By any other name

Someone asked me recently “why do your parents call you ‘Bean’?”. Well, that’s a whole other post in and of itself, so I thought I could elaborate a little. “Bean” is a nickname of mine, one in a long line of many illustrious nicknames I have had over the years.

Bean Collage

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Today I did something I haven’t done in a very long time: I took a bath. No, don’t look at me like that, it’s not what it sounds like, what I mean to say is: I had a bath rather than a shower, as I normally do (regularly, with soap). I can’t remember when my last bath was, but it must have been at least 6 years ago, before I turned 21, because at around that age I moved into a place with no bath and never went back. It’s funny, I assumed that when I stopped bathing it went out of fashion the world over, but that’s decidedly egocentric of me, it just went out of fashion for me.

So, why did I take up this alternate approach to personal hygiene and (perhaps more pressing) why do you, gentle reader, absolutely have to know?

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Cajun style Gator Tail

Fried Gator Tail“Look, it’s Razzoo’s” Stephen exclaimed as we were driving home on the 635 “are you hungry?”

I shrugged my shoulders and grinned. I was a little hungry and he certainly seemed excited about it. “It’s Cajun style food, really good” he enthused. He’s quite proud of his Cajun heritage.

As we neared the colourfully decorated restaurant he quietly warned me “you know I’m ordering fried gator tail, right?” I grimaced.
My only regret was that I didn’t have my camera on me. This shot, to the right, was taken on Stephen’s phone. For those who are curious, it tastes somewhat like chicken, but with the texture of fish. This was just the appetiser, though, we were soon ready for the mains.

If there was one word I could use to describe Cajun food, it would be: flavourful. Every single thing on my plate (with the possibly exception of the purely decorative lettuce leaf) was boldly flavourful in its own right, even the bread. They are not shy about salt and spices.
Most cultures have some aspect to their food that is somewhat bland. Even Indian or Thai curry usually comes with a large helping of bland rice. you can rest your palate on. There was no such culinary respite here. Every mouthful was a powerful taste.

Grand Canyon

Me at Grand CanyonOne of our more memorable moments in Vegas was not actually had anywhere near sin city, nor even in the gambling state of Nevada, but rather over a hundred miles east to the Grand Canyon.

In hindsight, I was just a little overenthusiastic with our booking. The day we arrived in Vegas, I booked our tour to the grand canyon for the next day.

We awoke bleary-eyed to the sound of our wake-up call and dragged ourselves through the width of the Luxor over to the furthest entrance to the Excalibur. After waiting for the last remaining passengers to hop on board, we took a quick bus ride to the location of our tour bus. Sarah and I sat at the back of the bus and got comfortable for the approximately 4 hour drive from Vegas to the canyon.

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Texas Giant

Texas GiantOn Sunday, I went to a place in Texas called “Six Flags”. All-in-all, it’s just one more very expensive amusement park. It was quite a pleasant, humid, Texas afternoon. It was overcast, though, so the sun didn’t interfere too much with our enjoyment. Stephen (not me, the other one), I quickly realised, doesn’t have a high tolerance for roller coasters, so I ended up going on a couple of rides on my own.

Perhaps the most fun ride was the famous “Texas Giant”. When built in 1990, it was the tallest wooden roller coaster in the world (that’s right: wooden roller coaster). I was foolish enough to try catch a video of the experience. Too late, I discovered that a wooden roller coaster makes for one very bumpy ride. Please enjoy the video. If you listen carefully, you may hear the occasional expletive escape my lips.

Cinco De Mayo

MayfestAs the title of this post suggests, last Saturday was Cinco De Mayo (May 5th). In a strange example of borrowed culture, the Americans tend to celebrate this distinctly Mexican holiday, originally intended to celebrate Mexican independence. The way in which I ended up celebrating this day was to go to Mayfest in Fort Worth. I went with Craig, one of my friends from church (no, mom, it’s not like that, seriously).

Craig is one of those people who I would like to be like when I get older. Dispite the fact that he needs to use crutches to get around, he’s kept himself particularly fit and healthy. He lives in a lovely home which is filled with beautiful things and only works when he wants to. Among those beautiful things are the cats, or his children as he calls them: mutant and psycho-kitty.

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White Rose“Look, here’s bragging rights” Todd poked his nose into my cubicle, his eyes twinkling behind his glasses, just a little more than usual.
“Oh, sounds exciting, show me” I swiveled around and paid him my full attention.
“Look at this, I designed it.” Todd proudly proffered a print-out of a plane.
“See, there” he pointed at a part of the tail “I designed that”. He practically beamed.

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