Hers: Cusco, Peru

Cusco, the cutest city in the world filled with sweetest people in the world. It’s such a happy place with great shopping and some incredible history. We toured The Sacred Valley, and saw some seriously impressive Inca ruins, and small villages filled with smiling little people, fuck loads of llamas (I held every animal I could get my grimy fingers on), and colorful everything.

Obviously, we did Machu Picchu which was infinitely more beautiful than any photo I’ve ever seen of it. Andrew almost got us kicked out several times for wearing one of our robes, which apparently made him look more terrorist-y. Our guide said she’s never seen anyone get racially profiled at the ruins. Being one of the 7 wonders of the world, crawling with all walks of life at all hours- when I say crawling, I mean, there are 30,000 tourists making the trek everyday. That racist little shit-bag… 

The entire time we were in Cusco we were prepping for our Ayahuasca Retreat, so we did very little drinking and we were on a strict diet. We did break the rules and ate guinea pig, but that shit was gross and an instant regret.  Oh, we also had Alpaca, and LOADS of Ceviche obv.  It was nice to have a bit of a detox, and our bodies definitely needed it. 

Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu - I mean, just wow - these places were so magical, serene, enormous, beautiful, and spiritual. You really have to get there - and stay there for a while to really let it sink in.

Ayahuasca. Andrew wrote a very, very, very detailed piece on our experience, and in my opinion it's worth the read. It was the best experience of my life, and I recommend for everyone under the sun to try this enlightening medicine. It changed my life, rewrote painful bits of my history, and made me a better person. Click here for some mind-blowing shit.

All, in all, Peru was a highlight. We met so many cool locals who took us under their wings. We befriended a handful of fellow tourists, and we had the most insanely beautiful experience with Mother Ayahuasca. HUGE win.

His: Lima, Peru

Peru was one of those places we’ve always had on our bucketlist…strictly for Machu Picchu, but we put it off our first time around the world because we thought it was overdone or wouldn’t be as good as people say. Just felt a little too “mandatory” as a destination for us, so we dodged it with no regret.

We arrived from Colombia and stayed in Lima for 2 weeks, and ate our way through the city. The food is insanely good, and we ate ourselves physically ill everyday. We had no idea, but Lima is the 3 time and current “Best Food Destination” in the world. http://www.peru.travel/en-au/what-to-do/Peru-of-today/food/awards/worlds-best-culinary-destination.aspx  That says a lot considering that, generally, I’m extremely bored by the food in South America - the flavors are so bland and NOTHING is spicy.  Coming from Jamaica, the land of jerk, basically everything in SA tastes like damp cardboard to me.  But in Peru, and specifically Lima, they do food really well.  French, Italian, Spanish, American, Japanese, you name it - and they Peruvify it; adding in seafoods, lime, incredible chutneys, breads, omm non nommmmm!  Bring your spork and adult diapers when you visit lima.  

Best Places to Eat in Lima:

Sandwiches (all day & late night) - La Lucha

Dinner/Lunch (Heavy): El 10 Carnes Y Vinos (Miraflores)

Dinner (Ceviche/Sea): Punto Azul (puntoazulrestaurante.com)

We partied a fair bit too much, in true A&A nature. One night on the way home from Barranco at around 2am, we were thoroughly marinated and acquired our ceremonial sloppy melty greasy late-night food. We took it to go, cause duh.  As we merrily floated along the sidewalk, we took notice of a guy and girl walking towards us and made a mutual decision (without verbal corroboration) that they need to try our delicious food.  We both start blabbering what was probably incomprehensible, but to us sounded like — YOOOOO YOU NEED TO TRY THIS, IT’S SO GOOD, WALK RIGHT IN THERE, BUY IT, IT’S CHEAP AND IT WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY.  They say nothing as we shout hot breath into the air, but give each other a few looks. Four steps later, we’re face to face and Adrienne offers a bite of her sandwich up into the ether, and the girl looked at us sideways for half a second, just assessing whether or not this was actually happening, and then squared right up and took a monster bite out of it. Bad ass. I love a good stranger with no regard for normalcy. "Ok, bye now!" And off we went home.  Little did we know, we’d meet these people again 2 days later waiting inline at the airport for the same flight, then getting delayed, then just joining in waiting misery together, an hour goes by, our flight get canceled and we discover that the next flight is 24 hours later, then we obviously decided to book an airbnb together and become best friends for life. Big ups Cassidy & Peter! See people, when you feed people, miracles happen.  Next time, give a stranger a bite of your 3am shawarma.

Apart from eat and drink, we visited some old pyramid-like ruins in the middle of the city (yeah, WTF?! pyramid-ish things made of mud bricks from the year ~700ish right in the middle of Lima!!!).  Google Huaca Pucllana, why is this not a thing?

If you’re in Lima, definitely check out John F. Kennedy Park after eating at the greatest sandwich shop in the entire universe, La Lucha (see above), and then put down a few Pisco sours (THE Peruvian Drink) at any adjacent watering hole. I promise you, when you see what we saw, your jaw will drop, and you’ll likely waste a couple of hours playing on the ground wandering around this park.  HUNDREDS OF STRAY CATS.  HUNDREDS.  And not your standard issue eastern Mediterranean mangey wild feline, these are beautiful, well fed and groomed cats…so wtf are they doing here? People don’t want their cat anymore (cause, duh, who would want a cat?  It’s a decision that you’ll regret after 6 months of everything getting peed on.) and the just bring it here and leave it.  And EVERYBODY takes care of these cats, the park is filled with locals petting and sitting with them, feeding them cat food, playing with them.  It’s so weird, but I like it.  It’s like an instant stress reliever when you walk into this part, sit on a bench and 20 cats cuddle up to you for warmth and love.  You finally matter to someone, for this first time if your life, you matter.  Haha. We don’t really like cats (we had to evict one after 8 months of cohabitation in SF a few years back, but we found it a great home where it still is.  We named our cat “Cat,” no joke.)

Go to Lima, eat and drink your face off, and touch cats.  The End.

His & Hers: COCA-Lombia

We never intended on going to Colombia, but we had heard from 75% of the people we’ve met on the road that Colombia was their favorite country to visit. We heard the partying was phenomenal, the people were lovely and the sights were incredible. Three things we really can’t say "no" to. So, we made it first priority when we got back to South America and we definitely struck out.

Colombia was pretty vanilla. You can find the hidden gems, but in our experience, it’s generally not worth going out of your way for. We spent 6 weeks in 3 different cities (Medellin, Bogota, and Cartagena) and all we can say is, its OK. Our biggest mistake was not going into the jungle or villages. We didn’t get to trek into the wilderness due to obvious reasons (werk), but from what we saw and experienced, it wasn’t very flavorful or exciting- from the food to the people to the architecture and nightlife.

We decided to spice things up with some adventure activities and float around the Medellin sky like Katy Perry's plastic bag. We went paragliding at 10AM after just a few hours of sleep and silly amounts of partying. The drive to the gliding point made us both ill, but we survived. Nobody told us we had to walk up the mountain of doom to get there. Evil walk, but we did it. Twenty minutes after we got to the take off spot, we were in the air. We were flying. It was simply magical. We each had great pilots who pointed out historical sites or important Colombian places and when we requested it, did the most bonkers air tricks. There’s really nothing like rapidly and tightly spinning in the air when you’re so high up that you can’t even spot the humans and animals below. It’s like skydiving, but slower and you actually have time to take in the scenery. We flew over the city and hilly greenery for 20 minutes before Andrew realized he was either going to shit or puke on his pilot, so that was the end of that. :)

Paragliding in Medellin, Colombia shortly before @HeyHeyAndrew went Green :)

Paragliding in Medellin, Colombia shortly before @HeyHeyAndrew went Green :)

 

Our recommendation for Colombia: Don’t do what we did. Don’t stay in cities, go out out out and experience the wildlife that we missed. Someday, we’ll give that highly regarded country another go. When we’re not in need of wifi and civilization, of course.

Oh, yeah, you know Pablo Escobar, right? Well, next time you see us, remind us to tell you about our time with someone once associated with the big PE. Also, Adrienne took salsa classes and she’s basically a professional now.

His & Hers: Indonesia- Blessings, Boards, & Aussie Buttheads

Just let me begin by pointing out there’s an obvious reoccurring theme here on AAATTW. We party a lot and we party hard a lot. So, don’t expect any differently ever, but also, don’t expect tooooo much detail as we like to keep a tiny bit of our craziness to ourselves #noneyabusiness. 

We stayed in Bali for 6 weeks, 5 of which were spent on the beach in and around Seminyak, and 1 up in ze jungle in Ubud. We made the mistake of booking our time in Bali during the holidays which means drunken Aussie overload. I’ve always thought Australians were generally decent people, no hate, but that all changed rather quickly. Aussie’s in Bali are painfully loud and rude and repulsive and easily the worst drunks. I don’t have an issue with those four traits, but put them together and slap on the dumbest accent of all time and you have a real mess on your hands.

