Archive for the year 2013
Upon first hearing the term “liming,” I thought it was describing a culinary term; however, in Trinidad & Tobago
, liming is an actual activity. Referring to the art of doing nothing while sharing food, drink, conversation and laughter, liming is an important part of the country’s island culture. In fact, it’s not uncommon for locals to say something like “let’s go lime” to mean “let’s chill or hangout.”
Why Is Liming Cultural?
Trinidad & Tobago is part of the Caribbean, and therefore has that laid-back vibe and carefree way of thinking present in many island cultures. Here, however, they take doing nothing to another level. For hanging out to be considered liming the activity cannot have a larger purpose other than just hanging out. Additionally, the activity is inherently social, requiring two or more people with the ability for others to join in at any time.
What’s interesting is that while many other cultures consider lounging around doing nothing as shameful or lazy, the activity is actually something locals take pride in in Trinidad. Class and status play no part in this cultural facet, as everyone from the unemployed to the…
Many times when you’re traveling long-term, and sometimes even during shorter trips, you’ll find yourself having to stay a night or two in a small town with not much to do. Instead of sitting around complaining about how you have to waste a travel day, use these tips to make the most of your small town stopover.
1. Get To Know The Locals
If you’re having trouble finding interesting things to do in the town you’re in, look to the people to satiate your curiosity. Get to know interesting locals like artisans, bartenders and chefs and hear their stories. Learn about their up upbringings, what they do in their spare time, their jobs and their unique life experiences in the town you’re visiting.
2. Ask For Recommendations
Segueing from getting to know the locals, you can also look to these people for recommendations on things to do. Certain experiences aren’t apparent upon simply walking down the street. Maybe there’s a bakery that serves an unusual pastry, a nearby scenic hiking trail or a bar that makes interesting handcrafted cocktails. If anyone can give you a recommendation for something that will pique your interest,…
It’s not an official or scientific test. Yet, generally, I can tell how good a spa is by the quality of their granola. When I go back for a second helping, I relax and trust that I’m in good hands. My granola litmus test at the Wine & Roses Spa was an accurate massage prediction. Both were amazing.
I arrived an hour early to soak in one of the spa’s two outdoor plunge pools. After a late deadline and an early flight, I needed it. Under gentle pines and elegant landscaping, I watched the leaves fall beside me as a jet gave my back a pre-massage. Then I headed to the outdoor sauna with a looking glass door. Usually, I’m not a fan of saunas or steam rooms. I always feel so boxed in. But being able to see the lush garden through the glass, I felt expansive and relaxed. Pampered. At least for a hot minute before the glass door steamed up and my gorgeous view disappeared into a white fragrant fog.
After my steam, I waited in the octagon relaxation room for my massage. Indeed, I indulged in a few…
Although Hello Kitty was invented in Japan, locals of Taiwan are obsessed — evident by their Hello Kitty Castle in Hsinchu, Hello Kitty Maternity Hospital in Yuanlin and currently-under-renovation Hello Kitty Restaurant in Taipei. Luckily, I was privy to the unique cultural experience of spending time in the Hi-Lai Plaza Hotel’s Hello Kitty guestroom, said to be the world’s dreamiest Hello Kitty themed room.
Awash in wall-to-wall pink, the hotel features a Hello Kitty bedspread, Hello Kitty curtains, a Hello Kitty-square bed headboard, a Hello Kitty shaped bathroom mirror, Hello Kitty bathroom amenities, Hello Kitty artwork and even a Hello Kitty radio that plays Hello Kitty music. You can also have breakfast with a live Hello Kitty, ride around town in a pink Hello Kitty car and ride around on a Hello Kitty bicycle. For a truly luxury experience, head to 7-11 for some Hello Kitty Lychee Rose wine, (which I’m sure is rated by Wine Spectator). Ironically enough, you may need to call 7-11 and make a special reservation for the wine, as it’s not always in stock. If you like super-sweet hot pink drinks that take you back to…
When I was in elementary school, my first grade teacher taught us to tell the difference in spelling “desert” and “dessert”. ”Dessert” has two s’s, because you always want another helping
, whereas “desert” only has one, because who in their right mind would want a second helping of something so dusty, dry, and hot? Mrs. Brown certainly knew a thing or two about spelling tricks, but she had clearly never spent much time in a desert, or at least the one I was in.
