Monday, March 29, 2010

Speaking of Spices

In my last blog I told you about the new Spice Goodie I had found at a local grocery store, Last week in Istanbul, Turkey, We actually got to see the REAL DEAL: I'd like to share some pictures we took of Spice Bazaar, You'll know when you are getting close to the Bazaar because your nose will tell you, when you are about 2 to 3 blocks out!
It doesn't take long to stroll through the Spice Market & If you have never seen anything like this it is definitely worth the trip! (Closed Sunday)
The building itself is part of the Yeni Mosque (completed 1660), The shops rented within the Mosque help pay for the upkeep. The Spice Bazaar is in an L Shaped building, consisting of 88 vaulted rooms, The main entrance is in the southwest corner, facing the Yeni Mosque.
I've never seen dehydrated grapes still on the Vine intentionally for sale, Interesting!
Turkish Viagra: We thought this was a joke, but we found it.
Listed under "Turkish Delights" this is supposed to be an aphrodisiacs. . We Passed, Sorry!
The sight of the ├žayci carrying a tray of glasses to thirsty, caffeine-craving tea drinkers, tourists & shoppe owners is very common here in Turkey, It was amazing to watch these gentlemen zip & zag through the crowds in the Markets!

I had to try the Tea, & It is delish, Prices range anywhere from a quarter to fifty cents & it is readily available everywhere!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

I love Simplicity..

I love going to the grocery store & finding new goodies, Yesterday I found "Recipe Inspirations" by McCormick. Simplicity in one package. Have you ever pulled out a recipe just to find & out you didn't have One or Two of the spices you needed to make your perfect meal? All of the spices you need are all here & Pre-measured, There is a shopping list & Recipe Card on the back.

Tonight we are actually going to try their "Shrimp & Pasta Primavera". . . . .I'm excited I don't have to buy entire jars of spices, That I may only use once!

-Thanks, McCormick

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Tourist Trap or Fun...?

One of the things on my "To-Do" list was the Desert Safari in Dubai.
Check: Done it . . However, Would I suggest it to others? NO!
Sorry Dubai, Ya'll got greedy on this one. .
It's the biggest Tourist Trap I've ever been to & I've been to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee!

You pay 170.00 Dirhams (50.00 US) for this trip, I'm not saying it wasn't an absolute hoot screaming through the desert sand at sunset, I will tell you if you have Back, Neck or Body ailments this trip is not for you, You are bounced around so hard I ended up with a cut on my head.

Everything is Included: Oh, Don't believe this for a second!
Your 50.00 dollars are supposed to include: Henna Panting, Local Dress-Up, Camel Rides, SandDune Skiing, Shisha, Unlimited Sodas (not) Dinner & an Amazing Show! Sure, These items were available but everyone of these vendors had their hand out for a tip, (more like a beggars convention)

We actually arrived late, because of our driver & the one thing my Husband wanted to do was Sand Ski, I wonder how much that free activity was? Did we? Nope! We were ushered to another location so they could take pictures! Which they try to sell you during the show~

The drive back scared me more than driving in New York City after filling an SUV with purses from Canal Street! We nearly crashed twice, We were bouncing around like CrashCar Dummies. We were quickly shoved into our vehicle & the driver took off before we could even put on our seat belt's. We asked the driver to stop so we could SNAP, But somehow our driver forget the English language during our stay.
So you think, I'll just book a different vendor? I'll help you with this, They ALL end up in the same location!! I'm glad we did it, The desert at sunset in Dubai was Amazing!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

And....The Winner IS!

Istanbul, Turkey

With only 4 Votes for Turkey...We have our Winner~


More later.....Time to Explore~

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Open, Closed, Open, Closed. . . Burj Khalifa!

We did have an exciting day riding the Dubai Metro & viewing the Worlds Tallest building from afar..
22.00 Dirhams (Approx 3.00 per person) We played all day on the Metro, If you are not familiar with Dubai, The traffic here is a nightmare ,,, The Metro is a delight, very easy to navigate & very affordable.
Union Station!, I Guess every Metro has one!!
To date there are Two lines open, The Red Line & Green line, It's very easy to take the Red Line from Terminal 1 & 3 from the Dubai International Airport to Downtown!

Hopefully, you will have better luck in finding the observation deck of the Burj Khalifa open... Maybe our next trip!

The "Closed" Observation Deck is where The Better Half is pointing....

The buildings to the left are "Normal" sized high rises... The Burj is 160 stories tall.
View from "Dubai Mall"
You must stay for the Water Fountain show at the Dubai Mall, It's worth the wait!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Folder? Roller? No, I Bundle!

There are literally thousands upon thousands of Blogs & Articles out there on:

"What's the best way to pack"

I do know that folks use Google & Bing to search for "Flight Attendant Packing Tips" I thought I'd share how I packed for this trip, I will be gone over 25 days & I'm packing in 1 Rollerboard, & one here we go! Keep in mind I am not an expert on packing, I just use what works for me!

