pühapäev, 23. september 2018

Go blue. Gourmet

I think the food has been like poor relative here in this blog and obviously all the readers re interested in what we eat here.

We walked to downtown the other day to have quick dinner. Neither of the previously chosen places impressed us, so we found ourselves in No Thai. It a fast food kind of place with few locations in town. Airconditioner was turned so high that we went to eat outside before my shrips are frozen and covered with a layer of ice. We had chicken (not me) and shrimps. Tasted almost like in my main eatery on Koh Lanta.

The fish taco bought from the farmers market was same size as the beef taco in Ülo this summer, just three times cheaper.

Accidentally we found ourselves in a pub in Brighton last year and had the best tuna tacos ever - perfectly cooked medium raw thin slice of tuna  and few slices of avocado in a hard shell taco covered with dressing. Well, after shopping the other day we went back to that pub and ordered the same tacos. Scott also took some beef and and I had seared tuna with coconut rise and lettuce. The tuna in the tacos was totally overcooked and looked like a slice of pork. Tasted about the same as it looked. Then my seared tuna arrived, which was perfect medium raw. Covered with two types of bottled sauces. I removed those sweet and sour chili and mayonnaise from my fish and started to eat. It was perfect. Instead of rice, as it turned out, was something like mashed rice or rice porridge and after the first bite, was left untouched. Scott thought when looking at it that mashed potatoes are complimenting my tuna.

Walking to the town the other day, there was Cupcake Station on the way. Since they had rainbow soufflé cupcake as September special listed, that was what I walked out there with. Seva, the local vegetarian restaurant, was also planned last Friday and we shared two appetizers - sweet potato fries and Gouda tots. Both absolutely delicious and we had some left to take away too. Can't tell that we won't learn from mistakes - when we started to go there a year ago, we shared 4 appetizers and could barely move ourselves later.

On Saturday, a late lunch was planned with Scott's mom and aunt. Apparently the best fried mozzarella sticks of the continent can be found in Jonesville (about 1-1,5 hours away from us), that's where we went. Before the waitress managed to put down the menu, Scott already placed the order for 10 mozzarella sticks and a tray of fresh tuna slices. And a plate of onion rings was added to the order. We also tried to place the order for drinks, but every time someone voiced the wish, the girl ran without looking back to the kitchen and we managed to add another drink once she was back with the previous one. So there she was running back and forth until all four of us had gotten our drinks and also changed a lousy beer for the wine. Despite only trying a tiny bit of one onion ring, by the time, she came back to take the order for the mains, I was long full. The mozzarella sticks had a nice thin breading and the hot cheese was almost liquid, so melted. The tuna with wasabi and thick soy sauce was the star of the table. As said, they are pretty generous here with the sizes of portions, so once I was full of the appetizers, my tray with white fish, french fries and broccoli (my apologies, fresh veggies) arrived. I ate the fish. Hopefully the children of Rwanda will never know that I only had a bite of french fries. The slice of cake we shared among four.

Since last summer, Scott kept telling me that we need to go to Dairy Queen. It's apparently so classical American thing that I just have to try it. So, one day last fall, we walked there, it turned out that the season is over since yesterday and they are more than happy to welcome us back next spring. The same Dairy Queen that is right next to the main road and we passed at least once every two days. Well, at least we learned from our mistakes  that you shouldn't postpone today's ice cream until tomorrow and one day, driving back from Aldi, we stopped by Dairy Queen and took three ice creams. I took one. #justsayin

reede, 21. september 2018

Go blue. Walks and runs with Bill.

