It was one of those casual where ya from, where ya going, where ya staying conversations, on the bus from Antigua, Guatemala to San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico - a typical backpacker route catering more to gringos than locals. A youngster in dreadlocks asked me if we knew 'somewhere to crash' in San Cristobal. I answered- "Well no, we’re getting off in Quetzaltenango." "O yeah? What’s there?" "Uhhm", I faltered, "it’s the second largest city in Guatemala, so 200'000+
After Food, Coffee!
It probably never came out clearly, (we hardly ever get around to food pics, *ahem*) that food is an actual driving force behind our exploration of the world. Remember our quest to find Flower Hmong flower rice, or our chocolate fling? Food clues us in to places and to the people who live there: Recent Mexican markets flaunted plump chili peppers of every size and shape, and every juicy form of taco you'll ever want to eat Other markets we've visited have been
The Eagle and the Serpent
Mexico! Its dreamers.... and dancers.... Its preachers.... and peddlers.... The nachos! And nature..... Yes, even its wheelers and dealers effortlessly disarmed us- and entirely charmed us! The dark side of the (not so) United Mexican States, the stark narrative we kept hearing, of a murderous alternate reality somewhere in the country, mostly felt unreal.... Sunny hues and even sunnier smiles cushioned us from harsh truths and pushed old apprehensions ever further from our minds. Once in a while, when headlines blared another mass killing or a new, record-breaking murder tally, we'd confront someone - a philosophical barista or
Bent to Fly*
In spring 2016 we wore life like a pretty daisy chain and all nature was a colorful soothing Portuguese cocoon for our Making-a-Home-in-Portugal (mis-)adventures. But in the summer, the daisy chain tore and the cocoon cracked. And come fall, our family faced a new, bitter reality: On October 21st 2016 my "little" brother Hans, who had fought chronic heart failure for five years, lost his valiant summer-long battle for health- and life. Death is relentless absence..... we who stay surrender to letting go, and put our
Amor à Primeira Vista
I was planning a post called Chasing Spring It would have been a, retrospectively, funny story about us sleeping in the car in a snow storm and shivering our way through France and Spain to Portugal, where the shivers continued and were probably the worst we've every experienced. Because most Portuguese don't believe in central heating. (Can't afford heating? Think any kind of heating is wimpy and not worth the trouble for, uuuh, just three short months? Or four- or five??). Whatever. Even a week feels too long, when you're
Stuffed to the brim with all things travel- Joy and frustration and fascination, and with no room for more, we left Thailand for one of our favorite places of all, home to family and friends, to regroup- and mainly, re-pack! Gladly, we came for the company, not the weather, (Switzerland shock froze us with a 30°C temperature drop....) For all the ambivalent press Thailand has been getting, and for all we’ve learned about the culture behind the perennial “show a smile- any smile” front, (thanks Elio d.C.
Becoming a Stayer
It was just idle Sunday evening curiosity that attracted me to an article called Going Nowhere: Ten tips for expat Stayers who want to stay well. It's probably one of those boring listicles bloggers use to pad their pages, I said to M. But it was a bombshell! All the faint warning bells, the unsettling thoughts, the disturbing reserve we'd been feeling this time around in SE Asia, were brought into sharp focus by the article: What it takes to stay- to stay well- somewhere on the planet, away
Vietnam and the Benefit of Doubt
It took a heck of a lot of coffee time -and strong spirits (in every sense of the word haha) to find the love for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. But we did it. We fine-tuned our attitude, learned to navigate the impossible waves of completely lawless traffic and to turn a blind eye to unrelenting touts and sneaky scammers We savoured the novelty beauty and deliciousness Vietnam had to offer, and came to terms with its sometimes confusing or disappointing, and erstwhile tragic aspects The Flower Hmong, Black Hmong, Giay, Dao, Nung- magical names,