An Oily Fake – Granada, Spain Trip #14

March 5, 2013 at 11:00 am | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Tisu Boy has been forbidding me from writing about this cos he was terribly embarrassed about what happened. But a clip on the local news channel made him change his mind as he thinks he finally understood what happened….

Itchyfingers were in Granada, looking for food after a day’s visit at Alhambra. Not too sure what drew us to this place but we were getting tired from all the walking and food searching. There was only one table with customers as Spanish normally have their dinner late, but a couple of customers were at the bar counter. We went in, chose a table and sat down.

restaurant
It was only then we realised the restaurant cum bar belonged to a hotel as
we could see the hotel lobby from the connecting door…The guy here was 
the chef, and he was the one attending and serving us as well…I bet he was
the bartender too…hahah…Talk about multi-tasking…

appetitizer
Our drinks and appetizer came pretty fast…The bread was fine but I hate
eating olives…too sour…

Another table full of people came shortly. We had to wait a bit before our food was served…

salmon
I had some pan-fried salmon with potatoes…

fake
While Tisu Boy ordered some swordfish…We were surprised and impressed
with the generous serving even though the price of the dish was not very
cheap. Can’t remember how much but it was a little above our average
spending on food…

The food was not so bad though the swordfish was slightly oily. The staff, or rather the chef-cum-waiter-cum-cashier was quite friendly, and the place not too crowded and noisy. We paid and left feeling happy.

The next morning when we left our hotel and were about to continue our visit around, I suddenly spotted some stain on Tisu Boy’s pants…It was located strategically at the “butt crack”. It was then that Tisu Boy admitted that his tummy felt funny and he had let off some gas earlier…Oh my goodness…Could he have soiled his pants? He was so embarrassed and worried that people would see it so we had to turn back quickly to the hotel to change. Strangely the stain didn’t look anything like it was from loose watery stool but rather kinda oily and it was difficult to wash off with the soap from the hotel. He had a bit of stomach upset and also noticed some oily stuff in the toilet bowl, which totally grossed and freaked him out. Luckily it didn’t persist and everything went back to normal the next day. But he was obviously so embarrassed and traumatised that he swears never to touch swordfish again…And I was warned not to mention this to anyone unless I wanna be silenced….Hahah…just a bit of exaggeration… 😀

This episode would never have seen the daylight if he didn’t catch the Channel 8 chinese news the other night, and I would have continued teasing him about his oily fart…hahah…It was just a short report on how some restaurants in New York had been substituting a certain fish 玉梭鱼 for swordfish. Apparently this fish is much cheaper and looks similar to swordfish, so unscrupulous fishermen or restaurants owners used it in return for higher profits. It also mentioned that this fish will cause some food poisoning in some people, resulting in yellowish-orange drops of oil to be expelled. This really struck Tisu Boy as the symptoms were so similar to his…So could it be that the restaurant that we ate ripped us off and gave us this other cheaper fish?

A search on the internet on this 玉梭鱼 confirmed Tisu Boy’s suspicion. Called the EscolarLepidocybium flavobrunneum, it is a deep water fish found in the tropical and temperate waters around the world. Escolar is a species of fish in the family Gempylidae. It is also known as snake mackerel, and is sometimes fraudulently marketed as “butterfish” or “white tuna”. Escolar has firm, white flesh that is incredibly rich in flavour, often described as ‘succulent’, or a fattier version of swordfish. The reason for the rich flavor? It turns out that Escolar’s diet contains food high in wax esters, which are really difficult for Escolar to digest. As a result, these esters build up in the fish. When consumed, these wax esters cause gastrointestinal symptoms, often leading to explosive, oily, orange diarrhea! The term for this is keriorrhea. People have reported that the discharges are often difficult to control and accidents can happen while passing gas. Oh my goodness! The symptoms are totally spot on as in Tisu Boy’s case!!! So finally the mystery of his oily fart is solved! And the culprit was not swordfish but the fake Escolar fish!!!! No wonder we were served such a big portion of the more expensive “swordfish”! Consumed in a small amount should be okay, cos I think I did sample a little bit of the white fish, but he was served such a big portion and in order not to waste food, almost everything was cleared on the plate! 

It can be tricky cos Escolar is often sold under other names or mislabeled as other fish; and it can be found in sushi bar. So the next time you order “white tuna”, “super white tuna” or swordfish, make sure you are in a reputable restaurant! And if you happened to be in Granada, Spain, avoid this place, or if you have to, avoid ordering the swordfish dish!

hotel
An enlargement of the place mat on the earlier photo of the fake swordfish
dish…

aljaraz bar
Good thing we took pictures, otherwise we would have nothing to warn 
people of Tisu Boy’s ordeal!

