Yes! Like a country bumpkin arriving for the first time in the city, the moment I landed in Atlanta my first stop was Starbucks! I even took a photo of the first Starbucks place I went to. I come from Africa, where lions roam the streets and we have to hunt for our food…and if you believe that then I don’t know…honestly! But let’s go with the idea.

Faced with a 5 hour layover in Atlanta, with the pervasive smell of coffee wherever I walked, I stood in the queue to get some. When I got to the front I asked if they had soya milk. She looked at me as though I was from another planet! She said, “Yeah”, and I could just imagine what she was saying to herself, “Duh… another South African!”.

With my fingers around a moist and sticky cinnamon bun, a large soya cappuccino, and free Wi-Fi, I was in heaven. I didn’t need much more, and the 5 hours before my San Francisco flight seemed bearable.

During my holiday, as often as I could I had Starbucks coffee. Each shop I went to was full. I can’t say which one was the best ‘cos they’re all the same, but the best experience was the Starbucks at Squaw Village in Tahoe. It was freezing, a light coating of snow on the ground. The sun had set and we’d been walking around. The lights of Starbucks beckoned and we went in. It was noisy, lots of light, and oh so warm and cozy! I could very well have settled in for the night with a good book.

Instead we stood around one of the hot braziers in the beautiful cobbled streets, savouring the coffee, the good company, and the general vibe of Squaw Village. A memory that will stay with me forever.

Squaw Village, Tahoe


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