- News & Notes from Around the World…Ecuador’s Markets
Posted on April 22, 2013 by International Living
Ecuador is justly famous for its markets. In the country’s guild towns you can buy handmade leather goods, high-quality instruments and silver jewelry. Each town has its farmer’s market, too, where you’ll pick up enough fresh produce to last a week for around $10.
On a palm-filled patio five stories up, overlooking the Tonlé sap River, we Americans apparently conjure up a certain cosmopolitan flair. Order an “Americano” at Le moon Terrace Bar and you get a martini-campari cocktail. (creature of habit, I opted for a G&T.)
Of all the ultra-cool things about the German capital, Berlin, here’s what I think is coolest: You don’t actually have to be cool to partake of the hip scene. Sure, like anywhere, failing to have neon-blue hair or a withering stare may bar you from certain places. But generally, to experience some of the trendiest restaurants, bars, and clubs, you need only know how to find them…literally.
A tamales vendor rides through town blasting his sales pitch over a bullhorn, zipping past rings of children playing marbles on the sidewalk. An old woman sits in a doorway enjoying the cool breeze, as smitten teenagers walk hand in hand to an ice-cream parlor.
- My Friend in Ecuador Couldn’t Believe it When I Told Him This…
Posted on March 28, 2013 by Edd Staton
A friend and I were enjoying a few adult beverages together recently. He lives in Paute, a small village about a 45-minute commute from Cuenca that is growing increasingly popular with expats.During our conversation he asked me if I would ever consider moving there. I told him that I enjoy walking around the city for another reason. Being out and about keeps me connected.
In the Highlands of Panama, near the border of Costa Rica, there are mountains and valleys velveted in deepest green. Bougainvillea scampers up the hillsides, most often in shocking, bright contrasts of magenta and coral. The place just feels good for you. People comment on it all the time, particularly the expats, many of whom will tell you their health improved after moving here.
- Comfortable and Convenient: Living in San Ramon, Costa Rica
Posted on March 26, 2013 by Jason Holland
With 70,000 residents in the metro area, San Ramon, in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, has many of the advantages of big town life: widely available and cheap medical and dental care; an abundance of shops, restaurants, and cafés; and just that feeling of “energy” that comes with living in a bustling regional center.
- News from Around the World…The World’s Best Health Care
Posted on March 25, 2013 by International Living
Thousands of Americans have already moved south to enjoy the pleasures of an affordable retirement. In countries all over Latin America—and Europe and Asia, too—they have found good, low-cost health care. Just take one of the world’s most popular retirement hotspots—Cuenca, Ecuador.
Rome is packed with art, but while most visitors queue to visit the Borghese Gallery or the Vatican museums, there are spectacular collections you can have all to yourself. The grand palaces of Rome’s noble families were built—and decorated—during the Renaissance.
Cheery waitresses in dirndl frocks. Wooden chairs with carved-out hearts. Walls of glassy-eyed hunting trophies, a stuffed bear included. If seeking a traditional Black-Forest restaurant, seek no farther. But now I almost regret finding the Jägerstüble, a wood-panelled inn under the Marktplatz arcades in Freudenstadt—home to Germany’s largest market square and a werewolf legend.
Eating like a local is one of the best ways to keep your cost of living low in Costa Rica. And for dining out that means frequenting your local soda, the equivalent of a diner or neighborhood restaurant in the U.S. They serve simple, nutritious food, including the casado, the unofficial national dish, which runs $4 to $6.
- In Mexico, Partying is Hard Work…But Someone Has to Do It
Posted on March 5, 2013 by Glynna Prentice
In the months leading up to mid-February, I went to sleep frequently to the sound of music. It comes with the territory in Mexico. From Virgin of Guadalupe Day (December 12) right through to Epiphany (January 6), Mexico is one long fiesta: a time to loosen your belt, let down your hair, and party down. Mexicans jokingly refer to it as the “Guadalupe to Reyes (Epiphany) marathon.”
