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Monday, July 28, 2014

Food Truck Feeding Frenzy


It's summer time again which means that high season hits Vancouver BC and people from all around the world descend on the west coast to enjoy the best of food, arts and culture. Don't forget to indulge  yourself in the street food scene. Vancouver's food trucks are world famous and it only takes one bite to see why.  When it comes to the street food variety, the skies the limit. You can get anything from tacos, chinese food, indian curry, homemade grilled cheese sandwiches and so much more....


Monday, July 14, 2014

Featured Photos: Homeless Italian Man Feeding Thousands of Pigeons in Paris

These pics of a homeless italian man feeding pics were taking just outside the contemporary art museum. It was at the point in which my tour with paris urban adventures ended.  The pictures pretty much speak for themselves. A homeless italian man is surrounded by thousands of pigeons that he feeds on a daily basis.

Monday, June 30, 2014

VOILA!!!!! Unveiling Vancouver's Not So Secret Location for Fatty Frissants....

What do you get when a donut and a croissant have a one night stand together? The answer is......the CRONUT.  This hybrid is heaven for your tastebuds and hell for calories and weightloss. I first heard of these when I was lazily lying on my couch wondering what to put in my mouth next when the episode of Two Broke Girls featured Cronuts. The savy traveller is still alive in me so while the episode was playing I googled "Cronuts" to find out indeed and it was a very real thing going on in NYC and thus subject to mockery on Two Broke Girls


Where things got really dangerous for my arteries was when I googled the words "Cronuts" and "Vancouver" together. Unbeknownst to me when I hit the "ENTER" button, the search results would lead me to a hole in the wall called the Swiss Bakery  on 143rd East Avenue.  Inspired by the Cronut craze in NYC, the geniuses at the Swiss Bakery decided to create a frenzy with the birth of the Frissant. A Frissant is a sinfully delicious Cronut under a different name so that it can be enjoyed without fear of getting hit by a lawsuit due to patent infringement.

I took the advice that came to me on multiple articles about the Frissant with the recommendation that I arrive at 9 am  and nab one while they were fresh. Every part of me felt like an animal on the wild savannah getting up early to make the first kill of day. But as soon as I bit into the Frissant (featured in the pic above), the hunter became the hunted and the question begged to be asked, was I the predator or the prey?  As I sat in the sunshine and munched away I could almost hear an evil laugh coming from the Frissant.  I was in fact the prey to the spell of this pastry to which I would be from this moment on regularly coughing up $4 until the day I shed my mortal coil and there is nothing left but a gravemarker shaped oddly enough like a Frissant..... 

Monday, June 16, 2014

How Being Billingual Helped Me Pick a Friend Out of a Precarious Situation

Like Ariel the Little Mermaid all of us have dreams and fantasies about being part of another world. And thanks to working and study abroad opportunities many of us can turn those fantasies into realities. After seeing Europe and coming back to Argentina, a good friend of mine started to have flights of fancy about working abroad and getting out of the hellhole that Argentina was quickly turning into every minute that goes by. So she set up a profile on a website for Au Pairs where they can be matched up and interviewed by potential employers.

There is a saying that goes "if something is too good to be true, it probably is"  I am writing this post to demonstrate how important it is to have good knowledge of the laws as well as good foreign language skills if you intend to be anything more than a tourist passing through. Already in Argentina cab drivers and produce sellers and such have been known to try and take advantage of foreigners especially if it is obvious that they don't have a good grasp of the language.

6 mths after my friend put out her profile she got contacted by some people in Canada that needed a live in care-giver.  Also note that my friend speaks nearly zero english and has no experience with life outside of a latino world. Naturally she told me about the experience. I told her I would be there to help and translate as needed. Nothing about this situation raised red flags in me.....YET.

