Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Meat vs Vegi in Buenos Aires


Currently sat outside a café in Buenos Aires with free wireless internet access. Got a great cappuccino which came automatically with a little glass of fizzy mineral water and a little croissant with a blob of milk based caramel in the middle. How can you keep your weight down with free cake, especially when the coffees are so small!
Being a vegetarian in Buenos Aires in Argentina has been very easy. There are lots of Italian style dishes like pizza and pasta but with LOADS more cheese heaped on top. Lost of yummy salads and you always get bread with your food.
Meat is a big thing in Argentina though and they eat every part. In many restaurants you see big grillers or in some you see a big wooden fire with big hunks of meat hanging at the side. The smell is pretty good even for a vego. Needless to say Bianca dived in head first to a big, juicy, dripping bit of cow. I think it’s her first steak for a year (well done!) so I had to get a photo of her caught in the act.
Managed to get another meat shot while walking around. Found this hunk of ribcage on the side of the footpath…I guess it fell out of someone’s bread bun =)
By the way you may be interested in this report about the main culprits behind global warming according to the UN. Forget buying a hybrid car - just eat less meat ;) Thanks Chris for pointing me to this.

Don't cry for me, Argentina

Eva Peron lies here
Angel boy
... the truth is, I never left you - I'm just sleeping in Recoleta Cemetery.
This Buenos Aires necropolis is truly mind-blowing, and budget-blowing if you want to spend the rest of eternity entombed in one of the thousands of marble-and-iron clad mausoleums here. Never have I seen such a stylish cemetery. There's an excess of stone angels and cherubs weeping heaven-wards and the doors to the tombs are all heavily guarded (why?) with beautiful art-deco iron work.
Argentina's most famous political diva Eva Peron is buried here, although apparently her body had to be snuck in under cover of darkness (not sure if that was to avoid paying or evade political foes).
The place is also crawling with cats, spread out on the warm marble enjoying the sun. Seems appropriate that they be the unofficial guardians of the dead - after my experience in Istanbul (see earlier entry) I'm convinced all cats are the spawn of the underworld.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Buenos Aires - Stencil Art

Buenos Aires - Stencil Art

Argentina seems politically active judging by all the graffiti around BA. I particularly like these two bits of stencil art that we found down a back road on the way to a flea market today.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Egypt and all that


Back in Blighty for 4 days...raining.
We have had a good but tiring 3 days in Egypt . Camera's and tripods were excluded from most places so not many pictures so sharing the ones I got with you here. The museums were AMAZING and Cairo was very accessible but you always had to be on guard with any monetary transactions (tiring).
Stayed in a great hotel so if you are going that way try out http://www.hotellongchamps.com/ breakfast was amazing (even the carrot jam).

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Phil and Ramses

Phil and Ramses
Originally uploaded by Mistress B.
I tried very hard to persuade Phil to strike the obligatory "Walk Like An Egyptian" pose, but he had more dignity than that and refused. Smart man.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Eye of the felafel

We've hit the first semi-snag in Phil's vegetarian tour of the world - the Middle East. Despite the proliferation of kebab stores in Australia selling felafel, there's a definite meat-focus of the kebabcis in Turkey and Egypt. But salvation appeared at Cairo's Khan El-Khalili bazaar - the most delicious felafel we've had in years, accompanied by plates of tahini, babaghanouj, flat breads and salad.
My food highlight of the middle east has been a sweet potato roasted in a charcoal brazier from a roadside vendor. The potato's sugars had partly caramelised on the outside ... soooo tasty.
Hmmm... why is there such a focus on food on our travel blog?

Friday, January 19, 2007

Aya Sofya Mosque - Istanbul

The Aya Sofya Mosque in Istanbul is mind blowing. Luckily some of the old Mosaics have been uncovered from when the mosque used to be a church.
The inside is so massive which you can never get across in pictures.

Carrot jam!!

