Event Review: Airliners International 2017, Denver, Colorado, USA

Disclaimer: In exchange for full expo registration, I am writing this review.

Celebrating its 41st annual 3-day expo, Airliners International 2017 took place in Denver, Colorado from 14-17 June at the Crowne Plaza Denver Airport Convention Center.  In addition to this airline collectibles event – the largest of its kind in the world – there were also parties, airport tours, and contests.  But there was no mention anywhere of D.B. Cooper.

Although I only had time to attend the show, which was separated into three banquet rooms at the hotel, as someone who used to amass airline playing cards, silverware, and amenity kits as a hobby, I was curious to see how much…weirder aviation anoraks’ collections could get.  As it turned out, the answer is “not much.”

Perhaps the most amusing part of the show hit me right at the beginning…airline safety cards.  It wasn’t just the sheer volume of them, or that there were ones from airlines and aircraft hailing from the world over, but I got a kick out of the illustrations, and language used on each card.

Playing cards. I only collected souvenirs if I had flown that particular route/airline, otherwise I had no interest.  That said, a pack of New York cards might’ve been a nice (re-)gift.

I admire the blunt nature of this man’s booth.  He wasn’t selling anything.  On top of that, he had a friend compile a list of every extant airline trading card pack; that’s the binder on the right.

Badges, lapel pins (in this case, from the bygone airTran), and pins for kids.

Is it a mirror image?  Is it chiral?  No matter what we think it is, I see lots of magnets.

Luggage tags.

Airline timetables, some from before airport security theater was introduced.

You got it, boss.

Model planes.  Didn’t see any Stratolaunch, though.

Maybe I was being too picky…I should have constructed my own, and entered it into the model plane contest.

Posters.  I guess “the new Sabena way” is now known as SN Brussels.

Uniqlo had less tacky airline shirts back in 2005, but there were a handful of modest ones that I should have inspected more closely.

Braniff was a Dallas, Texas-based airline that operated from 1928-1982.  The name was also adopted by two different airlines thereafter, but the original still captures the hearts of many.  What do I mean by that?  Today, there’s a Braniff Airways Foundation which tries to preserve the memories of Paul Revere Braniff’s 1920s brainchild.

Along with being able to celebrate the Concorde’s dubious history, there was a selection of other pamphlets, magazines, and books to peruse and misuse.

Fans, mostly from carriers flying to Japan/East Asia.  This was the most surprising booth at Airliners International 2017 Denver, and I’ll leave you with that.

Other one day shows take place throughout the world, generally in the US, Canada, and Europe, so don’t fret if you were unable to attend the Denver expo.

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Guest Post: New York City’s Greatest Sporting Events

There are limitless things to see and do on a visit to New York City. There are famous skyscrapers and museums, unrivaled dining experiences, gorgeous parks, iconic shows, and the list goes on. It’s truly one of the most overwhelming cities in the world in that you just can’t do it all in one trip.

Because of this, it’s best to separate travel guides into particular activities or areas of interest. In this particular post, we’re going to look at some of the city’s great sporting events. You don’t necessarily need to be a fan of any of the related sports to enjoy the ways in which these events bring out the culture and enthusiasm of the dynamic and passionate population of the city.

Postseason Baseball

Baseball is often referred to as “America’s pastime,” and though its popularity has waned in certain parts of the country, it’s still a major sport in New York City. In large part this is because of the Yankees, arguably sports’ most successful franchise. The Yankees play in the Bronx at a stadium so beautiful it doubles as a gigantic monument to the team’s brilliant history. And it’s not just about the Yankees. In fact, earlier this year polling found that there are more Mets fans than Yankees fans in the city for the first time in years. That’s made games in Queens at beautiful Citi Field every bit as buzzworthy as those at Yankee Stadium.

But it’s during the postseason that these venues are truly worth visiting. The Yankees carry the pride of a century of success, and it shows when the season boils down to its most important games. The Mets, meanwhile, are as good as they’ve been in quite some time, and the increased enthusiasm is palpable throughout the stadium. Ideally, a sports fan would visit both venues to get a true feel for one of the city’s favorite activities.

College Basketball At Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden might just be the most famous basketball stadium on the planet. Unfortunately, its team, the New York Knicks, has been underwhelming for the better part of the last 20 years. What’s great about a venue like this though, and really New York in general, is that it attracts attention from other teams and sports as well. In this case, MSG can become very interesting when some of the better college teams visit—as they often tend to do.

