Experiencing Food Tourism – at the Comfort of your Own Home

For me, traveling is synonymous with FOOD. Food is the vital representation of any culture. I’m sure many of you would agree with me; if you visit a new place and don’t get to taste their local cuisine, then you missed out a whole lot of your tourism experience at your destination.

Or it could be vice versa! Or can it be?

Like, I feel I have traveled some parts of the world (not literally) just by trying out their local food without visiting the country itself. Or how I would put it : “Get the Slice of Spice from Everywhere Nice!”

What if you can’t visit that country or simply can’t afford to? That doesn’t mean you can never know what their local favorites taste like! Thanks to all those websites and lovely food bloggers who zealously share the recipes which are readily available on internet.

But sometimes there comes a catch: you see a really tempting Google image of the food you want to cook but unfortunately, the recipe you are looking for is written in a foreign language you can not decipher.
I follow few Facebook pages or websites related to Arabic cuisine, but since English is not yet a common language in many Arab countries (particularly Saudi Arabia), I often end up just drooling at the picture as the recipe mentioned is in hardcore Arabic. Unfortunately, even the automated translator fails to translate the technical key words/ingredients properly. Such a bummer!

For sites that don’t use translation software, I wish they would come up with a translating app for consumers that is much more smart and would be more diverse verbally so I could experience ‘food tourism’ in a much better way… all that WHILE being at home because cooking new stuff does not intimidate me at all!

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Flying Experience – Saudi Arabian Airlines

So many reasons I can put forward to explain my blogging hiatus. Don’t know about YOU but it would definitely bore me doing so. ( Don’t want to come off as a Whiner 😛 )

To be quick, here is a peek at one of the things I had done during this unforgivable long looong gap: Traveling!

saudi airlines
Good Ol’ Saudi Arabian Airlines hardly disappoints. Nothing is too lavish, neither unpleasant or uncomfortable. To be honest, I’m not the person who loves flying. Yes, I do love visiting places but certainly NOT being in a confined space in air, be it even for an hour. It could get worse if the person seated in front or behind or anywhere nearby does not mind their ‘stinky business’. And not to forget some noisy passengers like kids!

Luckily, I’m one of those few who have this gift of falling asleep in awkward positions (neck tilted, no head-rest) so I get to pass those crawling hours somehow.

Saudi Airlines has nice seating even in the economy class, footrest is a plus! Flight-attendants are nice, polite and certainly are helpful unlike the ones I encountered in other flight. There was this time I was traveling alone in an airline I don’t want to mention here, I had to load my hand-luggage in the overhead locker but I just could not because of course my luggage wasn’t that light for me to carry up that high. It was twice that despite of explaining the reason it wasn’t physically possible for me to load, that rude airhostess kept on pressurizing me to do it myself because “we are just too cool to help you”. Anyway, it was nice of one passenger to help me with that.

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So yea, I have never had an unpleasant experience with SA. However, last time I got this great opportunity to travel in the business class which was obviously an even better experience. For me, one of the few perks of flying apart from games and entertainment is anticipating the in-flight meals and snacks! I like how SA always provides hot towels to sanitize our hands before meals. I really dig that as I’m a hygiene freak!

saudi airlines3

In business class, before the plane took off we were first refreshed with dates and Saudi kahva (coffee) with refills. Then when it was meal time we were furnished with the business class in-flight gourmet menu. It was a three-course with delicious options. And when the meal was served, my little table was a sight of delight!

And oh yes, I got my hands on the free issue of the fantastic “Sayidaty” in English – a Dubai based women’s magazine which normally costs SR 10 in KSA. 😀

7 Essentials to Pack for a Road-trip

 
Recently I partook an adventure, going on a long road-trip from one city to another (1600 km!) through the deserts of Saudi Arabia. 20 hours drive was indeed a fun expedition, stopping by occasionally to admire some breathtaking sceneries, but was no piece of cake as rest-stops with motel and cafeteria facilities along the highway were encountered after very long intervals. But if a checklist of certain essentials is made and packed along before setting off, your road-trip could be comfortable, less tedious and more enjoyable.

Here is a list of those essentials I gathered from my own experience, some of these I was relieved that I took along, rest of them I wished I did!

  • First-Aid Kitfirst aid kit

Let me first share the mishap that took place during my trip. It was a bumpy road where we stopped to get some tea from a nearby cafeteria. When the car started, I lost balance of my cup of steaming hot tea I was holding and all of it splashed onto my hand. My hand was badly scalded but thanks to my dad who quickly poured cold water on it. Luckily we even had ointment for healing burns, so applied that too. With these quick measures my skin was saved from further damage and a torturous long trip.

When driving across the remote areas there’s not a good chance you would find any medical facility so first-aid kit is a MUST in every car! Even minor injuries could become severe if not treated immediately.

 

  • road-map-clip-art1Map

Whether you know the routes or not, a map and a navigation system in your car or GPS on phones will always come handy and save you a lot of time you might waste in trolling around, looking for a detour to avoid traffic.


chargepod

  • Chargers

Keep a travel charger for your phone and other electronic devices, like chargepods which have multiple adapters to charge more than one device simultaneously.

 

  • toiletriesToiletries

Even if you do come across one after miles of drive, you can never trust public toilet for sufficient water supply. Always bring along a good stock of paper towels, toilet papers, wet-tissues and garbage-bags. Trust me, get more than enough because there is always a chance of running low on them considering the unexpected occurrence of motion sickness or any spill that needs clean-up.

Other essentials to keep: soap, laundry detergent (you want to keep things clean, stain-free and smelling good), mouthwash, sunblock, moisturizing lotion, deodorant, etc.

 

  • Disposable dishes

disposable-plates-cups-and-cutlery

Taking regular dishware in your travel-kit and going through the pain of cleaning them is quite impractical. But you need something to put your food on and eat or drink with, right? Plastic plates, spoons and glasses are lightweight and safe to use. For hot beverages, use paper cups.

Also, cling-films and foil-wraps could be a wonderful addition to your kit. You can snugly wrap those leftovers and protect your half-eaten sandwiches or fruits from dust and flies, while avoiding any nasty food spillage in your car.

 

  • Snackslunch-box-vector

Help yourself with some travel-friendly eats like sandwiches, chips, carrots, crackers, nuts, etc, along the way when dining options are limited. A vacuum flask full of your favorite hot drink will go a long way. It will be a bonus if you have space to take along a cooler to keep your soft drinks cold and an electric kettle you can use at rest stops to make a fresh cup of tea/coffee while being easy on your wallet.

 

  • Waterwater-bottle

This should have gone without saying but I’m not just talking about a couple of individual drinking water bottles but ALSO extra gallons of water for multipurpose usage like cleaning, washing and also for your car.