If you took Austin, shrunk it, surrounded it with lush greenery, put a snow-capped mountain in the backdrop, added convenient public transportation, added light rain, and threw in a beautiful beach just outside the city which required a scenic drive to get to, you’d get Portland. It had that laid-back weird eccentric vibe, much like Austin, but with more liberals and fewer guns.
Underground pools of fresh, clear, cold water. Stalactites and stalagmites. Fish.
It’s quite another experience swimming in a cenote. It’s recommended during the hottest and sunniest hours of the day though, because the sunlight that penetrates the holes in the roof is the only element warming up the waters.
The caviar of the Aztec empire.
That’s what they’re calling “escamoles” or ant larvae. Cooked in a buttery sauce and priced the same as actual caviar (not that I would know), escamoles is a delicacy that one has to hunt around a little bit for around Mexico City. Or visit one of the restaurants listed on Lonely Planet.
Frida Kahlo. She of the unibrow and colorful dresses. Although I recognized her name and have seen multiple pictures of her work, usually self-portraits complete with unibrow and colorful dresses, I never actually paid close attention to who she was and why she was such a big deal. They even made a movie about her, starring Salma Hayek.
A blue-walled museum dedicated to her located in the cozy neighborhood of Coyoacan opened my eyes. This museum was formerly the home of Kahlo’s and her husband, famed Mexican muralist Diego Rivera. I dislike large museums because I lose interest about an hour in and realize I only covered 25% of it. But the Frida Kahlo museum was just the perfect size. After all, it was a home, albeit a large one with plenty of rooms, halls, and a massive backyard, perfect for any creatives who need space, fresh air, and solitude.
So what’s the big deal about this museum visit and why am I writing about it?
Them: “Yes, can I help you?”
Me: “Uh yes…can I get combo #1 please… Merci.”
I wanted to impress the locals with my rudimentary command of French but in the end, nobody had time to entertain a tourist. They just want to do their jobs and get on with life. Fair enough. Unless I was planning on going out of the city, I don’t think knowing French is really needed. The Québécois are still Canadian and they need to know how to converse with their fellow Canadians from non-Quebec regions.
What’s there to do in Montreal and Quebec City (QC)? Walk around. Take the subways. Ride a bike everywhere. Eat.
Up until this point, my blog has always been about my long-term trips (2010-2011 RTW and 2014 South America) but I plan on writing about places that I visited the last few years and really enjoyed but never got a chance to highlight. Forgive me as I write from memory.
Flashback to January 2013. I attended a meeting in Tampa and thought to myself that it would be nice to take a holiday somewhere in Florida. Browsing Googlemaps, I saw that the Caribbean was nearby, so I figured I’d check out a country there. I remember that most flights to the Bahamas was expensive and that I was surprised to find a $160 round trip (from Tampa) ticket to Puerto Rico. I figured it was because they are a territory of the USA and plenty of flights went to and from there.