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July 7, 2013

7 Jul

More than 3 months later, I have finally overcome my immense laziness and have decided to pick my computer back up to blog about C’s wedding from back in March 2013.  I’ve been meaning to blog about this for the past 3 months, but there’s something about spring/summer in NYC that makes me not want to do anything during my down time other than 1) drink, 2) sleep, 3) watch NCIS marathon — in that order.  But enough with excuses.

C is one of my good friends from growing up in Dallas, and she married a guy from Mexico, so this wedding was truly a Tex-Mex wedding — and was so amaze that I almost feel like Stefon from SNL in reviewing this event:

“This year’s hottest wedding venue is RANCH.  This wedding had everything — Texas BBQ, s’mores, photo booth, taco truck, Elvis impersonator, Mexican jumping beans…”

“Stefon, what are Mexican jumping beans?”

“They’re drunk, short little Mexicans jumping around trying to get their bean into every girl on the dance floor.”

Really though, this wedding was everything I expected out of a Texas wedding and more.  This certainly wasn’t the first wedding I attended in Texas, but it was the first one that really embraced Texas culture and actively encouraged cowboy boots/hat attire (although unfortunately, being a horrible Texan, I owned no such thing).

The wedding already started off on an amazing foot when upon arriving to the hotel, I was gifted with the absolute best welcome bag I’ve received out of all the weddings I’ve attended to date, complete with necessities like Advil, a bottle opener, Dr. Pepper in a bottle, and Shiner Bock to welcome you to Texas.

Welcome Bags

Welcome Bags

After immediately enjoying the Shiner, the first adventure after that was getting from the hotel to the Friday night welcome dinner event, which was hosted at C’s aunt’s ranch.  And it was literally on a ranch… in the middle of nowhere… a 45-minute shuttle ride away from the hotel.  As we drove past tumbleweeds and haystacks to the sound of good ole country music, I overheard all the non-Texans on the shuttle mumble in appall, “Where the FUCK are we.”

The minute we got there, I could smell the incredible BBQ, and I hated admitting that I actually loved something about Texas.  But how could you not love this:

Texas BBQ

Texas BBQ

Texas BBQ

Texas BBQ

The BBQ was so popular that the food went in about six minutes.  But there was more!  C had gotten jar pies for dessert — mini pecan, cherry and apple pies.  I have this weird obsession with mason jars, which might be the only other thing that is “Southern” about me — I love drinks that come in mason jars, and I had tried jar cakes before but never jar pies.  I find very few things in life to be “cute,” but I have to say this one was an exception #cutism

Jar Pies

Jar Pies

The big wedding the next day was at the Alamo — no really, look:

Alamo

Alamo

The ceremony was a beautiful one filled with some awkward but funny-in-retrospect moments like the entire groom’s side of the guests standing up for the entire wedding procession (I guess that’s what you do in Mexico) while the bride’s side all freaked out and started screaming at the Mexicans to sit down and that it was blasphemous to stand before the bride had arrived… while others started yelling FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!  Ah, cultural differences…

So there was that, and the minor forgotten detail to actually bring the wedding bands to the ceremony (#oops), so one of the ushers had to literally run up the hill back up to the house to dig around for the lost rings while in the interim the officiant awkwardly lent her wedding ring to the groom as a placeholder.  Only C+A could have made light of this situation.  I think other brides would have literally broken down in tears and slit their wrists over that.

After a blurry cocktail hour filled with one too many specialty cocktails, it was time for the big dinner.  And I mean BIG.  Here’s what I had:

Salmon Wellington

Salmon Wellington

Roast Beef

Roast Beef

I loooooooove salmon wellington, so you can imagine my excitement when I get a plate of eight of them, followed by a heaping plate of roast beef.  It was literally my dream come true.  It was technically family style, but four girls and their dates certainly could not finish all this, which of course meant more for me.

After consuming 4 lbs of meat, I was tempted to skip out on dessert, but when I went outside, I was greeted with the most delightful s’mores station by the fire pit — I couldn’t resist.  Every hour there was something new at this wedding, which I got such a kick out of — first the s’mores, then a professional photo booth, then big foam party hats, then an Elvis impersonator who came out of nowhere, then finally a taco truck (which I’ll get to later).  It was incred.

What was even more incred was that since this was a Mexican wedding, there was none of this “party ends at 10pm” shit.  The bride was serious about her party and she made it known.  Apparently during the planning process, her wedding planner had advised no shots at the wedding because it’s “not classy” — to which C very nicely told her to go fuck herself, and that “UM, this is a MEXICAN wedding — there WILL be tequila shots.”  And boy, was there.

Around midnight, the party was still going strong, made stronger by the late appearance of a huge group of 20 Mexicans who were all the groom’s friends from home who had driven 12 hours (all stuffed in the back of a pickup truck, obvs) to arrive in time to still enjoy several hours of hardcore wedding partying.  When those Mexicans arrived, the tequila shots flowed like water.  And to perpetuate stereotypes even more, every single one of them started skeezily grinding up against every girl on the dance floor — which I secretly loved, minus the AIDS.

As I was getting happily gang banged on the dance floor to Cotton Eyed Joe mixed with some familiar Mexican tunes, C comes up to me and asks, “Are you blackout?!?!”  I shook my head no (kinda true), to which she grabbed me by the shoulders and shook me in return, yelling “I WANT YOU TO GET BLACKOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!”  Best. Bride. Ever.  Yes ma’am!!!!  I saluted back and immediately ran to the bar for more tequila shots with the Mexican boys.

Next thing I know, I was exhausted on the dance floor but overheard someone shouting, “The taco truck is here!”  WHAT. TACO. TRUCK. ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!  I pushed every child in my way out of my way and made my way outside to check out this miracle, and there it was: http://www.chilantrobbq.com/

A Korean Mexican fusion taco truck!!!!!  I literally wet myself in my dress.  My only regret is that I was so blackout I forgot to take a picture of this best part of the night.  I don’t have any of my own pictures, but I will forever remember the taste of those orgasmic kimchi fries and tacos — see here from the website:

The party went until 3am, but I remember very little after the taco truck other than dancing my heart out the entire night on the dance floor.  I vaguely remember passing out in the shuttle back, then being woken up by K shaking me once we arrived to the hotel.  Apparently J, who was staying in the hotel room directly across from me, heard a huge THUD outside her door around 4am, which she speculated was me face planting in the hallway.

The next morning was a rough one, but sausage and gravy always help:

Breakfast Buffet

Breakfast Buffet

Breakfast Buffet

Breakfast Buffet

An awesome weekend all around.  Who knew Texas Hill Country could be so fun?  C really knew had to throw one hell of a party.  Lucky for me, I have another Hill Country wedding coming up in August.  As Stefon would say, this year’s hottest wedding venue really is RANCH.

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April 21, 2013

21 Apr

2013 weddings have already kicked off to a great start this year with two amazing weddings in March.  I’m apparently known to be a really tough critic of weddings and any event and really of anything in life, but these two were really quite superb.  Starting off with A+B=C’s wedding.

The C’s really know how to throw a party.  This one was especially special for me, not just because I was a bridesmaid, but also because I take credit for bringing these two lovebirds together, having been the mutual friend.  But more importantly- the first time A and B officially hooked up was the first time she had ever gotten blackout, and I had been trying to get this girl blackout for 5 years.  This marriage is testament to the fact that good things CAN come out of blackouts, and that makes me a proud mama!

