Kubu Cafe, Livingstone Zambia

Livingstone

Location: Mosi-Oa-Tuna Square (kinda near Fawlty Towers, in strip mall with Shoprite and Hungry Lion)

Hours: Monday – Saturday, 08 30 – 22 00; Sunday, 08 30 – 15 00

Prices: From ~ 15 Kwacha to 42 Kwacha. My iced coffee was 32 kwacha (3.20 USD)

Wifi: Yes. Password protected, ask for the wifi code.

Bathroom: No idea

Capacity: ~ 40

Power outlets: Okay – located at the walls.

Credit Cards: Yes.

Livingstone

Kubu café is one of two cafes in Livingstone, and the only one with air-condition. It is a full service café, so you can get full meals as well. It’s divided into an indoor area and two outdoor areas.

The air-conditioned indoor area is one big room featuring the open kitchen, about five tables seating two to four guests, and a sectional sofa that can seat six people. The first outdoor area is a small fenced area immediate adjacent to the indoor area of the café, with four tables, and a small bookshelf for donated books. The second outdoor area is about 5 m from the café, in the middle of the strip mall, and features about five tables, with a small area dedicated to children furniture.

Livingstone

The full food menu features items ranging from breakfast to dinner, and you can get items from light bites like sandwiches to full meals like BBQ. Its prices are comparable to other mid-range options in Livingstone.

I ordered an iced coffee (more like iced latte), which was decent. The espresso had a clean (if somewhat mild) taste. Caffeine drinks do seem to come with a cute animal sugar cookie.

The service staff was pleasant, the wifi was strong. It’s a nice place to spend some time during the hot afternoon getting some work done, but as suggested at the sign at the door – don’t be the person who hogs the wifi.

Livingstone

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Slowtown Coffee Roasters, Walvis Bay, Namibia

Slowtown Coffee Roasters Walvis Bay Namibia

Slowtown Coffee Roasters

Location: Sam Nujoma Ave (opp. Spar Supermarket)

Hours: Monday – Friday, 07 00 – 16 30; Saturday, 08 00 – 13 30

Prices: From 18 NAD (Tea Selection/Cold Brew) to 38 NAD (Large Moccacino). A small latte is 24 NAD (~1.70 USD)

Wifi: Probably? It was password-protected. I didn’t enquire

Power Outlets: Sufficient.

Credit card: Most probably? I saw a PoS from Nedbank

Bathroom: Yes, and looked clean.

Capacity: ~ 40

Slowtown Coffee Roasters Walvis Bay Namibia

This lovely little coffee roaster is located in the town center of Walvis Bay, Namibia. It is conveniently located across the street from the Spar Supermarket.

This child-friendly café has both an indoor space, and an outdoor space. The outdoor space has a big playground with swing set and slide on a lawn. There’s also a deck with 4 4-seater round tops for parents to watch their playing children, while getting caffeinated.

Slowtown Coffee Roasters Walvis Bay Namibia

The indoor seating area has two parts. There’s a long bench with 8 single tables seating 16 by the wall, a long bar counter seating 6 dividing the room, and a lounging area with sofa/lounge seating on the other side of the indoor area.

The latte I ordered was smooth. They also sell beans on site, ranging from places like Honduras, Colombia to African beans like Rwanda and Ethiopia. There are some sandwiches, cakes and pastries for sale as well if you feel the munchies.

Slowtown Coffee Roasters Walvis Bay Namibia

Slowtown Coffee Roasters Walvis Bay Namibia

Slowtown Coffee Roasters Walvis Bay Namibia

Argentina: Mendoza, 23 July 2016

Bubbles at Plaza Independencia

Ahh! The troubles of traveling. Ever since I started travel hacking, I’ve been trying to charge everything to my credit card, and use as little cash as possible. On this day in Argentina, I was trying to conserve my pesos, as this is my last full day in Argentina, and I didn’t want to change any more money, and be stuck with a bunch of pesos. So a bunch of workarounds – buying my bus ticket to Santiago online, and deciding to eat dinner at the hotel.

Mendoza

The Park Hyatt is in front of the Independence Plaza. On this fine weekend, there was a fair of sorts going on, with kids running around, a performance for children, and also the ubiquitous bubble person. It was nice to sit around for a bit, and take in what a weekend in Mendoza looks like for people who live there.

Mendoza

After setting in and handling a bunch of administration like printing my bus tickets, I ended up at cafe Essenza, eating my last medialuna and having my last cafe con crema for this trip. I really enjoy these slow paced trips where there’s no real need to see any touristy things, and I just spend my time reading and people watching!