I have to share my recent discovery! It's the audio books! I've always thought that those are more for the ... elderly people, who otherwise would listen to read-alouds in the radio, but I had to change my opinion here. I guess, I've mentioned that the closest grocery store here is the Busch's, where I get, when shortcutting through the forest, with 17 minutes. And despite of having pretty nice and fast way there, I'm not really happy with their prices. Aldi, on the other hand, where I like the produce section and prices, is way too far. Kroger, just 35 minutes away, can be seen as a compromise and also has the added bonus of TJ Maxx next to it. Two flies with one shopping. And 35 minutes is not really a lot of time. Barely 5000 steps one way. The actual downside of the route is that the shortest option is so boring that I would rather lye in the garden and watch grass grow. It's 300 meters to the main street and then 30 minutes down the straight street until it's time to turn into the parking lot of the store. And the street is not lined with best examples of architecture. Anyway, I've expressed my dissatisfaction with the route there few times and Scott told me to suck it up, we will not move closer to the stores, nor will Aldi open a store in downtown Ann Arbor.

I needed to go to TJ Maxx again yesterday and already standing there, shoes on, I got the idea of downloading an audio book. In Amazon it turned out that if I join the Audible Prime, I get two audio books for free. Joined the VIP club and downloaded a Bill Bryson. With less than 5 minutes I had the book, downloaded the app and started the book. All the way to the store I was listening to how Bill after 20 years of living abroad returned to USA and made a road trip to small towns on east coast.

I went for a run today and started the book again instead of the usual playlist. The people I saw on the streets, thought, I was smiling at them and waived all happily. I was listening the entertaining stories of Bill Bryson adventures.

teisipäev, 18. september 2018

Go blue. Local life.

Actually I had planned to share all those pompous halloween decorations once again - plastic skeletons, prize winning pumpkins, pumpkin leftover from squirrels, cheesecloth on bushes and little ghosts. But aint gonna happen - in September no-one but retailers care about the pumpkin party.

So, you’ll have to do with pumpkinless overview of what’s going on.

Obviously nobody is living under impression that I have moved to a metropole, but to give you an idea of closest neighbourhood, then one day while walking to the centre there was a blanket on the ground in the middle of the sidewalk and some 6-months old playing on it. The 2-year old, driving the SUV next to the baby almost ran over him, but the three adults, who were just loitering there, made some record long jump and took the careless driver down.

Running is getting more popular every day - around noontime the streets look like during the Boston marathon.

Also our little zoo in the backyard has been growing - few rabbits and hummingbirds stop by every other day. I’ve seen some bright red birds too, but I think, they were here last year too.

I still enjoy shopping here. I couldn’t decide yesterday, which jacket to buy, if at all, so I bought both of them. Tried on at home and will bring one back today.

We have new neighbours. With two dogs. Since we are talking about people, who work in the medical field, they make long days in the hospital and leave the dogs home alone for the bigger part of the day. The loud joy both of them express, should there be someone even within 500 yards from their house. Can’t really say that Scott still enjoys their happiness.

But no need to worry about that anymore. Because in addition to the new jackets I also bought a new laptop. The noise that hard drive makes overpowers even the loudest dogs in our ‘hood. Laptop will be sent back to Dell too. So, Scott’s issue with the barking dogs is kind of relevant again.

The neighbours on the other side are still the same, but have taken a dog meanwhile too. Such a cute one, average size. The dog will be carried to the backyard every morning, chained to the tree in the middle of the yard and there he’s lying on the grass all day long. He only moves along with the shadow of the tree to not to get a stroke in the plain sun. A plastic container, sorry the doghouse (at least that’s what Scott told me) is there too, but not moving with the tree, so obviously is not of interest. He also has a bowl of water and at least he doesn’t need to worry about catching cold from cold refreshment. If he would have a package of Lipton tea handy, he could drink fresh and hot tea out of his bowl.

reede, 7. september 2018

Go blue. The one, who types

Being the ever-non-satisfied tourists, we were of course not happy with our hotel room that was located directly next to the kitchen and maintenance room and had the garbage containers behind the window. I'm using the "we" here only out of pure loyalty, because I was only bothered by the half-basement-floor we were on. So, Scott sent an email to the landlord and listed up our complaints: in addition to the noise coming from the kitchen and the maintenance room, we didn't enjoy picking up previous tourists hair in the bathroom and finding used towels in drawers. He also expressed his opinion that to make up the inconveniences a refund of 25% of the paid price would be appropriate. The girl, who replied us, thought that it wasn't that bad and we should have taken into account that the room might be between the kitchen and garbage containers and offered us back half of what we asked. Being a wise planner of finances, Scott waited until the refund had been processed and informed them that we are still not happy campers and would like, as asked the 50 dollars more refunded. The manager of previous lady got in contact with us and expressed how sorry she is that we had such a traumatic experience and of course we will be refunded in the amount asked.

