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Trip Start Jan 11, 2010
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, February 13, 2010

I'm writing this post from the food court at Fort Lauderdale Airport and it's a wonderful feeling. I can hardly think of a better place to be making new entries on a travel blog than an airport terminal. There are two things that always get me into travelling mood no matter where I'm headed: the smell of Brasov summer nights coupled with the screeching of train wheels and watching departures screens in airports. FLL doesn't have the most impressive departure list but it's exciting nonetheless for it reflects very well metro Miami's status as gateway to Latin America. I've got an 8 hour layover before my flight to Panama City and the beginning of the next chapter in my trip so here's my two pence so far, three weeks into a trip that's supposed to last 4-5 months.Travelling alone is a terribly mixed bag. On the plus side you've got the extraordinary sense of solitary adventure, absolute opportunity and complete freedom. You also take in the full dosis of novelty that presents itself at every step. On the minus side  there's a much longer list but worst of all is that you don't have whom to share with most of what you're experiencing. Writing this blog certainly helps but I have yet to convert a night of profound thoughts and feelings into a blog post of equal depth. Funny how precisely that one extra beer which induced a lot of the whole emotion actually prevents me from putting it all down on paper. I'm very happy to be able to do this but hopefully next time around there'll be two of us. Patience has never really been my virtue and I'm quite adept at bitching about beginnings. But I do learn, most importantly about giving things time. The whole backpacker infrastructure thing is tricky business. It has two major advantages: it's cheap and it's the easiest way to meet people. Trouble is, like any community, it does have its own mainstream. Maybe it's because I stayed a little bit too much in Yucatan's beach towns, but frankly I'm simply not that chill. I can only swing in a hammock for so long. Nor am I particularly good at villifying Uncle Sam for all of Latin America's problems. There is a subtle, ultra laid back, fuck the modern Western world undercurrent running through what I've so far seen of the Gringo Trail which I don't enjoy. Perhaps Poc-Na Hostel in Isla Mujeres (a gorgeous place by the way) was at one end of the spectrum. A self-sufficient compound with its own slice of beach, designed for the ultimate chilling, it was so laid back I wasn't sure whether blocking shots in the community organized volleyball game was quite in order. Did it anyhow ;-) and loved it when the feisty Argentinians got the competitive spirit going. To be fair I have met a few very interesting travellers. Phil, future border guard of Canada, of mixed Anglo and Quebecois heritage has been particularly enjoyable companionship. Nice, smart, nuanced guy with whom you had what to talk. I also like the Israelis a lot. They have that strain of skepticism so common to Eastern Europeans (for different reasons I believe) to which I relate very easily. And I like their women too. They looked very much the no bullshit kind and whether I project it for knowing that they do 2 years of army or they actually transmit it, they also seem like the ballsy type. The trouble with Isralis however is that there are so many of them in any given place that it's hard to break into their circle. Last but not least, Isla Mujeres had a huge contigent of Argentinians whose company I definitely enjoyed, so much so that I might again operate an intinerary change later on in order to better accomodate el Cono Sur. And now a little live broadcasting from FLL airport with third time lucky flavor. I started writing this entry a couple of hours after arriving from Cancun. About 5 hours before the flight I waited on the general Spirit Air check-in line, hoping to get rid of my 14 kg backpack. No go, too early. Went again two hours later only to find out that I need to have an onward ticket in order to be able to enter Panama. Damn! I had done my research regarding visa for Romanian citizens (not necessary - one more cheer for the EU, baby!) but forgot about this. Good thing I'm a low-cost aficionado and thumbs up for FLL's free public wireless. Aires flight 103 Panama to Cartagena, 8th of March, booked! Need return ticket as well for Colombia but it's reimbursable :-)! Guess it's pretty clear how long I'm staying in Central America!Ok, I'm ending this lengthy posting with a few words about this 8 hour transit. I'm on Terminal 4 with about 7 flights left for the day all headed to Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Panama and Honduras. Even security personnel will casually address you in Spanish and there's a strangley convivial atmosphere for such a difficult port of entry. I'm more and more convinced that I should end my Latin America trip with a short stop in Miami.                   
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Maximilian on

Reading this gave me some mixed feelings. The first one, I have to recongnize, is mild envy. I always thought that a pair of wackos must be a perfect way of travelling (hitchhiking around Europe in my case, but nevertheless...), but I actually never met anyone willing to come along such a trip. Now, as I am checking your travelling notes, I have to say that if I knew about this in time, you wouldn't be writing about your solitary trip. ;) I don't know where I would've got my travel budget, since I was never too good with money, but maybe selling a bike could've been a pretty solid option! :)) The second thing that came to mind is how my father made me read two fantastic books when I was about ten or eleven. They are called "Don Fernando" and they are about the adventures of Fernand Fournier-Aubry, a frenchman who leaves his family as a youngster and travels the world, first heading to Africa and then to South America. I daydreamed often about this when I was a kid and it's only now I recall it... My friend, don't forget that you're living more peoples' dreams while on this trip! I know you'll make all the writing worthwhile... ;)

Just make sure to smack me in the forehead 6 to 12 months before you plan that Africa trip, okay? (Actually, a block on the backboard in a friendly basketball game will do as well... :-" )

Take care,

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