Posts Tagged ‘travel’

This is the first official episode of Tattoo Nomad!

It is more or less the format of the show going forward. I expect running time to increase to maybe 30 to 40 minutes as more content is added.

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Back from Idaho and none too soon. Apparently a massive front was in the process of moving into Boise on the day of our departure with a forecast of 20 inches of snow! I don’t know if we would have been able to fly out in that weather. We enjopyed our stay, visiting with my mom and her boyfriend, but I am a creature of heat, humidity and sun. Layering clothes is not something that I enjoy. Nor are frozen metatarsals or the phenomena known as snow.

Looking at our itinerary and doing the math we came to the conclusion that Delta had deliberately misled us. To fly into and out of Boise on Delta required a stop over in Salt Lake City, which to those familiar with geography, is in a state that is east of Idaho, meaning past our destination. I could understand this (somewhat) because Boise is not a hub of any kind and so going backwards to go forwards makes some rational sense, I suppose (although my previous trips to Boise, departing from California were all direct. Hmmm…). At any rate, upon leaving Boise our itinerary stated that we would take one airplane to SLC, where we would board another airplane that would bring us back home to Kona. However, when we did the math in regards to total travel time, it amounted to nearly 12 hours! Now I love Integral Calculus as much as the next guy (cough, cough, sputter) but our trip to Boise, which consisted of 3 airplane rides took 5 hours (Kona to Portland), 1.25 hours (Portland to SLC), and .75 hours (SLC to Boise), respectively. Using my handy-dandy brain I arrived at the total of flying time of 7 hours with 2.5 hours of lay-over time. So, 9.5 hours, give or take a Canadian Goose in the engine. Why was the return trip, with one less airplane, taking an extra 2.5 hours? Did flying East to West somehow take longer? Did it involve the rotation of the earth, atmospheric conditions undisclosed, or the mysterious Potato Triangle? Were we flying forward in time which required an extra 2.5 hours for our past selves to catch up with our present? Unfortunately, the answer was much less glamorous and involved transportation subterfuge of the likes that we have never before witnessed.

After numerous attempts to reconcile the missing 2.5 hours by visiting the Delta site, calling the airline (“Sorry, but due to bad weather, we are not able to answer your call”. Since when did weather and picking up a phone share any commonalities?) and consulting the Ouija board, Jenga sculpture and passing up the chance to buy Boardwalk, we came across a nugget of information that shed light on our flight plight.
Hidden in our flight from SLC to Kona was a ghost plane!
Wait, that is kinda glamorous. No, but really, it wasn’t.
Apparently, once we left SLC we landed in California (LAX) where we deplaned, waited for 2 hours and then boarded another aircraft (both airplanes sharing the same flight number) which then took us home to Hawaii. Thus we found the missing 2.5 hours. Yay! But why all the sneaking on their part, why not just come out and say that there was another flight and save everyone the displeasure of having to bust out a graphing calculator? Well, it seems that Delta likes to oversell flights and then cut those overbooked people out just as they board the airplane. By not disclosing that information it also helps to mitigate those angry folks who suck at math and/or reading itineraries, that like to jam switchboards with their concerns. The bottom line? It’s bad business. And we will never fly Delta again if we can help it.

So, 12 hours later we are sitting at home and my head feels like the inside of a snow shoe. The ringing in my ears is at a constant 140db and I’m chomping at the bit to move around the cabin.
Upon waking this morning, I felt disoriented, half-dead, half-alive; Schrodinger’s Cat without the lesson plan.

The appeal of sea travel entices me now, more than ever. Mainly because ships don’t make stops in Idaho or Utah or for that matter, anywhere that there is a delta.

