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October 25th 2012
Published: September 30th 2017
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Geo: 51.0451, -114.063

If hairy little Hobbits can have a prequel this year, then so can we! Just because neither of our ancestries trace back to the Shire, does that mean we shouldn't be allowed to do what the Hobbits are doing? Should we be denied the privilege and pleasure of making our own prequel because we aren't hairy little Halflings? Truth be told, I sometimes wonder if I'm not actually part Hobbit, particularly when I glance down at my dirty, hairy feet - a strong indicator that Hobbit genes are intertwined in the helix of my DNA.

Are those tufts of excess hair on my feet the result of over production of testosterone? Are the calloused and dirty bottoms of my feet due to too many months spent backpacking in sandals, too many nights shuffling along scuzzy hostel floors? Is my predilection for all things culinary because of too many hours spent plopped on a sofa, eyes glazed over in a Zombie-like trance, watching hour after hour of Anthony Bourdain and Alton Brown on the Food Network? Or does this all suggest that my family life has been a lie, that my Earthly origin lies within a chance encounter between my
Christmas Came Early ...Christmas Came Early ...Christmas Came Early ...

... a Juan Valdez coffee shop, in the Miami airport! One of only three locations in North America, I was dying for a killer cup of Colombian coffee - sadly, it was terrible! Weak, and unlike the rich, delicious stuff we found in Colombia. But it wasn't a total loss - I picked up 15 bags of coffee! The good thing is that the bad coffee produced here had nothing to do with the quality of the ingredients, but poor skill of the baristas - because the ground coffee was as good as the stuff we brought back from Colombia last winter.
mother and a milkman who bore a striking resemblance to Bilbo Baggins?

So, a prequel it is! Though the big Africa trip is only a couple of months away, we took the opportunity to sneak away for a few days to somewhere tropical for some beaches and beer. Given the time of year, deciding on a spot was bit of a challenge, as the more accessible and affordable destinations that offered the desired climate limited the selection to places like Mexico, which we had already done last year, and the Caribbean. But since October falls at the tail end of the Caribbean hurricane season, this ruled out all the islands found within the hurricane belt, limiting choices to only a handful of places farther south, that are just safely out of Mother Nature's reach.

In the end, Middle Earth was just a tad too out of the way for us to film our prequel, so we decided on Curacao, instead. It's a lot easier to get to, even though it took a LONG day of travel with several flights and a layover in Miami - that's still a hell of a lot easier than trekking through Mordor to Mount Doom!

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Surprisingly Good ...Surprisingly Good ...
Surprisingly Good ...

... a mini sushi boat at the Miami airport - who knew you could get something of this quality at an airport?
Cousin's BBQ ...Cousin's BBQ ...
Cousin's BBQ ...

... Texas is famous for its BBQ, but this place in the Dallas airport was absolute CRAP. Not that I've ever had authentic Texas BBQ, but this plate of garbage was so bad, I'm positive it can't be anything like the real deal. Luckily for us, before boarding the next flight we followed it up with some Popeye's Chicken - so greasy, so good ...

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