5 countries, 5 weird foods I dare you to eat Comments Off on 5 countries, 5 weird foods I dare you to eat 3871

Part of the adventure of traveling is trying things that are weird and different. That also applies to food.

People around the world eat all sorts of strange things – from fried spiders in Cambodia to live octopus in Korea. Often these bizarre delicacies are a part of the culture, perhaps a tradition evolving from necessity and eating what is available. Over the years these odd foods are cooked to culinary perfection and become a fascinating part of the culture of your destination.

I’m a huge advocate of trying new and strange local foods when you travel. Okay, they might not be appealing at first but it’s all part of the adventure. Here are five foods from five different countries that you really should try if you travel there – I dare you.

(Note: I am only recommending weird foods that I have actually eaten. I’m not going to tell you to chow down on a rotten shark in Greenland if I haven’t actually done so myself. These are strange foods that have been tested by yours truly and are not as horrifying as they might sound.)

Peru – Guinea Pig

Fried or roasted Guinea Pig is a Peruvian delicacy. I ate it in Aguas Calientes, the evening before I visited the beautiful ancient ruins of Machu Picchu.

When I tell most people that I have eaten Guinea Pig (or Cuy, as it is called), they are disgusted – in our Western culture this animal is generally considered a cute pet. However, Guinea Pig has been a staple in the Peruvian Andean diet for about 5,000 years.

After all, these creatures are the ideal animal to farm in the steep Andean mountains – they are high in protein, they don’t take up very much space and they eat vegetable scraps. Plus, they are pretty tasty when slow-roasted with a bit of salt and pepper to make the skin crispy. Overall, it tastes a bit like a rabbit or dark chicken meat.

When you order Cuy be warned – it will show up on your plate whole with the ears, legs, snout and tiny feet still attached. If you can get past the horror of this, it is customary to eat the meat with your hands. Watch out, Fluffy has a lot of tiny bones so it’s best to go slowly.

Thailand – Crickets

You know how a handful of potato chips or salted peanuts goes down really nicely with a cold beer? In Thailand, they feel the same way about fried and salted crickets. Crickets have been part of the Thai diet for a long time, the tradition originating in the poor northeast where crops were hard to grow. Plus, crickets and grasshoppers were pests in the rice fields, so eating them was a win-win – pest control and a source of protein.

These insects are usually fried up in a wok and then seasoned with Thai pepper powder and a bit of Golden Mountain sauce. They are only around 1-2 centimeters in length and you can just pop them in your mouth and crunch the entire thing (if you are brave enough).

I ate crickets prepared by a street vendor while on a drunken night out in Bangkok. They really weren’t so bad – salty and crunchy and a bit spicy. However, if I am being honest I prefer potato chips with my beer.

Australia – Kangaroo

Australians like to say that they are the only country in the world that eats its national animal. That’s not really true though, there are a few. Plus, I think your average Australian doesn’t eat kangaroo on a regular basis – perhaps because of the 1960s cartoon Skippy the Bush Kangaroo made everyone sentimental towards these animals.

However, Kangaroo meat can be found in the supermarkets in Australia and I dare you to try it while you are there. You can buy some and cook it yourself, or you can find it in many local restaurants. I tried it for the first time at a “Roo and Wine for $11.99” night at a pub in Melbourne. It was delicious – juicy and meaty and with a slight gamey taste, a little bit like venison or alpaca. My partner Lee even prepared some kangaroo meat in a curry… he called it “Vindaroo.” **groan**

Kangaroo meat is actually really awesome for your health and for the environment. Kangaroo produces less greenhouse gas methane than cattle and there are so many of them in Australia that they are regarded as pests – hunted by professional shooters in a strict quota system. It’s healthy, low in saturated fats, high in iron, high in protein, wonderfully lean, and deliciously tender if you cook it properly. It has been eaten for many generations by the aboriginal Australians, who would roast the tender and succulent tail in a pit of burning embers.

Scotland – Haggis

Great chieftain o the puddin’-race indeed. The Scots love their haggis so much that famous poet Robbie Burns wrote a much-celebrated ode to this dish. They will eat it with everything, including in toasties, on pizza, in a baked potato – but the traditional way of serving it is with neeps (mashed turnip) and tatties (mashed potatoes).

