I’m an Expat, and I’m the “…” Guy

San Telmo, Buenos Aires, ArgentinaWith more and more people traveling and itching to taste life in faraway countries, expat communities all over the world are growing rapidly. And with it, a booming industry of entrepreneurs making their livelihood off finding a niche, something missing that out-of-towners crave. My very first night in Buenos Aires, my friends Cathy and Ayngelina told me about all of the small businesses owned by expats there, people who became known as the “this” guy or the “that” guy. Personally, I thought that the woman who started making tortillas was pretty genius… But on my last day in Argentina, I had the pleasure of meeting the “salsa king,” or at least that’s what certain expats call him. When my travel buddy Kirsten came back from the San Telmo fair with word she’d met the guy who made hot sauce, I of course set out to go meet him. “Him” turned out to be “them,” Mark and Kevin, Ya Ya Bean, two friends from Washington, D.C. who had decided they missed spicy foods. I tried their salsa, and I have to say that I’d be proud to take it home to Albuquerque, where people can be quite snobby about their salsa. The business partners started La Boca Roja after traveling to Patagonia to live and work on an organic farm. Next time you’re strolling through San Telmo on a Sunday, stop by and say hello. (They also deliver locally.) They couldn’t be friendlier!

One Trip, Four Hotels

Buenos Aires, ArgentinaSome people think it’s a pain to move hotels once you get settled into a new city, but I pack really light and like seeing different neighborhoods. On my recent trip to Argentina, I stayed in four Buenos Aires hotels in two weeks. Scoring a discount for being a “lonely” traveler (I have to assume they meant “solo”) was just one of the highlights.

La Recoleta

My first stay ended up being cut short, since we arrived in Argentina a day later than expected. I don’t have much to stay about my first hotel, the Dazzler Libertad, in the La Recoleta neighborhood, but it was great to have a room reserved so I could throw my bags down after such a long trip and pass out. Continue Reading »»

When a Layover Goes Bad

As far as I’m concerned, my trip’s adventure begins the second I arrive at the airport. There’s just something about being in a bustling airport, especially in Las Vegas with its rows of (usually occupied no matter the time of day) slot machines, that makes me feel like anything is possible. And hey, it usually is. But sometimes, you end up spending a bit more time in transit than you’d like. After years and years of tears and calls to Mom and lost luggage and who knows what else, I’ve accepted that when you travel as much as I do, these things happen.

So when my Buenos Aires travel buddy, Kirsten, (this is us in Argentina after a good night’s rest) and I got stuck with a whopping 24 hours in the Atlanta airport, we took it in stride.

Hey, we hadn’t seen each other in a few months, so anything we did would’ve been fun. And what’s not to love about a surprise stay at the local Comfort Inn? Argentina could wait!

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South Beach with the girls

Set, South Beach, MiamiI have to admit, when my girls started diving into the planning of my friend Alicia’s bachelorette party in Miami, my first thought was, “Oh. We haven’t out-grown these yet?” But as usual, my friends (LEFT: Lori, Angela — Alicia’s sister, Jessica, Alicia — in back –, Shannon, me Darcy) were right: the weekend was a must. All of us had a blast, it was good to get away, and us girls needed some quality time together. We were going to be South Beach girls once again!

I lived in Florida much longer than I lived anywhere else, five years of that in Orlando (I met Alicia on the bus on the first day of sixth grade – how nice of her to let the terrified new girl sit next to her?), and then I went to University of Miami with most of this group of girls – the reason for the big South Beach reunion. As soon as the heavy humidity whacked me in the face after stepping off the plane, I knew I was home.

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My favorite photos: “best of” Costa Rica!

I spent an entire year in Costa Rica, so it’s almost impossible for a sentimental sack like myself to choose favorite photos. For me, the “best” pictures are the ones that remind me of the good times we had. I miss my friends. I hope you fall for everyone just like I did… For starters, here are the guilas (kids). They’re a cheeky bunch and jumped in the pool the second after I took this photo so I wouldn’t take any more.

 

Pura vida!

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My favorite photos of 2010: “best of” my travels

Although I spent most of my year or so abroad living as an expat in Costa Rica, I did squeeze in a few trips. I’ve included photos from my favorite ones here. (Admittedly, I cheated and included a few pics from 2009. I didn’t have a blog then, ok?) In my efforts to get more comfortable with giving my (not technically advanced) photos more attention, here are my favorite travel photos of the year. While I did include a few sweeping beach shots (I couldn’t help myself), I was more interested in images I took that were meaningful to my particular trip. For example, Jorge here became our guide in Granada, Nicaragua. When we invited him to breakfast, he ran to the bathroom to wet and slick back his hair. It was so endearing!

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