Tag Archives: Travel
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El Palacio de los Jugos- A Miami Landmark

As I mentioned in my previous post, Brandon and I had to travel home to Miami for a family emergency- all is well now though.  It was a very short trip, but one of the days, we decided to hit up a famous Miami landmark called “El Palacio de los Jugos” which means “The Juice Palace”.   The place isn’t fancy or anything but they have the nicest tropical produce, milkshakes and Cuban treats.  The main reason for our visit is to buy fresh coconut water.  Basically a guy stands there with a huge machete and chops of the the tops.  You can buy the coconut whole with a straw in it, or you can buy the water in a half gallon.  Coconut water is one of my favorite things to drink, and now that we live in Dallas, it’s one of the things I crave the most.  They also have a huge selection of prepared dishes and desserts. Their fruit salad is amazing too.  When we lived in Miami, we would just drive by this place and really take it for granted. These kinds of markets have sprung up all over Miami, but this one here is the original.  Now whenever I go back to visit, this is a place I always try to visit. If you’re ever visiting Miami, this is one of those places you’d want to check out.  Anthony Bourdain should have totally covered this place when he did his Miami show.

If you’re ever in Miami, check it out… if only for the coconut water machete man… lol

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Summer in Miami…

Summer in Miami…

Last week I was in Miami… why is it that time always goes so fast when you’re having fun?  Here are a few pics from my trip.

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Miami we need to see more of each other…

I usually try to travel home every year at least once. Usually its in December since I have the week between x-mas and new year’s off. This time though, I was there for a much shorter time since the ticket was too expensive if I would have returned on the day I wanted. It was a blast though. I got to spend time with family, saw friends I hadn’t seen in a long time and ate at some really great places. I really enjoyed my trip down there this year- the only downside is that time sure flies when you’re having fun. My grandmother really spoiled me too… she made my favorite Cuban Dish- Rabo Encendido- (Ox-tail stew). She also made Churros another favorite- super fattening, but hey I only get to eat it once a year. I will be posting those recipes soon, but in the mean time, I am posting a few pictures from my trip. There were a couple of things I did which I did not get pics of… one being hanging out with my good friend Gaudy. We saw avatar in 3D… so fun! I also spent a day at Dolphin Mall with my brother Eric… it was nice to have some solo time with my little brother… it had been a long time since we did anything together like that. Amongst other things, I looked forward to waking up every morning to a cup of coffee with my mom, grandmother, and Eric where we’d talk for at least an hour. There was another evening where we hung out with my uncle Ruben, my aunt Cristy, my mom and grandma and talked over some manchego cheese and wine. It was just nice to connect with everyone again. It’s always so bittersweet when the end of my trip is near because on one hand I am anxious to come home and see my husband, but on the other hand, I know it will most likely be another year till I see most of my family and friends again.
At Mr. Yum with my mom, Eric and Anabelle. The food here is amazing and the decor is so cute… This place serves the best plum wine you’ll ever have. The food was amazing too.
With Ana and David having a little Cuban Coffee on a chilly night.
At Havana Harry’s with my family.  Man the food at this place is so good… if you’re curious just check out their menu.
At Chili’s with Jenny and her mom Nancy… I hadn’t seen them in FOREVER… I seriously have known this girl since I was three… So good to catch up!
At Cinebistro with my aunt Cristy, my mom, grandma, and some friends of our family Soly, Ana Laura and Soly (Sr.)… We saw It’s complicated… one of the funniest movies I’ve ever seen. If you haven’t seen it yet, you need to go… it was awesome.
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Back from Sunny Florida!

