Trail of Crumbs

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From a night market in Barcelona, where I wanted to eat all the things.

I am a sugar fanatic.

This should hardly come as a surprise to anyone who’s visited this site at least once (I have a category of posts labeled “Cupcake Death Match“). When the debate between sweet and savory comes up, I scoff, because it’s no contest.

When I snack, it’s something sugar-laden, like a bowl of frosted cereal, or an entire sheet cake. I have a bag of peppermint M&Ms in my fridge, and I regularly pull out a few candies throughout the day to munch on.

Starting at 8 in the morning.

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… and I’m pretty okay with that.

I am conflicted and hopeful. I guess politics will do that to you.

I got home last week from my first trip ever to D.C. It was brief, yet felt monumental in all sorts of ways. Perhaps because I was surrounded by monuments.

 

It was my first trip to the nation’s capital, and my first truly solo trip. That seems strange and almost impossible – I’m a travel blogger, after all. I should go places alone (and, indeed, I spend most of my travel days by myself, roaming around the city). But the actual traveling aspect of the trip has never been solo. I’ve always flown with a friend, or Rand, or arrived somewhere and met family or loved ones. I’ve never landed in a strange city, truly on my own.

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Sunset, our first night at the Kloof.

 

People were surprised that we were heading back to South Africa.

Weren’t we just there?

It was two years ago, actually.

And we’re going back to the same places we visited last time?

Yes. Yes, we were.

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This is a photo of me and Rand, at the Cape of Good Hope.

 

 

I like the way the wind picked up my hair. The gusts were so strong, we could barely stand straight.

There was a crowd of people waiting to pose with the sign, and we all had to take turns. We jumped in, took a few photos, and jumped out. When we kissed, a crowd of tourists cheered.

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We took a three-year-old to South Africa.

Actually, that’s not technically true. Our friends Sarah and Eric took their three-year-old to South Africa. It was our crazy idea to do it, and they listened to us. They listened to their childless friends about how it was a good – nay, GREAT – idea to take a toddler across two continents.

Look at these crazy, sleep-deprived kids.

 

(I’d like to think we kind of helped out by interrupting his nap time and feeding him snacks.)

Here are a few of my favorite Jack moments from South Africa.

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I think the pack on the left cost me about $1.50 in Siem Reap, which is on par with U.S. prices, not accounting for the size difference in the packs. As for the mango flavor, it was exactly that, and kind of enjoyable (though still oddly minty at the end).

I didn’t end up finishing the pack. Some children were begging us for money, and you aren’t supposed to give them any, so Nicci handed them a roll of Oreos she had in her bag. And then they came back, so I gave them the mango TicTacs.

And then they came back again, and I was just about to put my foot down about how we weren’t giving them money and I’d already opened my mouth and said, “OH NO,” when Nicci pointed out that they just needed helping getting the pack open.

“Oh. Right.”

So I opened the pack. And the three of them – the oldest no more than five or six, the youngest a naked infant in her arms, the middle one perfectly in between them in size and appearance, like Russian nesting dolls – ran off with their spoils.

If Nicci hadn’t seen them, I might have missed them altogether. Or just looked over them, and tried to ignore them, the way I do when people ask me for money in the states. Because I’m not sure what else to do.

I couldn’t take them home. And I wasn’t supposed to give them money. So I gave them my TicTacs. An exercise in futility if ever there was one.

 

There are no florescent lights. Or aisles and aisles of junk food. There is no plastic container full of beef jerky, no row of humming soda dispensers, waiting to pour out sugary elixirs.

There are no walls, or ceilings. There aren’t even gas pumps.

Gas stations are different in Cambodia. They usually aren’t much more than a solitary person, standing on the side of a road with repurposed bottles full of yellow fuel. The tuk tuk driver stops next to them, hands over a dollar or two. The contents of the bottle are then poured into the gas tank. (more…)

I have to tell you something.

I’m an absolute sucker for weddings. I basically turn into a squealing frenzy of crazy every time we find out we’re actually able to make it to a friend’s nuptials. It probably doesn’t take very much explaining to understand why.

 

If I got an email from a wedding, telling me it was a dethroned prince, and offering to share millions of dollars with me, I would IMMEDIATELY give it my bank account and routing numbers. That is how much I love weddings.

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