My High’s & Lows of Attending Afro Punk Festival

 

I’ve been to Afro Punk Festival twice in Brooklyn. Recently, I seen SZA, Solange, Willow Smith to top it off, but I also connected with some amazing people this year that made the festival that much more fun. Commuting from Boston to New York itself can be a pain due to traffic, passengers being too loud, eating smelly foods on the bus, stinking up the bus, bus being pulled over due to sleeping at the wheel (yes this happened) and also sexual harassment (A girl on the bus was touched by a man who was drunk & taken by the police one night). I just never know what I’m dealing with when it comes to taking the bus to New York. So I try to hype myself up before going because I know the moment I touch ground, I’m not eating. Literally, no time to, ever. I either eat late or not at all because room service stops at 11pm or everything in Manhattan is closed, or nothing thats appetizing for a person that has acid reflux is available. It’s pizza, or you have to walk blocks down just for Mcdonalds or a random pub that sells shitty appetizers. I’m not sitting down in a hotel for a 25.00 burger or going to bother opening up a bag of chips because it’s just a tease to not being able to eat real food nearby after a long day. Brooklyn will be my choice of stay btw from now on when I go for Afro Punk Festival because of the food being cheaper, better and more available. I usually stay busy no matter what the reason is for my visits in New York because it usually consists of media work or leisure fun that turns into work (vlogging). So I usually have a list of priorities the moment I get to New York because stores open a little later around 11:00am and close around 7:00pm in say, the SOHO or just midtown area.

The day of Afro Punk Festival is pretty chaotic in the beginning. Its ALWAYS hot the day of the festival and the drop off location is randomly in the middle of traffic in front of the park, so planning for a pick up and drop off spot where it’s out of the way of traffic and crowds is key to being stress free when you arrive or leave. The actual Afro Punk Festival app actually has suggestions/tips like that. People are waiting in line, the music is blasting in the background, everyone is looking good and dressed for the occasion waiting to finally get in past security. The smell of weed and smoked sausages from the food trucks is in the air and you just get this vibe that it’s about to be lit when you make it in, until you struggle to find which stage your fav artists will be on and at what time. Everyone is there for the same musicians for the mist part, the big timers. So unless you’re in VIP or even that, be sure you make your way to the stage 20 minutes before the artist is due to hit it. It sucks when your favorite artists are performing back to back because you have to leave one of their shows early, but at least you get to see them right? Everyone will be rushing over trying to get to the front and if you do want to be as close up as possible, be sure you have your goodies!

What I mean by goodies, I mean your water, a snack, your blunt and alcohol. Once you’re up front, there ain’t no turning back because people aren’t the happiest when asked to move in the tight crowd while their fav musician is performing. I’ve had people suck their teeth, roll their eyes, have attitudes all because I wanted to leave, I asked politely and smiled lol. But also there needs to be more water stations because I couldn’t find not one and nor did anyone else know where they were for the two times that I’ve been. I had to ask and cut a lot of people to get a bottle of water in a food line because I was so dehydrated that I almost fainted. My mouth was so dry! But yes, water is needed all day. Walking up to people and taking their pictures is also fun because it’s an opportunity to showcase your talent on both ends as a photographer and as the well expressed dresser. Dressing comfortable is a priority for me over style when I visit festivals because lets be real, I’m not leaving early for the sake of my shoes looking good and not for what they actually are capable of providing, which is comfort. I might wear something most likely from Urban Outfitters like a wrap dress or levi high waisted shorts and a tank with some regular flat sneakers or toms. My hair is what I aim to be on point and a minimalistic look with makeup because who likes to have sweaty makeup on all day in the heat? Not this girl! No big bags, just a small shoulder purse was fine for me.

JUST recently when I went, Solange was about to perform, I have VIP just for Saturday btw. I had to leave SZA’s set early for Solange but was okay wth that since I seen SZA live in Boston the night before. I rushed to see Solange and as I’m squeezing to the middle, because it’s already crowded, a girl in the background that I past, got mad and said she bet I wasn’t a real Solange fan and that I’m only there because she’s Beyonce’s sister. Now, she didn’t know me and I didn’t bump into her. The show didn’t even start yet. So what was that remark for? And how does one know how long I’ve been a fan of Solange? Which happens to be since her debut album Solo Star in 2002. I’ve been a stan since day 1 and what is funny is that, I sung all of her old songs from her ‘True’ EP and it was dead silent from her and her hating posse. I was living for that moment! I was shaking my hair, moving my hips, arms in the air and singing each and every single song while they didn’t know not a single word. So that’s why I didn’t clap back at her the first time because I knew I was a fan, I knew I was going to know every song, so there is that. That was a highlight for me because I shut her doubts up.

I learned something new each time I went and I’m sure I will continue to discover more lessons when attending Afro Punk Festival. I will say I enjoyed the acts a lot more this year than 2 years ago.

 

Kith Treats Cereal Bar In Manhattan, NYC

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I decided to visit Kith Treats, a cereal bar in Manhattan to have great experience with cereal and sneakers. I sat down with keenan who works at Kith Treats and he gave me the rundown on everything that I needed to know.

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Kith started out as a sneaker store and then Kith Treats opened August 2015 and it has picked up a lot of momentum when it came down to sports and cereal which is what a lot of people can relate to in America and around the globe. They have done a lot of different collaborations with different brands and athletes. They have worked with people like Scotty Pipen and Victor Cruz who is within their inner circle and close with. Besides collaborating with Nike, Kith has also collaborated with Puma and Adidas. Now a year later, in August 2016, Kith Treats has done a couple of pop ups in New York in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn. They have a few other projects in the works that will be a game changer.

Ronnie, the owner of Kith is a known cereal lover and it has always been his goal to develop a cereal bar as a child. He decided to channel his inner childhood and make that goal happened, and business has been booming ever since. Right now there are 23 different types of cereals to choose from. In the beginning, they were trying out different types that didn’t make the cut, so the swapped out some and then integrated new flavors that the customers would find more appeasing. When artists and athletes visit Kith, their inner childhood comes out as well. Everyone, no matter where you’re from can relate to cereal and it will always be something that can make a person feel excited about because most kids had cereal growing up. Celebrities aren’t celebrities the moment that they walk through the doors of Kith Treats. Nothing is better than creating a medium or something as relative as cereal for people to enjoy in a unique experience such as at Kith Treats while being interested in sneakers.