Sunday, June 01, 2014

Chicken, Waffles and First Class Hospitality at Yolks Commissionary

My blogpost today is my way of saying a big THANKS to the amazing people at Yolks Commissionary. Because I was so blown away at the world class customer service, I decided to put a post immediately for today and bump whatever post I had planned for another day. There are two times my mouth can't shut, firstly when its full of good food and secondly when the service has been extraordinary. And at Yolks Commissionary at 1298 East Hastings, I ended up with both.

The day began like any other day, with me waking up early to explore some of Vancouver's hidden gems. Hole in the wall places with glorious food tucked far away from the touristy downtown core. For months and months I had been hearing about Yolks Commissionary out on east hastings. I had already tried some of their food from their food truck and was completely sold. Now it was time to visit the mothership.

On a Sunday morning the restaurant opens at 9am. I arrived around 8:55 and within 3 mins a good sized crowd had already built up. When the doors open the restaurant was flooded and at 9:15 a waiting line had formed of eager beavers who had arrived 2-3 mins later than the others. The scenery at East Hastings may not be as romantic as the touristy restaurants downtown but when you see lineups like this at a restaurant in the middle of nowhere you know that you're in the right place.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Becoming an Actor in Vancouver British Columbia

Unless one intends on becoming a nomad without a home wandering all over the earth, every traveller has his or her day when they know that it;s time to settle down and have roots and stability and have a sense of a routine. There is no shame or dishonor in doing that, it can actually be a beautiful thing that can produce tremendously good fruit in your own life as well as in the lives of others.

In Jan 2014,  I felt that the season living abroad was coming to an end and it was time to go back to Canada. I made a decision to try and put down roots in Vancouver Canada. From the moment I landed in Canada, it was as if the country rolled out the red carpet for me to come home. I landed in the evening but the very next day the weather was crystal clear.  All my friends in Canada that until the moment I came back there had been nothing but cloudy weather. It was as if the Canadian skies decided to burst open for me....

In addition to that, I managed to get an apt. Within a wk of my landing I had my name on a tenants lease. This may not sound all that exciting but there is a little fact you should know that makes this special: Vancouver has one of the lowest vacancy rates in all of canada.  Locals, foreigners, students alike coming to Vancouver have to fight to be able to rent a space. As I did my research I found out that the vacancy rate of the city is at about 1%. So for me to have an apt for a decent price in the heart of downtown is nothing short of divine intervention..

Things continued to get better here.  I found myself feasting on food trucks and gorging out on the street food scene that Vancouver is famous for.  Also from my travels I felt like I had so many stories within me to tell and I needed another medium from my blogsite as a way of telling them. Vancouver is a hotspot for film, theatre, and acting. So I decided to take advantage of all that this great city had to offer and take acting lessons.

My first day in the acting studio, one of those rare moments in life happen when you are struck with an epiphany about who you are and why you were put on this earth. And I realized that I was born to be an actor.  This is a huge revelation in my life and there is so much to tell. I promise I will take all of you with me on my adventures in Vancouver as they unfold.

But for now I decided to share a tremendous video of Sir Ian Mckellan.  A true actor is one that can take something menial and mundane and make a dramatic scene out of it. In this hilarious video, Ian Mckellan was asked my a late night talk show host to read a set of instructions on how to change a car tire in a Shakespearean voice. What follows is nothing short of side splitting funny and hard core evidence of his capacity as an actor.....

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Monday, May 05, 2014

Whisked Away to the World of Harry Potter in Warner Brothers Studio London

Long after the movies and books have been done and completed Harry Potter continues to mess with the minds of muggles all over the world at Warner Bros Studios in London.   Please not that you must absolutely book tickets beforehand for a time slot and arrive at the time slot. Tickets are not sold onsite and the studio turns busloads of tourists daily who thought they could just show up without a reservation. This is due to the fact that there is a limit to how many people can be in the studios at any one time. So booking ahead is absolutely VITAL

Once you have your ticket in hand you'll be able to take a sneak peek inside Dumbledore's office,  encounter a Horcrux, down a glass of butterbeer and have a face to face encounter with the goblet of fire.....

