"Welcome to Balfor's HomePage" balfor's Profile
Welcome to my page. Here I will try to put down thoughts on the many places I have been and share some of the photos that I have taken over the years that bring back those thoughts and memories.
I also was quoted in the NY Times about Virtual Tourist! NY Times Article on September 27, 2006.
My dad invited me to go biking with him in the afternoons. He really is concerned about my health and well being and would also like to spend some more time with me. He showed me a picture of his new bike so that he can spend quality time with his family while still working on maintaining his good health.
A friend of mine had a birthday and she said she wanted something chocolate, so she got some chocolate!!!
There are about 30 chocolate covered strawberries adorning the platter. The cake itself is 6 layers of very thin chocolate sponge cake in alternating layers of a whipped cream/cream cheese frosting with bits of shaved chocolate and very thinly sliced strawberries. (Needless to say, it was a hit with everyone who had some!)
For some of my other culinary creations, check out Chez Christophe!. Currently, the most recent creation again involves strawberries delivered in a slightly different way. ;-)
I was recently asked what my favorite destination to travel to is. Here is the answer I gave:
Now that is a difficult thing to say. As I haven't been everywhere in the world yet I may not have been to the best place yet! <grin> But honestly, there is something really cool about every place I have ever visited. I just went to Munich this year and had a great time. I could see going back there again and just enjoying the biergartens and the very social atmosphere of the entire region. I have always greatly enjoyed London as well and STILL haven't been to one of the play houses or most of the really awesome museums. Scotland is AMAZING country, very beautiful and filled with the nicest, most incredible people.
But then there are other places like Rome where every building is worthy of investigation and a new Piazza awaits your pleasure around nearly every corner. And then you have places along the Mediterranean coast that have beautiful rocky beaches, deep blue water and intense nightlife. The Caribbean with the white sandy beaches and laid back attitude offers a completely different beach vibe and the Philippines is a different experience on each of the thousands of islands. And while the people are relatively homogeneous, the language doesn't change and there is only the dollar (be it US or Canadian), North America offers colorful deserts, long winding rivers, canyons, glaciers, forests and lakes so big they dwarf many of the worlds seas, large cities and tiny farming towns.
How do you pick just one place? Everywhere has it's own unique vibe and experience.
Some Travel tips for Americans (and anyone else who is a new traveller)
I'd like to give you a couple of tips that I learned (often the hard way) about travelling.
First and foremost: You are NOT in the US! Don't expect all the customs and rules to be the same! If you can find out from a friend what things are totaly different, it will help you with the culture shock.
Secondly: You are NOT in the U.S.! Don't expect everyone to speak english. Many people will, but since you have time now, learn to say the basics and what the responses will be. (Hello, how are you, where is the bathroom, I don't speak Japanese, Do you speak English, goodbye, thank you, you're welcome.) Just those few phrases will turn what could be a cold exposure to a foreign country into a warm and personal experience!
Third: Find out where all the tourists go for their meals and DON'T go there. Go where the locals go. Again, you aren't in the US, so they may have food that we wouldn't consider food. Give it a try anyway, it could be something amazing or something horrible, but you won't know if you don't try it! (and you can always hit McDonalds afterwards if you couldn't bring yourself to eat it!) Another thing, it's not uncommon when getting fish overseas for them to serve the WHOLE fish, head and all. Don't freak if it happens, just join in with the locals and eat around the parts you don't like without making too much fuss!
Fourth: remember to take TONS of pictures, carry your camera with you everywhere. You may not ever be back in this part of the world and it's best to take 10 pictures you have no idea why you took to get the one truly amazing picture than to try to only take the amazing pictures and mess them up! Along those lines, get a camera and practice with it now, know how what you see will come out on film and be comfortable operating your camera.
Fifth: Don't try to be a local. You're going to stick out as a tourist no matter what you do in almost any country you go to, even the ones where people are of the same racial stock as you. DO respect their customs and it can help you enjoy your time there more if you try on some of the local customs and habits. Just don't believe that you are blending in seamlessly. It might happen in a big cosmopolitan city, but only for those who aren't really paying attention anyway.
Sixth: Figure out your itinerary and all the sights you want to see. Then cut that list in half. DO NOT rush yourself sightseeing, that just adds pressure and stress to what is supposed to be relaxing and fun! And if you are really enjoying some place, don't feel guilty about doing that for longer than you had planned. After all, that is why you are visiting, to enjoy and appreciate another country and culture!
And the final two tips, probably the most important: Respect the customs of the country you are in. You are the guest there. Things may work differently than here in the US, but that doesn't make them wrong. And ENJOY YOURSELF!!!! (don't get tossed in jail, but have fun with whatever activity you've set for yourself.)</font>
Helpful Hint - When I was in Turkey, we were constantly surrounded by people trying to sell us things. One very persistent young lad was trying to sell us a 5 cent piece of gum for 1 dollar. One of us, I don't recall who, offered the kid $10 to keep everyone from bothering us. For the entire rest of the day, the only merchants who were able to approach us were the ones we told the boy we wanted to talk to. Talk about a well spent $10!
I've always enjoyed cooking and baking, so I thought I would share my latest creation with you. :-) These are spongecakes that I filled and rolled. The near one was covered with a blueberry spread that I made and layered with whipped cream. The second is a raspberry cream filled spongecake. And yes, they are at least as good as they look! :-)
Due to popular demand, I've had to upload more cake pictures.... <grin>
Here is one that I made for Hexepatty and Shohman while they were meandering through the fair city of Atlanta!
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