More information of the oily faker Escolar can be found here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Escolar
http://blog.medellitin.com/2008/12/escolar-world-most-dangerous-fish.html?m=1
http://www.thekitchn.com/use-caution-when-eating-escola-66602

Also see related posts:
>Fantasy Park – Barcelona, Spain Trip #13
Moorish Love – Granada, Spain Trip #12
My Heart Will Go On – Figueres, Barcelona, Spain Trip #11
A Peek into the Surrealistic World of Dali – Figueres, Barcelona, Spain Trip #10
Chasing Art – Spain, Trip #9
Old City of Steel – Toledo, Madrid, Spain Trip #8
Aeroplane Building – Bilbao, Spain Trip #7
House of Bones – Barcelona, Spain Trip #6
The Quarry – Barcelona, Spain Trip #5
A Visit to the Market – Barcelona, Spain Trip #4
A Bird’s Eye View – Barcelona, Spain Trip #3 
Inside the Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #2 
The World’s Most Beautiful Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #1 

Fantasy Park – Barcelona, Spain Trip #13

January 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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The walk after Itchyfingers stepped out of the Metro was quite a long one. Luckily there were signs pointing to the general direction and with a destination that popular among visitors, actually all we had to do was to follow the rest. Had to walk up a slope to reach Park Güell, originally started out as a housing development project by Count Eusebi Guell, and designed by Antoni Gaudi. Eventually only two houses were built, and neither were designed by Gaudi.

park-guell
It was a very sunny morning although the temperature was still cool…This
was at the entrance

crowded2
There were already so many people!

Entrance to Park Güell is free but to visit Gaudi House Museum (Casa Museu Gaudí) within the park, you have to pay an entrance fee. There is a special rate for entry to both the museum and Sagrada Familia.

Gecko-Man
Just outside the entrance was this guy dressed in mosaic gecko suit offering
to be photographed with visitors for a fee

crowded
We could see the famous gecko or dragon creature but there were so many
people there, so we decided to check out the other side of the park first

path
These were “colonnaded footpath under the roadway viaduct, with external
columns sloping to take the diagonal thrust from the vault supporting the road”

park
Lovely sign done in mosaic

Guell
Park Güell

A large part of the original development were not done, and as we walked around these areas, we spotted some parrots that Itchyfingers did not recognise…

monk-parakeet
This is the Monk Parakeet, or the Quaker Parrot, (Myiopsitta monachus),
one of the several non-native species of parrot found in the Barcelona area.
Looked like it was perching on some olive plant…?

flowers
Cute flowers that we don’t recognise…

house
One of the houses at Park Guell – Casa Martí Trias i Domènech, occupied
by lawyer Martí Trias i Domènech

We soon reached the main terrace, one of the focal point of the park, which is surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent. One of the most photographed spots at Park Güell must be this unique bench! Depending on the angle you shoot, you could get this curvy body of the slithering snake very beautifully! But when we were there, almost the whole bench was seated with people and the lighting wasn’t very flattening cos of the harsh glare from the morning sun.

tisu2
Managed to snap some photos of Tisu Girl sitting on the curvy seat when 
we spotted some people giving up their space…

view
View from the serpent seat. These buildings at the entrance look like something 
from fairy tales…hahah

buidling
Very cute! 

sagadra
We could see Sagrada Familia from here too! It seems to be following
everywhere we went! Haha…

tiles4
Took some closeup of the mosaic tiles on the seats…

tiles2
Quite nice huh…Dunu how they decide which broken piece to use to fill
up the space…

tiles
This one may be simpler…smash the original design and then stick them
together? 😀 Can’t help but associate it with the monogram of a particular
branded bag…hahah

umbrella
At the main terrace, there was a bazaar. I thought the displaying of these
ear rings on an umbrella was quite interesting…

pillar
Moving on, we saw pillars shaped like maidens holding pots on their head…

pillars
Doric columns support the roof of the lower court which forms the central
terrace, with serpentine seating round its edge

ceiling
Walk in and look up, and you will find these beautiful tiles on the ceiling…

shadow
Shadow of some metal grill….

And then Itchyfingers finally saw the famous dragon/gecko statue! But it was still so crowded with people!

tisu
It was constantly surrounded by visitors wanting to take a photo with it. 
Had to wait some time to get a closer picture with it…

dragon gecko
Luckily we had a longer lens so managed to take a cleaner photo of it 
without any human being around….Hahah…he’s drooling… 😀

We thought there were many more such fantastical mosaic creatures around the park since there are so many replicas of this one and others in the souvenir shops…But we didn’t find
any others…Quite disappointed…

creature
We only found this other one. Not as nice as the dragon/gecko one though. 
Were those other mosaic figurines in the shops merely designs inspired by
the gecko?

tile3
But again, there were many of these pretty broken tiles!

roses
I wish I could have these in my house! Er, but would prefer them to be unbroken
though…hahah

grill
Interesting grill on the window of the shop. It was neat with lots of
merchandise but too small and crowded!

sky
I like this photo of the shop with the sun behind. Should have tried to take
it so that the sun was just above the cross to create a halo effect... :p

window
It
 has the words Park Güell on it…

top
The top. The mosaics were just so lovely!