This past college basketball season proved the point rather well. Heading into the national tournament at the end of the season, Villanova and Duke were named among the favorites to compete for the title. Along the way, they were expected to meet in games scheduled at Madison Square Garden. However, both teams were upset early, which meant that weaker teams had to play at MSG. In front of passionate fans in the historic venue these teams still delivered some outstanding games, seeming to prove the theory that it’s every player’s dream to play well in this particular building.

U.S. Open Tennis

Nothing beats the excitement and good cheer of the U.S. Open, particularly for a lot of international visitors to New York City. This is the last “Grand Slam” tournament of the tennis season, and always attracts the very best men’s and women’s players from all over the world. But it’s really the venue that makes it particularly special.

Though it’s currently undergoing renovations, the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens is about the happiest, most pleasant sports facility you can find. Fans flock to the Open every year and walk among the different courts enjoying a vast array of drinks and concessions and stopping by the different matches. The crowds tend to be friendly, and there’s a pervasive sense that everyone feels fortunate to be there. Plus, the tennis is usually pretty incredible.

There are many more sporting events worth noting in New York. But if you’re interested in seeing the city’s passionate side, these are some to mark on your calendar as you consider a visit.

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Fallen Star “House” at the University of California, San Diego (USA)

In honor of tomorrow’s trip to California, today’s post is about the Fallen StarHouse” at the University of California, San Diego (USA):

Since 1981, the Stuart Collection of UCSD has amassed and placed on display throughout the campus various works of public art.  Feel free to take a walking tour of the main school grounds to err, catch them all.

In 2012, Fallen House became the eighteenth addition to the Stuart Collection, when it was donated by the Korean artist Do Ho Suh (서도호).  It was created out of Suh’s feeling of cultural displacement after uprooting to the US in 1991, and pays deference to one’s ability to recall memory of a certain space/location.

One can visit Fallen House on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:30 until 14:00, though you’ll have find it first.  Heh, just kidding, it’s located atop Jacobs Hall of the Jacobs School of Engineering.  Although I didn’t get to inspect this monument to domestic architecture, let me know if you have been able to!

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Product Review: Kalahari Biltong

Disclaimer: In exchange for sample packets, I am writing this food review.

To best describe Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Kalahari Biltong, I’m going to borrow a line straight outta there website

Imagine the tenderness and texture of prosciutto, the lean protein of jerky, and the beef flavor of steak tartare.

Founded by three athletes inspired by a trip to South Africa – the home of clay, bunny chow, and biltong – Kalahari Biltong is the ideal snack for those who crave jerky but don’t want the Willy Wonka-esque chemicals, additives, and uncomfortable feeling after chomping down on a couple it.  Except, it’s lighter than jerky, and much less chewy.

They offer a concise online guide as to how their biltong is made, but what sticks out the most is their sugar/gluten/soy-free and paleo-friendly ingredients list– beef, vinegar, salt, black pepper, chili powder, and coriander.  That said, I do wonder what chili powder means, since they have two flavors to try, Original and Peri Peri; peri peri refers to the bird’s eye chili native to Sub-Saharan Africa.

Doesn’t this all sound too good to be true…a tasty snack of vacuum-packed air dried beef?  To me, both flavors were not too salty, light, and lacked nasty sinewy/chewy pieces.  It was easy to understand how jerky and prosciutto fit into the description.

There may not have been too much meat in each packet, but I’d definitely try Kalahari Biltong again, particularly if they were to introduce a legit spicy version.

Posted in Food & Drink, North America (non-NYC), Reviews, Sub-Saharan Africa | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guest Post: A Brief Guide to Japanese Sushi

Let’s learn about sushi today!

Although present-day sushi most likely traces its origins to Southeast Asia or China, we’ll go over various types hailing from its most popular abode, Japan.

But I had no idea there were that may kinds of sushi…

Maki-zushi (巻き寿司)

Maki (巻き・まき) means “roll;” in this case, it consists consists of raw fish and other additional components.  Seaweed and rice are then wrapped around the ingredients, and the makizuhi is often eaten by hand. They are available in various sizes– the thick roll is known as futo-maki and the thin roll, hoso-maki.

Nigiri-zushi (握り寿司)

Nigiri-zushi, or Edomae zushi (named for 江戸・えど・Edo, the previous name for Tokyo) is one of the most common types. All that it entails is generally one topping on top of an oblong mound of rice.

Temaki-zushi (手巻き寿司)

It is similar to maki-zushi, except that it is in the shape of a cone.