Monday, April 21, 2014

Amphibians of the Amazon

One of the most addicting things about the amazon jungle is that you never know what your trip may bring you. You may want to see lots of monkeys and end up seeing lots of snakes instead. You may want to swim with pink dolphins but instead get bitten by a piranha :S

 My very first trip to the amazon jungle seem to yield a collection of frog and toad pictures, enough to do a blog dedicated to amphibians of the amazon. The first pic below is of a nocturnal toad that we came across while looking for Caiman

This is the exact same species of frog as the very first photo on this blog and it was taken on the same nite. If you look hard you will see two frogs in the middle doing well uh........

 Blink and you'll miss it......the only thing that could possibly give this male bullfrog is its glowing eye.  We spotted this toad during night stroll through the jungle. You'll find that at night the majority of the animals glow in the dark to help them find their way. But they can't be too flashy or it makes them an easy target for predators. Note that the color of the bullfrog almost matches exactly the color of the forest floor. Pretty clever huh? We could hear the deep mating call of the bullfrog echo through night during our forest stroll.

Monday, April 07, 2014

My 3 Week Love Affair with A French Language School in Montpellier

It's that time of the year again where language schools abroad start to get ready for their halls to be filed with students during the months of July and August.  Having spent 3 weeks of my life at a top french language school I felt I do have something to say that might be beneficial for those considering a few weeks or even a whole summer abroad.

My 3 week french course was at ILA right in the heart of Montpellier. In Canada French is one of the most boring and despised subjects by us in highschool and we would always count down until the moment the bell rang and we could be released from our prison aka classroom. So for me, revisiting french I was naturally nervous cuz in highschool it was one of the most uninteresting subjects around.

But all that changed when I stepped through the doors of a classroom at ILA.  Choosing a qualified language school is of upmost importance. One hour at a top language school can make you learn more than a lifetime at any other boring lifeless program. In addition to that, the benefits are that you make friends and you find yourself in the company of like minded individuals that you practice your language with but also have a drink with as well. Or you can practice languages AND have a drink at the same time.....

In an intimate classroom setting (10 students or less), every student has a different area that they are good in. So what ends up happening is that you fill on for others in the areas where they are weak and you are strong and in return you draw from areas that they have mastered but you still struggle with. 

Choosing a city that you learn a language in is just as important. Before I came I did alot of research and Montpellier was highly recommended as a good city to learn french in. The reason why the city is important is because learning a language is intense and if you are gonna stay anywhere for an extended amount of time, it is important that you find a certain amount of enjoyment in your chosen location.

For me, Montpellier is great firstly because it was one of the cheaper french cities. It is a huge student city (not just language students but university students too). There are coffee shops, eclectic eateries, supermarkets within proximity. There are places to go to relax between classes and after class to keep things from being too intense. In addition to that there are cinemas, an amazing aquarium, parks, an art museum.....all reasonably priced too.

When I left France for Belgium, I met the apartment owner of the place I would be renting. He can speak english but french is easier for him. I told me he could switch to french if he wanted to. So he did and I understood just about everything he was explaining about the apt, Brussels, places to eat etc. And he complimented me on my superb pronunciation of french.  And in that moment I knew that living with french people, paying $500 a week for 30 hrs of classes at a top instution for 3 weeks of my life had not gone to waste.

To sum it up: Choose a language you'll love, choose a city you'll adore, choose a school with good accreditation, choose to live with native speakers instead of on the school residence or living situations where you have no opportunity to speak.

Choose all these things and in no time words from a foreign language will be bursting forth from your mouth....

J'veux pas finir mes jours à Tombouctou 
La peau tirée par des machines à clous 
Moi je veux être fripée Triplement fripée 
Fripée comme une Triplette de Belleville 
J'veux pas finir ma vie à Acapulco 
Danser toute raide avec des gigolos 
Moi je veux être tordue 
Triplement tordue 
Balancée comme une Triplette de Belleville 
(Allez les filles!)


