Category Archives: Africa

Some Recommended Authors for International Mysteries- Get Your Travel Reading On!

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So I’ve started off a great list of authors that a friend and I once created under the subject of adventure and encourage you to add to the list of any great ones you are aware of or love!

Recommended Authors for International Mysteries Reads

Africa

  • Malarkey, Tucker
  • McCall Smith, Alexander

China

  • Bradby, Tom
  • Liang, Diane Wei
  • Xiaolong, Qiu

Cuba

  • Garcia-Aguilera, Carolina
  • Latour, Jose
  • Parker, Barbara
  • Standiford, Les
  • Truman, Margaret

England

  • Armstrong, Vivien
  • Dexter, Colin
  • Fowler, Christopher
  • Hall, Patricia
  • James, P.D.
  • Marsh, Ngaio
  • McCrery, Nigel
  • Rendell, Ruth

France

  • Claudel, Philippe
  • Simenon, Georges
  • Temple, Lou Jane
  • Vargas, Fred

Holland

  • Ewan, Chris
  • Freeling, Nicolas
  • Mathews, Adrian
  • Van De Wetering, Janwillem

India

  • Adiga, Aravind
  • Keating, H.R.F.

Ireland

  • Brady, John
  • Malarkey, Tucker
  • Nugent, Andrew

Italy

  • Dibdin, Michael
  • Eco, Umberto
  • Hewson, David
  • Leon, Donna
  • Nabb, Magdalen

Japan

  • Hunter, Stephen
  • Nonami, Asa
  • Okuizumi, Hikaru
  • Rowland, Laura Joh

Norway

  • Fossum, Karen
  • Nesbo, Jo

Pakistan

  • Benard, Cheryl

Russia

  • Bradby, Tom
  • Kaminsky, Stuart

Scotland

  • Beaton, M.C.
  • Mina, Denise
  • Murray, Colin
  • Rankin,Ian

Spain

  • Perez-Reverte, Arturo

Sweden

  • Mankell, Henning
  • Edwardson, Ake
  • Nesser, Hakan
  • Tursten, Helene
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A Traveller’s Checklist

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After speaking with a rather well-travelled client the other day and hearing their tales of passport dramas I decided it would be great to do a short review of a well-advised Traveller’s Checklist!

 

Your safe and well-planned trip begins with most or all of these important steps:

  • Carry a personal passport from your country of residence/citizenship that is valid well beyond the date of your anticipated return to your country of residence; keep a copy of the identification page separate from the original. I also scan one into my computer and take with me in digital format as well/store on an external storage site ie. Cloud etc.)
  • Leave copies of your passport indentification page, itinerary, and insurance policy with friends or family(I also scan one into my computer and take with me in digital format as well/store on an external storage site ie. Cloud etc.)
  • Obtain any required visas well in advance – do your research or ask your travel professional as you might need a lot of lead time to obtain!
  • If travelling with children, carry documentation proving your right to accompany them ( eg. a consent letter or court order)
  • Arrange for Travel Health Insurance
  • Plan your Itinerary and Budget
  • Anticipate financial needs: local currency, traveller’s cheques, departure taxes which may need to be paid in local currency at destination
  • Take care of health needs: vaccinations, prescriptions,medical certificates,supplies, extra eyeglasses/contacts
  • Check whether Dual Citizenship is an issue for you
  • Carry an Emergency Contact Card with the coordinates of the nearest home countyry government office in your destination
  • Obtain an International Driving Permit, if required(you must have a driver’s license in your home country – if not it can prove to be difficult)
  • Carefully attend to luggage, documentation, and airport security.
  • While abroad, keep receipts for purchases and make special arrangements for any food, plants, or animals brought back to your home country.( I try to remember to take pictures with my camera/smartphone or use a small portable scanner that links to my computer by USB like NEAT – fits nicely into the suitcase or carry-on)

 

For those of us here in Canada I also suggest signing up for the Registration of Canadians Abroad Service at http://www.travel.gc.ca/register

Another helpful thing that our Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade offices provide is the Bon Voyage, But… from the Consular Services which contains essential information for Canadian travellers. You can also get copies of the Country Travel Reports for your destination(s). before you go that are filled with some great information and contact names and numbers. An email address to keep in your “travel “go-to” list is the following: sos@international.gc.ca and is to only be used in cases of emergency when you are abroad.

