The hits keep coming, don’t they? While the world was reeling from the COVID-19 effects, my beloved former home of Nashville suffered one of the most devastating tornadoes in recent past. Fortunately for me, my friends and colleagues are okay, but there are so many people who were not as lucky. The scenes of the utter destruction, splintered buildings, razed businesses that were once so lively and vital to this town are heartbreaking.
If there’s something I know about the city of Nashville, it’s that it is resilient. When I moved there in 2014, they had near completely recouped from the horrible floods in 2010. I know the community will come together and rebuild and be back better than ever. If you can, consider donating to cmft.org.
Until then, I believe in you Nashville, and here’s my little love letter to you
there is a house in new orleans, they call the rising sun
Well now that the Super Bowl has been won by Kansas City (GO CHIEFS), we can all move on with our lives, and move onto the next party. This is Mardi Gras of course!
Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday is February 25 this year. This is the Carnival celebration that starts after Three Kings Day and ends the day before Ash Wednesday. For us non-Christians, this day refers to eating rich, fatty foods before Lent fasting begins. No one throws a party like the Crescent City, and this bonanza of a holiday is the grandest boum of them all. No one throws a soiree like New Orleans.
Laissez les bon temps rouler…
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.
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…
Happy New Year! I did not get to post last week because I was out of the country and I definitely locked myself out of the account because of deleting cookies and not trusting public wifi (travel tip: you shouldn’t). But I’m back and ready to go! I’m not a big resolutions person (other than drink more water which never happens, coffee is just so much better), but my goals always involve wanting to travel to new places. I have a few places and experiences on the horizon for 2020, and hopefully you do, too!
And at least I’m one state closer to reaching my 50 states visited now that I’ve been to beautiful Maine. I was able to road trip from Boston and enjoy a crisp, autumn day with the wind whipping my hair, pretending that I was in a moody novel from the 1800s.
maine line some lobsters with me…
Love a good pun. Pronounced hway (not really exactly right don’t @ me) not hugh like the color or Grant, this very proud city was the former Imperial capital of Vietnam until the end of the Nguyen dynasty in 1945. I’m sure you’re familiar with what happened next. Vietnam has three regions, and this is the largest city in the central region (see previous posts on Hanoi and Saigon/HCM).
Hue was the stop after Hoi An, my favorite on the Vietnam itinerary, and I think I would have enjoyed it more had I NOT GOTTEN SICK on the way there. I made a rookie travel mistake that you will read all about after the jump. Hot tip: don’t drink foreign beverages.
right hue, wrong hue
south beach bringing the heat
I may be the only person who goes to Miami for the architecture. Context: Miami is not my favorite place. I don’t enjoy nightlife (I am a million years old), scantily clad people (I will never own or wear a body stocking, no one wants to see this) or loudness (both in sounds and personalities). I get you, Miami, but you’re not always my type. When you’re still, you’re lovely, but you can get crazy so fast. Too temperamental.
I think when you’re young and you go there, it’s a lot of pressure to go out and party, but you know what? In your 30s, you no longer give AF. And that, my friends, is growing up.
Welcome to Miami…
THE AFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME IS GOING TO BE PLAYED AT ARROWHEAD! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!
For the first time EVER, Kansas City hosts the AFC Championship game on Sunday and I am STOKED to say the least. It’s gonna be hella cold, but I know Chiefs Kingdom is going to show up. Unfortunately, I’ll be watching from Vegas (poor me, right?) but for those who are visiting KC, welcome to the loudest stadium in the NFL!
If you’ve read this blog, you may know that I lived in Kansas City just shy of a dozen years (and write about my visits) and I LOVE coming back. It will forever be my second home, and the Midwest is very dear to my heart. The trips have become fewer and far between as I am now an Adult (capital A) with a “job,” but recently I had the chance to go back for a little bit of work and a lot of play.
The changes that have occurred in this city since I left 4 years ago are astounding and numerous, and I guess in some ways I am lucky all of these cool, trendy places weren’t around when I was living there, or else I’d be broke and/or very large. I’m even luckier that many of my pals still reside here, and I get personal tours every time I return.
I visited some old favorites and found some new ones, and of course, got to spend time with people I love…which is the best reason to travel.
Going back to Kansas City!
In the words of the great Jose Feliciano, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas from the bottom of my heart! Feliz Navidad is one of the all time great Christmas songs, and Mexico is one of the all time great travel destinations. The culture, food, history, people– everything about this country is amazing.
La Ciudad de Mexico (CDMX) is one of the foremost cosmopolitan areas of the world, with bustling energy, a lively arts and fashion scene, inventive and traditional food culture, and architectural gems galore. There are well preserved alhambras and monuments reminiscent of the grand plazas of Europe amongst a sea of modern skyscrapers and high rise hotels.
Fun fact: I won the Spanish language award my senior year in high school. Another fun fact: my Spanish is terrible. Like muy terible. I have the worst American accent when I attempt to speak, but I do try, y es la intencion es lo que cuenta? Un poquito (read: oohn poke-ee-toe)? En acualmente, escribo mejor que hablar, que lastima! Lo siento, yo se mi espanol no es bueno, pero me humor por favor.
Nota: Todas las photografias en esta blog post son cortesia de mi hermana.
CDMX is having a real moment right now, so brush off your Paso a Paso book from high school…vamos a Mexico! HOLA y Bienvenidos a Mexico!
Happy Lebron-starts-for-the-Lakers Day everyone! A momentous day, hopefully an auspicious one. There’s been a drought not only in Southern California’s water reserves, but in winning seasons for our Showtime squad and that just will not do. We were obviously spoiled by the Kobe era.
And if that weren’t enough, the Dodgers play the Brewers tomorrow to win the NL pennant race! Because everyone loves October baseball…let’s continue the series of NLCS/ALCS cities with LA! We goin’ back to Cali, Cali, Cali…
Vietnam is one of the most popular places in the world to travel, probably because it has everything: culture, art, delicious food, natural beauty, miles upon miles of beaches, history, welcoming people, hospitality and above all else, affordability. You can live like a king on a moderate budget, every dollar goes super far here, while not sacrificing quality.
When traveling to Vietnam, you’re going to want to traverse the entire country, as there are unique landscapes, disparate culture and people throughout. Even though it’s a smallish country, citizens from each region are very proud of their own distinct communities, from food to style and everything in between. Just don’t get into a debate about who invented pho…there’s no winning with that one (it was the northerners ;).
The south of Vietnam is a great place to start. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is the country’s largest city by population. The history of this city is rich, from its origin after Vietnamese conquered Khmer area, to the capital of French colonial rule to the then doomed epicenter of the Republic of Vietnam. Because of the timeline of all sorts of different influences, the city is a mishmash of architectural styles.
Above all else, this is probably the epicenter of the future of Vietnam, with skyscrapers sprouting up everywhere and a population that is projected to be near 15 million in the next few years. Not as cramped as Hanoi, this area is certainly still very crowded with motorbikes and people teeming into the streets every which way…and it’s ever changing.
blink and you’ll miss saigon