This blog is not dead yet. Welcome to the third and final instalment of the World Wide Ice Cream Novelty Round-Up. Shall we?
South Africa! The country has a fierce sweet tooth, there is an abundance of ol’ tyme treats such as nougat, liquorice, and toffee. Classics rule the roost here and novelties of any type take a back seat. For their ice cream “lollies” you can’t do much better than a this though, it is kinda a Big Deal. Caramel Krunch.
4/5 - Butterscotch dip with hard carmel bits over a rich vanilla, makes the Big Deal Lolly a real Big Deal.
Aaaah Brazil. A fantastic country. I could really go for an ice cream in sunny Rio right now, rather than freezing in Saskatchewan’s relentless winter. But what are ya going to do? Move there? Probably.
4.5/5 - Prestigio! Prestigio is the Brazilian equivalent of Bounty, a bar of coconut covered in chocolate. A totally great chocolate bar isn’t enough for Brazil though, they double down and make it a novelty. And what a novelty it is, thick dark chocolate over coconut ice cream! Dreams really do come true. There is just one small downside, its size. I downed it in 2 or 3 bites. I am all for portion control, but in a country where pretty much every restaurant is buffet, they aren’t fooling anyone with this business.
My old stomping grounds things have come a long way since the days of Grand Prix and those wide Sundae cups.
4/5 - Let’s just go ahead and glaze over the maybe not totally politically correct logo of Artika Helados, and let our eyes fall down to what is in the cup. “Queso Helado”, you read that correctly “Ice Cream Cheese”! The postre favorito de la gente Arequipeña. Arequipa is a gorgeous town that has some great local cuisine from stewed chili porkchops to this real stanky ice cream. Imagine nutmeg and butterscotch mixed with old white cheddar and you are getting close. Even cheesier than Japan’s cheese stick. Different and Delicious.
3/5 - Lúcuma! My old nemesis. When I was a young lad in the Peruvian desert I would always be foiled by this damn flavour. I didn’t even think it had a name. I would think I was getting some more yellowy than normal vanilla and then BLAST! a mouth full of kinda bitter semi sweet ice cream. Well I figured I should give it another shot. It is still bitter, but kind of has a nutty richness that I can now appreciate, if there was Brazil Nut Ice Cream it may taste a bit like Lúcuma.
4/5 - Tell me if you have ever been in this boat. You are staring into the freezer and there are Revels and Ice Cream Sandwiches staring back at you, and the choice is just tearing you up inside. Well thanks to Tandem you don’t have to choose! It’s got you covered!
2/5 - Dipped cones, the staple of any great Ice Cream Shoppe. In Colombia I saw no shops serving up dipped cones, however packaged pre-dipped cones are all the rage. Great idea, poor execution. Due to transport, storage, and many other reasons the ice cream sat perpendicular to the cone. While the cone acquired a sponge consistency due to the humidity in the package.
Costa Rica (The Land of Dos Piños)
There is a company in Costa Rica that goes by the name Dos Piños. It is THE BEST whether you are in the market for fresh orange juice, natilla, or mind blowing ice cream the two pines have ya covered.
4 / 5 - The problem has always been that shortbread cookies are crumbly, but are irresistibly delicious especially with ice cream. With Trits you don’t have to worry about looking like a slob because the ice cream sandwich has been put in a cup! Problem solved!
3/5 - Man I was sooo excited for this. This is genius. Cake…with ice cream. How could you lose with this? I think my personal expectations were just way too high. It was good but maybe too much Ice cream? Is that possible? It was basically a hockey puck of vanilla surrounded by a centimeter of vanilla cake. A bit of tweaking could make this awesome.
5/5 - THE AUDACITY! THE SHEER UNABASHED AUDACITY OF IT!!! Imagine marketing Sour Cream Ice Cream to children in Canada. It would be a disaster, but not in Costa Rica, where flavour trumps trends 7 days a week. It is too much.
