Tuesday, June 30, 2015

be heard x vibe magazine x samsung

New photos of Meek Mill, Fabolous and DJ Mustard,  featured on VIBE for BET award weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Disneyland For Dogs/A Day With A Stranger/I'm Going My Way You Go Uruguay

Uruguay - Disneyland for Dogs

Lustrous coats and full bellies. Untethered, unbothered and beautiful, dogs seem to rule this country.

Never before have I seen such well mannered well taken care of dogs roaming the streets of a foreign land. Fancying myself a bit of the South American dog whisperer I must say I've thoroughly enjoyed communicating, if only with a glance (ok, maybe I talk to them too) with this cast of characters.

After an extraordinarily late night of lord knows what in my cozy cabin, while some sort of frat party was doing lord knows what across the hall (one of the kind gentlemen at the party gave me a candy bar for no evident reason which may, in these parts constitute a marriage proposal so stay tuned) I went to sleep.

I stayed one night in Casablanca at a hostel that I was quite certain had been the seen of multiple lascivious acts and this was a step up. But only one. Hesitant to rest my weary head directly on the linens in places such as this, I used a towel as a pillow and my scarf as a blanket. Resourceful and ridiculous, I know.

Waking the following morning felt like Christmas. Not because of the eager anticipation of candies and gifts, an anticipation I sadly never experienced - not due to lack of effort on my parents part but lack of childlike wonder from the get, but because of the smell of active fireplaces and the clear crisp cold of winter. The type that cuts right though your spandex and fat to the bone.

It was time for a run and, like many before, I loved the quite time alone with the city but ached for my Canon tucked neatly away back at the hotel.

The mix of wood burning fires, lingering mist that sits in the chilly valley at night and bright clear skies makes for the most beautiful light in Minas mornings. I decided to leave my duffel at the hotel and wander before blowing this pop stand. 

The quiet beauty of a small town, though not a draw for living, is never lost on me. Apparently Lorelai Gilmore and I don't share all qualities.

Maybe it was the loud print plastered all over my ass, but the animals knew. They knew I was an outsider and took the opportunity to squawk, chirp, bark or bellow at me to adequately protect their home. Or maybe they were just hungry.

I passed a group of boys on their way to school who would have barked at me if they could but instead continued their 12 year-old conversation that read the same in Spanish and it does in English despite the fact that I couldn't understand a word.

As you make your way further outside of the city centre the town becomes more rural, and more beautiful. Though there are smatterings of fuchsia and mint green on walls and doorways, the wardrobe here is seriously lacking.

I mean, does anyone own a single jewel tone down here? Maybe a pastel? Missoni would make a killing introducing the Crayola world of color to the tiny South American country.

I made my way further and further out of town, discovering the problem with living in a basin is no matter which way you walk, it's up.

The air was cold, but the sun was warm and I felt as though I was able to really breathe, if only for a minute.

Never one to pass up a good cemetery (insert Irish melancholy here) I entered a beautiful white marble mausoleum, with headstones and boxes, plastic flowers and brass vases stacked haphazardly, high as the eye could see. It was beautiful in its disarray and I took my time meandering about.

As I made my way even further out or town the people weren't cold or distrustful, they were fascinated, the menfolk in particular.

The more I wandered the more charm this city exuded. I'm telling you, if there were places to eat or attractions of any sort here, I would most definitely consider staying a bit longer.

My stomach was telling me it was time to eat and my watch was telling me it was time to find the bus station.

Passing what was either an old folk's home or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory's grandparents watching The Price Is Right, I felt a pang of sadness for what I imagined were the infirm and a pang of guilt for my grandmother, who passed away in December, just 6 months after my dad in one of those establishments.

Getting old can be scary and confusing, and no one wants to do it alone. And I say that at 33.

As I passed through the Plaza Independencia, I was almost distracted by a 17 year-old telling me I was hot - thank you young man, by the way, but then I saw it - like an apparition - a restaurant!

