Airline Food

I made it to Amsterdam! Stop number one on the way to Tanzania…

This was my first inter-continental flight in about 5 years. And the first cross-oceanic flight in about 10 years! It wasn’t as bad as I feared– smooth most of the way, and the food wasn’t half bad either. One 8-hr flight down, one to go😛

Dinner

"Meat"-- chicken in tomato sauce with potatoes, bean and chicken salad, and a piece of chocolate cake (not worth eating). Not quite sure why they felt the need to include an additional salt packet-- even *I* thought it was already well-salted.

Wine

French red wine😉 Made me drowzy, did the trick.

Peach yogurt, "blueberry" muffin (I found one berry), and OJ-- the yogurt was tasty... it had HFCS, though😦

I found KLM's Corporate Social Responsibility statement inside of the breakfast box an interesting way to start the day...

I love food.

I love food. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about it, planning what I’m going to eat, shopping for the ingredients, and preparing meals. Having said that, there is one dish (okay, there are a whole bunch of dishes, but this one is on my mind right now) that I eat on a regular basis, and could probably eat every day for a long time before I got sick of them. And it’s embarrassingly easy (and lazy) to make. And decidedly un-glamorous. And possibly un-healthy (but not so in my opinion).

That, my friends, is scrambled eggs with fried potatoes. And salsa. And cheese. Two types of salsa, actually, and one type of cheese.

I was running errands this morning, and the free donuts I had expected at errand number 3 were extremely gross (way sub-par), so I didn’t really have breakfast. Not that donuts would have been a good excuse for breakfast.

In the car between errand number 3 and errand number 4, I began day dreaming about these eggs. They’re nothing terribly *special*, mind you, but I think they’re delicious. By the time I finally got home for lunch, however, it was 1 pm and I was really frickin’ hungry (stomach growling and everything!). I didn’t have the time or patience or steadiness of hand to chop the potatoes into teeny pieces and wait for them to fry. So, I heated up some leftover carrot/squash/sweet potato soup and toasted myself some cheese bread (which was later repeated with salsa for dipping as a mid-afternoon snack).

I didn’t make myself the eggs until dinner time. Some poor souls will cringe at the thought of eating eggs for dinner. Those souls, I feel sorry for them– not knowing the joy that is breakfast for dinner. Especially when paired with decaf coffee or hot cocoa.

So I start by chopping the potatoes really tiny. Really really tiny. Like, a 1/4-inch cubed. I’m impatient, and am more likely to eat bigger potato chunks slightly raw because I didn’t wait long enough for them to cook. If you’ve ever eaten raw or under-cooked potatoes, you know that it is not a pleasant experience for you *or* your stomach.

Toss those in to one well-seasoned (and increasingly so!) skillet with olive oil, and fry for a while. Then I dump in TJ’s tomatillo salsa and simmer for a bit, followed by TJ’s corn salsa. I didn’t say it was fancy. Or difficult. Just delicious.

Finally, when the potatoes are soft and most of the liquid has evaporated (I detest watery eggs), I throw in two eggs scrambled with a bit of half and half. Oh hellz yeah.

Creamy eggy goodness.

Sometimes I’ll pop the whole thing under the broiler and make a frittata. Admittedly, I like the texture of that better. And the presentation tends to be much prettier.

(image from above link to original post)

This time, I just scrambled them and melted some sharp white cheddar cheese on top. The texture leaves perhaps a tiny smidgen to be desired… but the taste is delicious. So much so that I ate it all before I took a picture of the final product (that, and the final presentation would probably make people gag– not me!).

A note about pictures: I’m trying out using my camera phone and Bluetooth-ing the pictures to my computer (which I find really, really cool and entertaining). I realize that the quality of the pictures is a little lower than if I had used the DSLR… but I am determined to believe that there are no “bad” cameras, that each type of camera has its particular place and uses. And I’m trying to figure out how to take cool pictures with a camera phone. That is all.

Let it be known

that I love cheese bread. Sometimes dipped in soup. Sometimes dipped in salsa. But mostly just cheese bread.

This time, it's with salsa.

Doc and Katherine’s Canadian Adventure

Whereby we travel to the glorious land called “Windsor.”

A-way back in January, while Doc was visiting me in the Great White North (henceforth GWN), he lamented that he had never been to that exotic locale that lies even further to the North, that which is called “Canada.”

He also decried the lack of that fine dish, “poutine,” in the GWN, that dish which is native to the land even further north of here.  Thus, we set out to find the true poutine, the pleasures of which could only be enjoyed in the glorious land of Canada.

