Showing posts from April, 2017

Beach Time in Cuba

Vacation for me (especially spring break) must include lots of time near the water. Slap a bikini on me and dump me in the sand and I'm good to go. Luckily Cuba provided plenty of opportunities for this, seeing as it's a tropical island and all.
Slurping coconuts at a swimming hole outside of Viñales

Cruising down a causeway on the Gulf of Mexico
The beaches were stupidly beautiful and underdeveloped. Crystal clear water with lush sea grass made for perfect swimming conditions, and the sand was silky white. I bet scuba diving here would have been great, but I just didn't have the time to get around to booking a dive trip. Some of them looked a lot like the beaches I grew up visiting in South Florida.

Cayo Jutias had stunning mangrove formations
One odd thing about the beaches of Cuba is that it is hard to find food at some of them. Playa Ancon only had one pizza stand, and I use the term pizza loosely. Was this socialism creeping in, a lack of entrepreneurial opportunities a…

Cuban City Life

Cuba has so many cities to explore, so if you are going to Cuba, make sure to visit more than just Havana! On our last day there, my friends and I did a little roundtable sharing about our favorite memories from the trip, and certain moments in Viñales and Trinidad kept coming up. The town of Santa Clara is all packed full of museums and colonial architecture to check out.
Expect live music where ever you go, as well as people hanging out in the streets. You can stop and make friends with a local very easily in any Cuban city. Everything was super walkable, and there are plenty of museums and cafes to keep you busy for days on end.
Trinidad is a picturesque little town
Trinidad could easily be mistaken for Antigua, Guatemala
How did we always snag a rooftop terrace at every AirBnB?
Of course no visit to Cuba is complete with a good chunk of time to meander the streets of Havana, and whoa was I blown away and surprised by the beauty of the place. We found underground jazz clubs, bunker a…

Roadtrippin' Cuba Style

When I arrived at the Havana airport late Friday night, my AirBnB host had arranged for a driver named Henri to pick up my group of friends from the airport. We stuck with him for all of our driving needs for the next week! Henri drove us all over the country- from Havana to Viñales, Trinidad, and Santa Clara, and back to Havana again. And I think this is the best way to go. Rather than booking seats on buses, we stayed loyal to our driver, and he catered the routes to our schedules and hunger pangs.
With our driver Henri- he was the best!
Henri took us to a little paladar where  we feasted on fresh fish and yams
The old cars were super comfortable and had big spacious back seats to sprawl out in and get cozy.
I would recommend bringing an auxiliary cable if you want to play your own music, because usb cables did not seem to work with their sound systems. Otherwise it might be 6 straight hours of reggaeton or Marc Anthony (which I'm frankly ok with). Snacks were a bit hard to come a…

Club Tengo Hambre

I knew Mexico City was going to be all about the food, and a bout of food poisoning wasn't going to stop me from eating every street taco in sight. My friends did a pretty good job of showing me around but when I heard about Club Tengo Hambre, I booked a ticket immediately. Club Tengo Hambre does unique food tours around cities all over the region.

Club Tengo Hambre's Instagram looks so tasty
My tour guide Mariana and I at the starting point- the Palacio de Bellas Artes
I opted for a Wednesday tour, and it ran from 11:00 AM until 2:30 PM. We made 8 stops in total and tried a diverse range of Mexican food- quesadillas, different salsas, tacos, Oaxacan snacks, chorizos, squash stew, blue and yellow corn, insects, street food and market food. I had a bit of a stomach bug so I had to skip out on a few of the stops but I wrote everything down and so I could return later and make recommendations to friends.

Mariana explaining the origins of this chorizo to the group
Brisket simmering awa…

Exploring Mexico City

There is so much to do in and around Mexico City that I know I am going to need to go back, despite having spent a week there over spring break. Mostly I just popped headphones in, tuned into a podcast, and walked (S-Town, anyone?!). My friends did show me around to some really cool stuff as well that I thought I would share here.

This is a borough full of canals for fun boat rides. You can load up on crazy micheladas before you take off, but since I am off booze, I stuck with bottled water and it was still a ton of fun.

View from the water around sunset
Drink topping selections
View of the boats
La Condesa/Roma
These are the neighborhoods where most of my friends live, and we had a nice weekend to explore, getting afternoon coffees in courtyard garden cafes, eating churros in the park, and digging around old bookstores.

Italian munchies in Mexico City's Roma neighborhood
Snacking in a park in Roma
At the churro shop with our nitrox coffees
Literal rainbows and sunshine
Centro Hi…

Cuba Libre

After a whirlwind two weeks around Mexico and Cuba, I am back in the routine of my work week in Hong Kong (not for long though, off to Malaysia this weekend for some scuba diving)!

Cuba moved me to write a lot, but I want to take some time to reflect before my sharing my thoughts. In the meantime, here is some video footage from my trip.

For a more in-depth look at the socialist system in Cuba, check out my article here.