I eagerly entered, expecting heating - I was sorely mistaken. I devoured pages of menu fantasizing about the meals I could consume, typically a large array of pastas, hamburgers, salads and sandwiches made of meat that I want to say means wolf but I'm guessing not - I was sorely mistaken. Either because of the hour or because God is playing a cruel cruel joke on me, there were very few items from which I could actually choose, none of which sounded terribly appealing, and I was forced to get tea and a sandwich with no bells or whistles, including papas fritas - apparently thats how things are run 'round here (the only good Counting Crows song, FYI).

Nothing says top of the morning like a cup of hot tea and a hamburger. Not a red meat eater I decided to relax and make some international Skype calls figuring if I were to fall ill from this mysterious meat, i'd rather do it not while on a bus. While chatting with a friend in New York a man walked in, discarded his bright green scarf and sat down to dine alone.

After hearing me speaking something other than Spanish, he asked me where I was from and, once finished with my phone conversation, asked me to join him.

Between his broken English and my kitchen Spanish I learned he was 35, had one daughter who lives in Canada, is obsessed with Cuba and hates the United States.

Emphatic and expressive, his points about culture and politics were made, even if the language posed a barrier.

After resisting the offer to share in his mashed potatoes - a feat of epic proportions for me - I setteled for chatting over some tea.

Hearing the musings of what someone who has never visited the states, but has powerful positions on it thinks is wildly amusing, if not totally accurate. Hearing someone tell me about Cuba, soccer and his love of photography is mildly intoxicating.

Once he told me I didn't have the face of a North American (whatever that means), insisting it was a 'normal face' and not a 'shit face,' which apparently he thinks all Americans must have. Charming, no? Once family photos were shared - his of his beautiful daughter mine of my beautiful sister I was sold and I had a new and strange friend in Marcelo.

After drinks were finished and the bill was paid - entirely by him I might add - he told me he was going to the north and asked if I would change my flight and stay a day or two longer with him.

Now, I just met this man. And I had no intention of spending money to change my flight and spend two days with a strange man in a strange land, besides I was in love with someone else, but I will be lying if I said it wasn't nice to be asked...

Flattered but not swayed, I had already missed the 2 pm bus I had planned on taking back to the Capitol and figured, if I had hours to burn, why not spend them here with Marcelo? After all, this is what traveling - especially solo - was about. Meeting people from different places with different cultures and seeing how they lived.

And see how they live I did. In the most fantastically banal way imaginable. From what I can surmise, with language and context, Marcelo is a traveling paint salesman and had a few calls to make while in Minas. He asked if I'd like to come along, and I obliged. The truck was warm and the world unknown.

I'll often say that part of what I love about being a photographer is the ability to be present for or involved in worlds I wouldn't otherwise, all because I had my camera - a ticket to the other side.

Conversation and not cameras were the impetus here but the result was just the same. Who else do you know that got to witness paint salesmanship in a small southern Uruguayan town? Exactly!

After traversing the city, making stops along the way, we parted ways for him to finish some business and for me to pick up my bag from the hotel as grab one last regalo that I now hope has not broken in my luggage.

I left a note on his car to meet me at Porky's, a Porky Pig branded pizzeria which was a bit beyond me,  but I often find America's influence in other places to be convoluted and confusing; lost in translation. 

Some tea and a meal of questionable origin and a decision was to be made were had. I could continue with my 10:45 bus ticket to Montevideo, arrive at nearly 2 am and take a cab directly to the airport, where I would attempt to sleep in public for a handful of hours - not my first or last time doing so - or I could stay one more night here, change my bus ticket to a 4:20 am departure and (fingers crossed) make it to the airport just in time. I crossed my fingers.

Marcelo had been peppering me with questions all day long, often in relation to my father. My answers were brief, appropriate and said in a vague, present tense.

As evening became night we continued to chat, this time him taking his turn to eat dinner, evidently we were doing it on shifts. I had been relaxed and contentedly distracted by my new company throughout most of the day, but had just received a message from a former flame and it had left me feeling off, not really for any particular reason, just uneasy. My mood had clearly dampened. 

