Landing in Lima

As soon as I landed in Lima, I was aware I had a slight problem. I had taken 7 years of French. Quick tip for anyone visiting; they don’t speak French in Peru. I’d been completely spoiled in Asia. English was spoken and written just about everywhere. In the big cities and small villages alike, it was fairly easy to communicate and the locals were willing to work with you. Looking back, I wish I had done a little language prep for this trip. That’s my mistake and I’ll own it. But what better way to learn a new language than to be thrown into the fire, right? Or at least I hope that’s true…

Anyways, I stayed in the Miraflores District of Lima, which is an upscale area right on the coastal cliffs. The location was beautiful, and the prices unfortunately reflected that. As per tradition, I overpaid for the first few days. My lack of Spanish was a factor but I always overpay when I arrive in a new country. It’s a tradition, like my own personal right of passage and one of my many flaws. I think I spent 70$ the first few days I landed in Bangkok which is borderline impossible. But I learn quick and I’m sure it’ll be no different in South America.

Lima was a big and vibrant city. There was Latin music playing from the restaurants on every corner and people seemed to be enjoying the warm summer weather. I spent my two days wandering through the streets and strolling through Parque del Amor. The park sits high upon the coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific. Situated in the middle of the park is the Iconic statue, El Beso (the Kiss), depicting two lovers entangled in a passionate kiss. Even though I was exploring the park without a romantic partner per usual, it was a nice place to spend a few hours.

A few miles down sits La Marina Lighthouse. The 72ft tower is the most visited lighthouse in peru and casts its beam 18 nautical miles out into the Pacific. The walk along the cliffs was an awesome way to watch the locals and just hang out. You can stay entertained by viewing the surfers 100 feet below trying their luck against the cold ocean swells. In the evening I enjoyed my first Pisco Sour and watched the sun go down. The national drink of Peru is a combination of Peruvian pisco, lemon or lime juice, syrup, ice, bitters, and an egg white. Perhaps its an acquired taste, but I’m not sure if they’re for me. I switched to cervezas quickly.

Lima has a lot to offer. Unfortunately I was on tighter schedule and was in and out of the city in about 48 hours. I’d love to explore more! Many people use the capital as a jumping point to the bigger attractions of Peru and I unfortunately made the same mistake. Lesson learned.

Welcome Eric! – Vivir es aventurarse … divertirse Eric!

I want to give a warm welcome to Ericwho has just joined the Traveller’s Playground team. Over the next few weeks his experiences and images will start appearing from his trip through Asia… his next destination, South America! He also writes at Taggart In Asia Here is his transition post… let the travel’s begin!

We’ve gone WAY beyond

It’s been awesome that you’ve followed my travels, and I will continue to awe you with stories of passion, danger, and grand adventure. Most of you probably know that I left Asia and headed back home for the cold and snow. It didn’t last very long. Spending the holiday season with friends and family was a much needed and served as a lovely respite from Thai cuisine. Yet I felt as though I wasn’t quite done out in the world.

I decided that instead of returning to the cubical farm to graze upon spreadsheets and cold calls, I would continue this trip for a little bit longer. So I booked myself a one way ticket to Lima, Peru and intend to spend the next few months exploring a new continent!

So yes, we’ve gone beyond Bangkok. We’ve gone beyond Asia. This will be a new chapter in my backpacking life and hopefully it will bring the noise. I’ll be covering diverse terrain, going from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and then turning south to Patagonia. I’m in exceptionally medium shape, so hopefully I can handle it.

Mountains, Beaches, Koala’s & Kangaroos – Sydney!

Australia was never a place I thought much about visiting. Recently I had an opportunity to travel to Sydney for business and I was lucky to be able to squeeze in a couple of extra days. The city is fantastic and there is always something going on, it’s full of art and character and culture. The Blue Mountains were beautiful and the beaches felt like something out of a movie.

Sydney offers a little bit of everything. My colleagues and I took a day trip out to the Blue Mountains and then to Featherdale Wildlife Park where Kangaroo’s just hop around wanting to be fed and petted! I even got to pet a Koala; I also learned they don’t like to be called bears, who knew! My favorite part was trying to keep up with my young co-worker as we hiked the Cliff Walk. We started in Coogee and walked to Bondi. I will admit the walk was a lot longer than I expected but it offered an amazing view of the Pacific Ocean. We passed several small beach along our way crowded with boats and fisherman and surfers.

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Taking Off

That Hello Kitty plane is actually the plane I’m flying to Bangkok in. I chose to embark on the trip of a lifetime on an airline that is decorated with a wildly popular Japanese anime cat. Why? Because there’s no way that plane goes down. It’s adorable.

Admittedly I am pretty nervous about this adventure. Was this a good idea? Will things go smoothly in Asia? Should I have packed more than 2 pairs of underwear? Will Trump be elected president when I’m gone and wall off the entire country, keeping me out? Is Joe Flacco elite? These are the questions that have been keeping me up at night.

I will say I’m far more excited than I am nervous. I’ll be landing in Bangkok about 23 hours after I leave New York and I have brought zero plane activities. I’m looking to catch at least 5 to 8 Tom Cruise movies, enjoy a glass of red wine with a side of xanax and  wake up somewhere on the Khao San Road. Pretty sure that’s how Dicaprio did it in ‘The Beach.’

The first 2 weeks are pretty packed with trips and adventures so I’ll be sure to update all 3.2 million of you reading this blog as best I can. First stop is the Suneta Hostel in the backpacking capital of the world. Tucked between the Orthodox Jewish Community Center of Thailand, a Starbucks, and the police department, it’ll be as though we never left Brooklyn.


Huntley Meadows

Growing up I have fond memories of my parents taking us to Huntley Meadows Park. It’s a local nature preserve and wetland. Located in the southern end of Fairfax County, just south of Alexandria City, it’s a great location to head to for a few hours to get away from the busy life of the surrounding area. It had been years since I had visited and one spring weekend before the weather got too hot, I ventured out with my family. There is walking trails, boardwalk trails, a historical home, an observation tower, and plenty of wildlife. If you’re in town and enjoy nature, or live locally looking for a place to get away, or enjoy nature photography, I highly recommend a visit.

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

Huntley Meadows

All of the thoughts and opinions are my own.

Interesting Links

Fairfax County Parks, Huntley Meadows

Friends of Huntley Meadows Park

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