And so, we found ourselves a mere 45 minute drive from my home in the GWN, across (or rather, under) the gently flowing river that divides this land from that, in the place called “Windsor.” And how differently exotic we found it to be!

Alas, we stopped not to sample the nectar on offer at Canada’s favorite coffee chain; in our quest for poutine we carried on.

After winding our way through the strange alleyways of the hamlet of Windsor, we found ourselves at a local eatery called Gilligan’s.

And such delights did the menu offer! Hamburgers and french fries! Beer and soda (pop)! Desserts and appetizers! And, most gloriousfully of all, the most cherished poutine.

Not satiated with this singular delicacy, we further sampled the exotic specialties trumpeted by the menu: chili cheeseburger and bacon cheeseburger topped with such unusual garnish as peameal. Indeed, the addition of this peameal proved to be a culinary masterpiece in itself.

We marveled at the gourmet French-labeled ketchup.

It must be gourmet, 'cause it's French!

It must be gourmet, 'cause it's in French!

Our hunger finally sated, we set off to explore the paradisal river front. My budding cinematic genius was in full evidence.

Detroit, lovely as ever.

The benefactor of the riverside park.

The benefactor of the riverside park.

Doc by the river, with Detroit in the far distance.

Vandalized sign by the garden.

In case you couldn't read the sign... Canadian delinquents are just here to help.

We warmed ourselves with a sampling of nectar from Canada’s *other* favorite coffee chain (now owned by Wendy’s).

And then, we finally resigned ourselves to returning to the homeland, the GWN, consigned always to yearn for the exotic adventures awaiting us in Canada. And poutine.

The End.

Computers

I hate computers.

I used to love computers. I used to want to study computer science and write computer programs.  I taught myself HTML back when it was new and the only thing to use to write web pages, and designed web pages and choose-your-own-adventure games.  I was one of four girls at computer camp in 7th grade.

I don’t know what happened. Something inside me snapped, or I came to my senses, or something. But I hate computers.

This is why I use a Mac.  See, you hardly even realize that you’re operating a computer. You don’t have to do anything to make it work properly.  It knows what to do when you want to open a PDF or a photo editing program.  It already recognizes the file extensions you work with without you having to program them all in. No command prompts or run file lines or function this- or- that. Nope. All there.  It just works, all by itself.

Until it doesn’t.  Your Mac mysteriously stops working, and it is reduced from a beautiful, easy to operate, high functioning machine– nay, it is practically a personal assistant, that’s how little you thought about “using” it… it just does its job–  into a useless hunk of plastic who’s production is destroying the atmosphere and precious metals that were probably mined by child slaves. I’m not kidding about the child slaves.

And then you’re screwed, because the vast majority of people who operate Macs have no idea how to actually use them. And so when it breaks, it is catastrophic. Unless you paid the extra $100/year to ensure that a Mac expert (ahem. a “Genius.” those cheeky bastards.) is standing by in case your Mac decides to self-destruct.

But nooooooo.  Macs are so effing reliable. They never break.  Why would I need to buy Apple Care?

$%&#*@.

PC owners, particularly those with Linux-based machines, on the other hand, know how to use computers, because they are constantly having to do things in order to make the PC function properly. Installing drivers (what the hell is a driver anyway? I have never had to install a driver on a Mac), running commands (I don’t even know where the Mac command function is, or what I would use it for), configuring networks (my Mac just “found” my wireless network without my having to instruct it): these are all things I have had to do or wished I knew how to do  in the two or so days that I’ve been trying to operate a PC.  You have to know how to use an effing computer in order to operate a PC.

And I hate computers.

Pig Bug and Motivation

Well, I am currently sitting in the restaurant of my hotel in Huehuetenango, enjoying a second cup of hot chocolate. Yep. Second.

Two nights ago, when I arrived, I was curled up in my bed watching English-language movies while oscillating between feeling way to hot and feeling freezing cold, and wondering if my backache might indicate that I had something terrible like meningitis.  Feeling supremely sorry for myself, I thought, “It would really suck to die of swine flu after how much I’ve laughed at all this ‘pandemic’ media hype.”

Don’t worry, I’m pretty sure I don’t have swine flu now.  I woke up the next morning with my nose having turned into a faucet, but otherwise feeling a whole lot better than the night before.  Damned rainy season cold.

However, I am now using this as my excuse for dawdling on getting my butt to my fieldsite, where I promise you there is no English-language TV, very likely no hot water, and certainly no free internet access. All of which my classy (that’s the word the guide book uses) hotel in Huehue has in abundance.

