Your Guide to Miami! The Best Places to Eat, Shop and Party | CocoaFab


Having traveled to over 20 countries and counting and then living abroad with her husband for 3 years, Erica Knowles-Nelson founded the travel blog “Getting to Know the World” (G2KWorld) as way to encourage cultural diversity, awareness and international travel within the African-American and inner-city communities. An experienced world traveler with Bahamian and American heritage that was born and raised in Miami, she decided at an early age that she would broaden her horizons. She asked her parents to send her out of the country for her “Sweet Sixteen” to the beautiful Island of Jamaica and that trip would be the spark that led her on a world tour. Erica is currently based in Miami and CocoaFab correspondent Danielle Stedman got the inside scoop from this travel authority on where to visit while in the Magic City.

Read more: Your Guide to Miami! The Best Places to Eat, Shop and Party | CocoaFab.

Bon Voyage Marie!

I just received this lovely note from Marie Louis, a teacher that I met that attended G2KWorld Travel Chat and French Dining.

Marie LoisOn November 19, I went to this fabulous, life-changing event held at Buena Vista Bistro in Miami. It was hosted by Erica Nelson. Let me explain… It was fabulous because we were able to meet and greet people that enjoyed traveling and hear their varying experiences with traveling around the world. It was fun and interesting. The food and ambiance were excellent. All had a great time. However, for me it was also life changing. One of the conversations led me to apply for a teaching position in the Middle East the next day. One week later, I had 3 phone interviews. The following week I had a Skype interview as a follow-up and I was offered a position as a teacher/trainer in Dohar, Qatar. I leave January 2. Wow! Who would have thought that attending a meet and greet just 3 weeks earlier would serve as a catalyst for traveling around the world? Only God! Be open to change. Get out of your comfort zone and live with anticipation and in expectation (of great things)! Being in the right place, at the right time, and with the right people, can create opportunities for you! Special thanks to Erica Nelson, Kandance Johnson, Julie Mansfield, and Doxy for the various parts you played!

Marie Louis

Congratulations Marie! Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful news with me and Getting to Know the World. It’s so encouraging and awe inspiring.  Enjoy your travels and God speed! Let’s meet up somewhere out there in the world.

Insult to the Pharaohs

Matthew in Luxor
I was just in Egypt this past April with my husband. I asked my guide are there any people in Egypt who are related to the ancient Egyptians. He said yes, the people who live in upper Egypt. I visited Luxor in Upper Egypt, the men there all had a beautiful dark brown complexion with hints of red undertones. I later went to the Egyptian museum in Cairo and met the mummy of Ramses II face to face, his bone structure specifically his distinguished nose was just like the men I met in Luxor. No one can tell me that the Pharaohs of Egypt look like the people portraying them in this movie.


It is an insult to history, black Africa, the Pharaohs, brown people all over the world and to all of our intelligences. You can even look at the paintings on the walls and see this isn’t true (yes the original paint is still there in the Valley of the Kings).

Ramses III temple

No need to read in between the lines. This is an absolute shame. Go to #Egypt#ExperienceHistory  As a matter of fact, go to Berlin’s Egyptian Museum and see who the real thieves are. #GettingToKnowTheWorld #donttakeitfromme#G2KWorld


Getting to Know the World Travel Chat and French Dining

Date: November 17, 2014

Venue: Buena Vista Bistro                        Cuisine: French

G2kWorld Buena Vista Bistro

Walking into Buena Vista Bistro was like being transported directly into a bistro on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees. The mural in the bistro is reminiscent of a night in Paris with the Eifel Tower in the background. The pate was divine, the Chicken Fricasse a la Provencale was tender and savory, the Porcini Risotto was perfectly rich and creamy, as you would expect with French dining and the tarts were so very sweet, buttery and flakey. And when you add Buena Vista Bistros’ owner Chef Claude Postel giving everyone details about the food with his lovely French accent, the champagne and wine, samples of divine chocolate and French music in the background you couldn’t help but get swept away in the moment.

The Menu
BVB Menu

G2KWorld Trotters: A culturally rich group of 50 people

The People at G2KWorld at Buena Vista Bistro

The evening began with guest mingling with each other and sharing their stories about travel.  The energy at the Bistro was fantastic. Later I introduced myself and the guest to why I was hosting the G2KWorld Travel Chat and Dining – I’d traveled around the world for the past 3 years and want to share my experiences with people and want other people to have a place to share their experiences as well. I also explained how I started living abroad. Guest completed a travel questionnaire, which encouraged everyone to make lists of the places they’ve been and talk to each other about their personal adventures abroad. There was a guest that had visited over 150 countries, someone who got their scuba license in the Cook Islands and an adorable 6-year-old who can’t wait to get to Paris!

