Absence Makes the Heart Grow Delusional

This morning, as I brushed my teeth (water-free since the tap water isn’t safe) in the house where we are staying in rural Peru, I watched the neighbor plow his backyard with a pair of oxen.  This sounds like a romantic view — and four months ago it would have been — but it prompted…

Cue the Llamas: The Inca Trail

The Inca Trail is not for wimps.  Forty-four kilometers long — that’s a marathon — it begins at 8650 feet, climbs over two 13,000-foot-plus passes and arrives four days later in Machu Picchu.  And those Incas didn’t do switchbacks.  No, those bad-ass mo-fos saw a cliff face and said, “You know what sounds fun?  Let’s build…

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,…

Tidbits of Everyday Colombian Life

Sometimes, it isn’t the famous sites or grand adventures that highlight the differences in culture, but the little, everyday things.  Here is a loosely curated list of what’s different in Colombia.  Some good or fun ideas, some not-so-good, and some that continue — even after almost five months — to completely baffle us… We could learn from this!…