The Accidental Vegan

An inspiration for this post comes from noneuclideansofa blog. I enjoy his observations on life and living.

An inspiration for the vegan traveler is the Cook the Beans blog: Ubud on a Scooter and Punkin Soup are recent posts.

I should probably create an entire blog about my journey and transformation into a Vegan.  Devra Gartenstein already wrote a recipe book called Accidental Vegan. It is hard to know where to start, what to tell, and how to avoid boring my audience.

Growing up in a small town in Minnesota in the 1950’s and 60’s, pizza and McDonald’s were exotic foods.  Here are some memories and influences.

  • My mother teaching me how to eat with chop sticks when I was 12 years old.
  • My introduction to tacos and Tabasco sauce at a Foreign Exchange Student conference.
  • Katherine Gustafson and all the friends from around the world who met at her house on Saturday evenings.  Many interesting foods.
  • Frances Moore’s Diet for a Small Planet that taught how to get complete proteins from grains and legumes.
  • Living a year without meat.
  • Traveling the world and discovering oysters, raw fish, uncooked steak tartare, and cannibal toast made with uncooked pork.
  • Finding more vegetarian and natural food restaurants in America. I’m thinking of the Mud Pie on Lyndale and Seward Cafe on Franklin.
  • Discovering Asian vegetarian cuisines in Japan, Malaysia, along with India.
  • Discovering I am allergic to eggs; later finding that I’m less sensitive to duck eggs (The difference between jungle fowl and waterfowl).
  • Reducing meat and cheese in the diet to control gout.

In Turkey this July and August, my joints began really hurting, first pelvis, then shoulder, then toes, then wrist.  In Ankara, the good doctor diagnosed rheumatoid arthritis. Her prescription: Some vitamins and no more meat, chicken, fish, or milk products.  Not even fat free yogurt. Eggs were OK, but with my allergies: I’m a Vegan.

Ethically, I’m happy with the result.  Physically, all the pain is gone, only an occasional tightness in the shoulder.

In the past 6 months, it was easier to find Vegan options in tourist areas: Siem Reap Cambodia, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in Thailand, Amman Jordan, Cairo Egypt, and Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. Myanmar/Burma, Mongolia, Turkey, and Tunisia were hard. Many Vegetarian options have eggs or cheese. I’m flexible when necessary.

Here are some particularly delicious meals:

 

Answers from previous post:

  1. For leeches, a little salt makes them fall right off.  A mixture of liquid soap or detergent and salt rubbed on the shoes makes a good prevention.
  2. For first aid, Wife always carries bandages, neosporin ointment, airline wetwipe packets, a Swiss Army card with scissors, tweezers, toothpick, file.
  3. We did not enter the Buddhist Sri Dalada Maligawa Temple, Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic. We walked around the outside looking for hiking trails and viewed it from a distant hill.

Some Vege trivia:

  1. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Playwright?
  2. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Political Activist?
  3. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Saxophonist?
  4. Who is my favorite Vegetarian Beatle?
  5. Who is my abhorred Vegetarian Fascist?

Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai

These are very different cities in Northern Thailand.  Some of the contrasts can be seen here.

Chiang Mai

We stayed just inside the old city, separated by a moat and renovated ruins of the walls.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep

This famous temple resides in the foothills overlooking Chiang Mai about a 40 minute drive in share taxi.  Normally, I avoid photos of visitors to temples.  Rather than try to get pristine photographs of the main chedi in Doi Suthep, I entertained myself trying to get photos of selfies and group photos. I especially like the monk.

Chiang Rai

Not so densely packed with famous temples, but its smaller size made it easy to navigate.

Bangkok: Start to Finish

We flew from Siem Reap, Cambodia to Bangkok in April.  After a few day stopover, we headed up to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.  Now, we are back in Bangkok, planning and packing for more adventures. We only explored a little bit of Bangkok’s offerings.  The weather was hot, and we needed to co-ordinate a lot of flights, buses, hotels, guesthouses, and visas.  We visited some of the main temples (Wat Arun and Wat Pho reclining Buddha) and many less known ones in our neighborhoods.