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Kith provides milkshakes and a mixture blend of ice cream as well. They have more projects in the works for its customers with new treats, that’s something to look forward to. The relevancy between sneakers and Kith is that they stay connected to sneaker culture by providing a memorable experience for customers. Having access to the latest trend while eating cereal out of a sneaker box. The cereal box has two housings that hosts the cereal, milk and toppings, along with a spoon. The experience of eating out of a sneaker box goes hand in hand while sitting in a sneaker store, which is attached in the Manhattan location. The energy is great and the vibe with the employees are very welcoming. There is passion behind the people that work at Kith, which makes your experience even more fun. I highly recommend everyone that visits NYC to check out Kith Treats for a delighted treat.

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Aruba

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First day arriving in Aruba. I walked out of the airport and felt a warm breeze hit my skin. That feeling was sooo needed after what seemed to be a long lasting winter back in New England. Surprisingly enough, customs weren’t like your typical customs. There are about 5 machines that scanned your passport and you look in the camera and it takes your picture and you’re done and good to go collect your luggage right downstairs. There are a few stations that have people but I’m assuming they want to make things run faster and save money by putting the machines there and replacing actual people questioning your reason of stay etc. After all, it is vacation and should be stress free. That’s what I liked starting off in Aruba. The people, are so kind and a lot of smiles when you arrive, you are greeted. For the first time, I bought alcohol at the duty free shop and got a big bottle of grey goose for 30.00, not bad. My cab fare to the resort was 25.00 which I guess is standard since they don’t have shuttles that runs back and forth to the resorts in the islands and airports, which is odd in itself. The first resort I arrived at was the Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort. This resort was very nice and huge. I waited 30 minutes in line to check in and waited an additional hour to get the key to my room because check in is 4:00pm in Aruba for the most part which is pretty late, usually it’s 3:00pm the latest but since the resort is big, I assume it takes time to clean every single room.

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The first day I spent walking around the resort and later that night I went on a bar crawl tour at 9:00. I booked the tour through viator.com. It was a 3 hour tour and it was fun. The bus is lit up and decorated and the people on the tour were fun and live! I must admit, the shots that were given at each bar we stopped at were watered down and weak. So you should pre game before you go which is what I did and purchase your own drinks at the bar. Some of the music at the last two bars played music from the 90s and not the good kind and they played Latin music for the most part which is understandable. I requested two songs and they weren’t played which was a bummer. I wanted to dance to music that is at least current regardless of the genre and if it is old, let it be classics that are still bangers. I did not get drunk but I did get very tired after. Long travel day and the sun will make you exhausted.

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The second resort I checked in was only down the road and it was called Holiday Inn resort and casino. It was smaller than the first resort but I actually liked that since I didn’t want to be around too many people and it was also across the street from all the stores, bars and restaurants so I didn’t need transportation. For the next few days I went ATV riding and to the natural pool which was beautiful and didn’t seem as though I was in Aruba but maybe in a desert somewhere with the edge of the ocean clanging on to it. That was the only activity I have done and didn’t do much else besides walk around and drink at the pool side bar at the resort, while getting discounts because I swear the bartender felt bad or me because I was alone lol. I was told that the snorkeling isn’t that great because of the winds so if that’s your main reason for going, I wouldn’t make that your top priority but the reefs are still beautiful and fun so still make it something to do. I attempted to fly my drone in the air again but it was still too windy and I just gave up my hopes that I would have amazing above footage. The food in Aruba is good, not the best that I’ve had but they have a few Jamaican restaurants on the island if you want a real Caribbean dish. I didn’t eat much cuisine dishes as I was on a budget. They also don’t have too many healthy spots on the island so you may have to order salads etc or smoothies at some of the chained spots. They did have Starbucks that had great AC if you want to chill in there. Also, getting around is pretty easy and it can be a bit too hot to walk everywhere but once it cools down a bit, it’s great. Being on the beach was great to lay out in the sun, and relax  but if the wind blows, the sand will hit you so hard it might sting you a bit because the winds are at least 20mph and have reached 25mph. So check the forecast before going to get an idea of what time is best to hit the beach when the winds aren’t so strong.

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I will for sure come back to Aruba again but just not alone and also if the flight is cheap. I prefer Costa Rica over Aruba for the fact that the food is better and there is a lot more activities to do including hiking in the rain forest. I want to try out the Bahamas because in forums because compare Aruba and the Bahamas with pros and cons so if love to see which one is actually more better. Overall I give this trip a 5.5/10.

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Japan

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My trip to Japan was hands down a random trip after my friend from the Bronx Latoya mentioned that it was only $500.00 RT from New York to Tokyo. We got on it fast! That is cheap considering it was cherry blossom season there. I took the bus from Boston to New York City and we departed from there on China Air and it wasn’t too bad of a flight. I slept most of the way and we had a layover in Shanghai at 5:20am for 4hrs which sucked into we talked to a group of people in our age group that were also traveling to Tokyo. That passed up some time. Our gate was at one of the terminals that had nothing around and we didn’t realize the restaurants and gift shops were upstairs until the last minute. Bummer. But the flight to Tokyo was only 2hrs and 40 mins. The total amount of flying from New York was about 18hrs which is cool as long as you have things to watch or something to read. The moment we landed we hit the ground using public transportation which was at first confusing but then we got the hang of it. People do speak some English so people helped us when we needed it. Once you understand the numbers with the train lines and where you are going, it’s easy to get around in Japan. Get you a JR pass to take the trains all over Japan for a decent price instead of paying every single time you go somewhere because it can be expensive after awhile if you want to travel far out. I used google maps mostly because it tells you details of which train to catch and which platform it’s on. It also tells you the number of the train for your destination so when you buy a train ticket at the machines in the stations, you look at the map and you just plug the number in the machine and that’s it, you’re good to go.

