Category Archives: Food

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Global Wanderings & Inane Wonderings: A Midlife Gap Year: Elizabeth J Clark, Lynne Atkins

In the midst of two successful and promising careers American, Liz Clark & Australian, Lynne Atkins, daring forty-somethings, set off on a trip of a lifetime! Join them on their adventurous journey traveling through approximately fifty countries and all seven continents. Where were they going? How would they get around? This all became part of the comedy and the adventure. With nothing but a rough outline of flights and a fleetingly glanced at guidebook the rest they would have to make up as they went along.

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Life is extra good when you’re on a cruise ship! Episode Two…

 (click on photos to enlarge)Eastern-CaribbeanEpisode Two: The Eastern Caribbean

On September 20, 2014 once again we sailed, heading out from Fort Lauderdale, Florida this time to the Eastern Caribbean.

The name Caribbean comes from its people the ‘Carib’ who were the last group to rule the area before the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, Danish and British invaded.

Life on Board
Lobster Tails & ShrimpIn episode one I described the many adventures and activities that can be found onboard a Princess cruise ship, but I neglected to discuss the FOOD! There is food aplenty onboard, not only in the amount but also in the variety of cuisine which tantalizes the palate. From extreme fine dining delivering seafood, steaks and soufflé to casual meals featuring pizza, burgers and ice cream, any culinary mood can be satisfied. Fresh fruit and veggies are always at the ready to keep your meal balanced and nutritious.

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Thankfully our early morning activities included a few laps around the walking track located on the Promenade Deck. Three laps equaled a little over a mile, but in the end, six laps each morning were not enough to keep me from adding additional pounds to my embarkation weight!

Eleuthera (Princess Cays)
Princess Cays, EleutheraThis thin sliver of an island is only 100 miles long and two miles wide. The Arawak Indians, who migrated from South America in the 9th century, were her earliest inhabitants. After being discovered by Columbus, a British group called the ‘Eleutherian Adventurers’ settled here in 1648 to escape religious persecution. They named the island Eleuthera which is the Greek word for Freedom.

As mentioned in Episode One, our destination, Princess Cays, is owned by Princess Cruises who bought 30 acres and created a beachfront resort. We were determined to explore more of the island during this visit! With government issued photo ID in hand, which is what we lacked on out last visit, we ventured outside Princess Cays compound. Although a favorite getaway for British Royalty we could find no way to get away from the Princess Cays area. What lies outside remains a mystery and something we are determined to discover, but this will take more research and planning. Returning to the Cays we immersed ourselves in crystalline waters where we engaged in spectacular snorkeling, followed by traditional rum drinking!

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St. Maarten

St. Maarten was also settled by the Arawak Indians of South America; the Carib Indians later followed and gave this island the name Soualiga, meaning ‘Land of Salt’. The island is divided 60/40 between the French, Saint-Martin and the larger Dutch section, Sint Maarten. This spectacular tropical destination offered plenty of opportunities to explore and discover, but wait, who are you kidding? I had only one thing in mind and could not be persuaded to do anything else…Maho Beach, of course!

Princess Juliana International Airport is adjacent to the beach and arriving aircraft must touch down as close as possible to the beginning of the runway due to the short length. The result is aircraft, on their final approach, flying over the beach at a breathtakingly low altitude! There is also danger for people, standing on the beach, being blown into the water because of the jet blast from aircraft taking off! It just doesn’t get much more exciting than that, if you ask me. Needless to say we had a BLAST!

Just take a look at these videos.

Well …only ‘Liz’ had a BLAST …Lynne had to document the mayhem.

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St. Thomas

SquirrelfishAlong with St. John, St Croix and Water Island, St. Thomas is part of the United States Virgin Islands. In the 1500’s buccaneers including Blackbeard, Bluebeard and Captain Kidd called this island, if not home, a safe pirate harbor. Despite the lure of tours to plantations, Blackbeard’s Caste and the Amber Museum Lynne and I immediately headed for Coki Beach. The snorkeling here was phenomenal! Having brought along several mini-boxes of breakfast cereal from the ship, we easy enticed schools of brilliantly colored fish to swim up close and play with us.

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Grand Turk

DSC_0082Not actually a part of the Caribbean, Grand Turk is the Capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands. It is believed that the name ‘Turks’ was inspired by the Turk’s Head cactus which can be seen throughout the island. Despite the attraction of the world’s third largest barrier reef we decided to take a break from snorkeling and jumped on a local trolley for an island tour. This Island Trams tour was being promoted by a small group hyping their contribution to the ‘local economy’, in contrast to the more popular tours.

