Happy Birthday…

…to me! Yes March 27th is my birthday and I am spending part of it on the blogosphere reminiscing about countries where I have spent my birthday. There’s Canada of course. I was born here and managed to spend many a birthday in four  of its cities: Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary. And then there’s the birthdays I spent abroad. So far Singapore, New Zealand and Ethiopia are on the list (with more to come I hope).  Here’s the triple ‘F’ on these three countries:

Hopefully people have moved past the image of starving people as the only thing Ethiopia has to offer. Though many of the people are poor, the country is rich (that’s a political discussion for later) in resources and varied landscapes. The Simien mountains in northern Ethiopia are a world heritage site and a scenic way to keep fit on your travels. Check out the Best Hiking trails in Ethiopia or discover some of your own.
Caution: Check travel advisories when planning a trip to Ethiopia and hike with a reputable guide.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2012

Photo by Kimberley (c)2012


New Zealand
What can I say? This is the place I wish was my Canadian snowbird getaway, second home and place to set up my bed and breakfast. I’m not the only one to have proclaimed my love for New Zealand. Many people who travel to this South Pacific nation fall in love with the place and part of the attraction is its natural beauty. Nature can be very healing, both physically and spiritually, and New Zealand is home to two aromatherapy superstars: manuka and kanuka essential oils.
Manuka is considered the original tea tree (see Waitangi in Vain for more about manuka) while kanuka has been used for skin conditions, inflammation and stress.

Photo by Kimberley (c)2009

Photo by Kimberley (c)2009


No photos to post as I visited this island nation pre-digital camera days (and still have the slides to prove it). Singapore is noted for its cultural culinary offerings and you can eat cheaply and well here as a vegetarian or omnivore. Singapore is also noted for being very clean so need to worry about eating at the hawker or street food stalls. Try a Singapore Sling at the Raffles hotel (um purely medicinal) or brave the stinky durian fruit, rich in fibre and B vitamins. Signature dishes to try are curries and incarnations of tofu for vegetarians and chicken rice for carnivores.
The Chinese, Malay and Indian people of Singapore infuse the cuisine with an abundance of spices, rice and coconut milk.

As an aside…Earlier this week (March 23, 2015) Lee Kuan Yew passed away. He was considered by some “the father of modern Singapore” as the nation prospered under his rule. Read his biography here.

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