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Speaking of trains, don’t get caught in rush hour because just like the movies, it can be sardines in a can packed. I mean squeezing organs packed. I didn’t realize that they really make sure as many people can fit on a train by all means. I literally was pushed almost to the ground by a man and he didn’t even apologize in English or Japanese. It’s normal to them. I mean back in the states, that can cause an argument or even a fight but I’m not ignorant, I know I wasn’t in America and understand that’s just how it is in Japan, it’s over populated like NYC. The weather was perfect so we didn’t mind waiting for another train to come by if one was impossible to get on. Okay now let’s get to the activities that we’ve done.
Some activities to do
Ueno Zoo
Mount Fuji
Shopping in Harajuku (I got Rihanna’s Fendi slippers)
Jigokudani Monkey hot springs Park
The Millennium dance complex
Mori no Tosho Shitsu library and beer (That’s right you can drink while you read)
Hara Museum of Contemporary Art
Taka ishii art gallery
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We were only there for a week so we were limited with time. We did a lot of walking around and I must admit I enjoyed that too. Getting lost and taking in the random snack vending machines on the street and the cigarette vending machines also which was strange given the fact that anyone can buy them under 18 years old. We stayed in 4 hotels which is crazy but we were all over Japan, not just Tokyo. The hotels we stayed in were 22 Hill Hotel and Hotel Metropolitan Nagano and Latoya booked the other two, sorry can’t remember the names. They were lovely and 22 Hill Hotel was a little loft with a ladder that had a bunk looking over the room with a tall window and an exposed bricked wall. It was pretty sick. We had some good meals in the area. One place that is a must to visit for an American Vibe is Brooklyn Parlor. They have Beer imported from Brooklyn New York and it hit the spot. They are known for the burgers and their vanilla ice cream is the best I’ve ever had. We also had Krispy Kremes there.
Check out some of these great food places pleaseeeeee!
Hoshino Coffee shop (Go there for their fluffy and soft French toast which tastes like birthday cake to me)
Mister Donut (Best little filled donuts ever)
Nakamachi Cafe (Very LA hipster vibes coffee spot)
Suke6 Diner (For the best Japanese styled pancakes)
Mikore Sushi (Amazing)
Smile Thailand (The freshest and best Thai food you will find…still drooling over the best massaman curry I’ve ever had besides in Thailand itself)
There are plenty of other great places around but I just named my top fav from the top of my head that I enjoyed. As far as must things you should do while in Japan is visit an Onsen bath and sleep in a capsule box but I must warn my readers that have tattoos, they do not allow people that have any tattoos in these facilities including foreigners. They believe that people that has tattoos are affiliated with a gang. Yes I know, it’s crazy to the Westernized culture but to them that’s what it means. I have plenty of tattoos and obviously I’m not in a gang and I’m a good person and also a foreigner but I still was not able to sleep in a capsule or soak in an onsen bath. Boohoo!! Maybe in time things will change there about that rule for foreigners. There are plenty of other things to experience with Japanese culture such as visiting a sumo wrestling match or trying rice noodles freshly made.
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The people are soooo nice and they bow their heads when they greet you and when they say goodbye and hey always smile. I was so surprised to see so many Americans living there and we came across one black girl from America who spoke fluent Japanese! That was sooo awesome! I love seeing that! She offered to help us with directions and was so sweet. Japan is just like New York City but in my opinion more live because of the colorful bright billboards and lights and tall buildings and if you go on side streets you find the most cutest little stores and they have very unique snacks. Nothing is in English at the supermarket besides the food brands but that’s about it. I loved the Japanese fashion. People there dress so clean and in style! They are serious about their clothes! I loved seeing Japanese girls wearing bangs with the school uniform. It reminded me of watching Kill Bill for a bit and season 5 of the HBO series Girls, when Shoshanna moved to Tokyo. I literally was in most of the spots she was at and walked the same streets she did lol. So cool. I will for sure be back to Japan again if I spot a good price and do a lot more exploring there. I can see why Americans move there, it’s awesome. I’m glad I visited and seen Japan for myself and not just in movies or in Anime books. It was so great seeing how everybody crosses the busy streets in a cross formation in sync. People wait for the Walkman light to cross so don’t be like New York folks that just jet across the street because people drive in all directions there. Be sure to check out Japan life in the country side and away from the city. It’s beautiful and serene there and you can actually relax and think. Check out Airbnb instead of hotels because there are some sick spots to stay in and feel like you’re at home for decent prices. I give my visit a 9/10.
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Guatemala, Panajachel

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I spent a night in Guatemala City after landing at 9:30 at night from an exhausting flight from Boston. The next day I got picked up in a van to head to Panajachel but first stopping in Antigua to pick up other passengers along the way. I couldn’t be more excited to explore Guatemala for the next few days and seeing what it has to offer. I will be spending a couple of nights at Balam ya villas and hope to find some great relaxation from after my big trip in Japan. I got to spend a couple of nights in what seemed luxury and peaceful. There is a big lake on the property where you can take a kayak and just paddle away into the view of nothing but perfection with mountains in the backdrop. I stayed in a 2 bedroom villa with a full kitchen, 2 and a half bathrooms, three balconies and a lovely living room that had wonderful natural light coming in the daytime. The villas have snacks and beverages provided for a small cost and everything you need in reference to utensils, pots, pans and coffee etc. They also serve free breakfast in the morning but you have to let them know in advance. I never felt so relaxed in my travels in such a long time. People think a third world country can’t be relaxing but of course it can be. Finding beauty in anything is a gift. Seeing the reality of poverty is always awakening and makes you appreciate the good in your life. I’m also considering going back to volunteer my time to the children in some parts of Guatemala.

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After the first night, and the next morning, I took a tour with a couple that runs the tour to a hot springs called Fuentes Georginas which was about 1.5 hours away. It’s near the agriculture part of Guatemala high in the mountains where it gets a bit cooler and cloudy which is wonderful for a hot spring. It is best to go early before the big crowds and before the chances increase for rain. One thing I learned about the agriculture in Guatemala is that they do unfortunately plump up their veggies to have more access to food without having to buy multiple small veggies at a time. Families can eat more and pay less. But it was beautiful to see people working and wave as we drove by that were working so hard in the fields producing food. The hot springs were well needed. It was natural and some was man made but the misty and gloomy weather added a great touch to it. It was so cloudy and full of fog that it felt like you were in a sauna but outdoors if that makes any sense. They have a little restaurant on site that sells lunch with big portions. It wasn’t too crowded but the earlier you go the better as I said before. That’s crucial. We stopped at a cafe that roasts coffee beans right on site and it’s the best way to get fresh coffee. The cafe is called Crossroads Cafe and it’s hands down the best in Panajachel. It’s a must stop by place. I finished my day off with some pizza and just looking out into the view and had a great rest.