Anyway, this was my first NYC wedding, which I was really excited about — I was mainly tickled by the fact I could just take cabs to all the weekend venues.  The rehearsal dinner on Friday night was at PUBLIC — maybe one of the fanciest rehearsal dinners I’ve ever attended.  On top of the endless glasses of champagne and cocktails, here was the incred menu:

Sunchoke soup with smoked ricotta, sweet potato beignet and truffled grape vinaigrette

Sunchoke soup with smoked ricotta, sweet potato beignet and truffled grape vinaigrette

Grilled scallops with sweet chili sauce, crème fraiche and green plantain crisps

Grilled scallops with sweet chili sauce, crème fraiche and green plantain crisps

Pan-roasted duck breast with sesame soy dressing, cassava chips, wokked bok choy and pickled shallots

Pan-roasted duck breast with sesame soy dressing, cassava chips, wokked bok choy and pickled shallots

Dessert tray

Dessert tray

After we were all liquored up, we took the after-party to Los Feliz, where the groomsmen started buying everyone round after round after round of tequila shots.  Before I knew what was going on, I found myself sitting in the corner by myself staring off into the ceiling like some freak.  My head was spinning like whoa, and I knew if I stayed any longer, I would not be able to wake up in time to get my hair done for the wedding, and A would have my head.

I don’t remember how I got home, but I do remember waking up the next morning with a massive headache and the usual bile spitting up my throat.  I slapped my face a few times, mumbling “Get it together bridesmaid, get it together,” then got dressed and painfully went to the salon.  I did feel a little better once I got a glass of cucumber water at the salon, but I may or may not have then immediately run to the restroom to “go pee” and instead violently projectile vomited an entire gallon of water into the salon toilet.  Luckily even when I projectile vomit it’s still very graceful and accurate and I never miss or even make a splash.  I wiped my mouth and got back in my chair to get my hair curled for the wedding, and I was ready to roll.

We took a limo from the salon to the wedding venue in the UES, which was very “Sex and the City”-esque, except that both the bride and the groom actually showed up to this wedding.  I came prepared to the wedding with one of my favorite bridesmaid gifts from A to commemorate this special occasion:

Bridesmaid thong

Bridesmaid thong

Oh, and here are the getting-ready snacks we had in the room:

Snacks

Snacks

I love mini yellow carrots! After getting ready, we went outside and literally stopped traffic in the freezing cold to take wedding pictures walking up and down Park Ave, which made us feel like celebs.

Obviously the wedding itself was awesome.  The best was really watching this beautiful Korean couple getting married underneath a chuppah and the Korean groom breaking the glass at the end of the ceremony.  Times really are modern.  Yes, A is Jew.

But it just gets better.  Cocktail hour may have been the best part.  The hors d’oeuvres that were being passed around were unreal.  Apparently it was all catered by Daniel Boulud — I nearly shat my pants.

Tuna tartare

Tuna tartare

Beef tenderloin

Beef tenderloin

Foie gras

Foie gras

Somehow all these butlers got away before I could take pictures of all the hors d’oeuvres, but there was foie gras, beef tenderloin, tuna tartare, rock shrimp, crab cakes, and apparently there was a lobster thing that I missed that I was incredibly upset about, and there were about three other dishes I’m somehow forgetting.  I couldn’t get enough of those foie gras things.

I change my mind — dinner was the best part.  There was lobster AGAIN for dinner as the first course.

Dinner menu

Dinner menu

Lobster

Lobster

 

Short rib and beef tenderloin

Short rib and beef tenderloin

The other part of this wedding that shocked me was that the band was actually amazing.  I’m usually very anti-bands since no matter how good you think your band is, they will never be up-to-date with the latest top 40s.  Maybe the top 40s from five years ago — just saying, Lady Gaga “Just Dance” hasn’t counted as a “new song” since 2008.  But this band actually knew songs from 2013, which blew me away.  I think I only sat out a total of two songs in the entire night, and it was just to get refills of champagne.

By the end of the night I was completely gone — and out of breath since I had been dancing for four hours straight, and I’m really out of shape.  For the wedding after-party I was of course trying to get everyone to go to Dorrian’s, which was just a few blocks away, but somehow I kept getting shot down.  Instead, the after-party was way down in SoHo, which I was like W-T-F about.  I mean if the wedding is in UES, why wouldn’t we just stay in UES for the after-party.  After trying a dozen more times to get people to agree to Dorrian’s, I got in a 45-minute cab down to the after-party venue, which I don’t even remember where it was because I was getting close to blackout.  I got out of the cab, took one look at the line to get inside the club, and turned right back around and into another cab to head straight back up to UES to T’s apartment.

The wedding festivities didn’t end there.  The post-wedding Sunday brunch was at Hill Country, and there’s no better way I like to start out my Sunday mornings than with a big plate full of meat.

Hill Country meat

Hill Country meat

Cornbread and bacon

Cornbread and bacon

The pictures are deceiving and aren’t doing the brunch justice, but there was actually a lot more meat than this.  It was awesome.  It couldn’t have been a more fun weekend.  Mazel tov A+B!!!

March 10, 2013

10 Mar

After watching 12 straight hours of NCIS marathon yesterday and 6 straight hours of SATC marathon today, I decided it was finally time to sit upright on my couch and do something productive with my life, like open up my computer, order Seamless, and update my blog on something that happened a month ago.

I don’t feel too behind writing about my Nicaragua trip since I still have the scandalous stringy tan lines on my tits and ass from the way-too-small-for-me bikini I bought on Amazon in preparation for this trip.  There was really no point in buying such a scandalous bikini given that a) I was going to a country where I could probably get raped for wearing something like that, and b) I was on adult spring break with 3 other married couples, plus my friend S from college, who would be my surrogate spouse for the week.

While I was living in SF with my bff K and her husband D last year, we started talking about planning an adult spring break with a big group to somewhere that wasn’t Cancun or Acapulco.  We started throwing out a bunch of beach destinations — Costa Rica came up a few times, but since some of us had already been there, we decided to go right next door to Nicaragua.  People asked me why we chose Nicaragua… it’s so random… but yes, that was literally how we chose that country.

I was really excited for this trip since my tan had started to fade in the miserable NYC winter and I hadn’t seen my SF friends in 8 months, but I didn’t have my expectations up too high since, I mean, what is in Nicaragua — nothing.  It would be a nice, calm beach trip where I could just spend 4 days straight getting black and drinking booze with friends.

Nicaragua completely exceeded my expectations.  Who thought Nicaragua could be so fun?!?!  Not even fellow Central Americans think highly of it.  Now it’s one of my top recommendations for 2013.

DAY 1

For this trip we had rented a house through VRBO.  The pictures looked great on the site, but obviously we never thought the house would actually be that amazing.  Turns out there is one area of San Juan del Sur where there are a dozen $$$$$$$ mansions up on a hill, including those of el Presidente and also of former NBA player Travis Knight:

SJDS House

SJDS House

Our house is the one with the red roof, to the 7:00 of Jesus.  Our house was blessed by Him.

