My visit to Martha’s Vineyard

I’ve always wanted to visit Martha’s Vineyard, an island known to be the relaxation retreat for the rich, powerful and upper echelon in the US.  I figured since I was only a ferry ride away with some time to explore, why not embark on the opportunity! I had recently visited the Smithsonian African-American History Museum in Washington D.C. and learned of the first black family to settle in the Oak’s Bluff community, which later became the summer haven for the African-American elite.  I found the stone that honored the indentured servants and later the home that was surprisingly still intent well enough for a quick photo.  I traveled down tree-lined roads of bright-colored homes with unique designs, sampled chocolate at a local home-made make shift kitchen, visited the lighthouses that happened to be closed for the season and was fortunate to  catch the sunset on the beach.  My dinner for the evening consist of a freshly caught thirty pound lobster  and  a warm fixing of Barack Obama’s favorite dessert, the homemade straight out of the oven baked apple fritter!!  Martha’s Vineyard is defiantly an island worth visiting if you have a few hours to spare!!

 

 

 

WTF? (Where’s The (cheap) Fruit?)

Shopping on any given day  quickly reminds me of the small things I took for granted back home. Just today, my cravings for any summertime delights were stifled when I stumbled across this barrel of Watermelons. Fresh produce are considered precious commodities on an island, I have to keep reminding myself that. Just in case I forget, the hot pink stamps will make sure the price is highly visible! To have to spend this amount of money to indulge, your truly “0ne in a Melon”! 

Footprints in the Pink Sand

It’s been a year since I moved to Bermuda, an experience that has changed my perspectives on life, education and culture.  While I can easily adapt to new environments, being a newbie to the island lifestyle can pose a huge challenge for a city dweller.

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For instance, my introduction to the island culture was quite brief while living in Asia I toured Thailand.  A very tourist and popular destination with a host events to keep you entertained during your stay.  While I haven’t had a chance yet to tour the Caribbean, I was fortunate to land a job on the beautiful North Atlantic gem to get me started.img_6528-1

Bermuda sits just east of Florida and only a couple of hours away from the mainland.  A beautiful relaxing paradise that ironically never comes up in international conversations.  During my research, I learned of the expensive urbanity, everything from the six-dollar loaves of bread, to the one dollar apples and fifteen hundred-dollar studio apartment rentals were mind boggling. I learned very quickly, networking here is mandatory and not optional especially if your seeking to land a job and are contracted to stay for a while. While on the tailend of settling, I struggled with the stagnated and snaillike demeanor which can easily be misunderstood for laziness.  I learned the greatest  asset this country have is the warm invitation from the local community.  I was able to make connections via social media and email quickly and soon found a cheap apartment, furniture and learned of the best places to shop for food. Visitings websites such as www.nothingtodoinbermuda.com and www.emoo.bm and the The People’s List  page on Facebook opened the door to monthly calendar events which provided more of social life as the environment is very family oriented.

While quite beautiful, it’s very small, 22 miles long to be exact!  In most cases in the US it would be considered a neighborhood. The island consists of nine parishes (or communities) all are easily accessible by boat, bike, car or bus.  There’s a railroad trail converted into a walking path, great for late evening and afternoon cool downs.

In my short time, I complete The End 2 End Marathon, (for which I walked), attended my first Carnival and Soca Parade and  the international sailing competition the America’s Cup, for which America lost. In total, the experience was priceless.

While I  have yet to find a great eatery, I have sampled their signature dishes, which are the The Traditional Fish Sandwich and Fish Chowder and was given more suggestions about others spots that I plan to write about in later posts.

With so much more to unravel about this gem and the infamous “Bermuda Triangle”, I can honestly state that my time thus far has been notable.  I plan to continue to stroll the shoreline of these pink sand beaches to explore more about this unique peninsular otherwise known as Bermuda. 

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On top of the rocks at Horseshoe Bay! Have a Bermudaful Day!!