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I used my drone on this trip and it was one of the best thing I could’ve brought with me. Even though TSA in Guatemala stopped me and asked me questions about after it went through screening and even how much it costs. So be ready to be stopped if you bring one but don’t worry, it’s legal to bring. I caught some sick footage of the property I stayed on and wish I had more time to use it in other parts of the country. I had a great convo about life with the property manager about life positivity and social injustices and how life should stay in balance. That was the cherry on top of my stay. It’s always great meeting people that has the same mind set about life as you do from around the world. I must say I’m glad I decided to go to Guatemala even a day after getting back from Japan which in itself pretty crazy and I don’t suggest anyone to plan a travel like that because it can be hard on the body traveling in three continents within 48 hours. The culture and beautiful colors of the dresses and bags reminded me of Peru. The women in Guatemala are beautiful as well. One thing I learned is that the reason a lot of women are short is due to their diet and climate. One documentary I recommend people to watch about how the real struggle of Guatemala is like, is called ‘Living on one dollar” and it is Soo great and almost shocking to see how people live off of little to no money. It’s real and it’s raw.

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I highly suggest more people to visit Guatemala and although it’s stamped with being dangerous, it’s safe as long as you use the same caution you would anywhere else. The culture and food is beautiful and people are seriously missing out by skipping this lovely country. I give it 8/10.

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Free Spirit Spheres Tree Hotels| Qualicum Beach, BC |

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The top platform to Eryn

I’ve become interested in seeing what is out there in the world besides what I see on TV with average destinations that majority of people have been to. Well, it’s been that way for over a year and 21 countries later that I have been doing a good job. I wanted to spice up my travel by researching unique hotels to stay in. Starting in North America, I came across one in British Columbia, Qualicum Beach to be exact. I never heard of Qualicum Beach but I seen that it was near Vancouver and the price was right with flights. The USD is strong in Canada right now so it had to be the perfect time to visit. I came across photos from online about a place called, Free Spirit Spheres. It’s a sphere shaped tree hotel suspended from a tree. There are three on the property and it’s a family ran business. I was amazed at the photos and right then and there, I had to book at least a night to experience this amazing opportunity to sleep in a sphere shaped room hanging from a tree! Absolutely amazing.

I booked my flight through an app on my iPhone called, “Hitlist” and it was around $250.00 RT through Canada Air, from Boston to Vancouver and I took a small plane from Vancouver to Qualicum Beach RT for $180.00 which is only 20 minutes each way instead of taking the ferry which takes 3.5 hours one way, no thank you. If you are on a budget it’s about $15.00 one way to take the ferry if I stand correct. So if your not in a hurry, the ferry is fine.

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Door to Eryn

 

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Eryn Sphere

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Each individual bathroom for each sphere

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Inside bathroom to Eryn

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Pathway to bathrooms 

I arrived in Vancouver on Thursday and checked into a hostel for the night. It was called HI Vancouver Central and it was downtown where everything is. Easy to walk to restaurants and cafes and more. It was about $48.00 for a single room and shared bathrooms which wasn’t bad. Each floor has a few showers and individual bathrooms. The next day I headed out to Qualicum Beach! The plane was smaller than the plane I took to Uyuni from La Paz in Bolivia. It wasn’t as bumpy which is good. I landed 20 minutes later, and grabbed a cab to the spheres! I was greeted by Jamie, the nephew of Tom and Rosie. I was presented with a big basket full of pastries and snacks and a complimentary bottle of water and a little bottle of champaign which was so kind. Jamie and I talked for about an hour sitting inside of Eryn about my background of traveling and how I started and he introduced me more about the spheres and showed me where everything is on the property. I felt very comfortable and welcomed instantly. There are three spheres on the property named Eryn, Eve and Melody. Each spheres are different sizes but not by much. Each sphere has its on bathroom included a nice stand up shower and toilet with fresh towels and face cloths. Each sphere also has individual moon toilets right at the bottom end outside to walk out to so you don’t have to walk too far to the wash rooms in the middle of the night. They have drawings from tourists inside the moon from all over the world and they provide color pencils right inside the moon to draw something up yourself.

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Inside view of Eryn from entrance

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Ceiling of each sphere

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There were two guest journals in the sphere I stayed in which was Eryn. Eyrn is 80% bigger than Eve and can fit three people, two on the bed and one on the loft bed which is above the counter. One journal was full so I wrote in the other one about my experience at the end of my stay and it was wonderful to see recent visitors wrote about their stay and experience from all over the world and even in different languages. Some even drawn in it with amazing art. It made it more personal and I’m sure it is great for them to read it as well on a personal level from visitors instead of writing reviews online. It’s always good to have something tangible like photos and journals.

You truly feel in tact with nature here and all you need is silence and to stare up into the sphere while laying down and intake everything. Listening to music in the sphere gives it a nice surround sound. They provide speakers for you to use. They have a mini fridge and sink in each sphere. They also provide coffee and tea and electric tea kettle, French press, sugar and cream, utensils to use such as forks and cups to wake up to in the morning with a hot beverage. These spheres are wonderful if a couple is looking for a weekend getaway or for a birthday gift. If a family would like to visit, a kid has to be 16 years old and older. Each sphere requires a non-refundable deposit of 50.00 a night plus tax. Pets are not permitted and neither is smoking. For guests comments about their stay, Trip Advisor has plenty.

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Composting Toilet (Moon) at base of each sphere 

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Tom, the inventor 

The couple, Rosie and Tom runs the family business and they were the sweetest. I got to enjoy the hospitality and short conversations of my background and they shared the history of the spheres. Tom has put a lot of time, years and work into each sphere as well as man hours. I was amazed, inspired and knew his work was revolutionary. It made me realize as a traveler that enjoys doing what I do, when you love and have a passion for something, it’s not work, it’s your heart. You have to keep that heart pumping so you have to keep going with doing what you love until you can’t anymore. It takes 3 years to make each sphere and 200 man hours just to make the shell itself. The hard work itself just inspired me on a new level. I had the chance to take a look at the two new current spheres Tom is working on in his warehouse on their property which was very nice itself and very home like. My dad is a mechanic and has a tool shed he works in and it gave me that vibe but his is much bigger and nicer haha. I left with great vibes and so happy that I had the opportunity to visit and sleep in a sphere!

