So, this travel blog is extremely outdated. Strangely it’s amassed about as many followers since I’ve abandoned it as it had while I was actually in South America.
I have traveled since 2010, but mostly to far-flung weddings. No lawless rides through the Bolivian desert or surfing lessons in Ecuador or hikes through Colombian jungles and Peruvian mountains. Sadly. 
Out of everywhere I traveled in South America, I miss Rio the most. We spent a full month there—the longest time in any one city—and got to know some really wonderful people. I may or may not be plotting a return visit in 2016… 

So, this travel blog is extremely outdated. Strangely it’s amassed about as many followers since I’ve abandoned it as it had while I was actually in South America.

I have traveled since 2010, but mostly to far-flung weddings. No lawless rides through the Bolivian desert or surfing lessons in Ecuador or hikes through Colombian jungles and Peruvian mountains. Sadly. 

Out of everywhere I traveled in South America, I miss Rio the most. We spent a full month there—the longest time in any one city—and got to know some really wonderful people. I may or may not be plotting a return visit in 2016… 

D-I-V-O-R-C-E
Remember obelisks? Those weird all-condiment street snacks featuring cheese, caramel and jam?
Welllll.
They actually stem from a sit-down dessert called Divorce, which is a chunk of cheese, mixed with a pile of caramel, topped with some raspberry sauce. It sounds odd, but it was pretty damn amazing. You’d think you’d want to throw a neutral element in there, like bread or a cracker, but really you don’t. The saltiness from the cheese, sourness of the jam, and sweetness of the caramel (aka arequipa/dulce de leche) is perfecto.
I kinda wonder why it isn’t called Triple Marriage.

D-I-V-O-R-C-E

Remember obelisks? Those weird all-condiment street snacks featuring cheese, caramel and jam?

Welllll.

They actually stem from a sit-down dessert called Divorce, which is a chunk of cheese, mixed with a pile of caramel, topped with some raspberry sauce. It sounds odd, but it was pretty damn amazing. You’d think you’d want to throw a neutral element in there, like bread or a cracker, but really you don’t. The saltiness from the cheese, sourness of the jam, and sweetness of the caramel (aka arequipa/dulce de leche) is perfecto.

I kinda wonder why it isn’t called Triple Marriage.

View from Monserrate in Bogota. You basically take a funicular (one of those always-facing-upward train cars like Suzanne Somers has) way way way the F up onto a hill overlooking the city, where there’s a church.

A lot of cities in South America have random way-up-high, out-of-town religious sites with magnificent views like this (though Bogota’s is one of my favorites). We got to take it in at dusk. 

I think someone explained to me its because indigenous tribes, from a variety of old civilizations, liked to build places of worship very high up (to be closer to the gods in the sky? to avoid destruction in battle? Not sure.) But either way, when the Spanish came, they wanted to convert everyone to Catholicism, so they would usually destroy these points of worship and convert them to churches.

View from Monserrate in Bogota. You basically take a funicular (one of those always-facing-upward train cars like Suzanne Somers has) way way way the F up onto a hill overlooking the city, where there’s a church.

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A lot of cities in South America have random way-up-high, out-of-town religious sites with magnificent views like this (though Bogota’s is one of my favorites). We got to take it in at dusk. 

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I think someone explained to me its because indigenous tribes, from a variety of old civilizations, liked to build places of worship very high up (to be closer to the gods in the sky? to avoid destruction in battle? Not sure.) But either way, when the Spanish came, they wanted to convert everyone to Catholicism, so they would usually destroy these points of worship and convert them to churches.

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Colombian BBQ.
Pictured here we have a steak that was very tasty but a little tough in texture, a sausage that was like heaven in an intenstine, some potatoes covered in a sour sauce, the best arepas I have ever, ever tasted (they weren’t too sweet, they were a bit crispy on the outside, and they were slathered in salted butter, UGH SO GOOD), some guacamole, and I forget what was in that little sauce container. Mmmm.
For the record, as far as BBQs go, here is my official country-by-country ranking:
1. Argentina. Obviously.
2. Colombia. Yep, I said it.
3. Brazil. Delicious but also loaded with landmines, like questionable cuts of meat including tongues and random undesirable intenstines.
4. Ecuador (Because they used seafood)
5. Peru. Mas o menos. Tasty grilled chicken.
6. Bolivia. Stick to saltenas and freshwater fish, B.

Colombian BBQ.

Pictured here we have a steak that was very tasty but a little tough in texture, a sausage that was like heaven in an intenstine, some potatoes covered in a sour sauce, the best arepas I have ever, ever tasted (they weren’t too sweet, they were a bit crispy on the outside, and they were slathered in salted butter, UGH SO GOOD), some guacamole, and I forget what was in that little sauce container. Mmmm.

For the record, as far as BBQs go, here is my official country-by-country ranking:

1. Argentina. Obviously.

2. Colombia. Yep, I said it.

3. Brazil. Delicious but also loaded with landmines, like questionable cuts of meat including tongues and random undesirable intenstines.