So what is it? In 2003, a study revealed that one-third of American visitors to Scotland actually thought that haggis was a real animal that could be caught. However, it’s not. (Silly Americans!)

Haggis is a sheep’s stomach that is stuffed with the minced odd, random bits of the sheep such as the lungs, liver, heart, etc. Add some onion, suet, oatmeal, salt, and spices and boil it and you’re ready to go. This makes sense historically, it’s a quick way to cook up the offal before it spoils after butchering an animal and it was a nourishing and cheap dish commonly eaten by the poor.

Although it sounds horrendous, it’s actually quite nice. Everything is all minced up, so you don’t really think about the fact that you are eating lungs or heart. It has a nutty and savory flavor and when you add some whiskey gravy it’s quite delightful. It’s a comforting meal perfect for enjoying on a rainy evening in an old pub, or as a part of a gloriously greasy full Scottish breakfast after a night of drinking.

Brazil – Coconut Tree Grubs

Last but not least, we come to THE weirdest thing I have ever eaten.

My partner and I were on a tour in the Amazon jungle when our guide grabbed a coconut from a nearby tree and hacked it open with a machete. Inside there were multiple fat grubs squirming through the coconut meat. The guide pinched one between his fingers and gave it to me to eat.

“Hakuna Matata!” I said as I squeezed my eyes shut and popped the wriggling maggot into my mouth.

Guess what? These are the larvae of a beetle that lays its eggs after burrowing deep into the coconut. The grubs spend their entire life eating the coconut meat all around them – so they taste exactly like coconut.

But before you get excited, let me warn you that they aren’t like some delightful coconut candy. While the coconut flavor is nice, the texture is pretty nasty. Imagine biting down on an overripe grape and having the skin burst and the juices fill your mouth – yet knowing that those juices are maggot insides. Coconut-flavored or not, it’s a challenging snack to appreciate.

Eating grubs and larvae is no big deal to the indigenous people of the Amazon jungle. And why not? They are an important, widely available source of protein and fat. As you’ve probably learned so far, what’s considered disgusting and inedible to one culture is considered a valuable source of nutrients to another culture.

Have you tried any of these weird foods? I dare you to try these foods – or any other strange local delicacies – on your travels. It’s all part of the adventure!

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What we love about Apple’s iOS 12 Comments Off on What we love about Apple’s iOS 12 49097

The 2018 Apple event was a genuine expression of Apple’s ingenuity and dedication to their users. It wasn’t about new shiny things, it was all about the users this year. It featured outstanding changes to all the platforms and introduced groundbreaking software that will be talked about years to come. It was an outstanding success. It was the much-needed change of pace that Apple needed to dispel all rumors, scandals, and reaffirm their place in the tech world. The event was loaded with gizmos and updates, the likes of which can only be referred to as revolutionary. There are a lot of things that we love about iOS 12, and here are the highlights.

iOS 12

The latest update of Apple’s mobile software came equipped with some of the most family-friendly and digital health features to ever grace a smartphone OS. Rather than push people towards screens, the new iOS actually makes an effort to help users reduce screen time, thereby allowing them spend more time in the real world. The digital health bar helps users set all sorts of limitations while using their mobile devices. These limitations include; time limits on certain applications, activating do not disturb at night, and so many other little features here and there.

Memoji

Although it seems like an attempt to recreate the already popular feature that Samsung introduced – AR Emoji, Memoji is not only better named, it comes with tongue detection that lets you create all the tongue related emojis you want.

Other amazing stuff

There are new Google photos-like features in the new updates. It comes with suggestions, reminders, and it is incredibly intuitive when you search for photos. Some say it might be better than Google photos’ find features.

Siri gets more intuitive

The latest iOS update has made Siri feel less like software and more like a real personal assistant. The new update stores your usage information, suggests and allows you to tailor certain actions, and sometimes even alter them. The shortcut app is used for this function, and it basically ensures that your needs and specifications are made convenient with the click of a button.

macOS Mojave

Fret not macOS users, Apple didn’t spend the entire event going on about its mobile operating system. This new OS, like its predecessors, is named after a beautiful natural phenomenon. Like iOS, it comes with numerous updates and additions, the most noticeable and beloved being the return of the dark theme. Originally a star feature of earlier iterations of macOS, it finally makes a grand return to the Mac stage, so to speak. It can be easily accessed from system preferences on the Apple menu, and it works with Apple apps for now.

macOS also comes with an improved Safari browser

It’s still basically the same, except there is a new feature that helps you keep all the ads at bay. It does so by maintaining a tighter grip on user information and basically stops websites from singling you out for ads. macOS also comes with a ton of shortcuts and commands to help your experience feel more organized and smooth. There are quick-action settings for actions like organizing the desktop and watermarking documents, etc.

watchOS 5 basically turned all Apple watches into phones

watchOS 5 introduced a competent web browser, Siri’s suggestions, and a voice message system. This completely revamps the Apple Watch and makes it slightly less tacky than it really is. Its fitness software was also revamped, after all, that is half its functionality. It now has a new feature that automatically records your exercise session in case you forget to start the timer.

AppleTV finally supports Dolby Atmos

The much-anticipated update to the iTunes library has finally arrived. The complaint about AppleTV’s incompatibility with Dolby Atmos on supported programs and movies has finally been addressed. Like all the other changes to AppleTV, it was an improvement on the previous standard and so far, so good. There have been no problems.

Of course, this doesn’t begin to cover all the amazing things that happened, but these features really caught our eye. If we had to pick, these updates were the best thing about the event, of course, that is only our opinion.

Should I hire a personal trainer? Comments Off on Should I hire a personal trainer? 38205

That is a great question; one that has no clear answer. I guess to answer this question, you need to ask yourself a couple of questions and the first is: Do I actually need a personal trainer?

This question logically precedes the original question because it’s important to establish just how important exercise is to you. There is no reason to hire a personal trainer and pay him/her a lot of money if you don’t feel that you are dedicated enough to fitness as a whole. However, if it’s important to you, then by all means we can proceed to the next question.

Am I satisfied with my results?

Since it’s crystal clear that you are dedicated to the whole exercising thing, then you need to proceed to the next question which is far more important than the first. The second question is more important because it accesses your footing and your desire to grow and help you determine if hiring someone to guide you is the next step in your fitness journey. When working out we all see gains. Regardless of what you are into, it’s always present. It’s one of the general perks of sticking to a workout routine. And usually they come either quickly or slowly depending on how hard and well we workout.

You need to ask yourself how satisfied you are with your current rate of gains and improvements. Are the gains coming fast enough? If they are not then you might want to consider hiring a personal trainer to help you get those gains much faster. Most people just hop on the personal trainer train right off the bat. Most of them don’t see what they could really accomplish by themselves before bringing someone into it.

This is risky because it not only robs of you of your money, it also robs you of the opportunity of discovering just how good or bad you are at a given field before you have someone help you. Hiring a personal trainer if you aren’t satisfied with your current gains is a great idea. He/she can help you by showing you some tricks of the trade and improving your technique.

At this point, I would definitely say that it’s a great idea to hire a personal trainer. But if you are tight on cash and it’s not a do or die thing, you can always find out if this slow growth or gains is something you can fix or speed up yourself.

Can I fix it?

A reduction or overall halt in gains can be brought about by two factors. The first is physical, as in improper form, intensity, etc. The other is mental. Both factors are incredibly tricky and difficult to overcome alone. Even if you had the help of a personal trainer, it’s still going to be quite a challenge to overcome a plateau. This question cross-examines your ability to deal with your problems personally. Are you strong enough to overcome your plateaus or do you need some professional help? If you need help then a personal trainer is what you really need.

It’s ok to get a personal trainer of you really need it.

The decision to get a personal trainer isn’t particularly an easy one – or cheap one. If you are confident that you can push yourself to the next level, I see no reason to get a personal trainer but if you aren’t in intermediate need and just need a little push, then you can be in the beginner’s section and just need someone to show you the ropes of a fascinating and dangerous new world. In this case, research might not be enough, you might choose to hold onto a personal trainer for a couple of months until you break the whole “working out thing” down and get accustomed to everything that comes along with it.

To speed things up.

You could also be an intermediate athlete or an expert and you feel like you might need the personal touch of a professional to speed up your gains because you might be preparing for something big or important. In instances like these it’s great to hire a personal trainer. Nobody observes and sees your excesses like an outside party. Supervision to maximize gains is never a bad thing.

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