Travel places to avoid

30 04 2012

Some people collect countries like scalps. And not every country has the same value. The more touristy, the less value. The more perceived danger, the more value. Even if you missed the “danger” period by a decade or more. And so I claim Egypt, Kenya, Zimbabwe, South Africa – more exotic and exciting than England, New Zealand, Singapore (but no less enjoyable). We did manage to time our visit to Egypt six months after the hand grenade attack on the tourist bus outside the Cairo Museum, and six months before the machine-gun attack on the tomb of Hat-sep-Chut (which I know I have misspelled). The most exciting thing that occurred while we were in Egypt was the 18-year-old armed youth on National Service as tourist police who tried to pick me up in the Cairo Museum (“Come with me and I’ll show you the Tomb of Ramses II” – an original line, if nothing else.) The fact that I was walking with my boyfriend seemed to be irrelevant. (NB: Tourist Police are supposed to guard the tourists – most of them seemed to be 18, carrying loaded weapons and on National Service. Their impressions of western women – and I generalise here – seemed to be somewhat jaundiced. While as Australians, we were somewhat nervous being watched and guarded by armed guards, the South Africans we were travelling with were relieved and said they would be much less comfortable of the guards had not been there.)

The following picture was sent to me at work. I can’t quite work out the “logic” or criteria for allocating each cause of death to each country, but I note that China does not feature as having a notable cause of death. Perhaps the source of their longevity? Not sure the same can be said for much of Central Africa, which also appears not to have any specific notable deaths. And in sheer numbers, shark attacks really do not feature that highly in Australia, despite what we might tell tourists. (Diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and cancer feature more highly, as in many western countries, including England, another notable left off the list.)

And seriously – death by lawnmower in the US? Is that not an episode of Six Feet Under?

Like some more Australian KULCHA (culture) abroad? Try Australians abroad.





Reasons I should be allowed to eat what I want.

19 10 2011

photo credit: Magic Madzik


We are bombarded on a daily basis with messages about healthy eating – what we should eat, what we should eat more of, what we should eat less of, what we shouldn’t eat at all. A confusingly, sometimes these lists seem to coincide, so I am tole that coffee is bad for blood pressure, cancer etc, but apparently reduces the risk of stroke, heart attack and depression in women. Ditto for chocolate and red wine. Each new study seems to come out with another recommendation. I just can’t keep track of them all.

How does a sane person decide on a reasonable diet? I have decided to ignore all studies and go back to basics. Fruit and vegetables are good for you. Proteins are good for you. I don’t think there is any dispute about this. So here are the reasons I should be allowed to eat what I like:

1. sugar : sugar is made from sugar cane, which is a grass. Therefore it is a vegetable.
2. cheese : made from milk which contains calcium, proteins and various vitamins. Calcium is good for bones and teeth.
3. chocolate: chocolate is a real winner. Made from cocoa beans (a legume), milk (as above) and sugar (as above)
4. wine: made from grapes, a fruit, and yeast, a protein.
5. breads, crackers, biscuits and cakes : made from wheat (more grasses) and yeast (protein). Cakes and biscuits often have sugar and eggs in them as well – more good things!
6. coffee: yes, coffee. Made from coffee beans. More legumes! Plus, you may consume your coffee with sugar and milk, thereby adding another vegetable serve, calcium and protein.

These are really the staples of life – aren’t they? The new six food groups, instead of five? But in the interest of opening up other food options, I will add a few more.

7. Chips: made from potato – a vegetable. (This goes for crisps as well.) Chips with tomato sauce therefore count as both a vegetable and fruit serving. Finally – fruit and veg the children will eat without complaining!
8. Pizza: well it has been ewll known that pizza is the healthiest of all fast foods. Based on bread (grain / grass), tomato sauce (fruit), cheese (for the calcium and protein) then a variety of vegetables and fruits such as capsicum, onion, olives. And maybe some meat (more protein)
9. Hamburger: so along the same lines, hamburgers have bread, meat, vegetables such as lettuce and onion, fruit such as tomato and sometimes tomato sauce as well.
10. Butter: to round it out to ten, and because what would bread be without butter? and jam (a fruit)? Butter is made from the cream in milk, therefore it contains calcium, proteins and vitamins.

I’ve almost convinced myself!

DISCLAIMER : This should not be taken as serious medical or dietary advice. And PLEASE don’t let my doctor see this posting!

If you liked this post you might also like 12,000 steps, Chocolate and Red Wine and Reasons I should be exercising