Swinging Belleville rendez-vous
 Marathon dancing doop dee doop
Vaudou Cancan balais taboo
Au Belleville swinging rendez-vous

J'veux pas finir ma vie à Singapour
Jouer au dico manger des petits fours
Moi j'veux être zidiote
Triplement zidiote
Gondolée comme une Triplette de Belleville

J'veux pas finir ma vie à Honolulu
 Chanter comme un zoiseau ça n'se fait plus
Je veux ma voix brisée
Triplement brisée
Swinguer comme une Triplette de Belleville


 J'pourrai finir ma vie à Katmandou
C'est bien plus doux de faire des rimes en “dou“
Mais je veux être givrée
Triplement Givrée
Et swinguer comme les Tripletes de Belleville 

(Allez les filles!)

Monday, March 31, 2014

Taking a Gander around Gaudi-land

With so much coverage that goes on in the world of travel at one point you start to feel like you've seen it all. If those feelings of boredom start to set in there is one simple solution, all you need to do is head to Barcelona....the city where Gaudi is god. Speaking of God, even if one doesn't believe in the existence of God, a trip to one of Gaudi's works would get you wondering.

His genious goes beyond architecture and design. I visited Casa Batlo, one of the houses he built in Barcelona and the whole experience left me at total loss for words. Gaudi not only incorporated design elements into his work but he had a superior understanding of how to channel in light and where it should hit for maximum effectiveness.

The above photo may seem like two different windows but they are the exact same window. On one side the light falls in and illuminates it creating a jewel-like effect. But if you walk to the other side of the door the glass in the frame looks completely different. His understanding of lighting combined with design are completely flawless. No doubt there was genious in that man's genes.....

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Crazy Cuisines: Giant Snails Ahoy.....

Lima has no end to bountiful and creative restaurants with crazy cuisines. One of the most interesting concept restaurantsI came across was Amaz, a restaurant inspired by food people eat in the Amazon jungle. After reading various reviews on trip advisor and finding out about an entree of giant snails, I knew I had to go get my exotic food fix.

I don't know about you but I can't think of a better way to spend a first date with someone than over a plate of giant snails. Why wait until the third date when they see your place for the first time and get greeted by 23 cats?  Giant snails are a great way to show your lunacy right from the very moment they sit down at the table

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Monday, March 03, 2014

Making Mustard My Mistress at Mailles Mustard Boutique

Meandering through the Maille Mustard Boutique in Madeleine Place Paris, I began to realize more and more the love affair the french have with mustard. Unlike North America where mustard is used as a lowly condiment,  in France mustard is held with very high esteem and an essential ingredient in the kitchen of every french cook. 

If there is any one place to fall in love with the beloved ingredient of mustard it would be at their boutique at 6 Madeleine in Paris.  Never in my life have I see to the degree of variety and quantity or quality of mustard in any one place.  It became apparent that Mailles is so much more than about mustard, it is about making mustard your MISTRESS.

Seeing mustard on tap completely blew my imagination. For those who took their gastronomy seriously,  fresh mustard on tap was available that you could carry away in a ceramic holder.   On the day that I happened to go the gastronomic gods must have smiled on me because they told me they had rare limited edition Chablis and black truffle mustard on tap only available between Oct to March.  And in that moment i knew what my Parisien splurge was going to be......

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Timeless Multi-City Money Saving Tradition: Hitting the Grocery Store

No matter what country's soil I find myself standing on, there has always been one tradition that spans every border crossing and not only saves me a ton of money but helps me get to know the culture a little bit. The moment I get settled into my accomodation there is always one 5 word question that never fails to pop out.....

"Where is the grocery store?"

This seemingly insignificant question is in fact one of the most important money saving questions any traveller can have. The first benefit of visiting the local grocery store is that you start to learn what other people are eating, drinking and the ingredients they are using. It serves as a great cultural lesson.

