Eating Ethnic in Prague

When we first moved to Prague in 2001, ethnic restaurants were relatively expensive; the selection was slim and value low. In response, we sought out odd spice shops and developed new skills in cooking Italian, Indian, Thai and Mexican. As with the availability of ingredients, the number of ethnic restaurants in Prague has grown substantially over the last few years. We’ve even been introduced to some new cuisines like Afghan and Georgian.

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Cooking Well in Prague

When we first moved to Prague at the end of 2001, fresh goods like celery and limes were luxury food items with out-sized price tags whose whereabouts were restricted to an imported food shop called Fruits de France.

In the last five years, however, the landscape for finding fruits, non-root vegetables, spices, herbs and imported goods in Prague has evolved rapidly. Prague still doesn’t have a good central food market or a “fresh market” culture like Vienna or Munich, but the Vietnamese community has managed to fill some of the void by opening endless fruit and vegetable shops. Although it’s still difficult to assemble a sophisticated, full-course meal with one stop, if you know where to look you can find almost anything you need.

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Svaneti: Why and How To Go

Svaneti, the high Caucasus mountain region in the northwestern corner of Georgia, has a long reputation of fierce independence characterized by the 12th century defensive towers that still dot many of its villages. More recently, Svaneti has been feared as outlaw territory where bandits and escaping terrorists from nearby Abkhazia, Chechnya and Ingushetia took refuge as locals holed up in their homes with guns at the ready.

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Interview with Adrianne and Rick

Siem Reap Street Kids Art Program at NGO

We introduced Adrianne and Rick earlier on this blog. Having told their story to several people recently and feeling renewed inspiration, we wanted to share more about them and their work.

We feel that Adrianne and Rick can tell their story better than we can. Below are excerpts from an email interview conducted after they returned to Canada from their latest work in Cambodia (December 2006-March 2007).

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Kakheti: Two Donkeys and a Vineyard

Before arriving in the Georgian wine region of Kakheti, we'd imagined rolling hills and old vines. Throw in some looming mountain ranges, medieval churches, bad roads, small villages full of crumbling houses, beautiful rose gardens, donkeys, old Russian cars and large gasoline jugs filled with murky wine and you’ve got Kakheti. And while the region is full of mysterious churches and historical sites, our best experiences always seemed to happen along the way.

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Krabi and the Andaman Beach Scene

Most people visit Krabi to transit to the various Thai beach paradises nearby. We came to Krabi and stayed for two weeks. Though it doesn’t have any particularly amazing sites, the town and its people impressed us as friendly, approachable, and authentic. But as our days in Thailand came to an end, we opted to rejoin the tourist route to explore nearby beaches and take in some excellent diving.

Boats in Waiting at East Rai Leh
Mooring at East Railay

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Cruising Phang Nga Bay

Most people come to Phang Nga to visit the dramatic limestone cliffs, islands and sparkling waters of Ao Phang Nga National Marine Park. We were no different.

Bow and Clouds, Phang Nga Bay – Thailand
Bow and Clouds, Phang Nga Bay – Thailand

Tour operators swamped us from the moment we got off the bus at Phang Nga bus station to the moment we entered our guest house, some 200 meters away. A note to tour operators: hard sells are irritating; find a new strategy. Our reaction to the hard sell is instant rejection.

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Monkeys and a Tree House

Ridges and Rain Forests - Khao Sok
Limestone Ridges and Rain Forests – Khao Sok, Thailand

After hearing about the tree houses and monkeys in Khao Sok National Park, we were intrigued. We decided to make a stop there on the way back from our visa run in Ranong.

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Motorbike Driver Chronicles

While visiting Battambang, we hired motorbike drivers for a day to take us through the surrounding countryside. Our day with them yielded an authentic look at Cambodian country life. Our drivers also shared glimpses of their own personal stories with us. Their stories were typical of many Cambodians and serve as a collective memory of a country that lost half its population during the rule of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. While the scores of smiling children we encountered throughout the day still bring smiles to our faces, the day underscored how thankful we are for the fortunate lives we've had until now.

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