July 17th, 2010


And it's another meme

- Leave a comment saying "ORANGES" (or any other fruit of your choice)
- I'll respond by asking you five question.
- Update your journal with the answers to your questions.
- Include this explanation and offer to ask other people questions, if you so choose.

I left a comment indicating the fruit of my choice at paradisacorbasi's journal and got the following questions:

1. Oooh - a fruit I've never heard of! Would you inform your blogging audience about Tamarillos?

... I didn't realise they were particularly obscure until I looked up their Wikipedia article and found out that the name is actually fake Spanish and was made up by the local Tree Tomato Promotions Council back in the `sixties (about the same time that "Chinese gooseberry" got changed to "kiwifruit"). Interestingly enough the article states that they're still called "tree tomatoes" in most of the world - but the "Tree tomato" page in Wikipedia is just a redirect to "Tamarillo".
They're probably a bit of an acquired taste... the flavour is vaguely reminiscent of a tomato, but richer and not as acidic. Some people seem to think them unpleasantly bitter... I don't, but it might be one of these things some people notice and others don't.
The typical fruit is rugby-ball shaped and about two inches long by one inch wide. The skin is fairly much inedible, and there's a technique to skinning them... the easiest way I know is to leave them for a minute in a cup of hot water (a smallish coffee cup and water that's just been boiled in the electric jug are ideal). After they've been skinned I just quarter them lengthwise, sprinkle them with raw sugar or coffee sugar, and eat them as they cool.
They're not cheap and probably not worth hunting down unless you're seriously after new tastes to try, but if you get given one it couldn't hurt to try it.

2. If you were travel consulting, what parts of New Zealand would you suggest as "must see" and what parts would you suggest as "probably better avoid"?

"Must see" really depends on the person. If you're interested in big cosmopolitan cities and markets, try South Auckland. If you're interested in Art Deco, try Napier. If you're interested in wild, unspoilt places, try Fiordland. If I was a travel consultant, I'd ask what people were interested in, what they'd like to see, and use that as a basis for suggestions (and probably loan them a "Lonely Planet" book or something to read and come up with some of their own suggestions as well).
There aren't any serious "no go" places in this country as far as I know... the main thing is, if you're driving a rental car, make sure you know that where you're going is covered by your insurance. (By far the biggest hazard to tourists in this country is road travel.) Locally, Queenstown is a cramped, congested, heavily overpriced tourist trap which I'd personally avoid except to drive through; the road from Queenstown to Skippers and the Crown Range road between Queenstown and Cardrona are insurance-voidingly bad; there are a few areas where public are prohibited because they're the last habitat of critically endangered species (birds, normally); and public toilets are generally fairly grotty except in major tourist centres. There are stories that some places are a bit less hospitable than others, but a tourist who's polite and keeps off private property unless invited - and who doesn't get all "well you should have been clearer!" if they make a faux pas - shouldn't have any problems.

3. On the presumption that money is no object, which places would you visit, and what would you do there?

I'd spend a couple of years travelling around the world visiting people. There's places I'd like to see as well (Scotland, The Grand Canyon, Samoa, and anywhere with a decent second hand book/CD/stamp/etc. shop) but... I can see places on pictures. I can buy things off the internet. I want to actually get the chance to meet off-line a lot of people who I only know on-line. Perhaps take in a few cons (although I don't do so well in huge crowds like you apparently get at American cons) and spend the intervening time travelling around.

4. Do you remember your dreams?

I do, but they are seldom even slightly interesting. Often they're about work. If I had even the slightest artistic talent I could draw a couple of public cemeteries that only ever existed in my head for a few minutes each in two different nights - these were ten to twelve years ago, and I still remember them vividly! The only even slightly interesting one I've had in the last few years was very short, mildly surreal and involved a wolf standing on the pathway out past the front lawn.

5. What is your favourite type of weather, and why?

Warm and dry, mainly because I'm an occasional motorcyclist with a major aversion to freezing myself to the skin. Unfortunately here we tend to get about ten warm dry days per annum: in winter it frosts more often than not and during spring and early summer it rains almost constantly. I understand from other people that it's possible for weather to be too hot, but I've never experienced such a situation for myself.