Thursday, August 25, 2011

Friends, Family and Stuffing My Face Up & Down the East Coast

One of the things that I do miss while being in Nepal is of course my friends and family that live back here in the States. One of the reasons my posts during this trip have been so sparse is that I've been running around trying to see all of them, all the while trying to pick up some stuff for the restaurant as well. On the first weekend I was back on this side of the planet my dad had a good sized get together for that side of the family, and it was great to see everyone. That was followed up by a cook out with a bunch of my close friends and their families at my friend Bob's house the next weekend. This was followed by another cook out the next weekend at my mother's house for that side of the family, and again it was a lot of fun catching up with everyone and stuffing my face with even more grilled food.

My Dad Grilling Steak Tips and Chicken

The conclusion that I've come to is that American's really love cook outs. I forgot just how often we would all get together, get a grill out, cook up a ton of food and just hang out for the day on some weekend or holiday. We also really love food. There is, I think, a bit of a stereotype that American's are woefully unsophisticated when it comes to food, but the truth of it is that while what we may be cooking up on a weekly basis isn't foie gras and duck confit, much of it does contain home made sauces and requires more technique and prep than most would realize. American BBQ is some of my favorite food, and a steak off the grill that has been marinated in stout marinade, as I had at my dad's, isn't something you encounter too often anyplace else unfortunately for everyplace else. 

My Brother, Mother, and Grandmother at Portland Head Light

Other than stuffing my face with food here, I've also had a chance to spend some time out around the places that I grew up. For me nothing says home like the White Mountains in New Hampshire and the Ocean. Now one thing that I really do miss while in Nepal is access to large bodies of clean water. Maine's rocky coast, dotted with picturesque lighthouses (Portland Head Light, photographed above is the most photographed in the world), is a great place to pick up a lobster roll or some fresh shrimp and scallops and hang out. Again with the food- yes I've not only gained at least 5-10 pounds on this trip but have had a perpetually stuffed stomach. Aside from hitting up famous places like Ken's Seafood and Two Light's Lobster Shack, I also took the ferry out to Peak's Island with my mother and brother one day, where we got to walk along the coast, and of course sit and eat more food while overlooking the ocean.

Signs Marking the Peak of South Bald Face, and the Connecting Trails

One place where I didn't eat tons of food was a hiking trip up to one of my favorite trails in the White Mountains, the Bald Face Circle Trail. This trail is just over 8 miles and takes you over South Bald Face, North Bald Face and Eagle Crag. My dad and I got great weather for this trip and had a good time on the hike. One thing that becomes immediately evident in the difference between trails here and those from Nepal is that here they are not designed for pack animals, and thus you are often forced to climb up and over rocks and often very steep inclines that you would rarely see in Nepal. So while the total height of the mountain was only has high as where I live in Kathmandu, getting up there wasn't so easy in places (we came up the south face of large sheets of steep exposed granite). Another difference is that you actually go up to the peaks, as opposed to just walking in their shadow.

Bubba Gump Shrimp, Madeira Beach Florida

As the trip draws to a close, I'm spending my last week down in Florida. With Harilo looking to expand the services that it can deliver and stream line its shipping procedures on the US side, Kim is looking at staying here in Florida for at least another couple of months. When we aren't trying to sort those things out, there is always time to get more food- and then try to walk it off with trips down the beach, which is literally just across the street from us. One thing that I've been noting when eating out is how places are decorating these days- no less than 5 places I've eaten at has licence plates on the wall, which may mean the trend has jumped the shark in the US, but it could still be unique in Nepal. 

Well It's time for me to take another walk on the beach, before I go and stuff my face at another restaurant. While the trip here has been a lot of fun, I'm looking forward to getting back to work in Nepal.

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