On the merits of spontaneity, especially while traveling during COVID. 

As of just 48 hours prior to landing here in Phnom Penh, we were still unsure whether we would be going to Cambodia or Egypt next. Today we need to figure out how we will get to Sen Mororum tomorrow for our 4 days of volunteering with the Elephant Valley Project. We haven’t yet bookedContinue reading “On the merits of spontaneity, especially while traveling during COVID. “

In Search Of: Cash in Argentina

Argentina has stunning natural beauty, stylish people, excellent Malbec and delicious ice cream in abundance. What they lack is smart monetary policy, at least from a tourist’s perspective.1 Before leaving for Southeast Asia this morning, James and I decided to visit the ATM for more U.S. dollars cash, just in case, because we are nowContinue reading “In Search Of: Cash in Argentina”

Salsa de Aji Amarillo or Peruvian Yellow Pepper Sauce by Martin at Chifa La Familia Feliz in La Fortuna, Costa Rica

One of the best dinners we had in Costa Rica was at a Chinese-Peruvian restaurant in the mountain town of LaFortuna. Chinese-Peruvian food (aka “chifa”) was fusion cuisine way before “fusion cuisine” was even a phrase, and was enthusiastically described by many folks we met across South America as a culinary highlight. The Peruvian YellowContinue reading “Salsa de Aji Amarillo or Peruvian Yellow Pepper Sauce by Martin at Chifa La Familia Feliz in La Fortuna, Costa Rica”

Desayuno de Quinoa by Marta in Urcos, Peru

We tried to cram too many activities into too few days in Peru, and so we didn’t always have time to buy breakfast or eat breakfast before some of our tours. Thankfully, our drivers always knew the best places to stop. Our favorite go-to to-go breakfast was a drinkable quinoa porridge – warm, filling andContinue reading “Desayuno de Quinoa by Marta in Urcos, Peru”

Mixed seafood ceviche by Bismarck at Black Marlin, Barco Quebrado, Costa Rica

One of our favorite memories from Costa Rica involved beer, dancing and ceviche at Black Marlin, a little open-air restaurant halfway between Playa Garza (where we spent our first 3 weeks with our host family) and Samara (where we spent the subsequent 3 months in a rental apartment). Bismarck, the chef/owner, is known locally forContinue reading “Mixed seafood ceviche by Bismarck at Black Marlin, Barco Quebrado, Costa Rica”

Ceviche by Alice (Playa Garza, Costa Rica)

Alice was our “Mama Tica” when we first arrived in Costa Rica. She took great care of us, cooking us a hearty breakfast every morning and then a delicious dinner. (She also did our laundry!) Playa Garza is the base for the local fisherman, and Alice’s husband of 30+ years, Alexis, is the local fishmongerContinue reading “Ceviche by Alice (Playa Garza, Costa Rica)”

Aprendiendo español – Part 2

My Spanish is now better than my Chinese. Sorry, Mom.  I had many years of mandatory weekend Chinese school throughout my childhood as well as 6 weeks of intensive Mandarin language classes in Taiwan when I was in my 20s, but after just five weeks of intensive Spanish classes in Costa Rica (4 hours perContinue reading “Aprendiendo español – Part 2”

I’m stuck in a black hole of travel planning

The last few weeks have been a carpal-tunnel-inducing blur of Momodo, Airbnb, Kiwi, SmartFares, Booking, TripAdvisor, random travel blogs, Sherpa, Google translate, email, various countries’ U.S. embassy websites and departments of foreign affairs. Getting denied from entry to Chile meant needing to rework our entire itinerary for the next month. So while the kids relaxedContinue reading “I’m stuck in a black hole of travel planning”

Fresh corn tortillas by Giselle (Samara, Costa Rica)

Just-cooked corn tortillas hot from the pan are exponentially more delicious than store-bought ones. Giselle is the cook at the local public high school, where she cooks a lunch from scratch for 80-100 students every day. Corbin says that the lunch is always delicious. If he has a free period, he sometimes goes to theContinue reading “Fresh corn tortillas by Giselle (Samara, Costa Rica)”

Aprendiendo español

For me, one of the luxuries of this time is the opportunity to learn Spanish. I’ve now taken 6 weeks of intensive Spanish (4 hours per day), supplemented with apps, videos and podcasts. And I’ve tried to use my limited but slowly growing vocabulary with any ticos (local Costa Ricans) I meet. (This is actuallyContinue reading “Aprendiendo español”