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Latin America

Latin America, Travel

I Felt Like Indiana Jones – Semester in Ecuador Part 1

I was infected by the travel bug as a junior in college on a study abroad program to Ecuador.  The adventure pushed me completely out of my comfort zone and caused me to challenge how and what I thought about the world.  I grew up somewhat spoiled as an only child enjoying comforts that most twenty-ones year olds didn’t know.  Below are exerts from the journal I kept as my conventions were…

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Latin America, Travel, Travel Tips

And Then We Were Robbed

I have travelled all over the world and have never been robbed.  We came out of Colombia unscathed and unmolested.  We survived Rome without a pick pocket.  We rode the subway in Munich drunker than we should have without a bother.  We managed almost getting stranded on a volcano in Costa Rica.  I made an emergency evacuation out of the Ecuadorian Amazon as the country was shutting down in national protests with all of…

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Latin America, Travel

On Vacations and Timing

For some reason, vacations always seem to fall when I most need them.  Regular followers of this blog may recall the hellish couple of months that led up to our sojourn to Italy – multiple family visits, my wife’s eye surgery, a bad car accident that totaled out our beloved Jetta Joan, the purchase of a new car, a cancellation notice from our auto insurance carrier, transitions at both of our jobs. …

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Latin America, Travel

The Art of Negotiating on the Side of an Active Volcano

So there I was standing on the side of an active volcano in the Rincon de al Vieja National Park in Costa Rica arguing with our driver over the cost of our excursion.  I was refusing to pay the full cost and he was refusing to drive us back to our hotel until I paid the exorbitant amount.  Held hostage with me was my wife, my mother and father-in-law, and my wife’s…

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Latin America, Travel

How to Survive the Zip Line Arenal Costa Rica

I zip-lined once before, and it was a terrible experience. I was in college and the School of Recreation (apparently one can actually major in recreation) was hosting a day to show off their new team building ropes course.  I shimmied to the top of the climbing wall eager to soar down on the zip line that ran the length of a football field.  I harnessed up and away I went.  …

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Latin America, Travel

Pura Vida in Playa Hermosa, Costa Rica

Pura Vida is that first morning walk along the beach and looking back to see my footprints imprinted in the virgin sand of morning. Pura Vida is getting slapped by the unexpected wave as the tide rolls in.     Pura Vida is sipping on a late morning beer with a good book in my hand and a view of the ocean for when my eyes get tired of reading. Pura Vida is…

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Eating, Food, Latin America, Travel

Fanesca – An Ecuadorian Easter Tradition

Growing up my family didn’t have an Easter tradition.  Instead, we either found ourselves in Mexico or the Caribbean or maybe even in Florida for Holy Week.  When we didn’t have a Spring Break vacation planned, we drove to visit my father’s family 2 hours away and went out to dinner for a meal that was less than desirable.  The kitchen staff obviously resented the fact that they had to work on…

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Latin America, Travel

Colombia – Final Thoughts

I feel like I copped out on Colombia, that I didn’t allow it it’s full potential.  All I saw was Cartagena and some outlying islands that were overrun with tourists.  There was no countryside, no village visits, I didn’t even make it to one of the other major cities like Bogota, Cali, or Medellin.  Why?  This is a brutally honest answer here – it was out of fear.  I went with rebellious…

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Eating, Food, Latin America, Travel

Colombia –The Food…Not What I was Expecting.

My father-in-law has the same reaction after every meal we eat out: “It wasn’t what I was expecting.”  This response always begs me to ask the question when he orders, “Ed, what are you expecting this time?”  But this is a different topic for a different entry.  However, I had this same reaction to the food in Colombia – It wasn’t what I was expecting. Well, what was I expecting then?  No,…

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Latin America, Travel

Colombia – Initial Impressions

Should we have been paranoid or scared?  Let me set the scene.  It’s hot.  We’re talking sticky hot.   Sweating through my shirt in seconds hot.  The tarmac in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia.  We were standing in line outside closed doors to the airport (and air conditioning) waiting for customs and immigration.  A brief look around and I realized we were two of four Americans on our flight from Miami.  All eyes were…

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