After a wonderful few days maxing and relaxing in Puerto Viejo, we took the bus back to San Jose where we spent the night at a even swankier Best Western (thanks again Rick!). This Best Western boasted an attached casino. Though we didn’t do any gambling, we did partake (along with a large crowd of Canadian and American retirees) in the free happy hour from 5-6pm in the dingy basement of the hotel’s casino.
The next morning we rented a giant SUV and drove to Liberia to await the arrival of my sister Susan, her husband Ryan, and our two year old niece Avery. Wow! Having your own wheels is such a luxury! One we hadn’t indulged in since South Africa. The family flew into Costa Rica from chilly Saskatoon and we whisked them back to the hotel where we enjoyed a few Imperials and lots of catching up! After nearly 11 months it felt surreal but totally awesome to see Susan, Ryan and Avery!
After a GIANT breakfast the next day, we packed up the SUV and headed off for Samara, a wonderful beach town on the Nicoya Peninsula that Terrell and I had fallen in love with the first time we travelled to Costa Rica. Samara has a wonderful calm bay with warm, shallow waters that are perfect for little swimmers such as Avery.
We arrived into Samara, checked into our hotel, the Tico Adventure Lodge, and hit the beach. We spent spent the next week lazing on the balcony of our room, drinking beers and ron y colas, snoozing in hammocks, laying on the beach, swimming, eating casados and enjoying each others company. Other highlights include seeing howler monkeys up close and Ryan and I taking a surf lesson. Turns out Ryan “the wave” Hallman is a natural born surfer who stood up on the board on his first try. It took me a little longer to get into the swing of things but after many failed attempts, caught on as well and managed to stand up. Turns out that we’re not spring chickens anymore because the day after our first foray into surfing we were so sore! I even had a bruise on my hip from laying on the board. Surfing is super hard but super fun. Samara is the perfect place for beginners because the waves are very small. If you find yourself in Samara I highly recommend taking a lesson from the guys at C&C surf school.
Time flies when you’re having fun because before we knew it, it was time to head back to Liberia. We spent one final night together in Liberia and the next morning were up bright and early to drop Susan, Ryan and Avery off at the airport. Terrell and I drove back to San Jose and spent one final night in Costa Rica before flying back to North America.
From San Jose we flew to Houston, Texas, and from Houston to Denver, Colorado. We arrived into Denver, took a bus from the airport and had a 15 or so minute walk to yet another Best Western. Please keep in mind that we had totally become acclimatized to HOT weather so our short walk in -4 degree weather was HORRIBLE!!!!!! We were both wearing t-shirts, long sleeved shirts and our sweaters but still felt like we’d stepped into the ice age. On our way to the Best Western we stopped to warm up in a giant Wal-Mart and wandered around amazed. So much candy and junk food! The portions were so big! Ahhh!!! We wanted to buy everything. But didn’t. Instead we trudged the rest of the way to the hotel and checked into a nice warm room, drank water straight from the tap and hit the hay.
We had a full day in Denver to explore and explore we did! First we went to the Denver Art Museum in downtown Denver. There was a Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition which I enjoyed. The Denver Art Museum is massive and beautifully designed. We spent a few hours looking around and worked up a thirst, which we quenched while doing a tour of micro breweries! The first place we went to had a menu with three solid pages of beer to pick from. Needless to say it took awhile for us to choose! After a year of light beers it was such a treat to have a good IPA! We spent the afternoon and evening indulging in tasty food and even tastier beer. Our favorite brewery was Wynkoop. We liked it so much we went back twice on our brewery tour! Denver was a great city to spend a day exploring. I’d like to go back one day and see more of the city and see the rest of Colorado.
The next morning it was time to say goodbye to globetrotting and get back to reality. We flew from Denver to Saskatoon and were greeted by my parents and -4 degree weather. Mom and Dad had wisely brought our winter boots and jackets to the airport to keep us from freezing on the way out to the truck in the parking lot. The first thing I did (after hug my parents of course) was throw out my shoes that I’d long since worn out!