Turks Head CactusAlways wanting to support ‘the local economy’ we agreed to join. This turned out to be a very distressing decision indeed! In an attempt to fill their trolley, we were made to wait an hour passed our departure time, an hour sitting on a breezeless trolley under the hot sun! An hour not only sitting still in the hot sun but, having just walked a half mile out of the cruise ship terminal, to arrive at the very hot, breezeless trolley! You might thing this doesn’t sound too bad and well, for us it was but a minor inconvenience. For the little old lady, red-faced, puffing and panting it was a disaster! Although others grumbled and complained no one was offering her help, it was up to us! This lady was clearly overheated, scared and in distress. We gave her ice water we had brought along, Lynne whipped out her travel washcloth (carried for just such situations) doused it with water for her to pat her face and wrap around her neck. Poor old dear, she was so grateful and kept insisting to her helpless friend she would NEVER accompany her on an outing again. At our first stop we traded seats with her, affording her more shade and bought her lemonade stating “you need some sugar, sweetie”. It wasn’t long after that, the color returned to her face.

It was a sad state of affairs that helping a fellow human being, what should be normal behavior, turned out to be ‘the nicest thing anyone has ever done’ for her. Lynne and I both felt blessed for the opportunity to stand up and give this simple gift of kindness. Remember ALWAYS carry water, and wear a hat in the tropics! Another good idea for all of us would have been to discover the whereabouts of the trolley before handing over our money!

Other than the pristine waters which surround Grand Turk, donkeys, flamingos, a lighthouse and a spaceship were the highlights of our tour. Donkeys are allowed to roam free all over the island, I’m guessing as an alternative to mowing the grasslands. Happy for a pat and a treat these semi wild animals added a bit of excitement to our tour, over very bumpy roads…on this very hot day.

Wishing for an early escape, we talked our trolley driver into dropping us off at Jack’s Shack, a local bar and grill with lots of island character. We ended our day cheering the brave old lady who almost didn’t make it out of paradise! This seemed fitting as we were leaving paradise ourselves, tomorrow we would be back in Ft. Lauderdale.

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Cheers mateys and thanks for joining us on our Caribbean adventure!

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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Farmer’s Market – Darwin Style

Making Paw Paw Salad

Making Paw Paw Salad

Pulsing with color, noise and action, this scene at the local farmers market is typical of Darwin, a city that’s closer to Asia than it is to the rest of Australia, both geographically and in spirit. The northern capital is home to people representing over 100 cultures, each somehow managing to retain its essence. It’s more a mélange than a melting pot.

Some of the best food we have had is at the many local markets, where cross-cultural influences and abundant tropical produce is everywhere!

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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OR sign up to hear about our Global Wanderings Book Release

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Discovering Queensland’s Sugarcane Country

Lynne & Liz trying the sugarcane.

Lynne & Liz trying the sugarcane.

Discovering and exploring the source of local economy can be an exciting adventure for any traveler. In Mackay, sugarcane and coal are the major sources of income and employment. As luck would have it, friends of ours, Malina and Pete, own a sugarcane farm, so, off we went with great excitement to get an up-close look at a working sugarcane farm! This adventure came with the added possibility of a platypus sighting in a nearby creek, which sweetened the deal beyond cane farming alone.

Pete Takagaki cleaning cane to taste.Dotted with individual family farm houses, the fields stretched out before us, tiered in layers representing the various stages of sugarcane growth. We reached the Takagaki family farm which has been passed down through four generations. Pete’s grandfather acquired the farm after emigrating from Japan in 1901. Although the farmers are now required to work outside the farm to supplement their income, the sugarcane provides for the land, the equipment and their basic needs. I couldn’t help but admire their love and dedication to a lifestyle that required more to sustain them than it could give. On arrival our host pulled out a pocket knife, cut a large stalk, carved its sides away and handed Lynne and me each a piece. Sinking our teeth into a stalk of this sweet fibrous sensation was a juicy delight.  Harvester

Clouds of white herons followed closely behind a tractor that was turning up the soil. This field would be allowed to sit fallow for a year after having given five seasons of abundant yields. I couldn’t resist and climbed up into the cab for a ‘once around’. The herons, now joined by hawks, dove behind us scooping up the insects that were being exposed. Continuing on our exploration we followed alongside a harvester; a powerful, multifunctional, Transformer-ish machine, being driven down the rows, chopping, separating and collecting the stalks of cane while simultaneously spitting out the scraps. The chopped stalks were discharged into a clever contraption pulled by a tractor. These tractors appeared alongside the harvester in smooth procession, with hardly a break.

