On not dying whilst on holiday.

A huge part of travelling for me involves eating weird and wonderful things in strange and exotic locations. At home my tummy is not the most well behaved creature, often giving me troubles, which is an ongoing project to work out have to tame it. So far I think I’ve knuckled down a few obscure things that anger the beast including MSG (such a cliché!).

On holiday the last thing you want to spend time on is feeling sick. Ironically the tummy beast of mine is often far more behaved on holiday, lucky me!


I take a few precautions when travelling so I don’t have to worry so much, especially when you are trying something new or eating from far more fun and exciting food stalls etc.

Sickness prevention kit.

Number one is a really good probiotic to cultivate all the good bacteria. Lactoflora from Neways is the best one that I have found, it’s good for travelling, very effective and easy to transport. We take one each morning before breakfast to set ourselves up for the day. If you are in need of a good probiotic its obviously a great choice for daily use at home too.

Second, Travelan. Many may say that I’m over cautious but I think its worth it for the piece of mind and the freedom it grants you. Travelan is designed to reduce the risk of infection by Enterotoxigenic E. coli (ETEC), the most common cause of Travellers’ Diarrhoea. Take it just before you eat each meal, and it guards you against getting Bali/Delhi Belly etc. You can get it at any chemist.

In addition you should always “boil it, cook it, peel it” and wash your hands before eating (I carry wet wipes and that no water hand sanitiser stuff), don’t drink the tap water and avoid things like salad (washed in tap water) or ice from paces where they don’t tell you if it’s made with mineral water.

Travel “first aid kit” – paracetamol, ibuprofen, bandaids, donnatab/immodium (or equivalent), kwells/travacalm (or equivalent), travelan, lactoflora, hand sanitiser, wet wipes.

So it really doesn’t take much effort and you end up coming out with a better tummy than when you left!


Wildly Inspiring Language: Mandarin

Its wonderful to speak languages other than English. If only just to connect with people you encounter in day to day life. Obviously it takes time and dedication to learn an new language properly, and very very worthwhile, however I think a few words here and there are fantastic to have up your sleeve.

Living in Australia, asian languages in particular are vitally important and will help you connect with people around you.

Speaking of which, the Australian Government have just released a White Paper entitled ‘Australia in the Asian Century’, you can find it here. It is a very strong paper which will guide Australia in the coming years to strengthen Australia’s deep and broad relationships across our region. Particularly impressive is the commitment to education. Its comforting because I strongly believe that Australia has a long history of being uncomfortable in our own skin (refusing to be considered “Asian” despite location and trade, steadfastly tending to our little patches of lawn and rose beds hoping like crazy that a little piece of England will survive the harsh summer). Have a read and let me what you think. If you like I’ll write a follow up post about the paper once I’ve had a thorough read.

Mandarin is a particularly useful one, especially if you love chinese retaurants. I can tell you from experience that you get much better service (and probably better food too!) if you can drop a few words of Chinese in whilst you order. People will love to go out for chinese with you!

Darn (egg) Tarts – Chinatown, Singapore. One of my very favourite chinese deserts.

Chinese is tricky because the pronunciation is different to English letters so hopefully this will help.

English – Mandarin (Pinyin) – Phonetically for English speakers

Hello – Ni hao – Nee how

Good bye – Zaijian – Zai zeen-en

Thank you – XieXie – Share Share (quite quick)

Yes – Dui – Dway

No – Bu dui – Boo dway

Excellent thank you! – Hao ijle xiexie – How jee-luh share share

Cheers! – Gan bei – Gan bay

I’m sorry – Dui buqi – Doo-ay boo chee

Tea Please!- cha qing- chah ch(as in cheap)ing (think, cha ching!)

Bill please – mai dan – my dan

Aiya! – ay yah! You can use this any time you are slightly suprised, instead of “oh no!”, something odd happens, a calamity ensues etc. they will LOVE it.