Marcelo proceeded to ask me about my father, this time about his love life - perhaps a sensitive subject though I didn't realize it at the time, and I began to cry. Now, for anyone who has known me more than a week, or who reads any of my writing, you know I'm a crier. There is no shame in my game, I'm an emotional woman and, for a number of months now, with good reason. That being said, I do usually try to wait until someone learns my last name before breaking down on them. His Latino forcefulness pushed the subject of why, and when I gave a very succinct and perfunctory answer he asked why I hadn't told him, and expressed how awful he felt. 

I'm new to this game and though in a pretty transparent (once again, not in the Caitlyn way) person I'm not sure the protocol on when you drop that bomb on someone. Or, if I need to at all. It is certainly not a shameful secret, but it is very much a private and personal experience.

Needless to say my slightly dampened mood had turned stormy and the evening was over.

It's so interesting how spending a handful of hours with the wrong man makes you realize just what it feels like when you're with the right one...

I set my alarm for 3:30 am and I was off to another restless, dream filled state.

Pulling on my only clean clothes left, like a delayed birthday present I save for myself on trips such as these, Marcelo met with me in the morning and drove me the short distance to the bus station in the frigid dark of the morning. His density became more evident as he brought up why I became upset last night, but he had been extraordinarily kind and gentlemanlike and I knew he, like those friends at home who keep sending me supportive text messages, meant well.

We bid adieu, with declarations of love on one of our parts - i'll let you guess who - as the luxurious Nunez bus bound for the Capitol rolled into the station, with promises to stay in touch.

There is something sexy about a night bus, even more so for a train. It's like the champagne room of travel, your own personal viewing of what happens after dark, or before light, as the case was here

We were at Tres Cruces before long, and before the sun bothered to greet me and warm my freezing ass. I usually steal a blanket on international flight to carry with me on my journey, and this night bus was exactly the reason why. They are always cold and I am always uncomfortable - being a woman is so much fun! With a little insider intel, and likely the use of some common sense, it's come to my attention that no where is heated here because it's expensive. Not shocking, but painfully plapable.

Making my way into the bus terminal, just long enough to take out 1500 more pesos, which I assume with cover my cab ride and to leave my ATM in the machine. A nice silent man promptly returned the card to me, as well as my faith man. Strangely, that waivers little regardless of space or time,  but with two separate woman inhabiting my apartment yet not feeling the need to pay for such a luxury this year - it can be tough. Karma's a bitch. And so are they.

A teeny tiny smoke filled cab awaited me outside of the automatic doors and, with a little coaching on his part, as far as proper pronunciation, we headed to the aeroppuerto.

My paralysis has subsided and stroke face has greatly improved upon this trip. I can't help but wonder if it is because I may have relaxed in the last 8 days. Something I have not done in what seems like ages and something I need much more of in my life.

With a mind as brilliant as mine ( please read proper tone here), it functions efficiently and luckily, I am able to process information rather quickly, usually evidenced by witty quips or repartee - really changing the world stuff. It can also create a cacophony of voices in my head, rounds of questions and theories and concerns all singing in sequence, overlapping one another like a never ending Christmas concert housed in my brain, but without the hot cocoa or gingerbread cookies. Occasionally, taking a step back from 'real life' can offer perspective, and quiet.

Though a bit on the quiet and cold side for my liking maybe Uruguay was the perfect place to escape this time of year for it's unexpected tranquility.

According to my very shallow research, Uruguay has been called the Switzerland of South America. I can see why.

It's expensive and boring, yet beautiful and safe - just like all of those girls you slept with in college and the trophy wives heard round the world. 

Gracias, Uruguay.

Not quite ready to boo this one up, I guess I'll just keep walking...

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Hazy Shade of Winter - The Fat Girl Edition

Up early thanks for a text from a fellow traveling friend (thanks Brandon!) - in a time zone far far away, I was able to make it to the provided continental breakfast downstairs at Hotel Milano which, in this country seems to include deli meat and cheeses. Not my steez.

A bowl of bland cornflakes and a couple tapped keys on the lap top and I was prepared to check out, say goodbye to Punta del Esta and make my way to Minas.

