Brazilian Cuisine

Brazilian Cuisine

It began as most ‘ethnic food movements’ do – with small restaurants in the neighborhoods where immigrants settled, diners and lunchrooms and tea rooms opened by those who wanted to offer a taste of home to their fellow émigrés. Chinese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Thai – from family run bistros, the cuisine spread as those outside the cultures of the ‘neighborhood’ learned of the good food and the word spread. The latest ‘new cuisine’ that is spreading like wildfire is Brazilian – a delicious blending of three separate cultures that comes together in dishes and delicacies that aren’t found anywhere else in the world.

To understand the cuisine of Brazil, one must understand a little of its history. The base of Brazilian cuisine is in its native roots – the foods that sustained the native Brazilians – cassava, yams, fish and meat – but it bears the stamp of two other peoples as well: the Portuguese who came to conquer and stayed, and the African slaves that they brought with them to work the sugar plantations. Brazilian cuisine today is a seamless amalgam of the three influences that interweave in a unique and totally Brazilian style.

The staples of the Brazilian diet are root vegetables, seafood and meat. Manioc, derived from cassava root, is the ‘flour’ of the region, and is eaten in one form or another at nearly every meal. The bitter cassava root is poisonous in its raw state, but when prepared properly, the cassava root yields farinha and tapioca, bases for many dishes of the region. The Portuguese influence shows in the rich, sweet egg breads that are served at nearly every meal, and in the seafood dishes that blend ‘fruits de mer’ with coconut and other native fruits and vegetables. The national dish, bobo de camarao is one of these, a delicious mingling of fresh shrimp in a puree of dried shrimp, manioc (cassava) meal, coconut milk and nuts, flavored with a palm oil called dende.

It is the African influence that is most felt, though – as is to be expected of the people who worked in the kitchens. Pineapple and coconut milk, shredded coconut and palm hearts worked their way into everyday dishes, flavoring meat, shrimp, fish, vegetables and bread. Brazilian food, unlike the cuisines of many of the surrounding countries, favors the sweet rather than the hot, and more than any other South American cuisine, it carries the savor of tropical island breezes rather than the hot wind of the desert.

The most common ingredients in Brazilian cuisine are cassava, coconut, dende, black beans and rice. Bacalao – salt cod – features in many dishes derived from the Portuguese, but flavored with typical Brazilian insouciance with coconut cream and pistachio nuts it becomes an entirely different food. It is typical of the Brazilian attitude toward food – an expression of a warm and open people to whom feeding and sharing food is the basis of hospitality. Brazilian cuisine is like its people – all are welcome, all are welcomed and all make their mark – without ever overwhelming the contributions of the other.

Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco: A Short Tour

Fisherman’s Wharf San Francisco: A Short Tour

Nearly 16 million people visit San Francisco each year, and more of those people visit Fisherman’s Wharf than any other area of the city. Indeed, as many as 3,000 people per hour walk through the intersection of Jefferson and Powell during the peak season. What makes Fisherman’s Wharf so appealing? Read on to learn more about the Wharf’s main attractions.


Fisherman’s Wharf began in the 19th century as the home of the San Francisco fishing fleet. At one time there were as many as 500 fishing boats, which were coming and going all day long. The Italians and the Chinese were the main rivals in the fishing industry, but due to the high degree of discrimination against the Chinese, the Italians were able to dominate the business. The area between Taylor and Jones Street is now known as the Italian Harbor, and many of the restaurants, such as Scoma’s, Tarantino’s, Alioto’s, and others, are named after their Italian founders.

Pier 39

Pier 39 is the highlight of Fisherman’s Wharf. Pier 39 attractions include 110 shops, 13 restaurants, the Aquarium of the Bay, and the California sea lions. The sea lions are there throughout most of the year. They only leave during their mating season, which takes place over about three weeks from early to late July. Also, if you need to catch a taxi, the Wharf’s main taxi stand is in front of Pier 39’s main entrance.


At present, the Blue and Gold Fleet is the exclusive operator of Alcatraz ferries. All Alcatraz ferries leave from Pier 41. During the summer months, tickets are often sold out as much as a week in advance, so you should purchase your Alcatraz tickets before you arrive in San Francisco.

