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.

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 People 2.0- Rossigna Goytizolo, Peru

430425_10150547028657927_667866253_nRossigna, is one of my good friends from the wonderful city of Lima, Peru. I met her while attending a Lima Social Club Meetup at this amazing restaurant Manifiesto.

Where do you live now, what is it like?

I live at Magdalena in Lima _ Peru but I use to live near the beach at La Punta Callao. It’s a peninsula completely surrounded by beach. My father’s family is from La Punta.

Where is your favorite place in Peru?

My favorite place is La Punta were you ca see nice views, walk on the street next to the beach, eat good ceviche, and it is safe place.

Ceviche at La Rustica  Costa Verde
A variety of ceviche at La Rustica Costa Verde, in Barranco

What is your favorite traditional Peruvian food?


Where is your favorite place to visit to escape the city?

A place where I love to go outside of Lima is Santa Eulalia, it is next to the mountains.

What do you like to do for fun?

What I like to do for fun is going out to bars and new restaurants. Also barbecuing.

A Yagua (Yahua) tribeman demonstrating the use...
A Yagua (Yahua) tribeman demonstrating the use of blowgun (blow dart), at one of the Amazonian islands near Iquito, Peru. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If someone were visiting Peru what are a few of the places they must go to?

My favorite trip in Peru was to the Amazon jungle. I also enjoyed my trip to Vilca and Huancaya, magical places in the mountains were you can see very fantastic views of the nature like many blue ponds, blue magical sky, beautiful green nature, woods with lakes, big mountains…. it’s the best place i have ever been. It’s a little cold and high.

The Sacred Valley, Cusco
The Sacred Valley, Cusco

Other places someone must go in Peru are:

  • Barranco – for a nice walk, to see the street ocean, and maybe to eat some Peruvian food.
  • Visit La Punta Callao to see the Puerto, walk through the street and see the old houses parks and beautiful views of the peninsula.
  • Machu PichuCuzco
  • Paracas – to see the beach and take in the view and visit the island.
  • Mancora – Las Pocitas, is a relaxing beach were you can rent a cheap house with a group of friends also the house come with a lady that cook really good.

If you like adventure, you can hike near Lima there are groups for trekking that takes you to walk through the mountains for 1, 2 or 3 days the group’s name is Aire Puro. I used to hike and remember a 4 day trekking at Huaraz, cold but with really beautiful views like the big Cordillera Blanca and Black Cordillera, the beautiful blue sky and ponds, also there is the Callejon the Huaylas were their culture and food is really good.

If you could visit any place in the world where would you go?

The country I would love to travel is Thailand, I would love to learn about their culture, food, people, religion, etc. For me that’s the next country I must visit.

What should people know about Peruvians?

What I love about Peruvians is that we love when a tourist come to visit us and learn about our culture. Usually we are really friendly.


Peru Wrap-up/Rewind

What can I say living in Barranco, Lima, Peru was an absolutely amazing experience. I made wonderful friends, I learned how to cook some pretty awesome Peruvian dishes, I got to visit several Peruvian cities, and I was able to visit Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay! What else could I want? So should you visit Peru? Of course, without a doubt!

Here’s the rewind

My dad and my little sister came to visit in April. We had a great time. We were able to make a two road trips. The first was to Cineguilla, there we went horse back riding and went to La Mesa de Piedra. At La Mesa de Piedra  we ate one of my favorite Peruvian dishes Pachamanca, went swimming, and watched a performance.

Pachamanca yummm

It’s definitely worth the 1-2 hour trip to this restaurant/ campsite (to get there rent a cab for a day at 20 soles per hour).  The second road trip was to Pachacamac, an archeological site that is close to Lima.  We also visited The Parque de las Leyendas (Lima’s local zoo) and Circuito Mágico del Agua, which is an amazing park, filled with gigantic water and light shows.

Someone’s really excited about the water and light show.

Matthew and I made it out a few nights to party at some of the local clubs in Barranco.

Mozhdeh, Dah and me at a great club in Barranco!


I finally took a cooking class! I learned how to make Cibeche, Lomo Saltado, and a dessert that I can’t remember the name of (but of course includes condensed milk like most of the Peruvian desserts).

Candice and me cooking!


Our last trip was to Arequipa and Lake Titicaca in Puno. Arequipa is known as “The White City” because the buildings in the city’s center are made of white stones that were cut from the local volcano. Yes I said local volcano, when you land at the airport you are greeted by El Misti a gargantuan active volcano. In my opinion some of the best Peruvian food was in Arequipa (shh don’t tell). They make an excellent dish called “adobo” which is pork stewed in a tomato sauce (it reminds me of chilli) served with bread, it’s cooked and eaten on Sunday for breakfast.  My favorite dish from Arequipa is “chupe de camerones” if I could eat it every day without creating a shrimp allergy I would.

