Five+ Months of Fantastic Food Highlights

The idea of chronicling my favorite foods on the road has been germinating for awhile. I have referenced food at various points in the blog but I figured why not dedicate an entire post to it?

So here goes. My five favorites so far (listed chronologically, not in order of my favorite, which is too tough to decide) plus some highlights from all the countries I have visited in the trip.

1. Busiata with seafood and tomatoes capped off with espresso and gelato in San Vito Lo Capo, Italy – what’s not to like about local Sicilian pasta cooked al dente with fresh tomatoes and tasty seafood? My first meal in Sicily, courtesy of my Couchsurfing host Peppe, was also my best. It was simple yet delicious and cooked to perfection. Followed by a strong cup of espresso and a gigantic gelato cone in the beach town of San Vito Lo Capo, this meal was an excellent introduction to Sicilian cuisine. Deliciousness in moderation.


who can argue with fresh pasta in Italy?

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3 Months on the Road

Its hard to believe that my foreign adventure is soon coming up on three months. Such a milestone has given me the chance to reflect on my trip from a holistic perspective.

5 Most Memorable Experiences

  • Hiking in Mindanao with BMG – climbing the Philippines’ second and fourth highest mountains with a group of experienced (and fun loving) mountaineers. What really made this stand out was that I couldn’t have done or planned this on my own. It felt incredible to become part of the team for this climb, especially given the challenges that we faced along the way in hiking two of the Philippines’ highest mountains (namely the weather). While the hike tested my spirit and endurance, having a great group to travel with for my five days in Mindanao made this experience unlike any other I have had so far.

feeling glorious as we finished our hike

  • Bedouin tour in Wadi Rum – a jeep tour through the vast and breathtaking Jordanian desert. Climbing up rocks and running up sand dunes. A camel ride. Sunset and a filling buffet dinner in a Bedouin camp. Great conversation over tea while sitting under the stars. What’s not too like. This was a great day and a perfect way to recharge my batteries after a harrowing boat ride from Egypt to Jordan.

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A Travel Adventure from Tokyo to Manila

For the most part my luck has been pretty terrific so far on my trip. Unfortunately, my luck started to run out a bit the day I left Tokyo for Manila.

Tokyo

With a 6 pm flight from Narita Airport, I was able to take to take my time my last day in Tokyo. I woke up, had some breakfast, watched some football with Stephen and even got in a workout.

Since Stephen has a washer/dryer in his apartment, I waited until after my workout to do my laundry, figuring it could be the last chance I had to get in a good load of laundry for a while. Somewhat ignoring Stephen’s warnings about the quality of his dryer, I set the timer for 80 minutes after finishing my wash thinking that would be plenty of time to dry my small batch of clothes.

I then went out to lunch with Stephen and his girlfriend Nobue as a last meal before heading to the airport.

We got back from lunch at 2:30 pm, which was enough time for me to comfortably fold my clothes, finish packing up and walk to the metro station before catching a train to Tokyo station, where I could catch the express train to the airport at 3:30 pm. I needed to arrive at Tokyo station as early as possible to get a reservation for the express train so I was eager to move quickly. Read more of this post

Hiroshima

I was ambivalent about visiting Hiroshima. Besides being the site where the atomic bomb was dropped, I didn’t know anything about the city and was afraid it would be a real downer. But Tiffani, Nathan and Stephen kept assuring me that it would be a worthwhile place to visit and I decided to go straight from Kyoto using my rail pass.

It turned out to be a huge highlight of my time in Japan, wildly exceeding my expectations.

along the water in Hiroshima

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Week 8 Workouts

Saturday, September 1, 2012

  1. 250 pushups
  2. 500 crunches
  3. 500 Hindu squats
  4. 100 jumping squats

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Day off

Monday, September 3, 2012

Morning

  1. Four sets: 60 seconds plank holds, 25 sit ups
  2. 100 stationary bicycles (each side)

Evening

  1. 25 sprints of ~60m followed by jogging back to do 15 pushups after each sprint

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Another Japan Post

I’m still struggling to find a coherent theme or set of anecdotes to share from my time so far in Japan so I will stick to some transportation-related stories, general observations and a brief summary of what I have been up to.

The culture here is quite unique but I can’t help feeling that I’m only getting a skin deep sense of what it’s like here. There has to be more beneath the unfailing politeness, orderliness and efficiency than what I’m seeing. You get a glimpse of people’s wild side when you go out at night, but I just don’t understand what makes Japanese people tick.

Stephen and Nathan have tried to explain it to me, as well as what facets about the society appeal to them so much that they want to live here, but I’m just not absorbing it I guess. Not that it has in any way taken away from an incredible experience here. After all, who can complain about cleanliness, efficiency and really helpful people?

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Week 7 Workouts

With my travel to Japan this week, my workouts have suffered a bit although I have taken some great runs while in Tokyo.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Morning

  1. Five sets: 20 pull ups (bar is smaller than usual), 60 seconds of planks
  2. 100 crunches

Evening

  1. Went back to the gym with Wasim. Worked out chest and back.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

  1. Quick jog and some sprints with pull ups at Wasim’s place before leaving for my flight.

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Familiar Faces In Tokyo

My few days in Tokyo have felt completely different from the previous six and a half weeks of my trip.

For the first time on my trip I have visited with old friends. Not that I haven’t enjoyed meeting new people on the road but there is a greater sense of comfort when you are with people you know.

And Japan is a stark change from the Middle East. It’s much cleaner, safer, the infrastructure is significantly better and it’s way more expensive.

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