Traveling with hand luggage only means that I've had to get several things double to have them in both homes and wouldn't need to carry back and forth all the time. Like running gear, especially shoes. Jeans, jackets, water bottles, travel coffee mugs. Last two were the ones I needed now, because both I have, remained in Tallinn. I placed the order in Amazon and in two days the packages arrived. The coffee cup with a dent on the side. I expressed my disappointment to Amazon in regard to their quality assurance and asked them to replace the cup for a dentless one. Being deeply concerned about the situation, Amazon had to let me know that unfortunately they don't have more of those cups in the storage, but they will refund me the purchase price and it's up to me what to do with the cup - throw it away, donate or used it eyes closed so I wouldn't be able to see the dent. I decided that with the free cup, I'm not that concerned about the dent.

pühapäev, 2. september 2018

Boston in Pocket. When you have booked the late night flight, but have to leave the hotel by 11am

Today morning we were smarter and left our room earlier to hit the crowds in breakfast places. We had chosen to eat in the Friendly Toast, when, after arrival found ourselves looking at the queue sitting on benches waiting to get into the breakfast heaven. We figured it being around half an hour wait, after all, it's one of the most popular hipsterbrunchplaces in the city, when it turned out that they have a table for two available. Opened the menus and even the strongest willpower wouldn't have been able to order just yogurt. So, my choice was Carribean waffle with maple syrup and caramelized pineapples and bananas. I needed three cups of strong coffee to drown all that caramel down and after leaving the hipstermecca, I didn't have any other wish, but to lay down in bed. Scott had it more difficult with the menu, because he saw his name behind three different menu items. With the help of the waiter he was able to narrow it down to one and even then there was something left on the table, after he was finished. Because, the American breakfasts are not made for pussies. We walked back to the hotel and I bonded with the bed again.

We had found out that it's possible to store luggage in the South Station, so that's where we went. Having only one instead of two heavy backpacks we made our way through the shopping heaven to the park. With that we considered having put the first part of the day successfully behind us and earned a little nap. We sat down on the grass and watched people. After an hour it seemed time to continue with sightseeing and we made acquaintance with the sightseeable part of the town right behind the park. In the mentioned district there is one specially sightseeable cobblestone street, even listed as must-see in Boston. I thought most sightseeable on that street were the tourists, who devotedly were taking pictures of the street and themselves on the street.

By that time the memory of the brunch started to fade and we got increasingly hungry. We found a grocery store (which is, in the middle of a city not easy task at all, because the idea of small grocery stores is fairly unknown here), got hummus, cheese, prosciutto, crackers and blueberries and returned to the park. Spent a quality hour with good food and better company and after consulting the Google Maps, who confirmed us that there is a Chinatown in Boston, made our way there. And after 5 minutes, after seeing all of it, it was clear, that we have seen way more impressive ones. Since we were conveniently halfway to local Little Italy (North End), we decided to return there. Because yesterday we considered the queue behind the famous Mike's Pastry too long to wait and didn't stay, but after asking some people on the street, who were carrying Mike's Pastry's boxes, they convinced us that it moves fairly fast. That was true and in no time we found ourselves back on the street, carrying two huge cannolis - lemon and chocolate ones. Walked to the harbor and had another picnic.

Based on previous research I knew that from the opposite side of the harbor one can enjoy breathtaking views over Boston and especially astonishing were they supposed to be during sunset when all Boston skyline and the sky above the line is painted golden. Since the mentioned park with the view was halfway to the airport, we picked up our luggage and took Uber to the park. Watched the sun setting on the side of Boston not as planned behind it and were grateful for the founder of Photoshop that adds the expected golden tone to our as well as the picture found in Internet.

