keeps on going…
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At some point in the journey, you’ve got to hop on a wall!
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I loved involving the people that came to observe. Thank you for the idea and encouragement Ryan!
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In Ryan’s words “Go big or go home”.
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This little girl asked for one if his beads… Adorable!
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Ooh, another friend! This is Dwayne, you may recognize him from the Segway Polo team that I described before. I met this fun loving angel in California last year. Whenever I mention his name, my mom usually interrupts me with “Awh, I just love Dwayne… He’s one of my favorites”.
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Melodie and Kris… Quality energy. They jump every year, except that tiny bump you can’t see is their little peanut that will be here by next kadooment! Congrats to wonderful people adding to this magical planet!
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The Police station is known as a fine place to slow your trek and take a moment to let your presence be known. I was told that in years past, full costumed people have ran in, hopped on the tables and danced for the employees. Take notice, the doors are now closed. Eh, handstand shot!
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Well, no police station fun… so let’s just play friendly with the authorities then!
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When the heat is at it’s peak, it’s so nice to run into the water fountains. They have hoses spraying for all involved that need a cooling off.
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The temperature has been climbing all day with a few sprinkles here and there. That is the main reason you’ll notice less and less head pieces as the day goes on. I gave mine to a little girl on the side lines. Either that or you try to save it and end up with what looks like a drowned rooster on your head.

Feathers tickling my face before the rain…
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…and her poor head piece after the soaking.
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More creative beauty!
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Random snap shots
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During the final stretch (after 6 miles) we follow the coast with several options for food, different drinks and… Hold up, “Did you say food?”
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I don’t think Ryan has seen me so ready to devour anything that was out in front of me. The last pic is me patiently, if you call it that, waiting for some edible nutrients.
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“Thank you” doesn’t quite capture the gratitude I have for the friends of Barbados that made this trip what it was. Cheers to great times, priceless memories and plans for next year! All my love.
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