Eating Out Travels

Riverside, Kingston upon Thames

Tomorrow I start my journeys again, to Kadikoy, Istanbul to give a NLP Master Practitioner course, a PhotoReading, Memory and Mind Maps course to the public and a number of companies. So today I have been catching up on arranging hospital appointments, banks, course facilities, the blog, relaxing.

I love walking, especially by the Thames River (click to see river film) in Kingston upon Thames, along the Queens Promenade, which links Kingston to Thames Ditton and Surbiton.

The number of swans, geese, ducks living on the river is amazing. How can the river support so much wildlife? Perhaps the walkers feeding them bread. (see photograph of swans in a large number).

Swans and geese being fed on the River Thames in Kingston upon ThamesHampton Court, the Royal Palace of Henry VIII. If you do not want the slow leisurely relaxing cruise, you can always walk, about an hour along the other side riverside pathway. You can catch a small ferry boat for £1, to take you across, but it seems only Saturday and Sunday, plus Bank Holidays.

Parr's Ferry at Kingston upon Thames

At the mooring of Parrs Boats and the ferry there is an old air-raid shelter that had been converted into a small refreshment bar. It has been established here for a few years, with walkers and regulars stopping by for a sandwich, a slice of homemade cake, a drink, an ice cream and friendly faces, and has been refurbished by John, an ex local policeman, full of joy, willing to join in a conversation.

Riverside Cafe on the Queens Promenade on the River Thames, Kingston upon ThamesRiverside Cafe, Quality Thames-side Refreshments, with John is still developing the area, and actively seeks ideas from his potential clients.

It is only a small walk from Kingston’s town center, but the warm welcome, the quality refreshments at a reasonable price, the chance to sit and drink a warming hot chocolate, or coffee made from locally roasted coffee beans from Coffee Bay, watching the passing walkers and boats, makes one happy to be alive.

It is good to support local businesses and to relax whilst doing so.

Eating Out Thoughts Travels

It is like a Summer’s Day in Brighton

This week will not be a great week for me personally, I have a couple of health issues which need resolve, so to find that the weather here in the UK is just like summer, and it is still only March, what better way is there to enjoy the present day and make the best of what the world has to give me.

With not a cloud in the sky, a trip to Brighton was called for. In less than two hours I could be by the sea, a place that I find invigorating, relaxing, empowering and enjoyable, just two train journeys, rather than driving down in my RX7, spending money on petrol, parking fees and the chance of endless traffic jams. Unknown to me, there were problems on the train network, which meant catching three trains, and wasted time waiting on station platforms for delayed trains.

Take a deep breath in, close my eyes, and RELAX.
At last the train arrived in Brighton, and on exiting the station, there infront of me, down the long road from the station to the seafront, the shimmering sea could be seen, and strange feeling of boyhood joy overcame me, I wanted to jump for joy, and I set out on what seemed a never ending walk, past shops and restaurants that had little interest for me. I wanted to be by the sea.
I was amazed at the number of people that were on the pebbled beach, sunning themselves, just relaxing. Perhaps they were some of the many foreign students that seem to go to Brighton to learn English, or unemployed or retired people, or people just like me, wanting to rejuvenate themselves?
Just walking up and down the promenade and beside the beach, just being there, being part of humanity brought me back to normality.
Brighton seafront and the Brighton Pier, March 2012
Brighton seafront and the Brighton Pier, March 2012
A walk down the Brighton Pier, one of the long jetties running out into the sea in the UK, which often have theatres, restaurants and amusement arcades on them, where people walk along, sometimes stopping to relax in a deck chair, perhaps imagining that they are sitting on an ocean liner sailing the seven seas on a cruise, gave me the chance to breath fresh air into my lungs.
I availed the amusement arcades, because I was hungry, and where better to go and have the traditional British meal of fish-n-chips than on Brighton Pier
Great British food, Fish n Chips
Great British food, Fish n Chips
I have not had fish and chips for many months, and although it was pointed out to me that deep fat fried for is bad for the health, it was also said that once in a while was OK. So why not, I may not be here next week, and after all, fish is good for you.
Why is it that everything I do not like is always good for me?
My mother always used to tell me to eat the vegetables as it would make my hair curl, or eat the bread and butter as it would make me grow into a big strong boy?
My hair is still straight, and yes I have grown into a big boy, but that is because I have eaten too much bread and butter and that has left me overweight.
So much for believing everything my mother told me as being true, including Santa Claus. coming down the chimney on Christmas Day, and the tooth fairy leaving me money under my pillow after I lost a tooth.
What a glorious day out. Now I can face what the week is going to throw at me.
Culture Eating Out NLP Phobias Thoughts

The Roundabout of Life, is it Towards or Away?