I’ve been busy at the shop for the past few days and haven’t had time to post anything significant on my blog. So to keep things moving along I’ve decided to post a recipe for Pad Thai that I picked up during a cooking class at Apple Guesthouse in Kanchanaburi, Thailand.
While on a tour, my wife Anna and I (and the rest of the tour group), stopped in the town of Kanachanaburi on our way back to Bangkok. From the train station we each climbed aboard our own individual rickshaws and headed out into the city on our way to Apple Guesthouse.
Up to that point we had experienced the many different modes of transportation that Thailand had to offer. The tuktuk, which is basically a dirty, two-stroke scooter with a third wheel and a bench seat, the longtail speed boat which was a slender almost canoe like water craft, that was propelled by a car engine bolted to the aft section of the boat. The propeller shaft running straight from the back of the motor was nearly fifteen feet long and hand operated so that the driver could lift it out of the water to avoid floating debris. We had also ridden various buses, trains, boats and even elephants! All in less than a week.
When we arrived at Apple Guesthouse we settled in and ate with the rest of the group before retiring to our rooms for the night. Needless to say, the food in Thailand is delicious. And at Apple Guesthouse, famous for their culinary expertise, we were treated to the best food of the trip.
The next morning our tour guide informed us that we could choose our activity for the day. The first was to visit a waterfall in the area, which required another bus ride and some hiking. The second choice was to take a cooking class, offered by the head chef of AGH. Since I had had enough of motorized travel, but more so because I live in a place teeming with waterfalls, I choose to pass on the excursion. Besides I like to cook.
As it turned out, the head chef was a katoi whom we had all seen the night before during dinner, when we all thought he was a very attractive woman! Since everyone on the tour happened to be couples and since my wife had elected to go on the waterfall tour, that left me the odd man out. The katoi informed everyone to partner up. When he noticed that I had no partner,  he looked at me and said with emotionless expression, “You and me. We will make beautiful food together. I will be gentle.”
As everyone else chuckled to themselves I could only smile and nod. He then took us to a farmer’s market where he talked about the regional fruits and veggies and abundance of proteins. Never in my life had I seen such a diversity of raw ingredients. After we purchased the ingredients that we were going to be using to prepare our meals, we headed back to AGH to get our cook on.
This recipe is the first one that he taught us and what sticks in my mind more than anything is his teaching style, which reminded me a bit of the ‘Soup Nazi’ from Seinfeld.
He would say things like, “Coconut milk? Who told you to cook with coconut milk? We making pad thai, not dessert! You want something sweet? Eat ice cream bar!”
Or, “Fast, fast! Stir it fast! In Thai cooking, all about heat and how fast you make stir! You need hot wok, perfect temperature. Like life, heat is what brings everything together, makes flavor!”
But the most memorable line was after we had completed four different courses of curries. He wouldn’t allow us to sample any of the dishes until all four were completed.
When we had plated all four types, he said, “You all like curry? Thai curry the best. Now you know the difference: red, yellow, green, massaman. You think now you can tell difference, beside color?”
We all smiled and nodded.
“Good” he continued. “Because now I want you to eat all this curry! Eat it all! Now! Fast! Before it get cold! Taste the difference! Eat it! Eat it!”
We were so intimidated that all we could do was shovel the stuff into our mouths as fast as we were able. Needless to say, after that experience it took me a good two years before I could even bring myself to look at curry sideways.
Enjoy!

Pad Thai

Ingredients:

1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp tamarind or substitue apple vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce

1 package thai rice noodles

bean sprouts
spring onion
carrot

1 bunch shallot
1 daikon (radish)
1 egg

peanuts
lime juice
chili flakes
water
oil

wok or large skillet

note: when using dry noodles, place in COLD water for 5 min

On medium heat add to wok, 2 tbsp oil, shallot, daikon and egg, scramble lightly

remove wok from heat

add

1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp tamarind (apple vinegar sub)
2 tbsp soy sauce
noodles (once they are soft)
1/4 to 1/2 cup water

increase heat to high, stir quickly
add, chili and vegetables, keep stirring quickly 2-4 minutes
serve

Note: Pad Thai is made to order in Thailand, unlike the states where it is often made and stored in a container. Therefore this dish is very quick to prepare and the key to it is the preparation of the noodles. They should not be sticky. Real Pad Thai does not clump together, which is a sign of over cooking.