What Does the World Eat for Breakfast?

I’ve always been fascinated by world cultures and how each culture has its own traits in terms of food, mannerisms, dance and clothing. The element that most contrasts and brings difference in terms of multiculturalism is food. Whether it be Japanese, Chinese, Spanish, Indian or any other culture; the foods shape how a culture is defined and enjoyed in a tangible manner. This great video provides a simplistic snapshot of how diverse our cultural tastes are. Enjoy!

By: BuzzFeedYellow

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World Expo Milan 2015 – The wonder of food – (Sponsored post)

Earlier in 2014, I had the privilege of being invited to a dinner hosted by the Italian tourism board at the elegant Sofitel Hotel in Melbourne. The occasion was to promote the world expo being held in Milan, Italy in 2015 and they definitely impressed invited guests from the diverse tourism and travel industry on the night. We met so many lovely people on the night who had amazing travel stories and insightful conversations, with many laughs along the way. I must extend my many thanks to the Italian tourism board for the privilege of my colleague and myself for being invited to such an evening.

Guests were treated to a banquet of italian traditional dishes, antipasto platters on the table and lovely wine – which continued throughout the night. The organisers certainly out did themselves on hosting such an event and soon we realised how sitting the night was for the theme of the expo. That was impressive enough, but then we were treated to a presentation about the world expo in Milan. Some organisers had flown out from Italy just to present on the night and explained the theme of this edition of the world expo – food. This is to be held from the 1st May 2015 to 31st October 2015.

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Centering around the motto “feeding the planet, energy for life”, the world expo site in Milan is divided into food groups (clusters) for the countries which are not hosting their own pavilions – such as fruit & legumes, spices, islands, arid zones, bio mediterranean, cereals and tubers, coffee, cocoa and rice. Whilst other countries who opt for their own pavilion will construct amazing sites of architectural beauty. Looking online at may countries’ pavilions plans the architecture is jaw droppingly amazing and showcases the uniqueness of each nation. The site covers over 1 million square kilometers, 60 pavilions in total and 130 nations represented.

Surprising to find out that Australia did not express interest to participate in the expo – especially considering the rich agricultural industry and also multicultural food scene in our nation. For Italy though, the theme of food is quite fitting where many people associate the country with its offering of culinary delights ranging from pastas, pasties, gelato and much more. My last visit to Italy was like eating my way through the country, tasting all the lovingly prepared food and diversity in flavours.

Expo: a Malpensa primo Airbus Alitalia con livrea ufficiale

The presentation went on to showcase the expo through captivating videos featuring Italian tenor Andrea bocelli and the landscapes of Milan. Finally concluding with a very clever initiative to encourage Italian immigrants and descendents to return back to Italy for the expo. The ‘Made of Italians’ Initiative provides special discounts, offers, free entry to museums and more for italians living abroad and also foreign citizens of italian origin. They have tapped into the large market of italians living in places such as in Australia and the United states. More information about this initiative can be found on http://www.madeofitalians.expo2015.org

After reading through various leaflets and information about the expo, it has certainly encouraged for me to make time to visit Italy again to immerse myself in the excitement and spectacle that the expo 2015 will be. A feast for all the senses and especially the tastes on offer. Speaking frankly and objectively, I would be delighted to encourage travellers to venture to Milan in 2015 during the expo to take advantage of this unique occasion of having the world’s plate all in one location. And at the same time to enjoy the wonder that is Italy.

My recommendation – Arrive in Italy for the expo with an empty stomach and leave the country with amazing memories and taste experiences of a lifetime. Buon appetito.

More information about the World Expo Milan 2015 can be foun on their official website: http://www.expo2015.org/en/

– Anthony

Pale blue dot (Our world)

Our world is unique and wonderous with various cultures, landscapes and natural beauty. In our modern world, many often neglect to reflect on the effect humanity has on our natural environment and how thankful we should be for the resources and natural nourishment we are provided. this video encapsulates the ethos to reflect on our great world and to always be careful on the mark we leave for futire societies. Definately a great peice of media to provide well needed reflection and mindfulness.