I hope this checklist was helpful and informative and will guide you to better planning or remind you for the next journey you head out on!

Travel Safe!

 

 

All Things Food – Moroccan Memories – Moroccan Cod

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Moroccan Cod

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. quick mixing flour
  • 3/4 tsp. dried thyme,divided
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic pepper
  • 4 x 4oz. cod fillets
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 2 tbsp. EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup pitted green olives, halved
  • 1/3 cup dried apricot halves
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced roasted red peppers (optional)
  • 2 tsp. orange zest(freshly grated)

Instructions:

  1. In a shallow dish combine flour, 1/2 tsp. of the thyme, and garlic pepper. Place 1 fillet in flour; turn to coat both sides, shaking off excess.Repeat with remaining fillets. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl whisk remaining flour mixture into broth;set aside.
  3. In a large non-stick skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir for 1 minute. Push onion to pan edges; add fillets. Cook 2 minutes; turn fillets. Add olives, apricots and (if desired) the roasted red peppers. Whisk the reserved broth mixture and add to the skillet; add remaining 1/4 teaspoon thyme.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, covered, for 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer fillets to a serving platter. Add orange zest to skillet, and add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over fillets and serve.

**Suggested sides – couscous / steamed rice, lightly steamed greens/green vegetables.

Enjoy a little journey with your tastebuds this summer season and who knows…

maybe you might be looking to take a journey to the destination for the inspiration!

Wines of South Africa Invite You to Win

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You can travel in South Africa for months’ on end and still not see all the magnificent and amazing corners of the country. The South African wine region is one of the very popular tourist destinations because it is simply breathtakingly beautiful. ( and hey…it certainly isn’t hard to handle on the palette either!)

Several of the major wine routes, including Constantia, Durbanville, Darling, Stellenbosch, Helderberg, Paarl, Franschhoek, Wellington and Walker Bay, are within an 60 minutes or less driving distance from dazzling Cape Town. Some others, like Breedekloof, Worcester, Robertson, the Little Karoo, Tulbagh, the Swartland, Olifants River and the Northern Cape will take you on a slightly longer journey through constantly changing and splendorous landscapes.

If you have had a chance to go to an LCBO this month (sorry thats our Ontario liquor stores. Canada Residents only) you might have strolled past the section for South Africa. If you did, I trust that you picked up a bottle of vino marked with a promotional tag to “Win a Magical Trip for 2 to South Africa” with Goway.com and South African Airways! You don’t have to make a purchase but the wine makers of South Africa would really appreciate you sampling something new or going with an old favourite!

“Did you know…

the Cape Floral Kingdom is a World Heritage Site and most South African vineyards are located in this region?”

“Did you know…

South Africa ranks 7th in the world in terms of volume as a wine producing country?”

http://www.lcbo.ca/products/sections/southafricanwines/index.shtml?inbound=homepage

Enjoy a podcast of  WINES OF SOUTH AFRICA RUNNING TIME: 26 MINUTES

http://podcast.lcbo.com/lcbo/learn/podcasts/discover/videos/06_wines_of_south_africa.html

Find all the full contest details and rules here: http://www.wosa.co.za/canada

Wines of South Africa (WOSA) is a fully inclusive body, representing all South African producers of wine who export their products. WOSA, which was established in its current form in 1999, has over 500 exporters on its database, comprising all the major South African wine exporters. It is constituted as a not-for-profit company (sec21) and is totally independent of any producer or wholesaling company. It is also independent of any government department, although it is recognised by government as an Export Council.

