Farecompare.com is a great website for comparing a multitude of fares and also picking up some hand travel tips. Here one about How to Avoid ‘Crappy’ Food when travelling by air.

Farecompare takes over:

A friend once told me, “Food consumed in the air has no calories.” I like the way she thinks but alas, it’s not true. Here’s the question: Can you avoid crappy food and find the healthy stuff while traveling? Sure you can, and here are some ideas. Be sure and see the update below.

Disclaimer: We are not doctors, nutritionists or even restaurant reviewers. If food is an issue, consult a health care professional. This is for those who try to avoid crappy food when possible and might want a little guidance.

1. First, Find the Cheapest Flight Possible

Why? You’ll have more left over to spend on anything from great food in wonderful restaurants to fun events at your vacation city. So start by getting the best flight deal possible and that means comparing airfares. Tip: If you’re don’t have to travel on a specific date, you can often find very cheap flights year-round on the Getaway Map.

2. Eat the Free Food on Planes

Yes, free food is making a comeback – on a couple of airlines anyway.

Delta: As of March 2017, Delta began offering free meals in coach class on several long-haul routes and more are coming. Healthy stuff: Turkey and vegetarian wraps, plus fruit and cheese plates (and certain overnight flights feature a breakfast bar).
UPDATE: One air travel industry insider believes American and United may join Delta in free economy meals, if only to maintain their competitive edge. When this could happen isn’t known.
Hawaiian: Flights from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii also offer free meals in economy. Example: Ginger chicken with peas, carrots, corn and steamed white rice.
International flights: Most offer free food in economy including a wide range of chicken and pasta dishes; Emirates Airlines, for example, serves a chicken and herb-seasoned dish or sweet and sour fish; both come with vegetables.
International flights with no free food: Ultra-discount carriers such as Norwegian and Wow only provide food for purchase but it includes plenty of healthy (and tasty-sounding) options like salmon salad and bags of nuts.
Free snacks: Both Southwest and JetBlue have reputations for a wide array of free snacks that include healthy-ish type items like JetBlue’s dried cranberries and popcorn chips.
3. Bring Your Own Food

Make a sandwich the night before you leave; you’ll have something cheap to eat you know you’ll like. It can be healthy – and filling – and maybe you’ll be less tempted by those overpriced bags of candy and chips in the airport news kiosks. More ideas:

Hummus or peanut butter-smeared rice cakes
Small plastic tub of salad
Granola bars, fruits and vegetables
Remember, no liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces through security so bring an empty bottle to fill up past the checkpoint or get a free drink on the plane. Note: You have to pay for soft drinks on most of the super-discount airlines including Frontier, Ryanair and Spirit.

4. Avoid the Crappy Food – Fast Food

Many food-conscious travelers already know this stuff; it’s kind of common-sensical, but it may be news to some.

Fast food burgers: Tasty? Absolutely! But if you’re looking to cut calories, might want to go with a fast food salad and skip the fries. And the milk shake.
Pastries: Yes, sometimes you do deserve a treat and those giant sweet rolls with white icing are delicious. On the other hand, they are not necessarily ideal for dieters. One popular airport-and-mall bakery franchise offers a pecan/caramel treat that sources say is 1,080 calories but these shops also offer donut-hole snacks for 260 calories.
Pizza: What would the world be without pizza? But for the health conscious, it’s all about the toppings. One popular airport pizzeria’s site says a slice of its extra-meat pizza has 600 calories but they also offer a tomato & spinach slice with just 370 calories.
5. Avoid Crappy Food – Airport Restaurants

Most airports aren’t foodie destinations but that could be changing thanks to an explosion of good dining options. We’ve got some examples of good food at good airport restaurants around the world but please not that menus can change without notice. Tip: Click the city to find a cheap flight.