You see, swine flu (or “gripe A” as it’s called here) has been on the front pages of both major national papers for the past week and a half, as well as on the radios.  The health department is warning everyone to stay away from anyone with a runny nose or cough (however, they do not explain what to do if you happen to have a runny nose or cough. how helpful.). The hotel staff is already looking at me sideways, so I’d rather not repel potential contacts at my fieldsite with my plauge.

I’m hoping, in the meantime, that I will find the motivation to walk through the rain to the bus terminal to inquire about the schedule of buses to Sipakapa in this second cup of chocolate con leche.  If not, then maybe in the third.

La Muela

Oh, did I mention that I am pretty sure I have tendinitis in one of my right hip flexors? Yeah, it’s great. I think it was a combination of having my saddle poorly adjusted during the bike race, and then doing lots of shoveling in the garden. And then walking everywhere wearing poorly-supportive shoes. Going on three weeks, and I still can’t lift my knee to anywhere near 90 degrees  (as in.. when I’m walking).

Good gawd, I sound like a wreck.

So the other day Doc and I were getting cabin fever, having been sitting out the unusually sunny days inside reading and writing IRB applications and replying to emails from potential contacts.  So I popped a couple of ibuprofen, diminishing the pain in my hip/ quad to a bearable twinge (yes, I know that was a stupid move. blah blah blah, rest- shmest.)  Doc went to the market to stock up on picnic food, and we set out to climb “la muela”, a small peak above town to the southeast.

The road out of town eventually turned to dirt.

The road out of town eventually turned to dirt.

The road steadily tilted upwards, starting right at the south end of the plaza.  We stopped a few times for “granola” bars (in fact, rice crispy treats marketed as granola bars), but saved our lunch for the cumbre.

We passed fields of broccoli and onions outside of Almolonga.

We passed fields of broccoli and onions outside of Almolonga.

The route turned off the road and onto a dirt and gravel track  shortly before the town of Almolonga, the bread basket of Central America.  From there, it became progressively rockier until we went from walking to scrambling over boulders.

Scrambling

Scrambling

It got pretty steep. Like, tumbling head over heels if you slip- steep. Or… falling a long way straight down- steep.  Did I mention that I get a little bit of vertigo? It was funny, usually I’m the one looking at something stupid and saying “ooh, let’s climb that!” Or “Let’s just keep walking and see where this road goes.” But on this climb I was actually the cautious one.

Don't slip...

Don't slip...

Still having fun, despite the vertigo. :)

Still having fun, despite the vertigo.🙂

Doc was much more adventurous than I.

Doc was much more adventurous than I.

When we neared the top, a group of kids came running up behind us.  There’s a reason Xela’s soccer team gets the name “super chivos” (super goats). The chivitos hung around on the cumbre with us.  As Doc was climbing up the other side (there are acutally two cumbres), I heard one guy tell his girlfriend, “That’s a really difficult climb, there’s a lot of risk in it.”  Looking at it, I tended to agree; but Doc came back and rolled his eyes, saying that the chivito was just trying to impress the ladies.  Apparently it was easier than it looked from a distance, but my hip was getting stiff so I continued to play cautious.

Doc climbing the other cumbre, which I thought looked stupid-dangerous.

Doc climbing the other cumbre, which I thought looked stupid-dangerous.

View from the cumbre: Almolonga down to the left, Xela down to the right.

View from the cumbre: Almolonga down to the left, Xela to the right (behind the ridge).

When Doc got back from his mini-side- adventure, we settled down to lunch: panches de papa (potato pouches, like tamales but with potato), tamalitos, two very buttery avocados, and a fresh mango.

Seriously the best meal we've had yet.

Seriously the best meal we've had yet.

The mango was mostly soft, but even the firm (less-ripe) parts were sweeter than any mango you could get in the States. YUM.

Most delicious mango ever.

Most delicious mango ever.

The best part of the meal? All of the waste was biodegradable.

Hojas (leaves) from the panches, mango peel, and avocado peel. Not exactly LNT, but not plastic, either.

Hojas (leaves) from the panches, mango peel, and avocado peel. Not exactly LNT, but not plastic, either.

The chivitos asked us to take some pictures for them, and then they headed down. We hung around a bit longer enjoying the view, and then scrambled down before the rain.  In all, about a 3-hour hike.

Digan, "Wikeeeeeeeeey!"

Digan, "Wiskeeeeeeeeey!"