I have been away from the blogging world for a while. I just got back from vacation, but prior to that, things at work were crazy as I was trying to get everything ready before we I left. My life will be pretty hectic at work until the middle of November because our department is hosting a fairly large event. But I digress. Brandon and I headed to Panama City Beach again this year to observe the Feast of Tabernacles. An observance we keep every year in the fall.
We had a great time. The beach was gorgeous. We laid out and listened to our ipods. At one point Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison came on and I just kept tapping my foot against the sand. Nothing like a nice day at the beach. Man do I miss having an ocean nearby. The the condo we stayed at was really nice too.
This year we actually had a few really good meals. We discovered this little hole in the wall Indian Restaurant called The Curry Pot. It was beyond awesome. The Mattar Paneer was AMAZING! I also recommend the lamb curry and the Mango Lassi. If you’re ever in Panama City Beach check them out- the food is awesome.
We also discovered this little place called Sheesha Cafe. They make some awesome gyros and tabouli. So yummy. The owner was such a nice guy too. I hope his business takes off- especially since the dining in Panama City beach is not that culturally diverse. Most restaurants there are tourist trap places which are never good.
Besides going to the beach and shopping, we looked forward to brewing some awesome coffee and watching the Golden Girls. The TV selection kind of sucked. I guess because there are a ton of old retirees, they looped golden girls and I love Lucy all day pretty much. It was like being in a time warp but in a good way.
Here are a few pictures from our trip:
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Miami where art thou?

So I just got back from a week in my Hometown of Miami. It’s amazing how fast it went. It felt like every single moment of my time there was programmed. The whole time I was there I was missing Brandon since he stayed home. I got to enjoy some of the things I miss most about Miami like spending QT with my mom. Seeing my brothers and cooking dinner for the fam. Having breakfast every morning with my grandma and mom and talking about all sorts of things… silly and serious alike. Meeting my friend Gaudy’s baby and hanging out with Ana and David like old times. I had a lot of time to think about things… amidst the hustle and bustle of seeing family and running around like a mad woman, I was able to reflect on a few things weighing on my mind. I am glad I got to see the ocean and visit my 93 year-old grandma. Not to mention eating my beloved Chicken Kitchen!!! My mom picked me up at the airport and handed me an ice cold coconut with a straw- yum the perfect start to a great time in the M.I.A.! I could have spent two more weeks there to see several people I was unable to see since time slipped through my fingers…. Having said that, I was so glad to come home. The anticipation of waiting for the plane to land, see Brandon and be in my own home was almost unbearable. All in all it was a good trip, but now I am back to the reality of waking up to the sound of the alarm clock and being at work all day… Miami where art thou?
Here are a few pics from my trip…

At Village Tavern with my aunt Cristy and the whole gang belowFishing in the Florida Keys with Ana, David, my mom, and Jacob
At Lunch with my mom and Ana

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A few pictures from our trip to Panama City Beach

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A mirage in my mind- the tropical island vacation

Mentally, I had been counting on taking a trip somewhere romantic with Brandon this year. Since last summer I have been thinking of places I would like to go to. I have asked several people, some, avid travelers, their opinions on what places would be worth visiting. It seems that this ain’t happening anytime soon. I am so bummed. I have often said, If I won the lotto I’d spend my time, (and money) traveling. Yet it seems that I can never quite fill that insatiable void that can only be kept at bay from time to time by packing our bags and hitting the road. If I had it my way, we’d be packing our bags right this very minute and heading to the airport. Unfortunately, all I can do is stare at the map in our study and dream. So many places I’d like to see, yet so little vacation time or funds to actually make it happen. I stare at this map and dream, ponder, wonder what it would be like. I just imagine sitting on a tropical island, feeling the warm baby powder sand between my toes, as I sip from the straw lazily bobbing around in the coconut I am holding. Enjoying the sip as it cools my throat wetting my whistle until it makes its way to my content stomach- filled with previously eaten sweet and juicy mango. The breeze sings me a lullaby and the crashing waves accompany the melody, lulling me to sleep. The warmth of the sun feels so relaxing. The thought of lifting my finger seems too great a task. I breathe in the salty ocean air and listen to the birds fly over head. The palms sway as if dancing the hula and the ocean is a vision too glorious to behold. Then I realize it was only a dream. Tomorrow I will wake up to my annoying alarm clock. I’ll rise in a rush and speed off to work. Then I’ll earn my wages and count the minutes before going home. I’ll do this for what seems like an eternity, until the the weekend comes again, only to pass as in the twinkling of an eye. All I can do is stare at the wretched map. Far away my island awaits, calling my name, beckoning me, and gracing me only in dreams.

