PARIS READS - The Sharper Your Knife


This is very funny book about a middle aged woman who gets fired form her high powered position in London and then decides to start over in Paris, by training to be a Chef at the famous Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. The book describes her struggles through a new language and culture while living in Paris, and her difficulties learning to cook, while attending classes at the most famous cooking school in the world, The Cordon Bleu.

I loved the characters descriptions of her cooking classes at the Cordon Bleu and of the Paris markets, neighborhoods and shops. I also enjoyed, the lovely recipes included at the end of each chapter of the book.

if you wish to get the book, please visit the Amazon link enclosed.

Amazon.com: The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World's Most Famous Cooking School (9780143114130): Kathleen Flinn: Books


Do you have any travel books you would like to recommend? Please write to us with the titles of your suggestions at postcards@me.com and we will publish them. Thanks!

PARIS READS - My Life in France


Now a major motion picture, this is a wonderful read following on the foot steps of Julia Child as she arrives in France for the first time to live in Paris right after World War II , around 1947.

You'll experience Paris in the 50's with Julia, as she describes with infectious excitement, the meals, menus, cooking classes, food, markets and food vendors she discovers during her extended stay.

A great read before you go to Paris.

Amazon.com: My Life in France (Movie Tie-In Edition) (Random House Movie Tie-In Books) (9780307474858): Julia Child, Alex Prud'Homme: Books

Middle Eastern Reads - Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women


Nine Parts of Desire is one of my favorite books ever. It's about the lives of women in the Middle East and written by an extraordinary writer, Geraldine Brooks. This is a must read if you have any plans to visit any country in the Middle East or if you entertain any curiosity about the hidden lifestyles of women in these often misunderstood, far away parts of the world. Powerful and revealing.

Read it and let me know what you think. Also, here's the link to Amazon in case you want more information about the author and/or the book. Amazon.com: Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women (9780385475778): Geraldine Brooks: Books


BUENOS AIRES -Cachafaz Alfajores


Our Spanish language speaker Liliana, a native of Buenos Aires, swears by the Cachafaz Alfajores. What are alfajores? A Latin American (sweet) specialty made up of two round butter biscuits joined together by some "dulce de leche" (caramel) or jam and covered by powdered sugar or chocolate.

Rumor has it, according to Liliana, that after the family that owns La Havana Alfajores (the most famous brand of Alfajores in Buenos Aires) sold their company, they started Cachafaz as a higher end option.

Cachafaz Alfajores are pricier that the Havana brand, but they are worth it for special occasions or as a special gift. They sell in boxes of 12 for 60 Pesos ($15.00 dollars) and the "Conitos" - cones shaped sweets, covered in chocolate and filled with dulce de leche - sell in boxes of six for 30 Pesos (about $8.00 dollars). Yum!

These "gourmet alfajores" can be purchased from any Buenos Aires magazine, street kiosk and also at the Ezeiza Airport by gate 4. Liliana says, "don't buy alfajores during the summer months from a Kiosk", unless they are refrigerated. Why? well, because most Kiosks don't have AC and the chocolate goes bad ultra fast in the heat.

For more information on Cachafaz Alfajores, click on the enclosed link. Provecho!
Cachafaz Alfajores


DUBAI - Dune Bashing in Dubai


Claudia my friend in Dubai, hooked me up with a most professional tour agency in Dubai, Gulf Ventures to do a Dune Bashing tour in the deserts of Dubai. She researched the local tour companies and found that Gulf Ventures was the one with the safest record of operation of them all, so we booked our tour with them.

Gulf Adventures, we found,operates fairly new 4x4's for their desert tours, so our dune ride felt extra comfortable and safe. The original price for the tour was 295 Dirhams per person - $80 dollars of $60 Euros - but for a group of 12 like ours, we got the discounted price of 265 Dirhams a head.

Our tour included Dune Bashing (or dune riding with a 4x4), a visit to a camel farm, dune boarding, camel rides, shisha smoking, a belly dancing show and an outdoor BBQ dinner where soft drinks were included, and beer and wine were available for an additional price.

We were picked up at around 3 pm from our residence and were back home by 9 pm. In the desert, we headed towards Dubai Sharja. Once we arrived, we first rode the 4x4's defying every physic law drivinng up and down, sideways, backwards and sliding down the sides of the desert dunes. After our dune ride, we tried some dune boarding while we watched the sun set in the desert. Then, we were driven to a desert tent camp to ride camels, smoke shisha, eat under the open sky while enjoying a belly dance show.

This tour is worth every single Dirham !! I highly recommend it.

For more information on desert tours with Gulf Adventures, please click on the following link and enjoy the desert. Gulf Ventures

Photos and story by Silvano Presatto (Pilot for Etihad Airlines and a current resident of Dubai).

NEW YORK CITY - Katz's Delicatessen New York


Yes, I know, everyone has the name of some great delicatessen in New York City that one MUST visit while in Manhattan. But really, if Katz's Deli is not the best in town, it surely warrants a visit for a close second.

Katz's Deli has been around since 1888, serving memorable meals and monumental pastrami sandwich that can almost dislocate your jaw as you try to take that first huge bite out of your sandwich. They are that big! I promise!

