Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Monday, February 1, 2010

Our Hoosier Home Visit

For all our readers who have complained about our lack of recent posts (most of whom are related to us), we apologize. I'd like to say that we were off fighting rebels in Sudan or that Tara had to go accept her Nobel Prize in Literature, but the truth is that we have spent the last couple weeks negotiating with Somali pirates to join their ranks when we are in Somalia. And visiting friends, family, and a donut FACTORY in the American Southwest. More on all that later. Now, we take you all the way back in time to December, 2009. We bring you the sights and foods of Indiana.

Before we get to Indiana, it is necessary to tell how we got there. From Belize, we flew to Dallas. Here, we planned to spend the night in the airport before flying to Indiana the next morning. (The next morning, by the way, was Tara's birthday. Feel free to send me your jeers now for letting my wife sleep in an airport on her birthday.) We really wanted to try a BBQ place at the Dallas airport that closed at 9pm and our flight arrived just after 7pm, so we thought we would have time. We painlessly got through customs, but then had a problem: the restaurant was inside security and we were outside.

We went to security and showed them our boarding passes for the following morning. The guard, in a Gandalf voice, said, "You shall not pass." He informed us that he could only let us through if our flight was that night. While discussing what to do, Tara realized that an Indiana-bound flight had been delayed, so we made the decision to try to switch to that flight so that they would let us through security and we could try the BBQ place.

So, we run to the counter and stand in line behind about 10 people whose flight was canceled and who all seem to need to desperately get to Paris. We finally get to the front around 8:35pm, and they happily give us seats on the Indiana flight that now is scheduled to leave around 11pm. Great! But they tell us there is no way the bag we had to check (because it had liquid presents in it) will make that flight and won't arrive until the following morning. Not so great. But BBQ is more important than luggage, so we run to security and wave our new tickets in the security guy's face. We had left our guns at home, so we got through quickly and ran to the BBQ place.

We arrived there at 8:47pm. Closed.

The people cleaning said, "Maybe next time." I replied, "There won't be a next time." As it turned out, we return there a couple blog posts from now. We were forced to settle for some fries at Popeye's. Though we discovered on our travels that Americans do not have a monopoly on deep-fried goods, we did miss seasoned fries.
So, we decided to stay on the Indiana flight. It arrived at Indianapolis at around 3am. I didn't trust the luggage people that our luggage wouldn't arrive, and so Tara started making our bed while I waited for 20 minutes on the luggage. That was smart since our luggage turned out to be on the flight. Indianapolis has a lovely new airport where we had never been. In this airport, they have benches in the luggage return area that push together and form a full-sized bed. Here is Tara in our "bed", which was better than some hotels in South America, though no one ever came into our hotel rooms to collect their luggage.
My brother and sister-in-law collected us the next morning from our sleeping quarters, and I announced that we were going to Steak'n'Shake for Tara's birthday lunch. Yep, strike two against me. I made her sleep in the airport on her birthday and then decided where we were going for lunch. However, going to Steak'n'Shake on the way home from the airport is somewhat of a family tradition, and my family's traditions are not to be ignored. For those who have never been to Steak'n'Shake, you should fly to the nearest city that has one. They have very tasty milkshakes and great burgers for very cheap (by American standards). Here is my triple burger and Tara's shake (mine was already gone), along with her biscuits and gravy.
To try to redeem myself for making Tara sleep in an airport, I asked my brother to buy a pinata and fill it with Reese's products for Tara's birthday. This is because: a.) every time we saw a pinata in Central America, Tara would tell me this story about how great it was when she once had a pinata as a child; and b.) Reese's products top the list of things most missed while away (we found peanut butter cups in only one place for a ridiculous $4 for two). My brother had the genius to find a Dora the Explorer pinata. Here is Tara ready to swing.
Here is Tara after the swing. Dora appears to be laughing at Tara.
Dora was finally disembodied after some swinging by the whole family. Fortunately, my brother thought of this possibility and cut a separate hole in Dora's head so that he could fill it with candy, too...
Despite finding a Dairy Queen in Panama, it is always nice to be back at the home DQ. Here is Tara at the year-round DQ in Terre Haute with my mom in the background. Mom won't be happy about being pictured here. Hi, Mom! [Note: As expected, my mother threatened me physical harm if I didn't take her out. Instead, I replaced her with someone who didn't mind being in the picture.]
Tara was incredibly excited about having salad again, which isn't common south of the US. I wish I had something funny to say about this salad, but Tara's excitement about it is funny enough.
Tara's favorite store in Terre Haute is Baesler's, which is probably most comparable to Whole Foods. The main prize for Tara is the Trader's Point drinkable yogurt from a nearby dairy (Tara is snuggling it in the picture). She loves the stuff. In New York, she decided to buy a bottle of this yogurt instead of a house. In Terre Haute, it only costs as much as a car.
Tara is continually amazed at the local park where many of the schools and some other organizations decorate a shelter for Christmas. This was one of my favorites because it had a lot of stuff moving. Yep, I'm that simple. It moves; therefore, I like it.
We also discovered Peanut Butter Lovers Reese's cups. This is a great innovation. I personally eat them only for the peanut butter. In this version, they ripped off the top layer of chocolate and replaced it with a much tastier peanut butter top. Good job, Reese's!
The holy grail of Terre Haute cuisine (haute cuisine, get it?) is Square Donuts. These are the best donuts in the world, and they are square. From left to right and top to bottom: strawberry with cream filling, vanilla with cream filling, cinnamon and sugar with apple filling, vanilla with lemon filling, strawberry with cream filling, peanut butter with raspberry jam filling, cinnamon and sugar with apple filling, vanilla with lemon filling, strawberry with cream filling, cinnamon and sugar with cream filling, vanilla with cream filling, cinnamon roll. Hooray, Square Donuts!
While at home, our friend Jan was kind enough to make some South American haute cuisine for us. This one is dulce de leche ice cream. So as to appear civil, I took only a small amount in my bowl. I repeated this process four more times.
Jan also baked some Colombian cheese bread. Tara found it quite good. I gave it the evil eye.
Terre Haute is home to a sushi place called Sushi Umi. It is considered by many on the Internet to be some of the best sushi in the Midwest, if not the country. We didn't believe this possible, so we had to try it. I don't like sushi, so here is my chicken katsu. It was good, but it also fulfilled my other criteria: it was big.
Here is some sushi. Looks like a couple nasty eel things in the back and a nasty eel tempura roll in the front. Tara said it might be the best sushi she has ever had. So, congratulations to Sushi Umi. Who knew that you could get such great fish out of the Wabash River?
My sister took on the project of baking something different that each person requested. This seems crazy to me, but she seemed to enjoy it. The hardest part was baking the devil cat in the back which looks just like Quincy, our cat.
Lastly, we tried the local Indian buffet, which started out as food being sold in an Indian-owned gas station, and then became a real restaurant. It was not the best Indian food on earth, but was substantially better than we expected from Indiana. I certainly ate my $9 worth. In case you wondered, you can tell this is Tara's plate rather than mine because it is not overflowing off the sides.
We had a really good time during our week in Indiana and tried some really great food. It was nice to be home for awhile, and we look forward to returning, even if it might be in another year or so...

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