4. Ecuador (Because they used seafood)

5. Peru. Mas o menos. Tasty grilled chicken.

6. Bolivia. Stick to saltenas and freshwater fish, B.

One of the biggest tourist attractions around Bogota is the Zipachira Catedral de Sal, or Salt Cathedral. It’s basically a giant—MASSIVE—church built until a salt mine. We took a bus over there, trekked through town and up a hill, and ended up underground for around five hours.

It was a full day, basically.

For some reason I was being a wimpy baby about climbing the staircase.
The Cathedral itself was epic and majestic. Everything was blue and shimmery from the salt. And also the neon mood lighting they had going.

Sometimes people get married down here. Which, I guess one pro would be the weather is definitely not an issue. One con would be YOU’RE IN A FREAKING MINE!

We watched a 3D movie and decided to take the special not-religious mining tour, where we got to wear helmets with little lights!

We also learned how to hack away at salt walls with pick axes; we peed our pants walking through a pitch black tunnel with our lights off. We didn’t understand the Spanish instructions but some kind strangers explained to us that any kind of light or high pitched noise (like a cell phone) could damage the tunnel (why do they have tunnels that are that precarious? I don’t get it.) So we had to feel our way through the darkest dark I’ve ever experienced. IIIIIII’m pretty sure I grabbed the hand of a stranger to get me through it.

One of the biggest tourist attractions around Bogota is the Zipachira Catedral de Sal, or Salt Cathedral. It’s basically a giant—MASSIVE—church built until a salt mine. We took a bus over there, trekked through town and up a hill, and ended up underground for around five hours.

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It was a full day, basically.

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For some reason I was being a wimpy baby about climbing the staircase.

The Cathedral itself was epic and majestic. Everything was blue and shimmery from the salt. And also the neon mood lighting they had going.

image

Sometimes people get married down here. Which, I guess one pro would be the weather is definitely not an issue. One con would be YOU’RE IN A FREAKING MINE!

image

We watched a 3D movie and decided to take the special not-religious mining tour, where we got to wear helmets with little lights!

image

We also learned how to hack away at salt walls with pick axes; we peed our pants walking through a pitch black tunnel with our lights off. We didn’t understand the Spanish instructions but some kind strangers explained to us that any kind of light or high pitched noise (like a cell phone) could damage the tunnel (why do they have tunnels that are that precarious? I don’t get it.) So we had to feel our way through the darkest dark I’ve ever experienced. IIIIIII’m pretty sure I grabbed the hand of a stranger to get me through it.

Bogota is known for its Museo del Oro, aka Gold Museum, and, well, there’s a lotta gold up in there. It’s in the building of an old bank, which would be impressive on its own if I didn’t go “behind the scenes” of a bank vault every weekend at the Brooklyn Flea, a BK flea market held at the beautiful and also phallic Williamsburg Bank Building near my apartment. Annnnyways.
We were fully expecting to encounter a Scrooge McDuck-style Gold room with a diving board over a bottomless pit of doubloons.

We were, perhaps needless to say, disappointed. (Also: I stand corrected—its not bottomless,” but in fact 90 feet deep.)
On another barely related sidenote, I cannot count the number of times, in my career as a private equity blogger, I have used the above image to illustrate a story. I would guess upwards of 15 times over 2 years. That is a LOT of Duck Tales references for a professional publication, and I just want to put it out there: I’m proud of that stat.
BACK TO THE GOLD.

So Colombians used gold for a lot of shit because they were rolling in it, and they would often dump a ton of it into the middle of lakes as an offering to Gods and also to honor earthen royalty. They also wore a tooooon of that shit to the grave. I think I remember reading that the Spanish kinda pillaged some dead bodies for it even. Which, imperialism. Yeesh.

Bogota is known for its Museo del Oro, aka Gold Museum, and, well, there’s a lotta gold up in there. It’s in the building of an old bank, which would be impressive on its own if I didn’t go “behind the scenes” of a bank vault every weekend at the Brooklyn Flea, a BK flea market held at the beautiful and also phallic Williamsburg Bank Building near my apartment. Annnnyways.

We were fully expecting to encounter a Scrooge McDuck-style Gold room with a diving board over a bottomless pit of doubloons.

image

We were, perhaps needless to say, disappointed. (Also: I stand corrected—its not bottomless,” but in fact 90 feet deep.)

On another barely related sidenote, I cannot count the number of times, in my career as a private equity blogger, I have used the above image to illustrate a story. I would guess upwards of 15 times over 2 years. That is a LOT of Duck Tales references for a professional publication, and I just want to put it out there: I’m proud of that stat.

BACK TO THE GOLD.

image

So Colombians used gold for a lot of shit because they were rolling in it, and they would often dump a ton of it into the middle of lakes as an offering to Gods and also to honor earthen royalty. They also wore a tooooon of that shit to the grave. I think I remember reading that the Spanish kinda pillaged some dead bodies for it even. Which, imperialism. Yeesh.

God I love you Bogota.

God I love you Bogota.