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Spiral staircase to Eryn

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Eve

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Melody

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One of the two new spheres in progress

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The second new sphere in the works

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Where the magic happens

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The making of a custom handle for one of the new spheres

Free Spirit Spheres

freespiritspheres.com

Tel: 250-757-9445

420 Horne Lake Rd, Qualicum Beach, BC V9K127, Canada

Iceland

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Being from Boston, it was pretty cheap to fly to Iceland. WOW Airlines fly out of Boston, Philadelphia and soon San Francisco and Los Angeles in the states. They also fly out of Montreal and Toronto in Canada to Europe. It was 250.00 RT on WOW Airlines which is very cheap. It’s about this price for most of the winter on certain days through the calendar. But while I’m talking about WOW Airlines, they will charge you for luggage, yes even the first luggage. It’s cheaper if you pay for your luggage online ahead of time before checking in, but once you check it, you will pay full price, which isn’t cheap. Also, nothing on the flight is free such as snacks and beverages, even water. That’s right, water isn’t free. So I advise you to pay for your drinks and food before boarding if there is any duty free stores or restaurants at or near your gate. Customer service was good. I had no issues with WOW Air employees except for one lady at the counter in the airport in Reykjavík didn’t want to take coins to pay for luggage which isn’t our problem since the money in Iceland have coins for large sums of ISK (their currency) so be prepared to carry a lot of change.

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The weather
I went in the winter so of course it was cold. There were moments of low winds and partly cloudy which made it better and being fromNew England, I’m used to the cold. You will get used to the cold after a day or two while doing activities but please dress as warm as you can so you are comfortable all day. Stepping in deep snow can be unexpected depending on where you are, so wear layers of socks or a thick pair. The weather is very bipolar sometimes so just be prepared and don’t be upset because you now know. Just check the forecast everyday in the morning and night for the next day and you will be fine. The wind can make it colder than it is so don’t forget your hat and if you have long hair, bring a head band and hair ties to keep your hair from flying in your face. Nothing like trying to take a picture with your hair flying in your face constantly.
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The food
Expensive, EXPENSIVE, expensive. I’m not kidding, I paid about $24.00 for two footling subs from Subway, subs! I was so confused when I looked at my bank statement when I got back home thinking they overcharged me, nope they didn’t. People usually stick to gas station food, the famous hot dogs from the stands downtown of Reykjavík or just be extra careful with what they pick. Pizzas and burgers are fine it’s more of the pastas in a good 3 star restaurant and chained restaurants. Their hotdogs are $3.00 – $4.00 at the stands, such as Bæjarins Beztu Pylsu hot dogs and they are delicious. Just save extra more than you usually would for food unless you plan on getting finger food at pubs for the duration of your stay. A lot of hostels and hotels have free breakfast so factor that in to save money and time.
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Do the The tours or drive?
There are some tours that are worth taking because some activities can be dangerous in Iceland such as walking on glaciers, which is mandatory to have a guide. That tour can cost a few hundred dollars no doubt. I book all of my tours on viator.com and as far as your typical must see spots in south Iceland, driving is preferred because you can see each spot without being rushed and on your own schedule and pace. There aren’t fees to visit places like the Golden Circle or the falls and lakes.
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Is it a multi-cultural country?
Are there different types of locals with ethnic backgrounds or tourists?
I’ve seen a lot of tourists from all over the world. As far as locals, I didn’t see that much diversity as far as black or Asians or Latinos. But it is a small country so it’s not surprising. But as far as tourists, a lot of Americans and Asians. I didn’t bump into a lot of Europeans which was a bit shocking but I’m sure there are a lot that visit since Iceland is in Europe.
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The northern lights
Okay, my boyfriend Jonathan and I were literally lucky to see the Northern Lights twice on our trip. We seen them dancing in the sky while we were on the plane to Iceland bright and clear and I couldn’t get my forehead off the window from gazing. I booked in advance through viator.com for a Northern lights tour a few days before we left for a Tuesday at 9:00pm. We had the option of going at 7pm or 8pm. I figured the later the better because the forecast was partly cloudy that will become clear skies around 10:30 or 11pm. There are many ways of finding out when and if the northern lights will come out and dance for you while your in Iceland by visiting
http://en.vedur.is/weather/forecasts/aurora/ and you will see when it’s cloudy or clear skies and how active the Aurora is. Do not ask locals where can you find the northern lights and when are they out because they don’t know when they are coming out as much as you don’t. Just visit the website and constantly check for the forecast at night. As far as the settings go for your lens for capturing long exposures of the northern lights, here are the settings I used:
DETAILS FOR MY CAMERA SETTINGS:
Camera Canon 5D MRK III
Lens 17-40mm
ISO 1600 or 3200
F2.8 or F4.8 depends on the lens
20″ or 25″ (Seconds) long exposures
Shot in RAW
A Steady Tripod
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Simply practice and mess around with the settings. Key to seeing The Northern Lights are it must be clear skies, the Aurora must be active between the levels of 3-9, far away from light pollution including far out from the city and, it can’t be a full moon out and if there are clouds, it must be low and partly. You can see the Northern Lights in many places around the world including in the states and not just Iceland.
Dress warm, bring a flashlight and have fun searching for this beauty!
If you want a more detail tutorial for how to capture the northern lights, visit https://youtu.be/COlvv21gRXQ and it will guide you step but step with what setting to use based on your lens and more.
Don’t do typical tourist activities
If you plan on seeing a lot of Iceland, people say you only need a few days there, that’s a lie. If you want to see more than Southern Iceland which is where most people go and visit for a few days, you will want to see the North West and further East from Reykjavík. It takes hours to see each attraction one way let alone back to Reykjavík. So if you want to see most of what Iceland has to offer, a full week will be good and not to stay in Reykjavík longer than a few days because there isn’t much to see in the city. A day or 2 is good enough to be honest. Everything is outside of Reykjavík, so you might as well book your accommodations accordingly around Iceland as you drive to the coasts. There is one thing I want to share that most blogs and vlogs don’t share or even know about Iceland and it has to do with the abandoned DC plane crash site on a black sanded beach far off the road.
Since a blogger already wrote directions how to get here and it’s good to shout out other travel bloggers, here is the direct link to the blog in detail on how to get to the plane crash:
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If you have issues clicking the link at anytime, email me (smileyadventuresusa@gmail.com). There are some things I want to add and that’s that once you enter the gate, a sign on your right is different with how to further continue find the plane wreckage. Please don’t book a tour to see the plane wreckage because it’s pricey and you don’t stay long to take pics or video if you do, which again why it’s best to rent a car.  Here are two photos of a sign to look for once you get into the “gate” and the yellow marker its talking about which is a yellow pole that leads you to the wreckage.
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Thailand

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Over the three week course that I was in Thailand, I have met 27 different personalities on this journey through Backpackingthroughthailand.com. We started in Bangkok and worked our way south over the three week period and back up to Bangkok to head home, and for some, a new journey to different countries. Our two tour guides, S and Heart were fantastic and outgoing. I couldn’t have asked for better tour guides. It felt as though those two were actually part of the group and they became our friends. It was sincere. I’ve gotten to learn a lot about Thailand through the activities that were planned by S and Heart and during our leisure time when we decided to do our own thing and lead our own adventures. If I was to sum up my personal Thailand experience I would sum it up as energetic, hilariously fun, some drama (well, what do you expect with 28 people in a group?) and majestic.

