And the awakening of a City from winter slumber

I woke up hungover. My roommates were up and about, probably since sunrise, when I crawled out of my hole. The picnic was today, they said and that it was a beautiful day. I peered out the window and my eyelids refused to open. Yes, I said. It would appear so.

D.C. hadn’t seen this much sun. Shimmers of vapor lifted off the black pavement, the cold had cement into it’s crevices, gaps and dentures. The streets looked like a mirage and my clouded mind wondered if I was still asleep.

But I was feeling good. Vitamin D radiated me…


A sumo wrestler and a magazine writer sail off to tell extraordinary true stories

Photo by Ewan Robertson on Unsplash

Good stories are hard to come by. When they do eventually come your way, an epiphany more powerful than the enigmatic apparition of Jesus himself takes over you. It makes you sit up straight during storytime, turn the radio volume up or cancel out any white noise at a party while concentrating on the tales of that person who looks like he was resurrected last Tuesday after finding the lost city of Z — and for a brief moment you think: that can’t be true.

True stories can be better — and at times stranger — than fiction. In fiction…


Peace Corps issued the emergency evacuation of 7,000 volunteers for the first time since it’s creation.

All photos by Marco Gutierrez

18th month in the Cambodian countryside

On Monday morning, March 16th I received the email but didn’t open it immediately. I already knew what it would say. Peace Corps Director Jody Olsen had issued the emergency evacuation of more than 7,000 volunteers and suspended all operations globally for the first time since its creation in the Kennedy administration.

The roosters woke me, like every other day, at 4:30 am sharp. I lay in bed, pondering on how probable an early termination of service is in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The fear had settled in during the weekend and I’m sure I came to peace…


Tattooed men, bouncing lowriders, and lots of carrot cake

The call came in at the same time as previous nights with the same opening question: “have you visited Madre, yet?”

“No,” I replied. “Not since last time.”

Things came up, you see; college, exams, part-time job, the girlfriend, a full-time job to keep the girlfriend, and then the imminent breakup. Episode after episode with no space in between to keep true to the promises of “yes, I’ll go over for the weekend” and “I’ll call you again tomorrow afternoon.”

“I did and they’re still there,” the voice on the other end of the telephone said.

“And I’m sure they…


and not get killed in the process

To make spicy honey chicken and oven-baked potatoes you need spices, honey, chicken, potatoes, and a baking sheet suitable for ovens.

Step 1: Wash the produce and dice the taters into half-inch pieces. Drizzle them with olive oil and set aside.

Step 2: In a medium microwavable bowl, place 1 TBSP of butter and heat for 30 seconds until melted. Stir with 1 TBSP of olive oil, barbecue seasoning, pepper, a large pinch of salt, and add panko. Stir until the panko is evenly coated.

Step 3: With the sauce, season both the chicken breast or legs or wings or…


What you should know about Qualified Immunity

Photo by: Koshu Kunii. Instagram: @koshuphotography

In the wake of the nationwide protests in the name of George Floyd and other victims of police brutality, the message remains clear: what the people want is justice. Given America’s history of how volatile and explosive the authorities can be against civil unrest, especially involving the police force, that might the greatest challenge yet.

Minneapolis police officer Chauvin put his knee on Floyd’s back, who was already arrested belly to the ground, for more than eight minutes while three other officers watched. If the officers had been, say, for example, gang members, Crips, Bloods, Latin Kings, or Furries instead…


COVID-19, Internet connection, and finger-pointing is getting in between the United Nations and Global Diplomacy

The United Nations. Photo by: Mat Reding from Unsplash

Imagine you are about to address the Security Council of the United Nations. Your speech, well-rehearsed and polished, and a product of several minds, is not just your speech but that of your country; it’s position, stance, steadfast mannerism at the dinner table that lets everyone know where you stand when your drunk uncle brings up race, politics or religion.

“We, the United States, feel that…” — you address the dinner table like a Valedictorian speech — “this issue is of utmost importance and should be — “and, suddenly, you lose your voice. The people attending dinner, representatives of State…


The Coffee Diaries

Eerie ghost towns, wild foreigners and the sunken city of Pakse

Coffee beans from the Bolaven Plateau. By Marco Capa

On a Sunday afternoon, in a dusty town in Tbong Khmum province, I managed to find the confidence of going to the coffee shop in front of the market for the first time. The place was always crowded with shirtless and police uniformed men and all have dead-eyed stared me down every time I approached the place in the past.

You see, I was desperate. The closest place next to where I lived, a coffee stall the size of a British phone booth by the main road, was my default choice for too damn long. The daily habit of drinking…


A Peace Corps Cambodia story

April 20th, 2019

My mind needed an escape. My body craved the sea. The two weeks of In Service Training were just over and the combined fatigue, starting way back since Staging in San Francisco, made everyone desperate for a breather. Hard to believe that was nearly six months ago.

The bus ride to Kep beach from Phnom Penh was four hours, maybe more. I could smell its salty breeze before the bus doors swung open. On a personal note, I always thought seeing more locals than tourists at tourist attractions to be a more pleasant site and Kep didn’t…

Marco Gutierrez

Internationalist. Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Cambodia 2018–20. Likes coffee in the morning, Tequila in the evening, and everything politics/culture related.

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