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" Baba no, it’s Babá " part 1

Preface: The title of this posting will make sense after about part 2 of this story… but it’s just too long to write in one shot.

My mom is a teacher and my grandmother is a retired teacher which means they usually have summers off. Every year they plan a trip to some insanely beautiful place on God’s green earth. Two summers ago was no exception. The only difference was that the planets aligned this time and I was able to somehow finagle my way along for the ride- which was no easy task considering that my department at work was really busy, I was short on disposable income, and I was really suffering from separation anxiety at just the thought of being away from Papo for so long. I gave myself a “get a grip, life is too short and you may never have this opportunity again” pep talk and without batting another eyelash I marched my hiney into my boss’ office to ask for the time off I needed. My mom’s uncle retired from one of the major airlines and donated a buddy pass for me to use on my trip which meant I no longer needed to fork over beaucoup bucks for this trip, life was good for a split second, except I realized that the trip was in three days and I did not have a current passport. Suffice it to say that I was more than relieved to be on board the aircraft three days later.

We were headed to Rome, Italy. I could barely contain myself. We were also going to see Sorrento, and the Amalfi Coast. I had to pinch myself a few times a day to make sure I wasn’t in some deep slumber where sugar plum fairies danced around and teleported me to one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Upon arriving we grabbed a cab and headed to the hotel. We all took a power nap, showered, changed and headed out to the Piazza Barberini where our shuttle bus dropped us off. I was in a trance. So many beautifully dressed people, so much history in the architecture, so much life in the air, such breathtaking views! I was in love with Rome. That night we walked around the town and decided to have dinner at a small tratoria located in one of the busier plazas in the town called the Piazza Navona. We were greeted by a friendly waiter who brought us bread and sparkling water. He disappeared for about half an hour and then took our order. I ordered the Penne with salmon; my mom ordered cannelloni and my grandmother ordered the lasagna. We took our time and had such great conversation. The restaurant we chose was perfect because it was located in one of the liveliest piazzas in the town. At about sunset, vendors lined the streets selling art, wines, crafts other curious goodies. There was a group of young people singing “Hey Jude”. There was another group of street actors portraying drama in Italian right in the middle of the street. There was so much to see that I couldn’t wait to finish dinner to explore what the city had to offer. Of course I had to learn that this was not America, and our waiter was not being instructed to bring us everything in a flash to allow other customers to sit at our spot. This was Italy- and boy was I glad to be there. The food arrived and it was delicious. The three of us laughed over great food, wine and atmosphere. It is a moment I will remember forever. We finished dinner and I learned that asking for cream for coffee is not that common in Italy. Because we speak Spanish, we can usually understand most of what is being said in Italian. However, the word for cream in Spanish is very different than the word in Italian. In Spanish it is said crema, in Italian it is said panna. After a few charades, hand signals and pictionary, the waiter understood what I meant. He came back with a whole bowl of fresh whipped cream- now this was panna!- Halleluiah!

We tipped the waiter, who seemed to think I was bellisima because he made an awful frown when I showed him my wedding band, and left to see the sights with an new and improved ego.

We perused all sorts of things, but we made a stop at one of the artists in the center of the square. He had the most beautiful oil paintings of Italian landscapes. I mean this man was gifted. He was missing a few teeth, but where he lacked healthy gums and strong teeth, he made up for it in his art. My mom being a fan of sunflowers bought a gorgeous print which is now hanging beautifully in her home. We perused some more and returned to our hotel. We spent the following day in Rome and saw the sights. That evening we returned to the hotel showered, changed and went out to dinner in this restaurant someone from work had recommended. Apparently, it was kind of hidden but worth the hunt. It was called Nino’s and was in an alley off of the famous Spanish Steps. To our surprise we found it pretty quickly. We walked inside and were offered a seat. Our waiter was quite a character. I don’t remember his name, but he sort of looked like the Italian version of Robin Williams. He was kind of goofy, and kept insisting that we order the evening special for our appetizer, which was zucchini pie. Except he said it with an inflection in his voice that sounded like he was launching the words to another galaxy. It sounded like he said “Would you like the zooooochini piiiiiiiiiie? To his dismay none of us ordered the zoooochini piiiiiiiiiie. We each ordered a soup. I ordered the mushroom and my mom and grandmother ordered the white bean. I can almost taste it. Boy was that soup good! A few minutes later the waiter walked in with an order of zoooochini piiiiiiiiiie on the house. I must say that was the best zooooochini piiiiiiiie we ever had. After dinner we headed back to the hotel in Rome and prepared for our adventure in Sorrento the following day.