- Granada, Nicaragua: Why Tourists and Expats Flock to This Colonial Gem
Posted on March 1, 2013 by Dan Prescher
Today Granada is one of Nicaragua’s most popular tourist destinations, even for Nicaraguans. People from Managua can drive down on a well-maintained four-lane highway to get away from the capital for the weekend and socialize along Calle la Calzada, the pedestrian street lined with bars, cafés, and restaurants just off the city’s main plaza.
In honor of the upcoming St. Patrick’s Day I have a tip to share… The pub is central to Irish social life. It’s waned a bit in importance (you won’t find every funeral and wedding there these days) but it’s still the one institution that makes a visit to the Emerald Isle unique. And to truly immerse yourself like a local find yourself a “lock in.”
Panama is the world’s most upbeat country. That’s according to a recent Gallup poll measuring people’s positive emotions in 148 countries. The poll asked locals questions like whether they felt respected and well-rested… whether they smiled or laughed…or learned something interesting the previous day.
If Walt Disney, an Indian rajah, and Salvador Dalí had ever met in an opium den, they might have designed something like the Pena Palace. With its pink turrets, daffodil-yellow tower, and monstrous gargoyles, it’s Sintra’s most visually striking landmark. Gothic-gone-mad Sintra is a 40-minute train journey from Lisbon, Portugal’s capital.
On my first two visits to Panama I tried, unsuccessfully, to get to the bizarre “Bahai Egg.” My first attempt, five years ago, (without a GPS) involved trying to navigate with a map given to me by the car rental company and an outdated guide-book. The “Bahai Egg,” also known by its actual name The Bahai Temple, sits on top of a hill with a beautiful view of the city, valley and jungle around it.
Standing in front of my 6th grade English class in Orizaba, Mexico, I could feel my students’ urge to break free for 12 days of fun and freedom. Few places have a palpable energy of excitement to compete with that of a classroom full of students getting ready to escape for spring break.
I’m in the City of Knowledge, a large “technopark” in Panama’s capital. It’s much like a business park, but the offices here mostly belong to NGOs and educational institutions. This is a place for innovation and forward thinking…and its small theater is the venue for this year’s Panama Jazz Festival.
Each summer, my husband and I perch ourselves on the house’s upper terrace and gaze out at the valley below. Shimmering there in the heat is Florence. It thrills us that beneath the haze lies a trove of Renaissance treasures: Michelangelo’s David… Brunelleschi’s magnificent dome… Botticelli’s Venus, standing tall and tranquil on her scalloped sea shell. In just 20 minutes we can be down there…
- News from Around the World…Destinations in Panama Today
Posted on January 24, 2013 by International Living
A dense skyline of high rises juts into the sky, homage to dozens of varied architectural styles. Numerous LED screens displaying advertisements and neon restaurant signs have led some folk to call this “little Hong Kong.” But Panama City is much more than its skyline.
I’ve long been a fan of haiku poems, those little word-paintings that capture fleeting moments in time and nature. But Katikati, a small country town in New Zealand, isn’t the obvious place to find a haiku pathway. Home to around 4,000 people, Katikati is only a speck on the North Island map. Yet it’s well worth a stopover if you love poetry, art, and nature.
- Step Back in Time to the Swinging 30s in New Zealand
Posted on January 21, 2013 by Steenie Harvey
I never associated the Art Deco movement with New Zealand. It always conjured up notions of French Riviera resorts—or of Miami Beach, New York and Chicago. It’s King Kong clutching Fay Wray on the Empire State Building. It’s bootleggers, transatlantic liners and flappers in fringed dresses. Yet Napier is also an Art Deco gem. On Hawkes Bay, on the east coast of NZ’s North Island, the city’s 1930s heritage…
My husband Friedemann and I led our first Egypt tour in 2005 and had a journey of a lifetime. I’ll never forget seeing the sun rise during a private visit to the Sphinx. I still remember the feel of the sand underneath my feet, the touch of the sun on my skin and the quiet laughter and tears of joy from our group at the marvel of being in such an ancient and special place.
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