Holy Shit, I Just Ate A Massive Cockroach

One of the semi-cliche things to do when you visit Southeast Asia is to eat bugs.  In some ways it’s a bit of a coming of age sort of thing. Heading to Florence, Italy? You’ve gotta eat Gelato on the Ponte Vecchio. England? Fish and Chips. Thailand? A portion of creepy-crawlies. But, more than that, it’s also a great opportunity to push our boundaries and try a future-food. What do I mean by future-food? Moving forward bugs will be an increasingly important part of our diets as they’re a valuable, easy, and slightly more ethical alternative to other types of meats. We’ve already started to see bugs pop up in high-end supermarkets such as Denmark’s Irma chain, and dried caterpillars and termites are cornerstones of Sub-Saharan African diets. So, I decided to push my limits and give the bugs a go. Every crunchy, goose-bump inspiring, bite is covered in this video, so…enjoy!

P.S. – I hope you’re hungry!

For this video I found a small food cart at Bangkok’s Sunday Market. The cart was situated in the very back of the market where few tourists go on the other side of the pet/fish section. It was an old woman selling the bugs which I purchased from the vendor immediately after a local woman had picked up a hearty bag of crispy eats. Are bugs a regular part of your average Thai’s diet? Probably not. At least not in Bangkok. But, at least it brought with it some semblance of local flavor.

Unfortunately, as is the case with a lot of fried food around the world, I suspect the bugs could have actually been quite decent if not cooked in a rather old-tasting shrimp sauce and oil. Either way, some were surprisingly good and believe it or not, the cockroach was one of the best! Next time, I’ll be aiming to get them fresh and to try cooking them my way. After all, there’s nothing a bit of salt, olive oil, butter and garlic can’t fix! Still hungry? Don’t miss these videos about bizarre foods here, here and here.

Naked Old Men, Edinburgh and Harry Potter

Though I hate to start a post off with stories of naked old men, I’m afraid that’s how today’s story begins.

It was early, about 8:30AM.  Nate was still asleep.  The rustling in the room, and sound of the door clicking shut roused me from my slumber.  I rolled over and opened my eyes, groggy but slowly sliding towards awareness…my eyes adjusted to the light and came into focus.  I could hear the ever present sound of a light rain outside and the usual clicking, thuds, and dull roar of a hostel.

As my eyes swept across the room I was greeted by, what I can only say, was a waking nightmare.  Quietly grunting from exertion, our elderly roommate was standing in the center of the room completely naked.  Well, not completely naked. As he stood facing away from me – the ever present, massive, cross with thick chain still adorning his aged, wrinkled, hairy body – he silently grunted away while he carefully and judiciously toweled himself off.

Surprised and rather disturbed, I slammed my eyes shut and rolled to face the wall as quietly as possible.  In an act of thoroughness, the grunting and heavy breathing continued for what seemed like an eternity while he continued to carefully dry every inch of his body.

With a sigh full of lament, I resigned myself to the fact that I’d just gained another priceless hostel memory that would plague my mind but make for an amusing travel/hostel story.

Our Day in Edinburgh

Nate and I had both done Edinburgh before.  Despite our familiarity with the city, it still had untold secrets to share. After a lazy morning we struck off to locate lunch and had the aspiration that we’d climb Arthur’s Seat – the hill pictured above – which serves as a beautiful backdrop for Edinburgh.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.  By the time we reached the Royal Mile a steady rain and light breeze halted us in our tracks.

Knowing that the following 5 days would include a crash course in Scottish weather, we both elected to take things easy instead and wound down towards a movie theater I’d found during one of my previous visits.  Perhaps a quarter of a mile away from the main train station, the theater was close enough for a quick escape. Pausing to take advantage of one of the 2 for 1 specials present in most English and Scottish pubs, we decided to watch the recently released Harry Potter. After all, we were in the city that inspired the movie and about to dive into the countryside where most of it had been filmed – what movie could be more fitting?

The theater was nice, and after getting seats at the start of the stadium seating, I quickly realized the purpose the rail/bar in the Harkins back home serves. After the 2nd person turning to walk up the middle isle used my knee as a railing to steady themselves I couldn’t help but roll my eyes and lament a railing’s absence.

The movie itself was fun – and set the stage for the countryside we’d be getting into the following day.  In fact, one of the places we paused during the 5 day tour of the highlands was within eyesight of where Hagrid’s hut was filmed.

With smiles on our faces after thoroughly enjoying the movie, we made our way back through the city streets, spent some time on the Royal Mile, and then elected to head back to the hostel and make a lazy evening/afternoon of it.  We relaxed, watched some TV in the common room, wandered the streets a bit more, and then got caught up on some of our blogging and photo uploads before turning in early.  We had a 6:30 wake-up call in the morning.