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Eating around the world

Eating Around the World

During our six and a half year circumnavigation in Dolphin Spirit we visited 56 countries and ate in 50 of them. The only time we were ever sick was after eating at a McDonalds in Egypt – that exotic food will get you every time.

In fact that bit about exotic food is totally untrue. After having lived and worked in more than 100 countries over more than 30 years, I have had food poisoning just three times, the above incident being the second. The third was in France where I dined one night on fish soup followed by fish in puff pastry.

I attribute my survival to one simple rule – eat the food of the country you are in. In Sudan I ate lamb tartare (minced raw lamb) regularly, with occasional side dishes of sheep eyes and testicles, and suffered no ill effects. When in Brazil, I ate lamb tartare at an Arab restaurant, and spent the next two days unable to leave a bathroom. That was the first food poisoning, and the one from which I developed the “eat local” rule.

In the south of Columbia we stopped for lunch at a roadside “restaurant.” An open drain ran through the middle of the dirt floor under the open-sided thatch roof. Chickens, dogs and children chased around the few tables, which had the beneficial effect of keeping the clouds of flies in constant motion. We ate steak, well done, with boiled yams, washed down by beer directly from the can, with no problems.

Which brings me to the first codicil to the rule – grilled meat, well done, and boiled, skin-on vegetables, can be eaten anywhere. Unless you have seen the steak cut off the just killed beast and placed on the grill, then rare is an invitation to disaster, outside of the better restaurants in the cities. If refrigeration is rare, then the meat should not be.

During a visit to Asmara, the Eritrean capital, by good fortune we stumbled into a room reserved for locals. It had weapons and game heads on the walls, low tables, stools and couches each covered with an individual baby goat skin – a wonderful ambience. Dinner was a four foot diameter platter, lined with pancake like sour bread, and covered with heaps of various local dishes, all meat, mostly goat. Correct procedure was to tear off a piece of bread and scoop up some food with it, all with the right hand of course, as the left is reserved for more intimate cleaning functions. Left-handed me had some etiquette problems.

That introduces the second codicil – learn the local customs in advance. In Taiwan, when you are asked to pick the snake you want to eat from out of a slithering heap, just go ahead and pick one. After cooking and smothering in delicious sauces, it will taste just like the delicious sauces, and you know it is fresh. It is perfectly okay to decline to drink the warm snake blood you will be offered, but very bad form to not select the snake.

I have eaten almost every type of meat there is from rat to elephant and turned down only a few. Raw monkey brains is not something I even like to be in the same room as, particularly when they are still attached to the monkey. For some reason, I cannot stand rabbit – yes, I comfortably eat rat, snake and flying fox, but won’t eat rabbit.

Travel is about broadening knowledge and gaining new experiences and this includes experimenting with new foods. In other countries there are hundreds of fruits and vegetables with tastes that range from bland to delicious and which are never seen in the US. So, even if the thought of eating meat that may not have come out of a US supermarket is revolting, try a new fruit a day. Do remember to eat only fruit you have peeled yourself, never pre-cut, pre-peeled or un-peeled.

Oh, yes, I was poisoned a fourth time, through eating an already cut watermelon I bought at an Indonesian market to quench my thirst. Break the rules and you will be punished, even if they are your own rules.

Категория: Egypt  Теги: , , , ,  Оставить комментарий!

Hotpacks, essential for travel

Hotpacks, Essential For Travel

If you are planning to travel somewhere remote or otherwise, it is convenient to take hot packs along with you. This way you can have a healthy and wholesome meal despite your location. Hot packs are easy, quick and practical, as they don’t require you to carry a stove or build a fire – and you can have a heated and wholesome meal in a matter of minutes. Hot packs are also very cost effective.

Hot packs can easily be stored for long periods as they have a shelf life of years. The items that hot packs usually include are cutlery, water, meal, heater and salt and pepper. Hot packs are ideal during leisure activities such as camping, fishing, cycling, hunting, skiing, boating and many other outdoor activities. Other than that, hot packs can also be used at home in emergency situations (in case you need instant food).

There are many professionals who use hot packs on a daily basis. These include fire fighters, police, rescue teams and many others. The workers in industries like mining, transport and logging also use hot packs frequently. While being away from home, hot packs are the best choice in terms of a meal because they are very easy to carry and store. While getting a hot pack, you have the choice of several recipes and you can get the one you like the most. In this way you don’t have to compromise on the food’s quality or flavor, just because a home cooked meal is not available.

Hot packs should be stored somewhere dry, at room temperature. Care should be taken that the hot pack is not stored in a place where pressure is exerted on it. This can crush the plate and the food contents. Hot packs should not be placed in areas of high temperatures. This can affect the food quality. It is recommended that hot packs should be put in insulated containers during summer and winter.

While heating the meal, you should take care that the area is well ventilated and has a good supply of oxygen. The water included in the pack should be used in the provided quantity because it is measured, and the use of extra water can delay the heating process. The extent to which the hot pack meal gets heated depends on the temperature of the surroundings. The pouch in hot pack containing the food should not be opened unless it has been heated.

The hot pack is very easy to carry. However, if you still feel that the weight needs to be reduced, you can always remove the cutlery and the water sachet and take only the meal and the heater with you. But you will have to make sure that you note the amount of water that was in the sachet, and then use that same amount of water during the heating process.

