Making hibiscus mead

So some time ago, my neighbour told me about a mead-making course being offered by the Squareknot Cooperative. While he ended up not able to go (his mead is now approaching epic levels, I should add), I went, learned a few things, and started making my own.

At the course, I sampled a hibiscus mead with rosehips. It was one that convinced me that I should make my own mead. It was deliciously red, sweet without being coying, and exactly the thing I’d expected from a mead.

I finally got around to making it. And boy, did it ever turn out. I can’t help but share this so others can try, too.

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14 things I love about Costa Rica

Well, I’ve been in Costa for nearly two straight months now — this is the longest continuous time I’ve ever spent outside of Canada — and I think it’s high time to answer the two most often-asked questions that I get: What do I like about Costa Rica, and what do I hate?

I’ll answer the latter in a separate post, but like all reviews, there’s reason to start with the positive stuff. Of course, these are not in any order whatsoever — they’re just as they come to mind.

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Cost of living in Costa Rica

I’ve had a few people tell me about how great it is to be living in Costa Rica, and how much cheaper it is to live here. Some people know from a little bit of experience, but others are making the assumption — it’s not Calgary, it’s not Canada, so it must be cheaper.

Funny thing about foreign countries: if you live in the right places, if you know how to blend in, you’ll do well. But if you’re a gringo, you aren’t going to get the free ride that you want.

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Searching for the Tianjin Antique Market

Lonely Planet recommends going to Tianjin, especially to see the antique market there. It is said that a lot of the materials there were confiscated during the Cultural Revolution, and are now being sold to the dealers, who in turn sell it at the market. Theoretically, neat stuff, right?

This brought Amy and I to hop on the first Beijing – Tianjen express train this morning. A jaunty 90-minute trip on a fairly zippy (and comfy) train that deposited us at a rather chaotic train station. We walked from there roughly south-west (“roughly” because the street grid is slightly skewed, and got us turned around more than once) when we stumbled across a rather large and bustling pedestrian mall.

As Amy so aptly put it, this distracted us a while.

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Football and music

Turns out that our excursion to Tinkoff to discuss politics turned into a football lesson. (That’s “football” as in how the rest of the world defines “soccer” for us North Americans.) Kat and Nick are huge fans. So large, as a matter of fact, that Kat is delaying her departure to Khazakstan so she can catch the cup game her favourite team will be playing.

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