To be continued…

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Baba no, it’s Babá- Part 2

We woke up to a lavish breakfast at our hotel in Rome. I don’t know if it’s that they don’t pump all their meat and produce with hormones and pesticides in Europe, or that they have a better farming system across the ocean, but I had cereal with milk and it was so good. The milk tasted so fresh, almost like it had been taken from the cow’s utter that very morning. There was such an abundance of food- there were pastries, and fresh fruit, eggs, granola, yogurt, sausage, bacon, muffins, waffles and mimosas, so much more. My eyes feasted. That was the breakfast of champions. We ate up, as we had a long journey ahead and probably would not eat again until dinner time. We took the shuttle from the hotel to the piazza where the shuttle stopped. We hauled our luggage, with us and stuck out like sore thumbs- how tacky- but we needed some of our bags. We had already left the bulk of our stuff in the hotel in Rome since we were coming back after a few days in Sorrento. What looked to be a relatively short distance on the map turned out to be quite an odyssey by foot. It was hot, and the train station felt like a mirage amidst all of the stores, people, steep uphill and downhill roads and traffic. My poor grandmother who was 76 at the time said something that we still laugh at today- “loma arriba, loma abajo, mi rodilla pal carajo” it doesn’t translate well into English, but the gist is-“hill goes up, hill goes down, and there goes my knee.” The train left from Rome to Naples, and then from Naples we needed to catch another train to Sorrento- our final destination for the day. Unfortunately, the train was delayed when we arrived at the station. We sat and waited, then waited some more. The hours passed. So many faces came and went. I sat on a bench and watched people for what felt like an eternity. It’s a funny thing to observe folks from other cultures, especially if you don’t quite understand what they’re saying. The way they dress, the prevalent facial features how they interact with each others…Those things that make a culture unique. Finally, the train arrived, and not a moment too soon. There was a sea of people flocking to the entrances of the train. Finally we were on board. It was about a two hour ride from Rome to Naples, but at least it was a scenic ride. The countryside was beautiful; there were villas, and pastures with hay stacks, and flowers and blue skies. The views were so serene. So serene in fact, that I fell asleep.

We arrived to the train station in Naples. There was such a nervous vibe about that place. I felt like everyone was staring at me. The people didn’t look very friendly either. It was just a strange, albeit, brief experience. We loaded our stuff on the next train, which felt like it had been constructed during the time of the Caesars. Compared to the air-conditioned, comfortable seated, panoramic window view, bullet train we had just been on, this was a disaster. It creaked, and shook, and the people on it were scary. There were no seats left so we all had to stand, with one hand holding our luggage and the other to whatever we could grab to maintain our balance. To say that it was an unpleasant ride would be an understatement. By this time the sun was setting and the three of us were exhausted. We just wanted to get to our hotel and sleep. Finally the train arrived. We hauled our stuff off the train and hailed a cab to the hotel.

We were excited to see the hotel. My mom and I had spent countless hours researching online for hotels in the area, reading reviews, asking others who had traveled. My mom has used venere.com in the past for hotel reservations and had not had a problem so when trying to pick a hotel in Sorrento, we visited that site. Online we found a quaint little hotel with a nice view of the ocean. It was decently priced and there were not very many negative reviews about it, on the contrary, mostly everyone had good things to say about it so we booked it.

