Recap

Weekend in Las Vegas Recap: Sky High and Pools Pools Pools

It has been about three weeks since I came back from a weekend in Las Vegas and that’s probably enough time to adequately talk about that weekend with 20/20 vision. If you’ve been to Vegas before, I’m sure you can understand why ‘fear and loathing’ is most DEFINITELY a feeling you experience while there and after leaving there.


The first time I went to Las Vegas was for the big new years 2000 celebration. Remember when we all thought we would die because of a computer glitch at midnight? Yeah, good times. Well, let me tell you, going to Vegas as a 32-year-old vs when I was like 13 is different. I didn’t like Vegas that much when I was 13, but I liked the city much more now.

I went away for the weekend with my boyfriend Mark, who was celebrating his 32nd birthday that weekend. We flew there with Swoop Airlines, and you can read the review of how that went here.

We arrived kind of late to Vegas on the Friday, I believe it was about 10pm. The luggage came out fast so we were able to get our stuff, hop in an Uber and be checked into our AirBnB by about 11pm. Not bad at all.

The AirBnB was really nice. I loved the decor of it, the size of it and that we had a pool somewhere in the gated community as well. We dropped our stuff and went walking (about 25 minutes) to the Las Vegas Strip. I had unfortunately suffered a pretty bad ankle injury the week before at basketball, so this walk COULD have gone quicker. Also, why the hell are there so many stairs and bridges? My goodness. Some of the escalators didn’t work so I had to hobble up and down to get across the street. That was NOT awesome.

After some gallivanting we made it into a Wahlburgers to get some food and drinks in our system before heading to an type of establishment I had never been in before.

A dispensary.

So, I do not partake in any cannabis-related activities nor have I ever tried it myself. I also have nothing against the use of it by adults. Figured I’d start this part with making sure I made that very clear. It isn’t for me, but it sure as hell can go ahead and be for everyone else because that has nothing to do with me or my body. Clear? OK.

Our Uber took us to a place called The Apothecary Shop. Upon entering you have to show your ID and then you are given a ticket with your number on it for when it is your turn to speak to a sales associate. In the room you proceed to enter there are various pictures of the types of strains available, what the potency is, the different kinds of applications of cannabis and just other interesting things I’d never seen before. I liked that they had a line for recreational use and one for medicinal, obviously, the medicinal would be serviced first.

You know what I really liked about this dispensary though? Their level of professionalism. Everyone that worked there was dressed like a regular Monday-Friday job. No gimmicks, no cutesy nonsense - they knew their products and were there to inform people about them prior to purchasing. The reason I mention this is that SAME WEEKEND a legal dispensary (I won’t name it, if you live in Toronto you’ll know) opened up with some bullshit t-shirts as uniform. Like who the fuck though ‘I run on weed and gangsta rap’ was even remotely appropriate as a slogan? There are thousands of people in Canada still serving time over selling cannabis, and you’re here making this shit a joke? That doesn’t sit well with me.

Enough of me ranting about what was going on in Toronto though, this dispensary place was really impressive and the staff was very informative. Happy to have learned about something new while on my first night of vacation.

On Saturday morning we woke up at a somewhat decent hour and made our way over to Hash House a Go Go inside the Rio. Make sure that the fried chicken and waffles is what you order if you ever go eat there as well. The damn waffles even had bacon baked into them! Delicious. Great decision on our part.

After eating 1,560,000 calories worth of food on one plate, Mark and I made our way over to the Neon Museum. I had made a reservation for the 2pm slot to walk around and explore this cool place. Not going to lie, I only heard about by watching the movie Last Vegas and I was absolutely hooked. This place really is everything you’d hope for it to be from the pictures. If you’ve also never heard of it, this is basically a boneyard for old Las Vegas signs you’d see in movies etc. One of the best parts of visiting it wasn’t even the views, it was the staff there to explain all the history behind the signs. There was so much information to be taken in, and if you really love Las Vegas lore - this is a MUST visit.

I think we left the museum around 3pm and obviously that meant it was time to begin drinking. We took an Uber to a place called Atomic Liquors. How could this go bad, right? This place was so cool. There’s like a grungy inside but the outdoor patio is huuuuge. On a nice day with sunshine it was absolutely perfect to be out there people watching, drinking and slightly tanning. I think the beers Mark got were only $3/each as well. Big win.

From there we began walking around downtown Las Vegas a little bit more. I didn’t know that the Vegas strip was actually NOT downtown. It’s just the strip. I ABSOLUTELY love downtown so much more. That Freemont street area is so unbelievably cool and fun and soooo much cheaper to be in. If I ever return to Vegas, I may actually just opt to stay in a place closer to that area because that’s how awesome it was.

