Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sushi a Global Food?

In Los Angeles it’s easier to find sushi than a hamburger or the California staple, tacos.  It isn’t a surprise to find sushi in New York, London, Paris, Moscow, or Milan.  But sushi in Syria?  Not expected. Yet the April 20, 2010 edition of the Economist ( tells us that this delicacy is now readily available at least in Damascus.   The author of the article “Can exotic food lead to liberty?” sees the arrival  and popularity of sushi as an indication of Syria opening to outside influences.  That its appearance is a result of economic liberalization and the return of expats looking for familiar food.  The article is a thoughtful and intriguing reflection on implications of a changing restaurant scene.

Wonder where else you can find sushi?  Places that may surprise you?  Check The Sushi World Guide (  They host a list of 4,000 sushi restaurants around the world.  If you’re going to Ecuador, South Africa, or Kuwait this site tells you where find a place to satisfy a wish for some sushi.

Curious about the economics of your spicy tuna roll?  You may enjoy "The Sushi Economy" by Sasha Issenberg for a fascinating look at the business behind the food.

Sushi once a novelty is now joins the family of  global foods - another familiar food to enjoy as we explore the world for business or pleasure.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

How Do You Say Please?

I’m in awe of people like our waitress in Florence.  She explained, in excellent English, that she was from Germany, in Italy to perfect her language skills while studying at the University.  She’d be there a few more months and then was going to Argentina to improve her Spanish.  Before much time passes she’ll be fluent in four languages.   Impressive.

Languages aren’t easy for me.  My French is good, and I know a bit of Italian  - the most basic tourist level.  (English is my mother tongue.)  Believing that when you travel it's essential to be able to be polite, I’ve learned (and forgotten) how to say please, thank you, hello and good-bye in four other languages. 

While it’s unlikely that I’ll reach my goal of speaking Mandarin or even much more Italian, I will continue to struggle to capture the basics to be able to communicate wherever I go.   It seems to brighten the experience.  People respond kindly.  Taxi drivers are friendly.  Shopkeepers helpful.  Greetings that open meetings are often a little more relaxed.  There's an excellent return on time invested. 

Fortunately it’s easier than ever to achieve that goal.  Not only are there classes to take but Amazon ( will provide books, software or MP3 files to guide your learning.  Easier still is to download an app to an I-phone or Blackberry.  It's possible to expand your vocabulary by signing up with Transparent Language (  and receive a new word every day.  Choose from Arabic or Irish, Japanese or Portuguese or the one of the other eleven languages available.  You'll then receive a new word, with definition, use in a sentence and correct pronunciation in your mailbox.  It’s like getting a gift every day.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A wallet full of euros, pesos, hong kong dollars?

Getting ready to return home from  anywhere outside your home country may find your wallet full of the local currency. Often you don’t know when you’ll be back to use it.   What to do?  Hold on to it and hope to use it on the next trip?  Exchange it for your own currency at the airport and end up taking a loss?

Chris Young the Chief of Protocol of the State of Georgia and President of Protocol & Diplomacy International – the Protocol Officers Association ( who travels hundreds of thousands of miles each year suggested a solution in his weekly e-mail to PDI-POA members.  His recommendation was use the cash to pay part of your hotel bill, reducing what goes on the credit card.  Practical.  Easy. 

Another idea is to pay cash the day before departure  for items that you might otherwise pay with a credit card.  For example, I often pay for meals that last day with currency. 

Whatever your approach be sure to keep enough to cover transportation to the airport, some snacks, a magazine, maybe those last minute gifts, plus an allowance for an emergency.  Flight delayed?  Need another meal, a tip to someone who helped you? 

With a little planning you can return with only a few euros, peso, hong kong dollars that you can put aside for the next trip – maybe just enough for a cab ride to your hotel when you return.