We’ve been back in Canada for a little over a week now and already it feels like we never left. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. It’s been so great to catch up with family and friends. We’ve been staying with Susan, Ryan and Avery before we move back into our house later this week. We spent a few days visiting with my parents in Weyburn, a wonderful evening in Regina catching up with friends of ours, Simon, Erin and their little girl, Stella, and are now in Calgary visiting with Terrell’s Mom, Wendy.
Terrell and I have made a promise to ourselves. We’re going to spend this next year loving the hell out of Saskatoon.
Who knows where our next adventure will take us? One thing I know for sure is, we’re only getting started. There’s a whole lot more of this big crazy world that we’ve yet to see :)
Stay tunned for Terrell’s final instalment of his World Wide Ice Cream Novelty Round Up.
Cheers! To Denver, and its amazing beer scene!
Beer! Delicious, rich, tasty beer! I can’t say how great this Odell Myrcenary Double IPA tasted after a year of lager.
It is really quite weird walking through city streets, and seeing so few people.
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth!
Back in the land of plenty.
As our year long adventure draws to a close we thought it appropriate to spend some time reminiscing. So we crafted 20 questions and interviewed each other.
What was your favourite country and why?
(J) Vietnam, because the people were very friendly, food was excellent, Ba Ba Beer, great value for Dong, beautiful beaches, the sheer craziness of the motorcycles, and how resilient the people are.
(T) Myanmar. The people were so unbelievable outgoing and friendly. The way of life was very traditional and unlike any other country we’ve visited. Also their version of Thai food was delicious!
What was your most memorable meal?
(T) Ann Jean’s going away party in the Philippines. See post: http://worldwidewayfarers.tumblr.com/post/21130049302/scootn-around
(J) It was a tie. The supper at Khyber in Mumbai. It was the most expensive meal we had in India, but the food was incredible, especially having it after 1 month of Chinese food (which isn’t to say we didn’t love Chinese food, because we did). Also, my 30th birthday meal in Hanoi at The Green Tangerine, the food was excellent, especially after weeks of Pho on the road (which isn’t to say we didn’t love Pho, because we did).
What was the most useful thing you packed?
(J) Headlamp. It has come in handy on numerous occasions. Thanks Simon. And because we gave one away in Myanmar we found out how difficult and expensive they can be to purchase abroad.
(T) Iphone 4S, it has been our camera, phone, GPS, computer, accountant, stereo, and translator. It’s the best. It’s come in handy so many times.
What do you wish you had packed?
(T) More wool t-shirts. I don’t ever want to wear polyester again.
(J) A wide brim hat, but not really because it was probably cheaper to buy it abroad. It is essential, you may look like a big dummy, but you will thank yourself when you are in the sun.
What would you have left behind?
(J) Most of my clothes I started out with. If I were to do it again I would bring about 1/2 and just buy clothes as needed.
(T) Hand sanitizer. If you think hand sanitizer is going to help you, it won’t. It’ll just explode in your bag. The world’s dirty. Get over it.
What was the most memorable journey you took?
(J) The two day drive from Manali to Leh in India. It was the most terrifying and breathtakingly beautiful drive I have ever done, and we made some great friends on the trip.
(T) I would also say the trip from Manali to Leh, but it was not terrifying, just awesome. See post: http://worldwidewayfarers.tumblr.com/post/24399551226/manali-to-leh-possibly-the-best-worst-drive-ever
What was an experience you wish you never had?
(J) The boat ride from Colombia to Panama. See: http://worldwidewayfarers.tumblr.com/post/41240500584/the-voyage-to-painama
(T) Being pick pocketed in Delhi. I hope that guy is still spending the 20,000 Rupees.
What was your favourite new food discovery?
(T) Chinese food. I went into China a real chinese food hater. I should say I went in hating on “authentic” chinese food and pretty much everything I had in China was great.
(J) Som Tam, the Green Papaya Salad from Thailand. I fucking loved that shit.
What was your least favourite new food discovery?
(T) Stinky tofu. Like I said, I really liked chinese food but stinky tofu had no redeming qualities.
(J) Cuy. The only time I can ever remember gagging while trying something new. The head and the feet made it too real, too rat like, for me. Plus his little yellow teeth ?! A horrendous experience, one which I never want to repeat.
