Saturday, February 07, 2009

Here's that Link to my Gallery

Cartagena by iPhone gallery is here.

Eating through Cartagena de Indias

OK, so, yes, it has been quite a long time since the blog has been updated. In the next few weeks, I'll be back blogging in full force. I promise to put up more regular updates; twice a year and a whole blog filled with thoughts on Siena, Italian in Italy, etc. just isn't cutting it with my AdWords! I really wish that I could say that the book deal was keeping me up nights, but there really were no excuses, and, well, no book deal either. At least not yet.

Back to the task at hand though, I'm currently in Cartagena de Indias. I have to use the full name to avoid any confusion with Cartagena, Spain, but it's probably better just to say that I'm in Cartagena, Colombia, South America. I'm pretty excited about being here because once I get back from this trip, I will be able to cross off another continent from my list. This means that only two remain: Africa (this will likely get rememdied this year) and then Antarctica, which I'm not totally sure exactly when that will get crossed off the list. I haven't checked Travelocity yet for any last minute or "totally planned out" deals yet. Maybe I can use my Westin points? The Heavenly Shower in Anarctica sounds pretty great. I wonder if JetBlue or American Airlines would consider adding it to their routes?

Before leaving for this trip, I can't tell you the number of people that joked about it. All kinds of jokes about, well, probably shouldn't repeat them. Suffice it to say, these folks haven't seen the Travel Channel lately, or they have and forgot about all the episodes (I do that sometimes too, perhaps it's time for Ginko treatments...?). First off, the country is a lot safer than it used to be. Yes, there was at one time about five or six years ago, a lot of violence and crime. It's been cleaned up significantly from those days. It isn't the safest city in the world, but it's possible to enjoy the beautiful sights, incredible food, and distinct culture of a country that produces amazing coffee and gave us Shakira. Of course, you can't act stupidly; otherwise, well, you will get what you are asking for.

Speaking of that culture, it's pretty interesting and quite distinct. The people here have ethnic influences from the native Indian cultures, Spanish, African, French, English. It's an interesting Caribbean mix of cultures. This, in turn, influences the cuisine found here. In particular, I'm talking about Cartagena. I'm eating my way through the country so far and trying just about everything in sight. I'm also doing my best to document the experience and posting pictures to my Cartagena by iPhone gallery. I'll post the link soon. In the meantime, if you are my Facebook friend, you will see all my uploads there.

Have to get to bed right now (it's now 1 AM), but will post again very soon with more updates. By the way, this city is like one big non-stop party but not in the American party sense; it's more like a bunch of people hanging out and having fun (not drunk). I'm writing while my neighbors are totally rocking out to some Caribbean/Colombian music...

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Different Voyage Altogether

Most people might already know that I’ve had a change of plans, but for those that don’t, I am here in the Bay Area (NorCal). It’s far off from Italy but as someone told me recently; Italy and its treasures have been around for thousands of years. In that same conversation, we decided that the Pantheon had been standing for a few thousand years and that it would probably still be there whenever it is that I get back (although I am hoping/praying that the golden arch eyesore won’t be...). My grandma had a sudden illness and is in the hospital. Unfortunately, the prognosis is not good; in fact, it couldn’t be more opposite. I’m sitting here at her bedside in the hospital and I’m recalling a conversation that I had with my good friend Alex last night. I’m also going to call her Mama because that’s what my sister and I have called her for a very long time. Our friends, Mama’s extended grandchildren, and even some of her close friends have all somehow adopted this nickname for her as well. So, it’s a completely different trip altogether...

I am told that it is good to recall positive thoughts in these times of crises. I have never taken psychology nor any classes on it for that matter and I have no idea if it helps you or not (at least from a clinical perspective). What I do know is that this exercise conjures up a flood of emotions for me and I do feel better after laughing and crying it up for a few. My other friend (and to be honest, that word isn’t adequate) Holly has been up here with me these past few days and I recalled some of the highlights to her of Mama and me together.

One of the oldest memories was riding the San Francisco streetcars (which the city got rid of and then brought back and perhaps gotten rid of again...?). I was sitting in my Mama’s lap in the window seat and a lady sat down next to us. Her city coat fell straight onto my lap and I was definitely bothered by it (this could be why I hated having things at my feet in the car for a long time). So, Mama whispered a few words out to me in Tagalog about moving that lady’s coat off of me and I decided to take her advice. I waited a few moments and I don’t remember why I waited but maybe I understood that I didn’t want it to look too suspicious. At the right moment, that lady’s coat didn’t just come off of me, I practically threw it in the air with a force so violent that it definitely startled the oblivious woman sitting in the seat next to us. Realizing her error, Ms. Oblivious apologized profusely to us and Mama smiled it off.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Back to Italy

I will be headed back to Italy on May 5th and will stay for one month. I will have classes until the 31st and then I was thinking of visiting my cousin if she will have me. I have threatened her enough with my visit over the years that I should probably make good on it.

Friday, April 18, 2008

People are friendly today

I checked in the mirror this morning and I am pretty sure that I didn't have a sign on my forehead that says, "Say Hi to me and get a $1." Strange, but when I walked to the store and Starbucks today, everybody and their brother was saying Hi to me. Must be the fresh new clothes. I'll have to remember to select this same dryer scent.