Hugged A Tarantula Lately? A Trek to Nicaragua

As the plane flew over the sub-tropical forests on our approach to Managua, Nicaragua seems to be a thousand shades of green with a sprinkling of blue lakes and smoky grey volcanoes thrown in for good measure. I would soon be introduced to another commonplace aspect of nature in this spectacularly scenic country, involving tarantulas dropping by... Continue Reading →

El Chocoyero Nature Reserve, Nicaragua

“Shh.”  Manuel, Nicaragua’s own Dr. Doolittle, motions up and ahead of us on the forest trail. I hear what I think are vehicles on the highway, then I realize we’re too far away for any traffic sounds to penetrate the dense sub-tropical forest we’re exploring. “Los monos.” Monkeys. Howler monkeys. Nicaragua's Semi-Tropical Forest A few... Continue Reading →

Hugged A Tarantula lately? Part 2

“El subjuntivo: presente, pretérito imperfecto, pretérito perfecto y el pluscuamperfecto.” Bergman valiantly tries to recapture our attention to the importance of Spanish subjunctive verbs as we watch hummingbirds flock to a tree just beyond the open window of our classroom. A rooster saunters into the classroom, a hen following along behind. They stop at a basket left in a... Continue Reading →

Dance on an Empty Highway – Cuba 1991

“In case anyone asks, tell them you’re our cousins visiting from Canada,” Raul instructs us in Varadero as we drive off in a massive 1953 Oldsmobile, our transportation for the week. I wonder how Claudia (a young Latin American friend who’s come with me on this trip), born of Bolivian parents and 8 shades darker... Continue Reading →

Dance on an Empty Highway: Part 3

The transport truck drops us off beside a path that cuts through a field at the foot of the mountains. We skirt around a hefty bull grazing near the woods, and in about 20 minutes we arrive at a small, wood-framed house, half hidden amongst the trees. As we're introduced to everyone, we sip some coffee... Continue Reading →

Dance on an Empty Highway: Part 2

At each stop on this trip, the state of the washrooms deteriorates at an inversely proportionate rate as the scenery grows more spectacular. “What’s wrong?” Claudia has suddenly sat up at the edge of the bed. "I have to go to the bathroom and I'm too scared to go out there by myself." That makes... Continue Reading →

Solo Travel For Women

Are you the undaunted female solo traveler? Or do you hesitate - or refuse - to travel alone? Think  it may not be safe? Worried you'll be bored? Me too. At one time. But not anymore. Here's what I've done to cure solo travel apprehension. Why Travel Solo? On my last two trips to Europe... Continue Reading →

Barcelona – A Disappointment

To my surprise, Barcelona disappointed me in ways I hadn't expected. To quote Samuel Johnson, I needed to learn to "regulate imagination by reality", and see things as they really are. Here you can find out what not to expect.

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