I recommend avoiding that chaos from Christmas through NYE, by staying far far away from Kuta and Seminyak, unless of course, you're a degenerate avatar who would cheer at a bar for a woman to "show her tits," then you'd be in good company.

The beauty of Bali definitely runs far and wide - we rented a scooter for our entire stay for something like $6 a day, and burned rubber all over that Island.  Changuu, Uluwathu, Ubud, Tanah Lot, all over - cliffs, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, jungles, temples, beaches, other types of beaches, hills, mountains, rice paddies - definitely bring your razor scooter and box of crayons when you come. 

The Balinese follow their own brand of Hinduism for the most part and their temple game is INSANE.  Ohh and even more nuts is how good these people are at crazy ass sculptures - if we're ever rich and have a garden that we need to fill with 20 foot statues of ourselves, this is the place to have them made.  Everyone here seems to be some sort of artisan.

Have you ever burned the bottoms of your feet off by doing something badass like walking over red hot coals?  We haven't, that's idiotic.  But Adrienne was able to melt off the majority of her foot prints vis a vis giant blisters vis a vis walking 300 yards on black pavement on a 100 degree day.  Why oh why did she subject herself to such torture?  Because she woke up one morning, at home, fully clothed, in bed, but without any shoes anywhere to be seen somehow.  And the liquor gods strike again!  The Birkenstock couple was broken and after two hours of foraging - she could not find, and somewhere out there some limited edition, ADM-stank black on black Birkens are floating through the Pacific Ocean.  Randy got to play ancient Chinese nurse and bind her feet in gauze.  Then about 3 hours later, for some ridiculous reason we decided to go up to Potato Head Beach Club.  Me and my cripple-footed wifey.  Is it the same for everyone that when your significant other is severely and recently bandaged up, walking in public with you, that EVERYONE stares at you like - WTF HAVE YOU DONE TO HER?!

We were lucky to have met an incredible couple in Ton Sai Beach, Thailand, who then joined us for a stint in Bali. We rented the most bad ass house (here, for those of you interested) in the middle of rice paddies, in Ubud. We had so much fun racing around on our little motor bikes, come rain or shine. What a beautiful place. 

Hers: Thai Treats & Terrors

I have very few memories of Thailand as I was quite literally blacked out for most of it. We dove right into the chaos the moment we got there and we didn’t come-to until we we left for Indonesia. Seriously, we were even piss drunk for our flight out of the country. Unfortunately, we did not get to dive into the culture in Thailand as we generally do in most places we visit. We have/had sad, sad livers and I’m def missing all the millions of brain cells we murdered. Oh wellsies.

We saw some sights and learned a thing or two, but we mostly just lived like college spring breakers and it was a riot. There are things that happened that Andrew and I will take to our graves because recklessness was the theme of our Thailand Team. Two of Andrew’s friends from home visited us while we were in Bangkok and together we went to Phuket. Andrew, D, and Mix, your secrets are safe with me if mine are safe with you!!! 

A week in Bangkok, then 4 nights in Phuket, followed by a week in Krabi / Ao Nang / Ton Sai, and finally 10 days in Koh Samui.  Wow, that was a lot of chaos.

To briefly preface - Thailand is crazy beautiful.  If you fancy a good beach with crystal clear and WARM water combined with and endless party scene - add Thailand to your list.

In Phuket, we sought out the legendary Sea Kayaking experience through SeaCanoe Thailand. This goes against every single travel rule we have, which is just one: Exercise and happiness do not mix.

Knowing we have a 7am date with the deep blue, naturally we go out hard until 3am, and arrive to the sea kayaking docks sleep deprived, in a serotonin depleted hungover and being forced into exercising...basically the worst trifecta ever. After a long, hard, idk 10 hours of paddling for what felt like was easily 100 or 200 miles, Me and The Roomie were first to paddle into the last cave of the day. Me being in the front had to lay on my back and steer us through the cave by using my hands on the ceiling of the sharp and slimy ceiling. Andrew was paddling behind me in the pure darkness when we both saw several sets of eyes glaring at us. I’m not much of a screamer, but I was absolutely petrified which resulted in screaming and basically a full melt down. In my mind, the eyes could have been anything, crocodile, snake, dragon, sea monster, you name an evil creature and I guarantee you it crossed my mind. We were in pure darkness so when we saw and heard the “eyes” disappear into the water we lost it. We had to keep going as the current was slamming us forward into the cave walls at every bend, and we had our friends and guide in kayaks behind us. Also, there’s no turning around in these tiny little caves. So, onward we went in pure panic mode, urine and poo poo slowly filling up our little yellow seacraft.

At the end of the cave, just like the other caves we visited, was a huge, stunning lagoon. Andrew and I were equal parts relieved and traumatized. Our friends and the guide arrived a few minutes later when we explained our experience. The guide got all giddy and shit and said, “you’re so lucky, you saw water monitor lizards!!” I've never shit my pants and had someone tell me I was lucky before. Oh Thailand, where all things collide. 

Cool, dude. We calmed down slightly, tried to keep our shit together and got as far away from the dragon's nest as possible before getting out of the kayaks for a swim in the incredible lagoon, which is basically the hole of the donut that is the island we're in - walls shooting straight up for idk, a gazillion feet? So we paddle over and then hop out on the guide's instruction - the water's about waste height here. He points and tells me to walk that direction. So, I do it. I walked straight for about 4 steps and then sink down in the water immediately, and I’m up to my knees in death sand, and up to my neck in water, and I freak out all over again. Andrew comes to my rescue and pulls me out. Fuck you, Tom Cruz (obviously the name of our Thai guide :)). A few minutes later we’re having a good time, swimming, chatting, enjoying the breathtaking view when I feel a sharp ‘bite’ on my calf. Again, AGAIN, I freak out, and tears this time as I’m just so fucking overwhelmed. Turns out, Tom Cruz swam behind me and pinched my calf underwater. I’M SO DONE. I wanted to knife Mr. Cruz right in the throat and I get the F out of there. THE END.

Thankfully for $10 massages, which were essentially a daily routine for us in Thailand, serenity was able to return.

Later that night, college roomie "D" wanted a quintessential Thailand experience with the ladyboys. Now now, don't get carried away - he just wanted a picture.  The thing about Thailand that's super weird is that any time you see an incredibly beautiful woman, or a flock of them - fabulously dressed - it's guaranteed to be a ladyboy.  That's just standard operating procedure.  So on the main drag in Phuket, "D" got his shot, and paid $5 for a picture with 4 giant body-builder ladyboys.  Apparently it was supposed to be $5 EACH.  After 11 years of best friendship, we almost lost "D" that night.  DO NOT FUCK WITH THE LADYBOYS.  "D" was inches (pun intended) away from getting jumped by a gaggle of +6'1'' ladyboys.  You see, he only had $5, and the rest of us thought it would be funny to walk away, fast...but upon looking back, 50 meters away, the unmistakable look of sheer fear was plastered to the face of our - 6'3'', handsome, strapping, West Indian friend - no twiggy pushover his own, we decided to sprint back over and save his life.  You're welcome D.  I think to this day he doesn't leave his house without $100 in unmarked legal tender.  I also wonder how he's doing.  D, are we still friends after we almost caused you to get dead?

This is so just the tip of the iceberg of our Thailand experience - it definitely begs a few repeat trips; more Krabi, Chang Mai in the north, and some proper getting lost in the middle of nowhere.  Next time...

His: Myanmar Your Grill

This was our most highly anticipated stop of the trip so far as it’s known to be comparatively unscathed by tourists. We meant to stay for a month, but our trip was very abruptly cut short due to lack of internet connection and the husband of this duo (guess which one that is) needs that inter web in order to rule the advertising world. The 10 days that we had in Yangon were really wonderful, but we missed the best of the best, Bagan and the Inle Lakes.

Visiting Yangon’s pagodas and temples was like spending a week inside Lil’ Wayne’s mouth.  So much damn gold and diamonds on that pinky ring bling bling.  It is absolutely mind-blowing.  It doesn't make any sense at all.  Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon has something like 1,000 shrines all in like less than a square mile and all hypnotically surrounding the pièce de résistance, the Golden Pagoda, towering 105 meters over the skyline, visible for miles around the city.  Not to mention, dozens of other bling blang pagodas and shrines all over this city, including a 65 meter long Reclining Buddha, aka Chaukhtatgyi Buddha Temple aka Netflix and Chill Buddha.  Myanmar is the dirty south rapper of Southeast Asia.  I mean, there weren’t any strippers or Bentleys (that we noticed), but I know they’d be all up in their music video tossing wads of bills, showing off their gold-plated sneakers, and brushing their grills with liquid platinum toothpaste.  Ball so hard Burma, ball so hard.

