Archive | December, 2009

Houston Hospitality at George Bush Intercontinental

The plane bounces and shakes as the passengers’ sleepy heads bounce along as if they are all listening to the same beat. I am somewhere between Houston and Newark, neither being my intended destination but that isn’t the point. The point is – things, as they often do, do not always go according to plans, but when those plans include a very expensive plane ticket and the holiday season things can get ugly.

People bought tickets and showed up, a seemingly novel concept to those who are booking the flights, but not so much to the workers who are left sorting out the overbooked mess. This story, however, is about a specific individual who, while my rerouting was voluntary, deserves some form of acknowledgment for his ability to handle the situation. While boarding passengers can sometimes seem like herding cattle, the cargo is human and the journey intentional.



5 Steps to live like a Carioca

Ipanema Beach in Rio de janeiro

Ipanema Beach in Rio de janeiroA Carioca is a local from Rio de Janeiro, easily distinguished from the Paulista who hails from Sao Paulo and works to play while the Carioca plays for work. While Rio is a large city it is still a beach town filled with beach people. Sure you came to Rio to get away from it all, but if you plan on spending a few weeks in this marvelous city then be sure not to stick out like a gringo. (In Brazil it doesn’t matter what your background is, if you are not Brazilian you are a gringo.)



A Tale of Two Fairs

Rio de Janeiro has more to offer than just beaches and Carnival, so if you find yourself at Post 9 in Ipanema on a lazy Sunday afternoon you might as well make your way to the Feira Hippie de Ipanema . Hopefully you brought your wallet or at least a few reais in your sunga. (your Brazilian banana hammock)

What is this Hippie Fair? It’s a big tourist attraction sure, but is also a great place to get some small inexpensive gifts and trinkets for others or yourself. If you want good luck try and find a figa, a Brazilian-African symbol that wards off evil spirits- but only when given as a gift. What you can’t ward off though is hunger but that is OK because you have a few great options. If you are feeling for some authentic spicy northern Brazilian dishes just walk around the edges and on the corner of Rua Prudente de Morais and Rua Jangadeiros you will find women wearing the furthest thing from beach wear yet serving delicious authentic dishes from northeastern brazil. If you want something Brazilian but with a little less spice try Casa da Feijoada located right around the same corner serving what else but feijoada. If you don’t know what feijoada is or just not a fan of a soupy delicious serving of what wouldn’t be considered the choice meat from a pig it might be better to order the feijoada light. On the other hand, shopping, interacting with other travelers and haggling in English has you hungry for something a little more familiar. If this is the case then go to Shenanigans a fun Irish pub located on the opposite side of the fair on Rua Visconde de Piraja. Here you can get your variety of potato plates and Irish beers served by a few Brazilian beauties.



Prost To the Most: A German American Festival in Northwestern Ohio

If you find yourself slightly parched while searching through all the exciting cornfields and buckeyes that Ohio has to offer and have stumbled into the northwestern corner of the greater Toledo area then I have the festival for you. Ok, so the reality is that unless you live in the area or are intentionally searching for Midwestern cultural festivals it is hard to believe that you the traveler would search out this part of Ohio. Yet I found myself in just that situation and stumbled into a land of ‘das boot’ and great German bier. (That’s beer to you non-serious drinkers) So put your drinking cap on and let me paint a picture of a deep-rooted drinking culture.

You head just outside of Toledo to a small area that reminds you of scenes from Children of The Corn, when suddenly you find yourself among make-shift parking lots made in open grass fields. Yes, I am afraid to say that you have found yourself in Oregon, Ohio – yes I sad that right Oregon, Ohio but fear not you are in the right place. As you follow the crowds that only Oregon, Ohio can bring don’t be alarmed by their obsession of raccoons, he doesn’t bite. You have found yourself the diamond in the corn, no wait I mean the kernel in the rough – whatever you call it you have just found Oregon, Ohio’s German American Festival.



#15 Brew Your Own Beer

My HombrewIt’s Bucket List time and while number 15 obviously isn’t the first thing on my list to do it is the first accomplished. So how did I get here in this far out prohabition style homebrewing world I am in? Well, the same place anyone gets anywhere or learns anything nowadays, where else but the internet.

You see I never excelled in school, the apes always picked on me in gym and why does a monkey need to learn science? Well my friend I have learned that reason and it is the greatest reason of all – Beer. Homebrew is a mixture of cooking and science that results in drunken fun so easy that anyone can do it. So how do you do it?