Donairs & Shawarmas 101

My front bottom tooth is aching in pain and thus cannot fall asleep. If I still can’t in an hour, I will resort to narcotics.

One of my favourite street food from my time in Ottawa has been Shawarma King on Bank street. It has unbelievable juicy grilled meat with the garlick-est sauce you will ever eat and repel any mosquitoes away. Your blood will reek garlic that your horrible bosses steer away from you at the office (yay), and the roasted potatoes that it’s paired with will be only thing you’ll be dreaming about from 2pm – 5pm.

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Then when I lived in the East Coast, it was Doner Kebabs that were all the rave. (see previous post on explanation of the food and pic), aka “Donairs”. Donairs essentially are the same and different. Same because it’s grilled meat to the North Americans. Different because it came from a different country and the sauce has many variations. It’s like asking people are fries and chips the same thing from UK to Canada? Deep, fried, potatoes in a slice format. Point made.

The method of cooking may taste subtly different to natives. For me, it’s when the meat is correctly grilled with the right amount of juiciness that fill in a pita bread (avoid messiness) and plenty of tabbouleh (for crunch) is what makes this satisfying lunch or a snack after the mall.

Here are some places that I look forward to trying out in the next few weeks:

Tabule

Kebab House

Doner Mania

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33 days left to go

It’s been 2 months since our last update:

– All accomodation has been booked: Airbnb, hotels, hostels, caves.

– Flight re-routed to avoid Albania now. I looked into how to avoid an 8 hour transit from Tirana into Montenegro but it wasn’t happening. So now the first half of the trip now is now: Dubrovnik, Mostar, Kotor, Tirana, Sarajevo, Belgrade, and Sofia (Bulgaria).

I had my wisdom teeth took out the weekend. It’s been a long numbing recovery.

Here’s a picture of what I am craving: Doner Kebabs. Meat is good. I might drag S with me to a Turkish resto next week for some pre-trip preparation.

Doner Kebab

Translating your Myers Briggs score into a travel type

Everyone has a Myers Briggs score. What’s yours?

The most popular way to use MB is by HR for the job recruiting process but whenever I talk to S, I find our MB score shows itself through everything you do, not just work. So it got me thinking, other than career paths, how else does it come across in travels?

My experience shows

ESFP/ESTP: people who can’t stand being alone must travel in packs. They are totally live in the moment type of people.

ESTJ/ISTJ/ISFJ: fun comes from when the trip happens on time and according to plan. Think of this as “structured fun”.

INTP (me): Getting lost with an ISTJ, and taking over navigation while they stress out. For once, I look more put together.

Other Intuitives, I have nothing for you for now. My guess is, intuitive people love travelling because it opens the world of possibilities. Intuitives travel to fully immerse themselves in the different and actively look for ways to change their perspectives.

Now, I get it. We travel to be a little more ourselves, without interruption.

The Mundane

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mundane (adj.)

  • Lacking interest or excitement; dull.
  • Of this earthly world rather than a heavenly or spiritual one

It was a few years ago that I started to recognize something was missing in my life.  It was always easy for me to do the right thing –keeping up with grades, getting a job, and giving it all at work.  Every day felt like a cycle on loop with no pause button.  I was never able to find the missing piece until I went to Japan to study for a semester. I never realized that getting a job, making money and growing old wasn’t the only option I had in life.

Now looking back I have come to call this endless loop “The Mundane”.  Although, commonly used as an adjective, it is actually best used as a noun.

When I traveled for the first time ever, it felt like a rush of emotions.  The intense sensation of being satisfied yet needing more.  I don’t have a name for this yet, but it would definitely be an antonym of mundane.

Traveling became my pause button in life.  A little short of an addiction, though many would argue otherwise, in the last 4 years I’ve somehow managed to visit 17 countries and countless cities. The count continues as R. and I brew up our Balkan adventure…

 

S.

Mother Teresa is Albanian

Google confirms it. Today is also her birthday. Happy birthday!

We’re arriving in Tirana, Albania, where there is no transport other than bus or taxi to leave the country. No trains, I repeat no trains leave the country. I wonder if we would have to bus & ferry like she did in 1928, to leave Albania.

The current best plan looks to catch the 12 hour 2 bus ride, 1 taxi to cross borders into Montenegro.

Still working on a better exit strategy.

R.

Reading our Eastern Europe budget beyond the numbers

Time for the glorified number crunching. Fork over the –moolah-, in CAD.

Type of expenses Cost per day # days Amount
Fixed Costs
Flight 2,332
Food 50 15 750
3,082
Variable Costs
Lodging 40 15 600
Intercity Transport 25 15 375
Attraction fund (including HABT & FX : ) 400
1,375
Total Estimates     4,457

And for the visual learners:

Trip costs chart

Assumptions:

– Reason to treat food as fixed cost: you can’t not eat.

– Reason to put lodging as variable cost: some of our flights require sleepover at the airport. Standard of hostels around the area may differ drastically for the same dollar.

– Intercity transportation is a total wildcard. This may change later to be a fixed cost.

This means:

– Just < 10% of our trip goes towards discretionary spending: attractions. I picked $400 out of the hat. Guessing that more ‘touristy’ stuff will happen in Turkey more than the first leg of the trip.

– If food & lodging turns out cheaper, attraction can edge towards 15%.

– Another way to look at it is if 90% of the costs are sunk costs, we are determined to make the 10% count every single minute.

– For the next 4 months, aim for avg monthly saving = $4,500 / 4 = $1,125 to make a full cost recovery on the trip prior to departure.

75% of the upfront costs should be pre-booking from now to Dec. Only 25% remaining: food & intercity transport will be spent during those days.

– Aside from direct costs to the trip, each of us probably will end up having to shell out $100 – $300 for supplies.

Numbers truly do speak for themselves.