Where was your favourite beach?
(J) Koh Hai. Secluded, pristine, and calm warm waters. With a reef within swimming distance. It was a little slice of heaven that place.
(T) Copacabana. It wasn’t serene, but it’s the hottest spot this side of Havana. It had restaurants, bars, gyms, soccer matches, futevolie, and concerts. It’s like you could live on the beach.
Who was your favourite stray dog?
(J) Snooty in Carpunga, Colombia. Snooty… how do I even say it… he was a pretty ugly stray dog who was mostly snoot, with a bit of an underbite, who weaseled his way into my heart one night while Terrell was paying for our meal. He insisted I stroke his head even though I didn’t want to. He looked up me with unabashed love. Later I had a little cry because we couldn’t take him home. The next day when he saw me he jumped for joy and shoved his head between my legs, which was a bit embarrassing in the middle of the street.
(T) Sandy. He was the leader of the pack in Koi Hai. He didn’t stink and he was good, unlike Harvey.
What was the best place you stayed?
(T) The penthouse condo in Rio. Thanks Don and Diane!!
(J) Ikhaya Lodge in Cape Town South Africa. It was beautiful had stunning views of Table Mountain, and a sitting area.
What was the worst place you stayed?
(J) Hotel Lotus in Chandigarh India. See Post: http://worldwidewayfarers.tumblr.com/post/23791289401/well-that-didnt-take-too-long
(T) Though Hotel Lotus was pretty bad, the benches of the Johannesburg airport weren’t too cozy either.
What did you take for granted back home?
(J) Tap water that you can drink, we have bought do much bottled water on this trip it is sickening.
(T) What a luxury it is to have our own vehicle.
What did you learn about yourself?
(T) That I love love love traveling by bicycle.
(J) That I look great with a shaved head, and that I was brave enough to go through with it, after wanting to do it for a long time.
What did you learn about your spouse/lover?
(J) That he is very good at logisitics, especially in a country where we don’t speak the language, and that he has a great sense of direction.
(T) That she’s really good at handling shitty accomindations, be it dirty mattresses or bucket showers. She doesn’t blink an eye.
What is your biggest regret?
(T) Getting our Myanmar visas in Delhi. We could have gotten them in Kolkata or Bangkok and not had to deal with 10 horrendous days in Delhi. I never want to set foot in that city again.
(J) That we bit off more than we could chew, in that we weren’t able to do the three continents justice, and looking back we could have just spent the whole year in Asia. Also, we could have cycled most of it, I wish we would have known that we liked long distance cycling so much.
What is your favourite city?
(J) Bangkok. I love how busy it is. I love the street food. I love how easy it is to get around. I love how hot it is. I love the shopping. I love that city.
(T) Tokyo, in retrospect it was probably too expensive for us to have gone there, but it was totally rad. It was clean, quiet, orderly, and easy to get around via the metro. You could spend your whole life there and never see it all.
What was your favourite restaurant?
(T) Naxi family restaurant in Lijiang, China. Any restaurant that has pig faces curing in the rafters, slabs of bacon curing on ropes over the tables, babies peeing/being washed in the garden, and waitresses who are also acappella folk song masters AND phenomenal food, I’m talking about that pork and sauerkraut dish, it was unlike anywhere else in China. It was easily the most interesting restaurant we’ve been to. It was a real family restaurant. I meant to do a blog post dedicated solely to this restaurant, maybe that is my biggest regret, not posting about this restaurant till now.
(J) McDonald’s. Just kidding.The Bun Cha restaurant in Hanoi. It was so cheap and so delicious. You get a mound of noodles, a bowl of these meat things in vinegar sauce, fresh herbs, and then to top it off the crab spring rolls. They only serve one thing, no dinking around with a menu, you sit down and they put the food in front of you, you’re not paralyzed by choice.
If you could go back in time, what piece of advice would you give yourself prior to starting the trip?
(J) Don’t be intimidated going to a country where you don’t speak the language. You can get by just by learning the words for Hello, Thank You, and Beer. Just remember to smile and that people the world over are kind, willing to help, and overwhelmingly good.