Coffee break and some reading

In the evening, I decided to splurge on my last Argentinian steak dinner, and ordered a steak with sausage, alongside a glass of wine from the regions. It was an excellent end to the Argentina portion of my trip! Food at the Park Hyatt is excellent, but pricey.

To work off some of the calories after dinner, I went out, and took some pictures of Mendoza after sundown. I had my tripod with me, so that gave me the opportunity to do some long exposures.

Argentina: Cafe hopping and Mattress Running in Mendoza, 22 July 2016

Mendoza

Mendoza is a city set in Argentina’s wine region. Unless you’re into doing wine tours (which I’m not), I guess most people don’t stay three days. I was, however, mattress-running for Hyatt status, and Mendoza has a category 1 Park Hyatt.

After my complimentary diamond breakfast at the Park Hyatt, I moved my stuff to the Sheraton, which was a short, 10 min walk from the Park Hyatt.

Mendoza is a pretty compact city. In its heart, is the Independence Plaza, and there are four other plazas in its northwest (Plaza Chile), northeast (Plaza San Martin), southeast (Plaza Espana), and southwest (Plaza Italia). There are also plenty of sidewalk cafes and restaurants, alongside shopping arcades, which makes it a very pleasant walking city.

Mendoza

As I don’t have any real touristy things I wanted to do, I decided to spend my time in Mendoza, like I would any regular day. So first stop, find a cafe for reading. While it’s winter in Argentina, the sun made it warm enough to sit outside. I wound up at Cafe Jack, and settled to reading with a cafe con crema.

Coffee and shoeshine, Mendoza

When I started getting cold, I walked around for a bit. The signage for tourist attractions in Mendoza is excellent, so if you’re looking for a particular church, or a particular architectural gem, there’s no real guidebook required for exploring Mendoza.

Stained glass in Pasaje San Martin, Mendoza

The town of Mendoza has some nice architectural gems. Two instances are the Pasaje San Martin and the Banco Hipotecario Nacional. The Pasaje San Martin was built in 1926, and the covered shopping arcade features beautiful stained glass. I don’t know anything about the Banco Hipotecari Nacional, but it features a very beautiful facade with ornate carvings.

Banco Hipotecario Nacional, Mendoza

I ended my day with a pot of tea at Bianco & Nero, and more reading.

Tea time at Bianco & Nero, Mendoza

Argentina: Che was at Rosario, 18 July 2016

Rosario Central Station - no longer in use.

This was my first morning without P. I got back into my routine of solo travel, which generally involves taking in one or two tourist sights before settling down to read. In the morning after breakfast, I went on wikitravel and found out that Che Guevara’s birth home is in Rosario, between Entres Rios and Urquizas so I took a short walk there. The building looks lived in, and it’s now an office/residential combination. There’s simply a little marker noting that he was born here.

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(It’s that little icon there)

Che Guevara's birth place, Rosario

One of the lovely things about Rosario is, it’s a nice-sized town. There are plenty of lovely little cafes, but it’s not too busy. I wandered down Entres Rios, and finally settled on Om Cafe. Om Cafe has both indoor and outdoor seating. The outdoor seating looks like it’s set in a ruined building, but done very tastefully. The interior of the cafe features white-washed bricks, high ceilings, and floor to ceiling windows, offering great views of the busy Tucuman street. It’s furnished with white tables and white chairs. I had a breakfast set, which featured two media lunas and a cafe con leche, and it is insane value at ~40 peso (< 2 usd). I had a very enjoyable time reading in the cafe.

Om Cafe, Rosario

Cafe con leche at Om Cafe, Rosario

In the mid-afternoon, I decided to stretch my legs, and took a walk towards the park along Rio Parana. It’s not a bad place to spend some time strolling. The park features several eateries, some of which do have all-day ish dining, if you are caught between lunch and dinner. There are also a couple of clubs for people who like the night life. After the enjoyable stroll, I got back to the hotel as I needed some internet.

Rosario

I got lazy in the evening and simply dined at the restaurant on the same block as my hotel. I was really craving fried chicken, so I ordered and had an excellent chicken cutlet.

Pollo suprema con fritta, Rosario

Uruguay: Colonia to Argentina: Buenos Aires, 14 July 2016

Winter in Buenos Aires, Recoleta Neighborhood

Another day, another journey. I was very last minute in planning this trip, so we were forced to take a rather early ferry (10.30) from Colonia to Buenos Aires. Consequently, we left the hotel at 9 am and got to the ferry terminal around 9.15, only to realize we were still too early once again for our ferry ride back.