Hong Kong: This award-winning airport has a wide array of Asian and Western options including Chinese, Greek, Italian, French and numerous establishments serving vegetarian dishes. Try the fish balls or get a taste of home at McDonald’s. See more restaurants here.
London Heathrow: So many restaurants but we like the sound of Leon because one reviewer wrote, “Fast food that’s good for you might be a confusing concept, but a quick look at what’s on offer [at Leon] proves it’s not an impossible dream.” Rhubarb sounds good too; it offers “a welcome alternative to the ‘stodgy’ full-English breakfast.” See more here.
Los Angeles: Try Petrossian for caviar; it’s only about 40 calories per tablespoon and heck, how much can you afford to eat? Plus there are lots of salads at Lemonade. See more here.
New York (JFK): Deep Blue Sushi has – well, sushi – and Piquillo is recommended for paella and ceviche. See more here.
Frankfurt: Okay, so maybe Deustch doesn’t top the list of healthy options thanks to all those wonderful sausages (reviewers say they’re really good) but sauerkraut is kind of light. See more here.
San Francisco: Napa Farms Market offers a changing seasonal menu but usually includes a yogurt bar, rotisserie meats and fresh berries, while fans of Cat Cora’s Kitchen love the oysters and artichokes. If you overdo it, you can always visit the airport’s yoga room. See more here.
Sydney: The airport’s website lists a bunch of ‘healthy eating’ options including Little Bok Choy and Soul Origin. See more here.
Safe travels – and savour the journey.

 

Are they nervous, or bored, or completely oblivious? There’s no one-size-fits-all diagnosis for the airplane seat kicker, but they’re universally annoying.

For the third year in a row, rear seat kickers have earned the dubious distinction of being the No. 1 most offensive type of airline passenger.
They beat out inattentive parents, aromatic passengers, seat recliners and more in the fourth annual Expedia Airplane Etiquette Study, released Tuesday.
Drawn from feedback from 1,005 Americans age 18 and over, the study shows that 64% of respondents find the rear seat kicker annoying. Inattentive parents rank second, aggravating 59% of those surveyed, followed by smelly or “aromatic” passengers (55%).
Rear seat kickers have topped the rankings since 2014. In 2013, the first year of the study, inattentive parents topped the list.
Despite some variations, there’s a common theme from study to study.
“A prevailing theme across all four years of the study is the importance people place on the sanctity of their personal space within the tight confines of an airplane,” said Dave McNamee, Expedia spokesman.
The good news?
“A sizable majority of Americans — 70-80% of people — consider their fellow passengers to be ‘considerate,'” McNamee noted.
Annoying passenger rankings
So how do all the aggravating passengers stack up? Here’s the full 2016 list:
1. The Rear Seat Kicker (cited by 64% of respondents)
2. Inattentive Parents (59%)
3. The Aromatic Passenger (55%)
4. The Audio Insensitive (49%)
5. The Boozer (49%)
6. Chatty Cathy (40%)
7. The Queue Jumper (35%)
8. Seat-Back Guy (35%)
9. The Armrest Hog (34%)
10. Pungent Foodies (30%)
11. The Undresser (28%)
12. The Amorous (28%)
13. The Mad Bladder (22%)
14. The Single and Ready to Mingle (18%)
Commissioned by online travel company Expedia, the study was conducted by GfK, an independent market research company.

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The Birthday Girl (right).

 

With apologies to William Shakespeare for some abject plagiarising:

“Her life is gentle; and the elements
So mixed in her, that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, THIS IS ONE HELLUVA LADY!”

Happy Birthday, darling – and many, many more.

 

11th November is Remembrance Day throughout Europe. Poppy Day.

For my darling, here’s another kind of remembrance….

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For more information on Bastide les Amis, click here.

 

The sun sets over Camps Bay....and back to Provence we go.

The sun sets over Camps Bay….and back to Provence we go.

Reminiscing over some of the same sponsor's product at Barristers in Cape Town were the three surviving members of the team - Simon 'Colonel' Burrow; Derek 'General' Kohler and John 'Boffin' Milne. Remembered with fondness was Richard 'Bumble' Hamburger.