Our next stop was the Downtown Container Park. I had seen something similar in London with the containers being stacked and used as storefronts and restaurants. I love the concept. This one had a huge playground in the middle of all the containers so the children could go be there while the adults sat on the side drinking. And yes, drinking we did do. We sat down at some random spot and had the absolute best charcuterie board ever. The cheese and the meat, along with the walnuts and cranberries were delicious. Naturally, the rum and cokes we had with this were great as well. Food and liquor on a hot day in Vegas is the kind of Saturday we should all have.

We thought we’d go home and take a quick nap and come back to party in downtown later (at the recommendation of two Uber drivers and a bartender) but instead, like real old people, we fell asleep super early and didn’t wake up until a time that clubs were not even open anymore. Fail. Horrible.

Sunday morning seemed like a complete blur to me.

We got up. We packed our stuff. We got to the Bellagio to drop off our stuff so that we could make it to Tao Beach Club for 11am.

About a month before going to Tao I had made a reservation for one of the tables/chairs/comfy sofa thingy’s near the pool. I had seen videos and noted that it gets pretty busy, so I figured having our own spot would be really be beneficial. I believe our ‘seat’ was a GOLD seat and it was $100USD minimum spend. That included our cover, the table and basically meant that we just had so spend a minimum $100USD on liquor/food for the time we were there. Obviously, not a very hard task. I think we actually surpassed that in the first hour we were there. Yes, by noon. Go judge elsewhere OK?

I enjoyed Tao, like I understand why this place is popular. Hot women serving you in bikinis. There’s a pool. There’s music and alcohol. We had a good time here, the atmosphere was fun and very chill for such a loud place. Definitely do look out for certain levels of drunken douchebaggery though - we saw quite a bit of it from the 17+ dudes who booked the largest cabana there. Was very happy at that moment to be a couple seats away from the pool.

We left Tao at about 445pm to go check into our room at the Bellagio, shower, get changed and then be picked up for our next adventure at 630pm.

The next adventure was a helicopter ride over the Las Vegas Strip at night. The company I booked it with is called 5 Star Helicopter Tours.

They pick you up in this big van and drive you a little outside of the central Las Vegas area. You get a good debriefing on security and safety, then you wait and are whisked off into the sky. Let me tell you, that ride is too damn short. I know it is 15 minutes but the views of the strip are so amazing that you don’t want to come down. Even if you’re one of those people whose stomach turns a little for take offs and landings, you literally will feel none of it on this ride. Our pilot (YAAAAS LARS) was awesome and he made the experience that much cooler. If you can spare the time to head out and do this activity at night, make sure to do so. It is equally as exhilarating as it is calming. Seeing the big picture over Vegas helps you put a lot of the bullshit in your life in perspective. If you want to see a video of what some parts of the ride were like, you can find it here on my YouTube channel.

Once the ride was over, the van took us back to our Penthouse Suite at the Bellagio and you can read all about what that experience was like here.

I hope I return to Vegas again one day, especially if I could do it with my girlfriends! I think birthday boy had a decent weekend there as well.

Four days in Vegas was more than enough for me, I’m not sure how people do a whole week but to each their own. One day I’ll come back and MAYBE even gamble since I failed miserably and not doing any of that on this trip.

  • Mirna

A Recap of 2018

Happy New Years Eve to all of you, wherever in the world you may currently be.

I am currently in Paris laying down because I ate too much escargot and I can’t stop eating everything in sight. I regret nothing though.

2018 was an incredible year for me. I won’t go through ALL the crazy shit necessarily because who really has time to read all of that today? Definitely not me and definitely not you nice people who probably have parties to get ready for or exes to reconcile with. (If you’re ONLY here for pictures - just click the links then, damn)

I began this busy year with my best friend Sherry and I welcoming 2018 in Abu Dhabi, amidst a 40-hr trek home from the Maldives. I’m one of those people that believe in how you start your new year will be how the rest of your year will go - so traveling? Yes. That was exactly how 2018 went for me.

The highlight of the year was actually not the crazy amount of traveling I did, it was that on February 26th, 2018: I finally got a permanent position at my workplace. I had been working on contract and up to that point there was really no definitive future for me and I was unsure what I would do after the contract was finished. But I got very lucky and I guess I must have done a good job because I was BLESSED with a permanent full-time position with ALL them benefits and ALL those yearly vacation days. I finally got stability and that really gave me a green light to pursue more travel than I had initially anticipated in 2018.