Today I watched a donkey working at a watermill, it was just walking round and round in a circle, attached by a harness to a beam, which was in turn attached to some simple gearing system that operated a pump, pumping water from a well to irrigate the farmers fields and crops.

For hours on end, the donkey walked this never ending circuit, like the second hand of a clock, forever passing the same number 12 at the top of the hour, time and time again, forever moving but getting nowhere, and like that second hand of the clock just showing the passing of time, getting nowhere.

The donkey was like that hamster or mouse on its’ wheel in a cage, spinning round and round and getting nowhere, but at least the donkey was pumping water, whereas the hamster or mouse is expending energy turning the wheel for the gratification of the animal’s owner. Like riding a roundabout in the fairground, getting nowhere.
I see many people on a similar wheel, roundabout or treadmill, doing the same thing time and time again as they progress through the short lifetime we have on this earth, never progressing, never learning new concepts and ideas, never learning from the mistakes they make, never experiencing new things and seeing the beauty that life can give. 
They are passing their time, never getting anywhere.
Perhaps they are trapped in a relationship, in a family situation, in an employment that restricts their future, or in a culture that is very restrictive, never open to new ideas to other peoples points of view, much like a lion in a zoo cage will have nothing to do but to walk round and round in their little world of understanding, forever in frustration and depression, following the same endless pathway they have made in that small world or enclosure.
As I look about me, I see people not only travelling the same pathway they have had inflicted by others upon them, or have placed upon themselves, but they are also being led, like that donkey, by a carrot hanging infront of his nose. Always that carrot is a small distance away, just out of reach, they are hoping that that tasty carrot will be theirs, that their never ending treadmill will lead to that Utopia one day, hoping that they will reach their Xanadu, their dream led by the Muse Kira, (the Greek mythical Muse’s real name was Clio, one of nine sisters, Kira being the assumed name), the daughter of the Greek God Zeus, or as in the poem of the same name, Xanadu, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, leading to the pleasure garden which Kubla Khan created in the Chinese province in China.

