Starbucks Around the World: Houston, TX

Any subscribers will be glad to hear that this ends the whirlwind update from “that other travel blog”.  Bringing you this last Starbucks Around the World from Houston means I’m up-to-date (on Starbuckses, anyway) and I won’t be clogging up your newsfeed nearly as much.  Although, I have to say, it’s been so fun for me to go through all of these memories.  In the end, I’m sure you realize that it’s not about the Starbucks, or the coffee.  This is about experiencing the everyday life and cultures of different places around the world.  It’s about what is different, and what is very much the same – such as a daily cup of coffee.  I hope you’re enjoying the ride as much as I am….

Disclaimer: Since Travelpod does not allow you to export blogs, I shall be bringing old entries to you slowly, but surely, through good, old-fashioned (and painstakingly arduous) Cut-and-paste.

July 29, 2010

Anyone who knows me well knows that I’m crazy about Texas (insert sarcasm here).  Don’t get me wrong, I know a lot of nice people from Texas, but a seriously bad 48 hours in Dallas and general disdain for big hair have left me a little underwhelmed about the idea of making this state a destination spot.  On the way to Oaxaca, our 30-minute stopover in Houston meant of course that we’d miss our connecting flight and end up hanging out at George Bush International Airport for 3 hours.  At least it gave us time to stop off for the first (and presumably only) Starbucks hit in Texas.  I think it was a green tea, actually.

In the end, George Bush turned out alright – the airport, anyway – and we got where we needed to go (with a surprise trip to Mexico City and an impromtu visit with Nancy’s Aunt).  And according to our friend Shannon (the best thing from Texas, as far as I’m concerned), if ever there again after 10am there’s great BBQ in terminal C….

p.s. check me out with all my style points on Unstitched, a fantastically beautiful blog with a great series on traveling.

Starbucks Around the World: Chicago, IL

Disclaimer: Since Travelpod does not allow you to export blogs, I shall be bringing old entries to you slowly, but surely, through good, old-fashioned (and painstakingly arduous) Cut-and-paste.

July 30, 2010

Quite before the crack of dawn, this Starbucks stop is at O’Hare International Airport at the beginning of our beautiful trip to Oaxaca, Mexico in the summer of 2010.  It was so early I don’t even remember what I drank, but I assume it was caffeinated and included a yogurt parfait.

I am rather glad to report that Oaxaca has no ‘Bucks, so you will only witness two entires on this adventure, both in airports. However, coffee was still prevalent on this trip-I witnessed an up close and personal view of for real “Shade Grown Mexico” on the side of a mountain near Pluma Hidalgo, Oaxaca.

Oaxaca City, Mexico: Arts, crafts, & hanging meat

Disclaimer: This trip occurred exactly one year ago.  Since Travelpod does not allow you to export blogs, I shall be bringing them to you in real time, just a year later.

August 1, 2010

I’m told that Oaxaca City is the “capital” of the South, well, in truth, my Moon handbook told me this, and it’s the southernmost capital city (being the capital of the state of Oaxaca) excepting the capital of Chiapas, in Mexico. With all due respect to Chiapas, I’m not going there, so this would be the south-est I have ventured thus far. Even so, Oaxaca City is exceedingly mild-boasting mostly spring-like weather all of the time. It is essentially the same as San Francisco (cool mornings, warm afternoons, and cool evenings). This is all thanks to the city sitting in a big valley with mountains on all sides and makes for a great walk and a challenging wardrobe selection.

Since I missed an entire day due to some difficulties at George Bush airport I pounded the pavement shortly after breakfast. I visited the zocalo and a series of authentic markets (Benito Juarez and 20 de Noviembre) as well as a number of artisans markets. Oh my, the bounty. More cheese than the eye can behold. Fresh fishies, meat hanging on sticks and being grilled in front of you on open barbecues, breads, and fruit and veggies. Being of an American constitution, veggies were out of the question, but we did make out with some Oaxacan cheese, avocados, and a hot chocolate to die for that came with free bread.

On my way back through the zolcalo we stopped for some street food: a couple of ladies still in their Sunday best making tortillas in front of our eyes and heating them with some sort of black bean mixture, chilis, and queso fresco.

Lunch was at the zocalo for some awesome enchiladas and mole, where I was lucky enough to witness some street musicians rocking out Cold Play on the marimba. Best mole to date.

Throughout the city were scatterings of various arts and crafts stalls and a good portion of the day was spent admiring the handiwork of the people of Oaxaca City; my favorite stop has to have been MARO, a collective of Oaxacan woman artists who receive support from the government and produce absolutely amazing work. Along the route I came across these strange and funny looking fuzzy fruits that taste like grapes. The vendor gave out samples and said that he picked them himself near the border of Chiapas. Perfect! I’m not going to Chiapas, but they’ve got some yummy fruit. 1/2 kilo por favor!

I swear I did not spend the entire day eating… but at around 4pm after walking all day long I needed a cup of coffee. Badly. Although skeptical of any shop or restaurant with a name in English words, the instant I stepped into “Coffee Beans” it started to rain. Correction. Downpour. Well, it looked as though I’d be at Coffee Beans for awhile. Despite the all-American line-up of pop and hip hop music, I had a delightful time at Coffee Beans; I sat right by the door, watched the rain, and laughed at the occasional tourist in a white t-shirt taking refuge in the doorway and then guiltily moving on.

Upon return to Los Mariposas (our B & B), I took refuge on the gorgeous patio with a plate of bread, cheese, fuzzy fruit, and avocado with a sixer of Tecate. Excellent, excellent day.