I had miscalculated when I was heading back to the states and realized I had a whole extra day in which I could head back to Montevideo and gaze at the grey skies and sooty city streets or I could take those 24 hours and visit someplace new.

Not having been able to locate a Lonely Planet for just Uruguay, likely due to the size and relative importance of this country, I bought a Brandt guide weeks before leaving and according to the middle-aged white man who wrote it if you're only in Uruguay for a short stay Minas is worth a gander.

Packing up all of my stuff has become a more and more arduous process each day and with all of my gifts purchased and food stuffs tucked away for long bus rides I am no longer so pleased with my less is more approach to packing.

Sherpa'ing my shit back to the bus terminal I remembered just in the nick of time to stop in at el correo to send my obligatory post cards. Having created so many traditions of my own on these journeys I am finding my trips are less wandering and more organized chaos. This is merely part of the reason I never say I'm going on vacation and always say I'm traveling.

Trust me, if you could see me right now. Dirty hair, dirty clothes, bags strewn about, sitting on the roadside waiting for my 12:45 bus to Minas you'd agree - I don't make this look luxurious or relaxing. But if you look closely enough, it just might resemble living.

Bidding adieu to this beach resort destination on a grey and hazy day made me particularly grateful that my Sunday here was so idyllic and that I'd decided to leave this morning and keep my lovely memories in tact.

Sitting on the roadside, which happens to face the beach, I am brought back 10 years. I'm in the South of Spain and I've been traveling with a girlfriend for weeks through early spring in Europe. It's been so cold I've been layering jacket upon hoodie upon t-shirt (some things evidently never change). Once we reach Cadiz it isn't hot, but it's warmer than any place we've seen in far too many days and we run down to the beach, enormous backpacks strapped to our bodies in painful and meticulous ways. Without hesitation we drop our bags, and then drop our tops, and lay in the sun. It is the only time I've ever sunbathed topless and I can't help but think how much has changed in the past decade decade. 10 years, 3 cities, 2 heartbreaks, one loss of a parent, a handful of grey hairs and 32 or so more countries.

Deciding it was far too cold and leggings are not nearly enough insulation to sit outside and ponder my youth I crossed back over the street, and decided to spend the next 90 minutes in Cafe Pecas, which seemed all too appropriate for this freckle face. Inside Good Morning South America plays on the flat screen and the heat was turned all the way up. An amiable man with a glass eye and sunny disposition served me green tea and a cookie and I watched the world go by as I waited for my Bruno bus departure.

Making certain to get on the right bus this time I interrupted the driver's phone conversation to confirm and the plopped my ass down in lucky seat 13.

Though when I boarded it was just me and a slumbering woman, as the bus wound it's way through the countryside it began to fill up. 

Navigating the suburbs of Piriapilos I nearly decked a woman seated across the aisle who took this ride as her opportunity to 'catch up on correspondence.' Only problem was, instead of taking the Rachel Green approach and writing letters, she chose to make call after call chatting with, from what I could gather, loved ones of all ages and comprehension levels at a very audible volume. Technology, like many things in life, really is such a blessing and a curse. This being an example of the latter.

The deeper inland we drove the more at peace I felt. Modest homes, candy colored with chickens running free in the yard. Vast stretches of unscathed land, rolling into the distance. And, for good measure, a smattering of senior citizens pushing bicycles and carrying baskets, dressed in wool sweaters and knit caps. This was the Latin America I knew well. This was the Latin America I love.

Sneaking bites of the baguette and peanut butter from inside my bag helped curb the nausea I tend to experience when in any sort of moving vehicle, if by land or sea. I repeat, helped. I was determined to stay awake for this midday ride and take the opportunity to watch the world outside the window, motion sickness be damned!

Finally! Terminal Minas. Realizing I had seen calle 25 de Mayo, the street upon which Hotel Minas is located, when pulling into town, I figured it would be easy enough to locate. I was wrong. After walking in concentric circles for 20 minutes or so I asked for assistance from a sweet young man clearly using all of his youthful determination to sprout a mustache. With a couple sentences and gestures I was able to easily navigate my way to the hotel, climb up the almost hidden stair well and ring the bell.  