You have seen rose jam but have you ever seen carrot jam? The fig jam is good (and doesn’t he know it) but carrot, I ask you…
By the way we are now in Cairo =)

Vampire Cat

Vampire Cat
Have you ever had something totally freaky happen to you? Something worthy of the x-files? Well…the other day Bianca and I happened to be visiting the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and there was this cat. Now Bianca can’t stay away from any animals no matter how weird, mangy, flea ridden, mental, savage they are. I always say “if it takes off your arm don’t come running to me!” but does she listen…? No!
So Bianca walks up to this cat, the cat gives one yowl, climbs Bianca, tries to bite into her neck (only getting hold of my scarf) and then proceeds to salivate and knit with its paws. Now if you know cats, as I do, you know that the poor thing has probably been taken away from its mummy too young and just needs some lovin' but Bianca starts to panic for some reason…starts ranting about rabies. Well needless to say, after taking some pictures, I came to the cat's rescue.
Bianca writes: Still keeping alert for any signs of howling at the moon, frothing at the mouth or similar rabid behaviour.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Rose jam for breakfast

Rose Jam on bread

Another day and another lazy breakfast in Istanbul. We have wireless connection on the rooftop so we take turns reading or using the laptop. We have lots of jams to choose from quince, sour cherry, grape molasses with sesame but my fave is rose jam (with petals!). It tastes as it looks, pink. Thought I would share it with you =)

Turkish delights

Istanbul - Spice Market

Istanbul - Spice Market

T'was heaven on a stick when we found our way to the Istanbul Spice Bazaar yesterday - stall after stall piled high with Turkish delight, nuts, figs, dates, enormous slabs of goats cheese, huge pastramis and carefully sculpted mounds of spice. First act was of course to buy some Turkish delight, which is much more gooey and less rose water-flavoured than the stuff we get in Oz, but very enjoyable, especially the stuff encrusted with pistachios.
The tactics of shop owners are always a source of amusement but we've had some particular creative ones here in Istanbul.
"How can I rip you off today sir?"
"Everything is free!"
"Would you like to buy some poison for your mother-in-law?"
The other source of amusement for us and them has been the fact that Phil is vegetarian. On several occasions while perusing a display menu we've asked about vegetarian options, and the restaurateurs have automatically assumed that I was the vego. One guy nearly died laughing upon finding out that Phil was the vego, and kept patting Phil's belly as if to suggest that no way could it have been gained on a vegetarian diet. Phil explained that beer was the culprit and they seemed satisfied with that!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Istanbul - got here

Night time pic from top of our hotel

A quick update to say we have arrived in Istanbul. The daytime pic is from the cafe we had lunch at. The night time pic is the view I have right now from the top of the hotel! Had a glass of wine and now ready for bed. Istanbul is very photogenic so expect lots more pics when we are sorted out =)
Sleep well...

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Bloody tourists

Bloody tourists
Originally uploaded by Mistress B.
I'm as guilty of this as the next person, but this did strike me as a particularly undignified pose next to a very dignified subject. Oh well, being a tourist does make you do strange and often stupid things, like get emotional in front of the memorial stones for the great poets and composers in Westminster Abbey.
So now we're in London (as evidenced by this photo) and true to form, the weather has been cold, rainy and windy. Thankfully we've had very lovely accommodation with old friends and have been spoilt rotten with an excess of food, wine and fantastic company.
We haven't really done much sightseeing so far, and I'm really hanging out for a big Nerd Day where I hop excitedly from exhibit to exhibit in the Natural History Museum, British Museum and Science Museum. Might have to bribe Phil with the promise of hot chips for lunch to get him through it all though...

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Rain rain go away...

Trouble in a design shop

First day in Londinium and all we got was rain. Luckily we found some very expensive design furniture to rest our bottoms on….

Eds Dinner – Nr Leicester Square

Peanut butter shakes

Peanut butter shake suck

Its Bianca’s sisters, Lucy, birthday bash. We asked what she wanted to do on such an auspicious day and what was the first thing to do that came into her head…peanut butter milkshake at Ed’s Dinner. Well if you have never had a peanut butter shake at Ed’s dinner then you are missing something…yum.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

No1 on Google!

Hot off the press...search for "Phil Bianca" in google and this blog is number 1 in the world!! Well today it is anyway ;) This is with strong competition from Eastenders (a well known UK soap opera).

Happy Noo Year!

Big warm happy new year hugs to you all! It's hard to imagine how 2007 could possibly be better than 2006 - getting engaged, seeing this amazing world with my beloved, buying our beautiful house and moving in, and generally living life to the full.
But this new year certainly got off to a fine start, in the company of my sister Lucy and her partner Dave, and our Aussie friends Em and Dan, staying at the Rees' cottage in the Cotswolds, eating too much and drinking too much.
And now we've got a wedding to look forward to, a house to nest in, garden to wrestle with, and exciting jobs to go back to. Life's good.