The White Stallion Ranch in Tucson, Arizona
, is nestled between mountains and desert, with the sky reaching as far as the eye can see. Early to bed and early to rise certainly has its place on a dude ranch, as there’s enough activity to keep you going from sunrise to sunset, then immediately crashing.
Each morning we’d awake to a gorgeous blue painted sky, and head over to the dining hall for a homemade breakfast.
“I think the American West really attracts me because it’s romantic. The desert, the empty space, the drama.” -Ang Lee
Then it was off to the stables…
One of Europe’s liveliest festivals, yet one of the least known, is Jao Joao Festival
which is in Portugal
‘s second largest city of Porto. Saint John, the patron saint of lovers, watches over as the town gets all lit up, decked out, and the good food flows like sweet Port wine.
The festivities have been held in the city for more than six centuries, yet it was during the 19th century that Saint John’s day became impregnated in the city’s culture and assumed the status of the city’s most important festival.
An interesting tradition among the people of Porto during the ‘Festa de São João’, with roots in pagan courtship rituals, is to hit each other either with garlic flowers or soft plastic hammers.
The event starts early in the afternoon of June 23 and usually lasts until the next morning. The traditional attractions of the night include street concerts, popular dancing parties, jumping over flames, eating barbecued sardines and meat, drinking wine and releasing illuminated flame-propelled balloons over Porto’s summer sky.
At midnight the partygoers make a short break to look at the sky at Saint John’s fireworks. The event has sacred roots but is also…
This breakfast plate at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, 220 Cottage Hill Avenue in Elmhurst, Illinois, may look edible, but it’s not.
Everything on the plates is stone — logical in a museum established to share the beauty of gemstones and promote the study of earth science.
As Sara Johnson writes in the museum’s newsletter, “Minerals are defined as solid compounds derived from geologic processes. Rocks are aggregates of minerals that are found in the earth’s crust. Together rocks and minerals contribute to everything on the earth, from the water we drink, to the plants we harvest, to the livestock we raise.
“Even our bodies are made of mineral.! Our teeth and bones are made of calcite and apatite, minerals composed of the elements calcium and phosphorus. Our sweat contains salt, which is the mineral halite and is composed of the elements sodium and chlorine. We even have iron in our blood to help carry oxygen to our organs.”
So, while these “meals” aren’t for eating, they are for “thinking” about the “dynamic relationship between the earth’s rock cycle and the food cycle,” as Ms. Johnson says. (Gives a whole new…
Today is Iceland’s National Independence Day and I am celebrating with locals in the very north in Iceland’s second largest town – Akureyri.
Icelandic National Day is known as
the day of the nation’s celebration and is an annual holiday in Iceland which commemorates the foundation of The Republic of Iceland
on June 17, 1944 and its independence from Danish rule.
The date was chosen to coincide with the birthday of Jón Sigurðsson
, a major figure of Icelandic culture and the leader of the 19th century Icelandic independence movement.
Both Reykjavik and Akureyri held parade celebrations, including a brass band at the fore. Riders on Icelandic horses precede the brass band and flagbearers from the Icelandic scout movement follow the brass band. It is also a day of speeches, dancing and traditional music, played by local bands in the area.
In Akureyri, I hung out with some local artists who are preparing for an art exhibit opening on Saturday June 22, so I went in for waffle and coffee, served with berry jams and syrup. I also ended up on art walk through the town center before getting lost in a little fur and wool in the town’s Geysir shop.
One of the…
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