Soi 81, Bangkok

Soi 81, Bangkok

Join Jill, as she gives us a bird-eye account of the life of people on Soi 81, in Bangkok City.

Jill's Scene

When I look out my window on to my street in my home town, more often than not, it’s empty of traffic and people. And now, as I’m typing, apart from the tap of my fingers on the keyboard, the only sounds are bird song, Tui mainly, and the quiet rustle of the trees in the southerly breeze.  Often I can hear the sea, and sometimes our neighbour’s lawnmower. But not today – it was raining earlier.

In Bangkok there’s always traffic, always noise. You get that in a city of 14,000,000. Love it or hate it, Bangkok teams with life. My very favourite place is Soi 81 on Sukhumvit Road. It’s near the On Nut BTS – the Sky Train. It’s a perfectly average, ordinary street. And now, after three, no, make that four visits in three years, it feels like home.

We favour a particular Guest House. They…

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Amanda Does Turkey: An Idiot’s Guide to Holiday Survival

Amanda Does Turkey: An Idiot’s Guide to Holiday Survival

Join Amanda on her hilarious trip to Turkey.
What could possibly go wrong?

A walk in Södermalm, Stockholm

A walk in Södermalm, Stockholm

Södermalm in early spring

Last weekend we had some excellent weather in Sweden and we went for a trip to our capital. We love to visit Södermalm, a part of the town which is very special and well worth a visit. I wrote a post about Södermalm in the autumn 2014, with some photos from that season, see it here.
Parts of Södermalm is like a small town in the countryside, with small, old wooden houses. There are also some crowded streets like Götgatan and Hornsgatan with restaurants, coffee places and shops. There is a very special atmosphere in this part of Stockholm and I love it:) If you are thinking about visit Södermalm, here is some information: visit Stockholm.

First we walked among the small wooden houses, that have been here for many years… Idyllic, small gardens inside the fences.

Södermalm is built on some hills, there are a lot of walking up and down, which is nice and also offers wonderful views over the town.

Södermalm

View from a hill

Södermalm

Walking up and down…

I will finish this post with some colorful details:

Food, glorious Laos food

Food, glorious Laos food

Check out this wonderful post by Jill, about food and meals in Laos. Wonderfully written, and some great photography of the mouth-water delights she encountered.

Jill's Scene

There’s a small, unassuming restaurant along Kounxoau Road in Luang Prabang that’s my favourite place to eat in Laos. We discovered it one cold, wet evening after a day out and about in the rain. John had been biking. Ben and I’d been less adventorous, some might say soft by comparison. We sheltered in the Guest House until the rain eased to showers before venturing out, even so coats and brollies were required.

Rain on the Mekong, at Luang Prabang Rain on the Mekong

We all wanted something warming and homely for dinner that night and this small family run restaurant met the bill. Sadly, I don’t know it’s name. There was no sign. That large white sign to the right in the photo is for real-estate. I hope this restaurant isn’t for sale because for us it represents everything good about Lao food.

Our favourite restaurant in Luang Prabang and all of Laos. My favourite restaurant in Luang Prabang and all of Laos

The service here…

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Luang Namtha

Luang Namtha

More from Jill on her trip in Northern Laos. You’ll be amazed by what hangs from the rails on the bus!

Jill's Scene

When I stepped onto the local bus from Oudamxay to Luang Namtha in Northern Laos it looked full. I gesticulated my question and several of my fellow passengers smiled back at me and pointed out the last two empty seats.

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Oudamxay

Oudamxay

Join Jill in Oudamxay, Northern Laos where she takes a fascinating look into Laos city life.

Jill's Scene

Oudamxay, in Northern Laos, was never on my must visit list when it came to planning our trip. And that’s most probably the case for a lot of travellers. But at only three hours by local bus from Muang Khua it was a convenient place to stop and for me to rest up before continuing on to Luang Namtha. The lack of tourists, and all the infra-structure that goes with tourism, provided a fascinating insight into Laos city life.

Oudamxay Oudamxay

Oudamxay is mainly a trade centre. It’s close to the Chinese border and it shows. Many of the signs are in Chinese as well as Laos script. (I’m showing my ignorance here – I don’t know which particular Chinese language.) According to the Lonely Planet 25% of the population is Chinese.  And we wondered if the towns on the other side of the border might in fact be very similar.