We went to the airport, where one of us (not me) went to the local bar to watch football and left his wife to sit alone with luggage at the gate. To be fair, it should be mentioned that before doing that he went to complain to the girl at the gate, how unlucky we were getting the seats so far from each other and how long he hadn't seen his wife and how much he would like to sit next to his beloved wife. And ideally even stretch the legs in the cabin. The girl understood the concern and Scott returned from negotiations with two tickets next to each other in the exit row. Which, as we know, has more legroom.

laupäev, 1. september 2018

Boston in Pocket. That's it?

Arrived at 5am in the airport with almost no incidents. And if there wouldn't have been unexpected roadconstruction in front of the terminal covered with a loose piece of wood, I wouldn't have almost fallen over either. Anyway, started to pull out my laptop from my backpack when I accidentally turned on my electric tooth brush. All the stories in media about Tallinn Airport evacuating all passengers, because somebody had checked in an adult toy, which made all the alarms go off, flashing in fron of my eyes, I dived into my backpack, trying to find that damn toothbrush and the button to switch it off, before somebody starts to suspect that I try to smuggle dildos across the border.

Tip for environmentally concsious travellers from Tallinn Airport, who bring their own water bottle to fill it frm the tap - in the baby changing / toilet room is the only tap in terminal, where you can regulate the water temperature and actually get cold water. Filling your bottle from any other tap you can add a Lipton tea package into the bottle as well and enjoy a nice hot tea 5 minutes later.

Wifi was working perfectly on board and despite having Kidle in my purse, reading seemed so yesterday. If you compare it with 9 hours pointlessly browsing internet. Roaming was also working and somebody choose the time when I was 12km high from ground to call me.

Two rows from me a family with a three year old was traveling. Since the girl was obviously to big to fit on the changing table in the small toilet, all the six times she shit her diapers, she was changed right there on the seat.

Scott, whose flight arrived an hour later, was already waiting for me in the terminal, but then again, he didn't have to spend some quality time with 50 immigrants, trying to smuggle themselves into the country either.

Arrived at a very reasonable time to our room, went out and walked to a nearby bridge and ate some dinner. Early bed just to watch the ceiling at 6am next morning. Waking up at 6am also meant that by 8am we were already in breakfast place and managed to get the last seats before the last seats. And there I had been, thinking that we were early birds :D Menu seemed to be like: I want everything! Until I saw the portions that were brought to the tables. After that I only wanted a quarter from one. The lady next to us got pancakes which meant two huge, main course plate size and thick blueberry pancakes that I would have labeled as cakes or pies without consulting the menu first. And fed the students of few smaller African countries for a week. There were only 5 slices of french toast on  a plate, but one slice was 4 times bigger and thicker than our usual slice of toast. Scott ordered himself half a portion of hot dog (i.e. One hot dog, because the official portion was two of them), that arrived with a tray full of french fries. And in case someone thinks about the tiny hot doggies sold in Estonian gas stations, well, guess again. And double the size of the bread and saucage. I ordered greek yoghurt with muesli and asked them to add some blueberries too. The waitress stopped her pen halfway and looked at me: "That's it?" Well, yeah, should I have added strawberries too?

We walked to one of the main streets, where Scott notices few police officers on duty and being a people's person, started chatting with them. Asked about the airport, which police is there (state or federal or municipal) and told them about my last nights immigration experience and mentioned that his wife is from Europe and pretty sure, there was something else, I just can't remember at the moment.

Visited the Skywalk Observatory. We added 5 dollars each to the tickets (that were 20 dollars each) to be able to go back and enjoy the night views too. But first we anjoyed the sunny views over Boston. All that sightseeing was exhausting, so we walked back to our room and had a little nap. It was my second that day, because after breakfast I already slept an hour. In the afternoon we went to the North End to find an Italian place for dinner and found one. Instead of sitting comfortably at tables in the restaurant, Scott wanted to sit at the country, so he could watch football. Which kinda surprised me, because it was mid of the day and weren't the games in the evening? After hearing my comment, Scott stopped the first waitress and told her in lot of words how this european tourist knows nothin bout football. Of course there are games all day long. Anyway, the tourist got the last word and we ate at the table.

