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Reading About Jamaica On The Road

So, I’ve got to give a shout to the fantastic flight crew of our Johannesburg to Madrid Iberian Airways flight, because my family really tries to be no trouble at all, but we always end up with an issue.

This time it was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad combination of things: (1) we’re traveling to countries with strict medicine laws and I had to make a choice to leave my migraine medication at home,  (2) we had a day tooling around Johannesburg and it was ridiculously hot and dry, causing my body to do it’s best impression of turning into biltong, (3) our rental car had the guts of an eighty-year-old man with lifelong asthma and a 2-pack-a-day cigarette habit and could not drive AND run air conditioning, and (4) I let myself get fairly severely dehydrated (see aforementioned biltong comment) because the issue of bathrooms on airplanes is fraught with peril when you have to pee NOW along with thirty other people and there is only one bathroom for you all to split – especially if you throw a few potty-training toddlers, Gerard Depardieu,  and people with limited mobility into the mix.

Five hours into the 10+ hour flight I had the mother of all migraines and no way to treat it.  However, the flight attendants kindly allowed me to drink an entire big bottle of water (the one they usually split between several people in the shotglass-size plastic cups) and looked the other way while I rummaged through baggage, desperately hoping I had missed a blisterpack or two of my meds.  I had, we medicated and hydrated just in time, and a crisis was averted. They were a pretty awesome staff, indeed.

All this kept me from reading my usual amount, and I was only able to finish two books on the flight. I feel like I have failed a bit.

In any case – book number one covered Jamaica on my Read Around the World list: The Book of Night Women, By Marlon James

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Bourbon and Bacon Mac and Cheese – Expat Cooking With Booze

As promised – because I’m all about fulfilling promises – I’m about to give you the keys to the gates of culinary paradise.  A recipe so profound, so life-changing that I had to translate the recipe into English from the very alphabet of the Heavenly Angels.  A recipe that is the actual Platonic ideal of macaroni and cheese.  A recipe that epitomizes everything that is good about pasta, bourbon, cheese and bacon by mixing them together.

When Kraft grows up and becomes a highly successful hedge fund manager who volunteers in poverty stricken orphanages and works on clean water projects in the Third World, it is this bourbon and bacon mac and cheese.
When Kraft grows up and becomes a highly successful hedge fund manager who volunteers in poverty stricken orphanages and works on clean water projects in the Third World, it is this bourbon and bacon mac and cheese.

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Somehow My Travel Always Involves Stairs

I’m not sure how many people visit Kuala Lumpur and don’t stop by the Batu Caves, but I’m pretty sure that it’s required by international travel law that you see them when you happen to be in the neighborhood.  And they are  lovely – just absolutely lovely!

Just... seriously. Seriously- does it get any more gorgeous than this?  Because no.  No it does not.
Just… seriously. Seriously- does it get any more gorgeous than this? Because no. No it does not.

 

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Introducing: Before You Go, Read…

Knowing an area’s history can add exponentially to a trip, which is why Fresno makes her kids read the Horrible History books.  Almost every location is the subject some fabulous historical fiction and non-fiction.  Since we’re avid readers, Fresno and I decided that we would do a series where we review the books that have helped make our travels even more interesting.

I know y’all are big readers, too, and you’ve travelled places we’ve not yet gone.  We’d love to hear your suggestions for books that are good pre-trip reading for specific locations.  You can comment here, or shoot us an email at kate at fromfresnototimbuktu dot com.

First up:  Naples, Italy  Check back this weekend for my book suggestions to set the scene for your time in this beautiful, ugly, wonderful, frustrating city.

fabulous photo by:  Santi B

Oh the Places You’ll Go!

It seems so simple – passport = travel to other countries.  I mean, I can make a reservation from JFK to Moscow on Expedia snippity-snap and take some pictures in Red Square should I so wish, right?  RIGHT?

Not really.  That fancy passport is pretty awesome, I’ll agree.  It is a ticket to quite a lot of interesting places and experiences.  But sometimes it takes a little more than showing up with a smile and a blank page waiting for a stamp.

A WHOLE PAGE?  It takes up a whole page?  That's expensive real estate right there!
A WHOLE PAGE? It takes up a whole page? That’s expensive real estate right there!

It takes… *cue O Fortuna*… a VISA!  American citizens can visit 172 countries without a visa or with a visa upon arrival.  The rest of them take some legwork, and a few of them have some very onerous requirements.

And what about those countries?  

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Welcome to Fresno, Timbuktu, and Places Between

Welcome to our new adventure.  Two moms, seven kids (six girls!), two continents and some serious time spent in airports and train stations.  We thought we’d share our journeys and we hope you’ll share your travels, too.

We love comments of all flavors, the interwebs, and new finds.  And gin.

We hope you’ll join us and share in the annoying, the amazing, and the “can’t make this stuff up.”

London – Preparations

We traveled to London, England with two children under the age of ten and a preteen.  It went off marvelously.  There were several hitches, because travel and also because children.  Also, because airline schedule.

London was the first overseas destination for our children – we wanted to start them off easily.  They spoke the language, the food was familiar, and I’ll admit it – Harry Potter.

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