Natural Riches and Wide Open Spaces – South African Thoughts and Memories Part 2

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When traveling you often find many opportunities to donate to programs that are actually based for support in your destination. While I was in South Africa, I came across many of these opportunities to support various groups and charities and I wanted to highlight a few that are doing great things for the wildlife and the people of this amazing country.

RhinoForce

93.4% of all of Africa’s RHINOS are in South Africa. RHINO FORCE in union with other committed corporations leads the fight against the plague of RHINO poaching. Profits from lovely beaded bracelets go to the Endangered Wildlife Trust and are used to fight Rhino poaching through projects solely focused on saving the RHINO population.

One War We Can’t Afford To Lose.

Beautiful Creatures Music Video

Kalahari Beads Project

Kalahari Spa has initiated the Kalahari Beads Project in conjunction with various Khoi San communities in the Kalahari Desert. These communities make delicate traditional Ostrich Egg Shell Beads and in turn they commission a good number of disadvantaged women to assemble these unique bracelets for them.

The proceeds from these bracelets goes towards supporting participating Khoi San families in Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The Kalahari Bead Project helps to raise awareness and to bring a better understanding, appreciation and respect for the Khoi San – the real people whose language and traditions are being lost.

I purchased mine while visiting the amazing Cape Grace Hotel in Capetown and wish I could have brought home many more of this great fundraising and culture preserving initiative.

One of my favourites is Monkey Biz, as I had been made aware of them a few years ago at a travel trade event I had attended hosted by GoWay. The amazing wire bodies that were hand beaded to form not only animals but people where amazing and I promised myself that if I ever got to Capetown I would look them up and go into the shop. Currently we are having conversations to perhaps one day soon, incorporate some of their goods for purchase through my company AYA Life to help continue the support that this company does.

MONKEYBIZ BEAD PROJECT SOUTH AFRICA

 http://www.monkeybiz.co.za/

Monkeybiz South Africa, is a nonprofit income-generating bead project started in January 2000.

Through creating various sustainable employment, Monkeybiz focuses on women’s economic empowerment and health development in the most economically under-resourced areas of South Africa.

The project, which has established a vibrant community of more than 450 bead artists, many of whom are the sole moneymakers in their households, has transformed the large beaded arts market in South Africa. Departing from the culture of mass-production curio craft, each Monkeybiz artwork is unique,signed by the artist, ensuring that individual artists receive recognition for their work. They provide their artist’s community with beads and all of the material that is needed for the making of the bead art for free. The company also invests in skills development, entrepreneurship and self – employment with their artists.

All of the profits from the sales of the artworks are reinvested back into local community services, including but not limited to the weekly soup kitchens, restorative yoga, drama , and also a burial fund for the artists and their families.

A Brief History: Historically, bead work, in a South African context, has been the domain of women largely within the Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele and Sotho communities. The women are introduced to the craft directly through their mothers, grandmothers and other women in the community. Up until more recently, the oldest bead found in Africa was dated to roughly 10,000 BC. Excavated in the Kalahari Desert on the northern border of South Africa, it was chipped from the thick shell of an ostrich egg. Then, in 2004, the archaeologist Chris Henshilwood found marine shells and ostrich egg shells at Blombos Cave (Late Stone Age site on the south coast near Cape Town) that are at least 20,000 years old and had in all likelyhood been beads on a necklace.

Beads became integral to the Zulu society. In a non-literate culture, beading developed a whole language of symbolism to communicate messages of love, devotion and betrayal. The famous Zulu ‘love letters’ (which are tab pendants made by eligible young women and offered as coded tokens to the unmarried men) was one of the first pieces I ever owned to introduce me to the beading of the continent of Africa. It is one of many pieces I now own and have on display in my home – to be shared and seen not locked away – the work is so often beyond amazing!