These people are being lead by ideals, promises, dreams, often created by others, like tales of the streets of big cities being paved with gold, where riches can be anyones, just by the taking, but often, just as they are about to reach their dream, it is taken away from them by those that created them, the chance of a kiss by a beautiful princess only to find that it is to be that donkey’s backside.
Sometimes I notice the farmer was walking behind the donkey as it worked that water mill, round and round that never ending circle, and the farmer held a stick in his hand with which he occasionally tapped the donkey’s rump, just enough to inflict a little pain, which spurred the donkey on, and as it is like most animals and humans, they do not like pain.
We are not only driven by dreams, but sometimes we are also driven by avoidance, to move away from something, some place, some issue, as when people experience fears or phobias. The easiest way to stop a phobia or fear people often find, is to avoid the experience which causes the phobia, to avoid that place where a spider or snake could be, not to enter that high building or walk across that bridge. Experience has shown though, that by avoiding the fear or phobia, it only re-enforces them making them worse.
In the past I had a client who had a phobia of tunnels, especially those where the exit could not be seen when entering perhaps because there was a bend in the middle, or it was very long. This lady’s train station had such a tunnel, and to get to the other side of the station from where she lived she would travel a very long distance to avoid using the tunnel. Participants on my courses will have heard of this lady, and I forgot to tell them that after seeing me that once, she overcame her phobia.
To avoid pain and hurt may not necessarily be negative as some people presuppose, thinking that such a person is always negative, never a “go getter”, but avoidance can often lead to a positive outcomes or results.
Many rich people have the fear of living in poverty, not to have the flash car, not to go on that exotic holiday, not to be recognised as someone of high standing, not to be loved. These people are driven by the negative outcomes, the pain of not being rich, and strive to create the wealth, the business, to get the qualifications to bring the knowledge of how to achieve those riches.
Perhaps it is the fear of being left alone, not to have a relationship, that drives people to become over friendly, to draw others into a relationship with them, only to find that the person they are left with is not the person they had expected as a life partner, but then when deciding to leave that relationship, they hurt the ones who had been drawn in by the carrot.  
Others choose to enter situations, relationships for the pure pleasure of a negative outcome.
As a small child, I am sure you remember when you lost your first teeth, the Milk Teeth as they are known in the UK? Did you put the tooth under your pillow when you went to bed for the fairies to take and leave a sum of money?
They became wobbly, loose, as the new tooth pushed up from beneath. I remember using my tongue or my fingers to move the tooth backwards and forwards, only stopping pushing or pulling when I felt that twinge of pain, but somehow I enjoyed that little pain, I was reassured that soon the fairies would be visiting, and I became addicted to moving the tooth until I got the pain, pushing the limits and the boundaries.
I observe people who have injured themselves, and keep touching the area just to make sure the injury is still there I am sure to experience that little twinge of pain.
I see many people who come to me for help, and insist on telling me how ill they are, how “no-body loves them“, how depressed they are, they take great joy and satisfaction from re-experiencing their pain and sorrow.
I watch the joggers, panting, sweating, red in the face, as they push themselves imagining they are on yet another London Marathon race. I look into the windows of the myriad of gym clubs around he world, and see people rowing imaginary boats, running down imaginary roads on the treadmills, getting nowhere like the donkey, yet pushing for better times, longer imaginary distances covered.
I had a friend Richard, who was/is a fitness fanatic. Every lunchtime he was in the gym, every night he was in the gym after his hour long run or swim, every morning he would arrive at his desk wearing his tight lycra cycle racing outfit, beads of sweat forming on his forehead and dripping from the end of his nose, his eyes bulging through the extreme energy he had exerted ridding his bike to work, imagining he was wearing the Yellow Shirt on the Tour de France
Why did Richard and other put themselves through such pain and suffering?
Some say it is to become fitter, healthier. But, when I asked Richard what happens when he does not go to the gym, does not cycle to work, he said he feels bad, that he just has to, to feel good. Research has shown that excessive exercise places the body under stress, and the body responds by producing the addictive substances called beta-endorphins.
So, the pain, the physical stress in the body makes the pituitary gland secrete the hormones of endorphins which are chemically related to Morphine. The name “endorphin” is often referred to as “endogenous morphine“, a chemical that binds to certain receptors in the brain, and act as a pain killer and become highly addictive, also known to reduce the appetite, decrease depression and anxiety, giving that feeling of euphoria.
It is no wonder some people are drawn towards pain and suffering and become addicted to such acts, as when the body experiences that stress or pain, chemicals are released to give them a high.
Yet others are drawn to pain because it draws attention to them from others. In extreme cases, people will mutilate themselves by cutting themselves, pulling their hair out. These cases are wide ranging and have multiple causes not to be discussed here, but in some cases it is what is called a “cry for help“, they want attention. We often tell our family, friends and colleagues what a terrible time we have had, bringing back, reliving the experiences only to bring that pain back, for to relive, to talk about, to think about something, we will have to experience the pain again.
So we are all driven towards something, a reward, a pleasure, a new car or dress, a visit to the theatre, or we are driven away from something, to avoid a dislike, pain, discomfort, certain food, a person or place.
In NLP terms (see the NLP Glossary click) there are the Towards People and there are the Away People.
When reading some books on NLP on the subject of Towards and Away People, the author says that a person is either one or the other. When teaching the subject, I will explain the concept, and ask for a show of hands who are Towards and who are Away, and too many people categorise themselves as only one or the other, because that is what they have been told and so believe.
When you analyse a person, ask them questions, and you will ascertain in one situation they will be Towards, yet in another they will be an Away from person.
For me and food, if you mention chocolate cake or ice cream and the chances of eating some, I would do anything for you, I would be your slave, I would sing a song for you, yet the mention of a fish meal would find me making all the excuses I could not to sit down with you.  
For chocolate cake and ice cream I am a Towards person, fish and Away from person.

Yet, if we take about fish in another context, I am Towards person. As a Master Scuba Diver, I have had over 600 dives around the world and have swam with some amazing fish, some dangerous like the Stone Fish and some humorous like the Clown Fish. (click her to see more underwater photographs)

A Stone Fish taken in the Red Sea off Jeddah, Saudi Arabia    Clown Fish taken in the Red Sea off Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

A Stone Fish or Scorpion Fish and a Clown Fish taken in the Red Sea off Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
if you cannot see the Stone Fish click here

Some people will draw others into their world by promising dreams, ideas, Towards, other people will drive people along by planting thoughts of suffering if they do or do not do something, Away.
Be aware of how we are influenced by others and how we influence others. Be aware of that carrot being dangled in front of you, or that stick prodding you onwards.
Culture Eating Out Travels

It is good to get home

I love my work, teaching participants, passing on information, giving people confidence, improving self-esteem, what ever, but it is always great to be home.

As Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz would say, “There’s no place like home.
After a week in Istanbul giving a Society of NLP Practitioner course, a delayed flight, I could set about washing my shirts, answering my mail and telephone messages, collect my new reading glasses, and enjoying a walk into my home town centre.
When I arrived in the market square of Kingston upon Thames, I was surprised to find the Christmas Market had arrived with all the stalls selling seasonal fare, food, gifts, sweets, and drinks. The familiar smell of mulled wine entered my senses, a typical Christmas drink, red wine with added spices and served warm.
My senses came alive, as this is a special time in the UK culture, a season of good will, of being with friends and family. The trouble is my work takes me away from friends and family, but the deep memories from years gone by warmed me as much as the mulled wine.
The Christmas Market in Kingston upon Thames
The Christmas Market in Kingston upon Thames
Culture Eating Out Travels

Lunchtime for some

One of the benefits of all the travel I do and the countries I visit is to be able when time permits different places of interest. Taking my camera with me, helps me share and tell a story of my experiences.

On my visit to Malaysia, I was able to visit the Botanical Gardens on the Island of Penang, which was hosting a flower festival, a chance to see more of the tropical plants in a compact area. Certainly not on the scale of the UK’s Hampton Court Flower Show, it did have many companies selling their plants, and lovely plants and flowers they were.
But lunch soon called, but with little choice of eating establishments in the Botanic Gardens, I had to make do with some fried rice, and coconut juice straight from the coconut fruit.
Then I noticed I was not the only one having lunch, the monkeys were having theirs too.
Visitors walking through the gardens eating a sandwich, drinking some water from a bottle, would marvel at the packs of monkeys so close, playing on the grass, sitting in the trees or on top of lamp posts, but they would be in for a surprise, the monkeys have learned that where there are humans there will be food for the taking, and take they do. The monkeys run up to the unsuspecting visitor, who may have the food in a plastic bag, and grab the bag and food and run off into trees, leaving the shocked visitor shouting after them and to go hungry.
The monkeys have learned how to take the tops off bottles to get at the contents, how to remove the tops of litter bins to recover unwanted food.
Wild monkeys searching for lunch in the Botanic Gardens, Penang, Malaysia  Wild monkeys searching for lunch in the Botanic Gardens, Penang, Malaysia
Wild monkeys searching for lunch in the Botanic Gardens, Penang, Malaysia
The monkeys may be small and cute, but to have one running after you to get at your food is quite and experience.
Culture Eating Out English Sayings

I don’t believe it – continued

It must be my age. I’m 95, and I am using the phrase “I don’t believe it” more and more.

As I go through my fantastically rich life, visiting so many countries, experiencing so many cultures, beliefs and foods, that little voice in my head is often heard to shout “I don’t believe it“, how could they drive like that on the wrong side of the road? (I am British, and we drive on the correct side). How can they believe this or that to be true, and how could they eat that stuff? (See my blog Horseshoe Crab).
I was brought-up in a British society, with its’ beliefs and customs, and they are deep seated, down in my unconscious, directing me through my daily tour of life. These customs and beliefs become our standards which we live by, the rules which we use which say what is right and wrong, and they are so deep in my psyche, that after arriving back in London’s Heathrow Airport from a trip abroad, and I stand at the bus stop to catch the X26 bus back home, non native British people arrive after me and stand at the front of the queue, getting on the bus before me.
Have these people no sense of what a queue is for?
First to arrive has the right to be first on the bus.
Why don’t they form an orderly queue?
Where are their manners?
I just don’t believe these people. They have no remorse. They don’t say sorry or excuse me. They are in their own little cocooned world where everything is for the taking, for them and only them.
I am driving in a foreign country, and I see someone wanting to cross the road, so I slow down and indicate them to cross, and do I get a thank you? No.
Where are their manners?
Other drivers do anything they can to get that one car infront. They push they shove, they cut others up, they sit up the exhaust pipe trying to push the other person or intimidate them.
Where is their sense of community?
Eating abroad brings its’ problems for me. Certain food tastes are so abhorrent (horrible) to me they make me physically ill. Seeing a whole fish with its’ white eyes staring at me and its’ mouth wide open turns my stomach.
Whole fish looking at me in a Malaysian restaurant
Whole fish looking at me in a Malaysian restaurant (top right)
How can people eat such food? And, rice with everything, where’s my potatoes?
The older I get, the more entrenched I get my old beliefs, and that little voice in my head says, “I don’t believe it“.
There is a fantastic British comedy series shown on the BBC called One Foot in the Grave, which ran between 1990 and 2000.
The series looks at the life and exploits of Victor Meldrew (Richard Wilson) as he faces life after an early retirement and he tries to battle against modern life.
Victor tries to keep himself busy but he is beset with misfortunes and misunderstandings, his next-door neighbour is always finding him in compromising situations leading him to think that Victor is insane. Victor’s wife, Margret (Annette Crosbie) is the long suffering part of the partnership, never giving up on Victor.
Victor’s catch phrase in the series is “I don’t believe it“, and as I mature with every year and encounter new situations, I am getting more like Victor Meldrew day by day.
I just don’t believe how I can be so stupid, must be my age.
Watch a small video of One Foot in the Grave (click)
Other English sayings.
Culture Eating Out