After sharing nearly all of my personal information with the kind, if downtrodden, woman at the front desk, barring measurements and blood type, and dropping my bags off in room 23 I took a moment. I took a moment to stare, perplexed, at what 60 bucks a night buys you in this town. Moment had. Money is, after all,  just paper and there were sights to be seen, so I hit the streets, draped in every article of clothing I brought, including the mustard yellow leg warmers used to help me complete the 2010 NYC marathon, for photos and food. I'm afraid I not terribly successful with either.

After marveling at the interesting lined faces, none of which I properly documented, on the streets and beautifully weathered walls, I began my quest for a meal. Evidently butchershops are plentiful here, yet an actual restaurant, where you can sit down and eat a mixture of protein, carbohydrates and vegetables, is not. Is it that people eat at home here unless in need of deli meat or ice cream? Locating an expansive eatery with a sign boasting it's specials outside and housing an adorable elderly woman inside, I figured I'd take a chance.

What I ended up with was a bottle of room temperature Coca Cola and a cold, condiment-less sandwich of indeterminate origin and indecipherable taste. Luckily it was served in a completely empty, marble floored room with no central heat. In the dead of Winter. The poor old woman was mainlining cafe con leche just to stay alive! Not in the position to negotiate or wanting to be rude and leave, I was left to sit by the window, cold, hungry and terrified I would not be able to eat the rest of the day. Feeling like I was left with few options, I took a bite. Still not able to identify the meat of which this was made or what sort of rippling batter in which it was covered I began to pray. 

And then I began to exit.

I just couldn't do it. With the hope that I could find a mini-mart somewhere close by I left the barely touched sandwich and paid up. The barkeep was friendly and asked if I was Brazilian, so the 90 Pesos ended up being well worth it, as I associate Brazilian with Victoria's Secret model. It's pretty much the same thing - is it not? When I corrected him with the appropriate 'no, Estados Unidos' he and his friend replied 'Mr. Obama!' It never ceases to amaze me how little we know about so many others, but how much they all know about us...

Spotting what looked like a place to dine, due to the disproportionate amount of elderly couples sitting in the window, there seemed to be a light at the end of the hunger tunnel. Always drawn to the olds I entered the double doors and discovered it was a butcher shop and a bakery with a small frozen foods section. What the hell! Pringles and strawberry galletas for dinner it was. Having made a summer resolution, after my body instructing me in no uncertain terms to do so by way of paralysis and cellulite, to take better care of myself I was hesitant, but hungry.  I never thought I'd be this unable to eat well here. Though I'm not sure why, this is certainly not my first rodeo and I have found in many countries it is either home cooked meals from scratch or total shit in brightly colored packaging from the corner store. New York has spoiled me with it's constant access to ... well, everything.  Accepting that my pubescent skin and saddle bags would just have to wait it out for a few more days, I devoured salty and sweet and watched the sky turn golden.

It's cold in the valley here. Really cold. And I was operating on equal parts sugar, salt and fat - so hibernation seemed in order. Moving from one town to the next, each one earlier to bed and later to rise, I'm afraid I'm not getting much late night action,  so tonight it me, David Brooks and my heater. Sounds like a threesome made for the books, literally.

Buenos Noche!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pink Cheeks and Dusty Rose Skies

A sleepless night of American television, gradual and sustained jet lag and thoughts swirling through my head like a kaleidoscope of mayhem made for plenty of tossing and turning in my itty bitty bed.

The alarm went off at 8:30 am, but I did not rise until nearly an hour later, waiting for the clean ocean air and bright morning sun to permeate my cavern of solitude by way of room 18 before once again donning my cat suit for a morning run along the ocean front. A travel tradition of mine that continues to be one of my favorite.

I've found that this is the quietest hour in any given city - the morning run hour. My brief experience in Uruguay has shown me that perhaps there is not a noisy one here, or maybe it is just the fact that I have city hopped since I was a teenager and San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles all begin to bustle at some point. Not only does this allow for time to clear my head and get my sweat on, but there are always sights to be seen. 

