Tag Archives: travel

Caribbean Pineapples (03/22)

black_jamaican_pineappleFor many years Eleuthra (Bahama) was a major center for pineapple production. It has a number of large pineapple plantations and because the pineapple are allowed to ripen slowly without chemical assistance they’re extremely sweet.

Pineapples have been cultivated in the Caribbean for thousands of years. Scientists have reached that conclusion because the Caribbean pineapple no longer produces seeds, and that the fruit has been farmed by man for so long that it no longer feels responsible for its own reproduction.

Burt Wolf

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Ever heard of a Yurt? (02/12)

I was listening to NPR and they were interviewing a couple who decided to rent out their home to help pay for their kids’ college tuition while they continued to live on the back end of their property – in a yurt.

yurt |yoŏrt; yərt|
a circular tent of felt or skins on a collapsible framework, used by nomads in Mongolia, Siberia, and Turkey.

modern yurt (in colorado)

modern yurt (in colorado)

There are other names for yurt such as ger (rhymes with “air”) or uy (oo-ee) and no one really knows where they originated , although the Buryat Mongols of Siberia claim their land as the birthplace of the Mongol tribes and also of the ger.

Doesn’t seem like too bad of a set up really. I could see my adventurous aunt and uncle (who lived on a sailboat from many years)  giving this a try.

To read more click here.

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There Will Be Awnings (01/31)

When I was in Rome and visited the Colosseum, I did learn a few things:

1. If you take a picture of a Roman soldier, they expect you to give them some money.

2. If you see a set of toys horses randomly set up on the grounds, don’t get too close (even if you just want to take a picture) because you will be bombarded by the entrepreneur who is selling these fine horse replicas.

3. Gelato is delicious.

But I didn’t know the following:

During the early days of the Colosseum, ancient writers recorded that the building was used for naumachiae (more properly known as navalia proelia) or simulated sea battles. Accounts of the inaugural games held by Titus in AD 80 describe it being filled with water for a display of specially trained swimming horses and bulls. There is also an account of a re-enactment of a famous sea battle between the Corcyrean (Corfiot) Greeks and the Corinthians. This has been the subject of some debate among historians; although providing the water would not have been a problem, it is unclear how the arena could have been waterproofed, nor would there have been enough space in the arena for the warships to move around. It has been suggested that the reports either have the location wrong, or that the Colosseum originally featured a wide floodable channel down its central axis (which would later have been replaced by the hypogeum)

Claridge, Amanda (1998). Rome: An Oxford Archaeological Guide (First ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 1998. pp. 276–282


The Colosseum actually had awnings.

Under the summer sun, the windless interior of the Colosseum could reach appalling temperatures. Awnings overhead were essential to provide shade, and here as elsewhere the notice ‘vela erunt’ (‘there will be awnings’) would encourage spectators.

To provide shade over such a vast area was, however, a major challenge. All we can see now are the projecting stone brackets for awnings in the top story, three in each of the eighty bays. These supported 240 wooden masts, from which were suspended the system of ropes and stays from which the canvas awnings were hung. A company of sailors executed this complex operation.

(quoted from BBC’s website)

Illustration of wooden masts and awning.

Illustration of wooden masts and awning.

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Swallowing Gum…(01/23)

Growing up you hear plenty of urban legends/myths.

My favorite from childhood is if you swallow gum it will stick to your ribs…which is just preposterous!

again I say preposterous!

again I say preposterous!

We are always quick to scoff at things that we once believed to be true, even moments after the discovery is made

Well here is another one for the books…

The Great Wall of China, although great, is not visible from outer space. Of course it isn’t! It’s right up there with the gum sticking to your ribs, if you spend a moment thinking about it makes obvious sense. Nevertheless, this myth was busted for me this morning on my car ride to work. How does the Great Wall of China come up during a morning commute, you ask? When listening to the audio book version of the World Without Us, of course.

After further researching this myth, I came across the opinion of Arthur Waldron, author of The Great Wall of China: From History to Myth. He has speculated that the belief might go back to the fascination with the “canals” once believed to exist on Mars. What will we think we see next – a puddy tat?

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