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I seen the beautiful and not so pretty parts of Thailand which is what I seek in each country that I visit. I also seen with my own eyes the “talk” about Thailand including the “lady boys”, unlimited access to massages, ton of mopeds on the road, street food everywhere and “the creepy older men with young Thai women on their arms.” But my question is, how come nobody told me how big and popular 7ELEVEN was?!! I mean, there is one literally across the street from each other, around the block from each other and even next to each other. We were hooked on 7ELEVEN and it was our go to store for things in need. Also, the beer Chang! The boys in our group, Alex, Liam and Davis were what I liked to call, “The Chang Gang” because they drunk that beer everyday from the time they woke up and to the time they went to sleep. Me being from Boston, you would’ve thought it was the Saint Patrick’s day parade everyday.

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Let’s talk about the weather. The weather remained the same for the majority of my duration. It was average 85-90 degrees and humid at times. It would be sunny in the morning, get cloudy in the early afternoon and then partly cloudy to sunny by the end of the day. There were moments of unbearable heat and humidity and says that were a breeze to just relax outside or on the beach. I got the most obvious tan lines from one day laying out on the sun on Krabi beach. I was roasting like a rotisserie chicken at Boston Market. I knew I was going to get tanned but wow, boy did I get a bronze color on me! I’m not complaining but I could literally feel the sun getting hotter and hotter on my actual skin. To my black folks, if you don’t want to be any darker than you already are, and you will get dark, please wear sunblock and don’t shrug on the passing of the 50 SPF bottle. You will peel just like I did.

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Let’s talk about the nightlife. Booming constantly somewhere in Thailand. Their cheap mixed alcohol buckets, laughing gas balloons which I tried for the first time and I ended up laughing my gums off and screaming at the top of my lungs for no reason, marijuana (which I tried but they have some tobacco in it but if your’e looking to buy some on Krabi island, go to The coco bar which is a Bob Marley reggae bar, shocking?), the tourists love to turn it up in Bangkok on a long street called, Thaniya Roadwhich looks like New York’s Time Square but on a long side street with big bright lights and different music, and the songs that don’t cut out the N word in rap songs. People seemed to feel free, let go, dance, drink and seemed to try to live up to the standards of the movie, ‘The Hangover’ which is typical. I didn’t see too many people if any looking like a party pooper or judging others who simply wanted to have a good time. You will see that very often in the states. Don’t come in trying to see who is wearing the latest fit because most people are backpackers so expect, floral tank tops, Levi shorts, flip flops for women and pretty much anything for men including a “Chang tank top” they purchased at the tourist markets.

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Being black in Thailand. You guys know I had to bring this up because me being a back female with two other black people in our big group, Bobby and Keyshell, we noticed a lot lol. We had people randomly walk up to us to take a pic like we were something amusing, I had my hair touched, I had the nervous giggles when I waved to say hello and just like 2pac said, “All eyes on me.” But, pretty much any foreigner will get attention, including white people. I noticed in any store that I walked in had whitening cream, that’s right, cream to make you white or whiter. I heard about Thailand being known for this but man, to actually see it with my own eyes from well known  brands like, ‘Nivea’ and ‘Suave’ and others have whitening creams surprised me the most. In certain parts of Thailand or even some parts of South East Asia, the whiter you are, the more beautiful and the more money or higher class you are comparing to the Westerners south as Europeans and North Americans. Does this sound familiar America (cough)?

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Deciding to backpack through a company that organizes everything with a big group was a big decision for me personally. I’m so used to being a lone and planing things according to my taste and doing extreme adventures from jumping out of planes in Switzerland and bungee off bridges in Canada to even attempting shark diving in South Africa. I had to let go of my control and efforts and leave it in the hand of our tour guides and based off of the good reviews of the company. Here are just a few of the activities we have done that were fun and beautiful:

-Fed baby leopards and a baby lion
-Wat bang kung temple
-Floating market
-Cobra Snake show
– Stayed in the beautiful Baankornnara home stay
-Lambo tree with fire flies
-12 hour Train to khao Sok with bed full of bugs
-Arrive to Khao Sok national park for a day
-Drove to Ao Nang, krabi Thailand to go to Krabi island
-Checked into our last hotel( Aonang Viva Resort)
-Went out clubbing to Chang Bar and to the strip club called Nova Club on the second floor. I got so drunk that I cried because I was angry.
-Seeing the monkeys at the monkey trail
-Railay beach
-Island hopping. Snorkeling at koh da, koh 4 and koh talu
-Finally climb to the top of a pole on a boat for a sick photo.

 

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The actual itinerary is on the website, backpackingthroughthailand.com for more info.

Aeroacrophobia – Fear Of Flying?

As humans, we tend to get nervous for the unknown. We don’t know how things will turn out, we can panic. Want to comes to traveling it can be chaotic, overwhelming, a lot of tension and for some almost impossible because of all of these factors. There is a legit fear for some people to fly due to numerous reasons. Although statistically, you can get into a car crash and die more likely than a plane crash. But the idea of being so high into the air with a slight possibility of crashing can scarcely wanted to never flying. Aeroacrophobia is the fear of high and opened space. This can fall into the same category of the fear of flying or the fear of heights. The fear of flying brings anxiety which has effects such as short of breath, heart racing, sweaty palms and thinking irrationally. Just like any other fears and phobias, Aeroacrophobia is developed by the inner psyche without you knowing it and is being used as a protective mechanism. Sometimes adults may come to terms and realize they are being irrational. One of every 6 Americans has a flying phobia and doesn’t fly altogether due to that fear. Many other people who have no choice to fly such as for work, weddings or funerals are miserable. They often resort to drinking alcohol or using tranquilizers to get through a flight. A sleep aid is usually the most common result. Your chances of being involved in an aircraft accident are approximately 1 in 11 million. Your chances of being killed in an automobile accident are 1 in 5000.

There are steps just in many other cases how to deal with fear and phobias. There are some basic steps on how to achieve this.