A lone Guadelupe sits out upon a mountain of shattered shells a few hundred meters past Los Dedos; two blocks over from my hotel. A small shrine built to the Virgin; an amphitheater filled with fake flowers and placards expressing gratitude where this beautiful lady stands. If you've ever had the privilege of visiting my living space you know I have a penchant for religious imagery, Guadalupe in particular. A tattered canvas of her from Peru currently hangs on my wall in New York, the large crucifix from Guatemala put away years ago after my then paramour didn't like the idea of it hanging ominously over my bed. Understood.

So she was a welcomed pit stop this morning. A buenas dia to my soul.

Not too far down the road there was a  fisherman of maybe 45, perched atop the rocky shore flanked by his son, wrapped in a fire engine red coat; his handy assistant riffling through the tackle box. 

My father bought me my own rod and feel many years ago. We would fish on the American River and used vegetarian bait. Needless to say our journeys were not terribly fruitful but memories I have kept close to my heart. Seeing this father and son continuing our tradition without knowing it seemed fitting on Father's Day, 2015. I'm eternally grateful to have had a father who took me on new and exciting excursions and my heart is warmed when I see other fathers who do the same. Sometimes I think i'll be wasted as a mother, as I would certainly have been a fantastic father.

Please don't see this as a cry for help or a reason to call Vanity Fair - that was not a Caitlyn Jenner moment by any stretch of the imagination.

Allow me to paint a picture for you of how mellow an off season Sunday is in Punta Del Este. The street lights, scattered every few blocks are turned off. Not the flashing red or yellow, as you may have seen stateside, they are literally off - evidently trusting your fellow man really means something down here.

Part California beach town part Santorini, the architecture here is confused, but beautiful. Couples come out hand in hand, dog leash laws be damned, carting their mate gourd glasses and thermoses to walk the perimeter of the peninsula seemingly just for the enjoyment of it. Imagine that!

Noisy birds and slow moving cars are the only distraction from the tranquility this town has to offer.

After returning back to Milano I bathed under the rain showewr and gathered myself. Ready to face the day. Retracing my steps from my morning run I meandered the roads looking for nourishment, as I was hungry and chairs were just being set out and dusted off at for business at noon! I made my way back out to the far end of town where I had spotted two statues facing the crashing waves. Upon closer inspection I saw that they were terribly dilapidated mermaids, built from stone and tile into the rock formations that guard the shore. With pert exposed breasts, naked and facing the sun I realized my instincts were right and this was the perfect place to leave a part of my father on this particular journey; on this particular day. Having lived in a childhood home where ladies in various states of undress were either hung on the wall or hanging from his arm I knew my dad would be pleased with my selection and most definitely let out one of his distinctive lion laughs. 

Out on the rocky cliff I dropped bits of grey dust and bone into the ocean. As I watched the sprinkled remnants sink to the sea floor I hoped some fish would swallow them whole and that my father could live on in more than just me (and my sister, of course).

Neil Young allowed me a moment of my own, alone on the cliff with my 'Old Man.'

Back past the Virgin again and I finally located food, and wifi in the way of El Pasiva. I had warmed from the walk, going so far as to take off my jacket for the first time this week but quickly found when seated on the patio at this laid back eatery I would not only need to re-bundle, but exercise patience - needless to say speedy service was not their strong suit.

Served the very specific and unique part of the chicken that seems to consist mostly of oil as skin coupled with a salad, the bulk of which was sliced onion, accompanied by some shredded carrots and an egg - no lettuce in sight - was disappointing. Famished, not having eaten for well over 12 hours I devoured the papas fritas and picked around the healthy parts of the meal, for which I had been immensely proud of myself for ordering. When the bill came and totaled over 800 pesos my pride faded.

Back to the bus terminal I painfully fumbled through my ever decaying Spanish and hopped another COT bus for the low low price of about 3 bucks to head 30 minutes outside of town to Casapueblo.

