Argentina’s weird and wonderful world of yerba mate

If you want to make an Argentine laugh, tell him that mate is a sparkling, berry-flavored energy drink that comes in a yellow can. Yeah, you know that brand I’m talking about. In Argentina, where mate (pronounced “mah-tay”) is the best part of waking up, the beverage stays true to its original form: a hot, bitter, caffeinated herbal soup prepared inside a little hollowed out … Continue reading Argentina’s weird and wonderful world of yerba mate

Hanging out (and drinking and eating) in France’s Medoc wine region

Armelle Cruse and Martine Cazeneuve are two women from the famous Médoc wine region of Bordeaux in France who believe that it’s time for Bordeaux’s ancient châteaux and cellar doors be flung wide open to tourists. Part of a small women’s wine tourism group known as Les Médocaines, Armelle is a born and bred Bordeaux babe. One of five daughters who live in the family’s … Continue reading Hanging out (and drinking and eating) in France’s Medoc wine region

Squid on a Stick & Monkey Islands: 9 Tips For Your First Visit to Thailand

Heading to Thailand for the first time and need some ideas? After spending time in Chiang Mai, Bangkok and the beach town of Pranburi, I’ve got some tips to share with you. But the most important advice: EAT! Eat as much of the street food as you can physically manage, walk around for 15 minutes and then go eat MORE. Don’t worry, you can’t get … Continue reading Squid on a Stick & Monkey Islands: 9 Tips For Your First Visit to Thailand

7 Instant Ideas for Weekend Adventure

I still maintain that it takes a lot less money than you might imagine to hop around the world, but what it definitely does take is TIME. So when you don’t have that slippery commodity of time to lounge about on the beaches of Brazil or ride horses in Portugal, when you’ve got only the weekend to play with, what CAN you do to satiate … Continue reading 7 Instant Ideas for Weekend Adventure

Beyond Dubai’s Glitz and Glamour

“It’s a desert with two big malls in it. You won’t like it.” Before visiting, my impression of Dubai was based only on these comments from a couple friends who had already been there. Once I arrived, I realized that the city does a damn good job to erase the idea that you’re really just in the middle of the desert. Still, that fact had … Continue reading Beyond Dubai’s Glitz and Glamour

Alive in Lisbon: Sounds of Alfama

The first day it was already night when I arrived at my apartment in Alfama, suitcase wheels attacking dark cobblestone alleys like unbalanced bombs. They wanted me to surrender, I had already given away too much. Why keep moving? Counterforce children are throwing their own, and my leg is hit by a water balloon explosion. My desire limps toward the home hidden in this neighborhood, … Continue reading Alive in Lisbon: Sounds of Alfama

Memories of Ukraine

Today, in honor of Ukraine’s Independence Day, I’m taking a look back on a trip to Ukraine in the summer of 1999…. The drive from Borispol airport to Tyotya (aunt) Clara’s apartment deep inside Kiev–in the same building where my mother had grown up–was speedy. This was thanks to our driver, who traveled well over the speed limit. Somehow, we were comfortable on this cramped … Continue reading Memories of Ukraine