In April I finally got my return to Jamaica. I hadn’t been there since 2010 and being able to go back eight years after for carnival with my two best friends also there was amazing. Carnival in Jamaica was a good way to fill some of the tabanca I had from Cropover 2017. The main picture I used for this piece was actually taken on a yacht in Kingston, Jamaica while there for carnival. The flex was necessary.

At the end of May I surprisingly had put out what ended up being one of the most popular pieces ever on my blog. A breakdown of all the food festivals for summer 2018 in Toronto was put up on May 22nd and by like May 25th over 5,000 people had read it. I had never seen such traffic for my site. There was definitely some pieces that had been popular over time, but instantly? No. I hadn’t experienced such a frenzy before and I am truly grateful for it. Not only did it bring more readers to my page, it also contributed to others planning dates and potentially getting fatter as well. Great success on this end.

During June a group of friends and I made the trip out to Philadelphia for Roots Picnic. This would not be the only road trip for the year for me into America, because a month later my boyfriend Mark and I trekked over to Detroit to watch Liverpool vs. Manchester United play at the Big House. Both were amazing trips, with amazing people and they involved lots of naps.

For Labour Day weekend Mark and I went to Cancun on a quick little baecation. It was really nice to finally travel with him somewhere outside of America/Canada and take in a brand new country for both of us. Also, this ended up being country #30 for me so it was a momentous occasion all around.

An awesome non-travel-related thing did happen in September as well. I got to see my favourite soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic score his 500th career goal vs TFC in Toronto. He’s so damn fine. Hmph.

The following holiday (Canadian Thanksgiving) in October my best friend Lorren and I went to see Panama and Cartagena, Colombia. This fulfilled one of my personal goals as I wanted to surpass the # of countries vs my age since I never got to 30 by 30, at least now I had gotten to 32 by 32!

Shortly after returning from this trip Sherry’s sister got married and I got to go to a super fun wedding. The reason THIS wedding was especially fun was that after it ended …. we crashed the wedding party next door to it so we could keep dancing. I officially became a fucking wedding crasher. BOOYAH.

I laid low for most of October and November because I had this gargantuan trip coming up that I’m currently on. At one point I worked six weeks straight Monday to Sunday so nothing of particular excitement happened except for sleep deprivation and money making.

There was some amazing milestones during this time that happened for my blog though. First I had posted this free downloadable Excel spreadsheet to help people plan their finances for savings or for travel. I created the spreadsheet a while ago and this was how I planned all my trips so I figured other people would have use of it as well. I sure was right because that ended up being another super busy couple of days on my site. Furthermore, I dropped this GEM on my site for those people planning group travel. It was a checklist (partially joke/partially completely true) for them to go through before considering traveling with someone they knew OR didn’t know so well. Now THIS piece? That took off like me when I hear ‘dinner is served’ at a party. Everyone could relate to this blog post because it didn’t matter which country you were from, how old you were etc. You knew the exact types of people I talked about in it. Finally, all of these posts contributed to a momentous moment for the blog - the day I hit $1000 worth of earnings via advertising. That was a huge success for me because I had just begun monetizing earlier in the year and earning that much in the first year was insane to me. Some days I would earn $0.50 but then there was days where it was suddenly $77.00 as well.

I will forever be grateful to all of you who read, RT’d, passed along or recommended the blog in some way. Without you there’s no way I would have made a cent off of this in 2018.

On the topic of being grateful, I turned 32 on December 16th. My best friends Sherry, Lorren and Jummy threw me an awesome party in a hotel room which was followed by another awesome party in a night club. Oh, and the day after? I got to go to a Buffalo Bills vs. Detroit Lions game for free, in a limo, because my blog followers are amazing. You can read about that crazy ass weekend here.

This brings us to the trip I am on currently. Back in April of 2018 I had this idea to try and do eight countries in twelve days for under $2000. Why eight? Well I’m greedy. I knew I would hit 32 countries by the time I was in Colombia so why not try for 40? As I sit here in France I am at 35 and in the next six days I will be in five other countries that will get me to 40. Crazy right?

There will obviously be individual recaps of all these places I visited during these crazy 12 days but I just wanted to tell you all quickly about an incident during this trip that definitely ended my 2018 on a super high note. During a gondola ride in Switzerland I got into chatting with a family from North Carolina about their trip and they had asked about mine. As I went to mention I had a blog and why I was doing this trip, the mother in the family stopped me and said, ‘You’re the impatient tourist! I’ve been to your blog.’ Holy shit. This really happened. I’m there, on one of the bajilion gondola rides in Switzerland, with a family from frigging North Carolina and this woman had been to my blog. I can’t describe how I felt at the moment because it’s something I never saw coming. I debate regularly if I should call myself a travel blogger because I’m not famous nor am I successful, I’m a person who blogs about travel…. not a travel blogger. But in THAT moment? I felt pretty damn amazing. So if you’re reading this FAMILY FROM NORTH CAROLINA - you made my year. You really did.