Enjoy!
– Anth

Motor scooter riding in Chiang Mai – Thailand

I had the opportunity to visit Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand during my 2011 trip (which covered Thailand, Cambodia and Singapore. This was my second visit to this great city – where on my first visit I was lured by its relaxed city vibe and natural wonders which surrounded the picturesque city. Within the most recent visit I couldn’t resist the chance to hire a motorised moped / scooter and travel around the city. Risky business (I know), as you often hear in the news cases where tourists are injured and vendors taking advantage of the tourists (knowing that they are cash cows for their business). Knowing the risks, I decided to proceed as the chance as rising around and feeling a sense of freedom is too great to deny.

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Near my hotel (which was close to the old gate in inner western Chiang Mai city and near the night market district), I stumbled across what appeared to be a well organised rental business. As a surety they required me to surrender my passport (I was definitely hesitant at first, but I figured this was a consequence of being in a foreign country where you passport is the only main thing of value). After tentatively handing over my passport, I was given the keys to a well maintained and shiny motor scooter. The vendor asked me “have you ever ridden a motorcycle before”. Naturally knowing that if I said no, that I would face resistance to the vendor allowing me to proceed with the rental of their prized mode of transport – so I said ‘yes’. The funny thing is the vendor was not quite convinced and in a certain way tested me as to how I would manage.

Then afterwards after some false starts and accidently gripping back the accelerator, I was on my way to start my journey around this great city. The only condition of was that I had to return the motorised scooter in one piece and with a full tank of fuel (which was the way that the mode of transport was presented to me).

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I had no set plan on my travels around the city. This was the last day of my time in Chiang Mai, as my flight to Bangkok was around 6pm that evening. So being carefree and in a way naive, set out with the Nancy Chandler Chiang Mai map and just went out to see what caught my eye. I tried to ensure that I did not wander too far from the squared boundaries and the moat parameters of the city, so I would not end up in a foreign country in a compromised position (without fuel).

In saying this, i seemed to have immediately broke this pledge and soon found my way at a McDonalds in what appeared to be a Thai factory outlet on the outskirts of the city. After indulging in some fast food, I soon found out that I was headed away from Chiang Mai and was heading to Lampang (which is located heading south towards Bangkok). Lucky I stopped, or I could have found myself riding through the Thai country side, not knowing where or how long the fuel could last me – a very scary prospect indeed. After discovering the error of my ways, I made my way back towards the heart of the city and reoriented myself. Navigating the Thai traffic can be a challenge not for the faint hearted or those who are not comfortable riding on two wheeled modes of transport (which was my case for sure!). It is especially the case when you edge you way through the stalled cars at the lights, within the cramped spaces between. I soon learnt that in Thailand, space is a luxury and that applies to the road as well – where you won’t see any empty spaces at the front. This is why safety can often be compromised, with the cares and other modes of transport being within centimetres of each other and within a setting where infrastructure is not quite established as many nations have it.

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My travels continued through the city taking in many of the Thai temples, Buddhist centres, markets and other things that caught my eye. The feeling of having a mode of transport where you can simply wander around and whenever you feel like stop and have a look is highly rewarding. Not being restricted by public transport, 3rd party taxi drivers or other normal ways of travel makes you engage more with the locals and have a greater, more authentic experience. When riding around I would often see foreign tourists who also were compelled by wanderlust to explore the city by motorised scooter. Along my travels, some locals would giggle as they witnessed a ‘Farang’ (foreigner) trying to play it cool in their nation and trying to learn the ways of the locals. Riding around the locals are all too happy to provide guidance and assistance where needed and are more than friendly.

During my 4 hours riding around the city I must have circled the city 7 times and visited more places than my fingers could account for. The pictures below give a glimpse of the journey. With some disappointment, I returned back to the vendor to return the source of my freedom and exhilaration. Nothing compares to the experience had rising around Chiang Mai by motorised scooter. Enjoying the moment and having the wind lapping around as I ride is just magical – there is nothing like it in the world (well on that budget anyway). You only live once and whilst I don’t recommend rising a motor scooter without having prior experience, I would urge you to leave the comfortable confides that you put yourself in and do something that your future self will thank you later on for. Something as simple as rising around Chiang Mai on a motorised scooter is one of the moments that will echo in my mind for years to come. The world beckons to be discovered – so get out there whilst you can!

– Anth