Welcome to Peru. And the start of a new identity crisis.

by Val Bromann  :::  07-28-2014  :::  Comment

Parque del Amor in Lima, Peru

Parque del Amor in Lima, Peru.

I want to move to New York. Or Portland. Or Austin. Or Seattle.

Maybe.

I thought about that as I sat under a sculpture of two giant lovers embraced in a kiss in Parque del Amor, “Love Park,” in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru.

At least, I managed to think about it for about two minutes before a man asked me to take his picture and then started talking to me.

And then I couldn’t get rid of him no matter how many times I tried. I’d say, “I’d like to walk alone for a bit,” and he’d say, “OK, I’ll come with you.” Or, “I just want to sit here by myself for a while,” and he’d sit there too.

And then I ended up doing his English homework for him.

And then he tried to kiss me.

As things go.

After that, I retreated back to my hostel.

It was my first day out of the country after seven months home in Chicago. It was my first day in Lima. My first day in Peru. I went to bed that night, in a room with seven strangers, thinking that maybe I was actually done with long-term travel. Maybe my heart wasn’t in it anymore. But then I woke up, as I often do, wanting to wake up every morning in a different city, in a different room, amongst seven new strangers.

Let’s just say: I don’t know what I want anymore.

Or, more accurately: I don’t know what I want.

New York got me thinking of change. Maybe I could move somewhere new and unpack all those boxes I’m storing and it would still be an adventure, but with more furniture purchases involved. (Seriously, I’m probably the only person traveling the world who dreams of what couch she’s going to buy someday.)

But then I’d be tied down, with no money to travel. Probably no money to even enjoy where I was.

And there are so many places I still want to see.

And then it would just be harder to ever pick up and leave again when I inevitably decide that that’s what I want to do.

Then there’s this little fact that soon I will have no money and what I want won’t matter anymore anyways unless I can get more freelance work but I am not one of those hustlers who can find work all the time so I will have to move back and get a real job again somewhere. Somewhere.

Sigh.

I’ll figure it all out, I suppose. That is, after all, why I came to Peru. I figured I’d take it slow, spend three months in the country, settle somewhere, possibly Cusco, for a month or two, get shit done, and figure things out.

Hopefully.

So welcome to Peru, and welcome to my new identity crisis. Both of which I’ll be in over the next three months.

Cats in Parque Central de Miraflores in Lima, Peru

Parque Central de Miraflores was covered in cats.

Dancing in Parque Central de Miraflores Lima, Peru

Dancing in Parque Central de Miraflores.

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

Lima, Peru

Miraflores in Lima, Peru

Miraflores.

All the ceviche from Cebicheria La Mar in Lima, Peru

All the ceviche from Cebicheria La Mar.

P parade Lima, Peru

A parade. For some reason.

ShotsLima, Peru

It was a girl in my hostel’s birthday. She made me take a shot.


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A walk in Gowanus with Amber.

by Val Bromann  :::  07-21-2014  :::  Comments (1)

Photos of Val Bromann by Amber Marlow Photography

I didn’t know Amber until I showed up on her doorstep three years ago to crash on her air mattress in Brooklyn for a few nights. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and I was moving in again (this time upgraded to a pull out couch).

In the three years in between, I’ve read every last word of her blog. Seriously, it’s one of very few blogs I read cover to cover. She’s always up to something interesting. Her photography is amazing. And she’s incredibly honest, even when it’s something difficult to write about.

And I like that about her blog. And about her.

When she offered up her pull-out sofa for four nights while I was visiting New York, I happily accepted. Not only because oh-my-god New York is expensive (the hostel I was staying at was $70 a night. $70. For a dorm bed.) but because I got to spend time hanging out with her: picnicking with pizza at a bar, making s’mores in her backyard, trying ice cream and tacos and all the deliciousness of Park Slope. (OK, I guess we just ATE EVERYTHING!)

On my last day we walked around Gowonas and did a little photo shoot. I’m pretty sure the only times I’ve ever had professional photos taken of me were picture day in grade school and weddings. So when she suggested it I pretty much jumped for joy.

And they turned out pretty damn good.

So much so that I decided I had to spend my entire weekend in Arequipa, Peru, sitting at a computer re-designing my website around them. (Check out my new homepage! I’ll wait. It’s pretty isn’t it? Well, if you’re not looking at it on a mobile device it is…)

Of course, if you’re going to take my photo we will inevitably end up with a few like these…

Photos of Val Bromann by Amber Marlow Photography

Because, hair. Lots of hair.

But sometimes I can be pretty. Sometimes.

Photos of Val Bromann by Amber Marlow Photography

Photos of Val Bromann by Amber Marlow Photography

Photos of Val Bromann by Amber Marlow Photography

Photos of Val Bromann by Amber Marlow Photography

Or at least a pretty goofball.

Amber blogs at The Amber Show and if you like my blog you’ll probably like hers.