Gunkan-maki (軍艦巻き)

Battleship (gunkan) sushi!  What?!

Yes, it’s similar to nigiri-zushi; however, the only difference is that it is wrapped in seaweed. For the gunkan-maki, salmon roe or sea urchin are a couple of the
typical options.

Oshi-zushi (押し寿司)

Also called pressed sushi, oshizushi is better known in Western Japan, particularly near Osaka. Expect to find more cured fish in this style of sushi, as well as molded layers of seaweed and shiso.

Chirashi-zushi (散らし寿司)

This one, on the other hand, is well-known as scattered sushi, which refers to the many pieces of various kinds of fish strewn about a square or round patch of rice. Unusual to the sushi family tree, you may also see fish cakes, vegetables, and even Pokémon when you order chirashi sushi.

Inari-zushi (稲荷・いなり寿司)

The outside is sweetened fried tofu, and the inside?  Tightly packed vinegary rice, and sometimes other treats.

Nare-zushi (熟れ鮨)

Narezushi is also known as fermented sushi since all the components are fermented. This is the precursor to contemporary sushi, whereas brine/lactic fermentation was used instead of vinegar.

How You Might Want to Enjoy Sushi

Soy sauce

If you’re not accustomed to eating sushi, you may find that soy sauce is a necessity.  Simply pour some soy sauce into the tiny round dish many sushiya (sushi restaurants) supply, and enjoy.  BuildingMyBento suggests that, if you’ve ordered/made nigiri, take the neta (ネタ), or the ingredient atop the rice, and dip that first.  That way, the rice won’t crumble before your eyes.


Also known as Japanese horseradish, it is used mostly for nigiri-zushi, sashimi and raw fish dishes. It is a green paste meant for enhancing the deliciousness of sushi; also, its microbial properties may help reduce the risk of food poisoning.


Sweetened pickled ginger. It has some antibacterial properties like wasabi, and is great for cleansing one’s palate.

After you have known of the foods which you can choose from, you can make a wise decision or know of the ones which you can keep off if you do not like them. Conducting research is always an added advantage since you do get to learn something new in the process; furthermore, you are no stranger to what is available, thus knowing your way around sushiya will work to your advantage…and maybe even impress your friends.

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Japanese Sewer Covers: The Trading Card Edition. Seriously.

Oh, Japan, you weird, endlessly fascinating archipelago.  In one moment, you’re on top of the world, donating memorable antagonists to such movies as Gung Ho, and snapping up coal mines in such regions as Manchuria.  万歳 (ばんざい・🙌), banzai!

Next, however, you’re introducing to angsty hobbyists sewer cover trading cards.

Manhole Cover/Card in Kodaira, Tokyo, Japan


In April 2016, the 下水報道プラットホーム, or Sewer PR Platform, decided to capitalize on Japan’s increasingly popular マンホールの蓋/ふた, or manhole cover designs, and introduced the first set of limited edition trading cards.  Although April Fool’s Day is not Japanese holiday – nor is it a holiday in any country, for that matter – the first edition was issued on April 1st.  There’s got to be a joke somewhere in there.

Manhole Card Sign at Fukui City Hall

Roughly every quarter since then, a new batch has been introduced, showcasing manhole cover art from each of Japan’s 47 prefectures. To get them, it might be as simple as going to a visitor information center next to a train station, or more awkwardly by paying a visit to a city/town hall or sewage treatment information center.  Whatever it is, the cards are free, and you’re limited to one per visit.  As far as I know, English versions of the cards also exist.

I can’t attest to whether these trading cards have taken the country by storm, but I can sheepishly mention that one who has turned their collection into a hobby is called a manholer.  Well, if this idea ever spreads east across the Pacific, I can assure you that the first city to be dazzled by the cards rhymes with Dan Cransisco.

Having first noticed these sewer covers a number of years back, I just wish that these were printed way back then, if for no other reason than to learn the background story to the designs.  The front of a card shows a colorized manhole cover and city coordinates (and some type of manhole card collection legend in the lower right), and the back, a description of the art, as well as when the design was first executed:

Fukui City Manhole Card, Front Side

Fukui City Manhole Card, Reverse Side

After checking the invaluable Sewer PR Platform website, I decided to check out one of these sewer cards with my own eyes, this time in Fukui, the prefectural capital of Fukui…prefecture.

