Question & Answer #2

Ryan Ricard via Facebook: What is the weirdest thing you ate? Tastiest thing you ate?

Weirdest thing would probably have to be grasshopper (which gave me food poisoning) or some BBQ pig intestines I got from street vendors in Bangkok. I also had some Mekong river weed in Luang Prabang, Laos, which was actually pretty good. It was like a very light cracker.

I had fish and chips in Rarotonga made out of parrot fish, which I thought was sort of odd.

The best foods I’ve had would include:

  • Foie gras from Piccaso’s restaurant in Las Vegas. I ate there at the very start of my trip. I had always seen it used on the Iron Chef and wanted to taste it myself. It was great.
  • Samgyupsal in Busan, South Korea. It basically giant slabs of bacon you cook at your table. You cut the pork with a scissorsand wrap it in lettuce. It was a memorable meal because I was taken there by a woman I met on the boat from Fukuoka to Busan.
  • Poisson Cru in Tahiti. This is the national dish of French Polynesia and it was great. I had it at a Roulette (lunch wagon) in Papeete. It is raw or seared tuna in a coconut sauce with cucumber and onion. It is really good.
  • Hommos with shawarma. I’ve been eating this all the time in the Middle East. It is just hommos with lamb and sometimes pine nuts mixed in. Simple but good. (FYI, Hommos is how I’ve seen it spelled in the Gulf, not hummus.)
  • Rambutan. I have discovered this fruit on my travels. I love it. I could eat it all day.
  • Japanese set dinner. I had several while I was in Japan. The courses may very, but every one was amazing. In Yakushima I had a crystal clear fish soup that was the best soup I’ve ever had in my life.

Bill Zalenski via Facebook: What do you carry on your daily excursions?

If I am just walking around I will usually have my wallet with me inside a special zippered pocket inside my front pockets, my iPod touch and my point and shoot camera.

If I am out at some tourist attraction, I will also have my camera bag with me. The contents of my camera bag is probably worthy of an entire post by itself. The bag just goes over one shoulder and has my SLR and my video camera.

If I am going out to eat I will bring my small backpack with me with a book and/or my laptop inside. If I bring my laptop I also bring a laptop cable.

@jessiev I’d love to know why you choose where you’re headed next. thanks!

The next countries I’ll be visiting:

  • Kuwait. I don’t plan on spending too much time here, but give the importance of the country in the last two decades, I thought I should visit if I was going to be in the region.
  • Egypt. You can’t really go around the world and not see the Great Pyramid. I am also going to cruise down the Nile, visit Alexandria, dive in the Red Sea and maybe visit a monastery in the Sinai.
  • Jordan. Petra is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Also, my favorite movie of all time is Lawrence of Arabia, which was shot in Jordan, so I’d like to see Wadi Rum.
  • Israel. Again, its the Holy Land. Its kind of a big deal. I’d like to swim in the Dead Sea and visit all the religious sights of Jerusalem.
  • Italy. I’m a sucker for Roman ruins and I’ve always wanted to visit the Vatican.

A better question might be why I am not visiting certain places. I want to get back to the US for a few months this spring, so I’m skipping some places like Turkey and Syria for a later time.

@urpisdream Any advice for people trying to figure out how they can start up their own ‘everywhere trip’?

Don’t worry about planning for the trip. Worry about taking care of things at home. There are a million reasons why people don’t take extended trips like this: job, home, family, etc. The actual traveling part is easy. Overcoming what is keeping you from traveling is the hard part.

Figure out how long you are going to be gone and what you need to take care of before you leave. It will be hard to take care of them once you are gone. Make sure you have access to money, talk to your bank, etc.

Don’t worry what people think about you leaving. They will change their mind once you are on the road.

8 thoughts on “Question & Answer #2”

  1. I, for one, would really love to know what’s in your camera bag. It’d be awesome to see what you’ve chosen as important for getting the images you want vs. keeping things light.

  2. Hi, your experience is really amazing!
    I just discovered an awesome website that could help travelers planning their trips :
    If you feel like a new Marco Polo, you should definitely take a look!
    It’s a community-based website for travelers and craftspeople around the world who talk about the neat items they create and the cool finds they make!
    You can share your best travel experiences by uploading unusual, authentic or ethical cool finds and though help other travelers to locate the cool objects to bring back from their trips! You can also show the world your personal creations.
    And of course, it’s totally free.
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  3. Rambutan! Oh gosh, I could eat a whole kilo in the same time, I had a serious addiction on them on our trip. Grasshoppers are actually very nice, kinda nutty and oily snacks. Did you try any spiders in Cambodia? I didn't have guts to eat them, I think they are the most disgusting creatures dead or alive…

    I don't know if you have time, but I really recommend Syria and Lebanon since you like ruins so much. One of the greatest Roman ruins ever are in there – and you have to believe me, I used to study Classical Archaeology! Palmyra in Syria is a classic, but also Apamea in the Northern Syria is magnificent, and usually empty from tourists. Lebanon, on the other hand, has the biggest Roman temple in the World (Jupiter Temple in Baalbek) and the biggest hippodrome in the World (in Tyre). But if you go to Israel, make sure you don't get stamps to your passport – also not the opposite borders in Jordan/Egypt, since Syrians and Lebanese are very strict on this. Other than that, you can get the tourist visas on both in borders without any problems.

  4. If you go to Pompeii and Herculaneum, it's easiest to stay in Naples, and the best place to stay in Naples is Hostel of the Sun.
    And my absolute FAVORITE place in Italy is Cinque Terre, up in the north, so DON'T miss it!! (When I went, I stayed about half an hour north, at a convent, which was cool. It's in Chiavari, if you're interested.) But I'd really recommend Cinque Terre. And it's a good test of how in shape you've gotten :) Take two days and hike two trails a day– it's absolutely beautiful, the towns are charming, though super-touristy, and you can swim in the sea along the way. It's also only a few hours away from Pisa, Genoa, and Florence, so you can pick a home base and travel by train quite easily.

    In Egypt, beware the scammers– don't accept anything from anybody, or you will lose your money. They're especially rampant around the pyramids. If you want to take a camel ride, agree on a price and pay early, but you're expected to give a tip afterwards. Keep small bills in your pockets so that you can give them something small, because they won't give change. “La” means “no,” and you'll use it a lot. “La shuk-ran” is “no, thank you,” and if you don't need to be too forceful, you'll use that a lot too :) I recommend going to the market, eating super-cheap street food, drinking watermelon juice, and eating fish in Alexandria.

    It's been so much fun reading about your travels :)

  5. Gary

    Great travelblog, I am reading every entry sisnce newzealand.

    Any plans to visit Africa? I mean subsaharan Africa? A travel around thw world wont be complete wihout visiting the serengetty and/or ngongoro, right?

    • Karim, you are 100% correct. No trip around the world would be complete without going to those places. I'd also add Victoria Falls, the Namib Desert, Great Zimbabwae, Mount Kilimanjaro.

      I wont be getting there in 2009. I am trying to get back to the US this spring as I haven't seen my friends and family in almost 2 years. I would like to make my Africa trip in 2010 or 2011.

  6. Ooh, I love rambutan! Good call. I once had wasp larvae on the Mekong River–definitely lots of odd things to try. Thanks for posting and sharing your experiences!

  7. Hi Gary, does it sometimes happen to you that what you read in travel books/travel sites is different and sometimes disappointing than what is written?

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