Hide and Seek Championships – Yes it’s a real thing.

Hide and Seek Championships – Yes it’s a real thing.

Nascondino World Hide and Seek Championships

Where the heck do I start with this story?

I’m sitting in a cafe in Milano, Italy wondering how on earth I’m going to process the fact that I just competed with the first Australian team ever, in the World Hide and Seek ChampionshipsThe Nascondinos”, set near the ghost town of Consonno, Northern Italy.

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Nem Nuong… Nom nom nom

Nem Nuong… Nom nom nom

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An excellent recommendation from our guide in Dalat was to try “Nem Nuong”…

A do it yourself type arrangement, Nem Nuong is served as BBQ pork strips with crispy pork skin, pickled salad veggies, Vietnamese herbs (mint, coriander etc), garlic and red onions and rice paper.

You basically throw all the ingredients into the rice paper, constructing them into hand rolls yourself, then dip them into a satay style sauce.

A great blend of tastes, and judging how busy the restaurant was at 4pm in low season it’s quite a popular dish!

Next challenge is to find some in Melbourne or move to Dalat

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Travel Buddies…

Travel Buddies…

Ever travelled OS with your mum?

Neither have I…

Not that I don’t think it would be a great chance to share experiences and plenty of people do it. My mother and I have a fantastic relationship, but when people go on holiday 9 times out of 10 they don’t mention their Mum or Dad as their travelling partner.

So I put the question out there…

“Who do you think the best people to travel with are? And why?”

I received a mixed bag of responses fired back to me, so here’s a wee little list of pros and cons utilising the most popular responses…

Friends

We had a fantastic trip!

This one I’ve done a couple of times. The first time was for a few months around Europe with a long time friend. Everyone said we’d kill each other within 3 days as we had a very volatile relationship at home…

We had the time of our lives, I think we fought once over the fact that I flushed the toilet in her face while she was spewing (sorry mum) but that was about it! We couldn’t have been more congenial to each other on that trip…

PROS:

  • You have someone to share your experiences with
  • You don’t have to share a bed… or sexual activity (unless you want to!)
  • There is less risk of “breaking up” and not being able to look at photos again
  • You can share the cost of accommodation with them
  • Safety in numbers!

CONS:

  • Your friend might snore and you didn’t know it
  • They may not always want to do what you want to do
  • Their annoying little habits may be hard to ignore
  • You may have to listen to their “night noises” if they bring someone back to the room :/

Partners

The romantic places are best for partners…

Since I’ve only done this once, I’m no expert! Though I must admit its fun to share the experience with someone you’re romantically linked to!

In Thailand I kept proposing to my travel friend at romantic locations (see pic). She kept saying no… I wonder why? 🙂

PROS:

  • You can forgive the little things (hopefully!)
  • Romantic experiences can be shared and reflected upon
  • It may solidify your relationship
  • It gives you a chance to see how your partner handles themself in a tricky situation (also a con!)
  • They will look after you if you get sick

CONS:

  • It could highlight reasons why you shouldn’t be together
  • Relationship tension can happen if you don’t give each other any space
  • You could realise you don’t enjoy the same activities (not necessarily a con)
  • You could break up and have the memories turn sour afterwards

Alone

Please look after this bear…

This one is one of my favourites, though it can be difficult if you aren’t a confident traveller or an outgoing personality.

I’ll never forget the arrogant man who tried to tell me “A woman shouldn’t eat dinner alone” when I took myself to dinner on a solo holiday to Noosa… apparently I shouldn’t have come down from my hotel room and shown my face if I was unaccompanied!

PROS:

  • You can do whatever the hell you want, when you want
  • A fight can’t be started with someone who isn’t there…
  • New friends are super easy to make if you’re willing!
  • It’s easier to get onto packed transport when you only need 1 ticket

CONS:

  • You can get lonely and homesick
  • It can cost you more, especially if you aren’t sharing accommodation
  • You have to carry EVERYTHING yourself!
  • It may not be as safe

I have left family out for a few reasons… A: I have little experience in this area and B: Hi Mum!!! (I’m only kidding!) 🙂

There are about a billion other things you could add to each list and a bunch of other scenarios I haven’t mentioned so…

Who do you travel with?

Can I eat that?

Can I eat that?

Is that edible? Are you going to finish that? Can I try some of yours?

Life is a revolving door of food and drink. Major life events are planned around it and the mundane reality of the day is broken up by it.

If you have never tried a particular food before how do you know if you like it or not? I was lucky enough to be brought up in a family where the words “oh I dont like that” food were never uttered and no matter what dish was served, it was expected to be finished. The chef (generally my mum) was always to be complimented… a task that wasnt hard in a kitchen that served dishes like fresh sushi 15 years before the Sushi Sushi invasion, delicious Kelapa lamb curries before greasy take-away indian and hearty home meals that never allowed for leftovers. Take-away food was a once in a fortnight rarity…

Such varied gastronomic beginnings have stood me in good stead for travelling, with a willingness to try new food with abandon… both locally (within Australia) and abroad, the prospect of sampling new food fills me with excitement and a chance to challenge myself… The stand-out memories from every single trip I have been on have revolved around food and drink, the pictures I have taken seem to always have such a theme, from roasted half a pig in Munich Germany, “meat bird” (chicken) in Sigatoka Fiji and the hottest green curry that gave me the ability to see through time in Koh Phangan Thailand…

So the challenge begins. Can I cross off the list of both standard and exotic fare that I have not already tried?

The next trip I embark on is to Vietnam… can I bring myself to eat White ant eggs, soft-shell turtle, fertilised duck egg or raw blood soup? I dont know… do they taste good? There is only one way to find out… though perhaps some of those dishes are too left of center even for myself…

This isn’t going to be some sort of Chanie vs. Food adventure or a mission to eat the grossest dishes out there… I’m sure I can find the most delicious Bahn Cuon (Rice paper rolls), Pho (Vietnamese Soup) or Glazed curries (Glazed curries?) to tempt everyone’s tastebuds but I also wont rule out other “delicacies” if they are on offer…

Except dog… too many of my friends will kill me if I do that.

Come with me on my journey… recommendations on what to sample are welcome and I will endeavour to try them and report back…

White ant soup
Banh Cuon