“No offense…”

Have you ever noticed how some things we say as a culture are just absurd? I’m not talking about idioms like, “By the skin of my teeth” or, “A dime a dozen”. No, those sayings are okay. I get that they are trying to convey a deeper meaning. The stupid stuff I’m talking about are things like saying, “Just joking” after every sentence especially when you know they aren’t joking. There is one in particular that kind of chaps my hide: “No offense but…” Anytime anyone uses that phrase you know they are about to say something offensive.

Okay, rant over.

The reason I bring it up though is because I’ve noticed that a lot of cultures around the world are very blunt and they truly mean “No offense” by it. For example, I spent a good deal of time in Brasil. I loved everything about it but there were obviously some things that took some getting used to. Not being offended was one of them. Brazilians are blunt…no, that’s not the right word. Honest. Yeah, that’s better. Brazilians are honest. If you’ve got a pimple on your nose they will totally point it out. “Wow man, that pimple on your nose is huge.” And I honestly feel like they don’t mean to be, well, mean or offensive. They just tell it the way it is.

My personal experience was that I gained about 15 kilos while I was there (that’s about 30 pounds). The good news is that I got a bug a couple months before I left and lost it all, but that’s beside the point. I started splitting some of the pants I had brought and was feeling a little self-conscious about it. One day I noticed people who knew me started calling me, “Fofinho”. I had never heard the word and so asked what it meant. The lady who called me that a lot explained that it meant, “something fluffy and plump”.

Ouch.

But, I soon realized that they weren’t calling me that to be mean. Really. They were actually trying to be nice. I later learned that calling someone fofinho is like calling someone cute and fluffy, not fat. As a matter of fact, if you type in the word, fofinho into a Google search the first image you get is a cute little pig. There’s even a brand of toilet paper called, “Fofinho”. Brazilians just call it like it is.

I guess my travel advice would be this: when you travel someplace that has different customs, don’t be offended by the ones that you don’t like. Afterall, they may just be trying to tell you the truth in a kind way. Besides, you aren’t in Kansas anymore.

Totally Sick!

We’ve all gotten sick on vacation before.  Sometimes it’s jet lag (even just a couple of hours throws me for a loop), sometimes it’s sea sickness (oh man, I went on a cruise and we were in the tail end of a hurricane….everyone was sick…everywhere), let’s just get this one out there….sometimes traveling can cause some serious constipation…yep I said it, but often it’s an upset stomach, possibly severely upset.  It’s the last one we’ll talk about today. (Though each one of these other mentions deserves a post too!)

So how do we fight this?!? Maybe we’re not used to the water in the area, or maybe the water isn’t really clean (depending on where  you’re traveling). I know we hear stories of water bottles being filled directly out of the tap, but if you’re going to drink water (and we all need water!), a water bottle is still the safest way to go.  Unless you’re in a third world country, then I would recommend getting a filter water bottle or purifying tablets and clean everything you put in your mouth.  I don’t even run my toothbrush under the water in the sink….rinse with a water bottle!

When I was in Egypt, we were told to drink a bottle of Coca-Cola with every single meal because it would kill a lot of the stuff in our stomach.  (That’s comforting……)  And when I was in Cancun, one night we all ate at this delicious little restaurant and were all SICK shortly after.  One girl I was traveling with had a bottle of Cipro antibiotics and we all took one.  The next morning, we were good to go.  She said her doctor gives them to her every time she leaves the country and that it always works for her.

These are just a few suggestions. What else do you recommend to fight off the upset stomachs from eating and drinking different foods?

Travelers Checks???

Years and years ago (pre-digital age) when I was in high school, my mom and all of her sisters and my girl cousins who were my age went on a cruise… a “sister’s trip” (with a few extra of us younger girls included).  We we to the western Mediterranean.  I think my favorite stop on that cruise was Grand Cayman.  Swimming with the sting rays was amazing.  For money purposes, we took Travelers Checks. They are kind of like a check (need signatures and ID from the owner), but can be used as cash. You would just go to your bank before your trip and get as many travelers checks (in any denomination desired) printed (prepaid, at the bank) and then used like cash that you signed.  Every place I visited took them!  It was pretty slick.  They were super convenient because they literally worked like cash, but if they got lost or stolen, they couldn’t be used.  And when you got home, the bank would replace them.  It was a safe way to carry money..,.safer than cash and better than risking not being able to find an ATM or a place that took a debit card (yes, it was hard to deal with credit/debit cards once upon a time).  So we loved our travelers checks.

Travelers checks can still be found today, but not very easily.  Today, you can get something that works like travelers checks, but is more universal. You can now get prepaid debit cards from MasterCard, Travelex, Visa, and AmEx (and probably more places…but I’d stick with big companies) that have chips and work like a regular debit card, but like travelers checks, they have zero liability.  If they get lost or stolen, you get all your money back.  This is very convenient if you’re traveling someplace that isn’t very safe.  And Travelex is pretty cool, because it can even carry up to six different currencies on one card.  They can all be reloaded, and all have regular ATM fees.  They aren’t attached to your bank account at all.  So if you’re looking for a safe way to carry money on your trip, check these different cards out!