Here’s what we arrived to:

Infinity Pool

Infinity Pool

With this amazing infinity pool overlooking a cliff and two hammocks and two full-time chefs that came with the house (which, by the way, was only ~$60 per person per night for all that #lovethirdworld), on day 1 all we did was hang out by this pool the entire day starting at 8am.  I mean, why wouldn’t we.  It was too much sun for all the white folk from SF, who decided to go for a hike around 2pm, but I stayed through 6pm of course.  Once the sun went down, it was time for homecooked meals from the help.  I had forgotten how good homemade dinners are — these cooks would turn the most boring ingredients — like rice and beans — into the most delicious meals.

Homemade Dinner

Homemade Dinner

After dinner, D and L whipped up some delicious cocktails using Flor de Cana, T whipped up some of his rapey drinks using roofies, and we all blacked out on about 7 drinking games.

DAY 2

Day 2 was surfing day for us.  I had never been surfing before, and I was a little uncomfortable at first because it meant leaving the house and actually doing something active that required something other than sleeping in the sun all day.  We signed up for surfing lessons with a group of young Nicaraguans who looked like they were 15, and we went out stuffed into the back of a pickup truck like a bunch of Mexicans to an isolated beach with some good waves for a group of beginners. This is pretty much exactly the way the lesson went down, no joke:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKIpCPS-oZc

The surfing was actually surprisingly very fun, and I was even able to get up on the board a few times, which was a huge thrill.  After a day of surfing, I had a day of bruising — honestly, these surf bruises made it look like I had been giving head for the past 12 hours.

Surf Bruises

Surf Bruises

To make my knees feel better, I ordered myself some lobster by the beach because it was only $10 for two delicious lobster tails (#poverexicWIN).  I couldn’t believe how cheap this country was.

2 lobster tails for $10

2 lobster tails for $10

DAY 3

After a day of surfing would come a day of boozing.  We were signed up for an all-day, all-you-can-eat, all-you-can-drink booze cruise, but somehow the retards got our dates wrong and the cruise guys never showed up, after we waited over an hour in the 100-degree weather for nothing.  But we were determined to get our booze on — so we found another company that offered a more ghetto version of the booze cruise on a tiny motorboat, so that’s what we went with for Day 3.

After an incredible lunch in town (see below), we buckled up our orange life vests to get ready to booze.

Tostones

Tostones

Ceviche

Ceviche

Whole fish

Whole fish

Macua

Macua

The booze cruise was ridiculously fun.  The captain of the motorboat loved him some Carly Rae Jepsen so we were pumping to that out at sea, we had a bartender who was uber attentive and didn’t ever let our Nica Libres go low, we got to go snorkeling in the middle of the ocean (even though we couldn’t see anything), and we were accompanied by three Marines from Illinois who were catching some red snapper and catching a glimpse of my bare ass every time I jumped on and off the boat.  By the end of the booze cruise, S and I were pretty liquored up, and so we went out afterwards with the Marines and ended up staying out drinking with them until midnight, at which point we felt the prudent thing to do was to go home with our married friends so as not to get raped in the bad way and end up on an episode of NCIS.  At one point I do have to admit I seriously contemplated banging one of those Marines in the bathroom of the bar upstairs because he just looked like one of those types with a huge dick, until I remembered that I actually hate men in uniform and all Marines likely have AIDS (it’s shocking I like NCIS).

DAY 4

Since we didn’t get to go on the planned booze cruise on Day 3, we decided to go back to the original plan on Day 4.  This booze cruise was amazing.  We had all-you-can-drink Mai Tais and sailed around on a catamaran all day listening to the best 90s mix and getting served delicious fish tacos.

Fish tacos

Fish tacos

The captain of this boat, Capitan Zach, was not in fact Nicaraguan but rather this blond surfer dude from Tacoma, WA, who landed this sweet gig to sail his boat around Nicaragua and get paid a shitload of money to do so — and half the time it was actually his crew doing the steering and him just doing the drinking and hanging out with the party guests.  I want his life.  And this is what he gets to see every single day:

San Juan del Sur Sunset

San Juan del Sur Sunset

It was a perfect way to end a week full of fun, sun, plenty of booze, good food and great company.  As T put it, this is how we all felt when adult spring break came to an end:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UWjBDPKGJPk

And we will.

January 27, 2013

27 Jan

My first time ever in Miami was quite the experience.  I was there for A’s bachelorette party over MLK weekend, and it was quite the eventful weekend I must say.

We arrived on Sat morning after a 6am flight to a rainy and gloomy Miami… but fortunately the weekend quickly transformed from balls to amazeballs.

We started with lunch at 5 Napkin Grill, followed by mojito push pops at Hyde:

5 Napkin

5 Napkin

Mojito push pops

Mojito push pops

Dinner that night was at The Dutch, where there was apparently some Miami Heat event going on, which got me super excited that I might actually get to meet Dwyane Wade in person to tell him his name has been spelled wrong his entire life.  Every tall black person who walked by the front of the restaurant, I literally jumped up and pretended to go to the bathroom to be able to walk by them and take a closer look.  Unfortunately my racism prevented me from actually identifying any Heat, but I do know for certain that I didn’t see Dwyane or Lebron or Bosh. 😦

Never mind those ath-o-leets… the food here deserves more attention as it was one of the most incredible meals I’ve ever had: oyster slider for appetizer; skirt steak with kimchi fried rice and duck egg for entree; watermelon crush for drink; and rum donuts for dessert.

Oyster slider

Oyster slider

Skirt steak with kimchi fried rice and duck egg

Skirt steak with kimchi fried rice and duck egg

Watermelon crush

Watermelon crush

Rum donuts

Rum donuts

After dinner though was when the real adventure began.

The plan for Sat night was to hit up LIV, “Miami’s hottest club” that was also located right in the Fontainebleau where we were staying.  The maid of honor (MOH) A had already made a table reservation, so we figured it would be easy enough to get in.

When we got back from dinner, the hotel lobby was seriously Shahs of Sunset meets Real Sluts of Miami.  I don’t think I’ve ever been in a bar or club in NYC where someone was wearing a skimpier outfit than I was.  Miami took skank to a whole new level.

Seven well-dressed, classy girls from Manhattan walk up to the front of the line, and six of us get in with only some minor pushing and shoving… when M announces that she doesn’t have her ID.  Luckily the bouncer and hostess were incredibly nice, letting M know to run upstairs to the room to grab her ID and they would let her right back in.  None of us were worried about her, and so the rest of us went ahead to our table area to start drinking the multiple bottles of champagne and Grey Goose that MOH A had generously purchased for us.

Twenty minutes later, when M still hadn’t joined us.  Bride-to-be A and I got concerned, and we went back upstairs to check out what the delay was.  I started texting M, who texted back that she had been waiting in line and they were making her pay a cover charge, which was completely ridiculous considering we had purchased a $3,000 table (yes — a $3,000 table).  When M refused to pay the cover, they apparently kicked her out.  M even went and found the nice hostess from before, and she completely pretended not to recognize her and kicked her out back over the rope.  M then went and found the nice bouncer from before, and he completely pretended not to recognize her and kicked her out back over the rope.  By this point M had already been kicked out of the club three times.  I mean, seriously…

Having heard about this ridiculousness, bride-to-be A decided to take charge and ran out to try talking to another bouncer, which turned into violent fighting within minutes.  My blood was boiling at this point, given my inherent hatred for cops, security guards, bouncers, authority figures and ethnic people, and K literally had to hold me back to prevent me from going after those assholes.  Before I even had the chance though, bride-to-be A, who is the most docile and non-confrontational person out of the group after M, hit the bouncer, flicked him off, screamed at him to go FUCK himself, and then ran off in some unknown direction.  M immediately ran after her, and the rest of us were mortified… except for me, who felt like a proud mama.  I had finally converted one of my friends into a delinquent.

