Reflecting on Five Months Central America

Mark Stewart Inspiration, Travel Stories, Travel Tips 21 Comments

It’s such a tiny area. The entirety of Central America – including the regions of Mexico we visited – could fit within the country of France. Yet every country is different than the next, each one having its own distinct culture. In Guatemala for example, the Mayan roots are very obvious; from physical features to traditional clothing and general way of life. While right next door in El Salvador, due to several tragic moments in recent history, the Mayan culture …

Caribbean Colombia – Santa Marta

Mark Stewart Travel Stories 14 Comments

After just narrowly making our flight in San Jose, we found ourselves high above the Caribbean as we flew towards Colombia. The flight itself was quite a treat; not only was there a significant amount of leg room, but there was a meal – with wine – included! This might not seem like much but considering the flight was under two short hours, most airlines won’t even offer pretzels! After a brief stop in Bogota, where we sampled some deep-fried …

Eating at the French Laundry

Mark Stewart Food, Travel Stories 2 Comments

Our first real introduction to the French Laundry was many years ago on Anthony Bourdain’s first show: A Cooks Tour. We’d browsed the legendary cookbook before, but at the time couldn’t really grasp it’s magnitude. At the time, the restaurant held the number one spot in the world, a concept that simple line cooks in culinary school couldn’t fathom. Fast forward nearly a decade, and Kylee drops one of the biggest surprises on me, several months before my birthday. Now, …

Back to Mumbai… or a Little more Goa

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Well, the last day in paradise arrived. One last swim in the warm, salty waters of the Arabian sea, a quick breakfast, and we check out of our bamboo beach hut. After walking through the burning sand to the main road, we grab a rickshaw back to the ‘town’ at Palolem to catch our bus back to Margao.  From there, the plan is to meet up with the main bus back to Mumbai; and after that 16 hour bus ride, …

Goa

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And to think, of all our plans for this trip, we hadn’t included Goa. Thought about it yes, but thought it would actually happen? Goa is a tiny little state about 12 hours south of Mumbai, and thinking we wouldn’t even have enough time left after traveling the north, even making Mumbai in time was a minor concern. Long blog short, plans changed, and we hopped our train to Mumbai, and from there, the first one we could down south …

Kulcha Shock: Punjab & Dharamsala

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After another less-than-pleasant overnight train, we arrive around seven in the morning at the city of Amritsar, in Punjab province. Walking through the city early in the morning, pre-traffic, we are accompanied mostly by a few random people, stray dogs, and burning piles of the previous days garbage on the side of the road. With few auto-rickshaws (therefore lack of competition) around so early in the morning, we decide to walk the whole way, just a few kilometers, rather than …

Burning Bodies and Meditation: Varanassi to Rishikesh

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Varanasi. Forget everything I said in previous posts about Kathmandu. This town is where chaos resides. After the long bus and train rides, we make our way through the maze of tiny alleys surrounding the river Ganges, eventually finding a place to stay. Starved, we climb to the rooftop restaurant, and stand in awe at the view… the holy Ganges river is massive, and the view from here is epic, although the view is hazy due to pollution and cremation …

Pokhara: Earthquake, Cloud Village and a Ring

Mark Stewart Cities, Travel Stories Leave a Comment

Pokhara is, compared at east to Kathmandu, a quiet relaxing town on a beautiful lake. Though being on the tourist trail, it also is full of cheesy bars, shops, restaurants and hotels, although for the most part, the place still keeps its charm. Overall, a pretty relaxed week here, aside from the mild excitement caused by the earthquake the first evening… It happened right near the India/Nepal boarder on the far east of the country, and it turns out, we …

Cows, Dogs, Monkeys and Freefalls

Mark Stewart Travel Stories 2 Comments

Kathmandu. After only five days, I can confidently say that Cambodia has fallen to second place on the list. Nepal is, from what I’ve seen thus far anyway, the most beautiful country, with the most amazing people, that I’ve ever been to. Arriving at the airport, it was quickly clear that Nepal time is pretty much that it gets done when it gets done. The visa process took a while, and the ride to the guesthouse took longer.. in the …

A Jungle Trek in Thailand

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We walked to the shop just after sunrise. The guides were waiting by an old pickup truck. The two other travellers joined us soon after. One, a Thai university student living in Bangkok, the other his German classmate. They were on vacation. We climbed in the back of the truck and it drove us far outside of Pai. After some time, the truck stopped and the four of us hopped out. The two guides loaded their guns and told us …