How many minutos until el lunch?

You can’t miss the volcanoes when you arrive in Antigua.

Looming over the city, the Acatenago (3975m), Fuego (3,763m) and Pacaya (2,552m) volcanoes provide a magnificent  backdrop to the ex-colonial capital’s dark cobblestone streets, shiny white churches, bright yellow and orange buildings and rainbow markets. Even more incredible is the fact that one of them, Fuego, is regularly erupting lava and smoke.

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The 7 Wonders of the Industrial World

“Haven’t you ever watched that 7 Wonders of the Industrial World documentary?”asks Rob.

“No” I said.

“Its on Netflix” he persists.

“Yep, still no” I say, providing Rob’s first lesson of the holiday. It is however nice to know he thinks of me as someone who stays  up late watching civil engineering documentaries (when in fact I am almost definitely using up most of our internet data on the entire Gilmore Girls back catalogue.)

So thanks to what I can only assume was an extra informative documentary, Rob was convinced we needed to go and see the Panama Canal.

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AFL Grand Final 2014 (Berlin Style)

The fact only one bar in Berlin was showing the AFL Grand Final seemed to be a particularly bad move from the local business community.

You see the city was absolutely teeming with Australians. Everywhere you looked was an Australian: slightly unwashed,  matching black puffer Kathmandu jackets, eating kebabs, serving drinks, drinking takeaway beers, hogging the showers at your backpacker hostel. EVERYWHERE.

Our in country friend Jarrod, the ultimate Australian in Berlin hipster, was devastated to find out that the only place that was showing the Grand Final was Bulishi’s, a horribly lame sports bar with plasma screens on every wall. Sport! Beer! Australia! Belushi’s was very uncool.

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Couples counselling in Morocco

I had organised an airport transfer through our Marrakech riad. (A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or hotel).

I told my Dad our plans over Skype: “You have officially become old” he conceded sadly “getting picked up from the airport by your hotel is for old people.”

It was true. I was old. At 26, my backpacking days were over. The time when, in order to save a few dollars, I would walk several kilometres away from the airport in order to catch a local bus, to then be dropped off another few kilometres from my hostel, to then have to follow a not-to-scale-Lonely-Planet map that seemed to forget several key intersections, to then find our hostel was shut, were over.  Life was going to be full of comfortable air-conditioned transfers in pre-booked Kia vans from now on.

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An ode to the Lonely Planet

The other day when I was in a cold and dirty backpacker’s dorm in London, somebody stole my UK Lonely Planet (LP).

Once upon a time this would have been the end of my world. It would have been much, much worse then losing my passport (as obviously my LP could easily tell me where the nearest embassy was), but slightly better then loosing a limb or a close travelling companion in some sort of freak kidnapping (sorry Rosie K). I would have sobbed excessively and then probably caught a flight home (if I knew how, I mean how would I know where the airport was?)

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The Days of Rob’s Lives

In probably one of the world’s most ironic employments ever, Rob got a job installing solar panels smack bang in the middle of England’s Worst Ever Rains and Floods.

England’s Worst Ever Rains and Floods were blamed on a changing climate, increased use of intensive agriculture and generally anyone who worked for any environment agency ever. It had rained so much and for so long, a rather wet army was called in for reinforcements, Prince Charles was floated around on the back of a tractor and Virgin Trains had simply given up on it all.

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To dal bhat, or not to dal bhat

There is nothing more unique and beautiful and delicious about Nepal than dal bhat.

The first time I was in Nepal I went the whole trip without eating a single plate. I really, really wanted to, but I was so violently sick, all I could stomach was hot chips and UN approved electrolytes. My activities generally included staying near a toilet.

This time was different. This time my journey was full of so much dal bhat, in so many different forms, on so many different tables.The dal bhat we ate evolved with the landscape, the climate and the people in it.

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