Thursday, May 29, 2008

Strange Foods I've Eaten

For me one of the best things about traveling is getting to try new foods that I would otherwise never encounter. I'm generally a picky eater but when I travel I end up being a lot more open minded about food. I remember my place as a respectful traveler and try not to offend people by not eating a beloved dish as that would just be rude.

I may not always go out of my way to try the strange and bizarre but I do my best to avoid very familiar foods. I don't see the point in traveling half way around the world to eat a hamburger. I have found however that it is totally acceptable to eat a steak just about wherever you can find one. My top 3 steaks have all been consumed outside of the United States.

Below is a list of some of the strange foods that I have consumed and a little bit about them:

Black tofu (coagulated blood): Tastes like a very savory Jello. I've had this made from cow blood and pig blood, pig blood tastes better.

Reindeer: I had this at an airport while leaving Finland, it was what you expect from airport food. Served with lingion berry jam. I'd try it again but not at an airport.

Alligator: One of my first odd foods I've eaten. It was in sausage form and tasted like a cross between pork and chicken.

Seasoned pig intestine: Ground up into a paste and served in a sandwich I had in Spain. I was only told what it was after I finished. It was quite good.

Pig feet: A lot of work for not a whole lot of meat, mostly jelly like fat. Everyone else seemed to like it.

Durian ice cream: Eaten mostly on a dare. I'm sure that turning it into ice cream took some of the stink out of it but it left a thick coating in my mouth and just tasted thick if that makes sense.

Preserved duck egg: If you preserve a duck egg just right the white of the egg turns black and is not completely unlike a tough piece of slimy Jello. I can't recall the taste but I only had one bite and did not make it to the yolk (as a rule I only like eggs in other things; like cookies).

NOTE: This list is not complete and I reserve the right to add to the list as I recall suppressed food related memories.

If you've enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to the RSS feed.

Coming Soon: My Favorite Travel Gear

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

That Guy

In my travels I often run into That Guy. He's the guy that is obnoxious for no apparent reason, looks down on everyone that isn't him and believes that the world and those in it should revolve around him for some reason. He has forgotten how to use please and thank you since he is the most important person in the area and everyone should obviously bend over backwards in his presence. That guy uses terms like "Do you know who I am?" and "I should know to expect this kind of thing from INSERT AIRLINES NAME HERE." I hate That Guy, he makes me angry, isn't considerate and is very rude, especially to those poor airport workers.

In some ways he does make my life easy when I'm behind him in line since he makes me look really good in comparison. I'm always certain to act especially nice after That Guy as the contrast is even greater. Speaking slowly, calmly and smiling makes a world of difference to the person that just had their day ruined. This even works if there's a really long line of semi cranky people. I've gotten onto "sold out" flights that That Guy was just denied access to, it really works.

Most recently That Guy took the form of a crazy businessman who kind of looked like Roy Disney and acted like J.J. Jameson from Spiderman (the newspaper guy). He was being super obnoxious to an unfortunate coworker via his hands free headset. He was also being oblivious to those around him as he was yelling on the plane. Despite his phone being hands free he dropped his diet coke twice. The second time I helped him with it and he said he was going to open it behind my head. Ass.

After the flight (I sat next to a lady that was bipolar who enjoyed telling me that she was medicated and about all the things she did with her 27 year old boyfriend) we all met back at the baggage claim area. I sat around and only got one of my bags. That Guy looked frustrated and he went to the baggage claim help desk and started yelling about how important he was and that he should expect United to lose his bags. I've been through this airport 6 times or so with United and only lost my bags once.

At any rate I went up and calmly asked about my bags and they took my claim tags. They glanced at them and informed me that the bag was in oversized baggage land which I thought odd because that same bag was never oversized at this airport before then. I thanked them and picked up my second bag. As I left That Guy was still yelling about how he didn't know where the bag should go since he wasn't staying the night in Toronto.

So my advice to everyone who travels is to not be That Guy. Sometimes the people deserve it but try to reserve that for special occasions. Just put on a smile and slip behind That Guy to get the service that he could have had.

If you've enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to the RSS feed.

Coming Soon: Strange Foods

Pro Grade Urinal Screens

I was in La Jolla California and I decided to have dinner at the Bali Hai on Shelter Island. Everything was going really well until I went to the bathroom. As I was relieving myself I looked down and noticed something odd. The urinal screen (the mesh plastic that holds the urinal cake in place) had some interesting notation on it. It noted that the screens were Professional Quality.

Of course this implies that there are armature quality urinal screens more readily available and that this particular model was superior and that you'd be a fool to purchase those "other" brands. The existence of such a product begs several questions:
What kind of traffic would dictate the need for a pro upgrade?
Is there a certain kind of urine that is more caustic (diet based)?
How much more is the pro model?
Who tests these kinds of things and how do they test them?
What makes it pro quality? Perhaps thicker plastic?
How does one go about deciding if the pro model is right for you?

I can almost see some of the pro quality urinal screen marketing material in my mind. Our new Pro Quality Urinal Screens are 45% more durable and stay looking new longer than traditional models. Made from a high density odor neutralizing propriety plastic that doesn't become brittle like the competition. Our BrightWhite feature resists staining and keeps your guests confident that you care about them...

I did end up having a Mr. Bali Hai in the souvenir mug, it was OK, I'll have something stronger next time though. The food reminded me of something that my grandmother would serve, heavy sweet sauces and heavy on the deep frying.

If you've enjoyed this post please consider subscribing to the RSS feed.

Coming Soon: That Guy

Welcome to my blog

Some would say that I travel a bit too much and I agree with them most of the time. On the other hand I get to come home with all kinds of interesting travel stories from the places that I've been and the people that I've met. I keep a traditional journal with me wherever I go and this blog is my attempt to share some of my experiences with someone other than myself.

I'll refer to my travel journals (I'm currently working on my third) for some of the more interesting travel stories and then I'll be adding things once they happen.

A little background on myself. I travel around the world training people how to use EEG equipment in universities, clinics and hospitals. There is also the occasional NASA mission or National Geographic special that I've been lucky enough to work on but mostly it's universities.

I've been to Chile, Taiwan, South Korea, Germany, Finland, Norway, Spain, France, The UK, most of Canada as well as several other countries. I've translated from English to English and I've seen all kinds of crazy people in airports.

New posts will come on Wednesdays, hopefully even while I travel. Please comment on my posts if you feel like.