Lake Titicaca is known as the highest navigable lake in the world (it actually has a steam ship on it that used to work). People have lived on the islands and floating islands of Lake Titicaca for over 10,000 years. Legend says that the Incan gods were sent to Lake Titicaca when they came to earth.

There we visited the Uros Floating Islands. The people that live there build and live on the islands that are made of reeds that grow from the lake.

We also stayed overnight on the Amanti Island with a family. We ate with them, visited a temple on the top of the mountain, and attended a local party (created for tourist) in traditional clothing.

The next day we visited Taquile. We learned about their amazing weaving and knitting skills, toured the island, and of course at lunch.

And to close it out here are a few pictures of Lima  (mostly Barranco), the place we lived and loved while in Peru – click on the pictures for a better view. This also includes the pictures from above.

The Triple

Peru has these sandwiches called triples. White bread in layers like a cake with three layers of different food items, typically one is chicken salad.Today I’m eating a triple with chicken salad (the mayo in Peru is made with lime) and bacon bits, avocado, and peaches. Oh and the bread has no edges (but you can buy it like that at the store here). LOL cracks me up but it actually taste pretty good. Yes it’s ginormous!

My triple mostly eaten

My dad came to visit 2 months ago and had a triple too:

Egg, Avacado, and Tomato Triple
My dad’s Egg, Avacado, and Tomato Triple

The original Tupac

“Imperfection is inherited, therefore we all sin, but fighting the war of sin is the greatest war of all because we all die in the end no matter how hard we fight.” ~ Tupaca Amaru Shakur

“Here there are but two who are guilty: you for oppressing my people, and I for wanting to liberate them” ~ Tupac Amaru

Happy Birthday Tupac Amaru Shakur!

In honor of Tupac’s birthday, I want to share with you a person that I’ve gotten to learn about while living here in Peru.

Tupac Amaru II via
English: Central Square, Cusco, Peru Español: ...
English: Central
Square, Cusco,

While visiting the art galleries of Cusco, I met and Tupac Amaru via amazing portrayal of his uprising against the Spaniards in the Museo Historico Regional in Cusco. The image is a powerful painting depicting his murder which took place in Cuzco’s Plaza de Armas, a place where I frequented while visiting Cusco (along with millions of other tourist). I’ve also walked the streets that have been named after him here in Lima, Peru. Tupac Amaru as we now was not victorious in his uprising; however, he has become a folklore hero to the people of Peru.

José Gabriel (Tupac Amaru II) received an education at the Jesuit church of San Francisco de Borja and went on to be granted titles by the Spanish vice royalty. He married and Afro-Indigenous woman in 1760 before inheriting authority over Tungasuca and Pampamarca from his older brother. He was of course, answerable to the Spanish governor.

Identifying significantly with his indigenous heritage, José Gabriel was not blind to the suffering of his people. He repeated lobbied for better treatment of the indigenous from his position of relative power. What wealth he had it is said he used to alleviate the suffering of natives in economic slavery. Click here to read more about: The revolt of Túpac Amaru II | …en Perú – Travel Culture History News.

Teaching in Peru

I’ve been teaching English since July 2011 in Lima, Peru. The experience has been truly interesting. I’ve worked for a variety of employers and have also taught a diverse range of students.  In addition, getting to and from classes has been a journey all of its own. Overall it has been an experience that I have learned from.

My Schedule

When I first took the step of moving abroad I assumed that I would be teaching for one or two companies and in a classroom of maybe 10 -20 kids from 8:30am – 4pm in the afternoon. This is not the case at all to say the least. Over the course of time that I have been here, I have taught mostly adults with 1 to 3 students in a classroom. In the beginning I worked for 3 different companies and also taught private students as well. Now I just work for one company – it makes things less complicated and teach private students whenever I can (as I can make about double the money since there isn’t any company to take a cut).  My typical week consists of:

Class 1: 7am- 8:30am (M,W,F)

Class 2: 9am – 10:30am (private class M&W)

Class 3: 1:15pm – 2:30pm (M,W,Th)

Class 4: 6pm – 8:15  (M,W)

Class 5: 6:30pm – 8:30 (T, Th)

All of these classes are in the San Isidro district which can take me anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour to get to on a combi depending on the time (check out my blog post “The Combi Chronicles). The evening classes are my least favorite to go to just because the day is over and who wants to leave home at 5pm to go to work. Yes, getting on the bus is tiring, dirty (don’t wear white), and annoying; however, even though its super cheap to take a taxi it’s just not cost-effective based on what I’m getting paid.  Plus, taking a taxi in Lima can be more dangerous – risk being pick-pocketed on the bus vs. being kidnapped or a smash and grab victim in a taxi (it’s very rare, but it’s not unheard of).