They would deliver the cane, in their clever contraptions to a cane train and return, again and again. In the distance, steam rose from the Racecourse Mill’s boilers; the cane’s final destination. Approximately 400,000 tons of refined white sugar is produced here annually. The ingenuity of mankind was brilliantly on display, as a task that at one time broke that backs of hundreds of laborers has been transformed to a process accomplished by a few drivers.

Bandicoot

The herons and hawks were also in abundance for this operation, but, something else caught our eye.  It was a bandicoot running for its life! Trying to escape the jaws of the harvester, the little bandicoot scurried across the newly flattened terrain looking for cover. I screamed with excitement “A BANDICOOT!” I had never seen one so close. I had only ever seen a bandicoot once and at such a distance it was the size of a peanut, “that doesn’t even count”, I explained.  With that, barefooted Pete jumped out of the truck in an act reminiscent of The Crocodile Hunter, chased after the little critter and snatched it up. We were able to get a good look at this terrestrial marsupial omnivore, and give it a loving pat. I’m sure it would have bitten and scratched me to bits if given half the chance but, thankfully Pete held on tight.

Touring the farm-house and surrounding buildings we noticed how simple this existence seemed. It had been an eventful day out, filled with insights into a way of life that is rapidly fading. These pieces of land, cultivated by the same families for generations, require a love for the earth and an understanding of nature. Mal and Pete embrace the simple pleasures of life on a farm which, despite having to find additional work, affords them the time between harvests to travel the country in their caravan. During their journeys they have seen a variety of lifestyles but, in the end, they always return to the farm. We now understand more fully that when supplementing our food or drink, within the little granules there is much more than just sweetness, the sugar holds the dreams and hard work of generations of very sweet people! We hope that after reading this you will think of and appreciate the farmers who bring you that small spoonful of sugar, satisfying your sweet tooth.

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PS … I was grateful for the bandicoot sighting because despite our searching the creek, we had no luck finding a platypus. ~ Awwww!

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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The Land ‘Down Under’!

Australia's Got TalentThe name Australia comes from the Latin word, ‘Australis’ meaning ‘southern’. As the name would indicate we are now in the southern hemisphere, where the water goes down the drain backwards* and cars are driven on the left side of the road. Feeling flipped over, upside down and backwards we hit the ground running!

On the list of necessities for any traveler is accommodation, transportation and communication. Fortunately during our first month in Australia, family and friends opened their homes providing us with beds, couches and even a camper, parked in a front yard. After visiting a few used car dealerships, with no luck, we spotted a Subaru Outback for sale on the side of the road. An Outback in the outback, brilliant! With the first two essentials crossed off our list we easily acquired a mobile phone and a portable wi-fi device, we were all set to begin our Aussie adventure!

Huge Aussie Prawns

Of course food is also an important necessity and we were both devouring some of the best seafood in the world! Not to mention the Aussie meat pies and other culinary wonders only found in Australia like the thick, yeasty Vegemite and the yummy sweet desserts; pavlova and lamingtons.

After we arrived in Sydney, we had no plans of what to do or where to go but, family and friends lived along the coast further north so this seemed to be our next logical step. All the while we kept our eyes and minds searching for whatever presented itself as a guide towards the future. Trusting in the journey is a skill Lynne and I have fine-tuned during our world travels. Looking for synchronicities and whatever shows up in our proverbial headlights, is how we roll!

Kangaroo MaleThe koala, kangaroo, emu, kookaburra and platypus are all animals found in no other country than Australia and in the first few weeks of our adventure we saw them all. Except that is, for the elusive platypus! When the early explorers first revealed this unique semi-aquatic monotreme, (mammal that lay eggs), to the world, it was thought to be a joke—Aussies having a go at the English by sewing a duck bill onto a rat—but it turned out to be authentic! The search for a platypus seemed like a lofty goal and a good reason to head further North, in the direction of their habitat. Well, that and a job offer for Lynne in Mackay, Queensland, which could help fund our expedition. Lynne’s brother, Peter, and his family also live up north in Mackay which cemented the platypus idea, that was ‘showing up’ as to how we should proceed.