Anyway, I started texting MOH A telling her to come upstairs immediately to help us diplomatically resolve this mess.  By the time MOH A had come back upstairs, we had luckily found bride-to-be A, who was still furious at the bouncer and continued yelling obscenities at him.  I was creeping in the corner observing this drama from afar, when I see bride-to-be A yet again flailing off in an unknown direction with M chasing after her.  MOH A then storms back into the club and tells me that bride-to-be A got our entire group kicked out of LIV.

Yikes.  I couldn’t even believe this.  It was bride-to-be A’s bachelorette party, MOH A had just bought a $3,000 table, and we had gotten kicked out of the club within the first 15 minutes of getting there.  We were all freaking out at this point, but fortunately MOH A used her diplomatic skills to go talk some sense into the manager, who–after 20 minutes of us explaining the situation to him–profusely apologized, let all the girls back in, and bought us a round of “I’m sorry I have such incompetent staff” tequila shots.

After a rough beginning, the night actually turned out to be insanely fun.  The music at the club was amazing; we essentially had our own “stage” to dance on; our table was next to a bachelor party of guys from NYC; and some scandalous stuff went down like girl-on-girl action and half our party getting heavily hit on by married men.  We ended up staying at LIV until 5am, which was the latest I had ever seen bride-to-be A out — proud mama again.

LIV

LIV

Given I wanted to die the next morning, I’m not sure how I actually physically made it out to the pool three hours later at 8am.  But my will to tan is a strong one.  After an entire day of passing out in the sun, we had a slightly calmer Sunday night, starting with an unbelievable dinner at Khong River.

Noodle wraps

Noodle wraps

Fried rice

Fried rice

Chicken curry

Chicken curry

Duck

Duck

Pork leg

Pork leg

Steamed buns

Steamed buns

Some delicious dessert

Some delicious dessert

After dinner we attempted to go to a hookah bar nearby, but after requesting a different table, we were kicked out of the bar for being “difficult customers.”  I’m not sure how this keeps happening to a group of nice girls, and the more shocking part is that I really had nothing to do with any of the kick-outs that happened over the weekend.  I had finally successfully taught my friends to do that job for me.  Proud!

After that incident, half our group peaced out and went to bed by midnight.  MOH A and I stayed out and forced bride-to-be A to stay out with us, and we met up with M2, one of the few guys I know in Miami and who I was trying to juice that night.  After hitting up a few more bars and putting every kind of liquor into my body, I successfully juiced M2 and put that into my body and then proceeded to puke up everything I had drunk the next morning.

It was a totally expected way to end a great weekend.  We thought we had encountered enough unexpected drama throughout the weekend, but it didn’t end with leaving the Fontainebleau.

Bride-to-be A, M and I were on the same flight back from MIA to LGA, and we were peacefully minding our own business at our gate when we see this super creepy guy wearing an orange kerchief over his face like a freaky mask I had never seen before in my life.  At first we thought he was a war veteran who had a disfigured face.  But when I got closer to him (I was just a few people behind him in the boarding line), I saw that he had disgustingly orange, matted hair, heavy eyeliner, his skin was an abnormal color, and the rest of his attire was just plain WEIRD.  He literally looked like a Michael Jackson reincarnate freak who was about to cause the next Columbine.  I’m pretty sure he was a cult leader.

What was even more terrifying was that his boarding pass didn’t go through, and then a bunch of TSA agents came to our gate to question him.  They asked him why he was wearing that fucking weird ass mask, and when he answered “for religious purposes,” bride-to-be A literally started having a panic attack.  She was hyperventilating, burst into tears, and an oxygen tank had to be brought out to her since she couldn’t breathe.  She had to be escorted off the plane and was asked to take a later flight.

Meanwhile, M and I were also freaking out and desperately wanted to follow bride-to-be A off the plane.  We would never forgive ourselves if he ended up bombing the plane and we hadn’t followed A off the flight.  Even though I was on zero sleep and all I wanted to do was pass out on the plane, I kept my eyes wide open and nervously watched that freak the entire time to make sure he wasn’t going to do anything suspicious, like go to the bathroom.

After two hours of hell, we finally landed safely in ATL where our layover was, followed by an uneventful flight back to LGA sans freaky cult leader.

Despite some drama and near-death experiences, it was one of the most fun weekends I’d had in a while, summarized by bride-to-be A as follows:

Thank you girls so much for the most fun weekend with all the ingredients of a very successful Bachelorette party:
Amazing hotel… check
Spa pampering… check
Amazing restaurants (305 and 212 ;P)… check
Poolside tanning… check
Temps in high 70’s… check
Beach… check
No penis straws (not MY thing, but I do look fwd to these at yours)… check
Cluuuubbin’… check
Kicked out of the club… check
… multiple people multiple times… check
Master persuasion to the point the club mgr apologizes, escorts delinquents back in, and sends shots… check
Bottles and model… check
Girl-on-girl make-out… allegedly
Kicked out of a hookah bar… check
Bar make-outs… check
After party juice… check
Drag queen… check
Shopping… check
No drama (except on return flight :-0)… check
Scandalous photos… check
… & as a result fb pic post removal/edit requests… check
xoxoxoxo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Completely nailed it.

January 13, 2013

14 Jan

They say you never forget your first love—mine was Mexico City at age 14.  Mexico was where I first learned to love other than myself.  Mexico was where I first cried real tears that actually meant something vs. crying over getting second place at a piano competition.  Mexico was where I first understood what it truly meant to be part of a family.

That first trip to Mexico City, I became best friends with my host sister A.  One of my favorite things in life is finding out how much you have in common with a childhood friend.  All too often childhood friends end up growing apart… you don’t have that much in common anymore other than the fact you were best friends when you were still wearing training bras.  A and I somehow over the years ended up becoming the same person, even though we live in different countries and I hadn’t seen her in 6 years.  We both have the exact same job; we both hate doing stuff during the day and are resentful toward people who actually make us do stuff during the day; we both hate marriage; we both despise kids; we love to judge people; and the list goes on and on.

When I told my friends where I was going for Christmas/New Year’s this year, every one of them called me crazy, citing the fact that Mexico City was the “new Colombia.”  But I couldn’t have been more excited.  It had been 6 years since I had been back to Mexico City, after having gone every year consecutively for 10 straight years.

My Christmas/New Year’s in Mexico was one of the best trips I’ve taken in a really long time.  Here’s a high-level overview of my trip:

  • I arrived to Mexico City with a physical list of a dozen items that I had been missing terribly and had been having dreams about for the past 6 years—and successfully got to every single one of those items in 11 days
  • I ate so much all week that I was literally excreting 1/10 of my body weight
  • I learned that in Mexico, Jesus’s birthday is a holiday that you spend partying with your family until 4am
  • I spent the second weekend there wearing the same clothes for three straight days (scroll down below for details)

Here’s a more detailed breakdown:

DAY 1 (12/21):

Arrived, had a dinner with A’s friends from college; discovered a delightful new gem since the last time I had been to Mexico: cans of beer with clamato and lime, which became my new favorite drink.

