We recently asked Intrepid Express readers to tell us about their best travelling coincidences and apart from hearing some great ‘six degrees of separation’ tales, stories like Sharon Slater’s proved beyond doubt that it’s a very small world…
“Last year I travelled across Northern Africa from Cairo to Marrakesh on a small group tour. In fact there were less than 10 of us left by the time we reached Morocco. None of us had known each other before the tour, except for an Aussie couple on their way to work in the UK.
After six weeks of wonderful and exotic experiences we all said good-bye at Marrakesh and headed our separate ways; most of us bound for further travels but different destinations.
It’s believed by many that the world’s first recipes date back to the time of the Pharoahs. In ancient Egypt the staple diet included bread, honey, peas, beans and tasty vegetables such as garlic and onions, with meat only consumed on special occasions.
Today many delicious vegetarian dishes can still be enjoyed in Egypt and here are two recipes that have definitely stood the test of time…
Based on the amount of vodka consumed in Russia, you can be excused for thinking everything is pickled! But there happens to be a special vegetable preserve that is celebrated each summer, as Intrepid’s Rachel Wasser explains…
“Entering Suzdal, in Moscow’s Golden Ring and just three hours from the capital, is like stepping back in time. Our Taste of Russia trip visits this unique city and helps convey a totally different image of Russia than any of the bigger cities like Moscow or St Petersburg.
In the markets of Vietnam you will see mounds of fresh and delicious tofu – so many different kinds cooked in every way possible.
Here are a few recipes for you to enjoy at home, to keep your wonderful memories of Indochina on the tip of your tongue…
Tofu Soup (Canh Dau Hu)
3 large dried shiitake mushrooms
6 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
20 rau ram leaves, plus extra for garnish, or 10 sprigs cilantro, plus extra leaves for garnish
6 ounces baby bok choy, root ends trimmed, and leaves separated, or spinach
10 ounces medium-firm tofu, rinsed, drained, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
coarse sea salt
freshly ground white pepper
1 scallion, trimmed and thinly sliced diagonally
This November, twenty-five emergency services personnel will run 6000km down the east coast of Australia, to draw attention to the dangers of climate change and to raise funds for the development of a safe climate plan for Australia.
The Run will raise awareness and funds for not-for-profit group Safe Climate Australia, which is preparing a low carbon transition plan for Australia.
When you take time to get to know a local community the benefits can include a greater understanding of complex cultural contrasts, as Intrepid Express reader Jeremy Wilson discovered in Thailand…
“A short time back, the BBC reported that a rural school in Thailand risked using their campus for a peculiar experiment: they provided an extra washroom on their grounds; one for boys, one for girls, and one for ‘katoeys‘. The headline read “Thai school offers transsexual toilet.”
If encountered by an individual unfamiliar with Thai culture, such an article will automatically elicit some curiosity on the reader’s behalf. There are so many possible questions that an innocent person could potentially pose concerning this unusual topic. Let’s try to illuminate this murky matter.
When considering supporting local events such a the Pamplona running of the bulls or bullfighting in Catalonia, as with most animal welfare matters Intrepid Travel has chosen to side with the experts at the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA).
While we appreciate that events such as Pamplona’s famous bull run are steeped in tradition, it doesn’t detract from the fact that bulls are forced to run en masse down cobbled streets, which causes significant stress and risks serious injury to both the bulls and the people attending. Many of WSPA’s member societies in Spain, France and Portugal are working hard to get this cruel practice banned.
Laos is excited to be hosting the 25th Southeast Asian Games this December. Preparations are well under way and Intrepid’s Nicki Gibson was recently enjoying the pre-games events when she was surprised to see an old friend…
“This is the first time Laos has been the host country and with Vientiane full of colour and buzzing with activity, it looks as if this will be a fantastic place to witness the celebrations from 09-18 December 2009.
The closest Khmer word for ‘strength’ is clang and according to Intrepid’s Jo Crisp, this is certainly something that is not weakened by wild weather in Cambodia…
“Siem Reap, home of World Heritage Angkor Wat, was the Venice of Asia in the aftermath of Typhoon Ketsana that rocked the Philippines and Vietnam. Storms hit Cambodia causing torrential downpours and flooding in many parts of the country.
On Tuesday night, 29 September, water was about a metre from my front door when I went to bed. By 4am the water started lapping at my fingers as I slept. I awoke to find water was over a metre deep throughout my house and small fish were calling my bedroom home! So after grabbing essential items and raising everything up on shelves and cupboards I waded out to the street to join the hordes of people who were also flooded out of their houses.
Just because a country has the same official language, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll understand everything that is said. Intrepid’s Kim Bowden helps us untangle the local lingo so you can better understand the people you meet while on holiday in New Zealand…
“New Zealand slang has developed over time from such a diverse mixture of backgrounds that it is sometimes difficult to establish exactly which colloquialisms are originally from New Zealand! However, be assured that all of these listed words and phrases are used with regularity throughout New Zealand. Hopefully they will help give you a better understanding of what your Kiwi mates are really trying to tell ya!…