On the Eighth Day of China: What Am I Eating?

Prior to my trip, I learned a bit of Mandarin, including the essentials like basic food and drink. So I knew how to read and say different kinds of meat, noodles, water, beer, and a few other key words. But what I didn’t know were the words for the hundreds of different types of vegetables that the Chinese have. So many vegetables! It was wonderful. Too often when I travel, I find I’m fiending for vegetables when I get back home. Most countries seem to either not have as many available as we do in the United States, or only served them boiled or pickled or otherwise altered. But not China. China has all the vegetables your body could possibly crave, and then some. And fruits and sauces and other meats I couldn’t identify. And dumplings! I ate so many dumplings and rarely knew what was in them. I really don’t know how people with dietary restrictions travel. I figure it’s best not to ask too many questions – just let go of your cultural limitations of what is okay to eat, try everything, and enjoy! Well, maybe. Hold that thought until my last bullet point below.   Continue reading →

Who Are You When You Travel?

When I was growing up, I lived on a small street in a rural area where having friends over to sit in the garage and drink was the main Saturday attraction. In all houses, that is, except mine. My parents didn’t drink and they weren’t particularly social, at least not in the kind of way where friends drop in and hang out without any specific invitation or plan. I’d listen on summer nights, through my open bedroom window, to the laughter and chatter going on across the street and wonder why our house wasn’t filled with people too. I swore that when I had my own place, my door would always be open and friends would come and go constantly.

That’s not remotely the kind of person I turned out to be. I’m every bit as inflexible with my time and protective of my personal space as my parents were. It drives me crazy when people stop by unannounced. Even the UPS man. I ignore invitations to go out if they come less than eight hours before the start time because that’s not enough time for me to prepare and accomplish everything I planned to that day. I don’t send read receipts on my iPhone because I don’t want people knowing whether I’m looking at my phone and therefore, presumably, available to talk or text. I always opt for “Entire home/apt” when using AirBnB because I certainly don’t want to be in the house with the owner, having to make chit chat. And communal tables at a restaurant? Whoever came up with this terrible idea should be hanged. Continue reading →

Great Huts, Port Antonio, Jamaica (March, 2015)

Doh! I did not take a single picture while I was there.
But the Great Huts official site has plenty.

While You Are There: It’s another go-away-and-then-have-a-staycation post! The Great Huts offers everything you need in the hotel itself, but there are some nice attractions nearby such as the Blue Lagoon (yes, that Blue Lagoon, not the one in Iceland I mentioned previously), rafting on the Rio Grande, Winnifred Beach, and all the jerk chicken/conch/etc for sale at the end of the road.

Why It’s On My List: It’s nice to have a little isolation for a few days when you are travelling somewhere like Jamaica. I’m not a fan of all-inclusive resorts and separating yourself from the locals, but it does get tiresome when every time you go to the beach you are accosted by people selling you trinkets, hair braiding, marijuana, and sex. A day or two in a place like this is necessary. A private beach and meals onsite is a welcome break. And this place is not a massive resort like the ones in Montego Bay. It’s a boutique resort with delightful amenities and comfortable rooms. If I were the kind to have a destination wedding (or, let’s be honest, a wedding at all), I’d seriously consider renting this whole place out.

For this year’s A-Z Blog Challenge, I’ve decided to showcase 26 of my favorite places in the world. I’ve only been to 22 of the 196 countries, so I’ve got some more travelling to do, but these places are well worth a visit.