DAY 2 (12/22):

Had an amazing reunion brunch buffet with A’s dad and sister, whom I love.  I had remembered this restaurant from the last time I had been here—A’s dad had taken me here years ago when I was super hungover, had thrown up on the street before getting to the restaurant, and couldn’t stomach any of the all-you-can-eat.  It was severely disappointing and embarrassing.  But luckily I made up for it this time around:

Sopes and quesadillas

Sopes and quesadillas

Mexican Buffet

Mexican Buffet

After this buffet, we were obviously still hungry for more, so we had tacos for dinner—my favorites, tacos de pastor and bistec con aguacate:

Tacos de pastor y bistec con aguacate

Tacos de pastor y bistec con aguacate

DAY 3 (12/23):

One of the best things about Mexico is they start out their days with the heaviest breakfasts.  I love it.  Fuck milk and cereal.  I had enfrijoladas for breakfast, homemade by A’s boyfriend’s mom, then went to Coyoacan for my favorite tostadas de jaiba, tinga and salpicon for lunch in the market.

Enfrijoladas

Enfrijoladas

Tostadas de Coyoacan

Tostadas de Coyoacan

DAY 4 (12/24):

Had enchiladas de mole for breakfast before heading out to A’s aunt’s house for Christmas Eve dinner.

Enchiladas de mole

Enchiladas de mole

Christmas Eve dinner was out of control.  I ate twice as much as I usually eat over Thanksgiving.  In an attempt to contribute something to this incredible meal, I tried to make some mulled wine as my “gringo” contribution since apparently no one there had ever heard of “hot wine.”  However, my concoction apparently failed since no one took more than two sips and politely refused a second glass.  It really validated my complete lack of skills in the kitchen.

Onion soup

Onion soup

Green pepper soup

Green pepper soup

Chicharron con salsa verde

Chicharron con salsa verde

Turkey

Turkey

Truffle cheesecake from my fav bakery Garabatos

Truffle cheesecake from my fav bakery Garabatos

After stuffing my face, I learned that in Mexico, the birth of Jesus Cristo is time for real celebration, and by that they mean literally everyone stays out drinking and partying with their family until dawn.  American Christmas Eve = eating a nice dinner with the fam, then going to bed at 10pm so that you can get up at 6am to open presents.  Mexican Christmas Eve = eating a nice dinner with the fam, then dancing and drinking until 4am when all aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents and cousins are wasted off their asses.  It’s amazing, and so much fun.  It was the best Christmas I had had in a very long time.

DAY 5 (12/25):

Mexican tradition for Christmas Day is to go back to the Christmas Eve host’s house to eat leftovers.  It was essentially a repeat of Christmas Eve—stuffing our faces, then drinking, dancing and playing games until well past normal bedtime.

Christmas leftovers

Christmas leftovers

DAY 6 (12/26):

By post-Christmas, my body had been processing so much food on a daily basis that I couldn’t even believe myself.  The amount of food I was ingesting every day was out of control—and I swear on the other end they were weighing in at 14 courics a day.

Before day 6, I had literally experienced zero issues.  My stomach was seriously made of steel—that is, until we went to La Casa de las Enchiladas, where I had the most amazing enchiladas: one of chicken with salsa verde, one of beef with mole, and one of pork with peanut sauce.  They were amazing until 30 minutes later, I honestly thought I was going to have a Maya Rudolph moment from Bridesmaids.

La Casa de las Enchiladas

La Casa de las Enchiladas

Luckily my stomach bounced right back into shape the next day.

DAY 7 (12/27):

Had breakfast with A and her dad at one of my fav restaurants, El Charco de las Ranas, where I had tacos and pozole for breakfast:

Pozole

Pozole

Grabbed a crepa de cajeta for a mid-afternoon snack, and I was already well into crossing off more than half the items on my “Mexico must-eat” list.

Crepa de cajeta

Crepa de cajeta

For dinner we went to our other friends A+R’s taqueria called Bigos, where they have the best tacos al pastor in the city:

Tacos al pastor

Tacos al pastor

Cebollitas

Cebollitas

Alambre

Alambre

After dinner, we went out in Polanco to a bar called La Chilanguita that was playing some of the best Mexican hits from the 1990s.  We drank micheladas and cubanas until the wee hours, and I tried my first perla negra, or the Mexican version of jager bombs—instead of Red Bull, they use another blue energy drink that’s 10 times tastier than Red Bull.

DAY 8 (12/28):

Friday was pretty tame compared to the rest of my weekend to follow—started off with lunch at a Oaxacan restaurant, then went to our other friend AP’s place for a dinner party.

Comida oaxaquena

Comida oaxaquena

Crickets

Crickets

I was actually staying with AP for the rest of my trip, since A and her boyfriend M were going to Denver (but I only ended up staying with AP for one night, for reasons explained below).  Having had to say goodbye to my best friend A, while everyone else was still enjoying the dinner party, I locked myself in AP’s room sobbing hysterically, which is very uncharacteristic of me and only happens on very rare occasions… like when M/L moved out of our apartment, and every time I leave Mexico City.

DAY 9 (12/29):

Saturday was the beginning of my shitshow weekend, after starting it out with a very tame lunch of tacos and huarache with AP, puffy eyes and all.

Tacos

Tacos

Huarache

Huarache

Saturday was an exciting night for me since I was going to meet up with my guy friends whom I hadn’t seen in 6 years—including C, who was my first real fling from when I was 14.  I wasn’t banging anyone at that age (shocking), so all C and I had ever done in our youthful past was innocently go to second base.  15 years later I was obviously incredibly curious as to what I had been missing.  I had known C for 15 years… but did I really know him?  It was time for me to get a proper introduction.

I met my guy friends at Sud 777, and they all looked exactly the same from when I had last seen them, which was really comforting and brought back all the good memories from way back when.  After catching up for hours over two bottles of whiskey, we headed out to a club at 4am, drank some more whiskey and some perla negra shots, and before we knew it, it was 7am and we were getting kicked out of the club.  Somehow naturally—it wasn’t even a question—I headed back to C’s place where we finally quenched our thirst.

DAY 10 (12/30):

The next morning, I woke up and discovered the oddest bruise/bite mark on my arm.  I hate when that happens… I need to stop blacking out.  Obviously I immediately thought it was C, but his mouth didn’t match the bite mark; curiously, however, it did perfectly match mine…

Sex bruise

Sex bruise

Neither of us were really sure what had happened the night before, but we knew we needed some food, so we headed out to grab some birria with P and J.

Birria

Birria

Assuming we were just grabbing breakfast and then I would head back to AP’s place, I hadn’t showered that morning and just went out with the boys in my walk of shame outfit.

I was wrong.  We ended up spending literally the entire day at the birrias place, eating and day drinking and singing along to a mariachi band while watching some football.  While not showering for a day doesn’t seem to phase some people, it started to gross me out, so after the birrias place, we quickly went back to C’s place to shower, then went straight to another bar afterwards.  I was of course still wearing my same clothes from 30 hours ago, but I had thrown out my thong after the shower and was going commando.  There are some cleanliness boundaries I don’t cross.

We ended up staying at Niza pretty late, and by the end of the night, C was completely wasted and out of nowhere threw his drink in J’s face.  That was our cue to go, so I went back with C to his place where I tried to calm him down.

DAY 11 (12/31):

Woke up next to C and immediately hurled bile a few times in his bathroom, which was the first time I had done that in someone else’s bathroom in a really long time.  Luckily I’m a very elegant puker in that I never make a splash and it’s always pure liquid.

