Thursday, July 21, 2011

Picnic in Jebel Shams, Oman's Grand Canyon (جبل شمس‎)

There are few pleasures to which I am drawn more than to alfresco meals. Quantitatively speaking, the humankind had meals outdoors much longer than indoors and that's probably where that irresistible appeal of picnics hails from!

We stocked up on various Arabic goodies - tabouleh, baba ganoush, hommous as well as dried fish and non-alcohol beer - in Muscat's excellent Lulu supermarket and drove on to Oman's own Grand Canyon, Jebel Shams. It looks exactly like its American cousin, except it does not go on for tens of miles and the access to it is slightly less convenient, which only adds to the sense of exploration.

As we were munching down our food, a disarmingly cute baby goat came to beg for a few bites. How could we say no to someone looking like this? Strange to think that that way we may have contributed to somebody else's picnic.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Egyptian sugar cane juice (عصير قصب)

At one Egyptian pound a pop, this freshly squeezed sugar cane juice is a s heerbargain. It's refreshing and nutritious at the same time, the latter thanks to the extra high fructose content. Once converted into refined sugar (sucrose), however, it becomes one of the major factors of the obesity pandemic.

Sugar cane juice shops are truly ubiquitous in Egypt. Never mind the threats of the "Egyptian tummy" in guidebooks and travel websites. The turnaround is so quick that no bacteria gets a chance to develop. We kept drinking it several times a day throughout our 10-day trip, and not a wee squirt!

Amongst other less apparent benefits of this wondrous drink is how it makes your sperm taste. Calling the reviews I got raving does not even begin to describe it!