Lesson learned: Patience and all the 80s music one can stand

Advice: Another thing in regards to schedules are cancellations. If a student cancels 24 hours in advance you typically won’t get paid, so be aware of holidays, as you may not have classes for a week. Also some institutes pay will pay you if the student cancels less than 24 hours in advance, others will not.


English Institutes

The interview process has been a lot quicker than any interview process that I’ve ever had in my life. Native English teachers are definitely high in demand here in Peru.  In one case the interview process was the following:

Wednesday:  I sent my resume to various English learning institutes

Friday: I received a call for an interview either that day or the next

Saturday: I began teaching

Most of the other cases were pretty much the same. The only company that was different was the one that I still teach with now where the process went like this:

Wednesday:  I sent my resume to various English learning institutes

Thursday: I was sent a link to fill out a questionnaire about my teaching experience, why I wanted to be a teacher, and why I was here in Peru.

Saturday: I received a call for an interview.

Sunday: I had an interview on Skype

Monday: I observed a class

Wednesday: I taught a class with another teacher

Friday: I had my own class

The worst case that I’ve come across was one day I went to an interview and it ended up to be at the person home which happened to just be flooded.  Their dog jumped on my legs and left its adorable paw prints on my light blue pants (hence no light pants in Peru dogs and busses).  They offered me less than what the other institutes were offering, so I attempted to negotiate. They declined me and scheduled met for two days of observation at Nextel (so I know they could pay more). The next day they did not get in touch with me for the meet up location, I happened to get the number for the other teacher and she said that they said she would be teaching by herself. I never heard from them again. I’m pretty glad I didn’t, should have gone with the red flags from the beginning – I’ve spoken to other teachers who have worked for them and they ended up having multiple bad experiences.

Overall I’ve been paid on time with one exception where I was paid over a month late. But I must say that I doubted I would get paid at all after the month delay, so I’m glad I did get paid at all. The company even gave me a bonus because of the difficulty of them getting the money to me.

Most of the institutes provide material for you to teach with. Thus far the best book that I’ve used is the American English File series, which includes speaking, writing, grammar, and listening in all of its units.  In addition I’ve created great material from transcripts on, and blogs on English exams.


The majority of my students are adults I’ve taught some students privately and some through institutes.  I’ve come across several types of students:

  1. The student that pretty much speaks English but wants to improve their fluency.
  2. The student that is taking classes because their family wants them to take classes (early 20s still at home). But they don’t want to do any homework because this is what their parents want them to do. And of course they cancel classes all the time.
  3. The student that wants to learn English because they think they should, based on their social class or position at work, but they are too busy to do any homework – so they have super slow progress.
  4. The student that is traveling to the United States soon, and wants to speak fluent English in one month.
  5. The student that is taking an English exam to get into a foreign school and wants to soak up everything that you teach them, they study all of the time, and ask for extra work.
  6. The student that is taking an English exam to get into a foreign school and wants to soak up everything that you teach them, but cancels classes, is late to class, and doesn’t do homework. Of course they still want results.
  7. The student who is 5 -8 years old who you capture their attention for about 20 minutes segments and you are the constant entertainer for them.
  8. The student that is learning English for their job and is a little bit above basic level, they go to class, do their work and are eager to learn.
  9. The student that pretty much knows English that doesn’t want to look at their book ever but just wants to talk so that they don’t loose their English.

So which is my favorite type of student. All of them for the most part can be pretty interesting to teach even the ones who are taking classes because someone else wants them to. Everyone has a story. It’s exiting to teach someone to prepare for an exam because you have a specific goal.  You can also learn a lot from experienced professionals especially those that are at higher levels or the owners of companies.  I truly enjoyed preparing one of my students for doing a 30-minute speech in front of hundreds of people. I’ve even become pretty good friends with some of my students and imagine that I may stay in touch with a few after we leave Peru.

All in all, this teaching experience has been pretty cool. It’s really amazing being able to help someone grow, and help someone to improve their life. It may be hard to leave the house at 6:20am or at 5:40pm but once I get to class it’s worth it.

Advice: Have fun! If you are a native English speaker you poses about 70% of what you need to teach, the other 30% is personality.

Justice for Trayvon Martin

Black boys you are not permitted to walk down the street at night silently, with your hands in your pocket, while you are eating skittles. And neighborhood watch you have the right to find him suspicious, follow him, and shoot him in the face with your NRA approved gun.