After wanting to die, the next thought that ran through my head was: this will now be the third day in a row that I have to put on this same fucking outfit.  I needed to get back to AP’s place to be able to wear something other than these stupid leggings, but of course I went to breakfast with C instead—and ended up wearing that same outfit until dinner time.

I finally left C with the thought I might not see him again for years… and quickly changed gears to get ready for New Year’s Eve with AP’s family.  NYE, I found, is quite the family holiday in Mexico.  Basically everyone has dinner and hangs out with their family until 3am, and then they meet up with their friends to go out.  Intense.

It unfortunately didn’t matter for me since I had a 6am flight back to NYC, which meant I had to be at the airport by around 3am.  I had an incredible NYE dinner with AP’s family, ate 12 grapes as is tradition—one for each month of the new year—and then very sadly headed to the airport with an amazing 11 days behind me.

12 grapes

12 grapes

Beef wellington

Beef wellington

NYE dinner

NYE dinner

Two miserable, hungover plane rides on New Year’s Day, and I was back home in NYC.  I spent the next week depressed about no longer being in Mexico, and my body wasn’t very happy about it either.  In the 1.5 weeks that I had been in Mexico City, my stomach had never felt better (with the exception of the enchiladas incident)—and yet the minute I came back to NYC and ordered my usual Chinese food, I swear my ass was on fire for like days straight.  In the 1.5 weeks that I was hanging out with A and living under her roof, I never got sick even though she had a really bad cold the entire time I was staying with her—and then of course the minute I come back to NYC, I become deathly ill two days later and have to take my first sick day from work in years.

It was as if my body was punishing me for leaving Mexico.  Nothing could go wrong with my body while I was in Mexico—I was seriously invincible.  I don’t normally believe in fate, but I think my immune/GI systems were telling me Mexico City and I were destined to be together.

I never forgot my first love.

November 25, 2012

25 Nov

Now that my life is finally semi back to normal, I recently got the urge to pick up my fingers again to jot down my thoughts about Sandy before I forgot all about it.  I would say my entire experience can pretty much be summed up as follows:

  • NO SHOWER.
  • NO SEAMLESS.
  • NO SHOWTIME.

Without my 3 S’s I was a complete wreck.

Here’s how the entire week went down:

SUNDAY

Spent all day recovering from the Halloween parties on Sat night, where I pregamed on one too many picklebacks and as a result got kicked out of M1-5 for pouring drinks on every girl who started to annoy me.  The hurricane was not a priority at this point, and I ordered my usual Chinese lunch special to cure my hangover, not to stock up for Sandy.  At around 7pm when I started to feel somewhat alive again, I realized I hadn’t prepared one bit for the storm and rushed out to Walgreens last-minute to stock up on bottles of water, only to find that they were out of water packs.  The next best thing was to stock up on super sized Vita Cocos, which was a pricey way to stock up on water for the hurricane, but I had to do what I had to do.

MONDAY

This was the day the storm was supposed to hit but never did, which was annoying for one main reason: Places started to shut down on Seamless in anticipation of the storm, even though it was seriously perfectly fine for delivery boys to be riding their bikes in this non-storm.

Usually 200+ restaurants available on Seamless at any given time:

Usual Seamless

Usual Seamless

During Sandy, the number of available restaurants were literally cut in half:

Seamless during Sandy

Seamless during Sandy

Luckily, some select restaurants recognized this absurdity and stayed open for delivery the entire day.  Thanks to those folks, I was able to stock up on Chinese food lunch specials, Mexican food lunch specials, and bought myself three sandwiches from Gracefully, along with a box of cereal.

That night A+U came over to seek refuge at our place since they were technically in the evacuation zone.  Roommate M had already abandoned us the day before, and roommate L was in Nashville, so it was just roommate K, the dog, A+U, and me.  By then apparently the storm was getting pretty bad outside, and there was some serious flooding going on right across Stuy Town at 14th and C.  I sent this picture off weather.com to my parents to let them know what was going on in case they weren’t following the news:

http://iwitness.weather.com/_Flood-on-Ave-C-14th-Street-NYC/photo/17928387/148597.html

I then got a relatively prompt response from my mom, who gave zero acknowledgement of the image I had just sent her of the major flooding occurring literally four blocks from my apartment, and instead received this email and attachment:

L- I have attached a card filled with some pictures from Papa’s 60th Birthday party.

Insensitive email

Insensitive email

Great to know my parents had zero concern that their only two daughters were stranded in a hurricane while they were having the time of their lives at my dad’s 60th birthday party in Dallas.  There is the bigger issue of- WTF is going on with the above collage anyway… let’s take a quick Sandy pause to ask a few questions:

  • Why is there a cutout of Texas Rangers player Yu Darvish in the bottom left corner??
  • Is that a cutout of Maria Sharapova up top??
  • Are those multiple cutouts of my dad’s face on popsicle sticks that I see??
  • What is going on with that cake in the middle??
  • Why do my parents and their friends continually insist on perpetuating Asian stereotypes??

Anyway, shortly after I received the above infuriating email from Tiger Mom, the lights went out, the TV suddenly shut off, and we were left in complete darkness.  Luckily I had identified several Mardi Gras beads that I had caught earlier in the year that were all glow-in-the-dark — including my Hermes necklaces and Orpheus headband and baton — that were surprisingly quite effective in lighting our small Stuy Town living room.

Glow-in-the-dark Mardi Gras beads

Glow-in-the-dark Mardi Gras beads

At first it was all fun and games — our next door neighbors, who are a bunch of NYU recent grads and huge potheads, came over with a bottle of wine and more flashlights, and we played board games for a good several hours before we all got bored and went to sleep, expecting the lights to all be back on by the time we woke up.

TUESDAY

We woke up to find out our TV still wasn’t working, which was devastating.  My computer was running out of juice, as were my phone and bberry.  We also weren’t getting any reception whatsoever in our apartment, so after a few hours of failed attempts to send a bunch of outbound calls and emails, we mobilized over to A+U’s place in Peter Cooper up the street, which was also powerless but where we at least got reception.

At this point it was still somewhat fun and games for us, though not really.  The no-power thing really started to get to us, especially after the fourth time we had to climb up and down a pitch black staircase where we felt a murderer was lurking in every corner given our apartment building entrances had been unlocked, and the only thing to connect us to the outside world was the crank radio that U had randomly found in his closet.  To try to cut our depression, we decided to play some beirut by daylight in A+U’s living room, only to find that we were low on beer.  We played two rounds of beirut until we completely ran out of beer, at which point we switched to playing with leftover Chardonnay, then with a bottle of champagne, then with pure vodka.

Sandy Beirut

Sandy Beirut

We were shitfaced and starving and only had cold and disgusting leftover Mexican lunch special to chew on.  We ended up walking out of the apartment later that night, stumbling 30 blocks uptown until we found a small pizza place that was serving cold pizza without cheese because they had run out of cheese.

This was slowly but surely getting very depressing.  We came back to the apartment to pick back up our beirut game, now playing by candlelight in the otherwise pitch black living room.  After losing that round given my horrible night vision, I started thinking to myself that I couldn’t stay here any longer, and having to take a shit and blindly wipe my ass in complete darkness was the last straw.  A+U were thinking the same.

