Once upon a time I was walking down the streets of Yerevan when my sandal broke. The sole had become partially unstuck – which made for some very awkward walking. But as I’m not Cinderella hence no magic spell was about to turn me into a pumpkin when the clock struck midnight the whole idea of running barefoot back “home” didn’t really appeal to me. Thus I shuffled along, slowly making my way back to the hostel where I had a pair of trainers waiting for me.
A few minutes later one of my friends remembered he had seen a cobbler nearby the previous day so instead of heading to the hostel we went in search of the cobbler. His “nearby” and my nearby weren’t the same – particularly as walking with a falling-apart-sandal was proving more annoying by the minute. Then, there he was. I pointed at my shoe, he pointed towards his chair. I sat, took of my sandal and handed it to him. He examined it, carefully cleaned it, glued it back together and handed it back. I used the universal sign for “how much do I owe you?” He replied with a smile and a universal sign for “nothing, it was my pleasure”.
P.S. With my shoe fixed, walking back to the hostel took less than 5 minutes. So yes, my friend had been right when he said nearby.
P.P.S. don’t know why I didn’t want to take my shoes off though, I’ve walked barefoot in NYC so why not Yerevan?
My first year living in china was spent in a small town in the mountains in the south western tip of Shaanxi Province. When you live in a small Chinese town you get to experience China in a unique way and by small town I mean somewhere so small Chinese people from other areas had never heard of it. And more importantly so small I was the sole foreigner in the town. Continue reading “Living in China as a foreigner Part 1: being a celebrity”
In my “who am I ” page I mention that I love reading yet I never mention books in my posts. The reason for this is because more often than not my reading is completely unrelated to my traveling. Nonetheless there have been times when I felt like an almighty power was conspiring to make me read books set in or related to the places I was visiting.
It all started with Mustafa and Burç in Istanbul – two friends in their late 20’s early 30’s sharing an apartment who were our first hosts. They were our first peek into the spectacular world of turkish hospitality. We spent an entire week with them and never felt we were overstaying our welcome, getting in the way of their lives, or pressured to do anything.
A few kilometers off the coast from Maputo lies Xefina, a tantalizing and enigmatic island best described as a combination of eerie and bizarre. Ruins of an old Portuguese jail and enormous batteries built by the Portuguese to defend Maputo Bay during WW 1 and 2 engulf the Island with an air of history, tragedy, and death… Continue reading “Xefina island, where nature and history play at magic realism”
Chinese people avoid the sun like the plague. For them the beauty standard ideal is to be as pale as possible thus getting a tan is obviously something to be avoided at all costs. This is valid for both men and women – perhaps a bit more for women but during my years living in China I saw plenty of men using parasols. Why is pale skin considered prettier? Well, I’ll let Wikipedia explain the historical reasons for it and leave it at that because if I start on the connotations derived from this…. well, it would be one very long post.
Anyway, back when I was living in Xian – China I missed the sea terribly so on one of my holidays I decided to go to Hainan and spend a week in Sanya (Hainan is China’s southernmost province and it happens to be a tropical island). Knowing that the Chinese abhor being under the sun did not prepare me for what I experienced there. Continue reading “A Chinese style beach holiday”
Spain has so many stunning beaches I never even considered Ibiza as a destination. You see, Ibiza is so famous for its party scene that I just wasn’t interested. However when I saw a return flight to Ibiza going for 20euros it didn’t take long for my love of bargains to overrun my aversion to what I pictured Ibiza to be. And wow was I in for a surprise!
Going to markets in every country I visit has become a routine (evidenced here, here, and here). Not only is it a simple and pleasant way to gain insight into the local culture but hopefully I’ll also discover a new type of fruit. Plus it’s always a cheap way to get fresh fruit and veggies. However, when I visited Georgia the focus shifted from the produce to the people selling it. For the first time ever the vendors where the highlight of my visits. Not just once, but in every single market I went to in Georgia it was always the vendors that stood out. Continue reading “Why I will always have a soft spot for Georgian markets.”
Sublime. The only word I need to express what I think of Georgian food. As to how I feel about it, is there a word stronger than love?
I’m not a foodie, gastronome, epicure, food critic, etc. I’m a simple person that like most other humans out there enjoys eating good food. Consuming food, after all, is an essential part of our existence so we might as well enjoy it. Having said that I must now admit it’s not always easy doing so. Particularly when you are traveling and the options in front of you are not your cup of tea. Other times though you arrive somewhere where the food is so superb it blows your mind. Georgia was the latter. Continue reading “Irresistible Georgian Food”
I’m sure I’m not the only one that read a million other blog posts and sites about blogging before starting to blog myself. It’s not so much that I didn’t know what a blog was about but that I wanted to do it right. I guess that’s just my modus operandi; I’ll read everything possible before making a decision (you should see me when I’m thinking about buying a new piece equipment).