First step is to figure out exactly what fear is it that you have about flying. Well, of course there are numerous reasons why people do not like to fly, but most of the time a person can realize exactly what the reasons are and find a solution to get rid of it. If the fear is to fly and the possibility of the plane crashing, a person should look up the statistics of the likelihood of that happening in realize that they are more likely to get in a car crash in a plane crash. So does that mean that person will stop driving? Most likely not. If it’s the space on the plane that a person is worried about where they feel like they can’t move and they are claustrophobic, it’s best to get an exit row seat, business class or let the airline and flight attendants know this in advance. Your free to walk up and down the aisles. Also, you can try to do a couple of layovers to stretch and walk around and eat and feel more like you’re not on the plane for long durations of time.

You must stay disgraced during your flight. Watching a favorite movie, listening to music, playing games or simply taking to your seat partner if they are open minded. The flight goes by a lot faster.

Don’t think about the turbulence, but instead think of it being like bumps in the road when your driving. Try not to tense up your body and go with the movement of the plane. Relax. Planes are built to tolerate turbulence.

Avoid coffee or caffeine as it can increase your heart rate while being afraid. It will only increase your nerves as opposed to relaxing them.

Using a stress ball or rubber bands as a therapeutic method. Snapping a rubber band against your wrist will ease your mind off of the fear a bit and put your attention at the feeling of the stinging.

The saying of a person having nothing to fear besides fear itself is very true. If a person has a heart attack, the last thing they should think of is dying in that moment because it will make things a lot worst. Panicking never helps, and it’s important to remember and to teach yourself that getting worked up internally doesn’t justify how the outer appearance look. When you have a clear mind and motive which is to be safe, things will move along a lot quicker and smoother. Relax, enjoy the flight and get to your destination.

Costa Rica

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Costa Rica is the last stop of my journey. After finally being able to board from Bolivia with no problems just about, I landed at 1:50pm in the afternoon. Shortly had a Santa Jose beer tour at 4:00pm. I paid $58.99 on viator.com. I’m over filling in custom forms at this point but know I have to fill in one on my way home but at least it’s just one card and not two like South America and for Costa Rica. It just feels good to be back in North America period. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Costa Rica. It was cloudy and about 75 degrees but humid. It’s their rainy season right now so it’s always cloudy and showers here and there but nothing major. I got a room at Holiday Inn up until Saturday. I’m going to Puerto Viejo for the rest of my trip and staying where the Jaguar Rescue Center is to feed the baby animals and staying in a great hotel room called , La Ceiba. It’s in the forest and I’m taking a bus from San Jose there. You can take the bus by paying online at Geckotrail.com to get around Costa Rica. They also offer tours and activities as well. It felt good arriving having two vlogs edited on the plane before my laptop died on me. The flight was 3.5 hours long from Lima, Peru to San Jose, Costa Rica. I’ve been somewhat careful about what I chose to eat which resulted in me losing a couple of pounds. If it’s meat I’m very picky but if it is fish or salad, I’m all in.