We ate a lot everyday, but quite aggressively at night. We found a little, shitty street in China Town filled with food carts, rats and cockroaches where we could pick out all of our fresh veggies and marinated meats to be thrown in dirty baskets and grilled in front of us. You should definitely stay in China town & hit up 19th street day or night, plenty of chaos and all of the great Southeast Asian energy that you could possibly soak up.  The food was so delicious that you didn’t even mind sharing your scraps with rodents and dickroaches, or taking the risk of getting food poisoning. Adrienne quickly became obsessed with the ginormous fried grasshoppers and ate 1-5 a night after putting 9-15 Myanmar Beers in her face hole.  Bonus points to Myanmar Beer - under the cap, you win money OR a FREE BEER.  We earned lots and lots of free beers and gave the "money caps" to the little kids roaming about.

BOMB FOOD in Myanmar: Tea leaf salad (looks sketch as it probably comes in a little baggy, but it's awesome), Chia Tea, Meeshay (a Shan dish; rice & saucy meat), and fried grasshoppers obv.

The ornate, massive, golden temples are gorgeous and the people were lovely, but really, the grasshoppers were the real attraction for my little lady. Definitely go to Myanmar - and definitely hit everything incredible that we missed (Bagan, Inle, etc).  This is a home run destination in our little black book.

Oh note to self ya’ll, don’t touch monks and post photos of it on social media. Adrienne befriended a monk one day, and he asked for a photo, he signaled for her to go in for a cuddle while I took the shot. Apparently thats a big no-no and people really like to tell you all about it in a not so nice way. If one of you meanies are reading this, FU! He loved Adri and Adri loved him!!! (insert middle finger emoji)

His & Hers: India, Sensory Overload x1000

We went to India with low to negative one million expectations. I believe, that was the best mindset to be in because let me tell you, there isn’t a single blog, or article or whatever that can properly put that place to words. There’s nothing that can prepare you for your first trip to India, not even months in South Africa, Zanzibar, Kenya, and Egypt…India is its own special form of chaos.… That said, we’re not going to write much about the two months we spent wandering Northern India because we think it’s quite literally impossible to do it justice, as there’s some form of unfathomable mayhem waiting around every corner. A few examples: A) men and children treat even the busiest streets as their personal toilet for #1 & #2 (yes, #2 means poop). It’s mind boggling, the number of times we saw a man holding his winker, relieving himself or children shitting so casually as if their sitting on a private thrown in the comfort of their own home. They squat nicely with their chin in their hands, just watching the world go by while making mud. Our favorite move was when a kid would pull his pants down, and shit standing up while bending over slightly and rocking onto their toes to watch the doo-doo splatter against the ground. I was actually quite happy to know that even the local bodies create liquid poo from the food, and it wasn’t just us. Example B) of chaos… In Varanasi they publicly cremate their dead loved ones (we literally saw flesh drip from bones) on the side of their holiest river, as well as drop bodies that weren’t exactly worthy of cremation (if a dead person was pregnant, or a child, or died from a snake bite or had leprosy, etc. they weren’t allowed to be burned and instead they had rocks tied to them and were taken by boat and dropped into the middle) into the said river where water buffalo bathe and shit and people bathe and clean their clothes, and apparently turtles eat the bodies… Think about it, the same river where bodies are dispensed, burnt to ashes and then brushed into it, is the same river where the people clean themselves….and where the tap water comes from. What. What. What. Example C-Z) Uncontrollable and violent diarrhea, cows everywhere, people everywhere, stinky everything everywhere, 50-100 people per day asking to take your photo, 50-100 people per day trying to take advantage of you, booze is tough to find which obviously sucks, so much color your eyes want to explode, so much noise your ears want to explode, smog like you couldn’t imagine, views that can’t ever and will never get old, same with the architecture, the cutest children in the world, the creepiest adult men in the world, the most wonderful adult women in the world, religious sites that put every cathedral to shame, in-your-face poverty that makes your heart hurt tremendously, the best food ever ever ever, monkeys, stray dogs, tuk-tuks trying to run you over, incredible shopping, super intense and explosive haggling… the list goes on and on and on.

In short (haha), I believe you can use every adjective in the dictionary to describe India.  It’s all of the senses and all of the emotions at once. If that isn’t a mind-fuck, I don’t know what is. I can guarantee you three things upon stepping foot in India; 1) you’ll eat the best food of your life 2) even if you’re the least violent person, you will absolutely contemplate hitting a human or two on the daily while touring the land of India. 3) nothing, I mean nothing, about the way people go about their day-to-day life will make sense to you. 

Lastly, we’re definitely going back again and again. Enjoy the photos from our painful, beautiful, exhausting, exhilarating, rewarding trip to India.  A quick note on some surprises - India has virtually every landscape; snow-capped mountains, frozen deserts, thick forests, never-ending plains, jungles, rolling green hills, hotter than anything deserts, lakes, rivers - and about 100 different ethnic groups, cuisines, and languages.  It would take years to really “see” India…and we hope to.  This is one incredible place.

 

 

 

 

Hers: Cairo, Camels for Spouses

We went to the pyramids (during the day and night) and basically had the whole place to ourselves. Our guide offered us weed and booze and even graciously proposed to purchase me from Andrew in exchange for 2,000 camels. I have no fucking clue why Andrew didn’t barter with him for more, but in the end, no deal was made. Stupid, Andrew- you probably could have gotten him up to 2,007 camels!! Seeing the pyramids was incredible. Like most people, I’ve been dreaming about it since I was a little shit and it was just as magical as I thought it would be.

However, we made the mistake of doing the most uncomfortable and disgusting walk/crawl into a tomb beneath one of the pyramids. Worst idea ever, it smells like someone died in there and then people peed all over it for 4,000 years.  That, mixed with the complete lack of oxygen at 50 feet down a tiny passageway to the tomb, requires you to take full gasps of hot death piss-air.  I can still taste the wiener-water (obviously women didn’t pee down there, men are filthy animals). We rode camels. We're going to have pet camels someday. Fuck dogs. Camels are the new, but much cooler dog. Step your pet-game up. 

Everyone takes mad selfies. For example, at dinner every person at all the tables surrounding us had their phones at arms length for a majority of their meal. Every bite they ate and every sip they took was documented, we counted 20-30 straight selfies taken per session on dozens of occasions.  Seriously people, just strap a mirror in front of your face so you never, ever have to take your eyes off of number 1. Egypt actually won an international award from the UN for the most selfies taken per minute, only to be one-upped by India for taking the the worlds most ridiculously posed boy-band selfies. Where you at, EGYPTIANS!!

We went to a cool little scent shop where I bought “Secret of the Desert” because it apparently gives boys boners. I tested it. It’s true. I was covered in boners.

Nobody in Egypt would accept the fact that Andrew wasn’t a full-blown Arab. Most of the locals we interacted with spoke great English, but insisted on speaking in Arabic to Andrew. We had to have a ten minute conversation with every cabbie, store clerk, or gawker on the street just trying to make them understand that he is, in fact, a product of a white American woman and black Jamaican pirate. A very confusing concept for them.

We celebrated Andrew's Birthday with dinner and belly dancing on the Nile River. A random stranger in the bathroom pushed me to my knees, pulled out my ponytail and perfectly french-braided my hair without a single word exchanged. Awkward, but lovely! 

One night we were laying in bed, chatting, when we heard what we were absolutely certain was a bomb of sorts that shook the entire apartment. We were frantic. Andrew jumped out of bed and looked out of all the windows in our room to find nothing out of place. I was hiding under the covers and refreshing my web search of “Cairo Bomb”, but nothing was coming up. The next day we learned ISIS ignited a car bomb outside a police station, killing at least six people and injuring dozens. We were a bit shaken, but knew we were ultimately safe in the neighborhood we were staying in. Our apartment was near a majority of the embassies and we had to walk by a number of them the following day. On two different occasions guards holding semi-automatics pointed their guns straight at us as we walked past them. After telling a few locals, we learned that they were likely threatened because of Andrew’s ginormous beard. Racial profiling at it’s best. The next day, we were waiting outside a palace for a local friend to meet us when armed guards came and very aggressively questioned us in Arabic, we didn't make it far in the conversation as we obviously didn't speak the same language, and then stood ten feet away from us blatantly staring with their fingers on the triggers of their AK47's, until our friend arrived an hour later. They pulled her aside and questioned her, again aggressively, asking her how she knew us, where we were from, etc. and even asked her to show her Egyptain ID. She said this was the first time in her life she had been even talked to by armed forces. It was strange. It didn't stop there, little things happened, like people calling Andrew Osama as we'd walk by them and such (which has been an incredible common comment on our travels) but it wasn’t the nicest feeling especially after such a horrific event had taken place. We may have been paranoid, but we’re not generally the types to scare easily. so we tend to think we aren’t far off base by stating Andrew was being racially profiled and treated as though he was a potential threat. Note, these things occurred before Andrew opened his mouth. The second the Egyptians realized he was American, jokes and fun-loving banter followed. It was bizarre.

ZE END.