I could see how 2018 seemed to be filled with ALL good things from how I wrote all of this above, but there were down times. Those are sadly unavoidable. My best friend lost her father this year and I wanted to hug her forever to try and make the sadness from that go away. Also, some bitterness and anger I had from bullshit in 2017 really still lingered in my feelings. You’re not supposed to bring the resentment and anger from one year into another, but I had. I actually had brought it from 2017 all the way to December 2018. It took me a full year to realize some conversations were never going to happen and that I have to do a better job at letting shit go. So I did. I will not be entering 2019 with nonsense from 2017, and I can truly say I only have otherwise amazing things from 2018 to take into 2019 with me - HAPPILY.

I hope all of you have a safe and super fun new years eve. I hope that whatever you wanted to accomplish in 2018 got done and if it didn’t, so what? Keep working hard and it could happen in 2019.

Thank you for reading the blog. i will try to continue and put out inappropriate content that sometimes makes no sense amidst some kick ass itineraries. Also, I will be back to doing personalized itineraries on January 7th when I’m back from this vacation.

I’m going to go take a nap before partying it up in the center of Paris tonight. I am wishing all of you the super duperest of happy new years!

  • Mirna

My Birthday Weekend Recap

I turned 32 yesterday.

My body hurts today.

Since Friday my life has been in a complete whirlwind, along with my body. The usual benders I was accustomed to seem to hurt much more now that I’m getting older. Getting old sucks. (Kidding, I’m only medium-young now.)

This was probably one of the best weeks of my life, good things just kept happening over and over so I figured I’d just make a recap post of all the 32nd birthday weekend shenanigans.


Friday, December 14th:

I woke up and was like ‘wooo let me get this work day done with so I can get to fun times with my friends!’

So I’m walking to work and I check my DM’s for my IG page for the blog and - wow. holy shit. it’s happening.

I finally got asked to be a brand ambassador for something! The watch brand Capitola (check their IG here and website here) messaged me with this opportunity and I absolutely said yes. They have a bunch of brand ambassadors so it isn’t like I’m the only one, but the way I see it, it is my first one and maybe this will open the floodgates for more! I have ordered my first watch from them already and will ABSOLUTELY be showing it off for this upcoming Euro Trip for Christmas. If you like what you see in the above links use my code ‘impatient’ to get 15% off your purchase of their watches! Very exciting.

That was how my morning started so I was already in an awesome mood. The work day was good, I got a lot of work done but my mind was definitely thinking about later in the day and the fun weekend I was about to have.

At 5pm - my best friend Jummy had an Uber pick me up to take me to an undisclosed destination. She’s all about the damn trickery and secrets, I swear. When the Uber driver finally stopped I had found myself in front of SpaZen at the Cosmopolitan. Yess, I needed some spa time so badly after throwing my back out just last week. (medium-young, right?)

Jummy had bought her and I some time to spend in the hot tub at the spa, followed by massages that ended up being in the same room. I don’t think she meant it to be a ‘couples massage’ scenario but whatever, we didn’t care. I loved the massage and Jummy made sure to get me a scalp massage as well because that is my favourite thing EVER.

After the relaxation we made our way over to the dinner reservations at Rickshaw Bar. I had never been there before but maaaaaaaaaaaan did Jummy make an awesome decision picking this place. The food was incredible. If you ever go, please please please try their panna cotta. I might just go back to eat that dessert alone, that’s how good it was.

By the time we finished dinner it was around 930pm and I basically just went home, got changed, and made my way to my overnight shift. No sleep, zero sleep.

When I got to my overnight shift after such an awesome day I really didn’t expect for more awesome to happen. But it did. Awesomeness did happen. If you have ever worked condo security then you damn well know why Christmas is the best time to be security. God bless the Christmas bonus life in the form of white envelopes with cheques in them. Amen.


Saturday, December 15th:

Aright, I finished the damn overnight and haven’t slept since Friday at 730am. I finally went to sleep and woke up at around 12pm. When I’m excited for something it’s damn near impossible for me to sleep so it didn’t really matter because I knew that for my Saturday evening I was going to have an awesome birthday party and then spend the whole Sunday recovering in my bed.