She is also a professional photographer at Amber Marlow Photography. If you’re in New York or going to New York you should totally hire her. Or elsewhere, have her come to you. I personally plan to hire her to shoot my renegade elopement in Central Park. I just need the man. (Seriously boys, scroll up and see how pretty I am! And I frolic on demand!)

(She told me not to shill for her business, but suck it.)

Oh, and here’s the one photo she let me take of her. ;-)

Photos of Val Bromann by Amber Marlow Photography


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Things to do in New York.

by Val Bromann  :::  07-18-2014  :::  Comments (6)

Live, Work, Create in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

“Live, Work, Create” sign in Park Slope.

 

It was my sixth time in New York but the first time I stepped back and thought, time and time again, “I could live here.” I could live in New York.

I really think it had to do with the advent of the smartphone, allowing me to be anywhere in the city and figure out anywhere I wanted to go.

Or maybe that I didn’t walk through Times Square once.

Or maybe that everyone I saw was up to something awesome: kite clubs, sideshow performing, backyard s’mores, launching a new company in a day. It’s the kind of place where I think everyone just makes something up and that’s what they are.

And I like that.

So much so that I texted my ex-boyfriend and told him we should move there together (he’s been saying he’s moving to New York for years…) I even found an apartment I could squat in. Because lord knows I can’t actually afford to live there.

I can hardly afford to visit.

If you’re going to New York or live in New York you too can start a new business in a day, join a kite club, or become a sideshow performer. Or you can do any of these things that I did…

 

Boardwalk beach at Coney Island.
Go to Coney Island. (And maybe see a hot dog eating contest?)

 

Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art
Spend a few hours at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.

 

Briskettown

Briskettown

Briskettown
Eat brisket and pie at BrisketTown. Because brisket. And because pie.

 

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Wander around Williamsburg, Brooklyn…

 

$1 porn in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
…and buy some $1 porn.

 

Photo in front of the Manhattan Bridge
Take your photo in front of a bridge…

 

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge
…then realize that the Brooklyn Bridge is actually that other one.

 

Shake Shack
Wait in line forever at Shake Shack. Order everything.

 

The High Line in New York

The High Line in New York

The High Line in New York
Walk through the High Line, a 1-mile linear park built on a 1.45-mile section of a former elevated rail track.

 

Skeeball at Chinatown Arcade

Vampire teeth prize at Chinatown Arcade
Win vampire teeth playing games at Chinatown Arcade.

 

Walk across the Manhattan Bridge

Walk across the Manhattan Bridge

Walk across the Manhattan Bridge

Walk across the Manhattan Bridge
Walk across the Manhattan Bridge. It’s less crowded than The Brooklyn Bridge. And has more graffiti.

 

Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn, New York

Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn, New York
Play shuffleboard at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club. Seriously, two different people took me to the same shuffleboard bar two nights in a row. It’s apparently the thing to do.

 

Salted Crack Caramel
Eat salted crack caramel ice cream at Ample Hills Creamery. Who doesn’t want their crack salted? (Though, honestly, I’d order something else next time. This flavor has twice the sugar as everything else. My teeth kind of hurt afterwards.)

 

$1 dumplings
Get $1 dumplings at Prosperity Dumpling in Chinatown.

 

Noodles at Xi'an Famous Foods
Eat noodles at Xi’an Famous Foods.

 

$1 dumplings
Eat maple bacon, carrot cake, and Cheetos flavored macarons at Macaron Parlour. Yes, Cheetos. But don’t leave them out while you’re gone from the apartment. A dog might eat your last one…

 

And promise it won’t be another three years before you return…


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Life List #183: Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

by Val Bromann  :::  07-16-2014  :::  Comments (2)

The one touristy thing I had on my New York to-do list was to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. When Kristin said she’d never done it before either we decided to meet up one afternoon for the trek across the East River.

It was a shorter walk than I’d imagined. I somehow had it in my head that the walk across the Brooklyn Bridge was miles and miles, an afternoon, an excursion. Instead, the expedition seemed to be over fairly quickly, but that’s OK, it was a lovely walk, a thing to be done.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Life list item: Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

“Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge” was number 183 on my life list.


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Brains.

by Val Bromann  :::  07-14-2014  :::  Comments (1)

Every time Molly Schuyler does something, I can count on at least five people sending me a link to it. Which probably says something about both my reputation and hers.

There was that time she ate 363 chicken wings in 30 minutes.

And that time she ate a 72-oz steak in just under 5 minutes. And then ate another one.

The woman is a phenomenon.

A few days before my hot dog eating contest I went to Coney Island to watch her eat 5.5 pounds of brains to win Glutton Force 5 and the NYC Zombie Crawl’s Brain Bash at the Beach brain eating contest.

People actually subjected themselves to eating in a brain eating contest.

I watched. I was offered a spot but, I am under contract with Major League Eating so I couldn’t participate. Because I would have totally eaten brains for eight minutes otherwise. Totally…

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island

Brain Bash at the Beach brains eating contest at Coney Island


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