5 Years In A Row

In November 2011 a group of friends started a tradition that has continued now for 5 years in a row. It all started in Southeast Asia, Singapore to be exact. I just moved to Manila, Philippines around mid-November and a friend of mine was working in Singapore for a few months at the time. He was not going to be able to get back home for Thanksgiving so a third friend of ours decided to fly out to Singapore from the states. I had heard they were going to meet up there but having just moved I had a lot on my plate and was not sure if I would be able to get over there as well. I remember getting a phone call from PR telling me he just landed in Singapore and that I definitely needed to come out there. I took a look around my apartment for some reason, as if there was something else I needed to consider. There was not. After a brief pause I said ok, let me look at flights. Moments later I found a flight departing to Singapore in a few hours so I bought it and immediately packed my bags and headed to the airport.

At that time it was only the three of us but we had an amazing time. The following year we added another friend, PD, and they all came to Manila to visit me. In 2013 I moved to Sweden and the tradition continued when they came out to Stockholm. 2014 was when we added our 5th and final member to the travel group. Socks, who was in grad school the previous years, could not wait to join us in Thailand to celebrate Thanksgiving together. Finally, our 5 year anniversary was spent in Colombia and Brazil! The following pictures illustrates some of the fun that we had in South America!

We only spent a few days in Medellin, Colombia and this day was particularly overcast but this was the view from the apartment we rented for the weekend. Unfortunately my cell phone was stolen on my last night in Medellin so virtually all of the good pictures I took were lost. Only a few that I managed to snap, including the one below, from my DSLR were salvaged.IMG_7425

No matter where I go in the world, EVERYONE loves fried chicken!IMG_7405

This house, or brick wall at this point, is all that remains of what was one of the houses of the infamous Pablo Escobar. He was killed at this location. Originally I wanted to go see the Pablo Escobar mansion, or museum, but trying to communicate that to the cab driver with my horrible Spanish and his completely non-existent English was quite difficult. PD and I did our best and somehow we got the cab driver to take us to where Escobar was killed. Not exactly what I was looking for. I suppose it counts for something?IMG_7412 IMG_7413

I snapped this picture riding in a cab in Medellin. I haven’t the slightest idea what the do or sell in this place. Your guess is as good as mine.IMG_7418

Walking down the streets of Bogota, Colombia you never know what you might see. Im used to seeing stray dogs, cats, chickens, even cows. A Llama… this has got to be a first.IMG_0030

View from MonserrateIMG_0059

Myself, Eli, and PD.IMG_0066

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Proof that I am HILARIOUS! Smile for the camera PD ๐Ÿ™‚IMG_0096

The best story of Colombia ends at this restaurant. I have to preface this with: If you ever find yourself in Bogota, Colombia a trip to Andres Carne De Res is an absolute must! This place is easily the craziest restaurant I have ever attended. Not actually located in Bogota, its about an hour away in a place called Chia. The road from Bogota to Chia is rough and rugged so prepare yourself for that and keep in mind its totally worth it. Uber works in Colombia and it is what we used to get there. We did not make reservations ahead of time and I don’t think its absolutely necessary. The line to get in was out the door like is was a club or circus of some sort. All of the decorations were in a word… strange. I guess it adds to the mystique of this crazy place.

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You pay an entrance fee to get in, which I thought was strange since its “just a restaurant” (insert extreme sarcasm), an admission ticket is given to you, and once inside the doors, a shot of tequila is poured for you. Already I was hooked and this place was awesome. The staff was very kind and showed us to our table. Basically nobody spoke English inside this place so it was fun trying to stumble through communicating with the staff. Luckily there was one guy who spoke English well enough so they sent him to us to serve our table. Before we even opened the menu, (read: book) ย we ordered a few more rounds of tequila shots. The menu was extensive! Probably the longest menu I have ever seen in fact. The energy in this place was mad! We did not know what to expect but we could tell that it was not a typical restaurant at all. It was as if everyone was in on a secret and we were only moments away from finding out.

Rounds of shots eventually turned into a bottle of Don Julio, Latin music filled the air, the food had arrived, we made friends with the table next to us, and the night was about to turn up! Pretty soon we abandoned our table as did many people and congregated on the dance floor. The restaurant quickly transformed into a huge dance party. People were eating at their tables while other people danced in the aisles all the way to the dance floor. With our broken Spanish we managed to ask some ladies to dance and that is about all I remember. I have never salsa danced so much in my life. We made a few more trips back to the table to hydrate, (read: take shots) and have some food and then back to the dance floor. This routine continued for hours until we finally decided to catch an Uber back to Bogota. What a night!!!

The next stop on the trip was none other than RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL!!!!!

I found a cool bunch of bamboo to sit under in the Botanical Gardens.IMG_0219I guess everybody wanted to be a model that day in the garden…IMG_0154 IMG_0158 IMG_0162 Inside the orchid garden section. I was a little disappointed by it though because for as large as the Botanical Garden is, this section was rather small. Nevertheless, I snapped a good pic.IMG_0166Caught them gazing. Those trees were pretty impressive.IMG_7454 Downtown LapaIMG_0232 IMG_0254 IMG_0255 IMG_0281 IMG_0275 Run of the mill fruit stand. We saw these everywhere around the beach area. They make all types of shakes, even including a few scoops of protein if you ask for it.ย IMG_0308 IMG_0311 Acai. Fresh!IMG_0315 IMG_0324 Moments before I jumped from that mountain on a hang glider. I was just sizing up what would soon be conquered.IMG_0729 These steps are obviously famous and definitely very cool when you finally get to see them. I think it is important to note however, that they are located in a very sketchy part of town. Most people go during the day time, highly advisable. At night it seems a little more daunting for a few American foreigners who do not speak a lick of Portuguese. You have to walk down a dark alley with all types of interesting characters roaming the street. It turned out to be just fine though. A smile gets you a long way.IMG_0434 Some people walk dogs, some people walk chickens. Although if she does not keep an eye on him, dinner will be served!IMG_0404 IMG_0494 Don’t you hate when somebody ruins your shot?!IMG_0626IMG_0512 IMG_0596Looking out from Christ the Redeemer, as you can see its super crowded but still a dope view.IMG_0516 IMG_0607 This guy was hogging the waterfall. Smh…IMG_7499 IMG_0644 IMG_0666 I leave you with this final messageIMG_0669

2 thoughts on “5 Years In A Row

  1. How do you generate sufficient funding to travel like this? Love to see the young brothers getting to do this. Now that my wife and I have just about finished putting our 4 children through college, we are almost ready and able to visit many of these places. Our oldest already travels the world and has lived in Palawan for 2 1/2 years. She’s in Jordan this month and heading to London soon after completing grad school this year. God is amazing to allow her and other people of color to see His amazing creation! Be blessed and may you walk with integrity wherever He gives you breath to travel!

    1. I work, just like anyone else. I just try not to shop or party too much and instead I travel ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for your well wishes and I hope you and your wife take the opportunity to see some cool places as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

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