Rio, Baby!

rio

I know the summer games ended a month ago, but I just love Brasil!!  The people, the culture, the language, the amazing beaches, and oh the food! So I wanted to give a shout out to one of my favorite countries out there.  I was able to spend quite a bit of time in Southern Brasil. I’d love to go back and see the north… maybe even see the Amazon…but I’m totally freaked out by crazy things that might be hiding in there.  So I’m trying to build up the guts for that one. Anyway, I absolutely fell in love with the food.  The aromas of breads and fruits and even garlic in some places.  I’ll never forget an experience I had with some sugar cane though….let’s just say you shouldn’t drink too much of that stuff no matter how delicious it is (unless you’re doing a cleanse). Anyway, I just wanted to share ONE of my favorite recipes from Brasil.  It’s a staple there, that’s why I picked it.  (Though in Rio, this would be considered poor man’s food.) They make it with the pig snout and ears and everything…to add flavor, they don’t eat that part.  But I just stick with salt pork.

Feijao

2-3 cups sorted, rinsed dry black beans                                                                 1 salt pork (or bacon, if you can’t find salt pork)                                               1 large sausage, sliced                                                                                                       1 medium onion, chopped                                                                                               2 cloves garlic, minced                                                                                             water to cover everything by 2-3 inches                                                           ~3 Tablespoons flour (mixed with water to form a paste) to thicken after it’s cooked, if needed

Cook for 1 hour in a pressure cooker (after pressurized).  Add flour mixture if it’s too runny when it’s all done.  Simmer, pull out salt pork and serve over rice.

Gostoso! Desfruta! (It’s delicious! Enjoy!)

Finding the Perfect Hotel

Hotels make a huge difference in our experience while we’re traveling, right?  When we got married, we were brokety-broke.  Just young college students who lived on love and Ramen.  Shortly after we were married though, I had a training in Vegas for work.  My hubby was able to join me.  We stayed in a suite in the Venetian (when it was pretty new…) that was AMAZING.  Like, wow.  Talk about luxury.

When I finished the training, we decided we were only five hours from Disneyland and we should just jet down there for the day.  What the heck, we were young and up for an adventure.  Well, we drove during the night, but got to Anaheim at about 2 am.  It’s not exactly easy to find a hotel in Anaheim at 2 am….especially before internet was on cell phones.  We finally found a place with vacancy.  WHAT A DIVE!  Oh my goodness.  Smokey, cock-roach-infested, dirty, smelly, gross, with an animal of some sort living in the radiator (no joke, it reached it’s little paw or something out to claw around….AHHHH!) The shower…..so crap-a-nasty I could hardly handle it.  But after sleeping in that bed, I needed a hot shower and scrub with some soap.  We survived.  And we had a blast at Disneyland.  But wow, hotels seriously make a difference.

We definitely have been blessed to travel, but we don’t have a lot of money.  So most everything we do is frugally.  I’ve discovered that I love HOTELS.COM.  This site rocks!  It gives you lots of options and compares prices at other websites. I always read reviews.  I think those are the best judge of what you’re getting.  I also always look for places with free breakfast…because…FREE….   And the more you use it, the more free nights you earn.  It’s my go-to.  I spend time shopping around, but I’m definitely not a pro.  Do any of you have any tips for finding hotels? What do you do?  What do you recommend?

I’ve never been to Hawaii…

So, I’ve done my fair share of traveling.

I’ve seen the great pyramid of Chephren Khafrethe-sphinx-at-gizacairo-in-egypt-with-the-pyramid-of-chephren-khafre-in-the-background

I has Swiss chocolate in Germany at the torture museum in Rothenburg ob der Tauber800px-rothenburg_bw_4

(By Berthold Werner – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4333052)

I’ve even been to the Holy Land. That’s right, J-town!western_wall_jerusalem_shavuot

Paris? Yup.

England? Pip pip and cheerio I have.

But alas, I’ve never been to Hawaii. I’d like to go soon, so for this magnificent post I’m asking all who have been to tell me all about it. Which island do I have to visit? Which attractions are must sees? Anyplace I ought to avoid?

Thanks in advance for the helpful tips! I can smell the coppertone already.

This is it…my new website!

I’m proud to present my new website, worldwide-rentacar!

The premise for this site is pretty basic. My husband and I have been lucky enough to see some pretty exotic places in this beautiful world and plan on seeing many more. I want to share some of my experiences and travel tips. I’d also like to hear from you about where you’ve been.

As far as the name of the website…well it’s a long story. You can read all about it in my About page.

I’m hoping this will be a kind of “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” kind of thing. Maybe a better metaphor would be, “you rub some sun tan lotion on me, I’ll rub some on you.” Nope. That wasn’t a better metaphor. It kind of just sounded a little creepy. I mean come on…I hardly know you!

Well anyway, thanks again for visiting this site. I look forward to hearing about some of your adventures and sharing some of mine. Raise your imaginary glass (unless your’re holding a real one right now, then raise it) and join me in a toast to wanderlust!