Archive for February, 2010

Is there chicken in chick peas?

by Alex on Feb.25, 2010, under Blog


Immortal words to those who watched Big Brother 2 nine years ago, words that I’m sure caused cringe much of the watching population of Wales, especially Cwmbran (Hey, that’s my home town!) from whence Helen (the owner of the above quote) came and I’m sure still comes.

The widely-cited across the t’interweb etymology of the word chickpea puts to rest thoughts of any ostensible linguistic link between the two non-genetically related foodstuffs:

The name chickpea traces back through the French chiche to Latin cicer (from which the Roman cognomen Cicero was taken). This may have been taken from the Armenian word սիսեռ (siser) which refers to the bean. This is probable because Armenian was spoken throughout the northern Middle East in the areas where evidence of the first cultivation of the beans has been found. The Oxford English Dictionary lists a 1548 citation that reads, “Cicer may be named in English Cich, or ciche pease, after the Frenche tonge.”

But lo, what is this? Take a closer look and you’ll see that the question ‘Is there chicken in chick peas?’ is totally redundant. Chick peas are hactually chickens, tiny little miniature baby frozzen chickens. Look!

I can’t believe that I’ve only just noticed this, being the cookingophile that I am. I wonder what new scientific discoveries would await me were I only to open my eyes…

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by Alex on Feb.20, 2010, under Blog


I love this kind of mick-taking humour, it’s like a less-sophisticated Henry Root, and I don’t mean that in the pejorative sense.

When I had the pleasure of finding this site the most recent post started:

Original ad:
**** Disguisable weapons wanted ****
Wanted: hidden blades, belt buckle knives, cane swords, etc…..
Offering: cash, items for barter

From Me to **********@***********.org:


I saw your ad looking for concealable/disguised weapons. I have several fine-crafted items you may be interested in. Respond if you are interested and I will send you pictures and prices.



From Jeff ****** to Me:

I am. lets see what you got.

From Me to Jeff ******:


Here you go:


Looks like a normal spoon, right?


Wrong. It is actually a deadly 2.5″ half-smooth, half-serrated knife with tactical grip. One minute you are enjoying a bowl of cereal, and the next you are fighting off attackers with this deadly and disguised weapon.

I am asking $50 for the blade. Let me know if you want to stop by and take a look at it.


From Jeff ****** to Me:

that is stupid as hell and looks like crap. unless you have anything better to offer, dont waste my time.

From Me to Jeff ******:


I am sorry you feel that way about the spoon blade. I do have some other weapons that I think you will feel differently about.

Check out what other weapons were offered.

This too is similarly funny 27bslash6.

I’m amazed at how stupid the recipients of this guys banter are not to realise it’s a piss take…

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Three limes and some tea lights

by Alex on Feb.16, 2010, under Blog

So, our new apartment has a crap 2 ring electric hob with not an oven in sight – bit disappointing for someone what enthuses a relatively large amount over cooking.

This evening in the course of knocking up what I have to say was my finest curry (well selection of curries) in a while, I had to take to improvising a third ring, as it were. Worked pretty well though house mate and business partner Travis is still scraping wax off the sideboard thing…


Cost me though, as the tea lights burned the sideboard and the landlady, being mental, went mental and I ended up paying far too much to get it sorted out…

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by Alex on Feb.13, 2010, under What to do in Bogotá

Sushi lounge and bar
Calle 12 No. 3-55
La Candelaria

As well as good sushi in a cool atmosphere, ceviche and tasty veggie maki are available. Great cocktails and high-level juices too!

Find Satsuma on the maphere

Please leave feedback in the comments section below

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Escobar y Rosas

by Alex on Feb.07, 2010, under What to do in Bogotá

Carrera 4 No. 15-01
La Candelaria
Entry 15,000 COP – redeemable against drinks

Small bar cum club with an intimate atmosphere close to the hostels

Find Escobar y Rosas on the map here

Please leave feedback in the comments section below

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Why Colombia for business and what indeed is my business?

by Alex on Feb.06, 2010, under Blog

In the post My new life, I chatted about how I’d ended up here, in Colombia, enthusing about the people and country in general, but why do business here?

Well… during my travels and thoughts of what the hell do I do next after a typical British upbringing and 6 years of corporate London life, I settled on the idea of opening a hostel with a view to creating a chain of hostels across Colombia. I love travel, love meeting, talking to and helping people and can be reasonably hypercritical – finding fault in the many systems and processes that we’re surrounded by and interact with on a daily basis. Many hostels are run by fellow travellers who’ve chosen to settle in some paradise, far removed from their home countries and upbringings with travel being their main qualification for running a hostel. Unfortunately, often, their enthusiasm and loving of ‘the road’ is not necessarily met with the business acumen and attention to detail necessary to create a great place to stay.

So, I decided that it’s time to put my money where my mouth is, stop bitching about the failings of other people’s efforts and get the hell on with it. And where better than Colombia? As an hispanophile, it had to be Latin America and as previously explained Colombia is my favourite place for the people, as well as all the country has to offer. Key for business though is the fact that tourism here is going mental!

I imagine that general international perception of Colombia is still that it is ‘a dangerous place’. Indeed, when I was here 8 years ago, tales of armed hold ups of buses with the occasional kidnap were common place and indeed after spending some time in ‘safe’ areas on the Caribbean coast, I flew to Ecuador, there being no way that I was prepared to bus through the country. Whereas ’1234 tourists brutally executed’ makes for a great international news headline, ‘Colombia is now safe’ is hardly news-worthy and therefore the only information that many have of this country is negative and out-of-date. You’d be better off espousing the slogan of Colombia Tourism – ‘The only risk is wanting to stay’.

And the word is spreading. It’s not just backpackers that I’m meeting – there are plenty of people coming to Colombia for a 2 or 3 week holiday maintaining that they’ll tell friends and family on their return how wonderful a place this is to visit and the numbers are there to back it up – an increase in tourist arrivals of over 10% per year is reported in official figures. This recent boom in tourism means that you need to book to get in to the best hostels – Cranky Croc operates at about 95% occupancy and during high season turns away about 25 people a day and there are plenty of places that would not get away with their shoddy service and poor facilities in a more mature backpacking market. So this place is perfect for doing my thing – the market is here and my business partner and I have the knowledge, will and passion to do it – create a fantastic backpackers’ hostel in Bogotá. I’ll write soon of the fun we’ve had finding the house we want to buy…

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