Hers: Lashings in London

We went from Turkey to the US to celebrate my Grandpa’s 90th birthday. We spent two weeks with our families, and it was absolutely lovely. It was strange being back after nine months abroad, so were definitely ready to get back on the road and back to our comfort of the unknown.

We only decided to go to London (AKA land of gnarly teeth and tea), because our flight from home to Cairo had an overnight layover in London, so the ball and chain suggested we extend it to see some friends who live there. I’ll be honest when I say I’ve never been interested in seeing London and I wasn’t impressed with the idea of staying a whole week. Andrew has been there 6 or 7 times and always raved about it, but he doesn’t know shit, so I didn’t listen. Really, I felt like I’d seen enough of it in movies and photos and most people I know have been and that reason alone made it less interesting to me. I’m much more interested in exotic places with cultural differences, warm weather and few to zero hipsters hipstering around like they own the damn city. I put London in the ‘that place is overdone. I’ll go there when I’m old. or never’ category. For the first time ever, I was wrong.

Some of our favorite hood-rats are living in London and each one showed us a different side to their city. We did a few touristy things, but mostly played and played and played in every dirty crack and crevasse built with the stolen wealth of the world (oh, burn). 

Upon arriving to the land of the Queen every woman receives a lavish hat for high tea and men get a jacket with coattails and their teeth painted brown. Horse drawn carriages, black taxis and double-decker buses flood the streets. Every waiter’s name is Alfred. People even smoke cigarettes with their pinkies out. Union jacks are on ev-er-y-thing. There are keg-orators flowing with London Pride on every street corner. People are still being hung, drawn and quartered inside castle walls. Fish and chips for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Andrew got into a sword fight.  We even saw Kate Moss hoof a line of yak on the bar.

Just kidding. London is just another western, big city, but it was beautiful and we had a riot. London was fun-don.

Fun fact, “Street names that sadly no longer exist include Shiteburn Lane, Pissing Alley, and more than one Gropecunt Lane, which as the name might suggest, was associated with prostitution.” - Buzzfeed - (you’re welcome Roy, for quoting your favorite journalism gateway)

His: Istanbul your mouth and Turkey in your ear hole

I find myself laboring a bit over how to talk about Turkey, which is odd, as anyone who knows me will tell you, I can talk for 10 hours about anything, and 40 hours about anything that involves Willard Smith.  But Turkey…how to talk about such a unique and unexpected place briefly…not my forte.  I think Turkey, if anything was a land of curiosities.  So many of the great “world empires” have made their throne or center of commerce in Istanbul and that’s created a totally unique place.  That, also lead to a ton of assumptions that, against our golden rule, I carried with myself into the experience.  All to be broken, this is surely a place of the unexpected.  I’m not going to write this one in crayon though, so I hope you can still understand the tiny black letters.

1.) Most Turks that we met only spoke Turkish.  Wtf?  How is that feasible, given the whole “crossroads” nature of its past and location.  Even most all waiters at restaurants along the primary tourist strip only spoke Turkish.  No Spanish, no French, no English.  This place is one of the top 15 tourist destinations by number of actual visitors in the WORLD every year, but nah, not worth it.  How American of them :).  We still managed to make some really awesome friends there (3 of them spoke a combined total of 14 English words, 5 of which were numbers).  Our entire friendship was based on the efficacy of Google Translate (which is horrible).  GT works way better if you type broken English into it, we learned.  I think my favorite perfectly translated phrase was on our second night in Istanbul when Ad and I were in the back of a car being driven / guided by 2 guys we just met.  They kept driving and driving out of town, we had no idea where they were taking us and the translations were not making sense.  So I just typed in “Your car is nice, I must pee now”  And boom, we pulled up to a bar, wee-weed, regrouped, and headed back home to safety.  If all else fails, make someone think you’re going to pee on their stuff, and everything will be made better.

Other than the basic greetings & banter that Ad and I learned in Turkish, every conversation occurred in slow-mo.  It was like face to face text messaging, or better yet, an AOL IM chat room in real life.  Our entire social world on a dial-up connection.  I’d make a joke in my head, then type it in, and pass the phone around one by one in search of cascading giggles.  You know how you sit there just waiting and you can see that someone’s typing a response (…).  We had the real life version of actually watching them type.  There was an awkward pause built into every single thing someone said, so in effect, there actually wasn’t ever an awkward pause.  Next time you’re on a first date, I recommend typing all words and passing 1 phone back and forth, whilst not actually speaking.  You’ll have so much more time to stop yourself from saying that real dumb thing you always say about how intuitive your cat is. Do it.

2.) Party - These Istanbulians go hard in the paintttt!  The streets are alive until 6am-7am every night, it’s almost impossible to see Istiklal (the main tourist / shopping / bar club strip) street with less than 1,000 people on it.  We had crazy good times with super weird non-English speaking friends that we made.

3.) About 90% of the restaurants made Turkish food only.  I think there’s like 1 Mexican restaurant, and one Thai restaurant per like 19 million people.  Again….what the heck is that about?  We’ve been gone for a few weeks and I’m still shitting out whole Doner Kebaps.  Also, they have a drink that’s just watery unsweetened yogurt…like sour yogurt, and it’s everywhere.  Yeah, sounds terrible, and it is, but I like it a lot.  Ayran = yogurt water and they freaking shower in that shit here.

4.) Modern - they have virtually every modern convenience, that you’d expect in any major city in the US.

5.) Religion - about 90% or so are Muslim, and we were there during Ramadan (Ramazan), which is a month-long religious observation.  It includes fasting every day for the full day - people only eat or drink at like 9pm and then again at around 4am and nothing until the next 9pm.  It’s a pretty intense observation, and I can imagine the power it has to center someone in their life.  All of our friends there were pretty religious, so we had a great opportunity to learn a lot more about Islam, in a true sense, rather than the horrific portrayal that makes its way to most American eyes through the media.  I think an important understanding that we’ve taken away from every destination so far is that all people are more or less the same - no matter your color, faith, cultural background, or anything else, everyone really just wants to put food on their table, have safety and provide for their family, and have fun socializing with others.  When you boil it down, it’s crazy to see how much hate there still is out there at home and abroad towards others they know nothing about and don’t care to understand.  Separation breeds contempt and familiarity breeds compassion.

Adrienne and I did walk away with some honorary Muslim names dawned upon us by our Turkish party buddies at 5am at the end of a long night out though :)  They starting calling me Mohammed, and Adrienne, Fatima.

6.) History - Obviously the history of Istanbul and Turkey is very rich, and the government does an amazing job of holding onto that.  Most places are perfectly preserved, with loads of information available.  I’ll add though, that their history isn’t like, just people living in caves for 5000 years there (they do have that though), but Turkey has history ballin’ out of controlllll.  The palaces are CRAZY ornate $$$$$$$.  Want to impress your next Tinder date?  Buy a palace along the Bosphorus river in Istanbul.

I think one of the coolest parts of this place was being inside of buildings that were like 1500 years old, and caves where people actually lived like 3000 years ago.  They must have used mad super glue.

7.) Landscape - this is a huge country and the landscapes are as varied as the US; Mountains, Desert, Cliffside Coastlines, Urban Centers, Volcanos.  I think Capadoccia was one of the most majestic places that we’ve ever been to.  3 volcanos erupting over like 10k years or something (blah blah “facts”) created this place with some of the most odd geographic formations that I could wrap my kebab-soaked brain around.  For example, there’s a valley where all of the rocks just look like 80 foot-tall dicks coming up out of the ground.  Full tilt chubbies too.  Hundreds of em.

Ok, back to the sand, hookah, and shawerma of Cairo!  

His: Nairobi; the Lexington, Kentucky of Africa.

We had a wild and crazy 2 weeks on the edge of the Great Rift Valley in Nairobi, Kenya.  And for the first time, we actually got to experience an expat community – so many Americans, and by some miracle they were actually all cool people.  One night we went to dinner with 8 strangers who are a hodgepodge little family – they didn’t make sense together but were all-likeable.  Like sitcom likeable, where there’s someone for everyone.  It was actually like Adrienne and I were in Friends.  There was a Ross, a Phoebe, a Monica, and definitely a Joey.  [You know who you are].  This has nothing to do with Nairobi, but since ‘TV,’ I always thought of myself as a Zach Morris.  Thoughts?

Broadly speaking – life in central Nairobi is more or less like life in dozens of modern international cities around the world, but it has just a bit of Africa sprinkled in.  So that means a bit of donkeys, and push carts, and outdoor fruit stands, and crappily-paved roads, and poor kids with no shoes.  Generally speaking, the nightlife was pretty awesome and the proximity to wild adventure makes it a great town to be in, with surprises around every corner.