On the outside the hotel was really pretty. The lobby was very stylish too. The staff was friendly and promptly showed us to our room. Man oh man were we in for a surprise. The room was tiny! Not only was it small, there were only two small beds, and we specifically reserved a room for three travelers. After setting our bags down and expressing our dismay about the room to each other, we noticed there was a sideways Murphy bed in the corner of the room. This thing was tiny too. I pulled it down and sat on it for a second. The sheets were damp. Yuck. We then looked at the bathroom. I had never seen a shower like that before. It looked like a standing casket. I seriously wondered if I was going to fit into it- really. By that time we were so tired from our excursion that we decided that we would stay there anyway. We were only going to be there for two nights after all and finding another hotel without prior reservations in a foreign country would be one more obstacle in this already complicated and frustrating day.

We decided to go to dinner and call it a night. We walked downstairs and asked the attendant if there was anything in walking distance and he said that there was a great restaurant around the bend on the marina called Il bagni di delfino. Our spirits were down, we were hungry, tired, disappointed with our hotel, and had wasted an entire day making a trip that would normally take only a few hours. But we had to eat. So off we went, following the instructions we had been given. When we got there, there was a chalkboard menu outside listing the specials for the day. They were advertising a few things, but the one that caught our eye the most was the large beer for only 3 Euros. That was a deal. We were greeted by our waitress and seated immediately. She was very petite with boyish hair, but very funny. Without hesitation the three of us ordered the large beer and our meals. A few minutes later the waitress returned with our beverages. They meant what they said- that beer was ginormous. I don’t even like beer, but it was so icy cold, and I was so thirsty that I began to drink it. Half an hour passed and I hadn’t even made a dent finishing the beer. The waitress came by and half jokingly said… “You ordered it, now you have to drink it”. The three of us actually finished it and walked back to the hotel. All I can say is that the walk back was a blur; in fact the rest of the night was a blur. All I know is that I woke up the following morning wearing the same clothes as the night before.

I sensed optimism in the air that morning. It was going to be a better day, I knew it would.

To be continued…

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Baba no, It’s Babá- Part 3

The birds chirped and my tummy growled. We had all slept like logs. We needed the rest because a day of exploration and sightseeing awaited. The three of us woke up and took turns using the casket shower. I stood gazing at that shower door and just tried to devise a plan. I needed to drape a towel overhead in case I got stuck and hotel staff needed to break down the door to come to my rescue. How embarrassing. So with a oneeee- twoooo- threeeee- momentum going, I shimmied into the shower. To my surprise, I fit! Barely, but I fit. What a relief. I was seriously envisioning myself being carried out on a stretcher in nothing but a towel. I finished quickly and got dressed. We all went to the dining area for our breakfast. Surprisingly, it was not bad. It wasn’t the smörgåsbord that we experienced in Rome, but hey this was not bad at all. They had cereals, eggs, pastries, bread, butter, juices and yogurts. What else could we ask for? I suppose a mimosa would have been nice, but considering our alcohol intake from the night before, it was best that we stay away from it. The last thing I needed was to return to Miami a lush. After breakfast we went to the hotel’s front desk and asked how to catch a bus to the nearest bus station. We were told that around the corner, not quite as far as restaurant we had visited the evening before, there was a small convenience store, which sold bus tokens. The bus stop was only a few feet away from the store. So off we went to buy the bus tokens. The Marina in the daytime was beautiful. There were fishing boats, and restaurants lining the small port. In the distance Mt. Vesuvius appeared to be sinking into the sea. There was a small patch of sand in between two plots of businesses that led to the ocean.

The townspeople used this as their private beach. There was the cutest chubby little girl wearing only panties and a bandanna playing in the sand and water. I stopped and took a picture of her because she was so cute. We were distracted by this and almost didn’t realize that the bus arrived. The only problem was that my grandmother had stayed behind because her knee was aching from our pilgrimage the day before. She told us to come and get her in the front terrace of the hotel once we bought the tokens. My mother and I mustered up enough Italian to tell the bus driver that my grandmother was waiting by the hotel. Luckily, he agreed to make a stop just for her. Phew! That was close. The morning had been filled with excitement so far- first the shower, now the bus- what next? We picked up my grandmother and proceeded to downtown Sorrento where the bus stopped. We got off and walked to the center of town. Downtown Sorrento was so quaint. There were specialty boutiques and clothing stores. There was a pharmacy and a grocery store and a lovely bakery. We decided to stop at the grocery store to buy some bottled water. The grocery store was small, but had such fresh produce. The boxed pasta also looked different than it’s American counterpart. It didn’t appear as dried out as the versions back home. We paid for our water and continued walking towards the next bus station. It was a bit of a hike, but we finally found it. We bought our ticket to the Amalfi Coast and waited for the next bus to arrive. It was a gorgeous day. There was a slight breeze and it was very sunny. There were potted flowers and lemon trees all around town. Sorrento and the Amalfi coast were famous for their lemons. They were enormous. I was so tempted to pick one off the tree, but as eventful as the morning had been, I decided a trip to the Sorrento jailhouse would not be fun. The bus arrived and we were so excited.

