Latest News

Leap Year Traveling Couples' Digital Dinner Party

by Admin on February 29, 2012

Leap Year Traveling Couples' Digital Dinner Party

Matt Dahse and Tran Dang have been invited to a second traveling couples' {digital} dinner party hosted by the always gracious @TwoOregonians. The last dinner party was a lot of fun and we're excited to be invited back. To meet the other 7 couples who will be joining, follow along at #RTWdinnerparty.

Meet and Mingle: We're a 30-something couple originally from Texas. In July 2010, we left our jobs to embark on a 5-month journey through Central and South America. While on the road, we found that advice we received from fellow backpackers was almost always better than advice received from a guidebook. We later started so that backpackers would have a place they could go to get up-to-date, accurate, and reliable travel information. Since returning from our trip, we've taken several more multi-month trips to Latin America and are planning to head to Asia later this year.

We apologize if we seem stressed or frazzled. We're days from launching Backpack Forever v3.0 and our lead programmer is having power outages! The new site improvements are going to absolutely kick ass, though, and we’re super excited!

*Though we don't have a blog where we write about our travels, we do tweet about our travel plans and adventures at @backpackforever.

Dinner Specialty (Matt): While in Guatemala a few months ago, we rented a house in Panajachel on Lake Atitlan and bartered our web services for cooking lessons from our roommate, the Aussie, astrologist, and chef. Tonight, we'll be cooking a whole freaking chicken--Guatemalan-style--stuffed with onions and jalapenos, seasoned with ginger and herbs, and glazed in soy sauce, just like she taught us.

Now, before we get started, I just want to assure everyone that I’m pretty sure the chicken is fresh and has been cooked all the way through. I woke up early today to make sure I was one of the first ones in line at Stall #7 at the local market. You have to get there early or else you’ll be buying meat that’s already thawed out and half cooked from sitting in the heat. 

I also want to let you know that I fully disinfected the veggies. The onion, jalapenos, garlic, limes, and various spices were all soaked for 30 minutes in chlorine-like disinfecting fluid to kill off all parasites, which is a big problem around Lake Atitlan. Hope you enjoy the chicken!


Table Talk (Tran): We’re always amazed at all of the different scams targeting backpackers. Sometimes we hear these stories about how people get ripped off and think to ourselves, “Wow, how the hell can someone be so stupid?” Well, now we know.

We lived in Guatemala for two months and only once had an incident. Typically, we wash our clothes by hand, but every now and then we go looking for a proper washer and dryer to, you know, get that shrink going again. 

When that day finally came, we left the house with a garbage bag full of dirty clothes and headed to the local fluff and fold for gringos. We didn't get but two blocks from the house when a very friendly, older man came out from a construction site and asked us if he could do our laundry. He assured us that he had a secador (dryer) and that his wife could finish the job that day for less than half the price of the fluff and fold. Sounds like a good deal, right? 

We measured each other’s responses and when neither of us showed alarm, we handed the garbage bag to the construction worker and agreed to meet him at the same spot later that day to pick up our clothes. We come back at 3pm, the time we agreed upon, and the guy wasn’t there. He was nowhere to be found. We stood at the corner for 30 minutes just waiting. 

After a lengthy discussion about which items we would miss the most, I started banging on random doors looking for him and, sure enough, our friend emerged from behind a concrete site with a smile and our clothes neatly folded and tied up in ribbons.


Luckily, we hadn’t fallen victim to the gringo-laundry scam, but we could have! How do you know when you should and shouldn’t trust strangers on the road, or would you ever give a stranger your dirty laundry?