Vacation reflections: meeting people, travelling while black, layovers, white rice, and plantains

10:54:00 PM BB 0 Comments

Meeting new people
When travelling solo, I find that the easiest way to meet people is TINDR. Jk. For real though, the easiest way to meet people is smiling. I try not to tindr a lot when travelling cos why meet people on your phone when you could walk outside and talk to anyone! I'm not the biggest smiler in the world, I have resting bitch face. Y'all know. But when traveling, I love smiling at people and talking. I've met so many people by walking on the street, looking people in the eye, and smiling. As a tourist that's tall and black, I think people are typically curious and want to chat, know your story, practice their English, feed you, etc and looking approachable encourages them to talk to you. 

Travelling while black
Similar to 'driving while black', things I have to consider being a black woman navigating airport security. My hair is one of the most important considerations in travelling while black. If you know me, you know that I love wearing huge headwraps, like the one pictured below. I get a lot of interesting looks and questions when I wear these, and the last place I'll wear one is the airport. I'd rather not answer questions about my hair at airport security, or create more opportunities to be racially profiled (my skin is already a huge one) at the airport. I know this happens because in my daily life, whenever I wear a wrap, I often get random weird questions like "are you muslim", "are you african?", and more overt racist encounters. Airports are such intense spaces for black and brown people, so I gotta play the game.

Also, I can't wear my braids in a bun or ponytail when I travel, which is unfortunate because buns and ponytails are comfy. On at least three separate occasions a few years ago, the metal detector or whatever it's called has buzzed for no reason and I've been told that it was unable to scan my hair. I even did the full body scanner and my braids didn't scan, so the security agent had to put her hands in my hair to physically scan it. How ridiculous. How invasive.

TLDR: Airport security is racist and the body scanner machines are racist too cos they don't scan braids LOL

Hotels
I'm not a hostel person cos they make me feel claustrophobic. Honestly, I think mid - high cost hotels are worth the splurge. You pay for what you get, and more expensive places minimize "the struggle". They're often cleaner, have better amenities, better staff, and more convenient. Since I mostly travel alone, the last thing I want to think about is if the bed will be comfortable, or the shower will be clean. Honestly, I hate struggling at home, so why struggle while travelling solo? I save up and pay up! $$$

I saw a scorpion in one of the hotels I stayed at in Mexico and I cried out to black Jesus to take the wheel, then ran out to reception. Mom, if you're reading: don't be scared, clearly I didn't die and apparently it's common in the Yucatan region and beyond. Jesus came through for me. Amen.

Food
Similar to hotels, I think food is also worth the splurge. I try to eat at the cheapest place, probably the market and also eat at the fanciest restaurant. Yep, no middle ground with me. I think it's so interesting to see what the chef in the market does with a $1 meal and also see what the chef creates at the fancy restaurant close to the hotel. There's this amazing documentary on Netflix called 'The Mind of a Chef' that I highly recommend. The episode with Mexican Chef, Enrique Olvera is truly phenomenal because he talks about the uniqueness in flavour, etc of eating a taco at the market and eating his fancier take on the same. Both delicious, both worth a try!

Layovers
I don't know how I spent two nights at Heathrow Airport as a 21 yr old. But long layovers are not worth it. In my opinion, it's worth paying a few more hundred bucks to get a short flight. The cost of booking a hotel for an overnight stay, taking a taxi to the hotel (if there's no free airport shuttle), buying food (probably at the airport, which is expensive) etc etc adds up to the cost of the flight anyways. 

Rice and plantains
White rice and plantains are probably my favorite things in the world. Travelling in Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Costa Rica, I love seeing how different cultures eat white rice and plantains. I loved the plantain cookies in Costa Rica, mofongo in Peurto Rico, and the simple fried plantains with coconut rice in Merida, Mexico and this amazing plantain desert I had in Merida (not pictured). Yum!

Whenever I travel, I go to to the grocery store cos it gives a pretty good idea about how people live and the kinda food they eat. I'm looking forward to more rice and plantain travel adventures! Here are a few pics from google cos you know, my phone is broken atm.

Costa Rican gallo pinto - rice and beans, served with scrambled eggs and plantains

Puerto Rican mofongo - mashed green plantains.
The dude at the restaurant described it as a "plantain cookie". Amazing!

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Thanks for keeping your comments thoughtful and concise :)