We had all heard that Amalfi was beautiful. I remembered seeing it in the movie Under the Tuscan Sun and was thrilled to actually be on my way there. We were told at the bus station that the trip to Amalfi would take about an hour. So we sat in the nice air-conditioned bus and looked at the beautiful landscapes around us. There was a house that had been built directly into a mountain. It had a swimming pool that overlooked the turquoise sea below. As we started going up the mountain the ride became very tumultuous. As if in a fun house, that bus began twisting and turning on a street that kept get narrower and narrower. What began as a picturesque and relaxing ride became what felt like a scene from the movie Speed. My heart felt like it was sitting in my throat. The strangest part was that all of the locals acted like everything was normal… no one looked worried or perturbed- no one except the three of us, that is. After a few minutes, we decided that if everyone else was calm, we shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Finally, after this journey we arrived to Amalfi. We were stunned. What a gorgeous place. There were houses built on layer upon layer the mountainside. There were gorgeous views of the ocean. At first when we were researching the possibility of traveling here, we read about the cities that were in the Amalfi coast. There was Positano, Ravello, Amalfi, Vietri, and several other cities that we wanted to see. What was funny was that the cities were separated not so much by miles in latitude, but by miles in altitude. The higher or lower you went up the mountain the different cities you could see. Positano was below Amalfi, but because my grandmother’s knee had been acting up, we decided not to go. The walk would be way too steep for her. Another place we wanted to see was the Isle of Capri. From Positano you would take a ferry to there. They say Capri is gorgeous too. We decided to explore Amalfi and see how much time we had before the last bus arrived. Amalfi was filled with little shops. Some shops sold souvenirs, other shops sold ceramic house wares, and other sold produce there was such an eclectic variety of things to look at.

By this time, it was early afternoon and we were ready for a snack. We stopped at a small café that served Paninis and Gelato. Of course, we walked right in. A gelato was the perfect snack for a day like that one. My mom, grandmother, and I looked at the flavors. Our eyes danced over the Gelato case. My grandmother selected the coconut flavor. My mom chose the mascarpone, and I chose the Panna flavor. We sat outside the café and ate our gelato with such delight. We were having such a great time. The weather was beautiful, and the scenery was amazing. That Gelato was a piece of heaven. It was so creamy and delicious. Italians really have it right. We finished our snack and headed towards the shops. At the time, Brandon and I were living in a town house in Miami, which did not have any house numbers on it.

We walked into the ceramic shop looking for ceramic numbers. I saw one that I really liked made from terra cotta with the numbers outlined in black and red. Unfortunately, they had the 3’s but not the 1. My house number at the time was 133. We kept on looking and found one that was made of white ceramic with the lining in Blue. It also had yellow lemons as an adornment. This was it… every time I got home, I would instantly be reminded of my wonderful time in Amalfi.

We kept on seeing signs that said Baba sold here. I asked my mom and grandmother what that was and they didn’t know. We kept on meandering. The next thing that caught our eye was a fresh produce stand. This wasn’t just any plain old produce stand. This stand had the largest lemons I had ever seen. They were beautiful. There were strawberries, apricots, peaches, grapes- all sorts of delectable fruits. There was also a large sign above some dried peppers that read “Viagra Naturale”. Boy, we got a kick out of that. We had spent a few hours in Amalfi and realized we had drank the bottled water we purchased in Sorrento, and had not used the bathroom since then… suddenly the priority was to find a restroom. We looked and looked no bathrooms in sight. We asked a woman at one of the stores where the bathroom was and she pointed to another store. So off we went to that store. When we got there, this store did not have a bathroom either. By this time, we HAD to go. We kept walking ahead for about 5 minutes. Along the way, we passed a few more Baba signs. Finally, we had found the bathroom. They only odd thing was that they charged money to use it. We dug into our pockets and purses and found sufficient change to use the loo. It was the first time in my whole life I had paid to use a public bathroom. It wasn’t even a nice bathroom at that. It was grimy and dingy. But, like the ol’ saying goes- when you have to go, you have to go.