Unfortunately, booking with a cut rate ferry (Colonia Express) meant that we got a way less glamorous ferry than the one we took from Buenos Aires to Montevideo. It also docked a lot further away from our hotel. Consequently, after disembarking, we had a fun task – how in the world were we going to get back to our hotel? (we walked from our hotel to the ferry terminal a couple of days ago)

We were fairly low on Argentinian pesos at this point, and based on the maps, we were also rather far from all kinds of civilization. That’s when we decided to give Uber another shot. After walking some ways from all the cabs, the +1 turned on his phone, and we both kept our fingers crossed that there would be an Uber (it’s not very popular in Buenos Aires yet). In any case, we did luck out. There was an Uber that was just within range. After a 10-15 min wait, we were on an Uber, and on our way back to the hotel.

Five Stacker from Burger King, Buenos Aires

After checking in and a short rest, it was time to get some food. The +1 saw an advertisement for Burger King’s 5 stacker, so we decided to try it. We walked some 15 min to the Burger King opposite Burger 54, and decided to challenge the 5 stacker. I was admonished for trying to deconstruct the 5 stacker instead of trying to stuff the whole thing in my face. 😛 We then adjourned to the restaurant at El Ateneo Grand Splendid, where I got some coffee and got in some reading.

Having a tea break in the restaurant in El Ateneo Bookshop, Buenos Aires

The day was still young after our tea break, so we headed over to a tourist attraction near our hotel – Recoleta cemetery. Most people visiting the Recoleta cemetery go straight for Evita’s tomb. But we mostly just wandered around and checked out how people envisioned their afterlife. I thought it was rather interesting that even in the afterlife, it was a pissing contest, as some families built taller graves than their neighbors, to get in the last word in the afterlife.

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires

We had a lazy stay in night in our beautiful suite to recover from our day of travels.

Watching sunset from Palacio Duhau deluxe suite balcony, Buenos Aires

Uruguay: Stuffing my face in Montevideo, 12 July 2016

Yo <3 Mi Barrio, Montevideo #graffiti

Around noon, we moved from our first night at the more upscale part of Montevideo to the downtown of Montevideo, where there are more touristy things to do.

After checking in, I really wanted to eat parrillada, because Uruguay is famous for its beef. The hotel kindly supplied us with a map, and some simple directions on the map, and off to Mercado del Puerto we went. Mercado del Puerto is sort of like a tourist trap that’s filled with Uruguayan BBQ restaurants indoors in a market. We were dazzled by the meats on spits, which included a suckling pig. We ended up getting lured by a place that offered complimentary white wine, and ordered a parrillada for two. It wasn’t the best, but it was decent, and set us back around $30 for two people, including two glasses of white wine.

Parillada at Mercado del Puerto, Montevideo

Following our very hearty lunch, we decided to walk up Sarandi, a pedestrian street lined with shops, which brings you through downtown Montevideo. It was definitely less harrowing than our trip to the mercado, because the sidewalks of Montevideo are rather narrow. There is also some cool graffiti along the street, and after about 10 mins of walking, we ducked into a lovely little cafe, Sin Pretensiones (the name is very ironic), run by some lovely ladies, where we both got cafe con leche. I highly recommend this cafe despite its ironic name. It is a lovely place to spend an hour just sipping coffee.

Cafe Sin Pretensiones, Montevideo

The architecture around Sarandi is probably from the 1800s, and generally pretty well maintained. I loved how some of the lion figurines at some of the higher buildings were used to hide drainage pipes. In the world of contemporary architecture, it’s sometimes nice to have some throwbacks of how people used to camouflage the nitty gritty items that is found in every building.

Montevideo

As we edged towards the Plaza Independencia where the very impressive Palacio Salvo stands, I saw a lovely bookshop. I can’t remember its name, but it’s a couple of doors away from the Torres Garcia museum. It even has one of those old elevators that have metal doors that close. Torres Garcia, an Uruguayan artist, also features in the cityscape. Some of the buildings were decorated by prints of his artwork. I’m not particularly art literate, but it was kinda cool that I happened to go to an art exhibition in the MoMa last fall, which featured South American artists, and I was really taken by Torres Garcia’s works.

Cool bookshop on Sarandi, Montevideo

Torres Garcia on buildings, Montevideo