Spy HoppingOff we went, driving north from New South Wales to Queensland. As luck would have it, whale season along the east coast was in full swing, (July through October). We stopped in to visit some longtime friends who live near Brisbane and were treated to an ocean adventure in their boat, to search of Humpbacks! It was a phenomenal success and not only did we spot over a dozen whales splashing, breaching, spy hoping, tail wagging and flipper flapping, we also saw a huge sea turtle and a heap of flying fish! We had been on whale watching charters before but nothing can compare to this smaller boat which afforded us an up close and personal encounter, on the same level as these majestic beings!

We now find ourselves in Mackay; sugarcane and coal mining country. We have moved into a fully furnished studio unit at the Ocean Resort Village (not as flash as it sounds). We seem to have it all, tropical gardens, swimming pool, air-conditioning, cable TV and wi-fi, all this and beach front access to boot! What we don’t have, however, is a platypus sighting! Not yet anyway! Bless Lynne’s heart for working, but, it seriously cuts into our platypus discovery time! Rest assured, we will find our platypus and moving towards this end, we are certain to discover additional adventures here in northeast Queensland!

Some interesting facts about Australia:

The Australian Coat of Arms has a kangaroo and an emu on it. The reason being they can’t go backwards, they can only walk/hop forward, similar to the country’s forward movement into the future.

Most of Australia’s exotic flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else in the world.

Australia is known as the ‘island continent’ and is the only continent on earth to be occupied by one nation. It is also the flattest continent in the world.

Some of Australia’s most prolific inventions are the bionic ear, black box flight recorder, clothes line, notepad and stubby (beer) holder.

The land masses of Australia and the United States America are comparable, however, their estimated populations are not. The United States of America has approximately 313 million people, while Australia has approximately 23 million, 90% of whom live on the coast.

*You find both counterclockwise and clockwise flowing drains in both hemispheres. Some people would like you to believe that the Coriolis force affects the flow of water down the drain in sinks, bathtubs, or toilet bowls but, it’s not true! The Coriolis force is simply too weak to affect such small bodies of water. The Coriolis Effect is the observed curved path of moving objects relative to the surface of the Earth. Hurricanes however, are affected. Hurricane winds move counter-clockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

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Oh Lawd, these Cajuns sure know how to throw a party!

Oh Lawd, these Cajuns sure know how to throw a party!

Yummm!

We met up with them there Cajuns riverside, at the Bywater in Asheville, NC, USA, a unique private club with a magnificent view of the French Broad River. The crawfish were ALIVE and ready for boiling—in a pot made from an old beer keg! John Frederic, who delivered the fresh crawfish, had us all laughing as he shared humorous tales of life in the bayou. Steamy nights, cold beer, crawfish and silly Cajuns playing tricks on each other go hand in hand. Apparently you can do a lot more with crawfish then just eat um! With his rich accent our focused attention was required.

Let me have a go at recounting the process involved in a crawfish boil.

“Tak ya pirogue down de bayou a ways an catch yosef bout tirty pounds o dem crawfish.  Den tak dem crawfish an tro dem in yo pot. Den add a box of rock salt. Let dem soak for bout a bit. While dem crawfish is purgin, start yur boil pot on de cook fire. Tro in de spice, de whole onion, de corn an’ de new potatoes an’ let dem boil. Den tro in de crawfish wid two box rock salt, tree or two cut lemon, mo spice an de cayenne pepper. Let all dat boil up real good. Put dat ole newspaper on de table and warm de bread. When de crawfish is done, pour out da water. Den dump out de crawfish on de table an set out de bread. Den set down fo a Cajun feest!”

Cajun-John-Frederic As delicious as those crawfish were, we still made room in our bellies for the shrimp jambalaya, red beans and rice, and stewed peas. It was a good ol’ downhome experience we will never forget! Life in the Deep South doesn’t get much better!

Sending out a big THANKS to Teau and the gang at Teaufood Culinary Busking for providing this fantastic experience!

Teaufood Culinary Busking is simply food talent for tips. They do Teau & Susannot charge for their service; they just want to feed you!

Crawfish Boil: To see exactly how it is done Cajun style.

We found a fantastic Jambalaya Recipe and “Crawfish Boil” music video for your next Cajun night!

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Crawfish fun Teaufood style. Click on image for details.

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Travel On! Join us as we travel into the unknown.

¸.•♥ In-ƤЄƛƇЄ ~ ԼƠƔЄ ~ ԼIƓHƮ & ԼƛUgHƮЄr ☮ ♥ ★ ツ *。.☆

To keep up with our Global Wanderings ~ Like us on Facebook & Twitter

OR sign up to hear about our Global Wanderings Book Release

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