Sunday, January 25, 2009

Bye Bye Bali - Hello Singapore!

We made it through a few relaxing weeks in Bali with no complaints (well, maybe except for the cases of Bali Belly and the head colds, but those are minor inconveniences, eh?). The people in Bali were fantastic, the resorts were amazing and everything was cheeeeeeeap! Good thing we weren't actually heading home or Courtney would have made out with a few new suitcases full of quality knock-off goods. Even so, two packages of amazing artwork and other really cool stuff are on the slow boat back home. Hopefully in 10-12 weeks they'll actually show up. Fingers crossed.

Upon getting into Singapore, it was fairly obvious that we'd hit one of Bali's polar opposites. Gone was the haggling for room prices, souvenirs, beers, taxis and everything else. Here are the posted-in-the-baggage-claim prices to city center via all modes of transportation. I believe we have stepped up a world class. We now have one afternoon of wandering under our belts and Singapore is pretty cool. The city is very easy to get around in and quite beautiful altogether. Tomorrow is the Chinese New Year, so things appear to be ramping up fairly quickly to a fever pitch. We wandered through Chinatown a bit today and they are definitely preparing for the big party!

Well, that's the current status. There are recaps on the way for Bali and OZ. As always, it's on the way...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

New Photos!! (A crap load!)

So yes, it's been a while, but we've finally had a chance to sift, filter, launder, edit, caption (a few), and post photos. Some of them are a long time coming (all the way back to the North Island of New Zealand), but we'll get everyone up to speed and into Indonesia here pretty quick.

We've also hopped over to Google's Picasa photo sharing page instead of flickr (you're welcome, Nate), so here's a new link to that. This was mostly for upload and editing ease between the two sites. The permanent link on the right side of the blog homepage has also been updated to take you to our Picasa page. Hopefully it works with no issues.

Starting at the bottom, albums 001 through 015 will get you through New Zealand, then 001 again through 008 will get you most of the way through Australia. Some albums are a bit lumped together in terms of places we visit. I'll work on that in the future.

It'll probably be a bit overwhelming, so take your time. Who knows when we'll get more on there...

-

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Not for the faint of heart...

So per a few requests, here is the video that my main man, Nate Bucholz, made during my 30th b-day party last year. It's a bit rude in sections, a bit crude in others, but entirely hilarious no matter where you are!!!

Thanks again to Nate for putting this together. The music, timing, slo-mos and obvious high-level production value were frickin' outstanding. Apparently he's learning to be productive spending all of his time playing Wii and foos at the Google offices.

If there's any reason to bring us home, it's to keep having parties like these with all of our friends and family!!

So if you've seen it before, watch it again - you'll only enjoy it more this time around. If you haven't seen it, go for the whole 10 minutes - totally worth it!! Family members, try not to cringe... ;)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Habla Espanol?

Here is a bonafide statement of fact, and although extreme, I think I can say it with confidence. Please correct me if I'm wrong, of course... Here it is:

“One can not get respectable Mexican food outside of South/Central America and the US.”

There it is, I've said it. I base this on three trials over the past several months through New Zealand and Australia, and while repeatedly optimistic, I have yet to be proven wrong. And I'll go even further with my statement in that it's not just the food. Attempts at d├ęcor, names of dishes, explanations of a truly
“authentic” experience, and most disastrously margaritas!! I can safely bet that pretty much everyone reading this gets the craving, probably fairly frequently as I do, for a big plate of chips and salsa, a giant log 'o burrito, a big plate of tacos or a nice chimichanga. Hell, I can guarantee anyone that has ever had a hangover has made a speed-limit-breaking Run for The Border. But alas, while there have not been, and will probably not be, a Meximelt or Double Decker taco on our lunch, dinner, or hell, breakfast menus for quite some time, we figured we must try and make do with what we have. So, the attempts to fill the cravings were made.

Here are some of the sadder moments in Australasian attempts at Mexican cuisine.

From the back of the menu at a restaurant in Cowes, very SE corner of Australia - “How to Speak MEXICAN”:
Taco – TaR-co
Quesadilla = Kay-saR-deeya
Nachos = NaR-choes
Fajita = FaR-hee-tuh

Also from the Cowes establishment:
- Just because it's in a margarita shaped glass doesn't mean it's a margarita. Try it with a little Tequila next time... And fill the SOB to the top!!!

From the palate of another restaurant in Cairns... At least we hit it on the right night and it was Taco Tuesday:
Marinara does not equal salsa. Neither does ketchup. How hard is it?!?! Tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice, salt, chiles... Anyone over here ever heard of the internet? Epicurious, foodtv.com, etc...

We're not asking for much. Really. I mean, there has to be at least one person out there with enough seed money to fire up a T-Bell franchise somewhere in these vast islands! Hell, there's more frickin' KFCs than you can shake a stick at. (Although maybe the “C” stands for cangaroo...) So it's not like Pepsi doesn't have their foot in the door over on this side of the pond. I'm just putting it out there people. I wouldn't even mind working the drive-through...

Other random Australian culinary oddities:
We have yet to see one giant can, bottle, tap, t-shirt or advertisement for Fosters. Apparently, Fosters is only American for Australian beer. They don't drink the crap here. Victoria Bitter (aka VB) is really Australian for beer. Too bad it tastes like piss.
If I were to see an “Outback Steakhouse” over here, serving authentic Australian food, on the menu would be fish 'n chips, Indian cuisine, meat pies, toasted sandwiches and kangaroo burgers. Now go get yourself a Bloomin' Onion and keep living the Aussi dream!