This is the online home of Harvey Flea, the world’s first travel writer who is also a mosquito. With humor, fun, and buckets of adventure, Harvey trots the globe. Read Harvey’s bio here.
Harvey also welcomes essays from his friends. These include Grumpy Retired Travel Writer Lady, Yuri the gloomy Moldovan, and Archibald Chops. For more information on the cast, see Adventure Strike Team.
The steamy earthy brown oozes down, bearing down on me as I stare, transfixed, unable to move except for the shiver of anticipation that runs down my spine. It is a formidable presence. 700 times bigger than I am, this mound, covered in lava, is a force of nature. There is only one way to stop it.
With my mouth.
I am, of course, talking about the profiterole. Oh, how I love that word. Let me interrupt my written account so I can take a bite while the chocolate sauce - the only kind of lava worth eating - is still warm.
Are you jealous? You should be. Very. Very. Very jealous.
But don’t hate me. My culinary pursuits are therapy. You see, I have been hard at work writing my mystery memoirs, and let’s just say I am a wee bit behind schedule. Just a smidgen. Or four or five smidgens. A few months. But you just can’t hurry genius. That’s what I keep telling my editor. Not directly, of course. I haven’t picked up my phone in months. But I send her e-mails when I know she is offline and can’t speak to me directly.
She’s taken to sending thugs (she calls them assistants) to my home. This creates stress. Stress makes me eat. And when I stress eat, there is only one thing I crave.
How rude of me. I had my mouth full. Profiteroles is what I meant to say before pure chocolate heaven enraptured my tongue.
Of course, the only place to go for profiteroles is France. There are two reasons for this.
Reason # 1: It’s France. No explanation needed.
Reason # 2: My editor is allergic to French people. This is one of her many flaws. But I thank the good Lord for this idiosyncrasy, because when I want to avoid her, I run screaming to France and fall into the warm embrace of the nearest profiterole.
So I am in Paris, in an undisclosed location to prevent my editor from sending her thug/assistants after me. Of course, if she does, I know exactly where I can hide.
Yes, indeed. I mix in very well with the chocolate sauce. You can barely see me.
Of course, she might not send anyone. She might be under the impression that I am dead. Perhaps because that’s what my answering machine message claims. But it’s not entirely untrue, now is it? After all, I am in profiterole heaven. Ergo, I must be dead.
Back to the profiteroles. You don’t have to cover profiteroles in chocolate sauce. A pastry shop on the Rue du Bac in Paris tops them with delicate cream. Do I like them that way? Of course. The classic profiterole has vanilla ice cream or cream piled up inside, but the ones I am communing with now have ginger ice cream. Do I like them that way?
Do you even need to ask?
It is an arduous task, being that I am of such small stature (but huge genius, might I remind my editor?) to do proper justice to a profiterole. But duty calls, so I must return to my fire-and-ice choux. I leave you, however, with a video explaining how to make your own profiteroles if you’ve let your passport run out and are unable to make it over to France to join me in my quest.
If you do join me, don’t touch my profiterole. I might not let you live.
It just came in that Puerto Rico is all the rage on Travel & Leisure. The Isla del Encanto has been getting a huge number of searches on the magazine’s website, beating out the Bahamas and even Hawaii.
If you’ve ever sat on one of Puerto Rico’s beaches or drank its coffee, you’d understand why. It’s one of my favorite places to visit. One of Yuri’s too. (Okay, he didn’t actually say that, but I like putting words in people’s mouths.)
If you just can’t get around to taking a trip to PR now, check out how some of us here at Harveyflea.com have experienced the place. You can click here, here, or here.
Alright, Harvey. Here’s another post, just to get you off my back. And enough with the “You don’t submit often enough” crap. Your output wouldn’t give anyone a nose bleed, and I’m tired of the excuse that you’re writing your memoirs. You’re a mosquito, for Pete’s sake. Who the heck’s gonna want to read your memoirs?
Anyway, with the weather the way it is, I’m not sticking my hiney out the door for anyone, least of all you, Harvey. So I’ll talk about the TV show I watched last night huddled by the heating vent.
I watched a rerun of some show called Destination Truth. The host - whatever his name is - goes around searching for supernatural stuff, or something. The only thing I was searching for during the show was another peek of him. He’s a cutie. Not as cute as George Clooney, but close enough.
So anyway, back to the show. The cutie host and his crew were in a town somewhere in Chile. Don’t ask me where. Now that I don’t travel anymore, I don’t have to keep track of anyone’s itineraries. There were a bunch of townspeople telling the crew that ghosts of miners were coming out of the ground and walking. Talk about ridiculous. Ghosts wouldn’t just get up and walk around. These people obviously don’t have a clue about the effects of arthritis. I can barely stand up after an hour in front of the TV, and I’m not even dead yet. I don’t even want to imagine how stiff those stiffs are.