Boudin Bakery

The Boudin Bakery flagship restaurant is a huge two-story building which houses a demonstration bakery, a restaurant, and a small café. Throughout much of its history, Boudin was secretive about its bread making process. Now, you can watch the bakers at work through the 30-foot window in front of the bakery. Watch as they make bread sculptures of every kind of sea creature imaginable. If you would like to learn even more, Boudin provides guided tours until 5 PM every day. Bistro Boudin on the second floor has outdoor balcony seating, a big-screen TV, and a collection of historical pictures of San Francisco.

Seafood Restaurants

The restaurant industry began in Fisherman’s Wharf in 1916 when Castagnola’s became the first restaurant licensed by the city to sell seafood on the street. Many of the restaurants began as chowder stands serving the fishing fleet. Today, the largest concentration of seafood restaurants on the Wharf is at the end of Taylor Street, next to the Italian Harbor. The best-known Wharf restaurant, Scoma’s, is the busiest restaurant in the entire city. They have their own fishing boat, and they do their own preparation, so you can be sure the fish is fresh. Their specialty is blackened swordfish, which is seasonal. They don’t accept reservations, and it is not uncommon to wait 45 minutes for a table at dinner time during the peak season.

The Cannery

The Cannery was the first building built on Fisherman’s Wharf after the 1906 earthquake. Originally it was a peach canning plant for Del Monte, the largest peach canning plant in the world at that time. After falling into disrepair for many years, the Cannery was bought in 1963 by Leonard V. Martin, a San Francisco lawyer, who reinforced the exterior of the building and completely redesigned the interior to accommodate the shopping complex that is there today. There are no chain stores in the Cannery; each store is one of a kind. The building next to the Cannery, the Haslett Warehouse, originally served as the warehouse for the Cannery, and as living quarters for some of the Cannery workers. The building now houses the Argonaut Hotel.

Ghirardelli Square

The first building built on what is now Ghirardelli Square was the Woolen Mill, which housed the Pioneer Woolen Mill. After the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the owner of the woolen mill had to fire his Chinese workers, and he went out of business. Ghirardelli and his sons bought the building in 1892 and moved their chocolate factory to it. The other buildings of Ghirardelli Square were built over the next thirty years as the chocolate factory expanded. In the 1950’s the factory moved across the bay to San Leandro. The owners, wanting to preserve these historic buildings, converted the square into a shopping complex, the first shopping complex built on Fisherman’s Wharf, which was completed in 1964.

As you can see, there are many things to do at Fisherman’s Wharf. There is a great deal of history on the streets, and on your next trip to San Francisco, we recommend that you visit the Wharf and have a look.

Entertaining Monterey Wine Country Style Impress An Entire Dinner Party With One Easy Dish

Entertaining Monterey Wine Country Style Impress An Entire Dinner Party With One Easy Dish

Today’s busy schedules can make throwing even the smallest dinner gathering seem like an overwhelming task. Why go through all of the hassle?

David Mirassou, a sixth-generation family member of America’s oldest winemaking family, says entertaining is well worth the effort because there is nothing better than enjoying an evening of great food and wine with friends and family.

Mirassou’s secret is to focus on making one fabulous feast, such as a popular crowd-pleasing paella that not only feeds everyone, but also creates a festive atmosphere that encourages jovial conversation. To complement the paella, simply purchase a variety of olives and nuts to serve as appetizers, along with a fruit-forward wine, and guests will leave satisfied. Mirassou has adapted his family’s classic paella recipe to be even more fitting of his California heritage, complete with fresh seafood, artichoke hearts and Mirassou’s new Monterey County Riesling.

