RY Darién Update - September Interlude: A Love Poem for Pastéis de Nata

Where Have I Been?

It's been awhile since I've last written anything here and I apologize for that. I've had a few people ask me when I was going to post something again. The truth is, I've been spending a lot of time working. When I haven't been working I've been reading and sometimes thinking, although reading quite a bit more than thinking. I've thought a lot about the experiences I've been having on my journey and what it means to me as a person, what it means to us as a group. Long story short though, I haven't found it in myself to put much of these thoughts down and share them with the world. Today's post will be short and to the point, but hopefully will reassure my readers that I haven't completely disappeared from this Earth yet.

Since I last posted I've done a handful of things:

  • Spent 5 days road-tripping through the Serbian countryside and visited the Uvac Special Nature Reserve where I met some great people and hiked to see the Griffin Vultures.
  • Traveled to London, UK and spent a month living there in a new coliving concept called The Collective
  • Visited Sarah Van Der Veken, an online friend who is also a former coworker of mine at Rackspace. Got to meet Sarah's wonderful fiance Myf and had a lovely time with both of them in Reading and Avebury.
  • Traveled back to Prague twice for short weekend trips
  • Traveled to Lisbon, Portugal where I'm currently living with the RY Darien group.
  • Visited Porto, Portugal over the 3-day Labor Day weekend during which I met a handful of other travelers, visited some of the great Port wine lodges, toured a Port cellar, and saw some awesome street art.
  • Eaten a lot of pastries and ice cream.
  • Drank an absurd amount of espresso
  • Had 25 Full English Breakfasts in 30 days.
  • Consumed over 120 Pastéis de Nata
  • Taken thousands of photos

A Thank You

I just wanted to say thank you and give a shoutout to the awesome folks at Manteigaria Fábrica de Pastéis de Nata for not only making amazing pastries but also for having a smile on their faces every single time I visited. I was there basically every single day this month with a few exceptions. Keep it rocking!

A Love Poem for Pastéis de Nata

My flatmate for this month was Eddie. During one of our many late-night/early-morning conversations he challenged me that if I loved pastel de nata so much I would write it a poem. So I did. I took it as an opportunity to experiment with sensual language for food. Without further ado, here's my love poem for pastéis de nata:

As I gaze upon your face my heart blooms  
The smells of you are subtle spice and sweetness  
Inky blackness stands out from you like eyes to see  
Slowly, almost hesitantly I reach out and touch you  
Feeling the buttery smoothness of your skin  
You feel my breath as I open my mouth to taste you  
Nibbling you carefully as my tongue darts inside  
The flavor and heat of you is overwhelming  
Leaving me almost gasping but not wanting to stop  
Consuming you completely coated in cinnamon  
Stopping for a moment of reflection  
Mingling the lingering taste of you with the bitter of café  
Impossible to satisfy my urge with only one,  
  Without regret I reach for another!  

Where are the Photos?

I owe processed photos to a number of people whom I've met along the way in my travels. These folks have been instrumental to my good experiences so far and have followed along after I've left them behind. Unfortunately, I've not had the time to go through all the photos and also continue to explore the places I'm visiting while still getting my work done. I've chosen to focus on capturing the best photos I can and I'll worry about processing and sharing them once I return to the US for a breather at the end of my trip. In the mean-time, if you want to see up-to-the-minute photos from my trip I've started using Instagram more and more. Since the photos I'm posting there are taken with my phone the quality and resolution aren't as good as what I've posted here in the past, but it gives me a way to continue sharing without the burden of spending time processing the photos before I can post them. I encourage everyone who's interested in seeing pictures from my journey to follow me on Instagram and then keep your eyes peeled here after I return at the end of my year abroad to see the things I captured with my DSLR.

What's Next?

Tomorrow I fly out of Lisbon, Portugal for Rabat, Morocco. I'm not sure what's in store but at some point along the way I will take a selfie on or near a camel. Beyond that, I'm continuing to focus on work, reading books, meeting locals, and sampling the food.



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