Also see related posts:
> Moorish Love – Granada, Spain Trip #12
My Heart Will Go On – Figueres, Barcelona, Spain Trip #11
A Peek into the Surrealistic World of Dali – Figueres, Barcelona, Spain Trip #10
Chasing Art – Spain, Trip #9
Old City of Steel – Toledo, Madrid, Spain Trip #8
Aeroplane Building – Bilbao, Spain Trip #7
House of Bones – Barcelona, Spain Trip #6
The Quarry – Barcelona, Spain Trip #5
A Visit to the Market – Barcelona, Spain Trip #4
A Bird’s Eye View – Barcelona, Spain Trip #3 
Inside the Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #2 
The World’s Most Beautiful Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #1 

Moorish Love – Granada, Spain Trip #12

January 15, 2013 at 4:15 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Itchyfingers
spent a night at Granade, a mid-sized city located in Granada Province in the Andalucia region of Spain. There, we visited the Alhambra, named (in Arabic) after its reddish wall.

view
View of the city

There are a number of interesting places to visit within Alhambra. The Palacio de Generalife (or the Architect’s Garden in Arabic) was the summer palace and country estate of the Kings of Emirate of Granada.

arch
Shadows cast by the arch…

Orange-tree
We kept seeing so many of these orange trees on the streets of Spain, so it
was not really surprising to find them here…

stones
Motifs made from stone pebbles were everywhere too…

flowers
Are these Cherry Blossoms?

Palacio-de-Generalife.
I like the intricate carvings found on the building

Court-of-la-Acequla
The Patio de la Acequia (Court of the Water Channel or Water-Garden Courtyard)
has a long pool framed by flowerbeds, fountains, colonnades and pavilions,
and the Jardín de la Sultana (Sultana’s Garden or Courtyard of the Cypress)

plant
Life thriving on vertical wall…

A thing to note when visiting the Nasrid Palace is to adhere strictly to the allocated half-hour time for entry indicated on the ticket. This is because of the palace is very popular and a restriction of 300 people is imposed.

Patio-de-los-Arrayanes-Court-of-the-Myrtles
Court-of-the-Myrtles

doors
There were many of these walkways through doors and doors decorated with
intricate carvings…Somehow I felt colder as I walked around. Not sure if it
was due to a temperature drop or the material used for the building (stone or
marble??) made it cooler…

door
Nice

carvings3
So intricate right?

carvings4
Totally mesmerized by these carvings….

carvings5
More…

light
Interesting to see the effect of the light hitting on the carvings…

pillars
Light on the pillars

carvings
I think if I had large pieces of paper and pencils or crayons, I will start
transferring these patterns….

tisu
There were plenty of nice tiles patterns too! One of the must-get souvenirs
when you visit Alhambra are little replica of these colorful mosaic tiles

scripts
Closer look

pattern
Intertwining geometric pattern

tile
I see stars!

restoration
We saw some restoration work in progress

layout
Alcazaba, a Moorish walled-fortification in a city, mostly built in the 13th
century, but including some structures from the 9th century. Here we have
what looked like a leftover of the layout of the fortress troops’ quarters,
a dungeon, a cistern and baths. Access to the dungeon is unfortunately blocked.

I’m not much of a history buff so sometimes while wandering around the Alhambra, I did get a bit lost and confused, especially when the signage, if any, were mostly in Spanish. While I agree that knowledge of the historical background of a place is very important for a better understanding, that certainly does not stop one from appreciating the beauty of the place. Definitely worth a visit if you go to Spain!

Also see related posts:
> My Heart Will Go On – Figueres, Barcelona, Spain Trip #11
A Peek into the Surrealistic World of Dali – Figueres, Barcelona, Spain Trip #10
Chasing Art – Spain, Trip #9
Old City of Steel – Toledo, Madrid, Spain Trip #8
Aeroplane Building – Bilbao, Spain Trip #7
House of Bones – Barcelona, Spain Trip #6
The Quarry – Barcelona, Spain Trip #5
A Visit to the Market – Barcelona, Spain Trip #4
A Bird’s Eye View – Barcelona, Spain Trip #3 
Inside the Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #2 
The World’s Most Beautiful Construction Site – Barcelona, Spain Trip #1 

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