As a hotel I had seen this Spanish-inspired structure and considered staying here as a hotel guest, but when I saw they were booked until I'd likely be in the throws of menopause I made it a day trip out to see Carols Paez Vilano's masterpiece and get to catch the sunset from the cliffs, a must do when visiting the south of Uruguay.

A handsome man with fantastically bushy caterpillar eyebrows assisted in my exit from the bus along the highway, casually pointing to a blue sign saying Bienvenedos a Casapueblo. I took a right and rambled down a very long, very poorly labeled road in hopes of reaching my destination; of reaching a destination before night fell and the well mannered dogs that roam the streets free here would not have my carcass upon which to feast - lord knows they could eat for weeks!

Finally, I reached my the end of the road, part parking lot, part awe inspiring architecture. A quick right and you're at Casapueblo. To say breathtaking is an understatement. Built into the side of a mountain, on a perfect central coast California day, the water sparkled like tinsel on a tree and the stark white building, Gaudi meets Greece, is both literally and figuratively a work of art.

For 200 pesos you can gain entrance to the gallery and purchase over priced reproductions of Carlos Paez Vilaro's work, as I did. Sadly most of the property seems to be closed off either for construction or for privacy, but the view is gorgeous and you can sweet talk your way into the terrace to enjoy a Coca Cola Lite an an alfajor, a treat easily found in these parts. A merengue covered cookie filled with something icky, so I just pick around it like a petulant child, was delicious. They sell these at my local bodega as well, but I can say with absolute certainty they look nothing like this!

Basking in the late afternoon sun, feeling the freckles multiply on my browning face I consumed massive amounts of sugar, listened to Brazilian jazz, and sat. Sat in the sun. Sat in the quiet. Sat in the solitude.

Tears once again invaded my big brown eyes, as they are wont to do - but for a couple opposing reasons. It is so beautiful here and in this moment I am content. As at peace as I felt, I will admit, my heart yearn for someone with whom to share these moments - a feeling I used to be ashamed of, as I saw wanting a partner as a sign of weakness but a subject on which I have since changed my tune.

The way I see it, I am a compassionate, witty, adventurous  woman and truth be told, a champ in the sack (sorry, Mom). Knowing that I want a man, an equal, a partner to share my already fairly kick ass life with is a sign of strength, not weakness. As I mentioned the other day, I believe in my heart I've already met this man - now we just need to wait for things to fall into place and for his spirit to commingle with mine. It will happen. Of this I am sure. After all, thoughts are physical.

After a few more moments of tranquil peace selfie season began and the Brazilian tourists descended upon my nice little terrace and took a barrage of shots in every combination known to man. Luckily they also have no sense of personal space (insert Lee Greenwood jam here), so the fact that their altered butts and sweatered elbows hit me multiple times not only didn't give them a moments pause, it didn't even elicit a brief pardon. Reading a chapter in Bobos In Paradise about everyone thinking themselves a celebrity couldn't have come at a better time.

With about an hour to spare before sunset, I made my way out of Casapueblo and hiked down the hill to hopefully get a better vantage point of the property and have some moments with the sunset. The deck had been so warm my cheeks pinked but as the sky turned a dusty rose my face blanched a grInga white once again.

Despite some kids smoking a joint (legally everywhere in Uruguay, I might add), the sunset was lovely and I became acutely aware that I have witnessed countless beautiful sunsets all over this planet and for that I was filled with gratitude.

After the show was over, so to speak, a line of cars made their way out and I, the only sunset enthusiast on foot, hightailed it back to the bus stops in Chucks, making it to the parrara just in time to catch the city bus, a significantly lower fair than the posh COT but just as functional.

I drank in the light lined the coast as I headed back to Punta Del Este, knowing with sweet melancholy that this would be my last night in a city I've so thoroughly, if not leisurely, enjoyed.

Back in town I made a pit stop at the local minimart to have my own little corporate picnic back in my hotel room, purchasing goods from a man eager to talk about New York and California (I claimed to be from 'los dos') and, after getting my third converter on this trip, camped out for the evening.

Nerds, salami and sparking water in bed. Who could ask for more?