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nomad dimitri
45,933 followers -
at home in the world
at home in the world

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Best French fries by the beach

Almost every country has its own particular ways of enchanting the visitor. Among Greece's charms, one must include the experience of the seaside taverna: the magic of eating al fresco, locally sourced ingredients, next to the azure waters of the mediterranean.

As with everything magical in travel foodism (the french bistro, the italian gelato store, the corner sushi shop etc) there are many, many, MANY bad imitations, to the point that you have to go far, very far, very VERY far to find the authentic original.

But when you do find the real thing, suddenly, a million routine mediocre experiences melt away and you finally feel vindicated: "YES! the real thing still exists and I can still be a part of it"!

PS: I rarely use the word "best" to describe anything, since taste is so shifting & subjective. But if you ever find a real Greek seaside taverna, you have also found the world's best french fries. The belgian version will suddenly become a greasy mess by comparison.

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Handmade 3D craftsmanship

We love things that are handmade. They represent a nostalgic reminder of the world before automation & industrialization.

I just received this wonderful card from Vietnam. It is entirely handmade. Someone with a lot of skill, precision and patience, spend hours putting together this small handcrafted masterpiece.

It is extremely pleasing to receive this and admire the effort and art that went into creating it.

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Dog attacks fountain!

Meandering through the backroads of rural France I ran into a fantastic village, perched on a cliffside, surrounded by fields of grapevine & lavender.
Wanting to share my luck with you, I started making a little video of the fountain in the central square, one of the prettiest I have ever seen in France.

And then the mad dog arrived, the dipsomaniac dog!

It actually attacked the water.  It was so excited & alive & foolish & it just would not stop trying to bite the water.  Dogs do lots of silly things to endear themselves to people & the more you laugh, the more nuts they get, but this one topped them all.

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What to read on the beach

Perhaps the single most important choice on what to pack for the beach is the book you will take along.
I bristle at summer reading lists full of light stuff - to me, summer is the time to embrace a real classic.

Especially a classic that has been re-translated by a genius!

This new English translation, by Lydia Davis, of the first volume of "Remembrance of things past" is sensational. You actually think you are reading French!

The translator, Lydia Davis, is also a brilliant writer, worth reading in her own right.
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Rescuing the racing pigeon

While we were at the island, this guy approached me in the water with a pigeon in his hands!  He was super excited: "Dude, check out what I found!"
He had been swimming in the water and noticed this pigeon circling in the sky and suddenly falling right into the ocean.  He swam right to it before it sunk (would a pigeon sink?)

We brought it out to the beach and noticed that he had a band on its leg.  It was also very beautiful, completely different from the flying rats of NYC & Paris.

People gathered around us and someone volunteered to check the number on the band on his smartphone. Unbelievably, he found the owner and talked to him while we were standing on the beach with his pigeon.
It had been flying all the way from Ohio, I think, or whatever the state west of Ohio is called, I am very rusty on the Midwest.
The poor thing was keeling over with exhaustion but the owner said not to worry, racing pigeons "give it all they got" & they get tired & specified NOT to feed it any bread & gave instructions on how to revive it.

We all left the beach with big smiles on our faces!

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Summer is almost over!

Ah, the summer, the summer!
Regardless of where we live or how old we are, summer will always be the time of the school vacation, the time when we no longer need to be responsible, the time when we can resume our childhood.

Just like Sunday late-afternoons feel shitty even when you are retired (because "Monday is a School Day"), summer feels great even when you are stuck in the office, even if, like me, you don't like heat & crowds.  Partly it is because it is supposed to be fun: this is the time of the year that everyone wants/needs/must have a good time.

But also: we are, in many ways, both animals & machines, in addition to our treasured, complicated, subtle, enlightened human nature.  
- As machines, we respond to the added sunlight by being more cheerful & producing all sorts of needed chemicals during summer (notably: Vitamin D).
- As animals, we respond to the warmer weather by feeling a bit sexier.  Look at what's going on with the bird in your backyard: non-stop flirting.
- As humans, we just become a bit more primitive.  We are less dressed, feeling freer by sporting sandals, by tossing away scarves & gloves for linen shirts & shorter skirts.  Or swimsuits.  Or without swimsuits.  Suddenly we want to eat things cooked outdoors, in bbqs, on fire pits.  And we enjoy the sensuality of summer fruits: apricots, peaches (mmm!), water melons.

So, Viva the summer vacation!, for it brings out the animal, the adolescent, the sensualist in us.

(but, please, don't let it last all year).

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A stroll along the Palace terraces

You would never want to live in a Palace without a view. So it is best if your Palace is built on top of a hill, ideally riverside. Next, to protect your family and your family jewels, your Palace will need at least one set of protecting walls.

Inside these protective walls, your gardeners will create fantastic gardens for strolling and contemplation. But the best part will be the terraces: suspended over the walls, covered by vine trellises, decorated with statues, punctuated by benches, with a high view of the river and the city across it.

Join me for a stroll?

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Ancient Mosaic at the Roman Villa

The recent discovery of the gorgeous Roman mosaic in Boxford, reminds us, once again, of the remarkably sophisticated world of the Roman empire.

When Romans conquered Europe, they built amazing infrastructures, starting with roads & aqueducts that are still used today. In order to start a new city you must, at a minimum, have a road to get to it & running water for drinking & irrigation.

But you also needed human, administrative infrastructure: you needed representatives from Rome to run these newly conquered areas. At a minimum, these provincial governors needed an army (to keep the locals quiet) and cash (again, to keep the locals bribed & obedient and to jump-start new economies). Eventually, of course, you would also need to send the most dreaded representatives of all: tax officials.

I don't know if the Roman villa I run into at the marble coast belonged to a government official or a rich trader. What is certain is that, one way or another, he was wealthy, as witnessed by the fabulous mosaics you can see in the video. More than 2000 years later, there was not a nicer house in this coast for miles!!!

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The village at the river's headwaters

Jacques Yves Cousteau nearly drowned trying to solve the mystery of this spring, finally solved, years later, by an underwater robot. The world's 5th largest spring bubbles its emerald waters through a village constructed all around it.

The spring becomes the river Sorgue , which snakes through one of France's most beautiful regions, the Vaucluse. Stone villages, oak forests and gorges of ochre complete the scene.

I splashed around the crystal waters yesterday, braving the tourist season and 40C temperatures. Don't leave France without a visit here.

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How to clear your scuba mask underwater

When you are underwater, your mask can accidentally be removed or fill with water. This is one of several emergency situations that you have to be prepared for. Part of any serious introductory scuba diver training includes teaching you how to put your mask back on AND empty it of water.

This is how it's done:
1. put the mask back on (it is full of water...)
2. look up
3. continue breathing normally exhaling THROUGH YOUR NOSE
the air will displace the water & your mask will be completely empty of water

[Filmed at the depths of the northern australian great barrier reef]

#nomadimitritravel
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#sharingknowledge
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Please subscribe to my YouTube channel: https://goo.gl/Ntn5qT

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