Day 1 – we met up with a guy that we met on Instagram who took us on a wild ride through Nairobi nightlife.  First, we headed to the “most dangerous neighborhood” in Nairobi for dinner.  Sure, we’re up for it.  Eritrean food (similar to Ethiopian) – wow, just so good.  In American terms, imagine a huge XL-pizza sized tortilla, with like chilli, queso, chicken tikka masala, cheesy potatoes, and mac salad on top.  You wrip off pieces of tortilla then use it to scoop up some goodies.  Disclaimer: it’s not tortilla and none of the above things are on it, but you get the picture of deliciousness.  Go google for some historical accuracy.   You need to try “Shiro.” After dinner, we hit a Country-music bar.  What?!  Mmkay, this should be interesting.  Apparently country music has long roots in Kenya.   The main act “Sir Elvis,” who we refer to as the Black Johnny Cash (cause he’s black and sounds like Johnny Cash), probably played the most amazing country music I’ve ever heard live (ok, fine I’ve only been to one Toby Keith concert ever, but still, he’s awesome).  The attendees; you’d assume were some expat white trash Texans, wearing cowboy boots and 10 gallon hats, spitting on stuff, but no – local Kenyan businessmen and politicians.  To me, country music is kinda made by and for a certain breed, and to see a group of 100 high-class Kenyans listen to a band of 5 other Kenyans singing about running over their dog with their tractor on accident and then driving down the old dirt road to ask Sally for forgiveness for crashing her Chevy when he was driving drunk, because beer, car, girls, tractors, mustangs, sadness, losing stuff, beer, whiskey…was hilarious.

The night was still young, so Ian thought he’d introduce us to Murja and offering only “Want to see something really weird?” as the precursor.  If you know us, then you know there’s only one answer to that question:  Yes, immediately.

Let’s just dive right into this one; Mujra is a several hundred-year-old tradition in Muslim India.  “But Andrew, please tell us more.”  Of course, here goes nothing.  Mujra, can only be described as the world’s shittest strip club.  Now personally, I hate the concept of strip clubs with a passion and I refuse to enter them.  Literally 0 interest whatsoever, ask the 12 guys that came to my bachelor party for prood.  Ok, so what makes it so shit?  1.) The girls are fully clothed at all times.  They’re wearing like the worst dresses you could buy at Dressbarn for a sophomore girl who’s super excited that Timmy Michaels asked her to Senior Prom.  Not revealing at all. 2.) There’s no dancing or sexuality, just 10 girls awkward-walking back and forth from the center of the stage to the edge where the guys are lined up like Meercats.  It was like watching a Beauty pageant for 6 year olds in Northern Alabama.  3.) All of the girls were clearly imported – Nepalese or something.  I’m sure they’re making a ton of money compared to back home, and they’re doing literally nothing to make it, but it felt weird.  When not involved in the lazy stage loitering, two girls sat on a bench at the back of the stage just looking sad and disappointed, before they had to get back up into the “action.”  “Yeah, us too, and your resting bitch face isn’t making it more fun for anyone.” 4.) These Indian guys are going NUTSSSS throwing money everywhere, and just freaking out over it. “Look Baba, you can see her hair!  It is so hair!  Oh my Shiva!”  They’re showering these women in cash for their sad-prancing awkwardness.  Adrienne and I are sitting there just completely dumbfounded, and Ian seemed pretty pleased with shocking us.  So naturally, Adrienne pulled out 100 shillings (about $1.05) and joined in making it rain until we literally almost fell asleep from the boredom.

The rest of our Nairobi adventure included petting and playing with Elephants, Ostriches, Giraffes, and some great expat nightlife – hanging with local celebs, and getting to see Mos Def (Yasiin Bey) in concert, standing about 6 inches away from him.  My Umi said, “that ish was the illest.”

Read Adrienne’s post to hear about our crazy African adventure day into the bush a few hours outside of Nairobi.  That day was everything I wanted from being in Africa.

We closed out our trip with a day at the African Heritage House – one of, or the largest collection of African Artifacts in the world.  The founder and owner is somewhat of a legend in the art world; hailing from Colorado, but having lived in Africa for the last 50 odd years – He’s an awesome soul.  This place was crazy; hundreds of years of art, furniture, and crafts, from hundreds of different cultures in one house.  The owner, Alan Donovan actually had Iman model his jewelry collection, which was her first real modeling gig.  Google “Iman,” if you don’t know – one of the most famous super models of all time.  He’s lent artifacts to tons of movies including one of the most famous movies about Africa, Out of Africa AND gave Adrienne some 30-year-old African earrings made in a traditional way.  I think the house was just added to the list of UNESCO sites, so you know, see it and stuff, it’s great.

Now we’re in Istanbul, people here call me Osama, I’ve eaten no less than 25 Doner Kebabs per day, and we’re going in a hot air balloon in definitely the most insane location I’ve ever seen this week.

Ok, bye.

Hers: Stranded In The Bush, Kenya

I suggest you grab a glass of wine and make yourself comfortable, cuz this is a long one.

Before we arrived to Nairobi, Andrew had made an Instagram connection; Ian Cox. This guy showed us the funniest, most crazy shit Nairobi had to offer. Some stories that will never be put to paper as they will surely come back to bite me in the ass when I run for POTUS. Andrew will give you the PG version of our two-week stay. I’m going to do my best to recap our most ridiculously African day in Africa, ever!

Our new BFF, Ian, took his new BFF Emily, Andrew and myself out to “the bush” for a real “Kenyan experience”.  All we knew about the bush is that there are Masai people and wild animals in the open countryside. The Masia tribe is basically the last, easily-ish accessible and traditional tribe in Africa. They’re known for their red, plaid looking “dresses” and cool ass sandals. People say that these shepherds are (were, maybe?) fearless warriors. We saw some in Tanzania/Zanzibar, but they were Disney-fied for tourists and turned themselves into basic bitches with neon-green Wayfarer sunglasses and the occasional gold tooth. Nairobi is a pretty modern city, but once you drive 15 minutes out, you’re in another world. There are leopards, hyenas, lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, etc. roaming freely. Emily and I started drinking a few minutes into our drive (go ahead, judge the lawbreakers). If there had been a camera recording our drive you would have thought Ian was drinking with us because he drives like a full-blown psychopath.

The roads in the bush, are not roads, they’re just a shitload of holes in the ground that create a large vegetation-less dirt path.  He was going SO DAMN FAST and swerving left and right to dodge the bigger holes. It was sort of like riding one of those shaky, shitty old wooden roller coasters, but worse.  These paths were like the surface of the moon or that crater-faced kid, Pete, from high-school. Anyways, we stopped a few different times to get out of the car and take in the gorgeous scenery of the Great Rift Valley. One time we were sitting idle on the side of the road after taking photos, chatting, when 6 or 7 boys ran up to the car with beaded bracelets and key chains hanging from their fingers. We have NO idea where they came from, as there were no structures, villages in sight, they must have come out of the fucking ground like the worms in Tremmors.  They were sweet, with big, kind eyes, not pushy or moody or whining like other street hawkers we’ve encountered. We bought a few things, gave them some extra money and drove on, Mario Cart style.

We drove through so many gorgeous Masai villages. We passed dozens of beautiful Masai women with their bright dresses, massive beaded necklaces, earrings, and kids tied to their fronts and backs; just walking along the crater roads or sitting under trees. Masai people are relatively stand-offish, so stopping the car near them generally made them run, duck behind trees or just waive their spear/staff thingy in the air angrily. I would never want to upset these guys, they carry a spear/staff and baby sword tied around their waist at all times. We saw Masai kids no older than 10 years old tending to massive flocks of sheep. It was beautiful. It was so, so beautiful.

There were two old Masai men walking along the road with a goat (I'm certain it was a goat, but everyone else in the car called the creature a sheep - but what do they know?) in tow. They flagged us down and slowly walked up to the car as we pulled over with sheer excitement and curiosity. I never asked what Ian said to them in Swahili, but next thing I know they were squeezing into our car WITH their sheep/goat. One of the two Masai’s (we’ll call him Frank) was next to me and the other (Beans) climbed into the hatchback trunk WITH the sheep/goat. I had a very large beer in my hand and several empties in the back pocket of the drivers seat. Frank pointed at the beer in my hand, so I passed it to him not knowing whether or not he even KNEW what beer was. He chugged it, then grinned. So, I handed him a second beer. He downed that one too and then checked the empties, drank the last drops of backwash from each one. I smiled at him like a proud Mother. 

Anyways, we’re all packed into the Subaru, Andrew and I giggling to each other, knowing that whatever was happening next was going to be fantastic. Frank and Beans didn’t speak English, so they would have to lean over me to point Ian in the right direction. These guys live in huts made of cow poo. They’re in the hot sun ALL day with their sheep/goats/cows/donkeys. Those two facts mean they’ve got a funky stench that was undeniably revolting. Their teeth are mangled. They have crazy, long fingers nails, big, stretched out earlobes and they wear, what we would call dresses. Did I mention that they carry a staff/spear and a mini-sword? Yeah, this was quite the site and I think most people would think twice before picking up said hitchhikers, but you could see and sense that they had hearts of gold. So smiley, so cute, but oh, so stinky.