Wrong. I was wrong.

At around 230pm in the afternoon - this was a DM I received on Instagram from one of my awesome IG/Travel Blog followers:

Screenshot_20181217-093306.jpg

HOLY SHIT. OMG OMG OMG OMG. (my reaction)

I nearly cried while sober in the middle of the afternoon. Anyone who even remotely knows me, knows I love the NFL. This token of thanks for my birthday was, I don’t even know, there isn’t really a word to explain how I felt about it at the time nor how I feel about it right now. I was just super thankful.

I called my boyfriend and told him to forget about sleeping Sunday - we are going to an NFL game instead. Insane. What a turn of events that was. Shit.

After finally calming down, I packed my stuff and left for my prelime.

My wonderful friend Sherry had paid for me to get a nice makeover downtown before the party began. I went to the Eaton Center for 6pm and got my face beaaat. I looked so damn nice. I’m not really accustomed to a lot of make up on my face, nor am I use to eyelashes but I LOVED it all on me. She really did a great job, my makeup looked amazing.

Following that I made my way over to the Sheraton Hotel. My other super duper awesome bestie Lorren had booked me a night at the hotel as a birthday gift to have a prelime there. Holy shit. Room was MASSIVE. Sherry, Lorren and Jummy had decorated it in Dallas Cowboys colours for me (which, at the time, I was too tired to notice… sorry again). There was loads of food, booze and selfies which was followed by about 20+ or so people joining us in the hotel room as well. They took care of all the planning, the inviting and all the nourishment for the night. My best friends really came through and I felt fucking special. Real fucking special ok?

We eventually made our way over to the actual party for the night and that’s all the information I have for you regarding Saturday night because - rum. The end.


Sunday, December 16th:

Well look, it’s finally the day of my birthday. I think we went to sleep in our hotel room at 430am and we were up by 615am for my mom to drive us to Grimsby. I’d like to say Mark and I were hungover - but in reality, it’s easier to say still drunk.

Because it was a Sunday morning the transit situation for anywhere SUCKS so my amazing mother offered to drive from Hamilton to come pick us up in downtown Toronto and take us to our meet up location in Grimsby. (Love you mom!)

We both felt like death. There was absolutely no sleep between party time and football time for us. We made it to Grimsby for 8am and it was time to start another crazy ass part of this birthday weekend.

A white Lincoln Navigator limo pulled up. Shit got real QUICK then. It was happening, we were going to this NFL game. All together there was twelve of us in the limo and on our way to the game in Buffalo we made a stop to get refreshments at the Duty Free for the tailgating. Duty Free is a great place. I love you Duty Free.

I have never been to an NFL game in the USA before and therefore had never tailgated before either. Oh man, I have really been missing out. Tailgating is just a prelime for football fans outside. When we parked by New Era Stadium, there were hoards of other people in their limos and buses setting up (or already set up) to tailgate.

Food. Football. Liquor. Can you really name a better trio? I personally cannot.

We tailgated and then went inside to watch the game. Yay, Buffalo won. Obviously we were good luck for them, right? I think so.

After the game we made our way back to Toronto piece by piece with our exhausted minds and bodies, but with BIG smiles nonetheless.



I might be forgetting some more awesome stuff that happened this weekend but at this rate it’s probably for the best. Thank you to everyone who wished me a happy birthday and all of you who participated in the weekends activities as well. I am a very happy person who just has a messed up neck from sleeping in a limo. #1stworldproblems

  • Mirna


Panama/Colombia Trip Recap

Usually, within a week of coming back from a vacation I would have the full recap up and finished. USUALLY I don’t get horribly sick after vacationing though.

The past two weeks have been absolute hell on my body (and my travel partner, Lorren). I’m one of those people who eats everything and anything in sight when I travel without any issues EVER with my tummy. I’d like to think of myself as someone with a rock hard stomach, on the inside, because mans are fluffy outside. When I went to do my Asia trip in 2016 I drank Dukoral weeks ahead to prepare and I even got my shot for cholera, which you can read all about here. Nothing gets to my stomach. Until something fucking got to my stomach.

I am literally 8lbs lighter now than I was when I left for my trip on October 5th. That was two weeks ago and I have been thin for no reason since last week. I will spare all of you the details but let me tell you, I’m not sure WHERE or WHY we picked up whatever stomach problem this was but I legitimately do not wish it on anyone. Three days laid up in bed not being able to eat is not exactly my idea of happiness after a vacation. Like you’re already sad you’re back to cold and work but your body completely malfunctioning as well? SUCKS.