At the same time in the most popular Italian place half an hour before opening, the line was at least 100 meters long.

The sun had set and we reutrned to the observatory to enjoy the night views. While enter inglise, nobody checked our tickets and we could have saved those 10 dollars. It also turned out that there was some private party going on and part of the observatory closed for public. So, we looked at half the views and Scott went back to the counter to tell the guy that since we only got to see half the view, we want half of the night view fee back. The not so bright guy at the counter thought that we want the all money (50USD) back not just half the additional fee (5USD) and apologised that he can't do that. He can only refund us the 10 dollars, we paid for the night view. Since it was twice as much as we hoped for, we took it and walked home.

neljapäev, 23. august 2018

How I went to the dentist and what you can learn from it

To start in the beginning, I need to start with beginning of July when over night I got two gum infections. Since the left side pushed the infection quickly to the right side, I (naively) expected the right side to sort it out soon too and in few days I could continue my life as I know it. After eating painkillers for a week I went to emergency room. For 26 euros I got rinsing with the same mouth water that I was using already anyway and a bit of painkiller that was placed between gum and tooth. All that didn't change the situation more than just leaving me without 26 euros. So I called to most of dentist offices in Tallinn to find one that is not on holidays in July and where I could get an appointment before September. Found one. Basically the same procedure, but since they also took a panorama, I left that place with 45 euros less. By the end of the second week the pain started to decrease and I didn't have to take my carry-on to the drugstore anymore to bring the painkillers home. Fast forward three weeks and the gum infection was back, this time straight by the lower right wisdom tooth. I decided to go for the antibiotics. To think back a little, it must have been my first antibiotics in the last 20 years. Or even more, because I can't recall taking or not taking them in the school. At the same time I decided it was a good idea to have the mentioned wisdom tooth removed. Because I had consulted Dr. Google and turned out that the doctors don't remove the wisdom tooth, if there's the gum infection. So, I made an appointment in the face and jaw surgical center. So far so good. But I talked to my dentist about the plan and decided that removing the tooth doesn't fit my plans and changed the tooth removing appointment into consulting appointment. So, we'd have time to discuss and plan it and then find a suitable time in autumn to pull the little bastard out. As said, went to my consultancy appointment on Wednesday and before I realized, I was shown my tooth without a mirror. Although it might have been somewhat confusing in the doc's office, there was no more confusion after looking in the mirror at home. The cheek without the tooth was way bigger than the cheek with the tooth was and without the tooth it hurt much more than with the tooth.

Got a prescription for another antibiotics and an extra strong painkiller from the doc. The painkiller was something to take once a day and was supposed to work its miracles for 24 hours. And I got the advise to take it before the anesthetic started to disappear and then next day based on need. Bought both of them right after leaving the dentist and since I thought that I can feel my tongue again, I also took the first painkiller. Anesthetic left, pain stepped in. That 24 hour painkiller didn't kill the pain at all. I consulted Dr Google again, whether I can mix and match different painkillers and compliment the strong one with the over-the-counter ibuprofen. Google was a bit hesitant, but kindly informed me that the given painkiller was analog for Vioxx. Vioxx itself was banned in US after being on the market for 5 years, because it caused inconveniently lot of sudden deaths. And the mentioned analog didn't get approval from the drug committee in the first place. They must have sold all the already produced packages to the east block here. Threw the rest of the 6 pills away and called the medical line to get a second opinion. I found out that there is not much point to take ibuprofen, because it's from the same family, but I can eat some paracetamol. I had to pay drugstore a visit, because my medical box at home consisted mainly of ibuprofen based painkillers. Paracetamol worked and I slept through most of the night. By morning, the missing tooth used more space than yesterday.

Your Hamster