We thought we were just dropping them off at their village, but they invited us to stay. One of their daughters came out. She spoke a bit of English and translated for us. There were a total of 7 people that we got to meet, not including the dozens of furry sheep munchkins that we of, course had to chase, catch and hold. The flies were EVERYWHERE. We were COVERED in them. I have family who own large farms, so I’ve experienced fly mayhem, but nothing like this. It was quite unpleasant, and of course Andrew was freaking out (he doesn’t like when bugs touch him), but we were so infatuated with these people and their way of life that it made the fly hell totally worth it. Frank’s daughter, we’ll call her Ketchup, was sneaky and asked us for money in order to get a tour. Whateva, this experience was priceless. We all squeezed into a poo hut, where there was a small fire going, but it was mostly black as night inside. There were a couple of tiny stools, a bed/ledge made out of poo and hide and a second poo poo/hide bed in the next “room”. The smell wasn’t as bad as you would think, considering we were basically sitting inside a mound of dung up to 100 years old. Also, there were no flies in our poo house, so Andrew finally stopped having panic attacks. Emily was sitting on a poopy bed next to Frank and Beans. Me and Andrew we standing/nealing next to Ketchup, Franks wife (Mustard) and their tiny, but fat baby (Pickle). There was another kid (Onion, he had attitude so his new name is quite fitting) who was darling, but looked at us as if we were aliens. We all sat with smiles on our faces, but in complete silence. I think we were in awe of our current situation and the way the day had started to unfold. After awhile it became apparent that we were overstaying our welcome, so we all hugged, took some photos together, got into our car and drove onto our next adventure. We were high off the experience we just had together. Ian continued to drive like a jackass. Emily and I were starting to get tipsy and giggly and Andrew was taking every opportunity to poke fun of us, per usual. It was SO grand.

After a couple more hours of crazy driving, drinking, scenery admiring, we made it to the Lake Magadi. Magadi is a salt/soda lake. It looks like a frozen over lake, but pink. Pepto Bismol pink. There were dozens of men shoveling the soda (idk, just google it) into big thick lines. If you took an aerial shot of what was going down, it would look like a bunch of ants using tiny, itty bitty shovels to make thick lines of cocaine ready for a dollar bill and a schnozzle. Emily took a dance on the lake even though the workers forbid us from touching it.  Probably because its acidic, poison, moist, anthrax.

Ten minutes later we got to a portion of the lake that was regular water, rather than pink anthrax and it was riddled with flamingos. This was the first time I’ve seen wild flamingos. Actually, I’ve never even considered that wild flamingos existed. Those are some stupid ass looking birds. Watching them fly in flocks is the most bizarre thing. That said, I’ve developed a small infatuation with those pink, awkward dummies.

Two minutes after that we stumbled upon wild zebras and wildebeests. The termite hills everywhere were ten+ feet tall and while you know what nasty, bitey, bugs are inside, they still look majestic. We saw some weird looking horned animals and other furry creatures I didn’t know existed.

Twenty minutes later we were at the hot springs part of this massive lake. We all got out of the car once again, but this time to dip our toes into a multicolored hole in the ground. We took off our clothes with the idea of submerging ourselves, but it was hotter than hot, so we just skated around the slippery rocks, coming inches away from falling to our scolding death. We all looked at the car and complimented it on making it through hours of evil treatment from the rabid-driving, careless, heartless owner. Andrew actually said, wow, after that ride out here, with that thing still standing and no flat tires, this day could be a Subaru commercial… Yeah, a commercial about how to ruin everything.

At this point I’m buzzed enough that the memory of the following events are a bit spotty. From what I recall, we all got dressed and hoped into the car, Ian turned the key and tik, tik, tik, nothing... We laughed and laughed at the irony of what we just said (Why didn't I knock on wood this time?!) until we realized we’re in the middle of fucking nowhere and the sun was setting. We were parked in a massive dry lakebed and looking around as it got darker and darker- it was a bit surreal. Emily and I had our doors open, with our feet hanging out the open windows, we quietly mocked Ian for pretending to know what he was doing under the hood of the car and made fun of Andrew for sitting there, watching Ian, doing absolutely nothing (I think he was waiting for Ian to have him hold something. Andrew's more of a "tool holder" than a fixer.), as she and I shared the last beer we had. Honestly, the lack of beer was our only concern. We were stuck in the bush, where leopards and lions and hyenas live and that was fine. But we didn’t have any beer. We had water and a few chocolate truffles, whatever, water and chocolate…. But, again, no beer.

Well, after an hour of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb touching parts on the car trying to look like they’re fixing stuff, the sun finally went down. We sat in the complete darkness, several miles from the last town, slowly accepting the fact that we’re going to sleep out there.  The sky was beautiful, filled with stars, it was really pleasant.  Then the hyenas started howling or barking or whatever they do that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand.  Also, with the buzz now wearing off….mmkkay, maybe sleeping not here sounds a bit better than sleeping here. 

After an hour of sitting in the pitch black, with manhood defeat completely accepted by the guys, we decided to give her another shot. “Let’s try to start it again, why not? This time, turn the lights off first.”  Rev, rev, vroom, vroom, OH MY GOODNESS, WE’RE SAVED, well,  that's if we make it home without Ian finally crashing the car.  I kinda wish we would have been stuck out there and maybe someone got a hand or leg bitten off by an African beast. We’re traveling around the world in search of adventure after all, I’m willing to sacrifice a few of Andrew’s body parts for a good story to bring home.

45 minutes later, we made it to electricity!  We stopped in the soda town, picked up more beer (our third beer run of the day) and headed for home.

We saw striped hyenas (apparently those are more rare than regular hyenas- Ian peed himself with happiness). We got stuck in a traffic jam as there were one billion donkeys sleep-standing in the middle of the path. At that point, we thought it was a good idea to get out of the car and try to catch one. Emily got close once, but we gave up when I stepped in a steamy pile of shit, and went back to the car as failures.  We drove back to Nairobi with our spastic driver, ate the worst meal of our lives at some random fried chicken joint and headed out to the Subaru to finally go home, 6 hours after originally planned.  We made it across the parking lot and finally, as expected, our trusty old Subaru had that flat tire that Ian basically worked really hard on getting all day. Of course. Seriously, Ian, you’re the worst car owner in the world. The worst.

The next morning we replayed the day in our heads and we couldn’t get the smiles off our faces. What a perfect day of madness and adventure in Kenya. Thank you Ian and Emily for being so fun and carefree with us. We love you both!

 

 

 

Hers: Zanzibar-ing Like F'n Bosses!

We’ve had a few adventures here and all of them have been interesting, to say the least.

The owner of our hotel recommended that we check out these “really cool” coral caves. So, we took our favorite mode of public transport here called ‘Boda Boda,’ which is riding on the back of a shotty motorcycle taxi. We got to the check-in point of the caves after driving 20 minutes on tiny, rocky paths through a jungle-like forest. We finally pull up with broken asses and there was no sign, just one guy sitting in a hut to welcome us to this “tourist attraction” who said “Jambo!” (Hi) and then handed us two flickering flashlights. He walked us through the forest until we got to a staircase going into the ground. It looked very civilized at first until we got to the point where we could no longer see the light from the entrance.

I shit you not, the very moment we were in complete darkness all hell broke loose. I consider myself pretty brave. I don’t scare easily besides from movies like The Ring or The Grudge, two movies that still haunt me to this day and I literally break down in tears when my d-bag husband makes the same sounds as the little demon child in The Ring. Worst sound ever, and he always threatens or bribes me with it! Besides that, I’m cool in dark spaces where it’s ideal for murders to capture and kill you. Anyways, we were walking through this pitch-black cave while the guide tells us the history of the cave and blah, blah, blah. I pointed my strobe light to the ceiling and I’ll admit, I wasn’t impressed with the hundreds of upside down hanging bats above us. They were silent and still for a moment and then they went ape-shit. They dive-bombed us repeatedly while screeching. “Bats wont hurt you” our guide said, “there’s no reason to be afraid of them”. Dude. Shut. Up. Andrew was walking behind me and I see his flashlight shine at my feet where the ground is properly moving. I actually had to remind myself that we didn’t take LSD or mushrooms before this excursion because there should be no other reason for the floor to crawl. I peer down to get a closer look, Andrew must have done the same thing at the same time, because we both screamed bloody murder. There were dozens of spiders the size of my whole hand, not my palm, my entire hand with my fingers spread wide. They had FANGS. They had big, fucking vampire-like fangs. We all know fangs = murder. Andrew jumped onto a boulder and I scrambled to hop on our tour guides back. I wrapped my arms and legs around him and begged him to run. He was giggling. The motherfucker was giggling at us. He informed us that they are poisonous, but they wont hurt us. That sentence made zero sense in my head and I wasn’t buying it. “Please, please turn around. I want to go back.” Homeboy walked onward into cave-hell with me still on his back as I sure as shit was not putting my feet down. There was another 25 minutes of this madness until we got to a point in the cave where we had to crawl on our hands and knees to continue. I said a few choice words to our guide and he turned us around. I couldn’t see the look on his face as I was still piggy backing on him, but I’m pretty sure I scared him more than this demon house scared me.