I thought to myself in this time of desperation- lucky me, literally 80% of my best friends in the city live in the UES, which was completely unaffected.  So unaffected, in fact, that I called M that night to describe to her the shitshow that was going on downtown, to which she answered, “How strange.  I went to soul cycle today and got my nails done.”  That’s great- I hadn’t showered or eaten fresh food since Sunday.

I started making phone call after phone call to each of the 80% of the best friends I had in the city, and while they were all open to me coming by to seek refuge, they were all opposed to me bringing the rest of my crew.  They were literally actively discriminating against anyone who wasn’t me.  Fortunately A+U had other options for refuge, but K and her dog were fucked.  This was a shitty situation all around, and after a few hours of wanting to cry, we passed out on A+U’s couch cold, drunk and depressed.  We would sleep on this overnight in hopes we would know what to do in the morning.

WEDNESDAY

Woke up still cold, drunk and depressed, and still completely powerless and more importantly TV-less.  I had already missed my Monday and Tuesday night shows — I couldn’t bear the thought of another day like this.  After eating some more disgusting leftover Mexican food for lunch, we decided the best course of action would be for all of us to split up for the remainder of this mess.  So A+U headed off to Greenwich, I packed my bags to camp out in the UES for the next week, and K was left alone in Stuy Town with the dog.

Getting up to the UES from Stuy Town was quite the adventure.  Not only did it take more than 1 hour 15 minutes to get up there — the cab ride cost me $45.  It was so absurd.  I mean, was I going to JFK or was I going to the UES?!?  Of course the minute I got to K’s apartment at 97th and Lex, which is practically Harlem, the first things I did were take a shower and order a fresh meal off Seamless.  I immediately felt 10x better.

But I still didn’t feel complete.  I had been drinking for the past 3 days straight because there was nothing else to do during the blackout — I knew I would have to continue drinking for the next 3 days straight to be able to forget about the last 3 days.  The only place I knew would make me feel at home in this sad time was Dorrian’s.  With all of my girl friends refusing to visit Club D, I was able to convince fellow Stuy Towner D to come with me for an early drink at 7pm.  The early drink turned into late night at Club D, where the thrill of being some place with heat and lights prompted me to drink heavily in elation until I literally fell down and my feet went flying over my head in front of a crowd of 24-year-olds.  It was great though- a typical night like that at Club D was the only thing that successfully made me forget about the fact that Wednesday was the first day I had showered or eaten real food in 4 days.

THURSDAY — SUNDAY

Thursday through Sunday were essentially a repeat of Wednesday, where I spent the days ordering everything possible on Seamless and taking long hot showers just because I could, and the nights reliving my early 20s hitting up all my favorite bars from 2008 — including Club D and Tin Lizzies at least two more times and awkwardly running into my friend’s 24-year-old brother — and subsequently attempting to pick up other 24-year-olds so I would have an alternate place to stay for each night so that I wouldn’t be overstaying my welcome at K’s.

MONDAY — THURSDAY

By Monday I was really hoping everything would be back to normal, but sadly it was not.  Apparently we had gotten power back in Stuy Town, but still no heat or hot water for days.  Having overstayed my welcome at K’s, I switched over to my puta J’s place at 87th and Lex, where I camped out for another several days and continued to frequent Club D in an attempt to take my mind off why I was still living out of a suitcase in my own city.

After Thursday, it was finally all over, and I was able to come home.  Here’s what I have to stay about this all:

  1. At least I didn’t die
  2. At least I have friends (thanks friends)
  3. At least I got to frequent all my favorite 2008 bars in a period of 4 days
  4. At least Seamless was still working fine in the UES
  5. At least all Showtime series are available on demand

Fuck you, Sandy — I’m going home.

September 29, 2012

29 Sep

I’m happy to report that after 5 days in Colombia, I’ve come back to the States as a human being and not as a drug mule with condoms full of cocaine plugging up all my holes down south.  Although there may be condoms full of something else plugging up all my holes down south.

I’ve been back for a few days now, and I am still puzzled and completely perplexed over my trip there.  I had been dying to go to Colombia for at least 2 years now, and I found the perfect opportunity to do so completely on a whim when my childhood friend and sole Japanese friend S called me up a few weeks ago and told me she had been having the most dramatic 4 weeks of her life.  First, she broke up with her boyfriend of 3 years that she was considering getting engaged to because he turned out to be an emotional void; one week later, her older brother got engaged; one week later, she closed a deal on her house; one week later, she quit her job.  She was in desperate need of a vacation, and who better to ask to accompany her than low-budget traveler me who will pretty much say yes to anything containing the phrase “South America,” including such phrases as, “Do you want to get raped in South America.”

We started looking around for cheap places we could go within the next month, and I happened to stumble upon the most amazing deal on Kayak: $300 for a roundtrip ticket to Cartagena, Colombia.  O.M.G.  I can’t even go home to Dallas for $300, not that I ever would.  I booked it right away without really thinking, and our Colombian adventure was about to begin.

All I really wanted out of this trip was a nice, relaxing beach vacation and some good authentic food.  Conveniently enough, I had 5 friends who had just recently also gone to Cartagena, so I got plenty of recs from them on where I should eat and drink and tan.  I also did my own Google machine research looking up pictures of Cartagena and reading up but not really reading up on travel guides since I never really follow those.

I arrived all excited to brush up on my tan that had been fading fast with our New York summer turning to winter overnight.  S had already been there for a week before me taking Spanish lessons from what seemed like her Latin lover, and so I knew she would have some solid recs on where to go as well.

Honestly, I arrived, and I just didn’t get what all the hype was about.  The 5 friends I talked to who had recently gone to Cartagena RAVED about it, as if it were the next Rio de Janeiro.  Cartagena was nice, but nowhere as interesting or impressive as I had expected or hoped given people’s rave reviews.  There are at least 4 other countries that are definitely 10X better than Colombia within the same continent.

Why didn’t I love Cartagena?  Three big reasons:

1. There is not really a beach.  I’m not sure what other people consider to be a beach, but THIS is a beach.

Rio

Rio

This is NOT a beach.

Cocoliso

Cocoliso

I was there for 5 days and only tanned for 2 of them, and I barely turned a shade darker when my goal was to come back a different race.  First, there are definitely no acceptable beaches right in Cartagena.  Second, if you want to go to a slightly prettier place, you go to the islands, where there still weren’t any real beaches and where we paid $200 to go and stay the night.

2. There isn’t really much to do there.  There isn’t that much to see, the bars aren’t really open during the day so it’s not like people day drink, and clubs don’t open until like midnight.  So what did we do during the daytime?  Nothing.  Literally nothing.  We literally checked the time every hour and were unpleasantly amazed at how slowly time went by there.

3. It was literally a million degrees and ridiculously humid.  The only other place I’ve ever been to that has been more disgusting is Houston.  I have seriously never sweated through so many dresses in so few days.  Hence, we spent most of our days hiding from the heat at Juan Valdez coffee shop, which became our new best friend.  Yes.  I flew all the way to South America and took precious vacation days to hang out at a coffee shop and drink iced coffee for 3 hours during the day because neither of us wanted to go outside and there were no other indoor activities to be found in this city.

Here’s how our week panned out:

DAY 1: WEDNESDAY

Arrived in the early afternoon to stay at a cute hotel/hostel in Bocagrande; had a huge lunch special of fish soup, grilled fish, rice and plantains for $4.