Mirassou Monterey Paella

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cook time: 45 to 50 minutes

1/2 pound linguica, Italian or Polish sausage, sliced 1/4-inch-thick on the diagonal

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, peeled and chopped

2 large cloves garlic, minced

11/2 cups long-grain white rice

3 cups chicken stock

1 cup Mirassou Monterey County Riesling

1/4 teaspoon saffron (or 1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric and 1/8 teaspoon paprika)

2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 package (9 oz.) frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and cut in half

1 small red bell pepper, seeded and diced

8 mussels

8 hard-shell clams

16 medium prawns, peeled and deveined

1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas

Brown linguica or sausage in a large stainless steel pan or skillet for 10 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently; remove from pan and set aside. Add oil to skillet; add onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes. Add rice and cook for 5 minutes more or until translucent; stir in the stock, wine, saffron and linguica or sausage. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer over low heat, loosely covered, for 15 minutes. Remove lid and season to taste with salt and pepper; top with tomatoes, artichoke hearts and bell pepper. Nestle the seafood into the surface of the rice; cover and cook over very low heat, loosely covered, for 10 minutes or until the mussels and clams have opened and the prawns are pink. Stir in peas and cook for 1 minute.

Note: Discard mussels and clams that do not open.

Serving recommendations: Paella is excellent for entertaining, and is best served family style right from the skillet. Garnish with chopped cilantro or parsley and lemon wedges, and pair with the same wine used in cooking the paella. Serves 8.

A single-dish feast, such as paella, can be an excellent idea for people who don’t have much time for entertaining.

Sun, Sea, Sand, Jomtien Beach – Thailand

Sun, Sea, Sand, Jomtien Beach – Thailand

For the ultimate beach vacation there is no better location than that of “Jomtien Beach” in Thailand. Which is just a two hours ride in a taxi from Bangkok Airport.The Jomtien Beach is located about two kilometers from its busy counterpart resort of South Pattaya.

Jomtien Beach and the area along its beach road have now become more and more popular for swimming, water sports and activities because it has a long straight coastline and they’re being less boats anchored in its waters. There are very many good quality hotels, bungalows and guesthouses. A wide range of small and large condominiums is also available for short or long term rental and many good restaurants serving a wide variety of fresh seafood with a full range of Thai cuisine and International dishes.

Many tourists come to this area to just enjoy the scenery and the beach. Chairs are available to sit with a table to have food and drink served directly to you as you soak up the sun or simply lay back and listen to the waters lapping on the sand. Go swimming or enjoy water sports such as wind surfing, ride a water scooter, parasail or take a speed boat ride, even water skiing is possible.

The Jomtien Beach has good quality white sand and a very long coastline to enjoy. The beach is much more peaceful here than its counterpart of Pattaya further up the coast. The beaches are always kept in a pristine condition by the many vendors who are there to look after all your needs.

Along the early part of the straight beach road you will find many souvenir shops, international restaurants, food stalls. But at the far end of the beach road there are very good seafood restaurants and it is where you can find yourself at times the only person soaking up the sun.

You can also swim late into the night along a large part of the beach as the sands are floodlit which makes for a very safe environment to swim after the sun has gone down. May be you only want to simply find a quiet bar for any drink of your choosing. Many are available and the prices have to be seen to be believed.

Jomtien beach simply has it all without having to travel long distances. But if you fancy a more adventurous evening and want to enjoy a full range of nightlife activities Pattaya is just a few minutes down the coast. Transportation around the Pattaya and Jomtien area is simple. The open pick up cars (Baht buses as they are locally called) are running all the time. Just hail one down and climb aboard.

Jomtien is one place in the world where a good quality beach vacation is simplicity itself.
How do I know these things – I live there.

Author – Barry Hooper – can be contacted at –

Pregnancy – Foods and other things to Avoid

Pregnancy – Foods and other things to Avoid

It is essential that you take care when preparing foods and avoid doing certain things when pregnant. This is due to your baby’s immune system not being sufficiently developed to fight any infection you may pass to it whilst within the womb. It is believed that a female’s immune system may not function at its peak during pregnancy so it is essential that all necessary precautions are taken


It is essential that if you have a pet that every time you come into contact with them you wash your hands thoroughly afterwards.Pets can pass on harmful bacteria that may be present in their faeces. You may inadvertently become infected with this by touching your mouth or other part of the body and this may in turn infect your unborn child.

Cats are of particular importance due to toxoplasmosis found within their faeces. If you have a cat that uses a litter tray it is important that someone else carries out this task or if this is not possible then you should wear rubber gloves and a face mask to prevent any bacteria being passed. This also applies to gardening where faecal matter can be found in the soil. Again, wear gloves and wash your hands as soon as possible after finishing.

