After paddling and Hari Raya I felt pretty unmotivated to plan any further travels, a first for me. At the last minute I set off for Kuala Lumpur winging it, with the idea of visiting two UNESCO World Heritage sites, Penang and Melaka.
After 27 hours of initial transit from San Diego and with three new countries under my belt in under a week, I write this on a bus in Cambodia, on my way from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. Thanks to jet lag I’ve been awake every night from 3-6am, so you’ll have to give me a pass as I attempt to record my first impressions from the trip so far, especially since this is my first timing blogging using my phone.
Continue reading “Bread and Butter”
Somehow I let three months go by without writing a single post. I don’t understand quite how that happened, except that I suppose my adventure here has turned into what feels like normal, happy life. So, let me start with a picture of food, because really this entry should be called ‘Eating My Way Across Mexico,’ or ‘How to Gain 5lbs in 2 Weeks.’ For those of you who haven’t already been mocking me, let me share that I have been, as of late, trying to be vegan… I know. I know! Don’t start. The majority of my conversations prior to coming here usually contained a reference to my love of pork products, and yet somehow I find myself living in a yoga commune trying to eat a plant-based diet… Just let me be for now. This phase might pass, and then we can go on happily eating bacon and Cheezits together as if nothing ever happened.
Anyways, the point is that all of my best vegan intentions went out the window basically immediately upon crossing the Mexican border. On the 8 hour journey from Xela to San Cristobal I was lucky enough to meet a man who runs a hostel there, and after dropping off my bags, we headed out to what he claimed is the best taco stand in the city. I tried to restrain myself and only order one chorizo and one al pastor, but after scarfing those down less than a minute I needed to go back for seconds. And thirds. The tortillas were fresh, the meat melted in your mouth, and there were three types of actually spicy and flavorful salsa, something I had been completely deprived of in Guatemala. I was in heaven. We followed up tacos with fresh coconut ice cream and a visit to a mezcaleria. Mezcal tastes somewhat similar to the way a teenage boy’s gym locker smells, but probably was successful in killing whatever bacteria I might have picked up from those street tacos. Not a bad first day.
In school news, we are currently in the midst of a lice epidemic. Piojos, we meet again. Other than that, all continues to go well. This week the students had exams, so only half were at school on any given day, which made for a nice test run for the library. I still have not tired of helping the kids check out books. Their faces literally light up when they find the one they want, and then they will actually skip with glee out of the library, clutching their new books to their chests. Gets me every time.
San Sebastian stole my heart, as so many warned me it would. Old colorful buildings, families and children happily frolicking about, fresh sea air, white sandy beaches with crystal blue water, all surrounded by lush green rolling hills. The definition of charming. My friend Jelissa and I arrived starving after a 6 hour bus ride from Madrid, and despite the offer from our nice hostel man to join him for a pintxo (Basque country’s version of tapas), we declined and went out in search of real food. We found a pizza place around the corner that did the trick, and while we initially were worried that 11 was too late for dinner, people were still streaming into the restaurant as we were paying the bill two hours later.
Cat Stevens has once again been my constant companion these past few weeks, what a babe.
So, I wanted to write a really great blog about my spring break trip to Turkey, especially after my last two half-hearted entries. But, upon my return to Spain, I journeyed to the coast to spend a rainy weekend in Alicante, and then had two jam-packed weeks in Madrid catching up with everything going on here, and now all of a sudden it’s time to head off to San Sebastian for another weekend getaway, which means that somehow it’s been a month since Turkey, and still no blog. How did that happen?
Bem-vindo a Porto! What a cute little city, a day and a half was just about the perfect amount of time to spend there. The town itself is verrryyy chiquito, bisected by a river that flows in from the ocean, with the city center on one side, and a lot of port wineries on the other. Even if Porto itself hadn’t been so darn charming, with narrow cobblestone streets winding up it’s many hills, lots of parks with blooming trees/ flowers, and brightly colored tile facades on the buildings, I still would have loved it solely because I am always happier just being near the ocean.
Vincent: You know what the funniest thing about Europe is?
Vincent: It’s the little differences. I mean they got the same sh-t over there that they got here, but it’s just- it’s just there it’s a little different.
Vincent: Alright, well you can walk into a movie theater in Amsterdam and buy a beer. And I don’t mean just like in no paper cup, I’m talking about a glass of beer. And in Paris, you can buy a beer at McDonald’s. And you know what they call a, uh, a Quarter Pounder with Cheese in Paris?
Jules: They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with Cheese?
Vincent: Nah, man, they got the metric system, they wouldn’t know what the f-ck a Quarter Pounder is.
Jules: What do they call it?
Vincent: They call it a “Royale with Cheese.”
Jules: “Royale with Cheese.”
Vincent: Thats right.
Jules: What do they call a Big Mac?
Vincent: A Big Mac’s a Big Mac, but they call it “Le Big Mac.”
Finally saw Pulp Fiction for Movie Monday last night, it might now be my new favorite, and this quote is so fitting, considering where I spent my weekend.
I made my first venture into Eastern Europe. It was not warm. For most of the weekend the temperature stayed in the negatives, meaning that I spent most of my time wearing roughly 15 layers of clothing and whining about how I couldn’t feel my phalanges. Despite the freezing weather, and thanks to copious amounts of hot wine, my friend and I did manage to tough it out and explore a lot of the city. Budapest is divided in half by the Danube river, with the Buda side being older and more residential, and the Pest side being the more modern downtown area. Both sides are lovely, full of old beautiful buildings and lots of trees, I was very impressed.