But, let me move on to the awesomeness that was this trip. To look at the positive side of things, neither of us felt sick until the day we had to fly home. The vacation itself was super fun and exciting and I’m happy to share the goods with you lovely people.



FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5TH - FLYING/PANAMA

This seemed like such a late time to fly. 9:30am. I had to take the subway and UP Express with the regular working hours people. Who flies this late? I’m more accustomed to being at the airport from 5-6am and ready to be up in the air to somewhere by 7am. Lorren and I met up at the check-in for Copa Airlines to begin our journey to Cartagena, Colombia via Panama City, Panama. The great thing was we had checked in online already and only had our carry-ons to travel with so we avoided a super long line with everyone else. Score!

I’m not 100% sure on why we decided to go to Cartagena but I do recall being in the middle of a fete at Jamaica Carnival and looking at my Google Flights notification telling me that a flight to Cartagena from Oct 5 - Oct 8 had dropped 50% in price.

You read that right …. FIFTY PERCENT DROP. I messaged Lorren and asked if she’s good with that price, she said yes and boom we had roundtrip flight tickets to Colombia for $320.00 per person. That’s a damn good price.

Pearson airport was the same thing as always, boring. We both got some version of breakfast and then we were on our way to our layover in Panama City, Panama. The total layover time was seven hours, but with having to be at the airport two hours before a flight that total dropped to five hours of exploring Panama City. We had intended on seeing the Panama Canal, going to this Chorillo area where there was some delicious seafood and then just walking along the water and taking pictures at sunset. HA. We thought.

We checked our carryons at this luggage storage place in the arrivals area of the airport. (Cost $5.00 USD per bag) and then we found ourselves a taxi driver. His name was Ariel and I think he offered us ‘the weeds’ about six times during the drive. He was definitely our type of driver because he knew how to maneuver around all the traffic, which sometimes included driving on the shoulder and even through a park to get to the other side of a road. Sadly, even with his driving skills we were in for a big let down.

The traffic in Panama City is HELLA disrespectful. We did enjoy seeing how beautiful the city was and how far superior their condos looked to Toronto, but, ommmggg it was so slow getting through the city. We made it to the Panama Canal and paid the stupid $20.00 USD to enter.

So you enter, you go upstairs, there’s hoards of people looking at a canal, a big ship gets announced as incoming, people get amped and take selfies, the ship passes, it’s done. The end.

I do not care for the Panama Canal at all but it was kind of one of those ‘must see’ things if you’re going to go to Panama so we did it. It’s done. Check it off the list.

We wanted to go to the aforementioned Chorillo area after the canal but as we got deeper and deeper into traffic our Google Maps was giving us an unfavorable breakdown in time to the airport. This is where the day began to get a little weird.

There was definitely a language barrier between us and Ariel but we were able to tell him where we wanted to go for the day and how much we’d pay etc. It really wasn’t an issue - until it actually became an issue. As we were driving towards Chorillo myself and Lorren decided that it was best we just head directly back to the airport because we didn’t want to risk being late for our flight to Cartagena. Missing seafood was fine with us, missing a flight was definitely not.

This driver got SUPER weird at this point. We explained to him that we wanted to head for the airport because of the time restraints and dude wouldn’t take NO as an answer. He repeated and repeated and repeated ‘no no you must go to Chorillo’. Listen bro, we must not do SHIT. If we paying for the car for the day and we don’t want any extra detours and want to go back to the airport, that’s where the hell you’re going to take us.

Oh man, for the entirety of the drive back to the airport he literally repeated and bitched about us not going to Chorillo every 20 seconds. At one point he PULLED OVER to the side of some parking lot and said, ‘go take pictures!’ even though we explicitly told him 50 times to head directly back to the airport so we wouldn’t be late. Don’t get me wrong, taking pictures of Panama City during sunset was really beautiful. The city itself is gorgeous and I hope I come back another time to take it in some more. However, we had no idea what the hell dudes problem was. We were still on a time constraint. As we finally got into the airport area he was STILL repeating about the goddamn Chorillo place and I finally had enough and you could hear me saying over, ‘no we said airport. no we said airport. no we said airport.

We did finally make it to the airport and with plenty of time before our flight. Got some food and boarded the next Copa flight to Cartagena.

Upon arriving in Cartagena we got to deal with the pleasantries of the reciprocity fee only Canadians have to pay to enter Colombia which I wrote a blog post about here. Fortunately, a very nice man drove us from the airport to our hotel in the Bocagrande area of Cartagena.

At about 11:30pm - we finally got to bed. This weird day was done.


SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6TH - LUXURY IN CARTAGENA


Listen, after the day/night we had in Panama? Waking up in a five star hotel with the most incredible view was refreshing. Oh, it felt so good. I would go more into detail about the Hyatt Regency Cartagena, but you can click here and go peruse the blog post I made specifically about staying there.

For the Saturday we didn’t make many concrete plans. Lorren had booked herself in for some surfing at 10am and I had booked myself in for a spa session at 2pm. Because for some weird reason I can’t stay sleeping particularly late while on vacation, I was up early and both Lorren and I decided to go for breakfast.

We had searched Google for what was good around us and came across this breakfast spot named La Brioche. If you ever go to Cartagena, definitely make sure to eat here. The pancakes were so fluffy and the pineapple juice was delicious. Also, I appreciate any restaurant where the manager/owner comes by and talks to see if you’re bless.

After breakfast Lorren went onto her surfing shenanigans and I went right back to the hotel. You know what I did? I took a nap. Then I went to the spa to try and get Lorren a booking at the same time as mine, they weren’t open for another 30 minutes. OK. Took another nap. Went back down to the spa and was able to get Lorren a spa session appointment. Great success.

It was probably about noon and I had a tough decision to make - do I want to nap some more or will I go actually do stuff since I am on vacation? Disregarding my good judgement, I decided to go gallivant into Cartagena’s historical center …. in 34 degree heat. I walked so damn much, from Bocagrande and then to the historical center and then I drank some rum and then I walked all the way back to the hotel. The heat was INSANE. I will say the walk was well worth it. The center of Cartagena is incredible and very picturesque, and I sure do love taking a lot of pictures!

Once I returned to the hotel I had to take a shower because absolutely no one should have to rub down a profusely sweaty Eastern European woman during a spa session.

If you would like to know how the spa time went you can read about it here, I made a separate blog post for all you spa enthusiasts.

After Lorren and I both had our awesome spa dates completed, we hit the infinity pool at the hotel. Incredible view over Bocagrande, took some pictures and ordered some food. Nice and relaxing evening. That is the great thing about traveling with the women I choose to travel with, there’s an amazing bonding in quiet sometimes. You don’t even have to speak non-stop, you’re just happy to be somewhere together and taking it all in together. I love every minute of it.

Alright so it is a Saturday night, we are young, we are good looking and we are on vacation. Obviously, it is time to party!

Ha.

We got back to our room at 8pm, said we’d take a nap and woke up at 4am. That was the end of our Saturday. FAIL.


SUNDAY, OCTOBER 7TH - BEACH LIFE

One of the things that makes me happiest in this world is being on a beach. I love swimming, I love the sand, I love being in the water and I just love the way it makes me (and my skin) feel. Today was our beach day and we were going on an adventure to Playa Blanca.

We were picked up around 9am and drove for approximately one hour to get to the destination. I’m not a fan of long car rides but this beach was worth the time in a pinch up van.

When we arrived we were taken (with our group) to a quieter area of Playa Blanca. Apparently Sunday is the day most locals went to the beach as well so it was crammed everywhere. The beach was super busy. I was happy the guide took us to a quiet area where we have a little piece of heaven, and shade, to ourselves. It is unfortunate that all the things you read about Playa Blanca are true though, every 10-15 seconds someone will be asking you to buy a service from them or food or liquor. As someone who prefers my beaches completely silent, it made the beach experience a little less pleasant.

The beach itself was clean, the water was clear and the temperature of the water was perfect as well. If you do have time, I would definitely encourage everyone to take a day trip to Playa Blanca. Another great part of our trip for the day was getting a delicious fish lunch, which we both enjoyed while overlooking the clear waters.

Sigh, mans really tried to scam us though.

Listen, I have no issue with people hustling because sometimes you don’t really have any other option. Although I may be annoyed that someone talks to me every 10-15 seconds trying to sell me things, I get that they need to make money. That’s fine. However, I don’t like people trying to take me for an idiot.

There was a group of women by us offering massages. I asked the woman how much it would cost and she said it would be $20 for 30 minutes. Awesome, that, I can definitely get down with. Lorren had requested a 15-minute foot massage from another lady after discussing her rate as well. Perfect! Massages on a beach were feeling sooooo good. Suddenly, I hear the woman who had given Lorren her foot massage say something along the lines of, ‘that was one hour’. THE FUCK? How is it that Lorren asked for 15 minutes and I asked for 30 minutes, but hers was supposedly one hour? NAH NAH NAH.