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It feels good to wear my natural hair at the end of the trip also because I’m not getting funny stares for having pink hair and I feel more relaxed knowing that I can wash my hair thoroughly from all the dirt I encountered on that three day trip in Bolivia. There aren’t much of language barriers in most Caribbean Islands of North America which is good for those that don’t speak Spanish really at all. I decided not to do hostels for Costa Rica because I wanted to finally relax from all of the hectic situations that has happened. I think I deserved it. The holiday inn is very nice except no wifi in rooms. I surprisingly had data in Costa Rica which is strange, but hey no complaints that I can text and make phone calls outside. The first day I did a beer tour with “Urban Tours” so check them out online. It was just me and a mother and daughter so the tour felt personal. We stopped at two places plus a hipster coffee shop by the name of, ‘Cafe Oteca’ which is in a very hipster neighborhood. It literally reminded me of Portland, Oregon lol weather and all. From the style of the homes to the vibes of the coffee shop. The first place of the pub I guess you can call up but hipster style where people drink beer and eat finger food but had a patio deck in the front, was named, ‘El Patio’ where we had a dark pink colored beer. These are all local beers we tried by the way. The last stop was called, ‘Esteifel’ or Steifel for short. We met the owner of the bar and had the actual beer tasting with 6 different crafts including a fresh brewed one that was given out that day. We Learned  about each beer and they all tasted very unique but good. That’s when I felt the beers kicking in. We just sat and had a great convo about life over some great beer and a Latin version of the Canadian’s poutine lol. The night ended with us witnessing a tranny prostitute dressed in clear 6 inch stripped pumps in a tight short dress and makeup overly done with this young man on the corner. Very interesting. Which brings me into the topic of the prostitution, human trafficking and sexualized women who love to dress a retain way here in Costa Rica in the cities anyway. The next day I did a coffee tour.
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The coffee tour was very informative and I learned a lot of great things about coffee I never knew about. Costa Rica has amazing, good quality coffee beans.  At the end of the tour, your able to go in their gift store where they actually have the coffee bags sold and their local  chocolate, which is amazing as well. It is dark chocolate but the chocolate covered almonds and chocolate covered coconut is my favorite. It is all natural. My two tour guides were cousins and they were both very comedic and had a very by humor which made the tour wonderful. I suggest doing the coffee tour here in San Jose if you would like to know the process of how coffee is made. The following day I didn’t even leave the hotel. I had no interest in going out on top of having cramps like no other. I decided to just do my hair, Attempt to upload vlogs and blogs which didn’t work because of the wifi was extremely slow and since I didn’t have wifi in my room, I had to sit in the lobby for hours to upload things, it was annoying I must say. Please be sure to get a room with wifi and double check because some hotels only have it outside of ur room or you have to pay extra to get it in ur room. I ordered room service, steak and rice and beans and a tiny pecan pie with cream. All were good. The next day I had to head to Puerto Viejo, 4 hour drive away from San Jose on the Caribbean coast line.
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This had to be the highlight of my trip besides Uyuni. I caught a cab to the airport because that is where I am meeting my driver who is picking me up to take me to the San Jose bus stop where all the charter buses go to different cities in Costa Rica. I booked my bus ride via geckotrail.com or info@geckotrail.com for after hours if they aren’t answering their phones. It’s very affordable because they have different ways of getting around Costa Rica. From private taxis, to small vans with 15 people to big buses with more people. The prices are as cheap as $15.00.  I took the big bus for $50.00 for the taxi to also pick me up from the airport which wasn’t necessary since I didn’t go to Brazil and fly from Brazil to Costa Rica that day which was the reason for the pick up in the first place. I sat down at the little pit stop restaurant right there at the bus stop for some empanadas which were good and a beer before boarding the bus. You must be at the bus stop 15 mins before boarding time because the bus can leave earlier than what time it says. The bus was speeding in my opinion so I got to puerto Viejo an hour earlier than scheduled. When I arrived, it stops right in the center where the beach front is and all these colorful restaurants and shops are. It was like Venice beach but Caribbean style. A lot of tourists on these old fashioned bikes, Rastas selling Bob Marley beach towels and offering hair services for dreadlocks and braids. Btw, there are a lot of Jamaicans and Chinese here in puerto Viejo, don’t know the reasoning for Chinese to be there but I get why Jamaicans are locals since it is the Caribbean coast. So don’t be taken back if there are Jamaicans who speak Spanish and Patois. This is literally where I would’ve rather been than San Jose to be honest because this is where the action is for all the actual tours including, surf lessons, an actual chocolate tour of actual cocoa grown in Costa Rica, snorkeling, zip lining, ATV tours, jet ski rentals, and so much more! I mean there were so many activities to do around since it is where the rain forest is located and the bird and animal tours, which is what I’ve done at The Jaguar Rescue Center the following day, but before that can trouble in paradise.
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I arrived at the actual Jagur rescue center thinking that’s where I checked in for my room since I booked it through them. But it was closed. Bummer. So as I walk away, a young lady approaches me from there and I explain I had a reservation and booked it through them and she welcomed me in the actual rescue center! How cool! To walk in and be greeted by the two owners themselves, Encar and Sandro who are husband and wife with such warm spirits was amazing. They both had baby monkeys surrounding them, an actual deer walking around and not bugging out like I’m used to seeing back at home, colorful birds flying around….I mean it literally was magical to see. They were so kind to call me a taxi to take me to the actual place where I’m staying, which happens to be ONE OF their homes! They both were experts in monkeys and reptiles but animals in general. It was like I walked into a free session of hippie goddesses meditating around other nature. Sandro had his shirt off with white pants just chilling out with the biggest personality with such a big Italian accent since that is where he is from. Sandro is from Spain and they both met here in Costa Rica and fell in love. Sandro  was supposed to move here for retirement and ended up working with animals just like Encar. Such a coincidence they opens up the jaguar rescue center because they taken in a baby jaguar that died a few days later. Locals heard about them and their expertise in animals and everyone started taking injured animals to them and this is how it opened and turned to be this amazing no profit center. All of the money from entrance fees goes towards the center and research. There are about 30 volunteers on site which is truly unreal and amazing and about three actual paid staff. People from all over the world come to spare weeks and months and even years of their time to care properly for these animals.
 After playing with he baby monkeys and having one chewing on my hair, I got a cab ride up the road and then turned up this Rocky hill to where La Ceiba cabins are. It took 5-10 minutes to drive up the oath where  La Ceiba is, which also does night tours and is more of the rain forest. I had to walk additionally a few minutes, crossing a little bridge  down a path and then I arrived. It was beautiful to say the least. I was confused because I seen a family and they were American so I assumed they were visiting like me which they were, and so I asked where do I check in? They said there is no check in… Huh? So do I just claim a room and that’s it? Apparently, they were staying in the same cabin as me which has multiple rooms and a kitchen and a bathroom. So I asked who is in charge and they pointed at a main cabin which is about the same set up as mine and they said ask for a man. But a lady popped out and I asked her for this guy and she said, “NO” so suddenly. I said excuse me? She didn’t speak any English. I guess o came off as people who suddenly speak Spanish to me so quickly assuming I speak it so fluently but I never say NO lol I just politely ask do you speak English in Spanish. So I tried in Spanish asking how do I check in and one of the guys asked if I need translation and I said yes. They go back and forth and she says there is no record of me booking a stay with them for two nights. Btw, I’m swearing my ass off from carrying a 20lb backpack around and so I sit that down and explain how I paid $130.00 deposit for my stay and was emailing SOMEBODY, back and forth about the confirmation of my stay or else why the heck would I be there? One of the guys in the family said there is an extra room in the cabin if I want it. I think that is my room altogether so what is the problem? The problem is I was supposed to have an actual cabin to myself with the price I paid which is $130.00 a night. It doesn’t matter at that point, I just needed a room and a shower. I get on the phone with the owner who I just seen and she apologizes and was embarrassed and couldn’t explain how the mess up happened. I said it’s okay and that was that. I got settled in my room and got a taxi to the center of town, which wasn’t easy and here is why.
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Since the young lady couldn’t speak english and it is about a 35 minute walk down until you are on the main road where everything is, I had a had time getting a taxi? Although taxi is a universal word thank heavens, she couldn’t reach anyone for a bit. But she did so no complaints after. I just grabbed some food down the street at this restaurant and had chicken rice and beans and chilled out. I got a taxi back to my room and knocked out. The bed was so comfy for a twin bed and I have one window in my room that has a screen only so I can listen to every nature sound outside and it was pure bliss. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit that pillow. I woke up the next morning for my official tour at The Jaguar Center and it started at 8am. I was trying to get a taxi or figured I would be instantly picked up since its run by the same people and I’m staying at their home but no. I was trying to find the young lady again to call me a taxi to get there and I had to have her kids find her someone in the forest, exhausting. I was about 15 min late for my tour by they waited for me when I arrived. I walked in and since I had a private tour I was greeted by my guide who was from England and he has been to over 58 countries and have lived in most but that was during a 20 year span. He explained the history of the place, everyone’s duty, the background on all the animals and why they were there and if they will ever be let back out into the nature again. I was very amused with how organized and the knowledge everyone had. It was a three hour tour but the time flew so quickly because I was having so much fun learning about snakes and the different types of wild cats there were and learning about sloths which were so funny looking in person lol. I learned a lot about them and I feel confident in telling others about them as well. Groups of tours started to come in at the end of my personal tour and I spoke with Encar again. She gave me the tour for free because of the issues of my room booking but I tipped them because they were so friendly and my guide was great. I also gave her my two cans of the powder goat milk for the baby monkeys and sloths and she was so appreciative. By the way:
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“The Jaguar Rescue Center urgently needs powdered goat milk (by Meyenberg) from the U.S. or any other country it is available.
 Unfortunately, we can not get it in Costa Rica. If you can find some space in your luggage, the baby monkeys would be very grateful!”
That is a note from them personally if you ever come to The Jaguar Rescue Center Or Costa Rica in the Limon Area. I was able to stay one more night at he cabin for no additional costs as well and I have her the biggest hug for such great hospitality. They really are amazing and kind people and very happy to have met them.