j’taime quebéc cité

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Well, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and what could be a more romantic gesture than stealing away to the most European city in the North America?  It’s moody, dark and sexy.  And yes, it’s in Canada.  Quebéc City, the government seat of Québec, Canada, is a jewel upon a hill, its stately skyline looking out over the Saint Lawrence river.  It’s as close to being in a French village as you could possibly get, yet still retains its own Canadian charm.

poutine on the ritz

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clearly canadian: saint john

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I just realized as I am typing this that I went to two places called Saint John last year.  One in the Caribbean and one in Canada.  There’s a lot of places named after St. John the Baptist, a Jewish preacher, who was considered the forerunner to Jesus, as it is believed that he baptized Jesus.  I also did not know that.  You learn something new everyday.  You’ll actually learn a ton when you visit this bayside beauty because this is a city of museums, and I love a city of museums.

Saint John is a city on the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, and it is one of the oldest settlements in Canada.  A huge port city, it is also home to one of the foremost natural wonders of the world, reversing falls.  Everyone knows that rivers run to the sea right? Well sometimes they don’t, like in this case, the bay of Fundy waters flow backwards.

Sunday Fundy

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super bowl vice city

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south beach bringing the heat

I had every intention of writing a new blog post on Sunday to post today.  That did not happen as I spent the day devastated over the news of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death.   Kobe was one of my childhood idols, as a kid who grew up in Southern California, he was everything.  The greatest Laker to have ever played.  An icon who was more magic than Magic even.  Kobe Shaq early 2000s was the most dominating Little Big duo of all time, and I’ve had many great memories watching those games and championships.

We broke down all the games, bought the jerseys, reveled in the parades.  I always imagined Kobe as an elder NBA statesman, ushering in young talent of the league, he had seemed untouchable and invincible.  And the unexpectedness is maybe what hurts most, because he had so much ahead of him.  His daughter and the other victims as well.  It’s senseless, it’s so sad and it hurts.  RIP Kobe.

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Based on Kobe’s philosophy, the Mamba Mentality, he would’ve probably said well, life goes on, let’s get to the next stage.  And that stage happens this weekend in Miami at Super Bowl LIV.  And perhaps that’s what we should do, LIV it up because tomorrow is certainly not guaranteed for any of us.

Welcome to Miami…

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a tale of two afc championship cities

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What do Kansas City & Nashville have in common? Well, they are both cities in which I have lived, and they’re also home to the two teams that will face off in the AFC Championship game this weekend.  It’s very exciting (read: EXCITING OMG HOLY S).  I, of course, am rooting for the Chiefs, as I have been to far more Chiefs games than Titans games, but it would soften the blow of defeat if the Titans pulled off the upset.

I’ve written extensively about these two cities, KC here, here and, here and Nashville here and here (try to visit them in alternating years), and seriously, if you haven’t visited them, where have you been?  Both cities top travel lists of great American destinations, so what are you waiting for?

Chiefs x Titans, a battle for the ages, and a battle for my heart.

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into the hinterlands: Sa Pa, Vietnam

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Vietnam is a beautiful country with sprawling coastline, bustling cities and agrarian villages.  It’s a very popular destination amongst travelers for its hospitality, great food and historic value.  And while Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Halong Bay, and its venerable beach cities are probably the main draw, consideration should also be made for its Northern Highlands.

Sa Pa is a city in the northwest of Vietnam, very close to the China border.  Inhabited by indigenous tribes of Hmong, Tay and Dao, this area is surrounded by rolling green hills noted for their rice field terraces and petroglyphs.  It’s a photographer’s dream, and totally worth the arduous journey to get there.

Sa Pa away, doesn’t anyone stay in one place anymore?

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oh canada: p.e.i. showing some mussels

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Prince Edward Island, Canada is the smallest province in the great white north.  What it lacks in size, it makes up in character, history and abundance of amazing seafood.

That’s right, the home of P.E.I. mussels.  Sweet, tender, they’re a great little representative for this region of Canada.  The whole island is very charming and idyllic, with farms and vast greenery.  It is the very picture of rustic, pastoral tranquility with a sea salt mist.

put a little mussel into it

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the road not taken: vermont version

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Vermont, known for Ben & Jerry’s, the Green Mountains, Bernie Sanders, and so much more, is arguably the most beautiful state in the US to enjoy fall foliage (I will probably say this about each state I visited).

You may have noticed that I was gone for a few weeks (or maybe you didn’t and in that case, my feelings are hurt); I was on an epic cultural roadtrip through New England, and I definitely forgot to schedule posts (smort). But I’m back, baby, and ready to share some pictures of autumn with y’all.

Trust me, when you get older, you will be thrilled by simple notions such as leaves turning different colors.

nothing gold can stay

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Quintana Roo Crew

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Cozumel is one of the most famous Mexican island “balnearios” or seaside resort towns in the Caribbean sea.  Located just across the way from Playa del Carmen, it is a very convenient stop for cruise ships.  Another municipality in the state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan peninsula, it is famed for its snorkeling/scuba diving and shopping.  Once a bustling Mayan pilgrimage site to fertility, now tourists arrive in droves to sip on cervezas and eat tacos.

Sorry, that’s a bit reductive, but I think the rich history of this region is lost amongst the thick blanket of tourism that is now its main economy.  And I’m also a little salty that the main Cozumel museum was closed when I visited.  Saltier than the rim of a fresh marg.

Cozoom zoom…

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day tripping coral gables

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Coral Gables is the leafy suburb of Miami that will remind you of one thing: Golden Girls. Yes, this was the likely backdrop of Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia’s adventures in the beloved sitcom, although their exact location is never expressly stated.

All of the houses look like the house the four women shared, ranch style and marvelous with palms and monstera and banana leaves everywhere. But, Coral Gables is more than a very affluent suburb. It is where the University of Miami Hurricanes (the U) are located and surprisingly, a lot of cultural gems. It’s also the home of del Monte and Bacardi.

traveled down the road and back again…

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