(T) Track every single cent you spend from day one. We learned 3 months in how easy it is to go over budget, well after we met the Andorran who said he tracked every peso. It sounds like a lot of work, but it is completely necessary if you want to even stay remotely close to your budget on a long trip. A few extra dollars a day over hundreds of days adds up quick.
We spent several days in Panama City recovering from our boat induced aches and pains. Truthfully we mostly laid around. We did however haul ourselves to the Mira Flores locks of the panama canal to take a look see. Luckily enough for us, we also ran into our Argentinian friends who had lent us some money during our expedition from Colombia to Panama and were able to hit them back. Thanks again for the loan guys! It was very much appreciated!
Other highlights of Panama City include browsing giant shopping malls, riding the metro bus a lot, seeing some movies and enjoying not being on a boat.
Panama City was a pretty good place to chill out for a few days. It would also be a great place to get your shop on! Talk about a town that’s shopping crazy! We saw plenty of people towing around gigantic suitcases while hitting the shopping malls, loading up on hot deals.
We also went to the horse races where I had a knack for picking the winning horses! At one point we thought I’d won $350 on a $1 bet but it turns out I actually won $1.50. Ooops! My total winnings for the evening were a whopping $2.30!
After we felt we had spent long enough recuperating, we decided to head north to Costa Rica for some quality time in the sand and sun. We took a night bus from Panama City and arrived into San Jose the next afternoon. After nearly 11 months of traveling we were finally able to put to use one of the Best Western gift cards Terrell’s dad had given us prior to the trip. Thanks Rick! It was so nice to stay at a nice hotel, order pizza and watch three consecutive episodes of Law and Order SVU.
We decided to head for the beach right away, so the next morning we woke up, took care of a few errands and jumped in a taxi to get to the bus station. This nice older man picked us up, asked us where we needed to go, acted as a local tour guide of sorts on the way to the bus station and dropped us off…. at the wrong bus station! Oops. We jumped in another taxi and made it to the right bus station, bought tickets and five minutes later were on our way to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, which is on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.
I should back up a little bit. When Terrell and I were deciding on where we’d like to go in Costa Rica, Terrell continued to insist he wanted to go to city of Limon. I’m not sure he actually did any research into Limon but from what I understood of Limon it was a somewhat scuzzy port town. Nevertheless Terrell continued to insist he wanted to go to Limon. I vetoed this idea and instead suggested we head to Puerto Viejo which was supposed to have some great beaches. Terrell (thankfully) relented. On the bus ride from San Jose to Puerto Viejo, we drove through Limon and Terrell exclaimed that he must have had a lapse in judgement because Limon did not look like the kind of town that anyone would want to spend a whole lot of time in.
Once we arrived in Puerto Viejo, we knew we’d made the right decision. We’ve spent the last few days whiling away our days swimming in incredibly warm waters, basking in the sun, biking around and making new friends.
A few nights ago we met a lovely couple from the states and invited them to have supper with us. It turns out that it was Brian’s birthday and Jeanie’s birthday the day before. We really enjoyed getting to know these fine folks!
Today we biked down the beach a ways and spent the day at Uva beach where we met Pamela and Mike from Alaska. We chatted about our mutual love of travel and shared travel tips for Ecuador.
After our time at the beach we decided to get a bite to eat and biked to a little vegetarian cafe we’d seen earlier. Who should be there? Brian, Jeanie, and Pamela and Mike who were just talking about us?! Small world!
So to sum up, Costa Rica has been just as awesome as we remembered it to be. The beaches are awesome, the food is fantastic and the scenery/wildlife is unbelievable. For all of you poor folks stuck back in Saskatoon in the -48 degree weather, Costa Rica is only a plane ride away!
Meanwhile, thousands of kilometers and eighty degrees from Saskatoon Saskatchewan.
I will very much savor these next 2 weeks.
Some reasons to head down Panama way.
The Miraflores Locks of the Panama Canal.
One of the many airbrushed features on the bus that brought us to Panama.