We’ve gone on walks through forests with dozens of monkeys who would climb trees and jump inches away from our faces and just peer into our eyes as if we were the animals. Idiots.

We took Boda Bodas to far away beaches where men build big, beautiful boats with their hands using handmade wooden drills and rocks as hammers. Cute little unsupervised kids playing on the beach and swimming in the water would run up to us and ask us to take their picture. Right as we’d lift our camera to our face they would scold us and say, “NO PAY, NO PHOTO”. Little shits totally tricked us.

We’ve been sailing a few times in the turquoise waters on the aforementioned boats. On one pre-historic looking boat-sailing trip, our Captain randomly jumped out onto the reef and asked us to follow him.  After walking through waist-deep water, dodging thousands, no millions of spiky Sea urchins, we found dozens and dozens of starfish in every color you can imagine. I tried to stuff some in my bathing suit, but their little feet things were tickling me too much. I read somewhere  that starfish can tickle you to death, so I didn't want to take any chances. Yes, i know its shocking that I read, I just skip over the words with six letters or more. I'm basically a speed reading legend.

We took a boat taxi to Prison Island where many, many giant tortoises roamed around freely. There were several that “stood” up to my waist, but all of them were over 100 years old and shockingly massive. We fed them, pet them, pretended to ride them and I was in heaven. If you kneel down and massage the skin in between their front legs, neck and shell they stretch their seemingly short necks out really tall like a growing penis. Ew, wieners are gross. Not these turtles though, they were cute as hell. When we arrived, one of the monstrous male turtles (tortoises? same thing) was mounting a much smaller female turtle and making the most horrific noise my poor, innocent ears have ever heard. She was casually eating lettuce as if nothing was going on top of her the entire time he was going to work, mouth-breathing on the back of her neck. I obviously got photos and videoed the worlds slowest sex scene. If you’re one of the people that I like making feel dirty all over, you’ve seen said video and heard the noise that I can only describe as…. actually, I can’t describe it. You’ll have to go there and hear for yourself. Anyways, I could have stayed there all day, despite the rape-y sex scene that has forever changed my idea of the phrase, “humping like an animal”. 

THE END! LATA! 

 

His: Zanzibar - The Lion King will never be the same!

Zanzibar!  The exotic spice capital of East Africa, homeland of Freddie Mercury (I see a little silhouetto of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?), and tropical paradise is our home for 6 weeks.   

Zanzibar is a unique Island – on its own, it was colonized by the Portuguese and British of Europe along with the Omans of the Middle East – sprinkle in some Indians and SE Asians for the spice trade and mainland Africans for the slave trade.  Everyone's had their greedy little fingers on this strategic port and everyone’s left their mark.

The architecture is heavily Arab, Indian, and British (based on no facts, just cause I says), and the food, deliciously so, seems to pull roots from India and SE Asia for the curries, Africa for the stews, Portuguese for the golden-fried balls, and the Indian Ocean for the oh so delicious fresh seafood. 

The people are 99% Muslim and probably a similar ratio of African decent vs. the Arab, Indian, and European populations.  Swahili is the primary tongue – Hakuna Matata anyone?!  Yup, “No worries” is real, and everyone says it.  Also Rafiki’s “Squash banana, Asante sana” is “Squash banana, thank you very much.”  Fortunately for us, most everyone speaks pretty good English here.  One Swahili phrase that I've learned "Lala Salama" means goodnight, or literally, peaceful sleep and since I haven't learned "Goodbye," it's how I saw goodbye to everyone.  Middle of the day to your waiter?  Yup, "Sweet dreams!"  I recommend that you part ways with a "Sleep well" every now and then...people will think you're REALLL weird, and it's good for the soul.  I love getting their bewildered looks, or whatever the equivalent to "WTF?" is in Swahili.  It's my special moment.

There’s only one city on this island – Stone Town, which is right in the center on the Western coast, and the Island spreads out about an hours’ drive North, South, and East from there. 

Now, I kind of glazed over it, but given that this is a Muslim society – the women here are covered from head to wrist to ankle.  Most leave their faces uncovered, but every now and then you’ll see nothing but a thin streak of exotically styled eye shadow atop of a majestically flowing floor-length dress.  It’s mysteriously elegant.  In Stone Town, most of the women wear all black with some bedazzles here and there, but in the villages, almost all of the women wear these incredible colorful, printed fabrics from head to toe.  Seeing a group of 10 women walking down the road is like eating a 64-box of crayons while riding a My Little Pony over a rainbow to hang out with the Care Bears.  Color explosions and I love it.  Of course, fitting-in makes quite the wardrobe challenge for Adrienne – as you know, we live out of little backpacks. Yay, shopping! 

Stone Town is a winding maze of alleyways no more than 6-7 feet in width, full of walkers, bicyclists, scooters, and tiny cars (one direction at a time) zipping by that you constantly have to dodge for fear of murderation.  It really made me feel like Aladdin, hopping through the bazaar running away from the police for an apple…an apple. 

One jump ahead of the hoofbeats, One hop ahead of the hump, One trick ahead of disaster, They're quick, but I'm much faster!

Many of the men wear Shalwar Kameez (I bought one, photos coming soon :) ), which is proper Arab attire (primary dress for Afghanistan and Pakistan, but worn throughout the Middle East and North Africa) and the women, as noted, are all covered – save the 2-3 tourists that you’ll bump into.  For the first time, we REALLY feel like this ain’t Kansas anymore, and I fit in WAYY too well with my massive, perfect, not weird at all beard.

Stone Town is electric – constantly abuzz with great energy, and everyone’s on their game with something to sell.  Supermarkets, department stores, and really stores in general are an obscure concept here.  This place is for hangling, this place is for street sales.  You buy fresh fruits, next to cigarettes, next to shoes, next to fresh fish, next to cell phones, next to toys, side by side on blankets on the ground or small tables on the side of the street.  Ohh the mad, mad, chaos of the market – hundreds of people elbow to eblow, touching skin, wheelin’ and dealin…my personal nightmare.  This is nothing like Amazon.com.

We’ve discovered the best soup in the world here – Urojo, or “Zanzibar Mix,”  and best juice – Sugarcane Ginger Lime (freshly pressed street-side of course).  Urojo ruined my life.  It’s like Chinese hot and sour plus Japanese Ramen, plus Brazilian-spiced grilled beef, plus the water left over from a crawfish boil, plus tortilla soup.  Tangy, salty, meaty, liquid paradise.  It’s the only thing that I couldn’t resist eating crazy fast that it got all up in my beard, and I just didn’t care.  Long (beard) hair, don’t care! (Apparently beards have poop in them?)

Once you leave the little city, you get an instant taste of rural Africa.  Teeny tiny little villages dot the pseudo-highways where people live off of the land – literally, just what they farm or fish.  Most people have no electricity, running water, or for that matter, rooms and doors in their homes.  Cinder blocks are the primary building material, coupled with sheets of corrugated steel or thatched palm leaves for roofs.  Most of the people here survive off of around $3 per day, and eat the same simple foods for every meal.  We’ve seen a lot of city-poverty in our lives and travels, but it was a completely different experience to witness rural poverty.  The people seem content with their lives – it’s how they’ve lived forever, and maybe they’ve never even been to the city and they have no idea what else is out there?  

White sand beaches run the lengths of most of the coasts here and the handful of resorts that dot the coast are dwarfed in number by the little huts of the local villages.  If you want a real beach holiday escape that isn’t gentrified and Disneyfied – you’ve met your match.  On Zanzibar, you get raw, real life. 

Our hotel sits on a little cliff and our 150-yard walk to the beach cuts directly through one of these villages.  Dirt floor homes, no doors, a single well where water is gathered by dangling a bucket down with a rope, and unsupervised infants playing with sharp objects everywhere.  There’s almost nothing inside of these little houses, I know for a fact, because there are mostly no doors and I have wandering eyes.  Sorry I’m not sorry fo creepin’! 

We’ve been fortunate enough to connect with half a dozen of the locals that live in this village – only men, oddly – which may be a cultural thing, but they’ve been wonderfully welcoming to us.  We’ve gone sailing on their hand-carved 30 year old wooden boats, watched them making crafts, learned about their families, and even got a sneak peek (from afar) at an awe-inspiring wedding celebration.

We’ve had many an excursion here, from snorkeling to walking on coral reefs, to monkey spotting in the rain forest, to mangrove swap wandering, to Giant Tortoise touching, to perma-culture farm exploration, coral-cave wandering, bat-dodging and textile shopping – Zanzibar is full of stuff to do.  Oh yeah, and I can’t forget – eating coconuts every day and drinking exotic fruit juices that only grow here!  Coconuts is my JAMMMM.

