Friday 29 July 2016

13 of the craziest foods from Japan

Japan, the country that introduces things like the dancing robot and automated hugging machine, is also a big fan of a few unorthodox dishes. These 13 in our list prove that Japanese food is insane, or at least for the most part, a bit weird.

So warning, put down anything you’re eating, because some nasty stuff is about to pop up…

1. Wasabi Beer
This one’s an easy start for you. A wasabi kick in the face for the world’s most loved drink.

2. Natto (fermented soybeans)
This “delicious” Japanese snack of fermented soybeans might look like innocent exotic baked beans, but beware! Many visitors who have tasted, or even been in the presence of this aged concoction, warn of its reeking scent of rotten cheese and snot-like consistency.

3. Black Burger
Fast food is a little different in the land of the rising sun – they tend to like things a little more monotone. An all-black burger made with squid ink is a perfect cheap eat. Well, without fries and a medium Coke.

4. Raw chicken
The Japanese love a bit of this. While normal people would feel brave just for eating a bit of tuna sashimi, the crazy diners in Japan go full daredevil with completely raw chicken. That’s definitely not safe!

5. Canned bread
The vending machine is the most beloved invention in Japan. It’s used everyday for everything, and that’s not an overstatement. So having a bit of bread handy 24/7 is the key to living prepared for anything, Japanese style.

6. Fugu (pufferfish)
Now this stuff is so insane, that chefs need a license to prepare it. A pufferfish has enough poison to kill 30 adult humans, yet the Japanese like to again, live life on the edge and snack on this as a tasty lunch treat. Chefs only serve the “non-poison flesh” part of the fish, but there have been cases of costly mistakes, with only a drop of its toxin needed to seriously put you in danger. Apparently it tastes of rubber and makes your lips numb. Yum!

7. Placenta drink
All jokes aside for this one. This is a real drink, made from blended pig placenta. Good for the skin, apparently.

8. Basashi (raw horse)
By the looks of it, the Japanese are big fans of raw meat and fish. Maybe it’s the risk? Or the purity? I don’t know. But hopefully horses don’t get along with salmonella as much as the chickens!

9. Nankotsu (chicken cartilage)
The cartilage is something we, the west, would typically quite happily throw away, being the nasty bits between the flesh and the bone. But apparently it’s edible, and can even be a tasty treat when breaded and fried Japanese style, especially after a few beers.

10. Curry ramune (soda)
The Japanese are somewhat obsessed with curry. With fried chicken curry (katsu kare) being a popular twist on the Indian classic, the curry soda is instead a far more niche product to come out of Japan, less loved by its country. It does not taste good apparently, though many major supermarkets still stock it anyway.

11. Shirako (fish sperm)
Sacks of cod sperm is an elegant eat over in Japan. Shirako translates directly as “the white children”, and I suspect many a tourist has gulped down on a few of these without knowing the sinister secret. Never trust a restaurateur who recommends a special delicacy, whilst laughing to himself and opening up a suspicious pouch of oddly shaped, pastier tofu.

12. Funazushi (‘rotten’ fish)
This is one of the oldest and most traditional dishes on this list. Food that’s been fit for emperors and samurai for thousands of years. Three-year-old fish. It’s effectively rotten and has a stench that could peel paint off the walls. Although, it is a heavily respected and cherished delicacy, and like a recurring theme in this article, it’s safe to eat. Probably.

13. Dancing squid
Whilst this squid looks very much alive, it’s not. The squid’s dancing reaction is an automatic response to the sodium in the soy sauce which wakes up the nerve and muscle cells in squid’s tentacles. Watch the video here!

Planning a trip to Japan? Call Airport Shuttle in Cape Town or Durban, and we will get you where you need to be comfortably and on time!

Which of the dishes on this list would you most like to try?

Friday 22 July 2016

The 5 Stages of a Middle Seat Grief

There are few air travel woes that rival getting the middle seat. For a long haul flight, it’s a brutal beginning or a crushing end to a trip. Very much like dealing with any tragedy, you’ll go through various stages of what is called, “Middle Seat Grief”.