Our first place was Huai Khwang, famous for its market and more famous for its night market restaurants.  It was only three minutes to the MRT subway station.  Our second place was near Wutthakat Skytrain station on the Thon Buri side of Chao Phraya River.

I have so many photos from temples trying to find an unique perspective.  These photos on the other hand try to capture some of the contrasting emotions I feel during travel.

RTW01 1980-81

In 1980, my company, NCR Comten, sent me to NCR Japan for software support of the first installations of our Networking Communications Processor.  Recently, a reply to my comment in Cook the Beans blog reminded me of that trip and my visit to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo in 1981.  This was one episode of that first trip aRound The World (RTW). This brings me back to the original idea of this blog to reflect on journeys and paths that brought me here.

I saved the diaries of my travels during those times for many years.  With our moving on, I wrote up some summaries and highlights and saved on Google Drive.  Much of the information written was technical notes and contacts.  Certain parts of that fourteen month trip are very vivid; other parts are just a mesh of several trips through the same areas.  My notes suggest I left Minnesota around 1 October 1980 and returned to my parents home for Thanksgiving in late November 1981.  Unfortunately, only a few blurry pictures and some scraps of mementos remain from that trip.  The many transitions of life and work resulted in a box or two purloined in various archives and the dumpsters of life, later to be left for collection at the side of the road.

Collecting and Collating digital searches, memories, and artifacts for this post reminded me of several amazing coincidences and connections that played out over the years.

First, a link to the itinerary contains a few notes gleaned from my diaries.  It’s a placeholder for my memory as details begin to fade.  The experience was so new and fresh, I never expected the frustrations trying to remember details today.

Itinerary RTW 1980-81

Itinerary1980-81

Here is the list of cities I visited in approximate order.

St. Paul, MN; Tokyo, Japan; Nikko, Japan; Yokohama, Japan; Kyoto, Japan; Kamikura, Japan; Busan, Korea; Seoul, Korea; Taipei, Taiwan; Hongkong; Macao; Manila, Philippines; Batangas, Philippines; Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei; Singapore; Melaka, Malaysia; Georgetown and Penang, Malaysia; Bangkok, Thailand; Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar); Rome, Italy; London, UK; Paris, France; Milan, Italy; Belfort, France; Bitche, France; Basel, Switzerland; Mont Saint-Michel, France; Cherbourg, France; Windom, MN

Three artifacts:

Three meetings:

The hardware tech assigned to NCR Japan was Sanford “Charlie” Brown.  After Japan, we worked together in South America, New Zealand, and SE Asia. Our paths still cross.  He taught me how to wirewrap.

In a Singapore hostel shared breakfast table with sisters Bea and Ev from France.  Years later they would pick me up from Luxembourg airport after spending ten days crossing the Soviet Union.

Anura Guruge at ICI UK.  He sent me to consult in Paris and Milan on a remote printer problem.  Some years later, I would find and read his first book, SNA Theory and Practice, in the NCR Japan technical library.  Some years after that, I would work with Lisa Lindgren an associate of Guruge’s consultancy.

Three things learned

Don’t be surprised.  Different cultures, different languages, different circumstances all have their ways of dealing with the situation of the moment.  Some of these will be completely different to what you might find usual.  Observe and Appreciate.

Grammar and Language: “Order word not necessary is.” Along with: “Verbs not necessary.”

In those days, I could live in Melaka, Malaysia for U$S 3 / day.  Knowing that, I only worked for fun from then on. I always knew that I did not have to put up with a bad job after that.

Here is the full map thanks to Google:

RTW_1980-81.JPG

In the years that followed, I circumnavigated (both westward and eastward) the earth many times providing onsite computer networking support.  There were some trips to South America and to Africa.  The type of technical career I did no longer exists.  In the past years, we have deviated from the original route more and more as we have free time to venture to different countries.  Here is my TripAdvisor Map:

TripAdvisorMap