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Muang Khua, and a forced change of plan

Muang Khua, and a forced change of plan

Join Jill, on a trip to Muang Khua.

Jill's Scene

Not many people visit Muang Khua and those who do don’t stay long – usually. What once might have been a quiet town felt to us like a staging post. People pass through on their way either to Vietnam or further into Northern Laos and Phongsali.

There’s lots of construction happening. Two large bridges now cross the Nam Ou and the Nam Phak rivers. Heavy trucks rumble through the town. I guess all the activity is, at least in part, connected with the construction of the dams on the Nam Ou.

I was immediately struck by the huge diversity in affluence. Women carried panier baskets filled with mandarins or vegetables to sell at their road side spot, others set up grills over stone pots and sold chicken kebabs, and then others drove by in large Lexus four wheel drives with tinted windows.

The main street from our balcony The main street from our balcony

We wandered through the…

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New York, New Hugh – What Really Happened – Day 1

Södermalm, a wonderful area in Stockholm

Södermalm, a wonderful area in Stockholm

This Saturday I went to visit our capital, Stockholm, and the area called “Södermalm”. The photo above shows the view over Stockholm from Södermalm, wich is situated above the rest of the town. I have posted some more photographys from that trip on my blog kerlundphoto. If you are interested to read some more and to see some photos of the most wonderful part (according to me) of Stockholm, please click on the link.

Södermalm

Södermalm

Romancing the Kebab

Having a bit of fun with the origin of the faithful kebab.

Originally posted on janeyinmersin:

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Saturday night.  You’ve been out clubbing until late and you’re hungry.  What do you want?  A kebab!  You race to the nearest kebab shop (and it doesn’t matter where you are in the world there is always a kebab shop) and you order your kebab “with the works”.

Within minutes you are holding your kebab, smothered in chilli sauce (or God forbid BBQ sauce) and you find your mouth filling with saliva in anticipation.  You’re excited.  You know it is going to be the best kebab you have ever had – and it is.

Fast forward to Turkey.  You have arrived in Istanbul, ready for adventure.  There are historical sites, amazing beaches, gorgeous people – and kebabs.  Yes Turkish kebabs.  The real thing.  You make your way to the first lokanta you come across ready to order your first genuine kebab.  With confidence you place your order.  They speak English!  A bonus.  Your table is laden with a basket of bread, a plate of lemon and pickled chilli and a small salad.  Am I going to have to pay for all this stuff?  Um?

Within minutes a plate is placed before you with a smile.  You look at it.  What is it?  It is not a kebab.  It is not what you were expecting.  You try to get the waiter’s attention but he is too busy with customers.

What just happened here?

Heads up folks.  There are a variety of kebabs available to you in Turkey and each one is unique.

sis kebab

You’ve got the Şiş kebab.  This was what I received the first time I ordered a kebab in Turkey.  Large cubes of meat threaded onto a skewer and grilled over charcoal.  Usually served with grilled domates and biber.  Just a warning for you though, keep your wits about you when ordering.  If you are not sure check because instead of siğir eti (beef) or piliç (chicken) you may just end up with offal as your meat of choice and nobody wants that to happen.

iskander kebab

Then there is the iskander kebab.  It’s got the shredded meat (beef or chicken) but the bread is also shredded.  What?  You might get a side dish of rice and a fresh salad but there will also be yogurt involved and a smothering of butter.  Delicious but again … what?

adana kebab

My absolute favourite is an Adana kebab.  I love this kebab because it is hellishly hot.  Minced meat on a skewer and with some crazy hot spices it is also grilled over the charcoal.  Definitely served with pita bread, salad and I suggest a cold glass of ayran to help you digest or you will be a puddle of sweat by the end of the dish.

But we are still trying to find that elusive kebab.  You know the one that you have after a night out at home.

“Help me Janey,” you cry fearful of your next meal.

“Fear not gentle traveller.  Go forth and get yourself a doner kebab.”

doner

Usually beef, lamb or chicken the doner kebab is slow roasted on a vertical rolling spit.  The Turkish doner kebab was invented in Bursa by a cook named Haci in the 19th century.  The man was quite obviously a genius but not so much of a genius that he put a copyright on his invention.  Nope.  He probably died a pauper.

Your doner kebab will consist of shredded pieces of meat wrapped in flat bread.  You will no doubt also find tomato, onion with sumac and a pickled chilli or two.

Just don’t ask them for BBQ sauce.

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