Sitting on little plastic stools and drinking from thick glasses with more imperfections and bubbles than the beer they hold, this is what Intrepid’s Bruce McPhie loves about enjoying a Bia Hoi in Vietnam…
“Xin chao, Bia Hoi, hello!” Over the non-stop horns and rumble of Hanoi’s crazy street traffic, the man’s voice booms out. I glance across to the other side of the road, being careful not to walk into a weaving motorbike or a street seller with loaded bamboo pole strung across her shoulders, but I already know the owner of the voice and his familiar call. With fond memories, I acknowledge his friendly smile and wave, as he stands in his old black suit on the opposite pavement.
Aside from Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dr Evil, the most famous things to come out of Belgium are definitely food and drink related. Everyone immediately envisages beer, waffles and chocolate when thinking of Belgium, but as Intrepid’s Hannah Cartmel explains, that’s not even the half of it…
“Did you know French Fries were actually invented in Belgium? Mussels, often cooked in beer, are another local favourite. The Dutch influence has made stoemp, braadworst and speculaas national dishes – these respectively being, a type of mashed potato, a bloody sausage and a spiced biscuit. French flavours include a local version of boeuf bourguignon and Salade Liegoise, which is a take on the famous Salade Nixoise. The endive (witlof or chicon) is often deliciously gratinated, and yes, the Brussels Sprout is commonly eaten in the country’s capital city, only it’s usually drowned in butter.
We are delighted to be returning to Timor-Leste in 2010 with 4 departures from July to September. Places are filling fast as the word spreads that Timor has the welcome mats back out, and our friends across the country are eager to see Intrepid travellers again.
Jane Crouch, our Responsible Travel Manager and resident Timor-phile took a world music choir over to tour the country last August. Jane writes, “It was simply sensational returning after a two-and-a-half year absence. As we travelled around many of my favourite communities across the country, and visited some that were new to me, my heart and soul were filled with the feeling that we were in the right places at the right time. At our gig in Baucau, Timor’s second largest town, around 400 people of all ages came out for the evening and joined in the dance and songs of the 5 performing groups. At a smaller gathering in Los Palos in the east, after we sang the moving song Walk With Me, we were overwhelmed when a young musician said “We want you to walk with us.”
It’s been a long time between drinks for this part of Australia, so this week’s top trip is an exciting new 4-day adventure that soaks up the spirit of the outback.
Huge Lake Eyre, the normally dry salt lake 11 metres below sea level in the centre of Australia, is filling with water. The parched land is coming to life as recent torrential rain water is making its way slowly from the east coast of Oz to the desert. On Lake Eyre and The Outback you get to travel out to the banks of Lake Eyre and see some of the country’s most spectacular scenery while witnessing the rebirth of this magical land. Join a 2 hour flight over Lake Eyre and Cooper Creek, pass through the rarely visited Tiari Desert via the remote Oodnadatta track and take an unforgettable sunset cruise down Spencer Gulf with breathtaking views over the magnificent Flinders Ranges.
The first departures of Lake Eyre and The Outback take off in June, so don’t miss witnessing this once-in-a-lifetime event!
* photo by Paul Lumbewe – Intrepid Photography Competition
There are so many brilliant spots to enjoy a lager or two, but here’s a couple of the best bars from our Intrepid team…
Skyline Bar in Riga, Latvia: It’s at the top of what’s probably the tallest hotel in the city and has an almost 360 degrees view. Best to go at night for a drink, but arrive early for a window seat. It is a trendy place and locals go there as well. The beer might not be as cheap as in the city’s cool little basement bars, but the view is awesome!
Intrepid Travel is currently looking into publishing our first Sustainability Report which will give our people (i.e YOU!) an insight into how the company is managing its impacts on the environment, society, the communities we operate in and more. But we need YOUR help.
Please assist us by sharing your thoughts and as thanks for completing our survey you could WIN a carbon offset trip in Thailand!
To make a big difference to your planet this Earth Day, consider one of the following outstanding conservation projects through The Intrepid Foundation.
You can help support:
The fabulous making of essential school kits out of trash in Bihar, India through GOONJ; help save endangered turtles in Vietnam through work at Cuc Phuong National Park; support the restoration of the habitat of extraordinary wildlife on the island of Floriana in the Galapagos through The Charles Darwin Foundation; help keep families in remote villages of Peru healthy through the provision of ceramic water filters, or help the Tat Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre rescue endangered Asiatic black bears from the illegal wildlife trade in Laos.
When it comes to protecting our planet, Brazil isn’t leaving anything to chance. The country’s per capita emission rate of CO2 per year remains well below the global average and it has been a leader in negotiations to introduce carbon-trading mechanisms. This commitment extends to local tourism, as Intrepid Express reader Shannon Smith explains…
“I found myself kitting up for a day of river snorkelling. This is the thing to do in Bonito as it claims to have the world’s clearest river. I wasn’t sure what to expect. Images of a dark, slimy waterway circulated in my mind, as none of the rivers back home would really entice me to dive in donning a snorkel and mask.
Before trekking Nepal we need to all ask ourselves “How can I hike responsibly?” Here’s some advice from our good friends at KEEP – the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project in Nepal, on how to be a responsible trekker in their beautiful mountainous land:
* Pack adequate warm clothes so as not to depend on fires for warmth.
* For women a mid-calf length skirt or loose trousers, and for men trousers or knee-length shorts (long trousers in monasteries) are respectful of local customs.