Reflections

Stylish Histories

Taipei, Taiwan   On a work trip to Amsterdam I found a book, Amsterdam, A History of the World’s Most Liberal City, by Russell Shorto, laying on the kitchen table for us in the AirBnB houseboat that a coworker and I were staying in. I have a tendency to get overwhelmed by human contact on trips, so sneaking out at 6am to drink coffee alone and read this newfound treasure kept my sanity. When the trip Read more…

Reflections

Forbidden Lands.

Havana, Cuba Americans get a special treat in Cuba that the rest of the world doesn’t get to enjoy: for us – at least, at the time of this writing – it is a forbidden land. It is a constructed limbo for us. Can we go in? In the gray area built of myths perpetuated by both sides an answer is left unspoken – in the void a simple nod and a wink. The Cuban myth Read more…

Reflections

That isn’t your identity.

That isn’t your identity. Stop letting people label you based on what you believe. Earlier today I listened to a discussion between two guys about a certain cultural/political movement that is seeing a rise of late. One person identified himself with the movement, but his friend did not, claiming something to the effect of “I certainly agree with many tenets of the movement and consider myself an ally to it in many ways, but I Read more…

Reflections

Chicken Buses

Antigua, Panajachel, Guatemala City, and the roads in between, Guatemala; When I was a kid, I checked out all 9 books on ancient Egypt from my elementary school library on rotation. Sure, I checked out all of the books about all of the African countries, but Egypt was my shit. There was no internet back then (well, not in my house, at least), so those 9 books held all of the knowledge one could possibly know Read more…

Reflections

Pokémon

Mexico City, Mexico. I still remember the first time I saw Pokémon. I was in 3rd grade hanging out with my best friend, Brian, at the playground next to our elementary school one evening – but he spent most of the evening glued to his gameboy. We came to trade off each battle of his Pokémon Red game that evening as we tried to make it past all of the bug catchers to get to Viridian City Read more…

Reflections

The Mirror

Mexico City, Mexico I write this at an interesting time. I like to use this blog to reflect on cultural experiences – small things here and there that I don’t understand about the world, but really enjoy trying to. Living in a foriegn place is a great opportunity to self-analyze a bit. This is my first US presidential election outside of the US – I’ve been gone for a little over a year now – and though I Read more…

Snippets

Blowtorches and Shopping Carts

Mexico City, Mexico Calle Reforma is one of the largest main avenues in Mexico City – the main channel through the city that stretches down from the old Azteca ruins of Tlateloco past the historic Spanish downtown of Zócalo, through the business districts of Juarez to the south and Cuauhtémoc to the north to the ritzy financial district of Polanco. Wandering through part of it looking at the enormous Alebrijes that has – a few days before Read more…

Snippets

Dominican fishing poles.

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic It was an early morning in April when I wandered down to the beach in Santo Domingo.  I described the morning in my journal as such: This part of the city is my kind of beautiful. The windy streets feel more like Europe than anything else, but the buildings are more colorful. Most of them are quite shitty, lots of them abandoned and in constant states of repair. Every corner sports Read more…

Snippets

Pollo Campero

  San Salvador El Salvador; Guatemala City, Guatemala A sense of familiarity can be an odd thing – at times triggered by the inside jokes that we’ve been lucky enough to be included in. I smiled to myself strolling down one of the long hallways in the international terminal of the Houston airport as I passed a woman sitting on the floor, her young son asleep on her lap. I must have held my stare a Read more…

Snippets

Maximón

Santiago Atitlán, Guatemala   Some trips are well researched and planned ahead of time. Other times, you’re standing on a Panajachel dock gazing out at a beautiful Guatemalan Lago Atitlán wondering how to fill your afternoon with the few Quetzales you still have in your pocket. You might pull out your phone and google “which town, lake Atitlan?,” and if you stumble across a certain travel blog, you just end up in the tiny town of Santiago. The Read more…