Although it’s best known for dinosaur fossils, according to the above, with Fukui suffering from the calamities of earthquakes and air raids, the city government adopted the 不死鳥 (ふしちょう・fushichou), or phoenix, as its symbol, and as the design on its manhole covers.  Though plenty of other Japanese cities could join Fukui in choosing the phoenix for the same reasons, the backgrounder goes on to note that the phoenix was selected in 1989, to celebrate the centennial of the establishment of Fukui as a city.  Huzzah!

If you’re a Japanophile and keen to learn more about its history and pop culture, you’ll probably want to grab a couple of these manhole cards…or, you could do simply as a secondary source of vending machine income.

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Guest Post: Top 5 Mouth-Watering Food Joints In Lucknow That Are A Must Visit

Indian food has always been a great delight and experience for every individual who has ever tasted it. Indian food has made its mark in world’s best cuisines. The rush of spices and flavors that Indian food lands on one’s taste-buds is something words are unable to explain. Our country has a wide range of food variety for every foodie out there. From Punjab’s sarso da saag to the south Indian Idli every plate that is served has a wonderful amalgam of vivid tastes and enriching aroma. Amidst these wonderful tastes there is this wonder city Lucknow that has its wonderful food that would move the least of foodies. Without this city’s valuable contribution to the Indian plate this plate would have never been as ravishing as it presently is. Here is a list of a few places in Lucknow that bring the true taste of this north Indian metropolis to your place.

  1. Tunday Kababi

Tunday’sGelawati Kababs, Photo by Mohitextreme, CC BY-SA 4.0

Going to Lucknow and missing out on this place is just as sinful as missing out the Taj Mahal in Agra. This wonderful food joint in the Aminabad area is 100 years old and is the best place to get the Lucknowi food experience. The Kebab Paratha they serve is one of the best things that you will get to taste in this city. Another wonder of this place is the Galawat Kebab that was served Wajid Ali Shah (the nawab of Lucknow) by his royal cook. They not only cook these kebabs with their legacy but with about 150 spices – YES 150! So, make sure to visit this wonderful place that will only make you love this city even more.

  1. Prakash Ki Kulfi

Strawberry Kulfi, Photo by KalaiselviMurugesan, CC BY-SA 4.0

Kulfi is something that has always made people of Lucknow proud of their city. All this old and famous place has done is to add to the pride. Once you have a kulfi here, no other place is as better. This is the best place to go for drinks and desserts and pamper your taste-buds with the smooth and mouth-watering kulfi they have to offer, with the special topping of kesarfalooda. With a number of great kulfi flavors that you can choose from, this place is sure to be the your favorite place for delicious, frozen dessert.

  1. Idris Biryani

Photo by Pranaykuma12, CC BY-SA 4.0

Biryani is that one dish that a foodie can never have enough of. This little food joint near the Chowk in Lucknow gets you one of the best biryanis that you’ll ever taste. A small place that serves you with sheer elegance on plates. Though it seems to be a small roadside Dhaba but, as they say not to judge a book by its cover, this place will bring you flavors that you’ll never forget. The mutton Biryani that this places serves is something you should not miss out on if you are visiting Lucknow.

  1. Dastarkhwan

Photo byIbrahimjon, CC BY-SA 3.0

There are a lot of food joints named Dastarkhwan in Lucknow but this one Dastarkhwan in Hasratganj is the one place that you should surely visit. It is a great place to hang out with friends and family and serves the best Mughlai food in this city. It has a never-ending list of chicken and mutton food items on its menu. The taste that this place serves you has its roots to the olden times. This place not only serves you with the great food items on its list but also brings to you the wonderful taste of the culture and heritage of India. If you are planning to visit Lucknow, you must read this article.

  1. Radhey Lal Parampara

Jalebi, Photo by Lion.harvinder, CC BY-SA 4.0

This delightful place is in the Gole Darwaza area and has been serving happiness on plates in Lucknow. The Mawa Jalebi they serve is something unique that makes them so famous after all. They have a great range of wonderful items that are sure to make your mouth water once you see the menu. They serve great snacks and desserts that everyone in Lucknow is obsessed with. Make sure to check out the flavor wonders that they have to offer the next time you are in this wonderful city.

Lucknow, one of the foremost foodie cities in India, also happens to be one of the places where you can have the culture of India served on a plate. The food joints in Lucknow are sure to make you fall in love with its cuisine all over again every time you see it. Without visiting Lucknow, you can never claim to have taken a complete tour of the Indian cuisine.

Author’s Bio:

Rohit is a traveler and foodie working with http://www.transindiatravels.com/and has made sure to get you the best tastes from Lucknow.

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