A cup too big

Why do I subject myself to too much chocolate?

Working with my client here in Shanghai, we decided to go to a very Chinese coffee shop (not) Costa, and I had the largest hot chocolate drink I have had for a long time.
Too much, it up-set my stomach.
Too much hot chocolate at
Costa Shanghai
Silly boy.
Culture Eating Out

A visit to Shanghai, China

I have been traveling since the end of November 2010, and I am not scheduled to finish until the end of April 2011, being in Italy three times, Turkey twice, Libya getting out just before the troubles, and now I find myself in Shanghai China.

I love my job, training so many people, with them having so many different cultures, beliefs and cultures, although at times it can be frustrating.

One of the great experiences one can have is the wide range of food available and the different styles of cooking.

Here in Shanghai, the restaurant Gintei Teppanyaki Sushi for example, bananas coated in what seemed to be coconut, was subjected to being cooked in front of us Japanese style, with various unknown ingredients being applied. The best part was when the cook added some spirit and set fire to the bananas. Lovely.

Eating Out

An English Breakfast

I have written about many foods I have eaten around the world, and each country I visit will give their own ingredients and presentation styles, but I have never written about an English breakfast.

It had been a warm weekend, both with the weather and the people I had been with. I had attended the making of the Mayor of Fishguard and Goodwick, had fantastic evening meals on Friday and Saturday, I had witnessed the arrival and departure of the steam train Nunney Castle as it had done many years before, taking passengers from the sea ferry at Fishguard Harbour arriving from Ireland onwards to London, I had unwittingly caught the sun on my face as I sat drinking my hot chocolate and a fairy cake watching the ferry arriving and docking in the harbour.

Stena Line ferry arriving at Fishguard Harbour 

Sunday morning I awoke early, and lay in bed with the curtains open, the french window wide open, which allowed the early morning sun to bath me, and as I lay their I started to get hungry.
After a refreshing shower I went down to the breakfast lounge, and took a window seat, again overlooking the quiet waters of the harbour, and was given the breakfast menu by the attentive and friendly waitress.
What should I have, just a cereal, maybe toast and jam, poached egg, scrambled egg or have a full English breakfast?
I decided on a full English breakfast so that I could photograph the meal to show you. Honestly, that was the reason.

An English Breakfast at Fishguard Bay Hotel

A typical English breakfast will start with an orange or grapefruit drink, a bowl of cereal and a tea or coffee. Following will be the main part of the breakfast, a fried meal. This will typically consist of fried bread, slices of bacon, sausages, fried tomatoes, baked beans, mushrooms and a fried egg. The meal will end with toast and marmalade.
Now I know that there is too much fat or frying in the meal, and it could be deemed bad for health, I had ordered the breakfast and I could not let it go to waste. 
Eating Out

Southside Chamber of Commerce

As an International Trainer, Coach and Speaker, I can sometimes loose contact with fellow business people in the UK, and it is good on occasions to go to meetings to meet people.

One organisation I have been a member of for some years is the Southside Chamber of Commerce which holds regular meetings in London, having speakers on various business matters, organising delegations to other countries to establish contacts for potential business co-operation, and arranging social get togethers.

Recently a number of members meet at the The Mercure London City Bankside Hotel on the south of the River Thames in Southwark.

Fine food, wine and conversations were had, and it was a joy to meet fellow members.

Southside Chamber of Commerce members through the looking glass
Southside Chamber of Commerce members through the looking glass