I am a poverty-stricken Chilean ghost protesting poor working conditions and I somehow speak perfect English.
The townspeople conjecture that the ghosts are roaming around because of the poor treatment they received in life.
Point A) Harvey, you’d better watch out, or I’ll be coming back for you.
Point B) Why roam around? Form a stinking union. It works for the Teamsters.
Then the TV people sat around with a special recorder that picks up on sounds no one hears. They call it an EVP. In my family, we used to call it crazy Aunt Ethel.
The most stunning thing the recorders revealed? When the cutie host was recording, he asked the ghosts questions. Is anybody here? What’s your favorite ice cream flavor? Do you like long walks on the beach? During the playback, the TV people could hear a voice respond “I am.”
Isn’t is amazing? The poverty-stricken miner ghosts have taken English at Berlitz. Talk about deep market penetration. I wonder if they get good discounts.
I traveled to Chile once, and I’ll admit, my trip might not seem that interesting compared with the TV show’s. No crawling around disembowled cemeteries at night. But then again, you never got to see these TV people sitting on Salado Bay and sipping a pisco sour. So who had it better?
Hey, Tom, when are you going to give me a call already?
Tomorrow night, I’ll be watching reruns of Magnum, P.I. You can’t beat those Tom Selleck shorts. Harvey, do you want me to talk about that too?
Harvey is going to kill me, but I don’t care. I’m going to sit here and eat a whole bag of Cheetos even if it kills me.
Which, judging from the ingredients, it probably will. But that’s not why Harvey will be pissed. He’s not all that worried about my well-being. I don’t care what he says in his Hallmark cards. He’s a foodie snob and it kills him to watch anyone eat Cheetos.
But I’m sure there is scientific evidence out there that Cheetos are good for you. I’m sure of it because I was reading an article in The New York Times the other day. I don’t buy the rag. It’s too expensive, but if someone leaves a copy of it on a table at the coffee shop I like to go to, I read it. Normally, I have to scare the slowpoke away first so I can take the table, though. I generally use my cane, in case you are wondering.
Anyway, the article was talking about chilies, which doesn’t really seem to have anything to do with Cheetos. (Although I like to put Tabasco sauce on mine, so there is a connection, if you look hard enough.) And some scientists who don’t have anything better to do with their time have been researching why people enjoy the excruciating pain of spicy food. Personally, I always thought it was because it distracted us all from bigger pain in our lives, without having to stay overnight in the psych ward for cutting.
But some scientists have a different idea. They think people like chilies despite the heat “because they are good for us.”
Which brings us back to Cheetos. I must like them because, hidden beneath the chemicals and crud, they are good for me.
Although that doesn’t mean that my own theory about why people eat spicy food is wrong. After all, I’ve traveled to some places that thrive on the pain of spicy food, and the living conditions there leave anyone pretty desperate for distraction. Think India. Indonesia. Houston.
Hmmm, wake up and smell the Cheetos!
Anyhow, I’m going with the “they are good for us,” theory because then I can eat more Cheetos. I know some of you are probably thinking The New York Times article was a lot more nuanced than my summary here. Some of you are probably quoting parts that disagree with me. Do you really think I care? I didn’t read the whole article. My coffee spilled on it, so there.
Leave me and my Cheetos alone. They’re good for me.
I dug myself out from under my memoirs this morning, where I have been slaving away for months. I shielded my sensitive eyes from the intrusive sun, took a deep breath, and prepared to submerge myself beneath the scribblings once more. But then I got a funny feeling in my tum tum.
Normally that just means I need to eat something, which I did post haste. But the rum tum tum persisted.
Then my bleary, bloodshot eyes fell on a calendar. Aha! Stomach upset was actually acute intuition. It is … Happy April Genius’ Day!
It is Genius’ Day for several reasons.
A) I have been called gullible on one or two occasions, which makes me ripe fodder for jokes on this venerable day. As such, if I call it April Genius’ Day, then I stroke my ego. And if I don’t stroke it, I ask you, who will? (Not my editor, that’s for sure. All she does is threaten me because my manuscript is a wee bit late. But you can’t hurry genius, can you?)
B) The ability to be the butt of a joke, on April 1 or any day of the year, is a sign that one’s IQ is sitting precariously in the nosebleed section. So if you get tricked today, laugh it off and remember to say “Happy April Genius’ Day!”
C) It gets hard, year after year, to come up with tricks that are more original than just sticking salt in the sugar jar. Kudos if you thought of MSG, by the way.
A quick note to my editor: The manuscript is in the mail.