Toxoplasmosis is caused by a parasite. It can go unnoticed in a healthy adult or even an unborn baby. Once you have this infection you will not become re-infected and will be immune for life.


This is a bacteria which develops into an illness called listeriosis. The symptoms of this are mild flu, aches and pains, sore throat and high temperatures. In the more serious of cases this can cause septicaemia and meningitis in unborn babies. This is the worst case scenario. In some cases many people are not aware they have caught the bacteria as they do not show any of the above symptoms. During pregnancy, mothers have to be aware of certain foods where this bacteria may be prevalent.

This is true for after pregnancy aswell especially if you are nursing your child.
The symptoms usually develop from 2 to 30 days after eating contaminated food.

Foods to Avoid


Not all cheeses contain the bacteria but there are some which can be potentially harmful to a pregnant mother.
Avoid both pasteurised and unpasteurised soft cheeses which usually have a surface mould or rind such as Brie, Camembert and Danish Blue. Also avoid cheeses coated in wax such as Gouda, Post Salut. It is best to stay clear of the majority of blue cheeses such as Stilton, Gorgonzola and Roquefort. Hard Cheeses such as Cheddar, Parmesan, and Red Leicester fall into the safe category as do softer cheeses made from pasteurised milk such as Cottage cheese, mozzarella, ricotta, processed cheese and cheese spreads. If in doubt play safe and avoid eating it.


The salmonella bacteria are most commonly found in eggs. It is best to avoid any foods made with raw or partly cooked eggs such as homemade mayonnaise, meringues, cheesecakes, sorbets or mousses. Eggs are only safe if they have been cooked long enough so that their yolks are hard.Shop-bought mayonnaises are usually safe as long as they have been made with pasteurised eggs. Always check the label if in doubt.


Avoid all products which have not been pasteurised.
All pasteurised products are safe to use all through pregnancy and beyond.


Do not eat raw or under cooked meat or poultry. Also avoid meats which have been preserved in nitrates such as salami, frankfurters and luncheon meat. Always cook meat so the juices run clear and there is no ‘pinkness’ or blood within. When touching raw meat and poultry always wash your hands thoroughly before touching any other foods. Liver contains vitamin A in the form of retinol which if taken by a pregnant women can increase
her levels way above the recommended daily level and become damaging to the baby. Liver should be avoided aswell as products containing liver such as pate and liver sausage.


Oysters and any raw or uncooked fish should be avoided. Also shelled seafood such as crab, prawns, and langoustines should be avoided unless they have been thoroughly cooked and are hot. Most seafood bought from a fishmonger or supermarket should be safe. Fresh tuna should only be eaten once a month due to the potential levels of mercury found within. This is also true for swordfish and shark. Tinned tuna contains lower levels so this is safe to eat every week.


All pre pared shop bought salads are best to be avoided. So too are dressed salads such as coleslaw, potato salad and Florida salad. It is best to make your own and ensure that all leaves are thoroughly washed free from soils and other deposits found on the leaves.

Recipe: high tides seafood grill gingered shrimp won ton soup

Recipe: high tides seafood grill gingered shrimp won ton soup

High Tides Seafood Grill Gingered Shrimp Won Ton Soup

4 cloves garlic, divided
2 1/2 pounds raw chicken bones or necks, wings and backs (see notes)
3 quarts water
4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices fresh ginger
Salt, to taste
12 (21 to 25 count) raw tiger shrimp, peeled and deveined
3 1/2 tablespoons sliced green onions, divided
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 (2-inch) piece celery rib, chopped
1 (2-inch) piece carrot, chopped
2 tablespoon dry sherry
1/4 cup stir-fry sauce or soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 package won ton wrappers
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup julienned carrot
1/2 cup thinly sliced bok choy
6 fresh shiitake mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup sliced snow peas
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish (see notes)

Peel and smash 3 cloves of garlic. Place them in a large pot with the chicken, water and ginger. Bring to a boil and skim any residue from the top of the broth. Reduce heat, cover and simmer slowly for about 2 hours. Strain broth and season to taste with salt. Discard chicken bones.

Skim off fat from the top of the broth (or refrigerate overnight and remove hardened fat).