Make sure you do some research and talk to the people if they have a storefront about how they source their goods and how they support their artists who create so many interesting items. But definitely take the moment and the minimal dollars to support the locals and as much or as little as you can do is always appreciate.

Giving back is a very wonderful thing and having great causes to support can lift your spirits and theirs like nobody’s business!

Natural Riches and Wide Open Spaces – South African Thoughts and Memories Part 1

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This past month I was able to visit one of the top places on my bucket list – South Africa! Now 3 weeks is nothing to sniff at for time away but it surely was not nearly enough time to really explore the entire country and its beautiful landscape and beautiful people. Over the next couple of posts under this heading I will do my best to do justice to the country that has captured my heart and is just the nibble of the big continent I intend to discover more of over the next decade! Here are just a small sampling of some of the great Capetown Big 6 – six unforgettable experiences that are a “must do” on any visit to this amazing city and its surrounding areas.

  • Cape Point
  • Constantia Vineyards
  • Kirstenbosch
  • Robben Island
  • Table Mountain Cableway
  • V&A Waterfront

These by no means are the limits of what you should or could see in and around Capetown but it is a fantastic landing pad for lots of interesting day trips but the city itself can take you days to see depending on what you are interested in. A must though of course is Table Mountain! Although it has not been 100% confirmed, it is believed that Table Mountain is at least 6 times older than the Himalayas – originally an island until the sea receded millions of years ago.Glaciers carved its flat surface and then the mountain gradually rose up, thrust up by the tectonic forces . The Cape’s original inhabitants, the Khoi San, named the mountain “Hoerikwaggo” which means “Mountain of the Sea” – when you are there – ask a local to help you pronounce this name properly.

Now no visit to Cape Town is complete without a glimpse of the mountains interesting phenomenon – the famous tablecloth, a meteorological phenomenon that actually causes a cloud cover to tumble down the mountains slopes like a layer of billowing fabric. There are many stories and songs shared about this interesting site and Capetonians will tell you the ins and outs of how to tell what the weather will be like by it as well. There is one story or legend that tells a tale of a retired pirate, Jan Van Hunks, who encountered the devil on the mountain and in order to save his soul, challenged the devil to a smoking contest. Allegedly they stoked their pipes and have been smoking ever since – the table cloth represents this smoke which happens on a daily basis.

Now Table Mountain is many things to many people but to true Capetonians, it remains the spiritual and geological heart of their city.

Did you know that Table Mountain is now one of the new 7 Wonders of Nature? The mountain’s most common animal is the Dassie or Rock Hyrax. Most likely you will see dozens of them sunning themselves on the rocks up top. They look like fat brown rabbits minus the ears.

A Strange but True fact about the Dassie or Rock Hyrax, is that in a twist of nature that is stranger than fiction, its most closest relative is the African Elephant. There is zero resemblance, they are the size of a house cat and ironically they don’t charge!

Cape Point

Constantia Vineyards

Kirstenbosch

Robben Island

Table Mountain Cableway

V&A Waterfront

Take the time to really map out the best choices for your personal interests when you look to plan your trip to South Africa! If you need assistance never be afraid to ask a travel professional like myself.

ALL THINGS WINE: Seven Sisters of South Africa

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Seven Sisters Wine was featured at the South African Consulate of Canada’s Black History Month event at the TD Center in Toronto that I attended this past month. As I am soon to be off to their homeland I thought to share with you a little insight on this wonderful story of the Seven Sisters and how the Wine company came to be.

Seven Sisters Wine represents Women in the Wine Industry, Indigenous South African Ownership and Black Economic Empowerment. Their wine has become synonymous with sisterhood and celebration, and is an absolute hit amongst women in a restaurant/celebration environment.

Here is their full story: Seven Sisters YouTube  its definitely inspiring!

They can also be found on Facebook – Seven Sisters Wine

Contact Here in Ontario Region for Private Sales :
Matthew Guignard
This is G Inc.
519-819-4697
mguignard@gmail.com