No One Told the Bakeries

Communism had fallen, but no one told the bakeries. It was the early, hopeful years of Yeltsin (before he devolved into a bloated drunk) and the news agencies were reporting that Russia was flowering, backed by B-roll footage of the first McDonalds near Red Square. I was 21, my first passport stiff in my money…

Worst-Case Scenarios

In honor of the one(ish) year anniversary of Eric’s free-diving accident, here is the full(er) story. I am in a taxi on my way to Hospital Mar Caribe.  It took longer than usual to find a taxi because it’s Good Friday, which appears to be a shut-the-city-down kind of holiday in Colombia.  The beaches have…

Red Flags and Inertia

I did something incredibly brave.  And terrifying.  I submitted a piece I (re-)wrote to So Say We All, and it was chosen and last night I stood up in front of a huge crowd of people and read it out loud to them.  And I didn’t throw up or anything. What was most interesting is how…

The Quest for Culinary Diversity: Island, City, Mountains

The food in Santa Marta is delicious: fresh, accessible, flavorful.  But it’s also a bit monotonous, an endless parade of fried fish, grilled chicken, patacon [plantain pancake] and arroz con coco [coconut rice, which locals in their charming, final-syllable-swallowing accent call arro-co-co].  Of course the universe of fruits is vast, with mangoes, papayas, avocados, lulos, guanabana, guayaba and coconuts,…