After you have used the contents of the meal in the hot pack, you can use the same pack for storing the used food materials and cutlery, for disposal at a later time. With the increasing demand of hot packs, new types of meals are being introduced, hence increasing the variety of choices for the people on the go.

Категория: Egypt  Теги: , , ,  Оставить комментарий!

Florence holiday – the city of stone

Florence Holiday – the City of Stone

Situated in Italy, Florence is a beautiful city of stones offering world class galleries, stone sculptures, architecture, culture and rich history to its visitors. Many consider this Italian city a visual delight, which is why thousands of tourists choose Florence as their holiday destination for visit every year.

From a huge list of places to visit, here are some of the marvelous attractions that are a must see when you visit this beautiful city:

Piazza della Signoria

This is an eminent square in the heart of the city which boasts stunning sculptures and statuary like replicas of Judith Beheading Holofernes and Donatello’s Marzocco, portrayal of Cosimo de Medici by Giambologna, replicas of Michelangelo’s David and original as well as real Perseus slaying Medusa by Cellini. The square is surrounded with trendy cafes, shopping centre and restaurants full with locals as well as tourists on a holiday in Florence.

Palazzo Vecchio

Situated close to Piazza della Signoria, Palazzo Vecchio is a marvelous palace holding a collection finest art work, history rich collection and an elegant architecture. While on a trip to Florence, Palazzo Vecchio is a worth visiting classic tourist attraction.

Ponte Vecchio

Built in year 1345, this bridge is a major tourist attraction and comes with history. While the bridge is popular with shops selling silver and gold jewelry, tourist and visitors love to visit it for its beauty and the fact that it’s the only Florentine construction that survived the era of World War II.

Galleria degli Uffizi

For every art lover visiting Florence, a visit to the Uffizi gallery can add to the experience. This tourist attraction presents a breathtaking collection of 300 sculptures, 1700 paintings and huge number of remarkable artifacts. Some of these include collection of Baroque art, Italian Renaissance and Botticelli’s “Birth of Venus”. Some of the eminent artists whose work can be cherished at this gallery are Giotto, Raphael, Botticelli, Perugino, Michelangelo, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci and Rubens.

The Duomo

This tourist attraction draws a huge number of tourist and visitors as well as locals to it due too its architecture rich construction. The building has white, green and pink color marbles on the outside and amazing doors as well as out of ordinary statues in its interiors. On a trip to Florence, you must not miss the opportunity of enjoying the view of the city from this cathedral.

Boboli Garden

When on a holiday in Florence with family, you can always enjoy a great picnic or family time in this sculpture rich garden with great view and beautiful fountains.

Santa Croce

This tourist attraction of Florence is a Franciscan church that consists of tombs of significant Florentines like Dante and Michelangelo. Located in the Piazza Santa Croce, the building is known for its rich interior with the glass windows. Every year hundreds of tourists and visitors make this attraction a part of their sightseeing on their trip to Florence.

Best time to visit or holiday in Florence

The ideal time to enjoy a trip to Florence would be in months of May, June, September and October.

A guide to finding cheap holidays

A Guide to Finding Cheap Holidays

Going on holiday can be expensive, which is why many people prefer to shop around for the best deals, and book everything themselves as opposed to using a travel agent. But while this may be the cheaper option, is it really the best?

It partially depends on your individual needs. A tour operator will sell a travel agent a block of rooms in a hotel, which the agent then has to sell to the customer. Sometimes, a customer will require a type of room which the agent has not bought, in which case they may try and sell two rooms to cover the family’s needs. This is where it can work out more expensive. Booking a room direct with the tour operator, or even the hotel, can sometimes work out better, both in terms of cost and getting your exact requirements.

For example; a double guest room at the Hilton Cairns hotel in Queensland, Australia is ?438.67 for a 5 night stay at the end of January. The same room, for the same stay is ?362 when booked directly with the hotel. It’s worth checking directly with the hotel if you prefer to book the holiday yourself.

If you prefer your holidays to be stress-free, then approach a travel agent about a package deal. They will take your requirements and find flight, hotel, and possibly airport transfer and car hire for you. You may end up paying a little extra for this, but it could be worth it just for the luxury of having someone do all the hard work for you. You also get added security when booking through an agent in case the hotel closes or the airline goes bust. With ATOL, if the airline fails while you’re away, alternative arrangements to get you home can be made. Every tour operator and agent that offers flights should have an ATOL licence. If you decide to book directly with a tour operator, ensure they are a member of ABTA, which is the Association of British Travel Agents. ABTA covers everything non-flight related such as the hotel closing down or the travel agent going bust.

Cheap holidays are still possible if booked far enough in advance, or last minute. Keep your eye out for deals in high street travel agency windows. Often this is where the best prices are, but you usually need to be ready to leave at a moments notice. If booking more than 2 weeks in advance, prepare to haggle to get a good price. Don’t go too far with your haggling though, it’s been known for people to lose out on a perfectly reasonable price due to haggling over as little as ?10.

Ski holidays are usually best arranged through a travel agent, at least if you’re new to skiing. A ski package can include all the little extras such as ski hire, tuition and even clothing hire, which the beginner skier may not think of. Specialist winter travel agents exist and can find you some great ski holidays whatever your level of experience.

The internet is a great tool to find good holiday deals, as you can view lots of different agents at once, that you may not be able to physically visit. And remember to research your chosen destination thoroughly so you know what to expect.