We made our last stop at the Limoncello store. The Amalfi Coast and Sorrento are famous for it’s’ Limoncello. The shop owner, which reminded me of Gepetto, was giving samples of the Limoncello. He had strawberry flavored Limoncello, and orange flavored Limoncello. There was a kaleidoscope of flavors; the hardest part was picking which one to take back. My grandmother bought a bottle of strawberry flavored Limoncello and a regular lemon one. And with that, we were headed back to the bus stop going back to Sorrento.

The trip back was not as scary, maybe because we knew what to expect this time around. We arrived to the town square and walked past this beautiful Italian handbag and shoe store called Nannini. You could tell that this was not going to be cheap. But we were on vacation, and no men were there to deter us from our womanly urges to shop. I could have taken one of everything. I was scared to pick up the price tag to the purse I liked. It was about 350 Euros-, which at the time the dollar had already declined quite a bit. I looked at it and quietly put it down. My mom and grandma were both looking around too. My aunt Cristy would have really enjoyed this trip, but because her Daughter, Carolina was still very young, she did not come along on the trip. My grandmother felt compelled to buy her a purse there. So she did, and along with that, she bought herself a black bag, and my mom the orange bag she so loved. That’s when my mom decided that she would buy me my pale yellow leather bag. I was thrilled. It was a beauty. We left the store and continued to walk around Sorrento.

After more shopping, and details I won’t bore you with, we decided it was time to have dinner. We were in Europe during the World Cup series. Those Europeans don’t mess around when it comes to the world cup. There were cafés packed with people sitting round’ a TV watching the game and cheering. We came to find this trattoria type restaurant and decided, after seeing some of the meals that the guests had ordered that this was it. The food looked amazing. After reviewing the menu, we decided to start the meal off with a nice glass of wine. We each ordered our meals. The food was delicious. We were stuffed. As the waiter approached my grandmother noticed that there was a sign on the wall advertising Baba. She said to the waiter “what is Baba?” he looked at her with a raised eyebrow and replied “Baba no, it’s Babá”. He explained that Baba was a dessert. He described it as round pieces of caked soaked in Rum. After seeing all those signs my grandmother wanted to know what all the rage was so she ordered one. My mom and I were stuffed so we only ate one bite to taste. This stuff was strong! It burned the back of
my throat as it went down. It was like eating little balls of fire! My grandmother ate the rest.
We finished our meal with a nice coffee and headed back to the hotel. Half and hour hadn’t passed after being in the hotel when my grandmother urgently ran to the bathroom. The next thing we heard was her
throwing up. It was awful and terribly funny to my mom and I at the time. She kept on for quite sometime, and the louder she got, the more my mom and I could not stop laughing. She finally finished, and after asking her if she felt ok, I said “Aby, I think the Babá went Ba- bye” The three of us were cracking up. We each got ready to go to bed, as we
were headed back to Rome the following day. I pulled out the Murphy bed and laid down. The sheets were damp. Yuck.
I guess we were all so tired and tipsy from the huge beer the night before that we hadn’t noticed the nuances of our hotel. All of a sudden we heard this noise that sounded like trickling water. We looked around but nothing was leaking so we just let it go. Then about half an hour later we heard it again. It sounded like it was coming from the wall. But again we couldn’t find where it was coming from. After talking with my mom and grandmother we realized that it was the water flushing from the toilets of other people’s rooms. Apparently every time someone flushed , the water passed through a pipe that was inside one of the walls in our
room. That made for a few laughs and with that, we went to bed and ended our stay in Sorrento.

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