The longer I’m on the road, the more fascinating people I get to meet. Through volunteering, hostel hopping or simply chatting with another passenger on a long train ride, friends are being made all of the time! Reconnecting with fellow travelers has become one of my new favorite pastimes, as it’s like nothing else I’ve experienced. Theres something to be said about bonding with someone by natural chemistry and to stay connected by choice. A neighbor is always there and you can grow to like a classmate, but to meet someone thousands of miles away from home and stay in touch for years to come takes energy and effort.
In the past, you’ve seen the follow up path crossings, however the next few chapters of this journey will have an abundance of these marvelous people that I’m truly thankful for.
With that said, time to reintroduce a new friend Sophie. Her and I met while volunteering at The Donkey Den in Santa Marioñita, Ecuador. After an easy conversation, we decided that linked travels were in our future. From there, we journeyed south together for a week and parted ways with the “hope to see you again” farewell. Here’s a collage from some of our South American excursions.
During our time together, the talk of reuniting in her homeland of England started as a casual joke that turned into proper plans. 4 months later and a train to London, brings us together again!
We spent the weekend with her and her friends as they showed what a holiday in London looks like. After checking out the view from her apartment, we dove into what is still my favorite thing to do in a new city…. the local market!
A group effort went into the dinner of Paella and greens with dessert being a pile of typical candy for us to try. I’m sorry England, you have not peaked on my list for best sugar delights. Even though the sweet treats weren’t my favorite, this great bunch of eager locals did a fanatic job at adopting us in for their holiday weekend.
This is a weekend in which London comes even more alive to celebrate Caribbean roots with the famous Notting Hill Carnival. Sophie and her friends took lead as our guides to experience the event. From the bus to the tube we blend with a crowd of participants shuffling shoulder to shoulder.
Reaching the top brings a huge deep breath and just enough time to adorn my purse with my Barbados flag that was given to me in Barbados, thank you Mikie! Feeling proud to represent my new bag (see the story of my old bag here) and “Caribbean roots”.
Heading into the festival you’ll see several stands offering souvenirs, drinks and food for sale. The parade really wasn’t what I had imagined as it was more of a group of people randomly making noise in costume as they tried to catch up to the next bunch. The street sights are visually stimulating and definitely a complement to the unique variety of styles that the attendees bring.
I understand that when you over crowd popular streets with music, food and drinks, a little waste is to be expected. I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve been to festivals, carnivals and holiday events around the world, but this was the first time in which I watched the trash develope into mounds along the roadside. Is suppose this just encourages the eyes to keep focus on the happy people and vibrant festivities.
Due to the Caribbean influence, the main dishes are ones you wouldn’t typically find in England but more so in the islands. The drinks included but aren’t limited to Jamaican beer, coconut water and Rum Punch.
Thank you to Sophie and new friends. Our first weekend abroad was filled with quality memories that are still being smiled about! Cheers to tiger suits, Curly Wurly’s and Jo-Jo’s dancing skills (my rib still thinks about her everyday).