17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed while walking home from a convenience store on the evening of February 26th. The shooter, George Zimmerman, was the neighborhood watch captain. Zimmerman, a 200 pound 28 year old with a history of violence,  claimed self defense although Trayvon Martin, with no criminal history, had nothing more than candy and an iced tea in his hands. George Zimmerman remains free.

That’s why I signed a petition to Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General and Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General, which says:

“George Zimmerman’s shooting of Trayvon Martin, an African American teenager, reveals a history of racism in Sanford, FL that has stubbornly refused to die. Weeks after the shooting, the Sanford police department is slow to release details of the shooting and, more surprisingly, has not arrested George Zimmerman, a man who has a history of violence.

We urge you to sign this petition to protect private citizens from gun violence and inept law enforcement. Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi must step in and provide justice for Trayvon Martin, his family, and the community.”

Will you sign this petition? Click here:


Please read the following articles

The Curious Case of Trayvon Martin:

911 Audio

Dancing with my Ancestors-From the Andes to New York, and Back ~: Peruvian Times

I had a very strong connection to the Pallas. For me, they represented such a different image of women than my mother. She was very traditional Andean woman who always stayed at home, always working, never with a social life. The Pallas, in contrast, played the role of women who appeared to be so free, in a social context. When I was growing up, I didn’t know anything about the history of the Pallas. They just appeared, twice a year. Like a mystery.

An excerpt from Dancing with my Ancestors : Peruvian Times, by Wilma Doris Lozyza.

Read this colorful, detailed, and vibrant story Dancing with my Ancestors, and learn about Wilma’s journey from New York to become a Palla during the Fiesta Patronal in December in her home town of Llamellín in the North Central Andes.

Click here: Dancing with my Ancestors : Peruvian Times


Hi everyone! Just wanted to do a quick summary of a few things that have gone on in our lives here in Peru that I haven’t blogged about.

  1. My in-laws visited (mother, father, and brother). We had a great time together, and we even got my mother-in-law on a bus trip to see the Ballestas Islands, my father-in-law on a doon buggy ride….. and my father-in-law to lie down on a sand board face forward down a sand doon! More pics: click here.

    The guys with the doonbuggy
  2. Two of my classmates Alex Figuerola and Jennifer Nelson from D.A.S.H. (Design and Architecture Senior High) have come to Peru (separate trips, and not to visit me lol), and I got the opportunity to hang out with them. Thanks to facebook for the connection.  More pics with Alex: click here.

    Night out with Alex and my Peruvian friends.
  3. I’ve gotten to visit a few AMAZING restaurants (in no particular order):
    1. Manifiesto: A fabulous gourmet experience that will dazzle your taste buds and eyes with Peruvian flavors. The plus: you can talk to the chef! We attended with the meetup group More pictures: click here!
    2. Panchitas: Amazing Peruvian food brought to us by Peru’s famous chef Gaston Acurio! We had the best anticuchos I’ve ever had and I ordered arroz con pollo with lamb, and the Ariquipeno dessert queso helado (DELICIOUS) . Big thanks to Ursula and Miguel to introducing us to this restaurant. I couldn’t find the website but this one has great pics>
    3. El Rincon Que No Conoces: Another wonderful restaurant featuring Peruvian food. We got to go to this restaurant with the lovely Ericka Madrid of The restaurant typically has a buffet on Wednesday, our group went on Saturday; however, Ericka was able to get the restaurant to do fabulous tasting menu for our group. It included 3 types of causa, anticuchos, papas rellanas, arroz con pata, seco de res, and picarones all for S/.45!!

      The "Chef and I" at Manifiesto
  4. I can’t believe I never finished my blog post about Machu Pichu with my friend Keisha, since then Matthew has gone. Machu Pichu is everything what everyone has written and said about it. It is an absolutely breath-taking place. But just a note, on our way back from Machu Pichu Keisha and I got lost on the side of a mountain and rescued by 9pm. Yes, I found the one patch of cell phone service next to a bat cave and a suspension bridge. HA.. Long story; hence it hasn’t been written.
    Keisha and Erica

    The Bridge
  5. One of Matthew’s best friends from college Jared just visited us last week. We had a great time and even went to a pena, De Rompe Y Raja Jared got to dance with the criolla dancers and got lit on fire! More pictures: click here.

    Jared and Matthew
  6. As the summer winds down and Matthew was away climbing Huana Pichu and visiting Machu Pichu, I got to spend the day at the beach with my friend Candice and our own United Nations group =); the girls were from the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Korea. More pics: click here!

    Beach day

That’s all folks!