Saturday, December 27, 2014

Desayuno: Latin American Style

One of the delights of traveling in Latin America, particularly in Central America, like Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, is what you get to eat for breakfast. Usually your accommodation at an hospedaje (family guest house) and hotel includes breakfast. If the establishment has a permanent cook you may be able to have lunch and dinner too, but normally you would explore the local restaurants around town for other meals.

A simple breakfast of fried eggs, bread, jam, sliced cheese and orange drink.

A frequent side dish is a mixture of white rice and black beans (frijoles con arroz) as shown in the foto, which may be served with plantain. The refried version is called "gallo pinto" , literally "spotted rooster".

The cook at the Nomadas Hostel in Merida, Mexico (foto opposite)
Yes, you can get breakfast here before you head out to explore Merida and the Yucatan. It can take 100 customers. The hostel is in the center of the city and provides a bar-restaurant, live music, free salsa lessons, free parking, private rooms, girls area, dorms, camping, swimming pool, hammocks and a travel agency. Pretty good value for a backpackers!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tequila, an Xmas spirit .. where it comes from.

Christmas is only a few weeks away. Summer is already here. Time it is to have a few special drinks with neighbours and drop in friends. Here in Adelaide, Australia, it's vino, vino, vino of course, living amidst a prolific grape growing region. For a change I like to share an iced tequila or an iced margarita, which reminds me on examining the bottles, I must restock ASAP. (click on fotos)

Every visitor to Mexico must sample the national drink and also go to see how it is made in Jalisco State, near the city of Guadalajara, Mexico's second largest city. The town of Tequila lies about 50 kms northwest of Guadalajara. There are various organized tours by bus and train that take in the agave fields, distilleries and tequila museum, and finishing with tequila tasting sessions, lunches and mariachi shows. Check the tourist menu for this outing.

The Mexicans tend to drink tequila straight, with a dash of salt licked from the back of one's hand and with a slice of lemon, or lime, all very ritualistic, and not to my liking. I prefer a tequila on ice with a generous squish of lime juice, which is close to a margarita. Easier still is to add a dash of Margarita Mix, which is lime based additive and non-alcoholic. Recipe on the bottle is add 90 ml of Mix and 30 ml tequila to an ice filled glass. Very simple. For more elaborate recipes containing cointreau see Margarita Recipes

The two largest distilleries, Sauza and Cuervo (above) offer public tours and free sampling of their operations.

A typical Sierra brand reposado tequila has 38% alcohol , is a pale yellow colour and readily available at Dan Murphys.
Serve in a shot or small glass with Margarita Mix, a lime derivative, and ice, makes a lovely evening drink.
Merry Xmas

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Trout fishing in South Africa

Trout fishing opportunities are fairly sparse in South Africa. Most of the activity is centred on private waters of the high veldt south and east of Johannesburg going into Natal Province and touching on Lesotho and Swaziland. The hilly country adjacent to the escarpment bordering Lesotho, known as the Drakensberg, has several National Parks which are popular bases for hiking, climbing and horse riding, with a little trout fishing thrown in for variety. The Royal Natal National Park dams are stocked each 3 weeks with rainbow trout of 12 to 14 inch size, day tickets being available at the Visitors Centre.

The ranger releasing about 90 fish into the dam during the summer. Royal Natal National Park. Nearby Mooi River is fishable but the privately owned dams are best since they are maintained in good nick by fishing clubs.

Of the ten accommodations listed for Waterval Boven most have their own dams for fishing or access to the Elands River.(Click on foto for larger image)
Mt Lebanon backerpackers was a favourite stopover of mine in the Drakensberg for there is a beautiful dam full of trout located at your cabin door step. In the morning or evenings I would catch a trout from the bank, or drift around in a row boat to fish for rainbow trout. About 1 lb, or 14 inches size, was normal, and I would catch one or two for the evening meal, or smoke them over an improvised smoker for tapas con vino. During the day I would hike up to the escarpment or join in with others on a horseback ride of the property.

A smoker of unique design that kept us backpackers supplied in smoked trout.

Hiking above Mt Lebanon backpackers, towards the escarpment, with a Ridgeback dog for company.
More details of backpackers and fishing in the Drakensberg region is given in my Bootsnall article The Drakensberg.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Guatemalan cuisine is tops for simplicity and presentation

A great attraction for me of Guatemala is the food and what can be created for little cost and presented so attractively. Consider these simple breakfast or luncheon dishes illustrated in the adjacent fotos.(click on fotos to enlarge)

Here we have fried eggs, plantain, refried beans, with a little soft cheese (queso blanco), watermelon and parsley sprig. Alternatively, there is a breakfast of scrambled eggs, refried beans, plantain, salad of tomato with lettuce and a little bowl of mayo. Note the discreet size of the servings of each component. A common failing of Oz pub meals is they are often served with a huge pile of salad which is rarely ever eaten in full unless you are a rabbit.

Then we have eggs, beans, toast and jam, and Gallo beer for breakfast.

This is more of a luncheon dish with pork bits and ham with banana in melted cheese on toast etc.

or here is the menu for a little restaurant at Panajachel, Lago Atitlan.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

TILAPIA fish? What future in Australia?

Last night I was listening to the radio in bed. It was a talk back. They got on to the topic of tilapia fish as a feral and toxic fish now spreading in the water ways of tropical Queensland. There was concern that it would be detrimental to native species of fish if it got loose in the River Murray waters (too late now with carp and redfin widespread, I wonder which would win out?)

I shall look into this but I have my doubts. Tilapia is a widely farmed fish throughout China, SE Asia, Africa and Central America. It grows fast and is very nutritious. It needs water over 25 degrees to grow. I have eaten tilapia at lakeside restaurants at Lago Atitlan, Guatemala. Fish farms are at each village around the lake. Tilapia provides good eating and affordable fish for the locals. Maybe in Australia we could train aborigines to develop tilapia fish farms up north and so improve their diet?

Fotos: Tilapia fish dish and a little fish farm at Lago Atitalan, Guatemala (click on fotos to enlarge)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Catfish make good eating -- Venezuelan style

Last time I was in Venezuela backpacking in the Los Llanos region (= the plains) I encountered along the roadside some stalls where the locals sold fish obtained from the nearby Rio Masparro. These were rather large catfish which had been split open and dried, and some were smoked. They looked delicious. Later on I went for a float trip down the river and encountered this fisherman with a catfish for sale. In the evening I got my spinning rod out and fished the river with some chicken bait. Quickly I caught a catfish and on winding it in found that each side had a piranha fish attached. My catfish had become live bait, so I had caught three fish with one cast. We cooked the fish over our camp fire. More about fishing in South America in my eBook Backpackers Fishing Guide to the Andes

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Allano's eBook Trilogy of Latin American Travel

Allano has recently publish on the Internet the third travel ebook on his adventures traveling as a backpacker in Latin America. This final one covers his exploration of Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay and Brazil. The trilogy can be found at the following Smashwords websites:

Allano's Travels in Mexico and Guatemala
Allano's Travels in Chile and Argentina
Allano's Travels from Venezuela to Brazil

Some fishing excursions are mentioned in the text, particularly in Chile and Argentina. Check here for all ebooks written by Allano

Happy reading. Cheers Allano