 

New Orleans at a glance

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On of my favorite US cities to visit anytime of the year is New Orleans, Louisiana.  Best known for having the most loyal football fans and home to the most delicious Cajun cuisines ever prepared, I sought off to explore more of what this place has to offer.   Many high ticketed events take place in New Orleans such as the Mardi Gras, the Essence Music festival, the Superbowl, a host of marathons and the list can go, but even without attending those events, you can still make the most of your visit here

Most hotels offer brochures for Swamp Tours for the brave heart explorers and I would recommend taking a drift along the Bayou just once. The drive to the site is just 30 minutes out the city and the tour is about an hour.  It took fifteen minutes to reach the middle of the swamp on a turbo speed boat and less than five before the alligators began poking their eyes above the water lines. We were told by our guides that we were visiting the friendliest batch of alligators in the batch, of course its part of the pitch and to my surprise many spectators on the boat wanted to reach down and pat one on the head. On this one I will pass! Holding the new baby gator being prepared for the wild was as far as was willing to ventured.

Strolling through the French Quarters is common for the new city tourist and just off the paths nearby you will discover  a number of Voodoo and Occult shops, selling everything form oils, to candles, dolls and Tarot Reading Spiritual Leaders.  On a whim, I wanted to have my palm read( for fun of course)  and learned that most shops were full and being adding to a waitlist was the norm. In some cases, it seems that this ritual has become very commercialized, but after speaking with some of the locals the “VooDoo Culture” is very real in New Orleans. So real in fact there is a museum, spiritual tours and rituals all created to foster and maintain their lifestyle and spiritual movement.

Since traveling and dining go hand in hand, I love to ask about the best local spots to check out. While sampling  jambalaya and dirty rice is so traditional and popular amongst tourists, I decided to try something different and send my tastes bud bustling.

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Oysters Slessinger and Homemade Crab Cakes at Katies’s Restaurant.
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The famous Chargrilled Oysters at Neyow’s Cafe.

The final stretch of my foodie excursion is the to the Cafe Du Monde French Market Coffee Stand for a freshly prepared warm Benyas.  A square piece of dough, fried and covered in powered sugar and serve with a small cup French Java.

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I got my Benyas!

Unlike the traditional tourist, I go searching for the local talents in many artistic forms and New Orleans never disappoint. While in the past few weeks there has been reports of robbery and attacks on tourists, a level of caution must be taken when wandering in unfamiliar tourist spots. While it’s a fact that many urban cities are being gentrified, this city managed to protect and market their local artists in the “Back of the Yards” community near the French Quarters.

A visit to the Bayou state is a trip worth making.

Urban Eatery: Batter & Berries

One of my favorite pastime when traveling is the opportunity to dine-out at some of the popular hot spots in that City.  Yesterday a friend and I decided to have brunch at the popular Batter & Berries restaurant. Occasionally, I will visit local eateries provided if I felt it was safe to do so and in many cities across the globe there are a few.   This restaurant received so many rave reviews that I had to give it a try. It’s located right in heart of Lincoln Park and just short two miles from Old Town. We were seated rather quickly, although I read from many blogs that the wait could easily stretch past an hour. The dining area is small, but I’ve experience dining a restaurants that seated less than twenty.  I ordered the Shrimp & Scampi Omelet (an odd combination but one nonetheless) and my friend a BLT.  Our waiter was extremely nice and the service was good.  We were seated next to a large party having a B & B fest, consist of those famous French Toasts that I would most defiantly try on my next visit there.

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While I didn’t care much for the loud music so early in the morning, the vibe around the restaurant was real. Everyone there seem like frequent visitors, I was probably the only newbie taking on the experience for the first time.  I’m guilty of taking food pics because I’ve and seen some strange and yet delicious dishes in my travels.  This day, I dove in before taking a photo, just to see what the hype was all about. While my friend complained about his sandwich, I on the other hand  sampled my omelet which was good.  We both agreed that on our next visit we will start off with the fan favorite, The French Toast Flight!