Reminiscing over some of the same sponsor’s product at Barristers in Cape Town were the three surviving members of the team – Simon ‘Colonel’ Burrow; Derek ‘General’ Kohler and John ‘Boffin’ Milne. Remembered with fondness was Richard ‘Bumble’ Hamburger (RIP).

42 years ago, four young University of Cape Town students applied to represent UCT in the annual Castle Lager Sports Quiz, held throughout the country as sports clubs pitted themselves against each other to become the South African Sports Quiz Champions. Quiz master was Mornay Pretorius and MC, Paddy O’Byrne both Springbok Radio stalwarts.

Through concentrating probably more on their sports knowledge rather than academic curricula, the four managed to be crowned the 1974 Champions. As amateurs they were not allowed to compete for prize money but a swift solution was found – convert the winnings in to the sponsor’s product : Castle Lager beer. Over 10,000 bottles were provided to a grateful UCT Rugby Club and the participants never had to buy a beer!

Tributes were paid to the coaches – journalists Dan Retief, Archie Henderson and Michael Owen-Smith and the manager, the legendary Springbok no8 and SA Breweries manager, Doug Hopwood.

Remember Springbok Radio?

On 1 May 1950, the first commercial radio station in South Africa, Springbok Radio took to the airwaves broadcasting in both English and Afrikaans. The service started at 06h43 with the music Vat Jou Goed en Trek, Ferreira. The first voice heard on the air that morning was that of Eric Egan. Eric would be well remembered for his daily “Corny Crack” and catch phrase “I Looooveee Yoouuu”.

Many of the drama programmes during the 1950s were imported from Australia but as time moved on and more funding became available, Springbok Radio produced almost all of its programmes within South Africa through a network of independent production houses. By the end of 1950, thirty percent of all Springbok Radio shows were produced by South Africans talent or material and independent productions were sold to sponsors through the organisations sales team. At the same time all air time had been sold or used up and the transmission times was extended. By the end of 1950 the revenue contribution of Springbok Radio was ₤205,439, in 1961 it had grown to over two million Rand and by 1970 had reached R6.5 million.

However, in the 1980s the SABC ended up killing off many of these independent production houses when Springbok Radio closed down. If it was not for these production houses, Springbok Radio would not have survived. Almost 90% of programming came from them.

In 1976 television was launched in South Africa and this was followed by television commercials in 1978. Commercial TV was the major factor in the demise of Springbok Radio, which was very much dependent on advertising revenue. Springbok Radio closed on 31 December 1985.

Although many tapes of the shows were used over and over again to save costs, some programmes still remain and can be accessed from South African Rarities.com.

Sunset over Brittania Bay

Sunset over Brittania Bay

We stayed at a friend’s house in Brittania Bay.

Britannia Bay is 160 km from Cape Town, an easy 90 minute drive up the Cape West Coast region.

Britannia Bay is located 35 km from Vredenburg (the main commercial centre of the region) and 45 km from Saldanha Bay. Britannia Bay offers acres of unspoilt, safe beaches. The bay is very protected and the water is slightly warmer than most places on the West Coast, due to the Benguela current not entering the bay. The bay teems with Southern Right and Humpback whales for up to ten months of the year which are always a delight to watch as are the scores of resident dolphin.

Heaviside’s (endemic to the area) and Dusky dolphins are often seen to follow the little boats used by holiday makers. The safe launching site for small craft makes Britannia Bay ideal for water sports and Seal Island is only 10 minutes away by small boat. Seal Island is perfect for fishing, diving and Cray-fishing.

What better way to end the day - sunset, a cold beer and a BBQ waiting for fresh Cape Rock Lobster.

What better way to end the day – sunset, a cold beer and a BBQ waiting for fresh Cape Rock Lobster.

Britannia Bay is home to over 200 bird species which attend to indigenous flowers at the turn of Spring. Internationally renowned among ornithologists, the nearby West Coast National Park is one of the world’s most important bird sanctuaries, providing a haven for some 256 bird species. Also of interest are the neighbouring Berg River estuary and the Rocherpan Nature Reserve are well worth a visit.