Lunch

Lunch

Then proceeded to go out to the “beach,” which I found to be one of the ugliest beaches I’ve seen other than the ones I’ve seen up here in the Northeast, tanned for a few hours, dipped in the very warm water, took a leak in the very warm water; then had a huge dinner special of fish soup, grilled fish, rice and plantains for $4.  Apparently that’s what everyone eats here for every single meal.  It was pretty good fish (thank god no snake fish) with huge portions for just $4 USD.

Dinner

Dinner

We tried to go out after dinner only to find that every place we wanted to go to was closed.  Is this South America or isn’t this South America?!?!

DAY 2: THURSDAY

Tried to go to the islands only to find out that you can’t really get on the boats for an overnight stay at the islands without a reservation at least one day in advance.  My reaction in this order: 1) annoyance at the lady who told me that, 2) frustration at Lonely Planet for not specifying that, 4) anger at Google for not saying anything about that, 5) rage at S that she hadn’t fucking figured that out after being here a week with an in-house tutor.  UGGGGHHHH what the fuck do we do now?!?!  There was only one solution.  We decided to switch hotels and upgrade to one with a pool, and tanned by the pool literally the entire day.  Yes.  I flew all the way to South America to lie by a pool.

Whatever.  We got over it and decided to book an overnight trip to the islands for Fri/Sat and went out for sunset drinks at Café del Mar followed by dinner at Cevicheria, both activities which came highly recommended as absolute “must-do’s” by every one of my 5 friends who had been to Cartagena.

Cafe del Mar

Cafe del Mar

Cevicheria

Cevicheria

Was it great?  Yes.  Was it to die for?  Not really.  Despite our lukewarm feelings about Café del Mar, S and I continued to frequent the ocean side bar every day for the rest of our trip.  Because there wasn’t anything else to do.

Probably the biggest highlight of our trip was our Thursday night outing to Havana, a salsa club, which we went to because S looooooves salsa dancing.  I’d rather shoot someone in the foot than be pushed around an actual dance club that doesn’t involve drugs and techno.  But once again, we ended up going to Havana every night because there wasn’t anything else to do.  We quickly made friends with a local bartender because we also went to the same bar across the street every single day to pregame – they had really great mojitos using brown sugar, but they were only good because the bartender meticulously spent 25 minutes (literally – we were timing) to make the drink.  I have never seen a bartender so very carefully hand pick out every single ice cube that went into my glass.  I felt special in a way.  But then 2 seconds later I was annoyed.

When we got to Havana, every person in the room’s eyes flew to us because 1) we were the only Asians in the entire country, and 2) we were the only girls in the entire club.  This would have been my absolute dream if everyone in the room weren’t foreign.  We immediately get accosted by people left and right, including some old Australian dude who offered us shots of aguardiente, which people buy bottles of and just take shots of all night – solid.  It’s like Colombian ouzo mixed with tequila.  S happily took the shot until 2 seconds later she realized it could have very well been laced with drugs and she would wake up to find out that her organs had been trafficked.  I – with my paranoia having heightened over the past few years as I run into more and more bad karma in life – was wary of the shot to begin with and refused to take it until the guy had also drunk from the same bottle.  In fact, let me just order my own shot, thanks.  Supposedly with this Australian guy was a young couple about our age who seemed fun at first until we realized the girl was literally on crack and was working with her “boyfriend” to try to kidnap us away to their “hotel” that was “just down the street” for “after-party drinks.”  It was a win not to get raped that night, and that’s the first and last time I’ll ever say that.

The rest of the night becomes blurry as we took more and more aguardiente shots, but before I knew it, it was 3am and I had to pull S away from all these old Colombian dudes as we had a 7am boat ride the next morning.

DAY 3: FRIDAY

The alarm rang on Friday morning, and I literally wanted to die.  The last thing I wanted to do was go on an hour-long boat ride to hang out at some faraway islands.  I dragged myself out of bed, threw up bile into our lovely hotel sink, threw up bile again, then pulled myself together to pack my stuff and go.

The boat ride was not a happy ride.  We were on a speed boat and had the bumpiest ride ever, which did no good for my stomach.  S was in the same boat (pun intended).

We arrive to island Cocoliso, and it’s pretty cool and really beautiful – except there is the tiniest strip of “beach” I’d ever seen in my life.  We had picked this island because everyone said this was the island with the “most beach,” other than Playa Blanca, where you can’t really stay overnight.  I think everyone was just blatantly lying to us this entire trip.

I guess this island trip was a pretty good deal except for the fact that we paid $200, but it did include all meals.  And after being there for about 2 hours, S and I realized that there weren’t really that many other people on this island.  In fact, the same help who had carried our stuff to our room was the same help who was our waiter for lunch, dinner, breakfast and lunch – whereas we observed that the only other table at lunch was being serviced by a different waiter.  Did we have our own private butler?  I’m pretty sure this guy was there solely serving us the entire trip.  It gets better.  Apparently everyone takes daytrips and no one actually stays overnight, so when nightfall came, S and I were – I kid you not – literally THE only 2 people left on the entire island of Cocoliso, other than the help.  We literally had the entire island to ourselves.  This would have been much more awesome had I been there with the rugby team instead of with my girl friend S.  So much gang bang could have been had all over the island and no one would have even known.  Instead, S and I had a very non-romantic night consisting of me having bowel issues the entire night from the steak I had eaten for dinner and chugging shitloads of Pepto.

DAY 4: SATURDAY

We spent Saturday morning and afternoon by ourselves on the island with our own private butler serving us food and drinks, and then left on a calmer boat ride later that afternoon.  Saturday night was a repeat of Thurs night: dinner, pre-drinks at the bar where we were now considered regulars, dancing at Havana – this time sans fear of getting drugged or raped because the demographic at this club on Sat night was a good 30 years older than it was on Thurs night.  I was shocked these people could still even dance.  I was bored after an hour and decided to go back to the $10 hostel that we had switched to, where the door didn’t have a proper lock, the windows didn’t lock, there was a lizard crawling up the walls, and I felt like I might get kidnapped any minute.   I slept with my eyes wide open in terror and told S the next morning that I had to make a very anti-poverexic move and switch to a nicer hotel.

DAY 5: SUNDAY

We were back downtown for Sunday, where it was a million degrees and humid outside, and S and I both wanted to die.  After walking around town for an hour, we couldn’t take it anymore and found our safe haven at Juan Valdez, where we sprawled out on the chairs and sipped iced coffee for the next 3 hours as we tried to think up what we could do for the rest of the day as we awaited the bars to open.  Not having figured out anything else to do, we proceeded to spend the next 2 hours at El Gallinero, our new favorite place with the cutest chicken décor and really good arepas and carimañolas.

Arepa

Arepa

Once it was dinner time—which is apparently 7pm in Cartagena since we tried to go to quite a few restaurants right at 6pm since we were starving, only to find that no restaurant was open “that early”—we went to El Gallinero’s sister restaurant Mila, where they also had really cute chicken décor and had amazing fruit shakes and desserts (and salmon).

Salmon with Corozo Reduction

Salmon with Corozo Reduction

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse

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I left Cartagena feeling relatively relaxed from my vacation but still perplexed as to what exactly I did for the past 5 days.  I think S felt the same.  While I was glad I finally went and can now check off another South American country off my list, I’m not sure if I’ll ever go back… I guess until I have another need for my own butler on my own private island out in the Caribbean.