Mojito night at Destino Nomada in Bogota! Featuring Daniel^^

Gabi^

Mary^

Travis^

Erin^

and Lucy.
Yep. Hot.

Mojito night at Destino Nomada in Bogota! Featuring Daniel^^

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Gabi^

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Mary^

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Travis^

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Erin^

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and Lucy.

Yep. Hot.


Check out my latest story for Lost Girls: Dispatch from a Samba Tenderfoot. 

"Who invented this torturous, impossible beast of a movement? What kind of human being is able to move their hips at 3/4 time, or maybe even 6/8 time, and their feet at a 4/4 beat? It’s insane! Yet every Brazilian can somehow shake his or her beautiful body (seriously, they are all stacked), in perfect rhythm, without biting their lips in concentration, or furrowing their brows, or counting the beats in their heads the way I have to."

Check out my latest story for Lost Girls: Dispatch from a Samba Tenderfoot.

"Who invented this torturous, impossible beast of a movement? What kind of human being is able to move their hips at 3/4 time, or maybe even 6/8 time, and their feet at a 4/4 beat? It’s insane! Yet every Brazilian can somehow shake his or her beautiful body (seriously, they are all stacked), in perfect rhythm, without biting their lips in concentration, or furrowing their brows, or counting the beats in their heads the way I have to."


Does Mary Peffer look like a bitch? Then why you tryin’ to fuck her like one? 
One of the highlights of the end of our trip was a too-brief visit from our friend Mary! After three months of oft-aimless travel, Travis and I were refreshed when she showed up with a detailed spreadsheet of activities to do. It was a perfect flurry of activity and boost of motivation for Travis’ last stop and my last human interaction for basically a week.
We ate a ton, drank a mostly appropriate, not-obscene amount, and read Self magazine aloud at bedtime. (cRaZy I kNoW!!)

Does Mary Peffer look like a bitch? Then why you tryin’ to fuck her like one?

One of the highlights of the end of our trip was a too-brief visit from our friend Mary! After three months of oft-aimless travel, Travis and I were refreshed when she showed up with a detailed spreadsheet of activities to do. It was a perfect flurry of activity and boost of motivation for Travis’ last stop and my last human interaction for basically a week.

We ate a ton, drank a mostly appropriate, not-obscene amount, and read Self magazine aloud at bedtime. (cRaZy I kNoW!!)

Fiiiinally I have a few photos from Mary’s Bogota visit! Get ready!

Fiiiinally I have a few photos from Mary’s Bogota visit! Get ready!

My Second Huffpo article is up (Spoiler alert—> its a reworking of my previous post about packing):

Packing Lessons From South America

My Second Huffpo article is up (Spoiler alert—> its a reworking of my previous post about packing):

Packing Lessons From South America

nprfreshair:

Scenes From Havana

Want to go there!
I’m now a columnist for Lost Girls—check out my first post here:

4 Things I Didn’t Know About South American Bus Travel (But Wish I Had!)

I’m now a columnist for Lost Girls—check out my first post here:

4 Things I Didn’t Know About South American Bus Travel (But Wish I Had!)

La Sirenita

The fourth and final part of my North Colombian adventure: SCUBA DIVING!

After Cuidad Perdida and Tayrona back to back, all I wanted IN LIFE was a goddamn shower, some decent junk food, and a comfy bed with a hole-free, non-stinky mozzie net.  (Is that so much to ask?) 

So I went to tiny, dusty, sleepy Taganga, a beach town cut into a tiny mountainous inlet and just a 5km collectivo ride from grimy, loud Santa Marta. 

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I adored it there. For five days I barely spoke to a soul, and definitely never in English. I read, studied Spanish, slept, and subsisted on bread and weird fruit smoothies.

I stayed at possibly the nicest hostel I’ve seen and upgraded myself to an almost-private room (where I took a double bed and you better believe I slept starfish-style on that thing after 7 nights of hammocking it.) The only real structure in my life was my scuba classes, which I did in Tayrona Park with my instructor “Chopper” every morning. 

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Like I said before, scuba diving made me feel like The Little Mermaid, if she were wearing a Full Metal Jacket.  

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The diving kicked ass, and sorry for my lack of creativity, but yeah. It quite simply kicked ass. The only downside was I barely passed my test because apparently I can’t memorize the effects of depth on water pressure. So that’s a bit embarrassing? But whatever, I got my certification, and I got to chill with eels and schools of angelfish and jellyfish. Basically it inspired me to download The Little Mermaid and watch it again.

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****Notably, or perhaps, oddly, I was a Little Mermaid FREAK as a child. I promise both of my parents to this day know all the words to the entire soundtrack (even obscure hits like “Les Poissons” by Chef), thanks to my playing DJ nazi for pretty much every family car ride from the ages of 7 to 10. I also refused to take any sort of family portrait without my Ariel doll? What’s worse is my parents indulged my obsession by convincing the local Blockbuster to hand over their giant (like 7 feet tall, to 10-year-old me) Little Mermaid promotional display once they were finished with it. So, so not normal.