More pictures by pH Balance Photography are available on

Paris- Romantic Architecture


I remember strolling the beautiful streets of Paris and looking up at all of the intricately romantic designed buildings. In particular, I enjoyed walking around the Montmarte section with buildings laced in vines that are filled with art and visiting Basilica Sacré-Cœur. For some reason these are the words that I try to roll off of my tongue when I meet French people (I’m sure they are laughing hysterically in their heads).

I hope you can join me and other world travelers as we reminisce about France at Buena Vista Bistro. RSVP 



I grew up always knowing that my mother was a beautiful high fashion model that walked for designers such as Bob Mackie and Adolfo at the Bal Harbor Shops; strutted across fabulous long runways including Miami, NY and Chicago; and traveled the world. I grew up going to her shows and even walking sometimes as a cute kid covered in gold. One year, she even lived in Europe for a few months working for designers in Paris and Milan. She now produces fashion shows and host model workshops with one of her best friends and fellow model Sandra through their company CatWalk Pros.

I was also raised to take pride in my name Erica Vernet- Vernet, you see is my mother’s, grandmother’s and great-grandmother’s French first name, which is actually a surname.

OK, so I say all of that to say, for my college graduation gift and first passport stamp my mommy took me to Paris, France and Rome, Italy (I had travelled to the Bahamas and Jamaica previously but at the time a passports weren’t required for travel there)! We had a fabulous time and of course found Rue Vernet.


My very first G2KWorld Movement- International Dinner Chat and Dining experience will be at Buena Vista Bistro – appropriately a lovely French Restaurant right near Midtown Miami, on the the 19th of November, owned by “Buena Vista’s First Couple” Claude Postel and Julie Mansfield. I hope to see you there!


Join the G2KWorld Movement at

Over the next few weeks I’m going to post a series of colleges about that trip that will hopefully entice you to travel there. I hope you enjoy the first one “City of Art”.


Cairo’s Pyramids #sneakpeak

The pyramids are magnificent structures that could only have been designed and built by the most intelligent beings. It was amazing to see these grand tombs and how Ancient Egyptians truly valued their life after their deaths here on earth.

Something else that was amazing and has always has been wonderful to note with traveling is the similarities in how things are in different parts of the world. For instance, the way that the stones in the inside of the Great Pyramid of Giza (Pyramid of Cheops)  are very similarly shaped to the ones that I saw at Machu Picchu. I would show you a picture but there are no pictures allowed in the pyramids especially The Great Pyramid of Giza (the other ones you just tip your pyramid guide a few Egyptian Pounds like the rest of the tourist).

Amazingly we were one of two couples inside of The Great Pyramid of Giza. This is ridiculously unusual for Egypt’s high season. #ComeToEgypt

More pictures to come after I get to some better wifi. Time to pack and head to the airport! #NextStopEthiopia

PS Please comment below to let me know that you’re following along =)

In front of the Pyramids of Giza
In front of the Pyramids of Giza
Corbelled ceiling inside of the Red Pyramid
Corbelled ceiling inside of the Red Pyramid


The Spinx, Matthew and our guide Othman #Sphinx
The Spinx, Matthew and our guide Othman of Egypt Tailor Made #Sphinx


Quick update Egypt


View of Luxor Temple via Hotel Nefertiti’s roof top

One day it’s the hottest day of the year the next day it’s freezing cold.

I can’t upload pics onto this website from my camera for some reason.

Hassan our host is very chill, is great to talk with, warm and has an infectious smile.

The streets are not on fire, I haven’t felt like I’ve been in danger at all. Traffic however is worst than Bangkoks.

The vendors are less aggressive here than in India.

Ancient Egyptians were geniuses I mean they really were you have to see Egypt.

