moating

gondola launch

After trampling up and down temples in the sweltering heat – I’ve tried to not belabor the point but it is hot, hot, hot in Cambodia! – it’s time for a little luxury:  skimming the moat of Angkor Thom in a private gondola stocked with champagne and canapes. As the sun set the moon rose high into the sky, casting an iridescent blue glow over the waking jungle.

gondolas

moorise over the moat

pale blue glow

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a sort-of tapas crawl

One of Madrid’s culinary highlights is tapas. In fact, you can’t properly say you’ve done right by this city until you’ve gone out on a tapas crawl, eschewing a proper dinner for a series of small plates (and glasses of beer) at a handful of tapas bars. In the Barrio de las Letras I discovered a string of respectable looking joints lined up as if for just such an exercise, starting with Los Gatos, where the beer came accompanied by a plate of camaron and the salmon and goat cheese canapes were served with potato chips freshly fried in olive oil. I quickly – if just a little too late – learned an important lesson of the tapas experience:  pace yourself, these are nibbles. If four sandwiches and a plate of ham is your starting off point, you probably won’t last very long.  And I didn’t. Moving next door to La Dolores that salient fact hit me when the man behind the counter asked why I stopped digging into a plate of Galician-style octopus. Was there something wrong with the food?  No, I tried to explain more through gesture than words, it’s me. I’m full, I said patting an imagined Santa belly. He looked at me like the amateur I was. Filling up on tapas, I later found out, is tantamount to eating all the wasabi peas.

 

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