Of interest to Botanists, Britannia Bay is home to the ‘veldkool’ (Trachyandra ciliata) and ‘gousblom’ (Gazania krebsiana), two of the fine species of indigenous veld flowers that flourish here in spring.

Cemetery with a sea view

Cemetery with a sea view

The Church bell in Churchmen

The Church bell in Church Haven

Ask the average person and they will not have heard of Churchhaven, or Church Haven as it is often written. Some will tell you that it is somewhere on the West Coast, and they would be right. But few know that it is hidden away in the West Coast National Park, just outside Postberg Flower Reserve. It doesn’t even make it onto the average map, despite lying just outside Kraalbaai.

And yet, Churchhaven is a beautiful little fishing village. Small but with enviable examples of restored white-washed fishermen’s houses, with more recent and modern renditions having adopted a similar style. The little fishing village of Churchhaven also lies in an enviable position. Postberg is a section of the Western Cape Nature Reserve that only opens at a certain time of the year (August and September) and is one of the best places in the country to catch a glimpse of Namaqualand spring flowers. Through the reserve you can do the Postberg two-day hiking trail that explores an incredible coastline of beaches.

Postberg and Churchhaven can be found up the R27, roughly an hour’s drive from Cape Town. The West Coast National Park lies about half way between Yzerfontein and Langebaan. Kraalbaai, just south of Postberg, is where those who agree that Langebaan and Club Mykonos have become overdeveloped flee. Both it and Churchhaven are sanctuaries in a sense, and provide a wonderful space away, despite the proximity to Cape Town.

Looking out over the lagoon - Langebaan in the distance.

Looking out over the lagoon – Langebaan in the distance.

A female ostrich near Yzerfontein on the West Coast.

A female ostrich near Yzerfontein on the West Coast.

 

The ostrich or common ostrich (Struthio camelus) is either one or two species of large flightless birds native to Africa, the only living member(s) of the genus Struthio, which is in the ratite family.

The ostrich shares the order with the kiwis, emus, rheas, and cassowaries. It is distinctive in its appearance, with a long neck and legs, and can run at up to about 70 km/h (19 m/s; 43 mph), the fastest land speed of any bird. The ostrich is the largest living species of bird and lays the largest eggs of any living bird (extinct elephant birds of Madagascar and the giant moa of New Zealand laid larger eggs).

The ostrich’s diet consists mainly of plant matter, though it also eats invertebrates. It lives in nomadic groups of 5 to 50 birds. When threatened, the ostrich will either hide itself by lying flat against the ground, or run away. If cornered, it can attack with a kick of its powerful legs. Mating patterns differ by geographical region, but territorial males fight for a harem of two to seven females.

Her chicks

Her chicks

The ostrich is farmed around the world, particularly for its feathers, which are decorative and are also used as feather dusters. Its skin is used for leather products and its meat is marketed commercially, with its leanness a common marketing point (cholesterol free!).

 

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One of the marvellous aspects of the South African ‘West Coast’ area is not only the incredibel spring flower displays but the characters that abound in this harsh and windy area.

We decided to pop in to ‘Bokkom Lane/Laan’ near Velddrif. Now, here are some real characters! It’s on the Breede River mouth where the huge river meets the Atlantic ocean and some entrepreneurial locals have set up fish shops, restaurants, bars and all manner of stalls selling paraphernalia.

But first a little education:

Bokkoms (or Bokkems) is whole, salted and dried mullet (more specifically the Southern mullet, Liza richardsonii, a type of fish commonly known in the Western Cape of South Africa as “harders”), and is a well-known delicacy from the West Coast region of South Africa. This salted fish is dried in the sun and wind and is eaten after peeling off the skin. In some cases it is also smoked. It is sometimes referred to as “fish biltong”.

A cluster of bokkoms

A cluster of bokkoms

 

Stop and read some of the signs at this shop!

Stop and read some of the signs at this shop!

It's all about the fish.

It’s all about the fish.

Pelicans paddle near to the stalls in the shallow reaches of the Breede River.

Pelicans paddle near to the stalls in the shallow reaches of the Breede River.

 

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