1. Denial

Oh no. The bold letter B shines out, mocking you from your boarding pass next to an ominously large number. Do planes even have that many rows?! But it’s ok, because you’re positive; it’s not the middle seat. It can’t be. It’s probably one of those two seat jumbo jets. That would make sense. Bad things don’t happen to good people.

You scour your brain, rifling through memories trying to remember what karmapocalypse has led to this gigantic punishment. Perhaps this is the universe’s reprisal for laughing at that old lady falling down the stairs. No. That was her error; you were right to laugh. This is just a mistake.

You’ll just go and politely but sternly talk to the airline staff and make the case that forcing a soft shelled crab like you to be crammed between two random rocks for 25 hours is tantamount to human misery. This is fine; this is fixable.

2. Anger

Your polite but stern talk hasn’t gone well. The robotically attractive check-in woman taps away on her computer, creases her brow at the screen, taps some more, then turns to you and tells you that the plane is full.

Sickly smile. You’re positive she’s been typing to a colleague saying, “Just pretending to find this poor sap a seat. LOL!”

You want to grab them by their lovely mechanically pressed collar and tell them you know their little secret!! Oh that’ll be satisfying. Your anger boils up as you strop through security.

With s look that could kill, you almost dare the security guard to search you. It’s the same robotic employee who welcomes you aboard with a mocking smile. Then, all at once, your steely resolve breaks and like a child realising for the first time that everything dies, life seems meaningless.

3. Bargaining

You try once more, begging for any other seat – steerage even! I’ll protect the bags! – all dignity lost as you drop to your knees weeping. You can feel the judgemental eyes from the other passengers, but you don’t care. You give the attendant a sob story, throwing around lies like kidney disease and family tragedy. It’s Oscar winning, but the flight attendant sees through you like glass.

You sigh and begin the arduous journey back to the rear of the aircraft. The plane seems to be getting gloomier as you walk towards its darkened bowels. The other peasants begin unpacking for the long journey ahead. Head pillows, iPads, books…despair. You think about asking them to switch with you. You want to offer them all your money, all your belongings. My kingdom for an aisle seat!

When you arrive at your seat – it’s worse than you thought. Your flight companions are a grotesquely sweaty man in what appears to be a matching bright blue lycra Velcro tracksuit that both burns the retinas and takes a few years off your life, and what can only be described as an obese lady with in her forties with a distorted face and skin that protrudes over your armrest like cheese melted in the sun. 

They both look up at you, a glob of contempt in their eyes. Clearly they were hoping for an empty middle seat and you’ve dashed their hopes.

You make it known that you want to sit down and they make no attempt to accommodate you. The walking lycra endorsement sucks in his gut in and you squeeze in between the two primordial life forms.

4. Depression

Dropping down into the seat, your elbow touches the flappy skin of the grotesque caricature on your left. It feels like a raw chicken breast, all squidgy and cold and rubbery. You swear that it’s hours before the plane finally takes off.

Velcro has already made his intentions clear by farting audibly. The smell will later be described to a therapist as she begins to unravel exactly where it all went downhill for you.

The plane takes off and things take a turn for the worse. The woman on your left adjusts in her seat and this seems to actually turn the plane. You fall into her and it’s like quicksand, your arm disappearing into the twilight zone that is her orbital largeness.

You apologise and she smiles coyly at you and returns to her stories. You’re thousands of feet in the air, but you’ve never felt so low. The meal trolley begins soon after and your two companions inhale their food with such gusto you’d have thought it was their last meal. Elbows are flying everywhere as their gigantic paws struggle with the tiny plastic cutlery. Lycra knocks over your micro-cup of orange juice. He issues a weak apology that is blanched further by the food that flies from his mouth as he says it.

Flight time remaining: 23hr 12 minutes.

5. Acceptance

Like a cow to slaughter, you’ve accepted your fate.