I saw King Ramses’ mummy and his face is quite distinct. I am seeing his face in the faces of the present day Aswan Nubians here in Upper Egypt/ Luxor. #Beautiful

While in Cairo we saw: the pyramids of Giza, Dashur and the step pyramid; a Coptic church in top of where Jesus and the Holy Family hid; a synagogue at the place where Moses was received by the pharaoh and where he did his daily prayers; a few beautiful mosques including Mohammad Ali Mosque (no not Cassius Clay); traveled to Alexandria and learned that Alexander the Great deeply respected Ancient Egyptian religion so much that most of the ancient buildings/tombs/amphitheaters left behind are a romantic combination of Greek/Roman/Egyptian mythology and ate Mediterranean food on the Mediterranean Sea; ate Egyptian Pizza YUMM.
I learned that entering into a pyramid in that narrow shaft going to a tomb works out muscles in my legs that have never been used before.
Everyone I’ve met says Muslims and Christians here get along and refer to each other as brothers and sisters.
The food is amazing!
I’m in Luxor now I’m so happy we came here it’s a break from the busyness of Cairo, Luxor Temple is amazing, Karnak temple is even better you could spend a lifetime there and I just had my favorite Egyptian meal at Sofra. I’m also more of a local attraction here than I was in India which is surprising and somewhat overwhelming. #WrappingMyHairUp I wish I knew how to make my scarf into a veil. Hmm YouTube.




Shot out to Egypt Tailor Made the awesome company that has gotten us from place to place and has been our guides.

Come to EGYPT!

Almost forgot I to mention I saw Pharaoh / Queen / King Hatshepsut’s obelisk and her mummy, and I just think that is pretty cool.

Traveling Through Africa


Hello readers I know it’s been a while and I owe you quite a few post about several trips including India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Phuket and teaching. Please don’t be mad.

Well, Matthew and I packed up and left Thailand yesterday (shipped most of our stuff home) and arrived in Cairo, Egypt last night. We are on a journey traveling through Africa to make it back to the USA. I’m going to do my best to bring you along on this journey as it takes place. So please accept the ruff unedited version of what I’m writing, I’ll clean it up later. We will also be going to Ethiopia, Ghana and Morocco.

So it is 6:30 am in Cairo, Egypt and I’m couchsurfing at a very cool guy’s house Hassan Soloman. Yes, we are staying at someone’s home whom we’ve only spoken to via the internet (please feel free to comment below with questions about couchsurfing). He works on documentary films. And that pic up there is a picture from his balcony at sunset of the Nile and the Great Pyramids. This morning we’re heading there so let me give you a morning view of them then get dressed and ready. TTYL 🙂


It’s super hazy this morning so you’ll just have to look at the Nile,the little island that’s on it and the city beyond. Maybe I’ll post the Sphinx later ;-).

The Year of the Horse

Year of the Horse

Chinese New Year in Chinatown, Bangkok, Thailand was a colorful (mostly red) and festive event. It was a hodgepodge of traditions like face readings (horoscopes), prayer, food, dragons, emperors and empresses and protest of course.

Face threading, face readings, chestnuts roastings and prayer

Prayer, face readings (horoscopes), face threading, chestnuts roasting, and oranges (I didn’t grab a picture but I think you’ve seen them before, they’re round orange fruit) all seem to be parts of the tradition of Chinese New Year here in Bangkok.

Emperors and Empresses
Emperors and Empresses

The emperors and empresses were the most fun of all. Each and every one of them were photo ready and looked liked they could have saved the day with their swords or laughter at a moments notice. With the exception of the guy with the leopard loin cloth – I think he might have been the nemesis.

Bangkok Shutdown
Bangkok Shutdown

Today was the first time that I walked within the Bangkok Shutdown & Restart protest. From my understanding as of now (the intent of the protest is in constant change) the people are protesting the upcoming election- they want to stop people from being able to vote for the a new parliament so that the old parliament that they want to replace won’t be voted back in. The protesters in Bangkok  are shutting down the streets by setting shopping markets, concerts, food stalls, marches and tents to prevent access to major roadways. There was a fair share of protest t-shirts, jewelry, flags, hats and noise makers at the Chinese New Year celebration. There was also a parade on the street leading to the Chinese New Year celebration. The top right and bottom right photos are from outside of the Silom MRT station which was on my route to Chinatown.


I was at the celebration for about 2 hours and was surprised to only see the dragons in the pictures above.


There were a ton of food options available, although there wasn’t that much Chinese food. I enjoyed a gyro, pork ribs, a little bit of stuffed crab (mostly bread), coconut ice-cream, and a fried coconut dessert.

Noodle Throwing
Noodle Throwing

Unfortunately I ate all of that junk food before finding the fresh noodles. Oh well, the line was super long anyways.

White dolls only
Doll Study

OK, so is it just me or does a doll study need to be done here? Out of all the things being sold I did not see one single Thai or Chinese doll for sale. At least this singing boy had one Asian puppet doll.


The feel of the day: crowded, fun and energetic


How did you celebrate Chinese New Year?