Charlotte Curry McGhee


Charlotte Curry McGhee

Welcome! This blog has been my pal since 2008, when I headed to Ghana on a volunteer trip. The entries from that trip are located here (just filter "oldest first") followed by a six-week stint in Mexico for graduate school and then a two-month jaunt around Argentina.

Now follow my travels and travails as a friend and I hop on a plane to Guatemala. Hiking, yoga and hilarity shall ensue!

Sigh. The Spanish language opened itself up to me about 20 years ago (cue the yikes of realization) and I have never been the same. Sitting back in my 8th grade classroom, Sra. Weaver scribbled the words "presente" and "ausente" on the board... and time stopped. It is a bit bizarre to think of such an innocuous moment as one that has so changed my way, but maybe I had an inkling even then. Maybe I knew that I would become obsessed. Maybe I already had. So obsessed, you see, that a close lady friend and I embark tomorrow to Guatemala, making this my ninth Latin American country visited so far. And when I was writing a response email to dear Jesús, the first lad from whom we will be renting a room... I struggled. Can ... read more

The blue of this place is, without doubt, the original blue. The primordial blue, the blue goo that always was and ever shall be. This blue emits a soft, sensual sigh and raises an eyebrow (an illicit blue of back alley transactions and lifted skirts.) This is the blue that takes your blues away. This is not, as they say, your mama’s blue. The walls of Frida Kahlo’s home are painted an effervescent, rich shade of sapphire that exists nowhere else on Earth. I know this not from extensive research of house painting trends, but because my heart tells me so. Even in her own neighborhood of Coyoacán, now a bustling borough in Mexico City, folks attempted to copy her hue. Strolling through the streets became a grown-up version of “I Spy.” Anything attempting that vivid ... read more

North America » United States » North Carolina » Charlotte September 17th 2012

No, I'm not traveling anymore. In fact, it's been one full month since I hopped off the plane and into Ryan's waiting arms. (Actually, he was sitting and reading a book about cholesterol... but he did launch out of his seat when he finally saw me and so concessions must be made.) The other night though, Aunt Sonia asked what had happened to the blog? I had written in Bariloche and then everything after (a full three weeks) was lost to the annals of weary traveling? Not so. But yes, I got tired of writing. I was tired of doing most everything associated with the trip. Riding on buses for hours (alone), going from hostel to hostel and eating dry cookies for breakfast (alone), spying beautiful vistas (alone). But here's the thing: traveling alone does force ... read more

You never know how much you miss the green lushness of NC until you haven´t seen it for awhile and then BAM, there it is in front of you after so many weeks-months-years on the road. I have felt this familiar sensation of appreciation for my home state many times, though usually from an airplane. On Monday, I was welcomed into the arms of the most beautiful place I have ever seen, and let me tell you, NC has some catching up to do. Bariloche and its surrounding environs hold for me what are the holy trinity of outdoor loveliness: greenery, super tall snow-capped mountains and WATER. There is glorious, sparkling blue water everywhere you look. I don´t even need to leave my freakin´hostel room to see the water. It´s right there. After 3 1/2 weeks ... read more

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » San Rafael July 21st 2012

Sitting alone in the Nina Cafe last Sunday, I was feeling quite despondent and alone. Every few minutes I would look up from my veggie sandwich and cafe con leche to a wall post on facebook wishing me the best for my 31st birthday. I was in Argentina, in the middle of a very powerful two weeks at Finca La Rosendo, and all I wanted was to be home with my loves spending the day in Carolina. Then things got worse. On Sundays, San Rafael becomes a ghost town. Nothing is open (well, excepting the Nina Cafe of course) and so my afternoon was spent walking up and down the main drag looking for some godforsaken place to call Alejandro, to let him know when to be waiting on the side of the highway to pick ... read more

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » San Rafael July 14th 2012

After a week of not having any contact with the outside world, here I sit in a swanky hotel in San Rafael with the sun streaming in the windows and thoughts of Finca La Rosendo swirling about in my head. To describe the finca after being there only 6 days would take pages and pages. Here and now then, the highlights. Situated about 20 minutes south of San Rafael, tiny little Finca La Rosendo gets lost amongst all the heavy hitters in the region. On the short bus ride to get there, all you see are hectares and hectares (miles dont exist down here, see?) of grapevines. La Rosendo has those too, but they chose to do things a bit differently. For several years now on-again, off-again couple Virginia and Alejandro have accepted WWOOfers to stay ... read more

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Mendoza July 6th 2012

Pupurichu (Pipirichu? Pupirichi?) fixed me with a stare that said, ¨I will eat you for breakfast, gringa.¨ This giant cocoa-colored horse was to be my trusty steed for the evening, and I was terrified. The remaining horses could have been small dwarves in Disneyland. I secretly gave them the following monikers: ¨Sleepy,¨ ¨Sir-Old-as-Hell¨and ¨Grumptitude Stiltskin.¨ I was granted the pleasure and privelege of riding Pipiruchito (??) because when asked if I had experience with horses, I answered that I had a tiny bit. ¨Ay, que bueno!¨ Javier the resident guacho answered jubilantly. Slingshoting me into the saddle Javier continued, ¨Pupurachinolio (??) is a little nervous sometimes. He likes to go fast.¨ Grrreeaaatt. We rode for two hours behind our awesome guide Mari, who had moved here two months ago from France to meet her Argentine father ... read more

South America » Argentina » Mendoza » Mendoza July 2nd 2012

If Cordoba encouraged me to take nothing for granted and appreciate the little things in life, then Mendoza raises her ruby glass of Malbec with a wink and whispers, ¨Live a little!¨ Mendoza is flat-out gorgeous. Unlike Buenos Aires and Cordoba, Mendoza takes such pride in her appearance that a great shifting of the natural landscape had to occur in order to make Mendoza possible- and despite the possible ecological cost, I am eternally grateful. Mendoza is not only located in the high desert, but is situated directly on top of 9 tectonic plates. The great earthquake of 1861 destroyed the entirety of the city, meaning that it is quite modern by Latin American standards. The tree-lined cobblestone avenues sheltered the grapes coming into the city to be processed all those years ago, and now shelter ... read more

Rumi says that we should sell our cleverness and buy bewilderment. He also says a lot of other things that are right on and lovely, but I´m sticking with this one for tonight because it seems to apply for Cordoba. Usually, when I sit down to put one of these posts together, an attempt is made to pick out one story or situation and make it bigger than it was using words (cleverness). Tonight I say nay! Let´s follow this pro-bewilderment trail and see how it goes. Cordoba started out not so great. I arrived early in the morning after a sleepless night on the bus, arriving to my hostel cranky and hungry. After a cup of coffee or two I headed out, ready to orient myself in another Argentine city. I had heard nothing but ... read more

South America » Argentina » Buenos Aires » Buenos Aires June 24th 2012

I have never liked mayonnaise. The white globs of goo that folks from our part of the country pile high on their lunchtime foodstuffs make me gag. When looking at the list of ingredients, one spies things that should go nowhere near each other nor a turkey sandwich- I have even discounted potential suitors on the basis that they appreciate this most despicable of condiments. Yesterday, as I was walking innocently down Avenida Belgrano, an entire packet of mayonnaise reared its ugly head and threw itself up all over my back. It dripped, and it globbed, and it was if I was re-living a scene from my youth in which a bird shat on my head. But to tell this story the right way, we must start at the beginning. The day started out like any ... read more

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