You rolled the dice and you paid the price. A calm has washed over you in the last eight hours or so. 

Your personal bubble has long since popped. Once the fat lady’s snoring eclipsed the sound of the jet engine and the guy in lycra plugged in his headphones and began blasting hectic electronic dance music you could hear eight rows away, you hit a Zen moment.

You’ve accepted your fate. You’re a middle seat casualty now, and for that reason you’ll always the mental scars. You’ve accepted the things you can’t change. Ironically, even though you’re packed in tighter than tuna you’ve felt like you’ve really grown.

At least when you are finally released after 25 hours from that living hell, you'll have a reliable, comfy (no more middle seat) shuttle service waiting to take you to or from the airport. Simply book your car online today! Airport Shuttle is now available in Cape Town and Durban

Friday 15 July 2016

6 August Holidays that won’t be Expensive and Over-Crowded

If you’re trying to book an affordable, last-minute summer getaway that won’t be swarming with tourists, here are six under-the-radar ideas.

Just north of San Luis Obispo, you’ll find a wine country that’s a far cry from Napa. Nestled between the mountains and the ocean, Paso Robles’ climate is ideal for growing Bordeaux, Rhone and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The unpretentious tasting rooms cost a fraction of Sonoma prices, and the thermal springs at River Oaks and Franklin are a perfect way to unwind at the end of the day.

A summer vacation in the Northeast can cost a pretty penny, but this Maine coastal town is more affordable than touristy spots and it’s just as alluring. Here, you’ll find one of the most gorgeous public beaches in the country, casual lobster shacks and a handful of modestly priced bed-and-breakfasts.

Cartagena has experienced a huge surge in tourism over the past years. But Bogotá, the oft-forgotten Colombian capital city, is also due for a comeback. Now safe for travel, Bogotá has a vibrant arts scene, striking Colonial architecture and top-tier restaurants on par with many European destinations.

Yes, it’s hot. But don’t be so quick to overlook Florida as a summer vacation spot. In August, you’ll find super-affordable and fewer crowds and tourists – especially if you can hold out until school holidays are over. 

Known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest, this peninsula off the northeast coast of Wisconsin boasts over 300 miles of pristine shoreline, dotted with cherry orchards, waterfront cottages and picturesque lighthouses. The town of Fish Creek is home to a handful of quaint, affordable guesthouses and nearby Egg Harbour is filled with quirky shops selling everything from chutneys to pottery.

Imagine Tulum ten years ago, before it became a hippy-chic, global hot spot. In Holbox, Mexico’s best-kept secret, you won’t find five-star hotels, upscale restaurants or even many cars. Book a last-minute trip now to kick it in a hammock, swinging between palm trees and no-frills seafood shacks serving up freshly caught grilled lobster and ceviche. Oh, and did we mention it’s cheap?

Looking for a reliable, affordable shuttle service to and from Cape Town International Airport or Durban International Airport? Contact Airport Shuttle in Cape Town or Durban and book your shuttle service right now!

Friday 8 July 2016

5 Reasons why you should Travel the World

We all have that one friend on Facebook that occasionally pops up offering up an opportunity for us to live vicariously through their experiences. They post up photos of sunsets in highly desirable locations on the other side of the world and at first it amuses, then promotes wanderlust, we have a little daydream about our next vacation and then the jealousy sinks in.

It’s a big decision. Even leaving your comfort zone for a brief 20 minute jog once a week is a struggle for some and in those cases a life shifting experience like travelling may be the key to breaking that way of thinking, the way that promotes retreating, the withdrawal back to unhealthy routines. This leads us on to reason number one:

By not taking risks, you never really discover your true self. It’s only ever about doing what is safe and easy but how will you ever know what really makes you tick if you’ve never tried it. Travel will push you into a flurry of seemingly uncomfortable situations like forcing you to meet new people with completely different lifestyles and cultures or navigating your way around a mountain where no one speaks your native language etc.