I use the "Bundle" Method: This works particuarlly well when you are traveling for long haul, not if you have to get in the bag "Daily"... I love to Bundle when packing for a Cruise, It does help to reduce wrinkles!
1st you start off filling in the bottom between the brackets in the bottom of the suitcase!
Then with your rollerboard open, start draping your clothing out all 4 sides of the suitcase, I have found it works easier if you start with your pants on the bottom.
I know this looks like a Hot Mess, but keep stacking your items alternating each side of the suitcase, Spreading all arms on your shirts out.
Once you get all of your clothing laidout, You begin to "Bundle" your clothing in saving the pant legs for last. . . Fold in your front side, Then the top, Spreading out your clothing to reduce wrinkles.
Now that you have 2 sides left to fold in, This is where you Pull & Tuck, To have everything tight & snug.. Spread everything smooth between Folds!
Everything in, Nice & Tidy!
Now, this is where you use every Nook & Cranny to stuff all of your other goodies..
One of my favorite things to take along on a trip is an additional suitcase, See the small red bag, that is actually a 20 inch duffle bag for any goodies I may purchase along the way! & The Black thing you can bearly make out is for the Laptop, I won this little gadget from @Boingo during one of their latest contests, So SHOUT OUT to Boingo!! (Thank You)
I still have my Tote filled with other essentials, Like my Ziploc bag filled with my 3 ounce items I can't live without! My Lipgloss, My Laptop, My Mastercard & I always ALWAYS travel with an empty waterbottle, (Fill this up, Once inside security) So you always have something to drink during your flight!
So now, I've added 2 more pair of shoes, Makeup, All the wires & charges for various goodies (Camera, International Phone, Laptop & my Travel Flat Iron) I hope if you Googled or Binged this & came to my Blog there is some useful information here, If you ever have any questions at all,,,,Please do not hesitate to ask me at

Safe Travels!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

BBQ . . . . . Afgan Style. . .

BBQ …Afghan Style…

I was recently was talking to my Better Half…and I was being scolded for being tardy with my blog…my comment “Honey…haven’t you been watching the news…bad people are trying to blow up Kabul…I’ve been a little busy.”….she informed me..the war could wait…do your blog! here it is…

I was making good time on my crocodiles…I had firmly placed my feet between the shoulders of my two behemoths (cuff n link)…the better half is waving to me from an island..she is wearing her red flannel jammies with the built in footies..…I can almost hear her…..shhhhhh….

BAM BAM….DUMB ASS…WAKE UP…I respond accordingly…GO AWAY….

You’re sleeping the day away (it is now 10am…got off night shift at 7am) can sleep when you’re dead (what a ridiculous saying!)

I pull myself out of my bunk…walk over to the door…open it…oh it’s the Coin Bitch (let me explain)...Billy is from Texas…he’s Texan thru and thru…from his 250 pound frame…twangy accent..crooked smile..and Texas tattoo the size of a salad plate…that’s Billy

He is sort of a celebrity…Billy detained an eastern European dude who looked exactly like one of the terrorist we are looking for….blonde hair..big eyes…pointy ears…oh great!...I just described me!

Anyway…he grabs this guy out of the car and sits on him…poor guy…as it turns out his credentials check out and he really is who he said he was…but when you don't speak sort of gets lost in the translation..anyway the bosses at the top were extremely impressed with Billy’s alertness…even if it was the wrong guy….so we had a ceremony and Billy got a coin…Billy is now fondly called the Coin Bitch…I think I am going to get him a T-shirt with that printed on it…I just haven’t found a t-shirt the size of a small family sedan to print it on…

Back to reality…In the doorway…Billy is grinning…come on…let’s go to Eggers….I reply…no…he replies..we’ll take the new guy….you mean the one who said he would never leave the compound because its not safe out there….yeah…I’ll be dressed in five minutes..…

We now proceed to the new guy’s room…he has violated the first rule of all security professional…always lock your door because people like Billy and me will bother you when you least expect it…this poor kid had only been in country less than a week…and didn’t like what he saw….Billy and I feel it’s time for a little shock treatment to get him “up to speed”…it’s the least we can do…being fellow comrades and all..

We open the door and he sleeping like an angel…Billy grabs one leg and I get the other…we commence to drag him out of small problem…my leg somehow got on the other side of the bunk post and we were sort of breaking him like a chicken wish bone…about this time..he woke up..screaming….which actually is a good sign…I think…I immediately tried to calm him…”you can sleep when you’re dead!”….for some reason this comment sounds better when I’m saying it……

As I said earlier..Billy easily goes 250 and I am a svelte 225..our victim weighs around 160…I’ve had rucksacks weigh more than this kid…our victim is holding on to the bunk as it skids across the floor…we’ve almost got him in the hallway except the bunk wont fit thru the door…so this is when we attempted to mentor and coach him… “get up girly man…put your big boy pants on…does your Va Jay Jay hurt…..cluck cluck!!”……you all know how this goes…like getting you brother to canoe down the calm river with you..which turns into rapids..which turns into a waterfall…something like that..

