Sunday, April 26, 2015

Culinary tour to Atlanta, Georgia

One of the reasons we've been tied up in Chattanooga for so long (since 2007!) is because of its vicinity to Atlanta. In many ways, Atlanta is very similar to Philadelphia, with all the usual trappings of a cosmopolitan city - a university (Georgia Tech) in town, homeless people in the parks, traffic jams, and all the malls and specialty shops to spend your money. Not that we care so much about the city, but we love the abundance of Asian restaurants and supermarkets, where we feast and  provision for Asian groceries.

Our first experience with a Korean grocer was in the suburbs of Philadelphia back in the 80s. It has the cheapest and freshest vegetables! Soon these mom and pop stores proliferated all over Philadelphia and south Jersey. Fast forward 30 years. Today, you can find mega supermarkets, like the HMart supermarkets all over the U.S. and Canada. The Koreans must be doing something right. Their culture is taking the world by storm, from food to music and TV shows.
HMart Supermarket - Asian eggplants
We had taken colleagues and friends to Chinatown to sample more authentic Chinese fare when we lived in Philadelphia and Boston. Some even got a taste of Chinese New Year celebrations, and to this day, they still talk about their experiences. We are very impressed with the Korean food (more choices of restaurants and much cheaper than the northeast and the west coast) and markets in Atlanta and have given culinary tours to many friends and clients.
enjoying a Korean BBQ buffet at Cho Won
Showing off their chopstick skills at lunch in Book Chang Dong
Shopping at HMart
Tofu, anyone?
Dee knows her Asian pears, having taught English in China
Ji introduces the Fuyu persimmon
Looking through the items at Cho Won
Interested in a culinary tour to Atlanta? Our friend Ji and the first mate offer cooking classes as well as trips to Atlanta to provision for Asian food. Get the details at their blog or email us.

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Now You See It, Now You Don't

Fog. It's simultaneously pretty, gloomy, mysterious and even eerie. And for the last two days, it's been moving in and out all day here at Lake Nickajack (Hales Bar Marina)! This morning, we awoke to the sun filtering through a thin layer of fog. By eleven, it was all clear, and the temperature got up to 73 degrees for the day. I guess spring is finally here!

Now you see it (Fog at Hales Bar Marina)
Now you don't
In boating, fog is your foe. When it rolls in, usually without warning, it stops you in your tracks, messing up your schedule BIG time. Even worse, you could be navigating in a narrow channel congested with barge traffic. Or in a shipping lane with container ships and submarines.

Our scenery as we crept out of Bashi Creek anchorage off the Tenn-Tom Waterway
We were caught in the fog several times, three of which were quite memorable. The first time was intentional; the captain wanted to learn to navigate in the fog. We had taken our friends out on our old Mai Thai. No sooner had we left Marina Bay did we find ourselves enveloped in a pea soup fog! We idled the engine and tried to listen for the sound buoy, and every so often sounded our horn. We had been boating for a few months and had taken some classes, so we knew a thing or two about boating safety. After what seemed like forever, the fog lifted, and we could see our surroundings. 
This was the weather when we were heading for Newport, Rhode Island
Our second encounter with fog was when a flotilla of us weekend boaters headed to Newport, Rhode Island for the July 4 celebration. This time, we had a radar and a schedule (reservations at Newport Harbor Marina). When we left, we could only see the silhouette of the buddy boat ahead of us. It's a blur now, so no details of the Cape Cod Canal crossing (maybe friends reading this might be able to recall the event). But I remember stopping and staying the night at Kingman Yacht Center due to the high winds. The next morning, we pressed on to Newport only to find the July 4 fireworks cancelled. The good news is the party goes on in the yachting capital no matter what the weather. Newport Harbor Marina is right in downtown, so we could walk everywhere, including the famous Cliff Walk, where glorious mansions (summer "cottages" built by the rich and famous during the gilded age) and breathtaking ocean views awaited.  
Fog at Hampton Roads, north of Norfolk, Va
Our third encounter with fog was when we were cruising south, from the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk, Virginia. We had left our anchorage an hour before the fog rolled in, so we had no choice but to soldier on. This time, we were equipped with an autopilot, but no radar. Below is our trip's log:

Cruising the Chesapeake Bay: Solomons Island to Norfolk (2001)
Nov 1 Another beautiful day for cruising except that the fog rolled in about 8:30. We got our portable fog horn ready, listened intensely to the radio all the while inching along painfully at 6 knots. This went on for 4 long arduous hours, landing us at Thimble Shoals/Hampton Roads around noon.  We knew how busy this harbor gets with container ships, war ships, submarines, ferries, etc. Visibility was barely 50 yards away, so we were going to wait for the fog to lift before continuing. Miraculously, the sun burned through and the fog cleared as we approached the entrance to the harbor!  Gradually, boats and markers unveiled before our eyes. What a lovely sight! Then activities started to pick up. 

What are your experiences with fog?

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