Monday, June 2, 2014

The Art of Taking a Taxi in West Africa

"So do you want to rent out the entire taxi then?" The driver demanded, looking agitated and restless.

I looked from the four of us, to the driver, to the five-person dilapidated sedan he was calling a taxi.


Monday, March 24, 2014

Observations: Brazil

Every country does things their own way, and they're usually quite proud of these idiosyncrasies. Today is my last day in Brazil. I've just spent the past two months exploring this giant of a country and I've made a few observations about how things are done here. Some things I found frustrating, especially as an American used to life running relatively quickly and efficiently. But alas, TIB (This is Brazil).

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Açai and Sushi Diet

"Tem Açai?"

Possibly the two most important words in the Portuguese language. Açai - the amazingly delicous (and healthy) Brazilian berry-turned-sorbet, can be found nearly anywhere in Brazil. The food-cart guy at the metro entrance sells it in a plastic cup, the local Bob's milkshake chain does it soft-serve in a cone, and the supermarket sells it by the pint. For those who thought I'd have problems being a vegan in Brazil, think again. Between the açai available on every street corner and the cheap vegetarian sushi in Liberdade, I'm in food heaven.

Friday, February 28, 2014

How to Avoid Freezing to Death on a Brazilian Bus

Buses in Brazil are nice. Visually. 

Temperature-wise, they're hell. It took me three long-distance bus rides to learn how to dress appropriately. It doesn't matter if you're on an overnight bus or a day bus; the air conditioning will find you and make you yearn for the next middle-of-nowhere trucker stop where you can jump off the bus and stand outside while waiting for the circulation to return to your veins.

Here are a few tips on how to stay warm on these arduous journeys. 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Curitiba: The Things I Saw

Curitiba is known as Brazil's 'sustainable' city. But from speaking with locals during the rainy, whirlwind of a two days I spent there en route from Florianopolis to Sao Paulo, I couldn't quite gather why. Curitiba looks like a pretty normal Brazilian city, albeit a bit gloomy and run-down. Supposedly there are some nice parks. Probably best enjoyed on a sunny day, though.

Anyway, despite the rain, I spent my first morning in Curitiba doing exactly what I usually do upon arriving in a new place. I wandered the streets, by myself, for hours.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Slow Times in Montevideo

Uruguay is a well-run country. There are few political problems and the economy is strong and stable. Roads are smooth, street names are clearly marked, and buses leave on-time - if not a couple minutes early. Gay marriage, abortion, and marijuana are all legal. The people are friendly and attractive, and, more importantly, seem to enjoy their slow-paced, relaxed lifestyle.

Carnaval is a 40-day celebration.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

13 Reasons why you should go to Namibia

Namibia is a lovely country located on the south-west coast of Africa between South Africa, Angola, and Botswana. Unlike two of its neighbors, Namibia enjoys few political problems, a stable economy, and low crime rates. With a population of only 2.2 million, this sparsely-inhabited country has a scenic Atlantic coastline, impressive national parks, magnificent sand dunes, and great weather. Culturally diverse, Namibians collectively speak English, German, Afrikaans, Oshiwambo, Nama, Kavango, Portuguese, and more. If you're not yet convinced, here are 13 more reasons why you should go check it out:

Thursday, February 6, 2014

8 Great things to see in Botswana

Botswana has about 2 million people and 150,000 elephants. Seretse Khama Ian Khama, the president of this calm, landlocked country, is an avid conservationist and recently decided to ban hunting and promote eco-tourism. This fairly non-corrupt country also happens to have the largest diamond mine in the world, as well as the one of world's largest inland deltas, the Okavango. Here are 8 great things to see in Bots:

Friday, January 31, 2014

Travel by Land and Sea: Seat61, boat hitchhiking, and more

Every traveler appreciates the challenge of getting from point A to point B without flying in a plane. And unless you're going on an East African fly-in safari, there are some pretty good land and sea alternatives to traveling in the sky.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

How to survive a South African grocery store

‘Oh! I forgot to buy sugar!’ Kirsten exclaimed, and started turning back toward Pick n Pay.
‘No!’ I screamed, and quickly grabbed her arm to pull her away from the store. With a hard, serious stare, I said, ‘It’s too late. Let it go. I can’t go back there.’

While Cape Town is a lovely city in many regards, the grocery store shopping experience is frustrating enough to require a lifetime of therapy sessions. Well, not quite, but it’s pretty obnoxious.