Then the lady who was doing my back I asked her if my 30 minutes was up and suddenly she couldn’t speak English very well. We were lucky that there was a couple with us on the same tour that spoke Spanish fluently. The lady told them she had been working on me for 40 minutes at that point, so I asked her like why you going past 30 minutes when we had agreed on THIRTY MINUTES? To hell with that. I paid her for the 30 minutes we had agreed to and told her to go on her way. I don’t like that shit. Make your money, but tricking or trying to scam people isn’t the wave. That just pissed me off.

So note to any of you that plan on getting massages at Playa Blanca, set a damn timer or just don’t do it. If I had the option to go through this again, I would have just not gotten the damn massage. SMH.

I’m not sure how the day at the beach finished so quickly. I easily could have spent another 2-3 hours there just relaxing but the tour guide said it was time to head back to Cartagena. Imagine? The driver tried to fit FOURTEEN of us in that pinch up van and Lorren literally couldn’t sit down. So we complained and had two small children move to the front so the adults could sit down properly for the one hour ride. Last thing we needed after the scamming attempt was an uncomfortable ride back to town. Hell no.

So we got back to our hotel and got to shower and relax a little bit. We were NOT taking a nap tonight, we had to go out on our final night in Colombia. We got dressed up cute and caught a taxi into the historical center. We asked the taxi driver his favourite restaurant and he said it was ‘Alma’ - okay, so take us to Alma.

I’d like to say at this point, dear Mr. taxi man, if I ever see you again I’m gonna give you a massive tip for suggesting this place. YOU DESERVE THE WORLD SIR.

This dude has taste. This restaurant was beautiful, some real high end shit. The ambiance was lovely, the staff was attentive and there was even this beautiful pool in the middle of the establishment. The food too? OMG. To die for. From the lobster empanadas to the insane seafood chowder that Lorren ordered. Everything was delicious. Yes, this place was a little pricier than most of the food spots in Cartagena but, why not splurge a little? Was super worth it.

Then we just walked around the center and stopped at various bars to have a drink and people watch. By the time we got to the fourth bar it was some place called Tu Candela which we had read was a pretty decent nightclub. The spot wasn’t particularly big, but the vibes were GREAT. The DJ took requests and played some Vybz Kartel for me. We made friends with some guys from Florida that were there for a bachelor party too. Overall, a fun spot to party.

Naturally, I drank too damn much. Let me tell you something about Colombian pesos, that currency is confusing as shit. Now mix that with it being like 1am, you’re a bunch of rum and cokes in and you can’t count. Oh man. I’d never been so embarrassed in my life trying to count out 148,000 pesos to pay for our bar tab because they didn’t take cards. The bartender had to walk with me to the closest ATM so I could take more cash out. Horrible. Don’t drink and count foreign currency guys.

Lorren and I walked home to our hotel after the club. For as much as people worry about traveling to Colombia, neither of us felt unsafe at any time there. Super late at night, walking back to Bocagrande in our cute outfits and singing random soca songs - people just said good evening and kept it moving. No one harassed us and we just staggered our way on home. Fun night. Happy early birthday Lorren.


MONDAY, OCTOBER 8TH - HOME TIME

Waking up on Monday hungover wasn’t awesome. We went back to La Brioche to eat that amazing breakfast one more time and then we packed to head back home. The stay in Cartagena was over and we were leaving back to cold-ass-Toronto.

This was the moment where we suddenly didn’t feel well but we though it was because we drank so much the night before. Obviously, we were wrong about that.

Going through customs at Cartagena’s airport was super fast. I had read someone else’s blog post alluding to it taking forever to get through because you had to speak to a ‘minimum’ of twelve people by the time you got to your gate. False. Super false. I’m not sure if we were super lucky or what but it literally took all together MAYBE 10 minutes from entering the airport to getting through border security and to our gate. It really wasn’t nearly as bad as others had described it.

We flew back to Panama City with Copa and had some time to kill at their airport before our flight to Toronto. We ate Cinnabon and our stomachs just began feeling worse and worse.

Finally we got on the flight back to Toronto and by the time we landed we both realized our bodies hated us and we fucked up. Just how I wanted to end a vacation. Not.

Overall I would still say this was an awesome trip. I would like to go back to Panama City and enjoy it a bit more since the traffic and our strange taxi driver kind of ruined it for us. If I go back to Cartagena I’d really like to stay at the Hyatt again as well and would return to the EXACT same places to eat breakfast and dinner.

My apologies for this post being so lengthy, who knew so much could happen over one long weekend?

Thankful to have made it to country #31 and country #32 finally.

  • Mirna