While the broth is simmering, chop the remaining garlic clove. Place it in the bowl of a food processor with the shrimp, 1/2 tablespoon green onions, grated ginger, celery, chopped carrot, sherry, stir-fry sauce, cornstarch and sesame oil. Pulse the food processor until a moderately fine texture is achieved. The mixture should not be a smooth puree.

Lay the won ton wrappers on a clean counter. Brush the edges of each wrapper with a little beaten egg. Place a rounded teaspoon of filling in the center of each wrapper. Bring all 4 corners of the wrappers together above the filling and pinch together firmly. Place on a paper towel-lined plate, cover and chill until ready to use. This should make at least 30 won tons. Make ahead and freeze if desired.

To assemble the soup, bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large pot and gently add the won tons. Slowly simmer for 5 to 8 minutes or until the shrimp is cooked and the wrappers are tender. About 2 minutes after adding the won tons, add the julienned carrot, bok choy, shiitake mushrooms and snow peas.

Divide soup and won tons among 6 soup bowls. Garnish with the remaining 3 tablespoons sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.

NOTES: Low-sodium canned chicken broth can be substituted for the chicken and water, but be sure to simmer with the ginger and garlic for at least 30 to 45 minutes.

To toast seeds, heat in a dry skillet over medium heat until they start to brown. Stir occasionally. Be careful not to burn.

Recipe: Okonomiyaki



300 g flour
210 ml water
2 eggs
Possible ingredients to put into/onto Okonomiyaki
Katsuobushi*: Dried, shaved benito (katsuo)

Aonori*: Green, dried seaweed.

Leek or green onion
Beef: thinly sliced or ground
Pork: thinly sliced or ground
Chicken: breast filets
and much more…
Brown okonomiyaki sauce*


Cut four large, green cabbage leaves without the hard, white core in thin strings (ca. 4 mm).

Mix the water, flour, eggs and the cabbage strings together.
You may now add more ingredients to the dough: e.g. seafood, cut in little pieces, ground meat, cut mushrooms, etc.
Fry the dough like a pancake in a small frying pan.

Before turning the okonomiyaki over, and while the dough is still quite soft, you may put other ingredients on top of the dough.

Turn the okonomiyaki.
When fried well, serve the okonomiyaki with katsuobushi, aonori, mayonnaise and okonomiyaki sauce.

An Introduction To Chardonnay

An Introduction To Chardonnay

Chardonnay grape is the most popular type of white wine, found all over the world. The flavor, taste, and aroma of it will though, depending on where it was made and what processing methods were used. Chardonnay has a variety of different styles and flavors, and remains a major type of grape. As a result of it’s popularity, this fine wine spread throughout Europe and other locations of the world such as Australia and California.

As more and more wine makers discovered Chardonnay, the fine wine began to grow quite well in South Africa and other areas as well. With it being a non aroma type wine, oak seems to work very well with it. The richest and most complex are American and French Chardonnay, which are also among the most preferred white wines. Even though it does suffer from fatigue, the flavor and richness of this wine will keep it loved by many for years to come.

Chardonnay originated from the Burgundy and Champagne area of France. Although white Burgundy is a popular wine that is prepared with Aligote, a lesser known grape, the fact remains that white Burgundy can’t be made without the use of Chardonnay grape. What this goes to show, is that Chardonnay grapes have more than a few uses.

In appearance, Chardonnay grapes are green in color with thin skins. The grape is a result of the Pinot and Croatian Blanc grape, which are extinct to this day. Chardonnay on the other hand is still popular, fermented and aged using oak barrels that help to bring out the vanilla flavor the wine is well known for. It can also be aged and fermented using bottles, although it won’t age quite as much as red wine.

Almost all Chardonnay wines are considered to be chilled, making them work extremely well with dishes that contain butter and cheeses. The wines also have less acid content as well, which makes them work well with seafood as well. There are a lot of food that you can pair Chardonnay with, which is what makes it so popular. A lot of fine restaurants serve it as well, especially Italian and seafood restaurants.