The place is casual and it attracts a cross section of city customers. There are the famous, the local police (to eat), New York politicians, tourists, artist, actors, travelers on their way to or from the airport, locals, across-towners, etc. It's a destination, it's that good.

The New York Magazine claims it's the "grandest deli" in the city and Katz's customers claim they get the best hot dogs in the world at Katz's. So do yourself a favor next time you pass through Manhattan, take a cab down to the Lower East Side and stop by Katz's Deli. Try one of their memorable Pastrami Sandwiches or some other delicious deli platters and please, don't forget to tip the sandwich maker! It's a Katz's tradition.

Once you get your food and find a seat, take a look around, you may see Barbara Streisand or Bill Clinton eating a sandwich like yours in a table nearby.

For more information on this small heaven that feeds the masses, click on the following link and enjoy your meal. Katz's Delicatessen New York

Buenos Aires - Museo Quinquela Martin


Next time you visit the port area of La Boca and Caminito in Buenos Aires, make a quick detour just a half block away from the pedestrian mall and right along the water. There you will find the entrance to the home and painting studio of Argentina's premier painter Benito Quinquela Martin now the Museum Quinquela Martin.

"Quinquela", as he is normally referred to in Argentina, is one of the most famous painters of this country. He was born around the 1890's in the port area of la Boca and during his life, he acquired world fame with his large format paintings created with dramatic, thick brush strokes and luminescent back lighting. His favorite subjects? the local dock workers and the port.

Mr. Quinquela lived his whole life in the barrio of La Boca and his last home and studio, is now the lovely, small museum named after him, The Benito Quinquela Martin Museum.

The museum is a little tricky to find. It sits right next to a local school and it's entrance can easily be mistaken for the entrance of the school. Look for the number on the blue door ( see the enclosed photo of the entrance door). If you have any trouble, just ask anyone around. The locals will direct you to the right place.

Once inside the museum, you'll find that it has 3 floors, plus a rooftop and a series of open air exhibit areas in the rear of the house. These back open decks are nice areas to leisurely explore during a sunny day. On the main floor and the second floor, the museum hosts various art exhibits. But it's on the top floor where you will find the private world of Benito Quinquela Martin. There is his bedroom, laid out much like the bedroom that VincentVan Gogh painted in the 1800's. There is a studio with an easel and some paints, as if the painter had just stepped away for a few minutes from his work. There are also a series of stunning, large format Quinquela paintings that will take your breath away.

If you wish to visit this museum, take a taxi there and back and check the enclosed web-link for additional information on their hours of operation and their exact address. Museum of Decorative Arts of Quinquela Martin, Buenos Aires

Enjoy! and let us know if you like it when you go.

Museo Quinquela Martin
La Boca


DUBAI - Visit an Ancient Oasis


For a fantastic trip into Dubai's past, head to the lovely city of Al Ain, located on the border with Oman, about 100 miles away (or 1.5 hours drive) from Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Al Ain, which means "the spring" in Arabic is literally, a garden city in the desert and "where it all started" in this region. Fed by numerous, natural underground water springs, it also has archaeological sites that date back 3,000 years to the Bronze Age. In addition, Al Ain is the birth place of Shaikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the beloved first president of the United Arab Emirates.

As a day trip or a weekend destination, it's fantastic! It offers cooler weather than the coastal cities of Dubai or Abu Dhabi and it has fascinating historical attractions. Some of these attractions are the Al Ain Natural Museum, the Al Ain Palace Museum, several restored ancient mud forts from the 1890's and the amazing Al Ain Oasis in the city center.

I took a day trip to Al Ain City this past month with some friends. While there, I visited the Al Ain Oasis, which is an ancient forest of date palms located in the center of the city irrigated by underground, 1,000 year old filtering methods. This Oasis, is one of seven in the area, in a region that had been settled as far back as 3,000 years ago.

If you visit the Al Ain Oasis, you can get lost wandering through peaceful and shaded paths that cross the oasis. On the other side of the Oasis, you will encounter the ancient mud walls of a beautiful Palace (photos enclosed) - the Al Ain Palace. This palace, is a wall enclosed structure that sits at the edge of the Oasis. It was the former residence of Al Ain rulers and it is now a beautifully restored (free) museum. If you visit, plan to spend a leisurely one hour to see all the period, furnished rooms and the impeccably kept royal gardens.

After visiting the Oasis and the Palace, we stopped at the Al Ain Jahli Fort, just a short drive away from the Palace. This fort is one of several restored forts from the 1890's. A beautiful mud structure that looks more like a giant sand castle with thick walls and circular towers. Today, this fort houses an impressive photo and video collection on the history of the area.

When we visited, we were fortunate enough to catch a session of traditional singing by locals dressed in Omani styled robes and headgear that took place in the inner courtyard of the fort while the sun was setting. A real cultural and historical treat for our foreign eyes and ears.

If you decide to visit the city of Al Ain, google each site we mentioned for more information on this fascinating, historical area. Also, for additional information on the Al Ain Oasis, click on the following link - AAW. : Al Ain City - Oasis in the Desert.

FYI, to visit Al Ain City, you need to either rent a car to drive yourself there or hire a taxi for the day to take you to each site. The ride will take an easy 1.5 hours through through impeccable highways that cross the desert. On the way, you will surely see camels roaming the dunes in a typical desert landscape.


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