A regular routine builds strong neurological connections that over time allow for us to automate activities almost seamlessly. Think about that journey to work where not a thought is spared on the direction, forced into the present only by an obstruction. “I’ve been working here 10 years and I don’t know where the time has gone” – that’s not for me. An ever changing horizon continually breathes new experiences and within those we truly live in the moment, we are gifted with the present.

With nothing but your backpack filled with essentials you venture out into new cultures without access to the usual facilities and material objects you might usually take for granted. Many people live in the type of poverty that is truly unfathomable until you experience it first-hand. A culture shock can only positively affect you, it compels you to give back, to help out and to appreciate in innumerable ways the lifestyle upon return.

Travelling is often postponed with the intentions of ‘becoming a responsible adult’ or ‘building up a real life’ in the meantime. Some even say they are savouring the opportunity for retirement. Without injecting too much personal opinion, that’s just the views of society’s norm being expressed by those who are already deeply conforming. It is your choice to live how you wish.


“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

Start your journey right now! Contact Airport Shuttle in Cape Town or Durban, book your shuttle online and let us get you where you need to be comfortably and on time!

Friday 1 July 2016

Thoughts everyone has when they drive on the other side of the road for the first time

You’ve just made it through your long flight, landed at your desired destination and are just about to exhale a sigh of relief that your holiday has officially started when you remember… “I’m going to be driving on the other side of the road”!

Sure, you knew the time would come, but you had done a great job pushing it out of your mind, telling yourself that you’ll figure it out when you get there. Well, now you’re there. And it’s time to get behind the wheel.

So whether it’s your first time driving in France, Croatia, Iceland or any new country that drives on the wrong (right?) side of the road, we’ve all been there and have thought the same things.

1. OK, I can do this. How hard can it be?
2. Oh, this looks like my first car. I know how to drive this.
3. *Opens right-side door* Whoops, wrong side…
4. Alright, so it looks the same, just opposite, maybe this won’t be so bad.
5. Putting on my seatbelt *reaches right* Nope.
6. Just remember, “Other side of the road”.
7. Phew, someone else is leaving the rental store in front of me.
8. As long as I stay behind this person I’ll be fine.
9. Wait, has this person driven on the other side of the road before?
10. Do they know where they’re going?
11. Whoa – wrong lane!
12. Oh wait, nope. Just kidding.
13. Ah, this isn’t so bad.
14. Oh no, they turned.
15. OK, I’ll be fine… opposite side.
16. Wait, which side do I normally drive on?

17. OK, it’s the opposite side of the steering wheel. OPPOSITE.
18. Maybe if I turn the music on that will help.
19. Nope, music off.
20. Perfect, someone else to follow.
21.Oh no, now I need to turn.
22. Check your mirrors, check your blind spot.
23. They’re all blind spots! Oh, ok, looking over my right shoulder now…
24. I’m fine.
25. Wait, now which side is it again?
26. Left, steering wheel, other side.
28. Found it.
29. OK, just keep focused.
30. And don’t hurt anyone or myself for that matter.
31. Oww!
32. Reaching for the gear stick with the wrong hand is going to leave a bruise.
33. Did it again.

34. I probably should have bought travel insurance just in case (sigh).
35. Would travel insurance cover a bruised elbow, or ego?
36. What’s the surcharge for a bruised ego?
37. Hey! That person almost cut me off.
38. I have the right-of-way!
39. Don’t I?
40. Breathe, just breathe.
41. And keep your eyes open.
42. Think of a happy place.
43. Ok, we’re through. That was close!
44. Which side should I be on?
45. Ok, I’m fine.
46. Are we there yet?
47. *Looks out window* Nope, not there yet.
48. Did I just go through a red light?
49. Still not there.
50. Why is this the third time I’ve seen that street sign?

Are you stuck at the airport with no transportation? Airport Shuttle in Durban and Cape Town can get you need to be comfortably and quickly (and on the right side of the road!) Book your airport shuttle online today!