Another benefit of hitting the grocery store when you land is that it gives you the chance to stock up on goodies. Having things you can stuff in your mouth prevents you from spending money going out to eat when in reality all you wanted in that moment was something to grab. That way you end up spending money when you are truly in the mood to go out.

One of the most interesting places to stroll around the grocery store is in the country of Peru.  Due to it's geographical location and diverse climate, Peru has an endless amount of unique local produce. The country alone produces more than 3000 types of potatoes. In reality when entering into a Peruvian supermarket, you never know when the gigantic catch of the day might catch your eye.

p.s your curiousity must be burning by now so I'll answer question. This monstrous sea creature staring back at you is called "Congrio", a species of eel *GULP*

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Monday, February 10, 2014

Sailing Thru a Sea of Erotic Artifacts

While in Peru I visited the Larcos Museum, a private collection of pre-columbian artifacts. I was trying to broaden my mind to new worlds that I knew nothing about. I ended up getting alot more than I bargined for when I stumbled upon the collection of erotic artifacts.  Most of you out there couldn't care less the story behind the artifacts, the discovery or the ancient civilizations. Instead I anticipate that many of you will just end up giggling and blushing and hitting the "share" button....

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Monday, February 03, 2014

Unlocking the Mystery Behind the Paris Love Locks

While in Paris I took a tour that went off the beaten path to explore the bohemian side of the city.  The tour was with Urban Adventures and I would do it again in a heart beat. At one point in the tour we came across a bridge full of locks and the tour guide explained that this is a bridge where lovers would place a lock written with their name and their soul mates name. Then they would throw the key into the river.  This symbolizes that their love can never be unbroken or unlocked.

Later as I was strolling on the sidewalk I saw vendors who had locks available to sell to whoever wanted to take part in this ritual.  I'm sure these people must get awfully rich around Valentines day :)
After I got home I did further research on this fascinating ritual and stumbled across this neat article on the Paris love locks entitled:  Paris Love Locks: A Love that Won't Die

Monday, January 20, 2014

Paris's Hidden Gem.....the "I Love You Wall"

In a city as overdone as Paris, I wondered while visiting there is I would be able to discover any hidden gems worth writing about. I got my answer when I stumbled upon the "I love you wall" while strolling through Montmartre.  It's location is at Abbesses garden at Place du Abbesses.

The "I love you" wall is not completely undiscovered yet not completely unknown so I still think it can fall under the category of "hidden gem".  To be frank, if there was anywhere in the world I would want a marriage proposal it would be here in front of this magnificent spot as opposed to the top of the eiffel tower having paid 14 euros to even be there while being jostled by tons of bodies including 10 other people who decided to get sucked into the cliched of proposing up there as well. The "I love you" wall in Paris is so romantic in its own natural way  that it almost makes you want to believe in love even if love and marriage isn't your cup of tea.....

Monday, January 06, 2014

Surf and Rebirth

No matter what culture or language we come from, we all love celebrating new beginnings and rebirth. I wanna begin the new yr off by telling a story of how making friends with someone in Argentina changed their life and caused the hope to become restored. Some of you know that betrayal is unfortunately something deep within Argentine culture. People can give you a charming smile one day and two days later shut you out cold.

When I first started to hang out with some genuine Argentines, they would always say to me "Angelina, we love you.....NEVER CHANGE"  And they kept emphasizing that they hoped I wouldn't change and I would stay the same sweet person. It seemed odd to me for them to keep telling me not to change, until I found out about this part of the culture. I realize I was growing on the girls and they really wanted to trust me and believe I was a good person.

Thats why they kept telling me not to change, they had seen it so many times in their culture when  seemingly nice person flips all of a sudden and you've been voted off the island friendship wise. In reality what they feared would happen was always impossible with me. I'm not Argentine and there is no way I could be super friendly one day and super cold the next day. It would be impossible.

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas