Tag Archives: Food

How to be a bitch without really trying….

It’s cold here in the Netherlands – and Belgium.  But is it ever gorgeous.  I am river cruising on AMAWaterways and have visited beautiful little spots like Volendam, Edam, Gent and Brugges.  We want for nothing on this cruise.  Food is amazing, wine is premium brand and plentiful – and yet – you just can’t please some people and it still continues to amaze me.rude

Tonight the chef hosted a dessert buffet after dinner upstairs in the lounge.  An extravaganza of chocolate, cakes, ice cream, eclairs and goodness knows what else.  Ms B. (guess what the B stands for) got extremely irritated because one of the other guests was having her photo taken with the chef and it was getting in the way of HER photo opportunity.  Oh well.  Deal with it sister.

The next moment I saw Ms B. was when another lady was leaving the buffet with (I will admit) a heavily laden plate of sweet goodies.  Now you know the rule ladies.  We all pig out and when a sister does this you turn the other way and say nothing!  Ms B. does not know that rule.  “Are you sure you have enough on that plate?” she asked sarcastically.  I was a bit stunned but was sure that the victim must at least be in Ms B’s circle of “friends” and not a complete stranger.  Nope.  Wrong again.  The victim is seemingly another guest or acquaintance with a sweet tooth and not necessarily in Ms B’s party.

I am still speechless.  Maybe there are issues that I don’t know about in Ms B’s life that make her… well… bitchy.  Maybe she has a reason to be so sour.  Who knows?  What I do know is that it takes so little to be kind and such a lot of bile to be mean.



If you like Attitude (capital A please note) take yourself on a trip to New York.  Yes people.  New York New York – the Big Apple – the city that never sleeps.  Here’s an idea.  Don’t stay in Times Square or in the Village or on Park Avenue.  If you want to meet the real New Yorkers go stay on the upper West Side where people actually live and play and shop and go buy kosher bagels and yummy lox cream cheese.  These people take life seriously and don’t mind giving you their opinion.  Take Nick – well Big Nick as he is known.  His restaurant/diner whatever is in the ‘hood.  To find a table there you might have to take a wander through the kitchen and past the storeroom.  This ain’t no Starbucks and Nick makes that abundently clear with a large sign “No laptops – this is a restaurant, not a library”.

Now there's telling you!

New York was full of surprises.  The subway was amazingly efficient, easy and cheap and we used it until late at night.  Wall Street was so tiny – disappointing really considering its influence.  Times Square was unbelievably tacky and somehow strangely thrilling.  A visit to the mega store My American Girl was extremely disturbing – they specialise in expensive 18 inch dolls chosen to look like the little girl owner with matching outfits and even a hair salon upstairs – for the dolls not the kids.  Yes grown women paid to stand behind a counter and braid a doll’s hair or give it a manicure or pedicure. Bizarre.   I found it rather sickening in today’s climate of starving children in Somalia – but I grow morose…..

The best part of New York was Little Italy.  Now shrunk to just one street – but what a street.  We nearly didn’t find it but after wandering around Chinatown and getting directions a couple of times we turned the corner and there it stood – oh wow.  Pretty lights in the street, tables and chairs laid up with check cloths and candles and even serenading musicians.  A wonderful evening.

So go to New York and enjoy all of it – its vulgarity, its charm, its vibe and mostly its people – it should be called the Big Heart rather than the Big Apple.

Minarets and Mosques

As the call to prayer rang out over the evening skies of Istanbul I had a serious case of goose-bumps.  Here I was in Constantinople – the ancient city that featured in ALL my history books, the gateway to the East, the Guardian of the Bosphorus. Wow.   

Mosques line the Bosphorus

 What did I expect in Istanbul?  After reading online travel blogs I was a bit worried about getting a taxi.  Horror stories crop up on every Google about having to haggle about the fare after the fact.  Dire warnings pop up about not taking public transport and Western women being harassed by fundamental “policemen”.  Instead I stepped off my amazing Olympic Airlines flights (there’s another blog all of its own) into a very modern, clean, bright airport terminal.  Passport control and my visa purchase were quick and easy procedures.  Outside the arrivals hall a line of well-kept looking yellow taxis were waiting to whisk us away to our hotel.  No hassles, no haggles, no bargaining.  So far so good.

 It is such a beautiful city but I couldn’t decide which was more fun – sightseeing or people watching.  I was fascinated by the variety of tourists there.  Many tourists from Arab countries such as Qatar or UAE visiting and doing just the same things as I was doing –  cruising on the Bosphoros, eating hot roasted chestnuts in the park, visiting the Blue Mosque.  I was struck by how beautiful and mysterious many of the Muslim women looked with their beautiful scarves and dark exotic eyes.

Now why can't I look like that?


As a woman one of the highlights was visiting the Grand Bazaar.  Oh my – I even saw people with wheelie suitcases going shopping.  Well why not – with over 4000 shops in this centuries old bazaar you could “shop till you drop”.  Dotted around the Bazaar are numerous places to rest a while and enjoy Turkish coffee.  Mmm – well I am not that sure about Turkish coffee.  I think I still prefer my Americano.  However Starbucks never serves coffee in cute little brass coffee cups so that wins hands down.

This ain't no Americano baby

 And the food – the food – the food – fish so fresh it was practically dancing on the plate, tiny tomatoes as sweet as grapes, light fruity wines from Antalya,  the biggest stuffed baked potatoes I have ever seen.  This seemed to be a big favourite “fast food” in the markets.  Take one giant baked potato, scrape out a bit of the inside and then choose your toppings from chopped olives, fresh yoghurt, chopped herbs and goodness knows what else until it is piled high into a heavenly potato mountain.  Did you notice I liked the food?

 Public transit – fabulous!  We took the tram which was really easy and quick because the traffic is awful in Istanbul.  It was brand new, clean, air conditioned and cheap – about a dollar a trip.  We got lost a couple of times and wandered into some really strange areas of the cities.  One street was Plumbing Street – every shop had a selection of toilets, sinks and taps spilling out onto the narrow cobbled streets.  The next street was Electric Avenue – every conceivable wire, cable, electrical connection that you could think of.  We got some strange looks from the tradesmen sitting in their doorways – and jeez I thought I was blending in.  I did feel perfectly safe however.

 Would I go back to Turkey?  In a heartbeat.  It’s exotic, cosmopolitan, exciting and refreshing.  They say East meets West in Istanbul.  They do more than that – they embrace!

Still dreaming of Istanbul