IT SEEMED A FAIRY TALE GONE WRONG. I’d schlepped my bags for more than 30 hours of flights and layovers across the globe, only to arrive at the Maldives at midnight. “How can this possibly be worth it?” I mumbled, as I stumbled onto a boat, the only passenger. I’d come to mend a broken heart in Eat Pray Love mode. But in the darkness I doubted myself. If this was paradise, it was too dark to see. The stars glittered in the night sky, a briny scent filled the air, and the water made whispering sounds as we lurched into the purple infinity of night. It was that gentle murmur that finally brought tears to my eyes. The loneliness seemed unbearable. Why had I come solo to one of the most romantic places on Earth?
AFTER YEARS OF TRYING to score a reservation at Mexico’s most acclaimed restaurant, Pujol, in Mexico City’s vibrant Polanco neighborhood, I finally find myself part of the in crowd at the restaurant’s best table. Nibbling on rich mole, I contemplate that who you know matters. In my case, I snagged my table at Chef Enrique Olvera’s mecca of contemporary Mexican gastronomy thanks to Fluenz Spanish Immersion, an upscale language program which not only teaches you Spanish in customized, one-week tutorials but also offers exclusive VIP benefits in the evenings — from a night at Pujol to after-hours tours at a variety of museums, from lectures to pub crawls.