The Chardonnay grape can also be used in making Champagne and other types of sparkling wines. Although Chardonnay wine is the most popular use, there are several other uses for the grape that lead to some truly fine wines. Oak is often times used with the wine as well, which provides it with some great flavors as it ages. Although it can be a bit on the expensive side, it still remains one of the most preferred types of wine. You can find it at any wine or alcohol store – making it a great addition to your wine or drink collection.


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Homeschooling While You Shop?

Homeschooling While You Shop?

Yes, It can be done! We are all busy juggling multiple tasks at once, and it does not get any easier when you are homeschooling. Here is an idea to get your children to help out with a chore and provide them with a learning opportunity at the same time.

Before going to the grocery store, ask your children to help you with a shopping list. You can go around the house – the fridge, pantry, and the bathroom cabinet, etc.- and categorise the list. You can also go through the flyer and see what’s on sale and check on the price differences from one store to the another. (You can also discuss distribution channel and marketing for older kids.) Bring a calculator (if your kids prefer doing math that way) for your shopping trip.

Once you are at the grocery store, let the children do the shopping while you supervise. Show them how to select items based on the quality and/or price. While you are comparing the price, do a quick math lesson, or if you buy multiple of one item, what the total price differences would be. In the produce section, discuss where fruits and vegetables are from, and why you find thing from that particular climate. You can also talk about environment and organic produce. Have children weight vegitables and ask them how much a pound and a half of grapes would be.

In the meat and seafood section, discuss where they come from, how they keep them fresh, and what would happen if they are not kept cold. Many seafood items are imported, so you may discuss geography. If you are cooking a roast that day, you may have the children use the meat themometer and determine how cooked it is, and if it is safe to eat.

While you are in line at the check out counter, take out your coupons and ask them how much you can save if you use the double coupons. If you buy 3 Klenex tissue boxes on sale for , and have $ .75 off coupon, how much would each box costs? How about if you get “buy one get one free” can of soup for .50 and have $ .50 off coupon?

Don’t forget to recycle those soda cans and talk about aluminum, recycling, and environment! On the way home, talk about how much gas you used for what distance, and how you can save money and environment by reducing the number of trips you take each month. Why is the gas so expensive? Where does the oil come from? How about the new hybrid cars? If the kids are done talking, you can listen to a CD and complete you day with a music lesson!

Food And Other Treats In Maryland

Food And Other Treats In Maryland

Maryland is a small state, but it has a lot to offer those who want to see the ocean one day and spend time in the country the next. With larger cities such as Baltimore and Annapolis, and smaller cities such as Chevy Chase and Bethesda, you will be able have the best of the country, the city, and the beach scene. Maryland is home to Ocean City, which is a hot spot during the summer months. If you love seafood and going out a night, you will want to stay in Ocean City during July and August. There are many rental properties for you to rent and enjoy during your stay.

In addition to beautiful beaches, Maryland is also home to vineyards that produce great tasting wine. You will be able to tour several vineyards in one day as they are usually close to each other. Many vineyards have acres of land that is used for growing grapes and other fruits as well as for hiking, walking, and boating. Vineyards host parties, weddings, and other events for most of the year. If you want to visit Maryland in the fall, you will be able to taste good wine, apple cider, and home cooking if you decide to stay in one of Maryland’s bed and breakfast inns.

The cities in Maryland offer plenty of shopping and food opportunities. You will have fun walking through downtown Baltimore and Annapolis. These towns have many small shops for you to visit. The food is a mix of different cultures and offers some of the best seafood you will find anywhere. Within close proximity to Washington DC, you will be able to visit the nation’s capital for a day or two. This is a wonderful way to see many monuments, statues, bridges, and other tourist attractions that Washington DC has to offer.

Maryland is close to a large number of states including Virginia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, and West Virginia. If you live in any of these states, visiting Maryland is easy. If you want to take a day trip, you will still be able to see a lot of what Maryland has to offer. Many people will take day trips on the weekend when the weather is nice.

With many colleges and universities in Maryland, there are always events and celebrations during the year. While there are certain places in Maryland that are only open during certain seasons, you will find plenty of smaller places that are open all year long. From small parks to canoe trips on the Potomac River, Maryland has something for everyone. You should find out more about particular activities you want to participate in so that you can make reservations or get directions