Zanzibar, you’re a really odd, spicy, mixed up, beautiful, and mysterious place.  It’s African, and Muslim, and Western, and Middle Eastern, and Christian, and Indian, and Asian, and English, and Swahili, and Rural, and Urban, and Impoverished, and Paradisey.  It’s like someone took the soft serve ice cream of life and rolled it in all the toppings before covering it in maple syrup and taking a bite.  Like, you know how sometimes you’re craving chocolaty, so you get cookies n cream ice cream, then add Butterfinger, graham crackers, and chocolate syrup, but sometimes you’re feeling fruity, so you get Cotton Candy ice cream and add gummy bears and Sour Patch Kids?  Yeah, Zanzibar is all of the toppings on all of the ice cream.  Weird and mismatched, you never know which flavors will come in the next bite, but all together it’s oddly delicious.  

Bye!

 

Hers: South African Safaris, Wine Country, Momma Bear and the Best Week Ever

My family is known to be random and spontaneous. That said, my mom booked a flight to visit us from Michigan, USA (for those of you who have never heard of Michigan, which I'm learning most people haven't, it's about 8.5 thousand miles away from here) NINE days before her arrival. It was the best surprise of my life (outside of Andrew popping the ol' 'will you be my roommate forever' question and my sister telling me she was pregnant with my god son). Mom showed up and we drove straight to Stellenbosch, the very famous wine country of South Africa. I couldn't even begin to explain how beautiful it was, but let's just say it makes Napa Valley, California look like that weird skin right in between the ball sack and butt hole, AKA the grundle. One of our favorite South Afrikaners was our DD and he showed us all the sights and best "wine farms." We got nice and buzzed and made fools of ourselves at the last stop before we went back to a cute little hotel in the area. Mom and I met a bunch of girls in the hotel bar and without much thought behind it agreed to hit the town with them. Turns out one of the girls was the devil in human form, but we still danced our booties off and showed the kids of the area how to party. Seriously, we did.

WAY too early the next day Andrew drove us and our raging hangovers to the greatest place on earth, Inverdoorn!! It's a gucci little resort/lodge on a massive safari where all of my hopes and dreams came true. You know what happens on safaris and I'm sure you've seen one or two National Geographic photos, but there isn't a single picture in the world that captures the emotion and the intensity of seeing these wild animals roaming in their natural habitat. 

The safari was founded to basically fund their business of saving cheetahs orphaned by poachers, farmers, or from terrible people breeding them in horrific conditions and selling them to assholes in Dubai who think the beauties belong in a tiny cage on show at their home. The staff at Inverdoorn have the "orphaning" process down pat. They put the cheetahs in huge fenced in areas and monitor their hunting and basic habits from afar. Once the cheetahs prove to be capable of hunting on their own they are freed into the wild in various places in Africa where the cheetah population is diminishing, which apparently is basically the entire continent.

We were up close and personal with lions, white rhinos, elephants and their scary big wieners, giraffes, zebras, springbok (most delicious animal I've ever eaten, ever) and many other native African animals. It was magical. We went on an evening safari and an early-as-hell in the morning safari. Seriously, I am not meant to be coherent before sunrise, but it was beyondddd worth it. All of our meals consisted of multiple courses and divine South African wine. We ended our stay at Inverdoorn with a Cheetah interaction. We watched a cheetah who will soon be freed run at full speed to catch a rabbit. His grace at 70 MPH was un-fucking-believable. 

We met VELVET, a cheetah who was found as a kitten in a dirty little bathroom with two of her brothers (one of which died from malnutrition the night before the Inverdoorn staff was to pick them up). Velvet's tail was kinked from being slammed in a door, so she was unable to be released back into the wild as the kink messes with her balance. That actually prevents her from turning or stopping properly while she runs fast as hell in order to catch her prey - basically, she would starve to death. So, they hand raised her and now she's constantly pampered and loved on by the incredible staff. Mom, Rands & I were able to spend a couple of hours with her and it was nothing shy of incredible. I was in shock and awe by her elegance and beauty. She was so regal and if I ever have children, I hope they're cheetahs.

I can honestly (honestly HONESTLY hon-est-ly) say that being with Velvet was the most inspiring experience of my life. Working with these animals would be a dream come true. A big part of the reason I want to move to Cape Town after our travels is so I can do an internship at Inverdoorn. The big question is, will my future teacup pig and my cheetah children get along? To be continued...

His: ZA- Ubuntu Fo'eva

ubuntu (noun) : an African philosophy based on the belief that one's humanity towards others is the essence of being human and that one's personal identity is defined by one's community.  The belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all people.

Ubuntu is a beautiful word with a simple meaning that’s also sewn throughout virtually every religion, ethnic group, language, and culture.

  • Ubuntu = Good for you, me, everyone, earth 
  • No Ubuntu = Bad for you, me, everyone, earth

This post is going to be a bit different from the standard airy, random, brainiarrhea that you normally get from me, but don't worry - some more of that is soon to come!  This is actually my first time writing long-form since December!  Thanks for keeping the blog happy Adrienne!

Ok so now to rip off that bandaid;

In South Africa, they have these things called Townships.  Townships are official or unofficial settlements (slums) of hundreds or thousands of people with little to no infrastructure (maybe no roads, running water, electricity, safety).  So a bunch of tin & wood shanties haggled together into dwellings filled with immigrants, refugees, and locals without even the most meager of monetary savings or physical possessions.  Also, no Apple Watches.  If your visual image is Slumdog Millionaire with less curry, you got it.  Many of these people will work their way out of it, and many will live a full life there, in what Westerners would consider; constant, unfathomable struggle.  Township life is hard and filled with stresses of the unknown.  

There’s poverty and suffering of all types back in the US, but not quite like this.  They’re people who’ve escaped regional wars, political persecution, religious oppression, lack of food / clean water, or lack of any work opportunities.  They’re your waiters, house maids, taxi drivers, grocery store clerks, gardeners, gas station workers, construction workers, “car guards,” cooks - just normal folks that we interact with every day.  They’ve been some of the most loving, gracious, kind, and accommodating people that we’ve met here. 

We peel back the layers in a quick chat with someone that’s serving us and we learn that they're living in a Township, unable to return to their home country because it's too dangerous and there's no work there.  Beautifully though, they consider themselves to be living a better life in the Township than where they ran away from.  The Townships are better than something, much better than many things, actually - things that I honestly cannot comprehend...

Meeting these folks has really put the phrase;

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about

into perspective for us.  I’ve carried that quote with me for years, but chatting with folks here, learning about their stories and where they came from, even just 6 months ago has blown my mind.  Now, I’m not trying to run you through a sob story to make you feel bad about your more fortunate station in life - if you're reading this, you already know that you're better off than most in this world.  Yes, they struggle immensely, but this piece isn’t about you and them, it’s about Adrienne and me and them, and separately, it's about you and the people that are around you right now, tomorrow, and the days ahead in your life.  Our recent experiences have been a catalyst for us to realize something that we want to carry around in the front of our minds; compassion.  Compassion for the people that we interact with day to day, and for those afar.  Greater than sarcasm, greater than talking down to someone, greater than resentment, greater than jealousy, greater than anger, and greater than patronizing someone; is practicing compassion for someone.  It's better for you and everyone around you.  Compassion is always the best action when you slow down and think about what you know nothing about (referencing the quote above).

A few weeks ago I posted on Instagram about noticing people who go unnoticed.  Asking your waiter how his day was, making a joke with the lady at the DMV, adding that extra smile, or personal question in a business meeting, or hey, giving a homeless person $15 instead of $0.15.  I think we too often treat each other like machines.  Walk up, stick in a quarter, retrieve Skittles, carry on.  This just kills us when we consider the battles they could be fighting, or the battles that we actually know they’re fighting.  We’re all people, we’re all the same, but we ignore the unknown battles...do we really just not give a shit?  Is it just not our businesses?  When and why did ignoring become the norm?  

I think noticing should be the norm.  Ignoring is the opposite of Ubuntu. The antithesis of community and the nemesis of compassion.  Don’t get me wrong, I struggle with this every day - I think we’ve been rewired to only focus on ourselves; on our own shortcomings and therefore our own needs.  Adrienne and I are trying to change this in ourselves - we don’t want ‘ignore’ to be our default mode.  We want to be more aware of and compassionate towards others every day.

I'm not saying that we all need to drop everything we're doing, and give away all we've got to help someone else (though that would be an interesting experiment).  All I'm talking about is making compassion your default feeling.   Adrienne and I are working on letting compassion play a larger role in guiding our interactions with others and we can't wait to see where it leads us.

There’s a township in Cape Town called Imizamo Yethu that we've passed a handful of times in our commuting.   Imizamo Yethu actually means “In collective struggle, we thrive” which is heart-wrenchingly beautiful considering their circumstances in the Township.  I actually feel like it’s humanity’s story too, not just theirs.  No one can thrive in this world alone, forget thrive, no one can survive in this world alone.  Imizamo Yethu isn’t for the impoverished, it’s for us all. We all have problems, in fact; “mo money, mo problems” and we’re all in this together.