Finally..I pull out the big guns…okay chicken boy…you can drive….really?...yes get dressed! We will meet you in 5 minutes at the parking are…and clean this room up…it’s a mess!!

As we’re walking down the stairs Billy whispers to me…are we really going to let him drive?....are you kidding!!...Billy felt better…

Somehow we had acquired the Surf…it’s similar to a Toyota suv…but on the outside of the vehicle there is a big word “Surf” on the side of the vehicle…go figure…going on this foray is four old timers and the new kid…as promised he shows up on time…like a lamb to the slaughter…he walks up and immediately heads for the driver boss blurts out…”what in the world are you doing?”….Jack said I could drive….boss replies…”well there’s two things wrong with that… haven't been thru the driver’s training course and second…never listen to Jack…now get in the back! I get the look… but its from a new guy so it doesn’t count…Billy and I put him between us in the backseat..

The boss starts the suv…we start rolling forward….brakes!!......okay..who has a weapon…front guy shows his pistol…Billy shows his pistol…I show my hands in my best Karate pose…Boss’s response....”you’re kidding me right”…I show my pistol….now the new kid’s eyes get huge…”I don’t have a pistol!!...Billy explained….don't worry…we have plenty….this didn’t seem to calm him….we also explained to him that historically vehicles are taken out by massive improvised explosive devices (IED’s) and not small arms fire…this also didn’t calm him…okay…hold mine you little wussy baby!!...(very professional dialogue as you can see)

The ride to Eggers was uneventful…we only had eight or nine close calls…about the norm….as we pull into Eggers…we are promptly informed that our vehicle did not have the proper plates to enter the compound…what made this so funny was the fact that we had NO plates on the vehicle…

We are told we must go to the “special” gate and get a “special” pass….of course we are not near the “special” gate…so off we go…we drive about a mile and to our surprise (not really)..there is a detour…then another…and one more…we are now a gadzillion miles from the “special” gate and that’s as the donkey trots….so we decide we really didn’t want to go to Eggers anyway…Boss…”hey guys..lets get some steaks and have a BBQ”…who am I to say no to a BBQ….let’s go!!

Jumping three concrete medians…and going the wrong way on two traffic circles…we end up out side an un-assuming building with a sign… “Fat Fred’s Meat Forest”…..really..I can’t make this stuff up….the shop is owned by an American…but run by Afghans..its on a four lane highway with no parking…we pull up on the curb…slash sidewalk…we leave the suv running with one old timer and the new guy…the rest of us pile out and trot into the shop…we are greeted by three great guys who are only too proud to show us their products….after a small debate…we decide on the sirloin steaks….they bring out a quarter of a cow and commence to carve off our steaks….Holy Moly!!!...close to two inches thick and the size of a hubcap off of a 1958 Buick Road-master… I begin salivating…

We pack our trophy meat into a bag and head back out to the suv….and then I spot him…he’s on the other side of the road…..he has a cart loaded with hundreds of those skinny long balloons…you know…the ones you saw at the rich kid’s birthday party where the clown with a hangover made little animals from them….I had the strongest urge to make a crocodile…..or poodle…

I get halfway across the road and I’m waving a dollar bill….this is like a flame for a moth…..the man quickly pushes his cart out into the road and we begin to barter…I knew I would get at least three or four…but I want more!!

We now have traffic backed up for half a kilometer and my boss has now threatened me with KP duty if I didn’t “get my ass back here now!” (party pooper)…I returned empty handed…jumped into the Surf…and off we go…another five or six close calls and we are back at camp…

The charcoal had been left out in the rain….so we did what every man would do…..diesel….lots of it…gas was also an option…it just so happened that the diesel was closer (economy of effort.. right guys)

Now in our defense…we think we only put a quart on the charcoal…but I wasn’t there when the first quart was put on…so I put a quart on….and I think Billy might have put some on…so I can say with some authority that the following incident was Billy’s fault..

When we finally threw the lighted stick onto the grill and witnessed the fireball and heard the woosh from all the oxygen being sucked out of the air…I was particularly impressed with the way the shade screen on the gazebo melted back…simultaneously…the Ghurka in the far gun tower sounded the fire alarm…personally I think the Ghurka over reacted… and when Billy and I got up from the ground.. we discussed his premature use of the alarm..then started throwing dirt on the rose bush across the road which had caught fire…

After just an hour..we were able to get close enough to the grill to burn..I mean grill our sides of beef..I’m sure the glow from our grill could have been seen from space….it could have been used for some type of navigational aid for aircraft transversing our area…

I drag my charred meat off the grill and without a plate or utensils…I eat my side of beef with my bare hands…now this is real man food…I also noticed I no longer had any hair on my knuckles or forearms…from my elbows down…I’m as bare as a new-born baby….I really don’t mind…except the new guys even thinks it’s funny….no balloon for him!

Grillmaster signing off…

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Fort Worth, Texas, United States