Life is Ducky at the Peabody in Memphis

The Peabody Ducks march the red carpet to return to the Duck Palace on the roof of the hotel.

Five well-fed ducks waddle across the red carpet, encouraged by two rapid thumps from the Duckmaster’s cane. No, this isn’t the opening of a children’s book, though the delighted faces of youngsters watching their progress speaks volumes. It’s a spectacle many, including a long list of glitterati  like Michael Jordan, Nicholas Cage and President Jimmy Carter, have found irresistible.

Ducks on a red carpet, you ask? Well, gather around and  I’ll tell you the story…… Continue reading

White Water Rafting

A Tick on my Bucket List

White Water Adventure - A tick on my bucket list

A raft full of beaming paddlers at one of the stops. I’m second from far right end.

I’ve just added a tick on my bucket list and I did it with all the panache of a born klutz.

White water rafting was added to my list about 15 years ago, when we hiked the Grand Canyon (another bucket list tick). I recall looking way down to the Colorado River and watching rafts shooting along. It looked exhilarating, thrilling and frankly, a little scary. And I immediately added it to my list of things I simply have to do. Continue reading

Ghost Hunting in Dublin

Ghost Hunting in DublinI’ve been on many ghost hunting tours but I have to say, Dublin’s is the most fascinating ….and inventive. The interior of our double-decker Ghostbus is spooky, curtains blacking out the world outside as we drive. And our guide, Nick, has us frightened one minute and rocking with laughter the next. Continue reading

Tips for the Cruise Neophyte

Tips for the Cruise Neophyte

The Queen Mary, one of the world’s most elegant ships in her time.

Once upon a time, cruising was strictly for the wealthy. Indeed, the word cruise still evokes images of elegantly dressed society types, lounging, cocktails in hand, while a palm court orchestra plays in the chandelier-hung salon. Think Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember.

It’s still a self-indulgent means of travel, but cruising has become much more affordable. Travelers by the score are opting for shipboard luxury when they plan their holidays. Continue reading

Spicing it Up with Chilero

Spicing it up with Chilero

Visitors to Macaw Lodge love their delicious chilero. This spicy condiment can add zest to meats, eggs, even veggie dishes.

Chili peppers are good for you. They contain vitamins and minerals. But most importantly, they have been shown to have positive effects on prostate cancer, blood, and even ulcers (no, they don’t make ulcers worse!). Cultures where hot pepper is used liberally have a much lower rate of heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism.

Chili peppers have varying degrees of heat, depending on the amount of capsaicin in each variety. It’s this ingredient that produces that unmistakable sensation of heat – and pain! − in the mouth by stimulating pain receptors in the skin and mucous membranes. The response can be sweating, watery eyes, and strangely enough, exhilaration. One scientific theory says that in response to the discomfort produced by the burning, the brain releases endorphins. At high levels, these can actually create a sensation of pleasure.

Hot, hot hot

Capsaicin is also the active ingredient in some topical pain-killers because it numbs pain receptors in the skin.

You can accustom your taste buds to chili. Over time, the receptors will react less fiercely. In the Mexican province of Tabasco, we were served a little bowl of chopped chilies in lime juice on the table at every meal. My first tentative taste graduated to healthy dollops on my food. And when I returned home after just 10 days, I actually missed the spice.

If you find the chilies too hot to handle, don’t drink water. Water and alcohol only increase the burn of chilies in the mouth. My Indian friends tell me to eat bread. But I’ve been reliably informed by Jim Garcia, a chili expert, that the only real antidote is dairy – milk, yogurt, sour cream, cheese.

. Although it sold bottled, they kindly shared the recipe in a recent newsletter with the following information:

Behind the spicy feeling, chilies that spice our cuisine have capsaicin, which can be used as an analgesic for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and other neuropathologies.

 

About 1 kg chilies (aji, panameno, habanero)
3 cups olive oil
3 cups white vinegar
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
4 big carrots (can substitute with yuplon or starfruit)

Mix this amount (or desired proportion) of ingredients in a blender. Serve in small quantities with meats, rice and beans or other dishes. Refrigerate when not being consumed.

 

Want to know more about chilies