Remember way back when, we went to Thailand. We had a week in Ko Lanta, a perfect little island and a week in Bangkok. It was the first beach vacation Ben and I had ever taken together and it was perfect. Slow paced, with a lot of reading, swimming in the Andaman Sea, tasting a wide-variety of the fabulous Thai cuisine at our eco-resort, Hotel Narima and enjoying refreshing coconut water and tropical cocktails in the beach-side bar. We managed to rally for a day-long adventure of kayaking, seeing a cute little white-sandy beach Bu Bu Island and feeding some very greedy monkeys. We went for a couple of runs along the coastal road and then ate our weight in fresh pineapple and papaya. Ben practiced his Thai with the young, extremely efficient staff of the Narima. We spent our evenings in our beach view bungalow reading aloud- The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. We were so relaxed by the time we headed to Bangkok, it took a few days to get up to speed. In retrospect, if it had been possible, we would have started in Bangkok and ended on the beach. Next time!
Tomorrow- some photos from Bangkok- man it was HOT and HUMID!
Hello! I am typing this from the Toronto airport, I am waiting for my 10.30 p.m. flight which will get me back to Edinburgh by 1.00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon. This will be the longest part of my three-week adventure. I will undoubtedly spend my weekend in deep slumbers recovering from the overnight flight. What will you doing with yours?
I will be posting photos from far and farther next week, belated pictures from our summer trips and it has occurred to me, I never shared our memories from Thailand- so I will throw a few of those in next week as well.
El Parque Del Amor (Love Park) in Lima, Peru overlooking the Pacific Ocean and based on Gaudi’s mosaic-tiled Park Guell in Barcelona, is verdant and lovely. It rains so infrequently in Lima, there are no drains in the streets. All the water which is used to water the city parks comes from the Andes.
‘El Beso’ is the sculpture in the center of the park is by Victor Delfin. Each year there is a competition to see who can kiss in the position of the statue the longest- at the moment the record stands at 45 minutes. How uncomfortable, the position, not the kissing.
When was the last time you popped a letter in the post? Personally, I cannot remember, but I do not think it was recently. When I first moved to Europe, I spent hours sitting in smokey French cafes (you could still smoke in cafes back then), drinking espresso (the cheapest drink I could get) and keeping up on my correspondence. Then I would stand in line at the dreary La Poste near the Pathe Chavant and ask for my stamps and par avion stickers. After seeing this stunning Correo Mayor (Main Post Office) in Mexico City, I would be willing to stand in line for hours waiting for my stamps.
Besides eating a fair amount of native tropical fruits and avocados ripe enough to eat with a plastic spoon, I also tried this Mexican specialty- Stuffed Poblano Pepper with Walnut Sauce. According to lore, each family has its own recipe. It is only made during a certain time of year when pomegranates are ripe. The colors are symbolic of the Mexican flag, according to a real-life Mexicano, this dish, along with pico de gallo are the only red, green and white foods on the Mexican food scene.
It was brief, it was busy, but I had a great mini-tour. I braved the teacher protests and the demonstrations for a walk around my neighborhood, got over my fear of eating alone in foreign countries and sampled some of the best enchiladas con mole, met some of our fabulous alumni and caught up with them over tequila and beers (not for me). They can put it away.
Today, I am in Peru and am very excited about this, I arrived last night. I have not yet been to Peru but have heard great things about the country, the city and the cebiche!
Hello from Mexico City. Then sun is shining and I am heading to meetings. I get a kick out of the VW Beetle taxis that are crawling the streets. Maybe I will be able to hitch a ride in one- although I have been warned about the taxis. Beep-beep.
While in Seattle, we were in search for delicious baked-goods and we randomly stumbled upon an event at a local bakery organized by Bread Baker’s Guild of America. The bakery was Macrina and the location was SODO location- South of Downtown and their main baking facility.
We arrived early to and sampled their brunch menu, fabulous- smoked salmon on an onion bialy for me and Ben wolfed down his oven face egg and mushroom sandwich, I think we both had order envy. It was even double iced coffee morning, with the second almond version was with a freshly baked treat or two- a roly poly and a sugar bun- worth the gluten.
For the event, we were greeted by Leslie Mackie, Macrina founder and empress. Her enthusiasm for her profession and her cafes was evident in the way she described the bread we sampled at the start of the tour- my favorite was the baguette made with potatoes, moist and doughy deliciousness. Leslie had a much-deserved sparkle in her eye as she described the success of Macrina and the three locations in Seattle and the growth over the past twenty years. I am in awe of people who have found their passions and have become so happy doing what they clearly love. She also credits the team who support Macrina and its cafes and customers.
The small group was escorted through the spacious kitchen and showed the different areas where the team produces loaf after loaf of bread, flaky pastries, custom cakes and other scrummy treats (buns stuffed with Nutella- hello!). Ben was most fascinated by the bread starter which has been in the Macrina family for ages and is the foundation for many of their delicious breads. The oven set up they have is crazy- a rotating walk-in oven and the main beast of an oven which was built in the bakery and is an engineering marvel with its conveyer belts to transport the loaves into the heat and inject steam to give the best oven-spring and crackly crust.
After falling to the second most cycle-friendly city in the U.S.A (according to Bicycling), Portland might be looking to take the top place back from my hometown- Minneapolis. You go Twin Cities. Even the Portland Art Museum (P.A.M.) appears to be on board with the campaign, hosting Cyclpedia- a an exhibit featuring forty bicycles from the personal collection of Michael Embacher. It was impressive to see the cycles through history and for various activities, racing, touring, tandem, children’s and urban. They even have an Austrian example with a a blade instead of the front wheel to navigate the icy streets in the winter months. If you are in the Portland area, you should swing in to see all there is to see- it is on until September 8.